WHAT ARE MACRONUTRIENTS AND MICRONUTRIENTS?
HEY HONEYS! HAPPY JANUARY!
How are the first two weeks of the New Year treating you?
How about them New Year’s resolutions, still working on them??? I hope so!
Like most of us, new year’s resolutions include starting new things, hobbies, and activities we didn’t have a chance to do the previous year(s).
We want to create better habits to bring about better circumstances in our lives and a trendy one at the beginning of the year is eating better, losing weight, and getting back in shape!
But as we all know, nutrition and fitness are sometimes hard to understand because these two sciences are under ongoing research and new discoverings.
When you’ve been introduced to the devil call FAST FOOD and food filled with preservatives, eating clean becomes a big challenge.
Motivation and willpower must be at the highest to maintain healthy habits like healthy eating and staying active through physical activities.
Since everybody wants a fitter and healthier body, I decided to breakdown the essential foods your body needs and perhaps answer some questions to help you have a better understanding.
SOME OF YOUR QUESTIONS MAY BE…
- What’s the definition of nutrients?
- What are the essential nutrients our body needs?
- What is the difference between macronutrients and micronutrients?
- Why our body needs them?
- Where are the macronutrients located on a nutritional label?
Without scrolling down, can you tell me what “essential nutrients” for proper human nutrition include_____?
DON’T CHEAT! 👀
Ok, now throw away the Oreo cookies, Domino’s pizza slices, the Tim’s Horton donuts, the Oasis juice, and let’s do this!
THE ESSENTIAL NUTRIENTS ARE CATEGORIZED IN 6 GROUPS
Organic Nutrients (compounds containing carbons in their molecular structure)
- Lipids (good fats)
- Proteins (amino acids)
Inorganic Nutrients (compounds containing no carbons)
WHY DO WE CONSUME FOOD?
Nutrients are substances or chemical compounds found in food.
Food comes from plants and animals and provides to our body:
- Sources of energy, heat, hydration
- Proper functioning, repair, and growth of the cells in the body
- Energy for metabolic processes (i.e. breaking down sugar from your pasta)
- Anabolism (building) and catabolism (breaking down) of biomolecules
These nutrients build our cells into tissues, tissues into organs and groups of organs function together to create different systems (circulation system, respiratory system, immune system, nervous system, muscular system, etc).
WHAT ARE MACRONUTRIENTS (aka macros)?
If you hired a personal fitness coach, they will calculate your macros based on your age, gender, height, weight, and body goals (e.i. weight loss, gain muscle, maintain weight).
Macronutrients are very important as they primarily provide energy to our bodies and our bodies need them in large quantities.
- Lipids (Fats)
WHAT ARE MICRONUTRIENTS?
Micronutrients are compounds that don’t provide energy but are needed to regulate the body’s metabolic processes and help utilize the energy from macronutrients. Our bodies need them in small quantities.
… AND YES, GOOD OLD WATAH IS ALSO ESSENTIAL TO OUR BODY 💦…
THE FUNCTIONS OF THE 6 ESSENTIAL NUTRIENTS
CARBOHYDRATES (Carbon + H2O)
Carbs provide energy and they are usually the primary fuel to the body. This energy is used for daily activities (i.e. movement and physical activities), brain function, breaking down molecules, etc.
All carbohydrates turn into sugar in the body except fiber since it’s not digested by the body but by the gut bacteria. In excess in the body, sugars are stored as adipose tissues (fat tissues)
- Whole grains (oats, quinoa, rice, buckwheat, barley)
- Organic fruits
- Organic vegetables (sweet potatoes, Ezekiel bread)
- Organic legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas)
The foods above are called complex carbohydrates and are made of 3-10 monosaccharides.
Fibers are also complex carbohydrates and there are two types: dietary fibers (from plants) and functional fibers (made in a lab).
When complex carbohydrates are broken down into single sugar, they are better known as simple carbohydrates.
- Monosaccharides (1 sugar molecule): glucose, fructose, and galactose
- Disaccharides (2 sugar molecules): sucrose, lactose, and maltose
Complex carbs need to be broken down to monosaccharides (i.e. glucose) to be taken by our cells and be used for energy throughout the body.
Carbohydrates provide 4 kcal/ grams of energy.
You’re probably thinking… so to get the energy, we need to eat a bunch of carbs but it’s not the case. For example, I’m 5’8, 145 lbs and my daily carbohydrate intake is about 200 grams (that’s based on me working out 3-4x per week).
If a bagel is about 100 grams, and I eat 3, the excess sugars not burned by my body will go straight to my butt and hips 😆.
FACT: The fruits we eat today are hybrids and their genes have been manipulated to have a sweeter taste. It’s safer to eat berries if your focus is on weight loss.
Lipids aka fats also provide a source of energy and fuel to the body. When carbohydrates are low in the body, the body switch and start digesting fats for energy (that why you reduce carbs when you change your diet to lose weight to then burn fat).
Fats provide 7 kcal/ grams of energy which is more than carbohydrates provide. Fats also:
- Store energy (which is potential energy for later)
- Are part of the component of cell wall
- Some lipids act as chemical messengers in the body
- Produce cholesterol precursor of lipid-derived hormones
- Assist in the absorption and transport of fat-soluble vitamins
THIS IS WHY WE ARE WHAT WE EAT. Do you want the fat from a McDonald burger to be used for the component of your cell’s wall? I don’t think so!
A specific type of lipid that our body needs are essential fatty acids. They are essential because our body cannot produce them.
These fatty acids are important for components of your red blood cells, neurons, and myocardiac cells)
You’ve surely heard about them: linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid… What?!? Never heard, NO WAY!
Lemme try again… Omega-6 fatty acid (linoleic acid) and omega -3 fatty acid (alpha-linolenic acid)… Make sure you get the recommended dose.
- Whole eggs
- Walnuts & tree nuts
- Coconut oil and olive oil
- Flaxseed oil
- Fatty fish
- Dark Chocolate
You’ll be very surprised to know that proteins have a lot more functions in the body than building muscles. Here are the functions:
- Assists in cell division, repair, maintenance, growth development, and cell movement
- Produce enzymes for catalyzing cellular reactions
- Provide cell and tissue structure (e.i. collagen, keratin, bones)
- Helps maintain fluid and electrolyte balance by transporting ions and water across cell membranes
- Helps transport solutes in fluids (protein hemoglobin in blood and fat droplets in lipoproteins)
- Controls homeostasis and signaling with receptors, hormones, and neurotransmitters
- Produces antibodies to protect the body against pathogens and diseases
Just like carbohydrates, protein provide 4 kcal/ grams of energy.
Proteins are not stored in the body. Proteins are broken down into amino acids and the excess are converted to urea and excreted from the body in the urine via the kidneys.
If you’re curious, these are the 20 amino acids.
SOME FOODS FALL UNDER TWO MACRONUTRIENTS
Vitamins are needed by the body to assist in the normal functioning of the cells, their growth, and development. They build and maintain bones and tissues, support the immune system, and help in using the energy from macronutrients. Some vitamins protect the cells from damage due to oxidation by providing antioxidants (vitamin A, C, E).
Vitamins can be water-soluble (vitamin B & C) and fat-soluble (vitamin A,D,E,K).
13 Essential Vitamins:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
- Vitamin B3 (niacin)
- Pantothenic acid (B5)
- Biotin (B7)
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin)
- Folate (folic acid and B9)
Minerals, just like vitamins, assist in energy production. They help regulated fluid in the body (stay away from Gatorade and Powerade though). They support healthy bones, the blood, and they are overall required during most body’s metabolic processes.
Some Major Minerals (at least than 100mgday)
- Calcium *
- Sodium *
- Potassium *
- Chloride *
*They are also electrolytes.
Some Trace Minerals (les than 100mgday)
Even though, vitamins and minerals are needed in smaller doses compare to macros; they are VITAL for our body.
Due to bioavailability, which is the fraction of nutrients absorbs in the body, eating a particular food full of X vitamins or X minerals doesn’t mean your body will get its full benefits. Some reasons may be low nutrient density in food (e.i. GMO) and cooking the food too long or at high temperature (depleting the nutrients).
FACT: Did you know that bananas use to have seeds (because all fruit has seeds) and the bananas that we eat today are basically clones… Sadly, I’m not sure how much potassium we’re really getting from them.
I didn’t include a list of which food has particular vitamins and minerals because each can be found in numerous food but if you’re interested in knowing which foods have the highest amounts, let me know in the comments, I’ll write another post focusing on that only!
HONEYS, STAY HYDRATED!!!
As adults, we are approximately made of 50-65% water.
Water is a vital inorganic nutrient that is beneficial for the body’s processes. Drinking water regulates and balances the body’s fluid. That balance is possible with the right amount of minerals in the body.
Therefore, your water intake should be proportionate to your mineral intake. I must admit, I need to do more research about it before mentioning any numerical value. For now, if this is something new to you, be aware of it and do your research too.
Also, water assists with energy production, nutrient transport, and excreting waste products. It affects nerve impulses and brain function which can affect your mood (e.i. headaches and fatigue).
Drink water combined with eating well and staying active is the formula for good physical health and mental health.
And yes, you do consume water when you eat fruits and vegetables.
Please drink filtered water. We don’t want our pineal gland to be affected by calcification!
WHO READS NUTRITIONAL LABELS 🙋🏾🙋🏾🙋🏾
Portion control is very important and makes a BIG difference in your calorie intake. Make sure you get enough of your macros.
How your math skills? Use your fingers if you have to, it’s all good!
TIPS FOR LOSING FAT AND GETTING FIT
- Eat whole foods and less packaged food (because they are basically not real food and doesn’t contain the nutrients that your body needs)
- Get you some Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar
- Try Intermittent Fasting
- Reduce carbs and consume more healthy fat (your body can live off fat)
- It’s not all about the # of calories but the nutrient density of the food that’s important
- Use an online macronutrients calculator to calculate your macros
- Do cardio & HIIT workouts 3x a week, and start lifting weights gradually
- Replace fruit juice with real organic fruits
- Go at your PACE. Make the changes gradually. Don’t be hard on yourself.
- GET THAT SEXY BODY! (Summer is only in 157 days)
Now, I hope you have a better understanding of the essential nutrients and their functions.
When you give your body the right nutrients, it will function at its best.
If you enjoyed this post, you will enjoy the BENEFITS OF INTERMITTENT FASTING. Fasting will definitely help you reach whatever body goals you have and improve your health.
In the comments below, tell me what are your Top 3 New Year resolutions. Mines are: I want to read more books, get in better shape, and write a lot more blog posts this year!
Further questions about nutrition? Please ask them! I’ll be glad to answer them!
I appreciate you for reading!
HAVE A NICE DAY!
What you seek is seeking you – RUMI