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What are Calories?
Calories are a unit of measurement used to quantify the energy content of food and drinks. Specifically, a calorie is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius.
When we talk about calories in the context of nutrition, we’re usually referring to “food calories,” which are actually kilocalories (abbreviated kcal or Cal). One kilocalorie is equal to 1,000 regular calories.
In other words, when you see a nutrition label that says a serving of food contains 100 calories, it really contains 100,000 regular calories or 100 kilocalories.
Calories are important because they provide the energy your body needs to carry out essential functions like breathing, digesting food, and circulating blood. Your body burns calories constantly, even when you’re not doing anything active, to maintain these basic processes. The number of calories you need each day depends on various factors, including your age, sex, weight, height, and activity level.
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Video – 9 Ways to Lose Fat and Get Lean WITHOUT Counting Calories
What are Macronutrients?
Macronutrients are the three primary types of nutrients that our bodies need in relatively large amounts to function properly: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Each macronutrient plays a different role in the body and provides a different amount of energy per gram:
Carbohydrates: Carbs are the body’s preferred source of energy. They can be found in a wide variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes. Simple carbohydrates, such as sugar, are quickly digested and can cause spikes in blood sugar levels, while complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, provide a slower, sustained release of energy.
Proteins: Proteins are important for building and repairing tissues in the body, including muscles, bones, and organs. They’re also necessary for the production of enzymes, hormones, and other important molecules. Good sources of protein include meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes, and nuts.
Fats: Fats are important for energy storage, insulation, and the absorption of certain vitamins. There are different types of fats, including saturated, unsaturated, and trans fats, and some types are healthier than others. Good sources of healthy fats include nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil, and fatty fish.
In addition to these three macronutrients, our bodies also need micronutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, in smaller amounts. A balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods is essential for optimal health and well-being.
What are Micronutrients?
Micronutrients are essential nutrients that our bodies need in small amounts to function properly. Unlike macronutrients, which are needed in larger quantities, micronutrients include vitamins and minerals that are required in much smaller doses but are still vital for maintaining good health. Some examples of micronutrients include:
Vitamins: Vitamins are organic compounds that our bodies need in small amounts to perform a variety of functions, including immune system support, energy production, and tissue repair. Examples of vitamins include vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, and the B-complex vitamins.
Minerals: Minerals are inorganic substances that our bodies need for a variety of functions, such as building strong bones, regulating blood pressure, and producing hormones. Examples of minerals include calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and potassium.
Trace elements: Trace elements are essential minerals that our bodies require in very small amounts. These include iodine, selenium, copper, and chromium.
While micronutrients are needed in smaller quantities than macronutrients, they are no less important for maintaining good health.
A balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, can help ensure that you get all the micronutrients your body needs.
In some cases, dietary supplements may also be recommended to address specific micronutrient deficiencies.