What Are Macronutrients and Why Are They Important?
The human body requires a variety of nutrients in order to function at optimal levels. The three main nutrients, also called macronutrients, are carbohydrates, fat and protein. Macronutrients help us grow, develop, repair, give us energy, and make us feel good. They each have their own roles and functions in the body.
Carbs are made up of chains of starch and sugar that the body breaks down into glucose. Glucose is the body’s main source of energy. It’s important to note that not all carbs are created equal though. Complex carbohydrates take longer to digest so are a more stable source of energy compared to simple carbohydrates that cause a spike in blood sugars followed by an inevitable drop.
Good sources of carbohydrates include:
- Starchy vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, peas)
- Whole grains (whole wheat bread, brown and wild rice, oats, whole wheat pasta)
Proteins provide amino acids, which are the building blocks of cells and muscles but also are a core component of organs, bones, hair, enzymes and all tissue. In addition to this they also help support a healthy immune system.
Good sources of protein:
- Fish and seafood
- Poultry (chicken and turkey)
- Lean meat (pork, beef, lamb)
- Dairy (cheese, yogurt)
- Tofu and soy products
Fats are needed for brain development, making hormones and aiding in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E, K). They have the highest calorie per gram, meaning they require more energy to burn, but at the same time, are helpful for increasing feelings of satiety (they keep you feeling fuller, longer).
Good sources of fat:
- Olive oil