If you’ve tapped into the fitness industry at all, there’s a chance you may have heard about macronutrients and micronutrients. If you haven’t heard about them or simply don’t know what they are, keep on reading!
The nutrients that our bodies need are split into these two categories. Macronutrients are made up of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats while micronutrients are made up of vitamins and minerals.
The role that macronutrients play in our body is huge – they give our bodies energy through calories. These nutrients are absolutely necessary for our bodies to function and are needed in larger amounts when compared to micronutrients. Each macronutrient has its own function in our body. Additionally, these macronutrients are found in all food – healthy or not healthy.
Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose and are the body’s main source of energy. “All body tissues use glucose for energy, necessary for the central nervous system, kidneys, brain, and muscles to function properly.” So, if you’re thinking about doing a low-carb diet, consider the fact that you are restricting your body of its main source of energy, which is not necessarily healthy in the long run. Carbohydrates have 4 calories per gram.
Our bodies are made up of an incredible amount of protein. It is found in our muscles, bones, hair, skin, and “virtually every other body part or tissue.” It is because of this that our bodies need protein for the “growth and repair of our muscles, tissues, and cells.” Protein is also needed to maintain a healthy immune system and to produce enzymes and hormones. Protein has 4 calories per gram.
GOOD fats are needed for “brain development, overall cell functioning, protecting the body’s organs,” and for the absorption of certain vitamins that are found in foods. Fats can also help with inflammation and help prevent blood clots. Fats have 9 calories per gram.
Micronutrients are equally as important as macronutrients – we just don’t need as much. Micronutrients are also found in all essentially all food. They consist of vitamins and minerals and help “maintain energy levels, metabolism, cellular function, and physical and mental well-being.” The most nutrient dense foods include fruits and vegetables.
Both macronutrients and micronutrients are necessary for our health and well-being. All foods contain these nutrients, but it is important to choose the most nutrient dense ones (which are of course the healthier options). Next time you’re eating a meal, consider the balance of macronutrients your plate has. Does it have a good balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat? Is it full of micronutrients?
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