Q: What are Macronutrients?
Recently, I've been chatting it up about micronutrients...and so I got the question, What ARE macronutrients and micronutrients?
Let's start with Macros today...
There are 3 Macronutrients: Proteins, Carbohydrates, and Fats.
Proteins are super important for the optimal function of our bodies.
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. There are 20 "building block" amino acids: 10 of them MUST come from our diet (or what we eat) and the other 10 are able to be made by the body.
Proteins are hugely important for the function of our metabolism, our hormones, our neurotransmitters, our RNA and DNA...aka our genes, and 95% of our muscles are amino acids. We basically exist because of protein!
You need properly digest high quality proteins in order to have healthy systems. Great examples: free-range organic eggs, grass-fed meat, whole raw dairy, and deep-sea, wild caught, fresh fish. #yum
Carbohydrates have a pretty confusing history. In the US, there has been much attention placed upon "low carb" diets, but the truth is, our bodies NEED carbs! Why?
Carbohydrates provide FUEL for our brain and are great quick sources of energy for our muscles. They help regulate protein and fat metabolism and provide sources of fiber to aid in elimination. Plus they help in immune functions, joints, growth, and more.
There are "different types" of carbs: simple and complex. Within each of these categories, there are refined and unrefined. (For example, you can have a simple unrefined carb or an complex refined carb).
In general, you want to AVOID refined simple & complex carbohydrates. Examples? White sugar, fruit juice, corn syrup, bread, white rice, pasta, chips, etc. Think "man-made" carbohydrates, or sometimes they are referred to as "empty calories." These carbs will actually DEPLETE the body of its own reserves of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes (yikes!)
So what do you want to eat? UNREFINED simple & complex carbs. Examples? Fruit, raw honey (in moderation), freshly-squeezed juices, vegetables, legumes, whole grains (properly prepared), dried beans, brown rice, etc. These carbs would naturally exist in nature: they have carbs WITH vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and more.
Fats are probably my favorite macronutrient <3 mostly because they have also been demonized and misunderstood...and they really do not get any good attention in a SAD (Standard American Diet) as everyone reaches for "low or fat" free foods (aka sugar).
Why do we need fat? They are also a great source of energy and used to build healthy cell membranes and hormones. We also NEED fat to absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. They help slow absorption of food and quite frankly, they make food tasty!
There are saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats. We need a VARIETY of fats to get all the nutrients and "essential fatty acids" that they body requires. My favorite saturated fats (awesome for cooking on high heat) are coconut oil (remember, UNrefined), Grass-fed butter or ghee, red palm oil, or animal fats from pastured animals. Don't forget about Omega-3s (i.e. Fish oil, Flaxseed oil), Omega-6s (i.e. Evening Primrose, Sunflower Oil, Seasme oil), and Omega-9s (i.e. Extra Virgin Olive Oil)!
What SHOULD we AVOID in the fat department? TRANS FATS (a by-product of the hydrogenation process)....hydrogenated fats, partially-hydrogenated fats, highly processed vegetable oils, and fried fats. Stay far, far, far away.
From here, I often get the question, "So how much should I eat of eat macronutrient?"
Well, I wouldn't be honest if I answered that for everyone...because our needs are all different....just like our taste in music or movies. This is where bioindividuality plays a HUGE role. And truthfully, I feel like my macro needs variety on a daily basis depending on my workouts. Check out my previous post about Metabolic Typing. This "somewhat" addresses this question!
Live Life Well,