Consuming a diet that consists of high-fat, high-sugar, high-salt, energy-dense and micronutrient-poor foods leaves many of us overweight and undernourished.
Processed foods tend to have more macronutrients than natural foods at the expense of micronutrients.
So, what is the difference between these two nutrient classifications and why should you care?
“Macro” indicates large and macronutrients are nutrients required in large amounts. They are the structural and energy providing caloric components of our foods that most of us are familiar with such as carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Each gram of fat offers 9 calories (units of energy), while each gram of carbohydrate and protein offers 4 calories. Depending on your age, sex and physical activity level there is recommended ‘daily caloric intake’ and also micronutrient RDA for maintaining a healthy energy balance.
“Micro” indicates small and micronutrients are nutrients required in small amounts. They are the vitamins, minerals, trace elements, phytochemicals, and antioxidants that are essential for various functions of the body such as growth and development and disease prevention. There are also basic recommendations set for daily intake of vitamins and minerals. While consuming a sufficient and balanced amount of macronutrients is essential to our survival, it is equally important to take into account our micronutrient balance if we wish to live a long and healthy life.
Nourish your body with these micronutrient rich food sources !
Vitamin A - milk, egg yolk, fish, liver, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables
Vitamin B6 - poultry, seafood, sockeye salmon, liver, bananas, green leafy vegetables
Vitamin B12- sardines, mackerel , lamb, beef liver, nutritional yeast, eggs
Vitamin C - citrus, kiwi, strawberry, cabbage/brussel sprout, spinach, green peppers
Vitamin D - sunshine, salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, egg yolk, raw milk
Vitamin E - olive oil, almonds, avocado, sunflower seeds, spinach, sweet potato
Vitamin K - kale, scallions, cabbage/brussel sprout, prunes, cucumbers, basil, broccoli
Iron - liver, oysters, green leafy vegetables, spirulina, legumes, lentils, pumpkin seeds
Calcium - yogurt or kefir, almonds, tahini, dark green leafy vegetables, sardines
Magnesium - nuts, seeds, bananas, green leafy vegetables, dark chocolate, figs
Zinc - lamb, fish, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, cashews, cocoa powder, chickpeas
Selenium - brazil nuts, yellowfin tuna, sardines, halibut, beef, turkey
Iodine - Sea vegetables, wild caught cod, yogurt, raw milk, eggs
Potassium - avocado, acorn squash, spinach, sweet potato, wild salmon, apricot, pomegranate
And, choose healthy whole foods in order to meet your daily macronutrient needs !
Carbohydrates - Whole grains (oats, brown rice, barley, buckwheat, millet), root vegetables
Protein - Fish, chicken, lean meat, eggs, legumes, nuts, seeds, dairy products, tofu
Unsaturated fats - Nuts, seeds, fish, olive oil, avocado, coconut oil, ghee
I urge you to get creative and take the time to be involved in your food preparation. Try to avoid those ‘quick and easy’ processed foods which are filled with the empty calories that confuse your metabolism and cause you to pack on the pounds while leaving you starving! I promise that you will notice a major difference in the way you feel if you eat food mindfully and also specifically for the nutritional value it offers.
Remember it is the combination and balancing of both the quantity and quality of macronutrients and micronutrient that will provide us with enough energy and nutrients to support vibrant physical and mental health !