What are the macronutrients?
The macronutrients are proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Every macronutrient is important and each have different roles and functions in the body. General macronutients ratio guidelines is to have 30% of diet be quality protein, 30% of diet be healthy fats and 40% of diet be unrefined, whole carbohydrates. These guidelines 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 macronutrient foods in your daily diet
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What are the micronutrients?
The micronutrients are all the different vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and antioxidants found within the macronutrients which are involved in many processes of the body and act as co-factors for enzymatic reactions (simply put they are needed for our body to function). Micronutrients are also needed to make ATP which is the bodies usable form of energy.
To ensure you are getting as many micronutrients in your diet as possible eat a wide variety of foods in their unprocessed whole food forms. Aim to include the colors of the rainbow by including different colored fruits and vegetables and switching up your sources of proteins and fats instead of eating the same foods day in and day out.
Macronutrient vs micronutrient - Whats the difference?
Macronutrients are essentially the big nutrients known as fats, protein and carbohydrates which are found in large amounts in all foods with each food containing different quantities of the macronutrients.
Micronutrients are the vitmamins and minerals found within the macronutrients in lesser amounts but are essential to a healthy diet. When talking about nutrient dense whole foods we are talking about getting in as many micronutrients through the diet which are found in the macronutrients.
For example commercial bread contains are high quantity of the carbohydrate macro nutrient but due to processing commercial bread does not contain the same micronutrient density as kale. Both are carbohydrates but kale is a better source of micronutrients .... aka the vitamins and minerals which are found in kale. The body needs both the carbohydrates mixed with the vitamins and minerals for optimal nutrition and functioning of the body.
Below is a list of macronutrients and micronutrients that are good quality healthy whole food choices.
Healthy sources of proteins include:
Grassfed beef, free range chicken, free range organic eggs, wild caught fresh or frozen fish, Goat cheese, raw cheese and cultured, plain yogurt, fresh seafood
Plant based protein sources include:
Lentils, hemp seeds, chia seeds, quinoa, spirulina, nutritional yeast, nuts and seeds, beans, fermented tempeh, chick peas, lima beans
Healthy sources of fats include:
Grassfed butter, unrefined cold pressed coconut oil, ghee, cold pressed olive oil, cold pressed avodcado, cold pressed flaxseed oil, cold pressed hempseed oil, cold pressed sesame seed oil, chia seeds and all nuts and seeds in their whole forms.
Healthy sources of carbohydrates include:
Properly prepared grains that are unrefined such as quinoa, rice, millet, oats, beans, legumes and lentils. Local or organic fruits and vegetables in there whole form and unprocessed
Unhealthy protein sources to avoid or limit include:
Processed luncheon meats such as salami, ham, hotdogs, highly processed sausages. Be careful with commercial animal products as they are often given antibiotics and hormones and have not lived a healthy life
Unhealthy fats that are on the bad fats list include:
Refined vegetable oils that are stored in clear plastic bottles (often found in salad dressings). Hydrogenated fats such as margarine and “spreadable” butters. Foods fried in any kind of vegetable oil such as fries
Unhealthy carbs to avoid or limit include:
All refined white flour products and anything that comes in a cardboard box such as commercial breakfast cereals, crackers, cookies, pasta, white bread, chips, refined sugar, and baked goods. These products are everywhere, are often way over consumed and actually deplete the body of vitamin and mineral reserves. Much of the nutrition originally found within these foods are lost due to the processing and refining that they go through.
Benefits of soaking grains, legumes and nuts for optimal nutrition
It is important to soak and or sprout all grains, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds for optimal absorption of nutrients as they contain anti nutrients such as enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid which can block the absorption of minerals and irritate the GI lining. By soaking and sprouting these foods the anti-nutrients are decreased which allows for optimal absorption and digestion of these foods along with enhancing the nutrients found within the food.
How to soak grains
Soaking your grains, beans nuts and seeds is as easy as placing the grains, nuts or beans in which you are planning to eat in a bowl covered with water for a minimum of 8-12 hours prior to cooking or eating to make the nutrients more bioavailable to the body.
As it can be difficult to obtain all the micronutrients in sufficient quantities through the diet due to depleted soils and the processing of foods I recommend periodically taking a multivitamin to provide basic support for the body to function optimally so that the body can run all the necessary functions without having to prioritize what is most important.
The body is dependent on these micro nutrients being available such as specific B vitamins and magnesium are needed to utilize glucose in the body and make energy along with running specific detoxification pathways in the liver. A limited supply of these nutrients can result in fatigue and an inability to detoxify the body effectively.
Optimal Multivitamin by Seeking Health is a brand that I recommend as it contains vitamins in their bio-available active forms which makes them effective and absorbed by the body.