What we ingest is a big part of who we are and how we go through life. Too many people still neglect the fact that our eating habits will be a significant factor in our health and as we grow older, that only becomes more pronounced. Taking care of our nutrition doesn’t necessarily have to mean becoming vegetarian or vegan (or you can do that too, if it rocks your boat), it is simply the practice of eating food that serves us best, is balanced and improves our well-being.
To have a well-balanced diet, you need to be in the know how much of what you should eat and the best place to start is understanding the difference between macronutrients and micronutrients. These two terms are often thought to mean the same thing, when in fact they are the two different crucial pieces of the puzzle that is your diet. We will give you a quick explanation on what is what in nutrients world, so that you can make healthier choices more easily.
What Are Macronutrients?
The name pretty much says it all – macronutrients are nutrients that are supposed to be ingested in large quantities and daily. The main role of them is to provide your body with energy to perform its functions, thus allowing you to function normally as a flawless living system. Macronutrients are omnipresent in any type of food that surrounds us and the quantity is what varies.
Macronutrients include protein, carbohydrates fats, fiber and water and it’s quite clear immediately why we need them in constantly, they are at the foundation of our health and diet. The most important thing to remember that consumption of macronutrients needs to be in balance, otherwise you risk having to deal with health conditions that arise from the lack or excess of a certain nutrient. People usually fear fats and carbohydrates because they can be the main cause of obesity, but what many don’t understand is that carbohydrates are by far the most important source of our energy and should make about 50% of our everyday diet. However, there are different types of carbohydrates and fats and some are much more beneficial than others.
Where Can Macronutrients Be Found?
Well, like we already stated, macronutrients can be found in practically any type of food and what you’re craving is a good indicator of what you’re missing in your diet. Proteins are crucial for your body to regenerate cells and organs, and they’re also crucial for a functioning immune system. You can find proteins in milk, cheeses, eggs, meats like chicken, turkey, and then there’s fish, peanut butter, edamame and quinoa, just to name a few.
Fats are our “enemy” whenever we’re trying to shed those extra holiday pounds, but they should still make about 15% of our meals. You want to go for healthy fats that can be found in seeds, avocado, nuts, olive and coconut oil. Whenever you take a serious thought about what you’re eating, it’s paramount to keep your habits in check and stock your home with good produce. I used Sun Basket whenever I’m not in the mood to go outside and into the supermarket, because I would be tempted to buy not so healthy alternatives to what I should be eating. If you’re not sure you’ll be able to resists those cookies on discount, you can opt out for delivery services that will bring you your portion of health right to your doorsteps.
What Are Micronutrients?
You’ve guessed it right, micronutrients are what you need in small amounts to keep your health in check. Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals that are indispensible when it comes to the regulation of our metabolism and not having them on a regular basis is often the main cause of diseases, lack of energy and any imbalance in our bodies. Vitamins and minerals are definitely not something to be taken lightly, as the effects that insufficiencies can have on your health are severe.
Micronutrients can be either water-soluble or fat-soluble. Those vitamins and minerals that are water-soluble tend to run out from our bodies fast, mainly through bodily fluids, which is why they need to be replenished on an everyday basis (B-complex vitamins as well as vitamin C). Fat soluble micronutrients, on the other hand, remain in the body for longer, so that you don’t have to ingest them daily – those are vitamins D, E, K and A.
Where to Find Micronutrients?
Micronutrients abound in most fruits and vegetables, especially when you can eat them raw. You’ve probably heard that some fruit are particularly rich with a certain vitamin, which can be of great help when you’re building up your immune system against the flu season (you should eat fruits and vegetables constantly, not when you’re sick already, because that don’t do you as much good).
If you’re in need of potassium, eat potatoes, spinach and bananas to get the daily intake of this mineral. If you’re in need of calcium, then we suggest grabbing some yogurt, broccoli, almonds or any kind of canned fish to help you have stronger bones. Turkey, cashews and beef are an excellent source of zinc, while vitamin C in peppers, bananas and oranges will do wonders for your health.
Once you realize the difference between macronutrients and micronutrients, it will be very easy for you to understand why both are so vital in our nutrition. Having a healthier diet isn’t done overnight but it is well worth working on it, because your health and eventually your life ride on it.