These essential nutrients can be broken into two categories: macronutrients and micronutrients.
Macronutrients are eaten in large amounts and are the cornerstone of your diet, they are, protein, carbohydrates, and fat, all of which provide your body with energy. (Hardly any food contains only 1 nutrient, most are a combination of carbohydrates, fats and proteins)
Micronutrients are made up of vitamins and minerals.
So, what are Carbohydrates and are they good or bad? Carbs fuel our bodies, are essential for good health. But before you reach for the white bread or pasta, keep in mind that the type of carbohydrate you eat matters. Some carbs are healthier than others. The 3 different carbohydrates found in food are sugar, starch and fibre.
To try to understand Carbohydrates better, think of them as either “whole" or "refined" Whole carbs are unprocessed and contain the fibre found naturally in the food, while refined carbs have been processed and had the natural fibre stripped out.
Examples of whole carbs include vegetables, whole fruit, legumes, potatoes and whole grains. These foods are generally healthy.
On the other hand, refined carbs include sugar-sweetened beverages, fruit juices, pastries, white bread, white pasta, white rice and others
- Try to eat a variety of vegetables every day.
- Whole fruits: Apples, bananas, strawberries, etc.
- Legumes: Lentils, kidney beans, peas, etc.
- Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, etc.
- Seeds: Chia seeds, pumpkin seeds.
- Whole grains: oats, quinoa, brown rice, etc.
Protein is not just for bodybuilders! Every cell in the human body from bone, muscle, skin and hair contains protein. In the body, it is used primarily for growth, health, and body maintenance.
Proteins are made of up different amino acids and whilst the body can create these on its own, there are many essential amino acids that can only come from food. Your body need a variety of amino acids to function properly.
Quinoa, fish, chicken eggs, almonds turkey, tuna, oats Lentils are among the world's best sources of plant-based protein and are an excellent food for vegetarians and vegans.
Fats often get a bad rap, but recent research has shown that healthy fats are an important part of a healthy diet. It might high in calories, but those calories are an important energy source for your body. According to Harvard Medical School, fat supports many of your body’s functions such as vitamin and mineral absorption, blood clotting, building cells, and muscle movement.
The most famous unsaturated fats are omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Unsaturated fats are important for your body as they provide essential fatty acids your body can’t make.
You can find these healthy fats in nuts, seeds, fish, and vegetable oils (like olive, avocado)
Salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines and herring.
These fish are loaded with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, high quality proteins and all sorts of important nutrients.
Try to limit your intake of saturated animal-based fats like butter, cheese, red meat, and ice cream.
Vitamins are essential for healthy vision, skin, and bones as being vital for warding off disease and staying healthy. There are 13 essential vitamins that the body needs to function properly, including vitamins A, C, B6, and D. As each vitamin plays an important role in the body, not getting enough of them can cause health problems and disease.
You should aim to eat a varied, well-balanced diet full of vegetables and fruits to ensure a good intake of vitamins and minerals -
Minerals are essential for many body functions, including building strong bones and teeth, regulating your metabolism, and staying properly hydrated. You will be familiar with calcium, iron, and zinc and the great news is that many common foods contain multiple mineral and vitamin sources, so it is easy to meet your daily needs from everyday meals.
So, what are you going to have for dinner tonight?
We are not advocating that you ditch processed food and switch to a plant-based diet, just become more conscious of the choices you make! Try to eat foods that are close to their natural form as these will be more nutrient dense. Try to think ahead before going to the supermarket, at the end of a long working day you will be tired and that is when decision making can be poor! Create a menu plan for the week and make a shopping list, don’t be tempted by the ‘special offers.’ Focus on the outer edges of the supermarket as this is where the fresh food hides, but remember, “Everything in moderation, including moderation.” Oscar Wilde *Source, Euromonitor