What is proteins role in the human body?

The human body is made up almost entirely of protein, excluding water and fat. Muscles, bones, organs, skin, nails and hair are made up of protein so as you can probably see, it’s an incredibly important macronutrient. 

Proteins are made up of 20 different amino acids. 11 of these amino acids can be made in the body, however, the other 9 essential amino acids can’t be so they need to be consumed via our diets.

Some protein sources we eat are “complete” protein sources meaning they contain all the essential amino acids we need. Others aren’t complete sources that provide all the amino acids, however, this isn’t a bad thing. It’s just important to eat a varied diet in order to get all the required amino acids.

Examples of complete proteins are:

Meat, Fish, Eggs, Dairy, Buckwheat, Quinoa

Examples of incomplete proteins are

Legumes, Grains, Vegetables, Nuts and seeds

What are carbohydrates role in the human body?

Carbs are a non essential macronutrient meaning we don’t need them to survive, however, they are great consumed around exercise to fuel the body and after exercise to re fuel the body.

Aside from being a great source of energy, carbohydrates are often found in nutrient dense foods that apart from energy, provide essential vitamins and minerals which the body needs to function optimally.

Examples of nutrient dense carbs are

Potatoes, Brown rice, Oatmeal, Sweet potato, Quinoa, Fruits and vegetables 

Examples of carbohydrates that have lower nutritional benefits

Pasta, White rice, Sugar

This doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the carbohydrates that have lower nutritional value, they can be incorporated as part of a healthy diet and providing the foods consumed are varied, you’ll get the essential nutrition from other sources of foods in your diet.

What are dietary fats role in the human body?

Fat is an essential macronutrient. Dietary fat is important for optimal hormone function and reproduction and the production of cholesterol which is important for optimal health. Certain vitamins require the presence of dietary fat in order to be absorbed.

A myth surrounding dietary fat is “fat makes you fat” however, weight gain occurs when in a calorie surplus over time, not because of a specific food source.

The dietary fats are

Trans Fats. These are harmful fats and should be avoided. They are highly processed and have been shown to increase LDL cholesterol. High levels of LDL cholesterol increase your risk of heart disease, strokes and attribute to poor cardiovascular health

Trans fats are often found in commercially fried and baked foods like fries and donuts as well as margarine

Saturated Fat. Although it has shown signs to have negative health effects if consumed in excess, saturated fats have benefits too including essential minerals and it’s been shown to increase testosterone levels 

Examples of food containing saturated fats are

Meat, Butter, Milk/Yoghurt, Coconut oil

Polyunsaturated and Monounsaturated fats. These help reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) in the body

They’ve been shown to improve cognitive brain function as well as reducing triglycerides (a type of fat) in the blood

Examples of foods containing polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are:

Olive, sesame and canola oil, Peanut butter, Nuts, Seeds, Avocados, Fatty Fish including salmon, mackerel trout and tuna, Chia, Seaweed/spirulina  

Try to not consume foods containing trans fats, consume a low/moderate amount of saturated fat with more preference being given to poly/monounsaturated fats