We are what we eat. Good nutrition can help prevent disease, promote health and well-being. The base of good nutrition starts with an understanding of macronutrients. Macronutrients are nutrients that provide us with calories or energy. Nutrients are substances needed for growth, metabolism, and for other important body functions. “Macro” means large and macronutrients are nutrients needed in large amounts. There are three macronutrients: protein, carbohydrate and fat.
Carbohydrates consist of two types: simple (such as sugar) or complex (such as grains), however both of these types provide the majority of energy for all living things. Complex carbohydrates are preferred because these foods are more nutritious and cause fewer problems with overeating than simple carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates also are preferred over simple carbohydrates by diabetics because they allow better blood glucose control.
Once a carbohydrate is digested and broken down, doesn’t matter if it is complex or simple, they are absorbed as sugar otherwise known as blood glucose. This rise in blood glucose causing the release of the hormone insulin. Insulin is a hormone that needs to managed carefully as the right amount will aid in building skeletal muscle tissue, however excess levels will cause fat accumulation.
Every 1 gram of carbohydrate equals 4 calories.
Some examples of healthy complex carbohydrates include:
- Brown Rice
- Sweet Potato
- Ezekiel Bread
Some examples of healthy simple carbohydrates include:
Protein is derived from animal foods and supplies amino acids to build and maintain healthy body tissue. There are 20 amino acids considered essential because the body must have all of them in the right amounts to function properly. Twelve of these are manufactured in the body but the other eight amino acids must be provided by the diet. Foods such as red meat or eggs often contain all these essential amino acids. The intake of protein also stimulates the release of the hormone glucagon, which is a fat burning hormone and the antagonist of the hormone insulin.
Every 1 gram of protein equals 4 calories.
Some examples of healthy protein include:
- Chicken Breast
- Grass Fed Beef
- Egg Whites
- Whey Isolate Protein Powder
Fat supplies energy and transports nutrients and are essential for health as well as maintenance of many bodily processes that which includes hormone production and immunity. There are two families of fatty acids considered essential for the body: the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Essential fatty acids are required by the body to function normally. They can be obtained from canola oil, cold-water fish, or fish oil, all of which contain omega-3 fatty acids, and primrose or black currant seed oil, which contains omega-6 fatty acids. The American diet often contains an excess of omega-6 fatty acids and insufficient amounts of omega-3 fats. Increased consumption of omega-3 oils is recommended to help reduce risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer and alleviate symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, dermatitis, and inflammatory diseases.
Every 1 gram of fat equals 9 calories.
Some examples of healthy fats:
- Omega 3 Eggs
- Olive Oil
- All Natural Peanut Butter
- Omega 3 Fish Oil Capsules