Macronutrients 101

Macronutrients

The three macronutrients all have their own specific roles and functions in the body and supply us with calories or energy. For this reason, the body requires these nutrients in relatively large amounts to grow, develop, repair and feel good! We have three macronutrients (or macros) to track: carbs, fats, & protein.

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So depending on what type of body you have naturally, where you’re at right now in your fitness journey, and where you’d like to be will all affect your macros. Everyone is different and while some struggle to put on muscle mass others struggle losing fat. Be mindful of your body and how it enjoys being fueled (do you feel better after a healthy meal vs an unhealthy one?). Your body will tell you what it needs, you must learn to speak its language though if you want to listen.

Fats

Don’t be scared of fats! Fats are an essential part of a healthy diet and should account for about 15-20% what you consume. They help by improving brain development, overall cell functioning, protecting the body’s organs and even helping you absorb vitamins found in foods.

Some examples of healthy fats:    Almonds, walnuts, seeds (pumpkin, chia), olives, avocados.

Protein

Protein is essential for repairing and regenerating body tissues and cells, a healthy functioning immune system and manufacturing hormones. This wouldn’t be possible without amino acids, which are found in protein-based foods. In total there are 20 types of amino acids,  9 of which are ‘essential’ and can only be found in certain foods.

Good sources of protein: Beans, pulses and legumes, seeds (hemp, chia, flax), nuts (unsalted), quinoa, avocado, beets, raw greens (kale, spinach).

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are comprised of small chains of sugar which the digestive body breaks down into glucose to use as the body’s primarily energy source and therefore need to make up around 45-65% of a diet. 

Carbohydrates to choose: Apples, bananas, cauliflower, carrots, oats, brown rice, millet, quinoa, chickpeas, kidney beans.

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Marianne Sheehan