Our bodies are pretty complicated, meaning that they have a whole of nutritional needs in order to survive and function. The composition of our diet is essential to meeting these needs and therefore it’s important to understand the two different types of nutrients.
Nutrient is a substance obtained from food and used in the body to promote growth, maintenance, and repair of body tissues, or simply as a substance that provides nourishment. Nutrients are grouped into macronutrients and micronutrients. They are seven main classes of nutrients that the body needs, such as, carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, fibre and water. It is important that everyone consumes these seven nutrients on a daily basis to help them build their bodies and maintain their health.
They are required in our body for energy, body, building, repair of tissues, protection from diseases and good health. Be also mindful that different food items are sources of different nutrients.
What is MACRONUTRIENT & MICRONUTRIENT?
Macronutrients:The three main categories of macronutrients include carbohydrate, protein, and fat. The three macronutrients all 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 and repair the body. Macronutrients (except water) are also called energy-providing nutrients. Energy is measured in calories and is essential for the body to grow, repair and develop new tissues, conduct nerve impulses and regulate life process.
Each macronutrient is almost always found in every item of food, whether that’s a healthy snack bar or a raw vegetable; the only difference is how the macronutrients are balanced. As an example, the nutritional composition of an avocado is generally made up of 75% (good) fats, 20% carbohydrates and 5% protein, therefore this is clearly a fat-based food. On the other hand a banana consists of 95% carbohydrates, with only small amounts of protein and fats. The trick is to understand how each macronutrient plays a different role in the body and tailor your diet accordingly!
Micronutrients:Micronutrients are not needed in the same quantities as macros, however are still equally as important. They work in tandem with macronutrients to keep the body functioning and are crucial in order to maintain energy levels, metabolism, cellular function, and physical and mental wellbeing. These nutrients include minerals and vitamins. Unlike macronutrients, these are required in very minute amounts. Together, they are extremely important for the normal functioning of the body. Their main function is to enable the many chemical reactions to occur in the body. Micronutrients do not function for the provision of energy. The brain works entirely on glucose alone. When in excess, it is stored in the liver as Glycogen. Carbohydrates are also important for fat oxidation and can also be converted into protein.
There are a wide-variety of micronutrients, with everything from Vitamin A, B, C through to K, and minerals such as magnesium and zinc being vital for the body. Vitamins. To ensure you’re getting as many of these into your diet you should try to eat as varied as possible, incorporating various different ‘colors’ into each meal. Try this range of macro ratio for weight loss: 10-30% carbs, 40-50% protein, 30-40% fat. Then adjust accordingly.
Carbohydrates – are required for energy and provide body’s main source of energy (4 calories per gram); they form he major part of stored food in the body for later use of energy and exist in three form: sugar, starch and fiber.
Fats – are used in making steroids and hormones and serve as solvents for hormones and fat soluble vitamins. Fats have the highest caloric content and provide the largest amount of energy when burnt. When measured by a calorimeter, fats provide about 9 calories per gram of fat, making them twice as energy-rich than protein and carbohydrates. Extra fat is stored in adipose tissue and is burnt when the body has run out of carbohydrates.
Proteins – they provide amino acids and make up most of the cell structure including the cell membrane. They are the last to be used of all macronutrients. In cases of extreme starvation, the muscles in the body, that are made up of proteins, are used to provide energy. This is called muscle wasting. As for carbohydrates, proteins also provide 4 calories per gram.
Water – makes up a large part of our body weight and is the main component of our body fluids. The body needs more water every day than any other nutrient and we replenish it through foods and liquids we eat and drink. Water serves as a carrier, distributing nutrients to cells and removing wastes through urine. It is also a compulsory agent in the regulation of body temperature and ionic balance of the blood. Water is completely essential for the body’s metabolism and is also required for lubricant and shock absorber.Vitamins – are essential for normal metabolism, growth and development, and regulation of cell function. They work together with enzymes and other substances that are necessary for a healthy life. Vitamins are either fat-soluble or water-soluble. Fat soluble Vitamins can be stored in the fatty tissues in the body when in excess. Water soluble vitamins are excreted in urine when in excess and so need to be taken daily. Water soluble vitamins include Vitamin B and C. Green leafy vegetables are rich in Vitamin B, whereas Vitamin C is found abundantly in citrus fruits. Fat soluble vitamins are Vitamin A, D, E and K. Green leafy vegetables, milk and dairy products and plant oils provide these vitamins.
Minerals – are found in ionized form in the body. They are further classified into microminerals and microminerals (or trace minerals). Microminerals present in the body include Calcium, Potassium, Iron, Sodium and Magnesium to name a few. Iron is a constituent of Hemoglobin which is present in blood. Microminerals are needed in more amounts, as compared to microminerals. Microminerals include Copper, Zinc, Cobalt, Chromium and Fluoride. They are mostly co-factors, and are necessary for the function of enzymes in the body,
but are needed only in minor quantities. Approximately 4% of the body’s mass consists of minerals.
It’s important you think of the benefits the foods you are purchasing from the store/market will give you before buying. Don’t just go to the market and begin to buy anything you see in the store/market to fill your hunger. For instance, You need at least five (5) essential nutrients from the meal you plan to prepare or the raw foods you want to eat ; Protein, vitamin, healthy cab, minerals, fat, and fiber. For instance, one (1) food item such cucumber (raw food) can give you up to five (5) Nutrients your body needs.
Health Benefits of cucumber:
•Carbs: 11 grams
•Protein: 2 grams
•Fiber: 2 grams
•Vitamin C: 14% of the RDI
•Vitamin K: 62% of the RDI
•Magnesium: 10% of the RDI
•Potassium: 13% of the RDI
•Manganese: 12% of the RDI
Protein: fish, chicken, meat, egg, beans, nuts
•Iron: vegetables, fresh fruits and whole grains.
•Calcium: cheese, milk, yogurt, seeds, sardine, soybeans, vegetable, akra
•Potassium: bananas, melons, cucumber, and other fruits.
•Zinc: Nuts and seeds
Vitamins: Citrus fruits (lemon, lime, orange), strawberries, and peppers, Mushrooms, eggs
Carbohydrate: rice, cereal, bread,
Fats: (Omega-3 fatty acid) Fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, and tuna. Nuts and seeds, such as flaxseeds, walnuts
Water: water makes up 60% of our body weight. Adults drink 64 ounces of water per day (1/2 gallon), eight glass at a time. (8 glasses for non-active) 160 x .5 (1/2 cup) =80 approx. 8 glasses.