Minding your health means monitoring the composition of the food on your plate, among other things. When it comes to healthy eating, you need to understand which nutrients to ingest and how to balance the macro and micronutrients. A well-balanced diet of protein, good carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals can improve overall health and help manage existing health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Your dietary routine will depend on how you'd like to improve your health. If you practice fitness, your meals, snacks, and their time of consumption need to be specifically tuned to your fitness plan. Understanding the link between food, nutrition, and fitness is the first step to eat right and be fit.
Nutrition and Fitness
Nutrition and fitness go hand in hand. Fitness is physically demanding, and your body requires proper food to endure its intensity. Think about it. If you’re an athlete and consume multiple inadequate meals a day, what will fuel you throughout your exercise and help you recover afterward? Good fitness plans must include proper nutrition regimens and recipes based on healthy foods. These foods, also known as fitness foods, are rich in protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats, also known as macronutrients.
Protein is essential because it repairs muscle cells after an intense workout to aid in muscle growth. The recommended daily protein intake depends on your fitness activity, but values vary from 0.8 to 0.2 grams per kilogram. Lean protein is best to have because it's low in fat and cholesterol.
You can find lean protein in white chicken and turkey meat, lean pork or beef, eggs, and white fish. Legumes, seafood, nuts, seeds, and tofu are foods rich in lean protein as well.
Carbohydrates make 45-65% of your recommended daily calories. They boost your energy levels during exercise and aid post-exercise muscle recovery. When you consume carbs, your body breaks them down to sugars. These sugars are either used right away or stored for later. When exercising for 60 minutes or less, boost your athletic performance with simple carbs. During longer fitness sessions, treat yourself with complex carbs present in quinoa, whole grains, legumes, or sweet potatoes. Furthermore, you can also try figs, apples, blueberries, and leafy greens.
Fats are highly important for metabolism and, like protein and carbohydrates, help your muscles repair after exercise. These calorie-rich macronutrients fuel the muscles and are a steady source of energy. For athletes, 20-30% of the recommended daily calorie intake belongs to fats. These fats come from foods rich in mono and poly-unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids. Avocado, salmon, dark chocolate, Greek yogurt, nuts, seeds, and olives are among foods that contain healthy fats.
If you're wondering how best to meet your fitness goals with the help of nutrition, these fit facts and tips will help:
Try nutrient timing and see if it works for you. By doing this, you'll fuel yourself with the right nutrients at the correct periods of your exercise routine. Elite athletes find this method beneficial in improving their energy levels during exercise, boosting their metabolism, improving nutrient partition, decreasing recovery time, and bringing them closer to their fitness goals in less time. If you decide to try nutrient timing, you'll need to consume carbs before, during, and after exercise.
Understand how nutrient timing translates into actual meals and snacks. Eat bananas, apples, berries, oatmeal, and vegetables for carbs 1-4 hours before you exercise. Combine these with peanut butter, yogurt, and chicken thighs for a protein boost. Drink water throughout your fitness session. Snack on a granola bar or drink a sports drink if you exercise more than 90 minutes. Sweet potatoes, pasta, yogurt, fruits and veggies, poultry, and whole-grains are good to eat when you're done exercising.
Choose a diet that fits your training type and intensity. Bodybuilders, for example, eat lots of protein per body weight (from 1.2 to 3.1 g/kg) to gain muscle mass and avoid fats. For exercising and aerobics, carbs and fats are essential. Marathon runners mostly need complex carbs, but they also need fats and plenty of water and fluids.
Make a plan about what you're going to eat ahead of time. You can go with a weekly plan or a plan every three days. Choose what works for you, plan which foods to buy, when to buy them, and how to use them in your meals.
Journal about the food you eat to track your progress and gradually improve your diet plan. If you're not a fan of notebooks and pencils, you could try fitness apps. With MyFitnessPal, for example, you can easily journal about your food and nutrition intake. Apps like these will also help you count your calories.
Cutting down on too many calories won't make you effectively lose weight and get fit. Diets that will restrict your daily caloric intake are mostly useless and will only deprive you of energy and essential nutrients. In general, women need around 1800 and men around 2500 calories when trying to lose weight, but this can vary from person to person.
Find out which foods help you achieve your goals best and tweak your diet if necessary. Your dietary choices shouldn't follow strict textbook examples. If the food you're eating doesn't bring you closer to your desired health goals, looks, or performance, it's best to try something new. If you deem it necessary, you could make a change by introducing sports supplements to your diet.
Benefits of a Healthier Diet
Once you start eating healthy, you begin to avoid the infamous processed foods. Instead, you start eating foods that can boost your immune system and improve overall health. Due to essential macronutrients, and vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that reduce inflammation, healthy foods can even help you live longer!
Fiber-rich foods like fruits, veggies, whole grains, and legumes keep you full for longer, which is vital if your goal is weight loss. If you want to gain weight, however, nuts and seeds are an excellent choice for you. Furthermore, together with probiotics found in yogurt, kombucha, and kefir, fiber also improves gut health and digestion. This macronutrient might reduce inflammation in the gut and protect the useful bacteria.
A healthy diet and good nutrition may also reduce your risk of certain diseases and other medical problems. Vitamins A, C, and E and phytochemicals found in plants like veggies, legumes, and fruits may reduce your risk of cancer. Avoiding saturated and trans fats, salt, and sugar can also help you manage diabetes and prevent heart-related diseases.
Vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish, nuts, and seeds are beneficial for blood pressure, blood glucose, and cholesterol regulation. Consuming these vitamins may lower the risk of arterial plaque, strokes, and dementia.
Nuts, seeds, oily fish, soy foods, fortified cereals, and dark green vegetables are rich in calcium and magnesium, which can strengthen your bones and teeth. This is crucial for preventing and managing osteoporosis.
Other benefits of a healthier diet include improved mood due to the avoidance of refined sugars, along with healthier-looking hair and acne-free skin.
Healthier diets have a positive impact on your sleep as well. By staying away from alcohol and caffeine, you can expect to sleep peacefully at night and have enough energy throughout the day.
Productivity is closely related to your energy levels, which are closely related to good food and nutrition. By finding the right diet for you, you've already made a step away from risks of digestive problems and malnourishment that can leave you feeling tired.
There is no better way to help your children stay healthy and teach them good eating habits than by praising the benefits of healthy food and nutrition yourself. You are your children's role model, a superhero who can show them how to protect their health. During each meal, your healthy eating habits become your children's. The food you eat as a family is, therefore, very important.
Importance of Good Nutrition
Nutrition is intertwined with your fitness goals, habits, and life choices. Since taking care of your health can include exercising, chiropractic care, and healthy eating habits, nutrition can help you improve your body’s overall condition and recover faster from a disease or an injury.
"You are what you eat" are not just empty words, but a truth backed by experts. Once you eat something, your cells use the nutrients in the food for your body to function. That said, eating healthy means a healthier and better performing you.
Your food needs and sensitivities are the basis of your diet plan. If you want to improve your diet, talk to a nutritionist and see what they have to say. One of their suggestions might include taking a Zyto Scan to identify your body's nutritional needs. Whatever your nutritionist recommends, listen to their advice on proper nutrition to improve health and achieve your health and fitness goals.