How to maximise your macro and micronutrients
-Jan 13, Hannah Hargrave , Nutrition -
Macro and micronutrients might be foreign terms to you, but you consume them every day and balancing them correctly is essential for healthy living. So what exactly are they and how can you maximise them?
Our bodies have a whole host of nutritional needs and our diets are key to ensuring we don’t just survive, but that we do so as efficiently as possible. Therefore understanding the nutrients we fuel ourselves with can make self-care much easier, which is why you’ll want to know what macro and micronutrients are.
Macronutrients are essentially your carbohydrates, fats and proteins. They supply us with energy and calories so that we can grow and repair. Because of this we need them in fairly large amounts.
They’re found in pretty much every food but the key is balancing them correctly.
– Fats – all too often people are scared of consuming fat, but you need fats for a healthy diet. Approximately 15-20% of your diet should be fat. The right ones will aid brain development, improve the functionality of cells and protect your organs as well.
Healthy fats include: Walnuts, avocados, almonds, pumpkin seeds
– Carbohydrates – Carbohydrates are key to providing you with energy and should account for approximately 45-65% of your diet. This doesn’t mean loading up your body with white breads and pastas which are packed with refined sugar. You need to opt for healthy carbs which will offer slow release energy.
Healthy carbohydrates include: Wholewheat pasta, brown rice, quinoa, apples, carrots, bananas, oats, kidney beans
– Proteins – Protein is the macronutrient you need for repairing and regeneration of the body’s cells and tissues. You also need protein for a healthy immune system and to make hormones. The amino acids found in protein laden foods are imperative for all of the above.
Healthy proteins include: Nuts, beans, avocado, beetroot, kale, quinoa, pulses, chia seeds, flax seeds
Micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals the body needs, but doesn’t produce. Therefore they have to be derived from diet and supplements. Unlike macronutrients you only need a small amount. They are however extremely important to avoid detrimental deficiencies. There are a seemingly never ending list of essential vitamins including Vitamin A, B, C all the way through to K and numerous minerals, such as magnesium, zinc, selenium, iodine, iron and calcium too.
Foods which contain vital micronutrients:
– Vitamin A – carrots, sweet potatoes, tuna, kale, butternut squash
– Vitamin B1 – legumes, nuts, whole grains
– Vitamin B2 – green and yellow vegetables, whole grains
– Vitamin B6 – bananas, nuts, chickpeas, potatoes
– Vitamin B12 – yeast, cereals, algae
– Vitamin C – citrus fruits, kiwi fruit, strawberries, peppers
– Vitamin D – mushrooms, cereals, sunlight
– Vitamin E – seeds, vegetable oil, nuts
Foods which contain vital minerals
– Potassium – bananas, oranges, potatoes
– Calcium – almonds, yoghurt, salmon, dried fruit, tofu
– Zinc – whole grains, legumes, sesame seeds, beef
– Iron – quinoa, lentils, brown rice, legumes
– Magnesium – salmon, tuna, dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds
The very best way to ensure you’re getting the macro and micronutrients you need is to eat a balanced and healthy diet of colourful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and fish too. Cut out processed foods and refined sugars and be mindful about what you’re putting into your body.