As a 12-year-old with about 20kg of extra “puppy” fat, I was not the poster-boy for optimal nutrition.
The tides have changed and even though I’m still not a poster-boy, I’ve learned some valuable nutritional practices. These have help me achieve whatever has been placed on my heart to do beyond any limitations I had set myself.
In order for our bodies to function properly and stay healthy, it is important that we follow a good nutritious diet. Foods are made up of 6 classes of nutrients. These nutrients are macro-nutrients (protein, carbohydrates, fats), micro-nutrients (vitamins and minerals) and water. If you neglect to have the right combination of these 6 items, it will be very difficult to live a healthy lifestyle and achieve your weight loss goals!
If you have read any of my articles, you will see how I place such a big emphasis on the 3 macro-nutrients as they are the backbone to achieving your weight loss or fitness goals! With that being said, I will give you a brief description of the 6 classes of nutrients and explain why they are essential to live a healthy lifestyle.
Good Nutrition Provides The Building Blocks of Muscle
When you eat foods that contain protein, they are broken down in the body as amino acids. These amino acids are then used to build and repair any muscle tissue. This is great for those who are physically active or exercise regularly. This means you will be able to recover at a faster rate than if you were not to consume protein. Every tissue in your body is made up of protein and it is important to consume enough through your diet to replenish it. Protein is also needed to help your immune and nervous system.
Good Nutrition Provides Energy
The analogy I think of when discussing nutrition and our bodies is that of a race car. You need to put fuel in it every so often, change the oil and get new tires in order to maintain optimal performance. If you fail to do these things, eventually your body will break down and be worthless. However, if the right steps are taken, you will be well on your way to living a healthy lifestyle and reaping the benefits that come with this.
Foods such as carbohydrates give you energy to function properly throughout your day. In fact, muscle glycogen is an important element to helping you maintain your energy levels throughout your day. When carbs are ingested your pancreas releases a hormone called insulin. Insulin helps the carbs to be stored in the muscles or as fat. Stored carbs in the body are also known as glycogen. Glycogen (stored carbohydrates) is important to have in your body before working out. They will be an energy supply and not only enable you to achieve better fat loss results, but also help your overall physique.
Good Nutrition and Fats?
One of the most common dieting myths is that fats will make you fat. First and Foremost, without fats you will not be able to survive. They are one of the three macronutrients. Stored fats are our main source of energy.
Fats yield 9 calories per gram. They also help to keep our body warm during cold weather. Fats lubricate joints which in terms, keeps your muscles loose and mobile for better workouts. Fats are also a dwelling spot for fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K. These vitamins are stored in our body’s fat and can become toxic if too much is taken.
The common misconception I see is that most people do not know the difference between saturated fats, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. For more information, check out my Truth About Fats Article.
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins and minerals are important nutrients our bodies need in order to not only function properly but also allow chemical reactions to occur at a faster rate. They are needed just like the 3 macronutrients, however only in small amounts. B-complex vitamins provide a great health benefit as they help to further break down carbohydrates which in terms will give you energy. While you do obtain vitamins and minerals from certain foods you eat, they usually are not enough to maintain a healthy lifestyle and weight loss goals!
Don’t Forget Your Water
One of the main problems I see with people who are unhealthy or overweight is that they do not drink enough water on a daily basis. Instead, they substitute it for sodas and other drinks that are high in sugar. Water composes about 65% of the human body. It is needed in order for our bodies to survive. Water is just as important as eating a healthy diet. It can also act as a detox and cleanse your body.
While exercising, water acts as a cooling agent and helps prevent any overheating. I suggest drinking your body weight x .66 to get the amount of ounces to drink on a daily basis. For example, if you weight 200 lbs., you would want to drink (200 x .66) = 132 ounces of water.
At the end of the day, what you put in is what you get out. Now that you’re clued-up, how are you going to put this information to good (or great!) use?
Jarryd from Actualise