Nutrition advice can be varied and confusing, even if you’re not one of the 1 in 6 people globally affected by infertility. There is enough pressure on women’s bodies these days (and historically, for that matter), to drive anybody a little bananas. Add to that the increase in differing advice on social media about the “right” things to do for optimal hormone health, and you have a recipe for a guaranteed headache.
The good news is, that nourishing your body doesn’t have to be difficult or confusing. When you want a simple way to track your body’s nourishment, you don’t even necessarily need to count calories. Calorie counting can be a slippery road for many of us. The good news is, for women, it’s less about calories and more about eating healthful, nutrient-dense foods and getting enough protein, among other macro (and micro) nutrients.
What are macronutrients?
Macronutrients are the nutrients that your body needs in large amounts, and they’re how you turn food into energy. There are three main types of macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Each of these makes up an important piece of the foundation to keep your body running smoothly.
While counting calories can tell you your energy intake, counting macronutrients, or “macros”, tells you how that energy works inside of your body. Maybe you’ve heard of tracking macros before. Maybe you, like many of us, have seen the phrase online and thought “Ugh, not another thing to keep track of.” But it can actually be incredibly simple and worth your time to make sure you’re giving your body the fuel it needs to thrive.
Whether you’re trying to conceive and want to make sure you’re eating an adequate amount of protein or managing an autoimmune condition, Cronometer is the most accurate and comprehensive health-tracking tool available. In addition to making sure you reach your daily macronutrient ratios, Cronometer provides detailed information on 82 micronutrients so you can keep an eye on all of the vitamins and minerals essential for living a healthy, energetic life. You can even remove calories from the app entirely, and log exercise, sleep, heart rate, and more.
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Why are macronutrients important for women’s health and fertility?
So, why are macro — and micronutrients — so important when it comes to women’s health and fertility?
The National Institutes of Health has found that poor intake of proteins and vitamins is associated with a reduction in reproductive performance. When a diet is regularly lacking in sufficient protein, it leads to an altered energy balance which is directly correlated to reduced ovulatory maturation in women (Think irregular menstrual cycles and impaired fertility).
If the concept of tracking macros — specifically, protein — brings to mind an Instagram algorithm filled with meal preps of boring grilled chicken, don’t worry: there are many ways to diversify your diet while still eating protein-rich, nutritious foods. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (the amount of a nutrient you need to meet your basic nutritional requirements), recommends that adults consume at least 0.36 grams per pound of body weight.
Some straightforward and uncomplicated examples of ways to mix up the protein sources in your diet are below, with each food giving you about 30 grams:
- Chicken Breast (4oz cooked)
- Chicken Thigh (4.5oz cooked)
- Turkey Breast (4oz cooked)
- Lean Ground Beef (4.5oz cooked)
- Sirloin Steak (4oz cooked)
- Salmon (4.5oz cooked)
- Shrimp (4.5oz cooked)
- Canned Light Tuna (5oz drained)
- Tilapia (5oz cooked)
- Eggs (4-5)
- Greek Yogurt (1.25 cup)
- Cottage Cheese (1.25 cup)
- Tofu - (6oz cooked)
- Black Beans (2 cup)
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How do you know how many macros your body needs?
Now, here’s the real kicker: Since everyone is different, how do you know how much of each macronutrient your body needs, specifically?
With Cronometer, your macronutrient targets by default are set to a ratio that fits within the acceptable ranges recommended in the Dietary Reference Intakes. However, if you’re looking to adjust these ratios, it’s simple to customize your targets for protein, carbohydrates, and fat. This means that if you’re following a specific diet, or looking to meet the ratios recommended by your doctor or care team, you can easily customize your experience in the app to fit your personal health goals.
If you’re looking to further enhance your nutrition tracking experience, Cronometer’s Gold Subscription allows you to create templates with different macro targets, making it easier to plan for your cheat days. It also offers valuable health reports and charts, including nutrition scores that focus specifically on women’s health, including the nutrients that women are typically lacking such as iron, magnesium, calcium, vitamin D, and fiber. Think of it as a quick snapshot giving you a percentage of how well you’re hitting your targets for each of these nutrients. And if you do become pregnant, you can indicate this in your profile and your targets will adjust accordingly. Because women’s health is not one-size-fits-all.
is a library worker and writer who lives in Arizona with her daughter, husband, and their dog, Peaches.