Nutrients are elements that assist in bodily functions such as growth, protection, energy production, and other basic functions. Nutrients are divided into two major groups; macronutrients and micronutrients. They both help the body to function in different ways. ‘Macro’ means big, and ‘micro’ means small. This means that macronutrients are required in larger quantities, and micronutrients are required in smaller amounts. This article will take you through the types of micronutrients and macronutrients and their differences.
Macronutrients and their types
The basic function of carbohydrates is to provide energy and fuel the brain. They also regulate blood sugars in the body. The recommended amount of carbohydrates needs depend on individual requirements. As for their main sources, they include grains, dairy, and fruits.
The body needs proteins for tissue growth, muscle contraction, energy production, chemical reactions, blood clotting, and many more purposes. Just like carbs, the amount of protein required depends on an individual’s requirement. The main sources of proteins include legumes, soy products, seeds, meat products, animal sources, whole grains, nuts, lentils, and some veggies.
Fats are also very vital for the body. When consumed from the right sources, and in the right quantities, they can aid in the absorption of some vitamins, source of energy, growth, and development, and maintaining cell membranes. They also help in providing taste in different foods. Twenty to thirty-five percent of calories should come from fats. Additionally, 10% of the recommended fats should be saturated fats. The main food sources of fats are fish, seafood, meat, dairy, seeds, nuts, and oils.
Another crucial macronutrient is water. It is required in large amounts to ensure that the body functions efficiently. You need to consume at least eight to ten glasses of water daily. One thing to keep in mind is that water does not provide energy, but it has other major functions. It protects tissues and organs, prevents constipation, lubricates joints, transports oxygen and nutrients, removes toxins among other functions.
Micronutrients and their types
- Water-Soluble Vitamins– These vitamins are soluble in water and can be extracted in the urine. You have to take water-soluble vitamins daily to ensure you benefit in the best way. Examples of water-soluble vitamins include vitamin B, C, Biotin, Pantothenic Acid, and Folic Acids. Vitamin B is B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12. Examples of Food sources of these vitamins include milk, whole grains, eggs, broccoli, watermelon, legumes, strawberries, chicken, and citrus fruits.
- Fat-Soluble Vitamins- These vitamins are soluble in fats and can be stored in fatty body tissues. They cannot dissolve in water and are efficient when consumed with sources of fats. Fat-soluble vitamins include vitamin K, D, E and A. Examples of their food sources are fatty fish, cereals, sweet potatoes, beef, eggs, vegetable oils, nuts, green leafy veggies, and cabbage.
- Macrominerals- Some minerals are required in larger amounts; that is why they are named macrominerals. They include magnesium, calcium, sodium, chloride, and potassium. Food sources of macrominerals are yogurt, seeds, meat, legumes, cheese, milk, salt, vegetables, grains, and meat.
- Microminerals- Minerals required in smaller amounts are called microminerals. A few examples include chromium, iron, selenium, manganese, fluoride, copper, zinc, and manganese. Some food sources are pineapple, crab, oysters, chickpeas, yogurt, fruit juices, ham, seaweed, sardines, and others.
Differences between micronutrients and macronutrients
As stated above, both macronutrients and micronutrients are crucial for the body to function. However, there are differences between both types of nutrients;
- Requirement– Macronutrients are required in high amounts daily while micronutrients are required in small quantities.
- Functions– Macronutrients provide the bulk of energy the body demands while micronutrients are required for protection against diseases and body growth.
- Deficiency: Inadequate intake of macronutrients can lead to malnutrition, metabolic dysfunctions, diabetes, and heart diseases. Micronutrient deficiency can lead to liver problems, goiter, night blindness, scurvy, beriberi, and other organ dysfunctions.
- Toxicity– Macronutrients are not toxic to body cells if they are present in higher amounts than normal. On the other hand, micronutrients can be very detrimental to an individual when present in large quantities.
- Overconsumption– Excessive consumption of macronutrients can lead to heart disease, metabolic syndromes, obesity, and diabetes. Excessive consumption of micronutrients can prove harmful to some organs such as the liver.
To get more information on micronutrients and macronutrients, you can look at the great Medicross Labs article. Remember that every food item is a source of nutrients. The body needs all types of nutrients. The only thing you have to be careful about is the proportions to consume to keep the body healthy. If you eat the required quantity of micronutrients and macronutrients daily, your body functions efficiently.