Essential Nutrition: Macronutrients And Micronutrients
Essential nutrition is what the body needs to survive daily. To have a well balanced healthy life, it’s vital to understand what the body needs and why.
We believe that good health is about good nutrition. After all, you are what you eat and drink. What goes into
our body determines our physical and emotional well being. Some people don’t realize that our life’s quality depends partly on the quality of our diet. Food can affect our overall health. It can cause problems, or it can protect our health.
If you care about your health and are concerned about being overweight, or developing severe disease, or dying too young, then you need to care about what you eat and drink.
The first step is to have a good understanding of essential nutrition. This can help you make better choices.
The good news is that you do not need to be a nutritional expert to understand nutrition basics. You need to know what is right and what is not so good to make better decisions about what to eat and what not to eat. Once we understood the basics, we quickly got into the habit of making good food choices. This will keep us healthy, and we will maintain our weight easily.
Essential nutrition can be grouped into two different categories, macronutrients and micronutrients.
Proteins, carbohydrates and fats are called “macronutrients” because we need these in large amounts in our diet. I’ve also included water and fiber because they are also required in adequate amounts and vitally essential for health and survival.
Our body needs to acquire all these to function correctly. Our body needs water and a certain amount of energy from carbohydrates, fats and protein daily. That energy is measured in calories. Most health professionals/authorities recommend eating a diet made up of approximately 15 per cent protein, 55 per cent carbohydrates and up to 30 per cent total fats.
The body uses protein to build and repair muscles, bone, tissue, skin, internal organs and blood. So it is essential that we get an adequate amount of protein in our diets daily.
The recommended protein levels that international organizations advise us are 0.4 grams of protein a day per pound of body weight or approximately 1 gram per kilo of body weight. For example, an adult who weighs 160 pounds should have about 64 grams of protein a day.
Protein can be found in fish, seafood, eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, vegetables, soy, legumes, red meat, poultry, nuts and seeds.
If you are eating enough calories from the foods mentioned above, you should get enough protein.
Carbohydrates are your body’s main supply of energy. When eating carbohydrate foods, your body digests them and breaks them down into glucose, also known as blood sugar. This blood sugar provides the essential energy for our brain and nervous system. It is necessary to keep your blood sugar levels balanced because it helps maintain even energy levels and a healthy weight.
Carbohydrates are essential in your daily diet so that vital tissue building protein is not used up for energy when it might be needed for repair.
Carbohydrates are classified into two different categories:
Eating the right kinds of fats is useful for you and essential for optimum health. Fats also provide us with energy.
Not only is it important to watch how much fat you eat, but it is also necessary to know the type of fats you are eating.
There is a variety of different fats, and some of these fats are more harmful than others. The two major kinds of fats in the foods that we eat are saturated fats and unsaturated fats.
For optimum health, no more than 20 percent of your total calories should be in the form of fat. And no more than 10 percent of that fat should be saturated fat. Most people in the western world overeat saturated fat and too little of the healthier unsaturated fats. So the message is simple, limit the bad fats and replace them with good fats.
Water is one of the most significant macronutrients and is overlooked by many people. It makes up around 60 to 70 percent of our body weight. We can survive weeks without food, but can only survive a few days without water.
A healthy, well balanced diet must consist of adequate amounts of macronutrients and minimal amounts of micronutrients.
Micronutrients which include vitamins and minerals are as essential as macronutrients. They help your body function properly. They work at the cellular level, which is where good health begins.
Vitamins are natural substances that are required in small amounts and are necessary to sustain life. They assist in regulating metabolism and releasing energy from digested food. Vitamins help to promote growth and to maintain good health. Vitamins are produced by living material such as plants and animals. They must be obtained from our food, as they are not made by the body in sufficient quantities, to promote and maintain good health.
There are two groups of vitamins, fat soluble and water soluble. Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat soluble. They need a sufficient supply of minerals and fats to be absorbed in the digestive system. These vitamins are stored
in the liver. The other vitamins, like vitamin C, are water soluble. They need to be replenished often because any excesses are excreted in the urine, not stored in the body.
Minerals are also required in tiny amounts and are as important as vitamins. The body does not produce any minerals. Minerals must be obtained from food sources such as plants, animals and water.
Minerals are an essential part of your body structure; for example, calcium for bones. There are about twenty
minerals that are essential for maintaining good health. There are 2 groups of minerals, major and minor or trace minerals. Major minerals are required in larger amounts like calcium, phosphorus and potassium. Trace minerals are needed in smaller quantities like iron, manganese and selenium.
In our Health and Nutrition Guide, you can find resources to help you make an informed decision regarding health and nutrition regimens. Our health articles are informative, and we hope you enjoy your visit.