7. Understand Macronutrients

Nutrients are grouped into six different categories: carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water. Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are called macronutrients because we need larger amounts of them in our diet. Some foods consist of one, two, or all three of these macronutrients. Even though each macronutrient has a particular function in the body, they work in partnership for good health. Our bodies need all three macronutrients to function properly, but we don’t need them in equal amounts. Some evidence suggests that a diet with macronutrients in the wrong proportions is a risk factor for diseases like coronary heart disease and certain cancers. Achieving the right balance, quantity, and quality of macronutrients will keep your body healthy and your metabolism functioning at its peak capacity.

8. Understand Micronutrients

A healthy diet consists not only of optimal portions of macronutrients (food) but also recommended levels of essential micronutrients. Micro-nutrients include vitamins and minerals. Vitamins are called “micro”nutrients because they are needed only in small amounts to do their jobs properly. Don’t let the “micro” fool you, though; good things come in small packages! The micronutrients are just as essential as the macronutrients in helping to keep your metabolism functioning at a high level.

9. Understand Simple Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates, sometimes called carbs, fuel our brain and muscles and supply us with quick energy. Each gram contains 4 calories, and there are two types of carbohydrates: simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates are sugars—including glucose, sucrose, lactose, galactose, maltose, and fructose—and are found in refined sugar, fruits, milk, and yogurt. Most of your simple carbohydrate choices should come from fruits and dairy products, which also contain vitamins, minerals, and fiber and are guaranteed to help your metabolism soar!

10. Understand Complex Carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates are long chains of molecules that are chemically more complex than simple carbohydrates. They are also considered to be more healthful because they are digested more slowly than simple carbohydrates, provide the body with a deeper pool of energy, and may include fiber. Look for high-fiber complex carbohydrates in such foods as beans, nuts, vegetables, and whole grains.

11. Eat More Complex Carbohydrates

If you crave carbohydrates, you should reach for a complex carbohydrate instead of a simple one. This is because complex carbs take longer to break down into absorbable sugars. In addition, some complex carbohydrates have the benefit of being high in fiber which helps you stay full longer, and they are usually low in calories and fat. After being processed, complex carbohydrates are stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen until they are needed. Good sources of complex carbs include nuts, vegetables, beans, whole grains, and whole-wheat or brown rice pasta. Stay away from unhealthier versions like white pasta and white bread.

12. Get Those Radicals under Control

A free radical is an unstable molecule that is formed when molecules within the body’s cells react with oxygen. It is unstable because it has an unpaired electron that steals a stabilizing electron from another molecule, potentially causing cell and DNA damage. Free radicals age your body—and slow your metabolism. In fact, your metabolic process causes free radicals, but there are also external sources such as pollution.

Antioxidants are vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, selenium, vitamin C, and vitamin E that neutralize free radicals. If there aren’t enough antioxidants available, excess free radicals begin to damage and destroy normal healthy cells, leading to degenerative diseases and a slow metabolism. Free radicals can damage any body structure by affecting proteins, enzymes, fats, and even DNA. They are implicated in more than sixty different health conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, and cancer. Vitamins C and E are natural antioxidants that may clean up roving free radicals before they can inflict damage; obtaining them from eating a varied, balanced, healthy diet is crucial.

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