Macronutrients (Macros) – What are they and why do we need them?

Ever since starting my fitness journey, I have become increasingly interested in nutrition and how I can best achieve an active, healthy and balanced lifestyle. Therefore, I have started reading up on these subjects to learn as much as I can. And the best bit? I’ll be sharing everything I learn with you guys right here on Bea Sweats!

‘Macronutrients’ is a term which simply refers to the nutrients our bodies need in large amounts. A good way to remember this is knowing that ‘Macro’ means ‘Large’. They’re SUPER important and go by the names Carbohydrate, Protein, Fat and Fibre.

Macronutrients play such an important role in the overall functions of our body, so it’s key🔑 to ensure we get enough of each. Many diets I see promote us to follow ‘Low Carb’ or ‘Fat-Free’ regimes in the hopes of quick weight loss however in my view, these are NOT sustainable nor a good thing to do, as restricting your intake of Macronutrients can leave us feeling fatigued and potentially ill.

So, let’s learn a little more about our Macros…

 

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CARBS 🍞

Carbohydrates are essential for our bodies as they contain Glucose, and this is the most essential nutrient. It’s our brain and muscles’ preferred source of energy and therefore if we’re not eating enough carbohydrates, we may not be able to think properly or workout at full strength.

Example sources of Carbohydrate: (Grain-based foods) Bread, Oats, Muesli, Rice, Quinoa

Top Tip! Try to opt for wholemeal or wholegrain versions. They are broken down slower in the body and provide us with long-lasting energy.

 

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PROTEIN 🐟

Protein helps us grow, maintain and repair our body’s cells. It also provides the foundations for our muscles, antibodies, hormones and enzymes. Proteins are made up of smaller units called Amino Acids and whilst our bodies actually produce most of these, there are a small number of amino acids which we can only obtain from our diet. We get these ‘essential’ amino acids from our protein intake.

Example sources of Protein: Red meat, Eggs, Fish, Milk, Poultry

Did you know? Protein actually helps us feel full after meals! It generally leaves us feeling more satisfied than both fats and carbohydrates, and so can help reduce hunger and snacking.

 

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FIBRE 🍎

Fibre is the part of plant food which we can’t digest or absorb in the small intestine. This is where most of our digestive processes happen, and so, it forces us to break it down in the large intestine instead. Fibre is super useful for it’s ‘cleansing effect’. It helps to push food through our digestive system and prevents our gut wall from being exposed to harmful substances sometimes contained in other foods. This can reduce our risk of diseases such as Colon Cancer.

Example sources of Fibre: Apples, Avocado, Nuts, Seeds, Broccoli

Did you know? Fibre promotes the growth of ‘Good Bacteria’ within our own digestive system and helps to regulate the release of Insulin after we have eaten!

 

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FATS 🧀

Sadly, fats have a bad reputation, but it’s important to realise that ‘Good Fats’ are essential for our bodies functions. They help to cushion our organs, structure our cells, promote growth and development, and allow us to absorb essential vitamins. In particular, Vitamins A, D, E and K. ‘Good Fats’ are also known as ‘Monosaturated’ and ‘Polysaturated’ Fats. They help our brain and joints to stay healthy and also lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. It’s VITAL to include Good Fats in our diet, it’s just the ‘Trans Fats’ you need to look out for… Trans Fats DO NOT naturally occur in many foods but can be produced when processing – They increase bad cholesterol levels and reduce good cholesterol levels, which can elevate the risk of heart attack. But don’t worry! If you focus on maintaining a diet which is full of wholefoods rather than foods which are highly processed, you can more or less avoid Trans Fats altogether! 🙏

Example sources of Good Fats: Nuts, Fish, Whole Eggs, Cheese, Avocado

IMPORTANT! Saturated Fats can also be found in Meat and Dairy, so try to be mindful of choosing lean cuts of meat and reduced-fat dairy products to limit your Saturated Fat intake.

I hope this helps! 😘

-Bea xx

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