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I hear a lot about macronutrients, what are they and is it better for me for weight maintenance to count calories or macronutrients?
Macronutrients consist of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Each have their own specific roles and functions in the body and supply us with calories or energy. For this reason, the body requires these nutrients in relatively large amounts to grow, develop, repair and feel good! the only difference is how the macronutrients are balanced. Fats are an essential part of a healthy diet and should account for about 15-20% what you consume. They support improving brain development, overall cell functioning, protecting the body’s organs and absorbing vitamins found in foods. The key is choosing the best quality fats; ones that provide monounsaturated fats which have a beneficial effect on your heart when eaten in moderation and when used to replace saturated fat and trans-fat. Healthy fats include almonds, walnuts, seeds (pumpkin, chia), olives, avocados. Protein is essential for repairing and regenerating body tissues and cells, a healthy functioning immune system and manufacturing hormones. This wouldn’t be possible without amino acids, which are found in protein-based foods. In total there are 20 types of amino acids, 9 of which are ‘essential’ and can only be found in certain foods. Good sources of protein include beans, pulses and legumes, seeds (hemp, chia, flax), nuts (unsalted), quinoa, avocado, beets, raw greens (kale, spinach). Carbohydrates are comprised of small chains of sugar which the digestive body breaks down into glucose to use as the body’s primarily energy source and therefore need to make up around 45-65% of a diet. Carbohydrates are found in apples, bananas, cauliflower, carrots, oats, brown rice, millet, quinoa, chickpeas, kidney beans. Since macronutrients provide the body energy or calories, consideration to the amounts consumed is important. The key is to balance all of these nutrients properly so that your body is getting the adequate nutrients important for overall health and well-being. Highly favoring one over another creates an imbalance with the likelihood of omitting some important benefits of that particular nutrient being eliminated or minimized drastically.
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