It can confuse even the best of us when you start hearing health professionals say that we need to watch our micronutrients and macronutrients.
What happened to the good old days when people would just say to be mindful of our calorie count and the amount of fat we take in? Here is a simple breakdown of the two terms so next time someone starts talking about either, you can chime in as well.
When you attach the prefix micro to anything, it usually means something rather small. Micronutrients are no different. We all know nutrients are important to the body. So when someone brings up the term micronutrients, it means nutrients that you only need in small amounts.
Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals that are essential to help your body thrive. They are important for producing energy, helping with your immune system, allows blood to clot, has a role in a person’s growth, bone support, and many other vital functions that every person needs. As our bodies don’t need these vitamins and minerals in huge amounts, they are called micronutrients and usually are measured by the milligram.
A prefix heard of less often than micro, macro means large or long. When you hear the term macronutrients, it means that you need a lot of them. The three macronutrients that your body needs daily are proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.
Carbohydrates are used for a consistent energy source and consist of mainly sugars and starches. Protein is called the building block of the body and, on average, 20 to 35 percent of your diet should come from some sort of protein. And even though fats often get a bad rap, there are good fats and bad fats to be aware of. In fact, fats are responsible for hormone functions, healthy skin and hair, and insulates the nerves from damage.
Count Macronutrients Instead of Calories
The problem when counting calories is that 300 calories of candy is the same as 300 calories of high protein meat even though we know the meat is much better for us. This is just one reason why more and more people are counting macronutrients instead of calories. A general formula for a healthy distribution of macronutrients is that about 45 percent of your calories come from carbs, 20 percent comes from fats, and 35 percent comes from protein.
Don’t Forget to Stay Hydrated with the Right Drinks
Sugary drinks contain a whole lot of calories and carbs. You want to avoid them the best you can as they really have no nutritional value. If you are really interested in holding yourself to counting macronutrients, water and milk (chocolate or white) are great options. In fact, Pure Maple Water is loaded with amino acids, electrolytes, a couple of micronutrients, prebiotics, and antioxidants. Milk has all three macronutrients (protein, carbs, and fats). Stay hydrated and commit to a lifestyle where you are always aware of your macronutrient count.
Take our Purity Test to see how your favorite post-workout hydration choice matches up to others.