Basics of Macro Nutrients
Author – Vaibhav Biradar
(Reading time ~ 3 mins)
Regardless of which sport you play, the right nutrients are essential for peak performance. We often hear the terms micro nutrients – macro nutrients whenever nutrition is being discussed. This post will explain the importance macro nutrients and how they benefit our body!
Macro nutrients are energy-providing chemical substances consumed by organisms in large quantities. The three macro nutrients in nutrition are Carbohydrates, Fats, and Proteins.
When an athlete plays any sport, his body will always be under constant tension. This results in muscular wear and tear. For the body to recover, protein is the most essential macro nutrient. Protein also helps to develop muscle, which give added strength and power to the athlete for the sport he is playing. Protein also helps to keep the body’s metabolism up, keep the energy level high and helps in weight loss.
There are two types of Proteins:-
Complete protein – A complete protein (or whole protein) is a source of protein that contains an adequate proportion of all nine of the essential amino acids necessary for the dietary needs of humans. Sources include dairy and meat, soy.
Incomplete Protein – Plant foods are considered incomplete proteins because they are low or lacking in one or more of the amino acids we need to build cells. Sources include grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.
It is important to consume incomplete proteins to compliment the complete proteins which provide amino acids.
The body uses carbohydrates in the form of glucose. Glucose can be converted to glycogen, a polysaccharide similar to starch, which is stored in the liver and the muscles and is a readily available source of energy for the body. This energy can be utilized by the athlete while playing the sport. Also, they help optimize the functioning of the protein inside the body. If sufficient amount of carbohydrates is not consumed, the protein is used up as an energy source and its primary function of muscle recovery and muscle growth is compromised.
There are two main types of Carbohydrates:-
Complex Carbohydrates – Found in unprocessed whole foods, slow digesting, good release of energy, contains fibers, vitamins, minerals and protective antioxidants. Found in 100% whole wheat bread and pasta, starchy vegetables, legumes, nuts and seed.
Simple Carbohydrates – Found naturally in fruits, vegetables, white bread, rice, soda juice, dairy and processed food. It digests quickly.
Dietary fats are very essential to the body. Along with carbohydrates, they are a great source of energy to the body. They help in keeping the hormone levels up in the body. Apart from that, proper functioning of the brain. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble vitamins, meaning that the fat in foods helps the intestines absorb these vitamins into the body. Fat soluble vitamins are absorbed by the intestine with the help of fats in the body. Fats also provide a protective layer to organs and hold them in place.
Fats can be divided into three parts:-
Trans Fats – It is the type of fat that should be completely avoided. It is present in crackers, cookies, cakes, processed foods etc.
Moderately Saturated fat – This category of fat isn’t as harmful as trans fat but it increases cholesterol. It is found in Butter, cheese, coconut oil, red meat etc.
Healthy Unsaturated fat – The healthy unsaturated fat is very good for the body. The should be regularly consumed in adequate amounts. It is found in Nuts, olives, avocados, fatty fishes etc.