Remember that old saying, ‘you are what you eat’? Well, your parents were right. Our bodies have the amazing ability to break down food into minuscule chemicals to be absorbed by our cells and used as energy. Mondo accomplishment, but there’s a catch! Your body can only be as amazing as the ingredients it gets to work with.
At their smallest level, our foods can fall into one of two categories, micronutrients or macronutrients. Micronutrients are the trace elements that are essential for healthy bodies such as organic acids, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals. Fresh foods like fruits and vegetables are loaded with micronutrients – yay! Macronutrients are the energy sources and structural calories in our foods that are needed for normal growth and development. The three main components of macronutrients are proteins, carbs and fats. Proteins provide the building blocks and amino acids necessary for life. Carbohydrates are our source for on demand energy. And, fats supply our bodies with stored energy for future use.
Our bodies and minds need both macro and micro nutrients in moderation to stay healthy and strong. But its not just the quantities we need to pay attention to – the quality of our foods will have vastly different micro and macro nutrient contents. Because removing vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals from foods can extend shelf life, most processed foods have a high macronutrient and caloric content at the expense of micronutrients. Instead, choose foods like locally sourced fruit and veggies or organically raised meats to get more bang for your buck at the cellular level.
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