Sunday, January 14, 2018

Health and Wellness: Nutrients

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Blog 8.0 Macronutrients and Micronutrients:

In some ways, this could have been our first blog, but it wasn’t. So, to give this topic the importance it deserves, we are starting the New Year with this topic. Let’s first begin with definitions. Nutrient: Substance needed by an organism(any living entity) to stay alive and grow. Macronutrient: Substance needed in large quantities by an organism to survive and flourish. http://www.innerbody.com/nutrition/macronutrients.  Micronutrient: Substance our body needs in tiny amounts but these are no less important for survival and optimal health. http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/micronutrients/en/


Micronutrients can be broadly divided into 3 main categories. Vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. On the previous blog we discussed the amazing health benefits of phytonutrients. On a future blog we will discuss the importance of vitamins and minerals in our diet.


3 Macronutrients essential for our survival and growth that most everyone is aware of are Carbohydrates, Protein, and Fats. Though often forgotten, because it contains no calories, water is the most essential macronutrient needed for our survival. The other 3 macronutrients provide the energy and other essential compounds our bodies need for growth and survival.

Carbohydrates, an essential macronutrient, can be subdivided in 3 categories, sugars, starches, and fiber. This is the primary fuel for our body. Although our body can derive energy from fats and protein, its preferred macronutrient for energy production is carbohydrates or carbs for short. Each gram of carb contains 4 calories. So, are carbs good for you or bad for you? Stay tuned and we’ll explore this topic in more detail in the next post.  https://www.livescience.com/51976-carbohydrates.html


Protein is also an essential macronutrient. It is the scaffolding for all our tissues. The enzymes and hormones that orchestrate the variety of biochemical reactions that keep us alive and well are all made of protein. The building blocks of protein are amino acids. Each gram of protein provides the body with 4 calories. Are all proteins the same, or are some healthier than others. We will look at this macronutrient in detail in the post following our discussion on carbohydrates. https://www.nap.edu/read/10490/chapter/1

Fat, like protein and carbohydrates is an essential macronutrient. They are typically divided in 3 components, fatty acids, triglycerides, and cholesterol. When blood glucose is low in our body, fatty acids serve as fuel for our bodies. In addition, they are important for vital cellular functions and absorption of fat soluble vitamins. But, similar to carbohydrates and proteins, there are good fats and bad fats. We will finish up this mini-series on macronutrients with Fat. https://www.livescience.com/9109-fats-body.html

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