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Learn More About Micronutrients, Macronutrients, and Healthy Fats

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Absorbing micronutrients and macronutrients from food helps our bodies grow and improve our health

healthy fats

A balanced and healthy nutrition plan starts with the preparation of meals made up of proteins, fats, carbs, minerals, and vitamins. A good mix in a diet helps meet good nutrition goals.

Micronutrients = minerals and vitamins that our bodies need for normal growth, function and health. Together, vitamins and minerals are called micronutrients. Since our bodies cannot make most micronutrients, it must obtain them from foods or dietary supplements.

Minerals = phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium. Our bones and teeth are made up of minerals, which are the building blocks of cells.  Minerals help regulate our body fluids and help so serve as building blocks for all cells, help regulate body fluids, and power the function of our muscles and nerve impulses.

Vitamins are required for food digestion, nerve function, bone and muscle health. Since our bodies cannot make vitamins, they are absorbed from the food we consume.  Our body processes small amounts of vitamins in concert with proteins, carbs, and fats to help repair itself and provide energy.

  • Vitamins A, D, E and K collect in the body and stick around for a long time, so they are known as fat-soluble vitamins.
  • Vitamin C and 8 B vitamins are water-soluble vitamins:
    • Niacin, folate biotin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6
    • Excess water-soluble vitamins are excreted by our kidneys

Macronutrients = carbs, proteins, and fats. Macronutrients provide energy to our bodies and help maintain and regulate normal body functions. Our total daily calories should consist 50% to 60% carbohydrates, 30% fat, and 15% to 20% protein.

Proteins can be found in each living cell in the body. Amino acids are the fundamental components of protein and fuel all proteins. We utilize the protein we eat to strengthen and develop bone, skin, and muscle. Since globally a huge number of individuals just don’t eat enough protein, they tend to suffer from poor nutrition. Absence of protein can lead to diminished immunity, breathing and heart issues, and loss of muscle. There are simple steps we can all take to increase our daily intake of protein.  It’s found in meat, nuts, milk, cheeses, certain grains and beans.

Our bodies develop protein, but complete proteins are needed to make up for proteins that our bodies do not make. These complete proteins come from meat and other animal products that we eat.  Our bodies also need incomplete proteins, such as plant proteins, for good health.  Individual plant proteins lack certain amino acids we need to build cells, so we must eat multiple types of plant proteins to obtain the mix of amino acids our bodies need.  Since the body doesn’t store amino acids like it does for carbs and fats, we need to eat a good mix of amino acids every day to help fuel our bodies to generate more protein.

It is critical to meet daily protein requirements to sustain good health.  In order to keep organ tissues healthy, humans require 7 grams of protein per 20 pounds of body weight per day.  This is roughly equal to the amount of protein found in a cup of cottage cheese and 4 ozs of meat.

Fats = lipids made up of cholesterol, saturated fats, monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats. Fats help absorb fat-soluble vitamins (D, E, K and A), and help us fee full when digested.  Fats help fuel and develop our bodies.  Fats are not all the same. Bad dietary fats can enhance the risk for certain diseases, while good dietary fats can help lower risk.

Good Fats = healthy unsaturated fats found in plant-based sources like nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils. The Mediterranean diet consists of many unsaturated fats. Studies have shown that replacing carbs with healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats helped to increase good (HDL) cholesterol levels, while decreasing bad (LDL) cholesterol levels.

  • Polyunsaturated fats appear in high concentrations in corn, soybean, and sunflower oils.
  • Monounsaturated fats appear in high concentrations in peanut, olive, and canola oils.

Bad Fats are trans fatty acids and saturated fats that tend to worsen blood cholesterol levels.

  • Trans fatty acids are produced as a result of heating liquid vegetable oils in the presence of hydrogen (hydrogenation). Hydrogenated oil gets hard at standard room temperature. Foods that are fried contain trans fat and should be limited or eliminated. These fats can worsen health by lowering HDL levels, raising LDL levels, increasing risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and vascular disease .
  • Saturated fats = animal fats from seafood, meat, cheese, dairy, eggs…  Plant foods like palm and coconut oil are high in saturated fats that increase LDL and HDL cholesterol levels.
Type of Fat Food Sources Form at Room Temperature Effect on Blood LDL and HDL Cholesterol Levels


Peanut oil, cashews, peanuts and most other nuts, olives, olive oil, canola oil, almonds, avocados 


Raises HDL

Lowers LDL


Safflower, cottonseed oils, corn, soybean, fish 


Raises HDL

Lowers LDL


Cheese, red meat, ice cream, chocolate, whole milk, butter, solid shortening, lard, coconuts, coconut milk, coconut oil 


Raises HDL and LDL


Partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, deep-fried chips and fries, most margarines, vegetable shortening, , many fast foods, most baked goods 

Solid or


Raises LDL

Cholesterol exists throughout our cells to help make vitamin D, hormones, and aids with digestion.  Elevated cholesterol levels increase heart disease risk.  It’s important to replace bad fats with good fats in our daily diet.

Carbohydrates come in multiple forms of sugars, fibers, and starches.  The sugar molecule is at the core, while fibers and starches are their chains. Carbs are plentiful in bread, popcorn, milk, beans, potatoes, corn, cookies, fruit, and spaghetti. Carbs consist of the 2 categories below:

  • Complex carbs of 3+ linked sugars. Our cells leverage glucose as fuel.  Our digestive system processes carbs by breaking them down to small sugar molecules and converts most digestible carbs to blood sugar (glucose). On the other hand, fiber flows through our bodies partially undigested.


  • Simple carbs are fructose (fruit sugar) dextrose/glucose (grape sugar), sucrose (table sugar), and corn.


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