Micronutrients vs. Macronutrients: The Secret to Understanding Food Breakdown

by admin

Grandma was right:  you are what you eat.  Literally.  Your body has the amazing ability to take the foods you eat and turn them into you.  How incredible is that?  Whether you eat an apple, a steak or a kale salad, your amazing body is able to break that food down into its chemical parts and reassemble those parts into your cells and the energy you use all day.  That is miraculous.  Outside the plant and animal kingdom, there is nothing else that can do that!

Here is the catch:  your body is only as amazing as the material it has to work with.  The quality of the food you put into your amazing body has a huge impact on your health.  An apple is not just an apple, nor is a steak just a steak.  As stated above, your body is able to break those foods down into their chemical parts, like macronutrients and micronutrients.

Macronutrients are the structural and energy-giving caloric components of our foods that most of us are familiar with.  They include carbohydrates, fats and proteins.

Micronutrients are the vitamins, minerals, trace elements, phytochemicals, and antioxidants that are essential for good health.

The quantity and quality of these nutrients vary greatly, depending on not only what types of food you eat, but also the quality of those foods.  Processed foods tend to have more macronutrients than natural foods at the expense of micronutrients.  This is because processing food strips the foods of many of the vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals and gives the food a longer shelf life.  So cereal grains, breads, candy and sweets, dairy products, much of fast foods and other processed foods give you tons of calories without much micronutrient content – and that type of eating is responsible for many of the lifestyle diseases that are killing 75% of Americans.  At Bonfire Health, we recommend eating a natural diet, packed with micronutrients similar to our hunter gatherer ancestors.  So, switch to eating high-quality, natural foods from the earth.  Skip the stuff that comes in packages that can sit in your pantry for months and not spoil.  Eat lots of fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and meat.

It is important to keep in mind that there is a difference in the quality of those foods as well.  Earlier it was stated that an apple is not just an apple and a steak is not just a steak.  Depending on where your food was grown, or how your meat was raised, the quality of its macro and micro nutrients can be incredibly different.  Focusing on local foods ensures that you will get the most bang for your buck in terms of fruits and veggies loaded with micronutrients.  Focusing on eating healthfully-raised animals like grass-fed cows and free range chickens will ensure that the meat you feed your family was ethically raised. It will have fewer antibiotics and hormones, it is better for the planet, and it ensures that you and your family are building your bodies with the best possible components.  If you are interested in thriving and not simply surviving, the types and amounts of these nutrients are critical.


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