Explanation of Macronutrients and Micronutrients

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macronutrients and micronutrients: Your diet and nutrition are essential aspects of your lifestyle. You can’t be healthy if you don’t eat healthy foods. You can spend every day of your life exercising, but if you’re stuffing your body with food that doesn’t contain the nutrients it needs, this will adversely impact your health in numerous ways.

Food is a constant existence in our lives. It is available to us everywhere, but among the potential drawbacks of this are the choices we make. We often decide what we want to eat based on how the food tastes, how sumptuous it looks, or how hungry we are. That isn’t all bad unless we develop bad eating habits that contribute to the development of disease in the body.

So one of the essential mechanisms of healthy living is eating right. Eating right is incredibly important, but eating healthier may also take more effort. This may mean you have to plan your meals, prepare your food (which typically takes time), and, most importantly, understand the impact of different nutrients in your foods and how they affect the body.

The body needs nutrients from our food for daily sustenance and continued growth. To understand how nutrients work, nutrients can be divided into two groups – macronutrients and micronutrients.

macronutrients and micronutrients

Macronutrients

Macronutrients or macros are nutrients the body needs in more significant amounts but which the body doesn’t readily produce on its own. They supply the body with energy in the form of calories.

There are three primary sources of macronutrients. They are carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. These supply the body with energy but fulfill different bodily requirements.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are macronutrients that the body needs in the most significant amount. They are present in fruits, vegetables, and grains in the form of starch, sugar, and fiber. Carbohydrates supply the body with energy which we relate to as calories.

These get broken down into glucose and serve as an energy-delivering fuel for the muscles and, most importantly, the brain to function optimally.

With an increasing awareness that carbohydrate intake is a significant factor in weight control, there has been some confusing demonization of carbs. However, regarding human health, not all carbs are created equal. There are two types, and not all are bad! Your body needs them, but what it needs are the good ones, called complex carbs.

  • Simple Carbs – The ‘bad’ carbohydrates are simple carbs that release sugar much faster in the body. They are high in refined sugar content and low in nutrients and fiber, like cakes and donuts.
  • Complex Carbs – The ‘good’ carbohydrates are complex carbs. They are more nutritious and processed more slowly in the body. They are high in fiber, healthy, and low in saturated fats, like fruits and vegetables.

Fats

Fats often get a bad rap because of misrepresentation presented decades ago by a very influential sugar lobby that, unfortunately, for a time, came to be considered fact. Most individuals have been led to think that fat makes you fat. This is not true. Dietary fat does not automatically become body fat.

Ingested fat breaks down slowly, meaning it doesn’t cause blood sugar spikes, allowing it to be used in a structured manner as needed. (Simple sugars, for example, are broken down too quickly for the body to use and are rapidly converted to body fat).

Fats provide useable energy, create hormones, help with cell membrane integrity, and allow the absorption of some fat-soluble vitamins. Fats can either be trans fats, saturated fats, or unsaturated fats. The latter is most needed by the body and helps with crucial bodily functions. Trans fats, especially, are toxic to health and should be avoided.

Proteins

Proteins are macronutrients the body needs to help build body tissue and provide slow-release, useable energy. Their nutritional value lies in how many essential amino acids are available in the food.

Micronutrients

Micronutrients are the minerals and vitamins the body needs in smaller amounts but are crucial to optimal functioning. Each of the vitamins and minerals performs a specific role in the body’s functioning. The best way to have enough essential vitamins and minerals is to eat a varied, nutritious diet that ensures the presence of most of these vitamins and minerals.

health food store worker holding up container of groups

Micronutrients play a role in specific bodily functions and can also provide powerful antioxidants that help protect the body against diseases. In the right amounts, vitamins and minerals help protect the body from sickness, and even though they are needed in tiny amounts, a deficiency in any of them can affect your health.

In Conclusion

Understanding the role that nutrients play in our food can make it easier for us to become more mindful and selective of what we eat. Understandably, life can be stressful and busy, which is often the excuse we have for having a bad diet.

However, taking enough time to plan and prepare our meals, choosing healthier options for food instead of basing choices solely on taste, and not always giving in to our cravings will ultimately benefit our health and longevity.

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