Nick’s Nutrition Series, Part 5, Macros
You are what you eat. Right? Quite literally, yes, your body is only as amazing as the material it has to work with. We’ve learned the quality of food you put into your body has a huge impact on your health and well being. A chicken breast is not just a chicken breast nor is a potato just a potato. Your body is able to break those foods down in to their chemical parts, like macronutrients and micronutrients.
What are micros though? Micronutrients include vitamins, minerals, trace elements, phytochemicals, and antioxidants that are essential for good health. Processed foods tend to have more macronutrients than natural foods at the expense of micronutrients. This is because processing food strips the foods of many of the vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals and gives the food a longer shelf life. So cereal grains, breads, candy and sweets, dairy products, much of fast foods and other processed foods give you tons of calories without much micronutrient content – and that type of eating is responsible for many of the lifestyle diseases that can be extremely harmful.
It is important to keep in mind that there is a difference in the quality of those foods as well. Earlier it was stated that a potato is not just a potato and a chicken breast is not just a chicken breast. Depending on where your food was grown, or how your meat was raised, the quality of its macro and micro nutrients can be incredibly different. Focusing on local foods ensures that you will get the most bang for your buck in terms of fruits and veggies loaded with micronutrients. Focusing on eating healthfully-raised animals like grass fed cows and free range chickens will ensure that the meat you feed your family was ethically raised. It will have fewer antibiotics and hormones, it is better for the planet, and it ensures that you and your family are building your bodies with the best possible components.
If you are interested in thriving and not simply surviving, the types and amounts of these nutrients are critical. So when aiming at your desired levels of macro and micro nutrients, keep in mind some of the basic tenets of a good diet. Eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, lean fatty meats, and nuts and grains – these contain a ton of vitamins and minerals like Vitamin A (carrots, spinach, milk, eggs), Folic Acid (asparagus, dark leafy greens), Iodine (seaweed, fish), Iron (lentils, red meats, leafy vegetable), and Zinc (eggs, seafood), just to name a few.
by Nick Redmond