Eating a healthy balanced diet is essential for nourishing the body. Essential nutrients and antioxidants are needed to protect against inflammation. A deficiency of micro-nutrients can lead to low energy, poor health, and inflammation.
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Incorporating both the micro and macronutrients in the diet is essential for maintaining your health. The essential nutrients that your body needs are found in the macronutrients and micronutrients.
What are the macronutrients?
The macronutrients are nutrients that your body needs in larger amounts. Proteins, fats, and carbohydrates are known as macronutrients.
The macronutrients provide your body with calories to make energy, cells, and build muscle. Every macronutrient is important and each has different roles and functions in the body.
General macronutrient ratio guidelines are:
30% quality protein
30% healthy fats
40% unrefined, whole carbohydrates.
These macronutrient ratios are general and may vary according to bio-individuality. But the key takeaway is to ensure that you are getting quality sources of all the macronutrients in your daily diet.
Protein is made up of amino acids and is used to make hormones, enzymes, and antibodies. Protein is the building block for body structures such as muscle, skin, hair, and connective tissue.
Protein contains the essential amino acids. Animal products contain all the essential amino acids. Plant-based proteins are often lacking in one essential amino acid. Combining different sources of plant-based protein is needed to get all the essential amino acids.
Carbohydrates are sugars, starches, and fiber found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Carbohydrates provide energy for the body and help to maintain blood sugar balance. The fiber found in fruits and vegetables is crucial for feeding gut flora for a healthy microbiome.
Not all carbohydrates are equal tho. The difference between healthy carbs vs unhealthy carbs is dependant upon its processing. Whole food carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables, beans, and grains are great. Refined carbohydrates such as table sugar, white flour, and baked goods contribute to blood sugar imbalances and weight gain.
Fatty acids are important for making up every cell membrane in the body. Fats also help with the absorption of the fat-soluble nutrients A, D, E, and K.
Too many saturated fats can lead to excess inflammation. Omega 3 fats help to reduce inflammation and promote weight loss.
What are the micronutrients?
The micronutrients are the vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and antioxidants found within the macronutrients. Micronutrients are essential in many processes of the body such as making energy.
Vitamins act as co-factors for genes such as:
The MTHFR gene to support methylation
The PEMT gene to prevent fatty liver and gallbladder problems
The HNMT gene and DAO gene to metabolize histamine
The COMT gene to metabolize estrogen and stress neurotransmitters
To ensure you are getting as many micronutrients in your diet as possible eat a wide variety of whole foods. Include the colors of the rainbow by including different colored fruits and vegetables. Switch up your sources of proteins and fats instead of eating the same foods day in and day out.
Eating an antioxidant-rich diet is crucial for reducing inflammation and oxidative stress. Inflammation is at the root of many health problems. The best way to reduce inflammation is by eating deeply pigmented fruits, vegetables, legumes, and beans.
Macronutrient vs micronutrient - What's the difference?
Macronutrients are essentially the big nutrients known as fats, protein, and carbohydrates. These macronutrients are found in large amounts in all foods in varying quantities.
Micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals found within the macronutrients in lesser amounts. These micronutrients are essential to a healthy diet.
The purpose of eating nutrient-dense whole foods is to get as many micro-nutrients into the body via the diet. Micro-nutrients are found within the macronutrients in smaller quantities.
Not all macronutrients contain the same amount of micro-nutrients.
For example, commercial bread contains are a high quantity of carbohydrate macronutrients. But, as a result of processing commercial bread does not contain the same micronutrient density as kale.
Both foods are high in carbohydrates but kale is a better source of micronutrients .... aka the vitamins and minerals which are found in kale. The body needs carbohydrates mixed with vitamins and minerals for optimal nutrition.
Micronutrients are needed for almost every process in your body. Vitamins and minerals have different jobs in the body yet work together synergistically. Eating a balanced diet helps to ensure that your body can perform all of its crucial functions.
Below is a list of macronutrients and micronutrients that are healthy sources.
Helathy sources of protein include:
Free-range organic eggs
Wild-caught fresh or frozen fish
Goat cheese, raw cheese
Cultured plain yogurt
Plant-based protein sources include:
Healthy sources of fats include:
Grassfed butter, ghee
Cold-pressed coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, flaxseed oil,
(All nuts and seeds in whole food form)
Healthy sources of carbohydrates include:
Unhealthy protein sources to avoid or limit include:
Processed luncheon meats such as:
Avoid commercial animal products as they are often given antibiotics and hormones. Many commercial animals have not lived a healthy life or a happy life.
Unhealthy fats that are on the bad fats list include:
Refined vegetable oils that are stored in clear plastic bottles.Storebought salad dressings often contain refined vegetable oils.
Hydrogenated fats such as margarine and “spreadable” butter
Foods fried in any kind of vegetable oil such as fries
Unhealthy carbs to avoid or limit include:
Avoid all refined white flour products
Commercial breakfast cereals
Refined carbohydrates are everywhere and deplete the body of vitamin and mineral reserves. The nutrients originally found within these foods are often lost or stripped away. The processing of carbohydrates results in unhealthy carbs that cause blood sugar imbalances.
Benefits of soaking grains, legumes, and nuts for optimal nutrition
For optimal nutrition, it is important to soak and or sprout all grains, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds. These foods contain enzyme inhibitors such as phytic acid which can block the absorption of minerals. Anti-nutrients and enzyme inhibitors can also irritate the GI lining.
By soaking and sprouting these foods the anti-nutrients are decreased. Soaking allows for optimal absorption and digestion of these foods. The bioavailability of nutrients is also enhanced.
How to soak grains
Soaking your grains, beans nuts, and seeds are super easy. Simply place the grains, nuts, or beans in a bowl covered with water for 8-12 hours. Soaking these foods before cooking makes these foods much easier for the body to digest.
It can be difficult to get all the micronutrients through the diet due to depleted soils. Taking a multivitamin helps to provide basic support for the body to function optimally. Think of a multivitamin and a whole foods diet as your life insurance.
The body is dependent on micronutrients such as B vitamins and magnesium to use glucose in the body and make energy. A wide variety of nutrients are required for detoxification pathways in the liver. A limited supply of these nutrients can result in fatigue and poor detoxification.
Optimal Multivitamin by Seeking Health contains vitamins in their bio-available active forms. This multivitamin is effective and easily absorbed by the body.
Hey! I'm Amber, a nutritional therapy consultant helping people to improve digestion, beat the bloat and lose weight. Sharing weight loss tips, gut health tips and whole food recipes that are gluten free. Grab your freebie below:)
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