What Are Macro And Micronutrients?
The definition of a nutrient is classified as something that provides the body of a living organism with fuel and energy. However, this broad description does not touch on the various categories of nutrients and the role they play in the body. With carbohydrates, proteins, lipids/fats, vitamins, minerals, and water all important for proper bodily function.
If you are interested in finding out more about which nutrients are essential for your health, Authority Health is great as a source for all things health and wellness.
Macronutrients are the substances needed in larger quantities by the body, including carbohydrates, fat, and protein. Also known as energy providing nutrients, macros fuel your system in the form of calories – essential for the growth and development of the body.
Carbohydrates help to feed the body during high-intensity physical workouts, helping to protect muscle mass and boost cognitive and nervous system function. Found predominantly in grains, wheat, fruits, and some dairy, carbohydrates are seen as the primary energy source.
However, professionals consider that a sedentary individual should consume no more than 50% of their calories in carbohydrates, while high performing athletes can up their intake to 70%.
As another essential macronutrient, protein plays a big part in proper bodily functioning. It assists in restoring and promoting the tissue structure of the organs, skin, tendons, bone, and blood. Similarly, this macro is involved in metabolic and hormonal systems – which are both crucial to our wellbeing.
Protein is present in some legumes, nuts, grains, and beans but is mostly found in meat and dairy products.
It is recommended that individuals (regardless of their lifestyle and activity level) should not consume more than 0.91 grams of protein per pound of body weight a day.
After carbohydrates, fats are the leading energy source in the body. As your brain is mostly made up of lipids, fat promotes brain health, acts as fuel reserves, shields organs and helps to transport micronutrients throughout the body.
Fats are part of many different foods, including oils, seeds, nuts, meat, dairy, seafood, and some fruits. It is also advised that for a normal diet, no more than 35% of your total caloric intake should come from fats and lipids.
Where macros are needed for energy, micronutrients have no caloric value to offer. Instead, these substances are needed in different systems and functions, such as the immune system and digestive tract.
Water Soluble Vitamins
There are two types of vitamins, categorized by their solubility. The first is water-soluble vitamins.
These micros dissolve in water and consist of; Vitamin B1 (thiamine), Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (niacin), Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), Vitamin B6, Vitamin B7 (biotin), Vitamin B9 (folate), Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) and Vitamin C.
Water-soluble vitamins are typically not stored in the body and needs to be regularly consumed through diet.
Fat Soluble Vitamins
The second class of vitamins is the fat-soluble Vitamins. While most vitamins are considered water soluble, there are a total of four that dissolve in fat, namely: Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E and Vitamin K.
Fat-soluble vitamins occur naturally in food with a higher fat content and can be better absorbed when taken with lipids.
Similarly to vitamins, minerals are important micros that help to manage, grow and maintain your body and all of its functions.
There are many different types of minerals, each needed for their health benefits. These include; Calcium, Potassium, Sodium, Iron, Magnesium, and Zinc (to name a few).
Your body needs these minerals to keep your blood, bones, muscles, organs, heart, and brain working at an optimum level.
Without water, no one can survive. This nutrient, while free of calories, aids the body in several other ways. It hydrates the body, maintaining moisture and protecting organs and tissue. Helps to dissolve nutrients to promote absorption. And to flush out waste, carrying essential nutrients and oxygen to cells.
Balancing your macro and micronutrients may be the answer to properly maintaining your health. However, every person is different and each individual body has different nutritional needs. Find out exactly how much your body needs (of each nutrient) by consulting a healthcare professional or dietician.