Macronutrients often referred to as macros, provide your body with energy in the form of calories. As the body’s main source of nutrients, macros supply the nourishment you need to stay healthy. Along with providing energy, macros serve many other vital functions, such as supporting brain development and performance, controlling inflammation, and helping blood clot. The three macronutrients your body needs to function and maintain good health are protein, fat, and carbohydrates. For optimal well-being, your diet should contain a healthy balance of all three.
While muscles require protein to grow, strength training regularly and eating a healthy blend of all three macronutrients is the best way to gain muscle. Many experts recommend a diet containing about 40 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent fat, and 30 percent protein for optimal muscle growth and development.
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3 Macronutrients That Need to Be on Your Radar
Protein provides the structure for all the cells in your body, making it a building block for your skin, bones, teeth, and blood. This vital macronutrient also helps your body produce the hormones and enzymes needed to maintain health while supporting the immune system. While protein isn’t a primary source of energy, protein can supply itself to the body in the absence of carbohydrates.
Good sources of protein include:
- Peanut Butter
Protein contains amino acids, the building blocks of your muscles. Consuming an adequate amount of protein and tracking your macros in conjunction with regular strength training can help you gain muscle strength.
The primary job of carbohydrates is to provide energy. Carbohydrates supply the body with glucose, which serves as fuel for most cells and is the favored energy source of your red blood cells, brain, and nervous system.
Good sources of carbohydrates include:
- Brown rice
- Whole-wheat bread
- Sweet potatoes
Fueling your body with a stream of healthy carbohydrates throughout the day will keep your energy levels up, increase your alertness, and keep your blood sugar in check.
Fat comes in solid forms, such as butter and milk fat, and liquid forms, such as plant and vegetable oils. Fat in the body stores energy protects vital organs and supplies the essential fatty acids needed for survival. Essential fatty acids can be obtained only through diet, and they help with brain functioning, inflammation control, and immune system health.
Some sources of healthy fats include:
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Ghee (clarified butter)
- Coconut oil
When you eat healthy fats in combination with other nutrients, the fat helps dissolve and transport those nutrients throughout the body, making nutrient absorption easier. For example, the healthy fats found in olive oil will help you absorb the valuable nutrients found in vegetables, so you can use olive oil as a dressing on your next salad.
Macronutrients are vital to your overall health and well-being. They supply the body with energy, boost cognitive performance, and keep your immune system functioning. If you want to feel alert and energetic throughout the day, eat a healthy balance of fat, protein, and carbohydrates at each meal.