Macronutrients and Micronutrients: What You Should Know

Everything you need to know about macronutrients and micronutrients

(RxWiki News) Are you getting the right amounts of your macronutrients and micronutrients?

Many people don't even know what those terms mean — much less whether they're getting the right amounts of them. But don't worry — this article will give you the basics.

Here's what you need to know about macronutrients and micronutrients.

Macronutrients

Every food you eat has macronutrients. That's because these are the basic building blocks of foods. Protein, fats, carbohydrates and water are all macronutrients.

These are the nutrients that your body needs in large amounts in order to function. They provide energy and the ability to complete a variety of essential processes in the body, such as conducting nerve signals, building new cells and tissues and creating enzymes.

Here are some of the specific ways each macronutrient can help your body carry out essential functions:

  • Protein: Protein from foods like meat, dairy, eggs and beans provides amino acids that are essential to muscle formation and repair, as well as the formation of cell membranes.
  • Fats: The body uses fats from foods like nuts, oils, some meats, and dairy products to create hormones and store fat-soluble vitamins.
  • Carbohydrates: Carbs act as your body's main source of energy, supporting various functions involved in movement.
  • Water: Water is essential to human life because it regulates waste removal through urine, maintains ionic balance in the blood and helps distribute nutrients to your body's cells.

Micronutrients

As you might imagine, we need micronutrients in smaller amounts. And while they may not be as immediately essential as macronutrients, micronutrients play critical roles throughout your body.

Put simply, micronutrients are vitamins and minerals. Examples include vitamins A, C, D, E and K, as well as the B vitamins and the minerals calcium, sodium, iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc and copper.

Vitamins and minerals come from a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and other foods, which is why a balanced diet is key to ensuring that you are getting proper nutrition. Some vitamins can be stored in your body's fat for later use (fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins E and A), while others are stored in water (water-soluble vitamins like B vitamins and vitamin C) and cannot be stored for later. That means consuming foods high in water-soluble vitamins more frequently is important.

Talk to your health care provider about how to maintain the healthiest diet for you.

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Review Date: 
May 3, 2022
Last Updated:
May 4, 2022