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Know your nutrients!

Know your nutrients!
Highlights

Macronutrient is almost always found in every item of food, whether that's raw vegetables, grains, pulses, seafood, nuts, seeds or ghee

When most of you hop on to the bandwagon of health and fitness, you'll hear a lot of nutritional jargon. Obviously, that confuses you. So, I am going to shed a little light on macro and micronutrients so that when you read these words you know what we are talking about.

A nutrient is a substance used by an organism to survive, grow, and reproduce. Nutrients are environmental substances used for energy, growth, and bodily functions by organisms. Depending on the nutrient, these substances are needed in small amounts or larger amounts. Those that are needed in large amounts are called Macronutrients.

Micronutrients work in tandem with macronutrients to keep the body functioning and are crucial in order to maintain energy levels, metabolism, cellular function, and physical and mental wellbeing

Macronutrients, in a nutshell, make up the biggest percentage of foods we eat, made up of: Proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Broken down, here's why each is important:

Proteins

known as the 'building blocks of life', reflect the basic composition of your body. They're made of amino acids, with good sources such as seeds nuts pulses, dairy, eggs, fish and chicken

Carbohydrates

found in all foods to some degree which provides energy but excess carbohydrates are converted and stored as fat. You can consume as many high-fibre veggies as you like. They're carbs, but since they're high in fibre, they're typically quite low in net carbs which is what you should concentrate on. Accompany them with good carbs found in whole grains, unpolished rice, millets, etc. in small quantities.

Fats

while some still believe they should be avoided altogether, it's important to understand that there are good fats and bad fats. You need good fats to digest, assimilate and eliminate food for the brain to function, for bone health, temperature control of the body. Nuts, seeds, fresh or cold-pressed oils are the good fats. Cow's ghee and coconut oil are the saturated fats which are good for you.

Each macronutrient is almost always found in every item of food, whether that's raw vegetables, grains, pulses, seafood, nuts, seeds or ghee. The takeaway is that all three are important and interdependent. With anyone missing, you leave yourself open to disease.

Micronutrients are the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are essential for good health and found in the natural form in all the foods you eat. You don't need a lot in comparison to macronutrients, but without them, deficiencies will eventually transpire leading to ill health. It's one reason why you see so much disease and malfunction in so many people today; as diets are often sadly deficient in micronutrients because a lot of processed foods, white sugar, white flour, and bad fats have crept into our diets which do not have these critical nutrients. When you see the micronutrients list, you'll find most are very familiar; others you may have never heard of. Here they are in alphabetical order:

Vitamins

Vitamins A, B, C, D, E, K and carotenoids

Minerals

Boron, Calcium, chloride, chromium, cobalt, copper, fluoride, iodine, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium and zinc

Organic acids

Acetic acid, citric acid, lactic acid, malic acid, choline and taurine

Micronutrients can be found in a wide variety of foods, both healthy and unhealthy. Unfortunately, a lot of processed foods, fast foods and fried foods have chemically added micronutrients which are not naturally occurring, making them skewed.

What I am trying to get across to you is to try to eat as much organic, fresh, seasonal and regional food as possible and you will automatically get all your essential macro and micronutrients.

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