Getting the right mix of macronutrients is key to keeping your body functioning and thriving. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to determine which foods and supplements are health-friendly. To maintain and support your overall health, it’s important to understand which macronutrients you need, where to find them, and how to incorporate them into your diet.
Fueling Your Body With Carbohydrates
Your body needs carbohydrates to function properly. Carbs fuel your brain, muscles, and other organs. Carbs also help regulate blood sugar levels and are necessary for the digestion of proteins and fats.
Carbohydrates have psychological benefits as well. According to Healthline, eating carbs with high tryptophan foods can support the production of serotonin, which helps regulate your mood. On top of this, carbs can sharpen your concentration, allowing you to stay focused for longer periods of time.
Fruits and vegetables are great sources of simple carbohydrates, as you can quickly digest them and absorb them into your bloodstream. Grains, such as oats, barley, and quinoa, are a great source of complex carbohydrates. They enter your body slowly and provide you with a more sustained energy source.
Fiber is not digestible by the body but instead passes through the digestive system. This type of carbohydrate can help you keep your stomach in good condition. It can also help keep your cholesterol and blood sugar levels in check. You can get fiber from beans, grains, nuts, fruit, and cruciferous vegetables. You can also support your diet with a fiber product.
To make sure you’re eating the right amount of carbohydrates, you should know how to count them. Start by looking at the nutrition labels of the foods you eat. Most labels will list the total number of carbohydrates per serving, as well as the number of sugars, starches, and fibers. You can then add up the carbohydrates from each food group to get your total for the day.
Building Your Body With Protein
Protein is one of the most important macronutrients. Despite being a relatively small component of the human diet, protein plays an integral role in most aspects of health.
Protein can help your body repair damaged muscle fibers and encourage the growth of new tissue. This is especially important if you’re looking to build muscle mass.
Because protein takes time to digest, it can help you keep your cravings in check. It may be easier to stay on a restricted diet if you ensure that you’re getting enough protein.
Protein can come in many different forms, and each type has its own unique benefits. The most common types of protein include animal proteins (such as meat, eggs, and dairy products) and plant proteins (such as beans, nuts, and grains).
Protein supplements are a convenient way to support your protein intake. These supplements usually consist of whey, casein, or plant-based sources. You can take protein supplements before or after a workout. You can also take these supplements before bed to help support protein synthesis.
Supporting Your Body With Fats
Fats, also known as lipids, are a type of macronutrient that is essential for the human body. They’re a major source of energy and are also necessary for many biological processes, including the production of hormones and the absorption of vitamins and minerals.
Saturated fats are solid at room temperature and you can mostly find them in animal products, such as red meat, poultry, and dairy products. Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature and are in many plant-based foods, such as nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils.
Omega-3 fatty acids are an important type of polyunsaturated fat that can provide many health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and cognitive-enhancing effects. Omega-3s are in fatty fish such as salmon, as well as plant sources like flaxseeds and walnuts.
Nutrition isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition. Focus on making small, incremental changes to your diet and lifestyle. Incorporate more nutrient-rich foods into your diet, cut back on processed and refined foods, and make sure you’re getting enough rest. These are just a few of the ways you can start unlocking the power of nutrition.