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Nutrients in food. Why they matter?

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As we said before food is one of the 5 principles of fitness so we need to understand how it works and how it can help us maintain optimal health, for this we will start understanding macronutrients and micronutrients, I´ll try to keep everything simple here and we´ll get in depth in future posts as we need to.

We know that the goal of any diet or nutrition program must be to give nutrients to our body. Food is not only fuel, it´s information and our body needs the right fuel and the right information to function and perform at peak. I know I´ve said before that highly processed or refined foods are unhealthy and we need to avoid them as much as possible, now that we avoid all those unhealthy foods we need to start learning about the differences in whole, fresh food, we know that this healthy foods have the nutrients our body needs to function and we will divide them into macronutrients and micronutrients.

Macronutrients give energy to our body in the form of calories, you may have heard that “calories are calories” or “all calories are equal”, this is completely false, all three groups are different, our body will not respond the same way to protein than to fat and in each group we´ll find healthy and unhealthy options, our body will respond in different ways to this three groups of macronutrients and how healthy they are.

It´s not the same to have a cup of oatmeal than to have some Oreo cookies, for our body it´s completely different, it´s not the same to have some rice and broccoli than to have a donut and ice cream (even when I love both of them). I know this examples look silly but I want to make the point clear, not all calories are created equal. This is comparing healthy vs unhealthy options, if we compare healthy options from different macronutrient groups like avocado with chicken or oatmeal with nuts they are still different and our body uses them in different ways even if they are healthy options. This is the reason why the famous “calories in – calories out” advice doesn´t work.

Each macronutrient has its own purpose, to help our body function properly every day, I´ll be talking about each macronutrient on separate posts to give you all you need to know and keep it simple so that you can take your time to understand it.

The first we´re going to learn are macronutrients, macronutrients are divided in three: proteins, fats and carbohydrates and our body needs them in big quantities. Each group has its own primarily function making all of them a crucial part of our diet.

Micronutrients which our body needs in smaller quantities. This micronutrients are vitamins and minerals and they are essential for optimal health and preventing diseases, they all have an specific function in our body.

The best way to get this nutrients is through food but nowadays we need to consume a lot of highly nutritious food to get the amounts our body needs, the reason why is because the soil is depleted, we don´t get the same amount of nutrients in vegetables that some years ago, this is why many people decide to take supplements like multivitamins and minerals.

If we are deficient in any of them our body won´t work properly and in some cases the negative effects are not that bad; examples of this can be chapped lips,  hair loss but things can get really bad and cause a lot of health issues.

All systems in our body from the digestive system, nervous system, circulatory system, skeletal system, muscular system, etc; they all need vitamins and minerals, some of them may need more vitamins, others more minerals but they all need some amount and all this systems work in conjunction, talking about how our body works can get really complex so we´re going to keep it simple with what we need to know not only to reach your fitness goals but to live a better life.

We´ll find that there are 13 essential vitamins: Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B7, Vitamin B9, Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E and Vitamin K. Their function is primarily focus on energy and supporting all the systems of the body to function properly. Minerals like calcium, potassium, sodium etc; some of their functions are focus on building and maintaining healthy bones, hair, teeth.

They are all needed in different quantities and apart from helping your body function properly they can help prevent diseases and infections by getting some systems strong like the immune system. If you are deficient of some vitamins or minerals your body tells; if we feel tired, weak, we lack concentration, suffer insomnia, feel fatigue that means that we´re deficient in micronutrients.

I´ve said before that weight loss and fitness in general can be complex, the reason why is because we need to know and understand the job of each macronutrient and how our body responds to each, we also need to understand the job of micronutrients and make sure we´re not deficient once we understand this information all fitness goals will be simple.

Knowing the job of each macronutrients is key because we need to manipulate them in certain ways to achieve our fitness goals, if we want to lose fat or gain lean muscle we´ll need to adjust our nutrition and make some slightly changes to support our goal.

For me macronutrients are far more important than calories, I don´t  consider a fitness program that only focuses on calories to be right because there are different ways to achieve the same amount of calories with different macronutrient ratios and each one will give us different results.

You may know by now that I love food, I love to cook and I consider food to be part of the culture and traditions of each country, I love traditional food and local cuisine. My approach to fitness and weight loss is to keep things simple by avoiding unhealthy, highly processed foods and to stick with whole fresh foods. I don´t count calories, I don´t count points, I don´t weight my food to set macro ratios I just have a clear idea of the amount of food and the types of food I´m eating.

When you understand each macronutrient and have an idea of the amount of food your body needs you´ll be able to enjoy food, while being able to maintain a healthy weight focusing on body composition in an enjoyable way.

The importance of macronutrients.

Let us know if you have asked yourself what macros are and how our body uses them by leaving a comment on our Twitter and Facebook account.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam