Blondes Guide: Understanding your Macro's and Micro's

The basics on Macro's for beginners:

There are 3 different macro-nutrients: Protein, Fats and Carbohydrates. Macro-nutrients are responsible for providing the body with calories, or energy. The body requires large amounts of macro-nutrients to sustain life – hence the term “Macro” 

1g Protein = 4 calories. Protein is the building block of muscle, made up of essential and non-essential amino acids that are directly linked to muscle cell development. Non-essential amino acids are made naturally by humans, so they are not essential to the human diet. Essential Amino acids cannot be made by the body therefore must come from food. The 9 essential Amino acids are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine. 
In order to repair, maintain or grow muscle, you are required to maintain a balance of protein at all times. Remember - the more muscle you have, the quicker your body metabolizes all of the macro's you put into it, so you really need to preserve those lovely muscles! 

1g Carbohydrate = 4 calories. Carbohydrates provide you with most of the energy your body and brain need as they make up 40/50% of your daily calorific intake. Carbohydrates are broken down by the body into glucose which is then stored for when your body needs it. When looking to use energy sources your body will automatically use the glucose energy stores first before turning to proteins and fat.

This is where low carbohydrate diets come from – the idea is to manipulate where the body pull’s energy from; with lack of glucose stores you force the body to use proteins and fats.

However - it's my personal opinion that by maintaining a proper balance of carbs, your body will be much more efficient at burning fat and is less likely to breakdown muscle tissue for energy.

1g Fat = 9 calories. There has been a huge misconception that ‘fat is bad for you’ when in fact, fats are essential for maintaining healthy skin, nails, insulation to keep the body temperature and cushioning to protect the body organs.

Fitness wise, Fats promote growth and development as well as maintaining cell membranes and helping your body to absorb important essential vitamins and minerals. Fat is also a secondary source of energy.

Understanding your Micro's:
Although only needed in much smaller amounts (hence the term micro) micro-nutrients are essential for the full functioning of every energy and organ system in the body making them vital for good overall health. There are two classes of micro-nutrients, Vitamins + Minerals and each vitamin and mineral has its own specific role in the body.
Because our bodies don’t naturally create micro nutrients they must be supplied through a varied nutrient dense diet. I could write an entire book on the different kinds of vitamins and what they do for you but to give a quick overall on some of the most important:
  • Vitamin A – Supports healthy eyesight and gums – Sources: Milk, cheese, egg yolks, citrus fruits, and vegetables.
  • Vitamin C – Healthy immune system – sources: Citrus fruits, broccoli, strawberries, cabbage, parsley.
  • Vitamin E – antioxidants that help to fight free radical damage in the body – Sources: Olives, olive oil, avocado, wholegrains.
  • Vitamin D – strong bones and immune system – Sources: Citrus fruits, broccoli, berries, cabbage and spring greens.
  • B Vitamins – energy production, nervous system and digestion aid – Sources: Legumes, wholegrains, nuts, seeds, leafy green vegetables.
  • Iron – red blood cell production – Sources: Lean meat, leafy green vegetables, broccoli, legumes.
  • Calcium – strong healthy bones and teeth – Sources: Dairy products, almonds, tahini, green leafy vegetables.
  • Magnesium – Healthy nervous system – Sources: Nuts, seeds, wholegrains, green leafy vegetables.
  • Zinc – healthy skin, reproductive + immune function: Sources – Lean meat such as chicken, fish, sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
  • Selenium – antioxidant that protects the body from chronic diseases and premature aging – Sources: Brazil nuts, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, oats.

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