A Lowdown on Nutrition
A body full of nutrients feels less sluggish, burns fat more effectively and doesn’t feel as hungry. Why would you not want to nourish yourself in this way?
A crucial component of any healthy eating plan is the inclusion of lean protein -essential for any weight loss plan, recovery after exercise and for maintaining lean muscle mass. Protein is an essential nutrient for everybody but particularly important for those who do weight training or endurance events, generally speaking the more sport or exercise you do the more protein your body requires.
Protein can be found in bones, muscles, skin, blood, hair and hormones. They basically function as the body’s building blocks helping cells, tissues and muscles to re-build, grow and repair. It even makes the haemoglobin that carries oxygen in your blood and enzymes that power chemical reactions in your body. Proteins are made up of twenty amino acids – eight of these are classed as “essential” and cannot be made by the body so need to come from food. Animal sources of protein such as lean meat and eggs tend to deliver all of the amino acids that we need and are therefore considered to be particularly valuable sources of protein especially after exercise. Whereas protein sources such as fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds, lack one or more essential amino acids so not providing the complete picture.
Lean protein is essential as part of overall balanced diet as proteins high in saturated fat like fatty meat can cause health problems such as cardio vascular disease and high cholesterol – the type and quality of protein chosen has a direct impact on health. Good sources of protein include organic free-range chicken, beef or eggs, wild salmon and prawns.
Good Fats Vs Bad Fats
Another essential nutrient that often gets a bad press is fat however there are good fats and bad fats and unfortunately very often the bad fats such as trans fats found in nearly all processed food give all fats a bad reputation. The health affects of these bad fats are highly publicised and knowingly detrimental. The fats than I am talking about are good, healthy fats, which should not be avoided and ideally should be included into every meal in moderation.
Monounsaturated fats are good fats mainly found in amazing foods like nuts, avocado and olive oil, meat, fish and seafood. These and polyunsaturated fats increase energy, help to lower bad cholesterol and aid weight loss, basically by increasing your metabolism. Good fats banish cravings by telling your brain when you are full and stabilises blood sugar levels by slowing the rate that sugar hits the bloodstream. This helps control energy, reduce fatigue and boost concentration. Good fats also help directly to burn fat from your midline. Essential fatty acids like those found in wild fresh salmon (oily fish) moves fat from cells into blood stream so they can be removed from body. If you need any more convincing good fat also improves absorption of vitamins and minerals, improves quality of hair, nails and skin, and cushions/lubricates joints protecting from wear and tear.
Good Carbohydrates Vs Bad Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are the body’s main energy source. The heart, brain, kidneys and muscles amongst other organs all need carbohydrates to fuel them. When you eat carbohydrates, the enzyme amylase converts them into glucose, which is used by the body to power all systems. Excess carbohydrates can be stored in the liver and muscles and if not used converted to fat. Like fats there are good “complex” carbohydrates and bad “simple” carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are rich in complex carbohydrates and fibre such as whole grains. They cause a slower change in blood sugar levels giving a low glycaemic index, reducing risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and helping with weight control/loss. Simple carbohydrates such as foods containing refined sugar have no nutritional value, are high in calories and cause a rapid rise in blood glucose levels which has a short lived effect and leaves you exhausted and hungry again.
Refined sugar is largely responsible for the obesity epidemic, making us unwell, causing premature ageing and poor health.
I hope that some of these points have provided you with things to think about. You only get one body and one life so you will help yourself significantly if you choose lean protein, good fats and carbohydrates.