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Macronutrients are nutritional components that are required by the body in large amounts and also provide calories (or energy) [1]. Every food we eat contains a combination of 3 macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Each macronutrient is important and has a specific job to perform in the body.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are converted into the body’s main energy source, glucose, and form part of the structural makeup of DNA and cell walls.

When some people think of carbohydrates, they may conjure up an image of a muffin or loaf of bread, but that’s not the whole story. Unrefined carbs can be found in whole forms of vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes and are more nourishing for your body because they contain vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Refined carbs like white bread, soft drinks, fruit juice, and high fructose corn syrup are processed from their whole food form (e.g., starch from grain, sugar from beets, juice from fruit, etc.) and their fiber, vitamins, and minerals are removed.

Protein

Protein helps to make up the body’s structures like muscles, ligaments, tendons, hair, and nails and also assists in the actions of growth, repair, and maintenance in our bodies.

The building blocks of protein are called amino acids. The body can make most of the 23 amino acids that it needs, except for 9 amino acids which are called essential, meaning that because our bodies can’t make them, we have to get them from our food.

High-quality sources of animal protein can be found in free-range eggs, sustainably sourced fish, pasture-raised poultry, and grass-fed beef. Plant-based sources include organic beans, nuts, seeds, and some algae, like chlorella and spirulina.

Fats

Busting the low-fat myth! Adequate quantities of high-quality fats are essential for vibrant health. Fat acts as building blocks for our cell membranes and insulates and protects our organs. It is also a concentrated source of energy and assists with the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.

Consuming high-quality fat is key. Don’t you want the best of the best to protect your cells?! Some of our favorite sources of healthy fats are avocados, cold water fish (e.g., salmon, sardines), nuts, seeds, coconut oil, eggs, and cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil!

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