How to Eat Healthy With the Different Types of Nutrition
Eat healthier. Count your calories. Watch your carb intake. Don’t eat too many fats — but when you do make sure you’re getting lots of the healthy ones.
Eating healthy is hard. There are so many diets out there and there are pros and cons to each one. How do you even know if they’re healthy or unhealthy until someone tries it and has problems?
Unfortunately, media hypes don’t help us to eat healthier. They help us to learn more “cheat” methods to lose weight — but they aren’t always healthy.
You want to understand. You want to know how to eat healthily. But how do you even learn that? How do you know if it’s too much or too little?
We tackle all of these questions and more in this article — so grab a healthy snack, notebook, and pen because we are about to give you tons of information you’ll want to remember.
Different Types of Nutrition
We need you to understand this first and foremost. There are different types of nutrients that your body needs to function properly. Each one has its own particular job to do in your body.
We can equate it to your car. Your car needs gas, oil, coolant, and other fluids to keep it running at its peak. The quality of these fluids makes a difference in the capabilities of your car. The same is true about the foods you put into your body.
The types of food, quality of those foods, and the quantity make a difference in how well your body performs. If you aren’t getting the right balance, your health is put at risk.
Nutrition is broken down into two main categories: macronutrients and micronutrients.
Your macronutrients consist of:
Micronutrients are broken down into:
Focusing on getting the right amount of each category of nutrients daily will ensure prime health. One study actually found that tracking macronutrients is more beneficial to your health than tracking calories when trying to have a healthier diet.
We will be focusing on macronutrients in this article to give you a more in-depth overview of what they are and how to incorporate them into your diet.
Carbohydrates (commonly referred to as carbs) are necessary for energy levels. Carbs are broken down into three subgroups:
Daily carbohydrate goal = 130 grams/day
If you’re counting macros go for about 45-65% of your daily caloric intake.
Starches are molecules that can be broken down into sugars. They’re generally broken down by digestive enzymes.
Some starches are too big and need to travel further down the digestive tract. These larger molecules are fibers and they’re fermented in the colon to be broken down.
You can get starches from vegetables like potatoes, legumes, and grains.
Sugars are usually the carbohydrates you’re told to stay away from since in too high of quantities they’re linked to diabetes and obesity. They’re actually necessary for your body to function. So in the right amounts, sugars are actually beneficial to your body.
The saying goes, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” But apples actually have one of the highest quantities of sugar of any fruit. This is to prove that sugars are actually good for you if you get them in the right way — not so that you don’t eat apples.
Sugars can be found in most fruits and in some grain products.
Be careful to not exceed the daily recommended intake of 25 grams/day for women and 37 grams/day for men.
Starches aren’t the only form of fiber. Like we said above, fibers are molecules that your digestive enzymes are incapable of breaking down.
In your colon, your gut microbes ferment and breakdown fibers. They are broken down into things like short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) that can be used throughout the body to carry out special tasks.
You can get your daily fiber from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Daily goal = 25 g dietary fiber (per 2,000 calorie diet)
Children daily goal = their age plus 5 grams (3-year-old = 8 grams)
You’ll hear all sorts of things about fats. They’re the main focus if you’re doing the ketogenic diet. The keto diet works by intaking fewer carbs and more fats. The idea is to switch your energy source from carbs to fats so your body burns more fat. The problem is that fats don’t supply long term energy as carbs do so you’ll run out of energy quicker.
Fats are also used throughout the body to help with vitamin absorption, hormone production, brain protection, and joint lubrication.
So fats, as we know, are often classified as either healthy fats or unhealthy fats.
Healthy fats are polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats.
Unhealthy fats are saturated fats and trans fats.
Your healthy fats are derived from foods like walnuts, avocados, fish, and oils (olive, sunflower, peanut, etc.).
Unhealthy fats generally come from meat (bacon, beef, pork, etc.) and processed foods. These should equate to less than 10% of your daily caloric intake.
Daily fat intake should be around 27 grams/day and the majority should be from unsaturated fats.
Protein is a big one that you hear about a lot in the fitness world. However, people trying to bulk up aren’t the only ones that need adequate protein levels in their diets.
Proteins are molecules that are made up of smaller building block units called amino acids. There are 20 different amino acids and a few of them will be arranged in different ways to make up different proteins.
Proteins are used for more than just muscle growth. They’re used all throughout your body for different functions like:
- Antibodies to protect your body from invaders
- Enzymes to carry out chemical reactions
- Messengers like hormones to transfer commands to different parts of the body
- Structure/support for cells
- Transportation of smaller units to places they normally wouldn’t be able to get to
Protein-rich foods include meat products (beef, turkey, chicken, fish, etc.), eggs, nuts, and seeds.
Daily recommended protein intake = 5 ½ ounces/day
And that’s it for macronutrients. Hopefully, you understand a little bit more about what they are, why your body needs them, and how to get them into your diet.
What’s your favorite way to make sure you’re getting all your necessary nutrients? Do you track it with an app? Let us know in the comments below your favorite way to make sure you’re maintaining a healthy diet!