A very famous saying goes that “You are what you eat” and it is right in that the human body can take what a person is eating and make them work for or against the individual. When it comes to instances that a person is taking part in a wellness program or wants to have a good diet, having a proper nutrition is fundamental (Hopper et al., 2008). Good nutrition, on the other hand, means that there is an intake of the proper amounts and quality of calories, the macronutrients and also the micronutrients. They all have a role to play in the human body and hence the need to ensure that they are included in the diet of an individual. It is also imperative for very particular to learn the importance of all the nutrients that they take up and also the best time to take them to ensure that they maintain a proper nutrition and prepare their bodies for the wellness programs (Hopper et al., 2008). The nutrients the substances that are needed for growth to occur, metabolism and also for other body functions. The nutrients in the food that we take may be broken down into fundamental types which are the macronutrients needed in large amounts and the micronutrients needed in smaller quantities. Every type of nutrient has its unique functions in the body and also leads to a form of interaction with the other nutrients to ensure that they all carry out their duties efficiently and effectively (Mercola, 2015).
Macronutrients and Micronutrients
The macronutrients are the structural and energy giving foods that contain high calories. They are needed in large amounts for an individual depending on the intensity of the activities that they may be engaging in at a particular time. The macronutrients include the carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. They are usually needed in colossal amounts (Bird, 2015). Whereas each of the macronutrients provide energy in the form of calories, they all have varying levels and amounts of calories that they may provide. The carbohydrates provide up to 4 calories per gram; the proteins have four calories per gram whereas fats have up to 9 calories per gram (Mercola, 2015). Therefore, if a particular food that an individual, intend to consume is said to contain 10 grams of carbohydrates, then it means that it contains 40 calories in total (Bird, 2015). Besides the fats, proteins and carbohydrates, Alcohol also provides calories but cannot be classified as macronutrient because we do not need it for survival. The macronutrients provide up to the 90% of the body’s dry weight of the diet and also provides the 100% of the energy delivered to the body (Bird, 2015). The nutrients also differ in the speed at which they are converted to supply energy to the body with carbohydrates being the quickest and the fats are the slowest of the three. They are also broken down or digested in the intestines and are broke into different basic units. The carbohydrates are broken down into sugars while the proteins are converted to amino acids and fats digested into fatty acids and glycerol (Bird, 2015).
Micronutrients are essential for the daily biological processes of an individual and may include the Vitamins, minerals, trace elements, phytochemicals, and antioxidants which are necessary for maintaining good health. They are needed in relatively lower amounts as compared to the macronutrients required to be taken by an individual. The micronutrients and the macronutrients are dependent on one another and hence are key to being consumed together for the proper functioning of the body (Hopper et al., 2008). For example, the vitamin Bs may help the body of a person to metabolize the macronutrients, and the Vitamin C may also be critical in allowing the human body to absorb iron that is fundamental for the transportation of oxygen. The nutrients coexist and work together to ensure that the body works together and kept healthy while at the same time optimizes its functioning. The body on the other hand, therefore, uses the basic units to build the substances needed for growth, activity, and maintenance.
In 1838 a Dutch chemist named Gerardus Mulder coined the word protein from the Greek word “protos” that means “of prime importance.” The human body majorly composed of proteins that closely follow water in the composition of the body (Brandon, 2009). The body primarily needs the proteins for repair, to build and maintain the muscle tissues. The proteins are usually broken into amino acids that are often called the building blocks of protein. The amino acids are around 20 of them of which nine of them are essential. Since the human body cannot make them on its own but must be supplied in the human diet.
• Some proteins are enzymes that are critical at speeding up the actions such as digestion of carbohydrates and also the synthesis of cholesterol by the liver.
• There are also some proteins that are hormones and hence are created in one part of the body and then transferred to another carrying messages meant for another body organ or part of the body. For instance, there is glucagon and insulin made in the pancreas and is then transported throughout the body ensuring that the blood glucose is regulated (Riccardi et. al., 2004).
• Some of the proteins also provide a structure such as a collagen that is used in the formation of bones, skin and teeth while the nails and hair are dependent on protein keratin (Brandon, 2009).
• There also some proteins that act as antibodies and hence indicates the need for proteins to be present to make sure that the body’s defense mechanism is secure (Brandon, 2009). Without sufficient proteins, then the person’s immune system may not be able to defend the person against pathogens adequately.
• The proteins are also critical to maintaining the fluid balance in the body (Hopper et al., 2008). With fluids being present in the majority of the body’s compartments, there is need to keep the balance. Moreover, proteins are too big to pass through membranes and therefore separate the chambers and also attract water thus maintaining the proper fluid balance.
• Proteins are also essential for transporting nutrients and also other nutrients within the body. Some proteins exist within the cell membranes and help at pumping the compounds in and out of the cell. Other proteins attach themselves to nutrients and also other molecules to engage in their transportation to other parts of the body (Brandon, 2009).
• The proteins are also instrumental in maintaining a high acid-base balance which is critical for human survival. The body adjusts its acid-base by using the proteins as buffers.
• The proteins are stored as backup sources of energy in case of lower intakes of glucose or carbohydrates.
It is imperative that the diet of an individual contain complete proteins in that they have all the needed amino acids. If the diet has an incomplete protein, it means that some amino acids are missing. The Complete proteins are found in animal proteins and soy (Hopper et al., 2008). The incomplete proteins lacking some amino acids include the beans, vegetables, nuts, and grains. These are the plant sources of protein and do not contain all the essential amino acids. The critical times to take proteins is in the morning in combination with simple carbohydrates since the body is in a catabolic state and that one has not eaten since dinner (Mercola, 2015).
The carbohydrates provide up to approximately 45% to 65% of the body’s calories (Brandon, 2009). Sugar molecules are the most basic structures of carbohydrates and classified according to the number of sugars that they may contain. They are the body’s primary source of fuel and are easily used by the body for energy since virtually all the cells in the human body can use glucose as a source of energy. Utilized by the major organs such as the kidneys, the brain and the heart in their functioning. They may be stored in the muscles and liver and then later used as a source of energy and are very essential in intestinal health and waste elimination by the human body (Brandon, 2009). They are found in some starchy foods such as grains and potatoes, milk, fruits and even yogurt, there are also some plant products such as bean, vegetables, and nuts but are present in lesser amounts.
There are some of the types of carbohydrates that the human body is not in a position to digest. Such carbohydrates include fiber and may pass through the intestinal tract intact to help in the removal of wastes from the human body (Brandon, 2009). Any diets taken in and are low in fiber may result in constipation, hemorrhoids and even lead to an increased risk of some cancers such as the colon cancer. Taking diets rich in fiber as a source of carbohydrates reduces the risk to heart diseases, obesity and are also key to lowering cholesterol. Some of the foods that have high fiber include fruits, vegetables, and some whole grain products.
They may be classified into simple carbohydrates or complex carbohydrates. The simple carbohydrates are usually naturally present in fresh fruit, milk and also some processed foods; commonly referred to as sugars. The simple carbohydrates may also be single sugars called monosaccharides, or they may also be disaccharides if they are more than one sugar molecule. Glucose which is a monosaccharide is one of the most abundant sources of energy to the human brain. The most common disaccharides are the sucrose, table sugar and also the lactose. Lactose is the source of the gas that most people experience bloating immediately they take milk. The complex carbohydrates are those that contain more than two sugar molecules.
They may have a bad reputation for causing obesity and weight gain, but some fats are critical for survival. 20% to 35% of the calories in a diet should come from fats (Mercola, 2015). The fats are essential for healthy growth and development of the individual’s body ad fat is also the most concentrated source of energy and is, therefore, necessary for energy giving. Fats are also critical for the absorption of some vitamins such as Vitamins, A, E, D, K and also arytenoids.
Fat is mostly found in some foods such as meat, milk products, fish among others. Three main fats include the saturated fats, unsaturated fats, and the Trans fat. Saturated fats are found in meat and butter while the Trans fat found in baked products, fried foods, and even margarine. Unsaturated fats are primarily found in foods like avocados, nuts, olive oil and even canola oil. It is imperative that an individual replaces the saturated and Trans fat with unsaturated fats to reduce the risk of developing heart diseases.
How do they help in fitness and muscle development?
Proteins, carbohydrates, and fats are essential for muscle development and fitness of an individual (Mercola, 2015). It is important that they all be taken in balanced quantities and qualities to ensure that muscle development occurs and one remains fit.
Proteins are essential for fitness and muscle development primarily because proteins are the basic body building blocks that an individual requires. It is vital for the muscle growth and repair of the body tissues (Mercola, 2015). The body can also use the stored proteins as a source of energy in case the carbohydrates have been depleted. However, an individual should also engage in strength training or exercise to build more muscle. It is because, if one takes too much protein, it will be stored as fat, increases the chances of dehydration and also lead to the loss of calcium.
Carbohydrates are essential to providing the necessary energy in fitness and also muscle development exercises (Mercola, 2015). Mostly stored in the muscles and liver is hence leading to further muscle development. It is, therefore, imperative that an individual takes up carbohydrates if it takes an hour at exercising and also one may need to take more of the carbohydrates during and after the exercises if I take more than an hour.
Fat intake is essential for the daily diet of an individual. The human body heavily relies on fats to supply enough energy to the muscles during activity. There is, however, the need to focus on consuming the heart healthy fats that include olive oil, walnuts, almonds, avocados and fatty fish such as salmons and trout. The fats contain up to twice the number of calories as the proteins, and the carbohydrates may contain (Mercola, 2015).Supplements may prove to be essential to ensuring that the necessary nutrients for building muscles and also fitness are present. It makes the nutrient intake easier and also offers an advantage while enhancing training especially if taken in combination with a proper diet. They are however not the replacements or substitutes for food since they may not contain all the nutrients that the body may require. Their role is to ensure that certain nutrients that may be difficult to be taken in enough quantities are taken for the purpose of building muscle and fitness.