What are Macronutrients? A Complete Guide
What are Macronutrients?
Macronutrients are nutrients that our bodies need in larger quantities when compared to micronutrients. The Macronutrients are protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Each macronutrient plays a vital role in maintaining homeostasis and helping us in getting the proper nutrition we need to fuel our bodies and keep them healthy.
It’s important to find the right balance of macronutrients that is most conducive to your lifestyle and achieving your goals.
Proteins are large complex molecules that assist with the function and regulation of the body’s tissues and organs.
Proteins are made up of hundreds of thousands of smaller molecules called amino acids. Proteins are considered either complete or incomplete based upon how many of the essential amino acids it contains. Essential amino acids are amino acids that cannot be naturally produced in the body. Therefore, we can only get them through our diets.
Animal proteins are complete proteins however, there are some plant-sourced complete proteins as well. These sources include; soy, quinoa, buckwheat, chia seeds, and hemp seeds.
Large groups of organic compounds are usually found in plants. Carbohydrates can either be complex or simple. Simple carbohydrates are sugars (fructose, sucrose, lactose), and are best to only consume in very small amounts.
Complex carbohydrates are starches and fibers. Complex carbohydrate sources include; whole grains, legumes, seeds, nuts, etc. Carbohydrates provide energy and help to protect against disease.
When it comes to fat, a lot of people try to avoid it completely. A diet that implements healthy fats is going to be the most beneficial for people. Prioritizing healthy fats are the key. Healthy fats are unsaturated fats such as; polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.
Saturated Fats are unhealthy fats and are predominately found in animal products. There are a few plant sources that are high in saturated fats such as; coconut oil, palm oil, and palm kernel oil.
Saturated fats raise our LDL levels, and contribute to diabetes, and heart disease.
Benefits of Macronutrients
Macronutrients are an essential part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Macronutrients are needed for growth, energy, and homeostasis. Macronutrients also help in muscle growth and recovery as well as in regulating blood sugar and keeping cholesterol numbers low.
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