To remain fit, it is essential to adopt the right diet. The problem with most of the fitness programs and diet plans is that they focus more on counting the calories. But counting your calories isn’t the right way to measure your intake. The perfect diet is one that has all essential macro-nutrients. An ideal diet plan that can help you succeed in your fitness regime is one that counts the macro-nutrients.
So what are Macro-nutrients?
The 5 main nutrients you must be aware of are the proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins. Of these, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates are the macro-nutrients. Vitamins and minerals are the micro-nutrients. The human body needs all of them in different proportions for various purposes.
Macro-nutrients are those that you need in higher quantities. You would need comparatively lower proportions of micro-nutrients but they too play crucial roles.
Understanding the macro-nutrients:
To understand why your body needs macronutrients, it is important to understand the role played by proteins, fats and carbohydrates in your body.
A majority of the human body is composed of proteins. Proteins are critical in the Proteins are made up of a variety of amino acids. Among the variety of amino acids, the body needs, 9 are to be obtained from the diet. These are not synthesized in the human body. Ideally, in your daily food, proteins should constitute 10%-35% of the calories consumed. This is the USDA recommendation.
Milk, legumes, nuts, meat, fish, poultry, cheese, starchy vegetables.
Not all fats are bad. The body needs a healthy amount of good fat. In fact, eating the right amount of good fat can help you lose weight. Around 20% of your calorie intake should consist of fats. To stay healthy, include good amounts of unsaturated fats and essential fatty acids. Only saturated fats and trans-fats are the bad fats to be reduced. These can increase the heart ailments risks in the body.
Unsaturated fats- olive oil, peanut oil, safflower oil, corn oil
Essential fatty acids-tuna, salmon, sardines, ground flaxseed, canola oil, walnuts, sunflower seeds, soybean oil.
Though we discuss this last, this is one of the main macro-nutrients. They are the main sources of energy. Carbohydrates are made of sugars that the body breaks down and releases glucose. This enters the bloodstream and enters the heart, brain and the central nervous system where the glucose is broken down. This breaking down of glucose releases the energy required by the body. Your daily calorie intake should be composed of 45%- 65% of carbohydrates to keep you energetic and healthy.
Whole grains, fruits, beans, vegetables, nuts.
Major reasons why you need macro-nutrients:
- Growth and repair of the tissues
- Proper immunity
- Synthesis of most enzymes and hormones
- Efficient absorption of few micro-nutrients
- Protecting the cell membranes
- Maintaining the body temperature
- They are the sources of energy for the entire body
- They are essential for the normal functioning of the central nervous system.
If you wish to maintain a healthy weight, concentrate on consuming enough amounts of macro-nutrients. Measuring the macro-nutrients instead of the calories is the right way to monitor and alter your diet.