For many people understanding nutritional basics seems complicated. This is largely due to all the misinformation that is available online, in magazines, and on the television. But once a person understands the basics of nutrition 101 they will see that making choices each day and eating right is not so difficult.
To plan daily meals it’s necessary to understand macro-nutrients. There are four essential macronutrients that everyone needs to consume daily. Consuming these in the right amounts will play a key role in a person’s health.
1. Carbohydrates, also known as carbs, is what the body prefers for its source of fuel. This micronutrient breaks down into a type of sugar called glucose. When the body is functioning properly and this surge of glucose enters the bloodstream the body will send out a hormone called insulin. This insulin will then take the glucose and help it to enter the body’s cells. Once the glucose is in the cells of the body those cells can then burn the glucose as fuel.
The problem for most people in the modern age is that most of the carbs they consume are highly processed. Those processed carbs break down very quickly and overwhelm the body with too much glucose at one time. For this reason, the insulin is not able to get enough of the glucose into the body’s cells quickly enough. So, to protect itself, the body takes the glucose and stores it as fat.
The solution to this problem is to eat unprocessed complex carbohydrates. These type of carbs have fiber which slows down the process of glucose conversions. Because of this, the body is not overwhelmed with too much glucose all at once. For this reason, the glucose that is broken down is able to be effectively delivered to the body’s cells by the hormone called insulin.
2. Protein helps the body to maintain healthy skin, it helps maintain the blood, and it helps to build muscles. This macronutrient also helps strengthen the immune system and to increase the body’s metabolism. An average adult should consume about 20% of their daily calories in protein.
3. Fat is a necessary part of a person’s daily diet. Many people have the understanding that they should avoid fat but the healthy types are necessary. Olive oil and avocado are a couple of examples of healthy fat. Eating this does not make a person fat but actually helps in turning off the body’s mechanism to store food as fat. Those that learn to understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy fat and that consume the needed 30% of their calories with the healthy fat will find that they crave sugar less and that they lose weight.
4. Fiber is another of the necessary micronutrients needed daily. Fiber helps slow down the process of foods being broken down into glucose which helps the body to use the food as energy rather than storing it as fat. Consuming more fiber helps a person to feel full, it lowers blood pressure, and it decreases the risk of diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
Following the guidelines of basic nutrition 101, everyone should eat 50% complex carbs, 20% protein, and 30% healthy fats. They should get 30 to 35 grams of daily fiber as well. These are the basics everyone should be following for a healthy diet.