Nutrition Tips: Beyond MacrosSeptember 25, 2021 2023-11-22 8:05
Nutrition Tips: Beyond Macros
Nutrition Tips: Beyond Macros
When creating menu plans for our clients, we often focus on macronutrients (protein, fats, & carbohydrates) when in addition, we should be considering what combination of foods and nutrients will provide our clients with their best overall outcomes, including healthy digestion and mitigating risk for disease. So, beyond macros, it is important to consider the composition of the menu. You might want to ask yourself questions such as does it contain the beneficial number of fruits and vegetables, are whole grains included, are there nuts and seeds? Part of our role as Nutrition or Health Coaches is to educate our clients as to why we are including certain items in their individualized menu recommendations. Empowering clients with this knowledge helps them to make better choices for their own nutrition going forward.
In this blog we will touch on some other important factors to be thinking about when creating individualized meal plans and making dietary recommendations including “eating the rainbow” micronutrients, digestive health, and more!
Digestion - You Are What You Absorb!
It might be assumed that if food is chewed and swallowed, most of the nutrients the food provides will be absorbed by the body and used accordingly. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Simply eating nutritious food doesn’t make a person healthy. Eating your veggies is one thing; knowing that the vegetables are fully broken down and processed by your digestive system is another thing entirely! For nutrients to be well-absorbed, the digestive system must be functioning optimally all the way from the mouth to the end of the large intestine.
Digestion, therefore, is the cornerstone of health. In other words, you aren’t just what you eat – you are what you absorb!
Prior to starting with a whole new menu plan – it may be time to check in with your client to see if they have healthy eating habits such as not eating on the run or in front of the TV, that they are in a relaxed state, and ensure that they chew their food optimally! Anyone with signs of digestive distress such as IBS, constipation, or heart burn may be showing symptoms of issues in this area and this might be the place to start!
Eating the rainbow!
Did you know that to help support our health we should be eating more than 30 different vegetables each week? That doesn’t just mean a mix of peppers, cucumber, and potatoes either! The variety of the foods that we eat matters.
Micronutrients & phytonutrients aren’t often spoken about when we start thinking about what to eat. However, micronutrients – vitamins and minerals – are needed in smaller quantities than macronutrients, but they are just as important. Micronutrients work in tandem with macronutrients to keep the body functioning. they are crucial for maintaining energy levels, metabolism, cellular function, and physical & mental wellbeing.
In a recent meta-analysis published in PubMed, a correlation between the amount of fruits and vegetables, grains, and nuts (where a lot of micronutrients/phytonutrients can be found) consumed daily and the RR (resistance rate) to chronic diseases such as cancer, stroke, coronary heart disease and other chronic illness was found to be linear, in other words, the more consumed up to a certain amount, the more benefits and disease resistance was demonstrated. The authors of the meta-analysis showed that fruits and vegetables (including legumes) consumed in amounts from 200 grams per day up to 800 grams per day had an inverse correlation with those chronic diseases. (80 grams equals one serving, example ½ cup of blueberries). So, with as little as 2 to 3 servings of fruits and vegetables benefits are seen, although the most benefits were seen at 800 grams daily (10 servings), after which the benefits were non-linear.
Eliminating Food Groups
There is a lot of talk in the Health Coaching and Fitness industry that in order to lose weight or repair a certain health concern, that eliminating food groups may be beneficial to health.
Eliminating certain food groups, for example, all grains, unless for specific health reasons, allergies, or sensitivities, may be detrimental to our overall health as whole grains have been shown to provide so many health benefits. For example, beta glucan in oatmeal and grains is a large source of B vitamins.
It is more likely that someone is already in a state of depletion given the way our food is grown, the stressful lifestyles we live, and not making sure we are taking care of ourselves.
We suggest that you ADD foods back into the diet before taking them away (unless like we said, there is a health reason for it.). Start by nourishing the body, before taking away from it!
Want to learn more about Digestive Health & The Microbiome?
Digestive Health is a vast topic that is ever changing as the research deepens. However, one this is certain, it does directly impact our wellbeing and health. If you have noticed that clients are coming to you with digestive issues or inflammatory health concerns such as autoimmune issues, diabetes, cardiovascular issues etc, it may be time to learn more about the microbiome and digestion.