Macro Nutrients: What they are and why they matter
Whether you’re starting a weight loss journey or have been living healthy for years, you know how important it is to feed your body the right stuff – vitamins and minerals that can help you perform your best along with fruits and veggies to fuel your mind and body. But what about macronutrients? Even seasoned fitness enthusiasts may not know much about this category of nutrition even though they’re consuming it every day.
Macronutrients are chemical elements that are consumed in large quantities and provide calories and energy. There are three types of macronutrients: fats, carbohydrates and proteins. Each of these has a specific function in the body, and by customizing your diet you can make the most of them. Let’s break it down.
When people hear the word “fat” they automatically think it’s something to avoid. After all, the word brings to mind obesity, heart disease and restrictive diets, but fats actually get a bad rap. In fact, fats are essential to a healthy diet and fitness routine because they help you absorb vitamins, protect your organs, help cell function and improve your brain development. The key is to pick the right kinds of fats, found in nuts, avocados and olive oil.
We have such a love/hate relationship with carbs. One day they’re good for you, the next they’re the worst foods in the world. The truth is, your body needs carbohydrates to function and stay healthy. Carbs are vital for brain function and are used in your body to make glucose for energy. Without carbohydrates in your diet, you can get headaches, feel irritable, suffer from gastrointestinal issues and feel hungry all the time. The trick is to pick complex carbs like bananas, sweet potatoes and whole grain breads.
The first choice of many fitness enthusiasts and body builders, proteins, made of amino acids, can help you build muscle, regenerate body tissues, and protect your immune system. And there are a variety of protein options to choose from, including meat, poultry, seafood, beans, eggs, nuts, and more. Delicious and filling, proteins can be the star of your diet as long as you choose lean cuts of meat and prepare them smartly.
A diet rich in macronutrients can help you maintain a healthy diet, lose weight and have more energy. Making smarter food choices isn’t always easy, but with the variety of options available you can fill your plate with macronutrients and get fit without ever feeling hungry.
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