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What are Micro/Macro nutrients? If fitness is a big part of your life then you've no doubt heard the words, but what do they mean? Why do they matter? The answers are actually more simple than you may think.  


Macronutrients are the structural and energy-giving caloric components of our foods. They include carbohydrates, fats and proteins - all of which our bodies need in large quantities to maintain energy levels. Macronutrients are especially key when you participate in vigorous exercise and/or are trying to gain weight. Don't let the words "carbohydrates" and "fats" throw you off. The quality of nutrients you ingest is important to consider. A donut is loaded with carbohydrates and fats, but generally in far more amounts than you'd expect, and with virtually zero nutritional value.  The point being, you won't gain healthy weight via baked goods. Choosing healthy carbohydrates, like brown rice or whole-grain bread, will help your body deal with the energy in a more stable way (i.e. less of a blood sugar spike & drop) and the added fiber will help you feel full longer. You might also try reaching for a spoonful of peanut or almond butter, which are rich in good fats, protein, and carbohydrates. With that said, the question still remains, "What is the right balance of macronutrients?" The answer? It depends.  Factors such as body type, fitness goals, and gender all play a role.  Check out this guide for help in determining the proper percentages.


Micronutrients are the vitamins, minerals, trace elements, phytochemicals, and antioxidants found in natural food sources. They are essential to one's overall health and are most commonly found in fruits and vegetables. Micronutrients will not help you bulk up or gain weight, but rather help maintain your body's total health. Multivitamins can help supplement your daily meals, but are no replacement for healthy eating.  Planning a variety of fresh fruits in vegetables into your diet will not only provide most - if not all - needed micronutrients, but will also help you feel full and stay within your calorie limits. As with whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables come packed with fiber, helping you keep your eating in check and tiding you over between meals.  Have you ever binged on carrots or spinach?  Even if you have, you probably only consumed about 100 calories and got a solid dose of over 20 nutrients.   There you have it - the basics of micro- and macro-nutrients. Did you learn anything? What did we miss? Tell us in the comments below.
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