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Macronutrients and Micronutrients: What is the difference and why do we need them

By 8 Σεπτεμβρίου 2022

There are so many different diets around in 2022 that sometimes it can be a bit hard to keep up with the rules and trends. Prinos Farm&Deli will always be advocates for the well-balanced diet (which is why we offer such a range of diverse fresh fruit, veg and premium groceries). But we also like to stay updated on what if happening in the nutrition arena. And one thing we’ve been hearing a lot recently is the growing popularity of counting macronutrients and micronutrients.

In the following blog, we won’t go into the different diet types, all of which usually focus on either one or the other of these two nutritional groups. However, we will try and shed some light and answer some of the most common questions such as what are macronutrients and why are they important, what are micronutrients and do I need them? And Do you need more macronutrients or micronutrients?

What is the difference between macronutrients and micronutrients?

In short, macronutrients and micronutrients are the two categories that all the nutrients our bodies needs to function fall into. On the one side, the macronutrients are the main big nutrients that are needed for energy – carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Meanwhile the micronutrients are all the smaller but equally essential nutrients – Vitamins and minerals – that are needed for healthy organ functionality.

Both of these two nutrient groups need to be incorporated into our diet as the body does not produce them naturally. Too much or too little of either can have a negative impact on our overall health, with effects including weight gain or loss, mood changes, and fluctuation of energy levels and stamina.

The key difference is in the quantities, macronutrients are needed and measured in larger quantities, while micronutrients are both needed and measured in smaller amounts.

To help you understand the two categories, we’ve shared a lowdown on both macronutrients as well as micronutrients below. The key here is a balanced diet. And remember that all the products you might need to achieve the right balance of both, can be found at our Prinos Farm&Deli stores or e-shop. Read on before stocking up!

photo with nutritional foods

 Macronutrients

  • What Are Macronutrients: As the name may suggest, macronutrients are the ones the body needs large amounts of in order to function efficiently. As these specific nutrients are not produced by the body, it is essential that they are included in a healthy diet.
  • Examples of Macronutrients: You probably already know the main macronutrients, which include carbohydrates and protein, as well as healthy fats, fibre and water. These are present in most of the common foods that we eat.
  • Why do we need Macronutrients: Essentially, the body cannot function without them. But things that might happen with a lack of macronutrients include reduced energy and deficiency syndromes. Too many macronutrients can also be bad for the health, increasing the risk of obesity, high cholesterol and diseases such as diabetes.

Macronutrients Uncovered

  • Protein: This macro is needed to build muscle. The body breaks this nutrient down into amino acids found in plant and animal products, using these to them repair and grow muscle fibres. Also used for energy and to boost the immune system, protein is also essential for the overall health of the bones, skin, hair, hormones and blood. Good sources of protein include meat and seafood, eggs and dairy, as well as seeds, nuts and pulses such as beans and lentils.
  • Carbohydrates: The body uses good carbohydrates – such as those found in whole-grain, fruits, beans and lentils, starchy vegetables and some dairy products – to get energy throughout the day. How? By converting the carbs to glucose or fructose which are then used as fuel. They also help to support a healthy gut and digestion, as well as brain health
  • Fats: When we say fats here, we are talking about essential healthy fatty acids that have a number of important functions in the body. They support cell structure, help absorb vitamins and minerals, protect organs and regulate temperature and appetite. These nutrients can be found in oils, some dairy, avocados, nuts, seeds, oily fish and some meats.

Micronutrients

  • What Are Micronutrients: The body needs micronutrients to function as well, just in much smaller quantities. Because they are also not produced naturally by the body in the necessary amounts, we need to ensure they are incorporated into our diet. And a little bit goes a long way with these nutrients – as even a small amount can have a significantly benefit your overall health.
  • Examples of Micronutrients: Micronutrients usually fall under the category of vitamins and minerals. In addition to all the Vitamins, these nutrients include iron, calcium, potassium, zinc, manganese, and magnesium.
  • Why do we need Micronutrients: Because there are a variety of diverse micronutrients – each with its own function within the body – there are a lot of reasons we need them. Micronutrient imbalances can lead to all kinds of deficiencies, allergies, food intolerances and diseases, as well as issues with psychological health.

Micronutrients Uncovered

  • Vitamins: There are many Vitamins to take into consideration in a well-balanced diet and they all have different functions and benefits. In general, vitamins are needed to support healthy development, cell growth and repair, as well as to aid metabolism and boost the immune system and overall wellness. Some of the most important include antioxidant rich Vitamin A and Vitamin C, as well as the B-Vitamins, and Vitamins D, E and K.
  • Minerals: Slightly more obscure, these substances and compounds are needed for the body to function efficiently. This includes the maintenance of healthy strong bones, blood cells, muscles and tissues, as well as hormone production and organ function.

 If you made it to the end, you now have a lowdown on all things macronutrient and micronutrient. There are many different ways to count macros and micros, as well as different diets and reasons why you might choose to do so. Of course, the most important thing is to aim for a balanced diet. Which is what Prinos Farm&Deli try to provide you with from our selection of top quality products available both in-store in Nicosia or Larnaca, or via our e-shop .