If you reflect on your last meal, do you think you consumed the right amounts of each macro-nutrient?

What exactly is a ‘macro-nutrient’?

Put simply, it is a type of food required in large amounts in the diet. When we look at ‘macros’ we need to consider protein, carbohydrates and fats. Each component is equally important, for different reasons.

Why is protein so important?

When we consume protein, the body breaks it down into amino-acids. These are our building blocks for recovery, growth and function at a cellular level.

Protein is essential for building bone, muscles, cartilage, skin, hair and nails. It is also essential for repairing tissue within the body.

Protein is also essential for hormone regulation, digestive enzyme function and chemical reactions within the gut.

Without protein, we would struggle to recover from exercise, build muscle, maintain a healthy weight and curb hunger.

Next time you plate up your meal, remember the protein!

Why are carbohydrates so important?

Carbohydrates are found in many different sources. Sugars, starches, fruits, grains, vegetables, fibres and milk products all contain different amounts of carbohydrates. Carbs tend to have a bad reputation, but they are an essential part of the human diet.

Carbohydrates provide readily available fuel for our musculoskeletal and nervous system to function properly. Our body finds it easiest to use carbohydrates for energy, compared to protein and fats.

Carbohydrates are an important part of our diet and should be included in our meals in appropriate amounts to help with energy production, neural function, brain function, mood and memory.

People tend to think that ‘carbs are bad for you’, but that is far from the truth. Complex carbohydrates provide the body with essential fibres, fruits and vegetables. Without this, we would fail to consume our minerals and vitamins.

If you are trying to be cautious of carbohydrate intake, avoid the ‘simple sugars’ and opt for the high fibre, whole food options.

Why are fats so important?

Fats are equally as important as protein and carbohydrates. There are different types of dietary fats including saturated, mono-saturated, trans and poly-unsaturated.

Mono-saturated fats are essential in the diet to help protect the heart and support hormone function. They also assist in lowering cholesterol levels. Some examples of mono-saturated fats include avocado, macadamia nuts, olives and olive oil.

Poly-unsaturated fats can be broken into Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats. Omega-3 fats help to reduce inflammation and support hormone function. Omega-3 fats are essential within the diet.

Omega-6 fats assist in supporting brain health and muscle function however it also promotes inflammation, which can lead to long term chronic health problems. It is recommended that we consume higher levels of Omega-3 fats, and less of Omega-6 fats.

Trans-fats should be avoided due to the long term negative health consequences it can create. Trans-fats can also be listed as hydrogenated oils.

Healthy fats are essential in the diet for many reasons. Fats are essential in hormone production, maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, maintaining nervous system function, energy production and cellular regeneration and function.

Some examples of healthy fats include: avocado, salmon, olive oil, fatty fish, chia seed, macadamia nuts, whole eggs, coconut oil, full fat yogurt.

Next time you dish up your meal, consider whether you have a healthy amount of protein, fats and carbohydrates.

How much of each macro-nutrient should you consume? This differs from person to person, so it is important you discuss this with your nutrition expert so you get the right information that is specific to you.

At Bloom Allied Health we use a hand portion system which allows each client to measure their macro’s individually. This system allows for macro measurements without the need for kitchen scales or food diaries, sustainable and consistent!

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