If you’re interested in healthy eating and you’ve been anywhere near the internet lately, you’ve probably heard about balancing your macronutrients. It is the hot new diet trend and, depending on your goals, finding the right balance can be extremely beneficial. But why do macronutrients matter, and how should you utilize them? If you aren’t sure what “macros” are or how they can improve your daily diet, keep reading and hopefully you will come away demystified.
“Macronutrients are the basic
building blocks that your body needs
to survive and be healthy.”
What Are Macronutrients?
Simply put, macronutrients are the basic building blocks that your body needs to survive and be healthy. This includes fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. You’ve probably heard at one time or another that fat will make you fat or that carbohydrates are the root of all muffin tops. As with most things in life, it really isn’t that simple. These assumptions about carbs and fats are both true and false. Too much of anything will put your body out of balance and result in bad health. The thing most people forget is that too little of anything can be just as bad. We need carbs, fats, and protein in order to survive and thrive.
Keeping Things Balanced
The trick is keeping a healthy balance of all these nutrients and choosing the healthiest options among them. Generally speaking, carbohydrates should represent about 40-65% of your diet, fats 20-35%, and protein 10-35%. There is quite a bit of range represented here and, depending on your lifestyle or health, you can figure out what works best for you. Remember, though, not all fats and carbs are created equal. Some are better for you than others. There are also many different kinds of proteins.
You may have heard about good fats and bad fats but what’s the difference, really? Basically, you want avoid trans fats and saturated fats. These fats will raise your bad cholesterol (yes, there is good and bad cholesterol too,) which can lead to heart problems. You find these fats in things like margarine, prepackaged foods, and–unfortunately–french fries.
Good fats, on the other hand, are unsaturated fats. These fats can lower your bad cholesterol and raise the good stuff, improving your overall health. Good fats are necessary for proper brain function and development. Among these fats are also “essential fatty acids,” which–as the name suggests–your body needs to function properly. You can get these fats from different fish, nuts, avocado, and olive oil.
People love and hate carbohydrates because, while tasty, they can be easily overdone. But, they are crucial to your health. Carbohydrates provide the body with energy. You burn carbohydrates for pretty much anything and everything you do. However, not all carbohydrates are good for you. To have a better diet, learn to sift out the unhealthy from the healthy varieties. For example, instead of getting white bread, buy whole wheat. Instead of munching on cookies and potato chips, get some good fruits and vegetables. Avoid processed foods, opting instead for whole grain. This way, you get the carbs your body needs without spiking your blood sugar. This is important for maintaining energy, healthy weight, and even having healthier teeth.
This nutrient is a popular one right now, and for good reason. It, like the others, is vital to your body’s health and development. Protein builds and sustains muscle but also hair, nails, enzymes, hormones, and a host of body tissues. You can get your protein from meat and nuts, but you should try to limit your red meat consumption because of the saturated fat content. Instead, make chicken, fish, beans, nuts, tempeh, tofu, seitan and other plant-based protein sources the staples of your protein intake. Individuals who are working out, in particular, should ensure that their bodies have enough protein post workout.
“We need carbs, fats, and protein
in order to survive and thrive.
The most important thing is to be
reasonable, balanced, and safe
with your diet.”
The Mind-Body Connection
So much of our lives depend on what we eat. Most people focus on appearance and weight, but things like mood and mental health are just as important. What you eat fuels your body and your mind, so it is important to make sure you give yourself what you need. As this article points out, what you eat and how you it eat can have a major correlation with major mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Talk to health care professionals and nutritionists for advice and choose high quality foods to keep yourself feeling great. The most important thing is to be reasonable, balanced, and safe with your diet.
About the Author
Ian McArthur is a professional writer, storyteller, scholar, and educator. He is passionate about not only communicating clearly, but also communicating things that matter. He believes in writing to the audience and focussing on the things they care about. He likes exploring new foods, going on walks with his son, and sparring with his friends. But at the end of the day, he enjoys nothing better than a binge session of Scrubs with his wife and a bar of German dark chocolate.
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