Nourishing your Body Part 1: Macronutrients

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We all care about our health, at least to a certain extent. After all, living a healthy life will help ensure our ability to live a long one. Many of us fall short, not because we don’t have the heart. We simply don’t have the facts necessary to make the best decisions. In order to have a healthy relationship with food, we need to begin by understanding how what we eat affects our bodies.

Nutritionists categorize basic nourishment into two categories: macronutrients and micronutrients. Our bodies rely most heavily on macronutrients for survival. We need these essential nutrients for activity, maintaining our basic functioning, and growth. Macronutrients include proteins, carbohydrates and fats, all of which help give us energy.

Carbohydrates consist of grains such as wheat and rice and starchy vegetable and fruits. Despite popular belief, carbs give us more energy than any other food, and are very good for our bodies. When choosing your starch at each meal, consider multi-grains and whole wheat. Carbs get such a bad name because we usually eat simple carbs packed with lots of sugar. Also, just like fuel, our bodies need more carbohydrates the more we exercise.

Proteins help to regulate, build and maintain our tissues, muscles and organs. Protein also aids in the production of hemoglobin, the part of our red blood cells that send oxygen to all areas of our body. Foods rich in proteins include poultry, beef, fish, eggs and legumes such as lentils and black beans. After strength-training exercise such as lifting weights, it’s a good idea to eat a protein-rich meal to help your muscles rejuvinate.

Fats may have a bad stereotype, but they help your body in many ways. Fats nourish the brain and aid in its development. They also work to control inflammation and promote blood clotting when we have an injury. Fats allow our bodies to better absorb vitamins. They also keep our hair and skin healthy. Good fats include fish, olive oil, nuts and coconut milk. Although fat-rich foods are good for us, we need to keep our consumption limited. You should especially go easy on processed fats like fried foods and heavy cheeses. These can clog your arteries and increase bad cholesterol.  If you balance your diet around all these foods and eat in moderation, your body will be a happy one!

 

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