Count Nutrients, Not Calories

The Importance of Counting the Nutrients in Your Food, Not Just Calories

You’ve probably heard how important counting calories is to losing weight and packing on muscle. Keeping track of your macronutrients or “macros” is important to your health goals.

Learn the truth:

Calories and macros are important. BUT- how much do you pay attention to the micronutrients in your food?

Do you know what a micronutrient is? What do different nutrients do for you? What are the best and most nutrient dense foods?

Keeping track of your calories and macros is just the start. It’s a good way to begin your journey into the nutritional world. But it’s just another means to the ultimate end: building a healthy and fit life.

Here’s the problem a lot of people run into. You can be physically “fit” but not healthy. There’s a big difference. You can have muscle, be strong at lifting and still have a big layer of fat over your body. A part of this problem stems from modern bodybuilding and “If It Fits Your Macros” (IIFYM diet). We’ll go cover this later in this article. Also, we’ll expalin why you should eliminate all processed foods from your diet if you want to be healthy.

Why Counting Calories Can Be Misleading

Counting your calories is a great way to start caring about your nutrition in a big way and tracking your calories will help you determine a base of calories you can later adjust based on your goals.

Want to build muscle? Add a few hundred calories to your daily intake and incorporate resistance exercise.

Want to lose weight? Take a few hundred calories away from your daily intake and incorporate aerobic exercise. It makes sense while keeping things simple. You aren’t going to lose weight if all your calories come from a high carb, high fat diet (which comprise the average American diet).

This is where keeping track of your macronutrients enters the picture.

Importance of Macronutrients

Macronutrients make up everyone’s diet.

The three macronutrients are things everyone can name:

HH_macros

Simple, right?

There are formulas that can help you calculate what your macronutrients should be based on your goals. I won’t go into detail about that here. Just enter “how to count macronutrients” into your favorite search engine and you will find the answers. Each macro has a different caloric value.

macro breakdown

Micronutrients Will Make You Fit and Healthy

This brings us to tracking your micronutrients. If you want to be fit AND healthy, this appears to be the way to eat.

Below are a few examples of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. A simple Google search of any food will allow you to see the nutrient profile of any food. When searching, you want to keep an eye out for essential vitamins such as Vitamin D3, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, The B vitamin family, Selenium, Zinc, Magnesium and Chromium. Additional nutrients to seek include N Acetyl Cysteine, Glutathione, Fucoidan, Cordyceps, Manganese, DMAE and Astragalus.

Health experts have recently identified 24 super nutrients and suggest that health conscious people include them in their diet. Some of them are readily available in healthy whole foods others can be obtained through high quality nutritional supplements.

Micronutrient Food Sources

Fatty Fish

Salmon, tuna, sardines fall into the fatty fish category. High in omega 3s, and minerals zinc, magnesium, and selenium will keep your heart and body healthy.

salmon

Kale

Lots of vitamin K and vitamin C in kale, along with all the essential minerals.

kale varieties

Fermented Foods

Fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt and kombucha contain a lot of vitamin K and healhty life-giving probiotics.

fermented-foods

Buy Organic, Unprocessed Foods

It’s important to always buy organic, Non-GMO and unprocessed foods when possible. It might cost a little extra but your body will thank you long-term.

Processed foods have various chemicals in them that makes the “IIFYM” diet look like the best diet ever made.

Vegetable oil (canola oil included), high fructose corn syrup, sodium nitrates and other chemicals are in almost all processed foods.

Certain foods should be purchased organic to get their full nutritional benefit.

For example, wild caught salmon has higher levels of omega 3s than farm raised. Organic meat and poultry also have a higher micronutrient profile.

NOTE: A processed treat every now and then won’t kill you, but if you never ate a single processed food item again your body and mind would feel significantly better.

The act of tracking your food intake is light-years ahead of what most people do when it comes to nutrition. If you count your calories and macronutrients and eliminate junk food, you will be very well off health-wise.

Seeing what micronutrients your food has can help you determine what you should eat more of and what vitamins and minerals you could be deficit in.

 

In summary:

 

  • Counting calories and tracking macros is a great but incomplete start to a healthier nutritional life.
  • Finding out what micronutrients are in your food will optimize your nutrition.
  • Eating nutrient dense foods will make you healthy and fit.
  • Avoid processed, chemical-filled foods.
  • Get a full profile of micronutrients every day through food and supplements.

 

Resources:

https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/your-complete-guide-to-iifym

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/finfish-and-shellfish-products/4115/2

https://www.thepaleomom.com/the-health-benefits-of-fermented-foods/

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2461/2

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