We can work out long and hard, but if don’t supply our body with the nutrients that it needs to rebuild, we won’t be able to make the kind of progress that we are capable of.
It is said that “We are what we eat” and this is true. If we want a quality body, then we have to ingest quality foods to suppy the kinds of materials needed to build a healthy and energetic body. The basics include….
Protein: This is the building blocks of the body. Our tissues are made of protein. Good sources of protien include beef, pork, mutton, poultry, and fish. All types of meat are good protein, but so far as fat content goes, the less legs the better. In other words fish is best, poultry next, followed by four legged animals. Other good sources of protein are dairy products such as milk, yogurt (greek style is higher in protein), cottage cheese, and other cheeses. Nuts, eggs, and beans (including peanut butter) are also good sources of protein. You should have 3-4 serving daily.
Carbohydrates: There are two types of carbohydrates, simple and complex. Simple carbs are high in sugar like sodas, candy, cookies, and cake…etc. These deliver quick energy, but then there is a quick insulin rebound which results in lower energy after 20-30 minutes. Your blood sugar drop and you will feel sluggish and lethargic. Over use of simple carbs also is a cause of type II diabetes as the years go by. It is like burning newspaper. It will make a quick large flame, then burnout leaving only ashes. You can’t cook or stay warm with a paper fire.
Complex carbs are vegetables, fruits, and whole grain products. These supply long lasting energy, like a log fire which burns for hours and leaves hot coals behind. You should eat 4-6 servings a day of complex carbs. You don’t have to eliminate simple carbs altogether, but don’t let them be your main source of energy.
Fat: Like carbs, there are two types of fats, saturated and unsaturated. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature like the fat on a steak or pork chop. Butter and cream are also saturated fats. Use these very sparingly as this type of fat clogs your arteries and causes health problems like heart disease.
Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature like vegetable oils, and fish oils. These are healthy forms of energy and fight inflammation and promote joint and skin health. Learn to cook food in unsaturated oils. Trim off excess fat from meat.
Water: Often we don’t think of water as a nutrient, but our bodies are over 60% water. It is essential for transporting and regualting nutrient use in our bodies. Poor hydration leads to head aches and dizziness, muscle injuries, cramping, and low energy. Try drinking 2 quarts or more daily and see how much better you feel.
Vitamins and Minerals: These are chemical substances that naturally occur in natural foods. They are refered to as micro nutrients as they are needed in only small amounts. If you are eating a balanced and healthy diet you are likely getting sufficient vitamins and minerals. A one a day type multi vitamin mineral tablet can give extra insurance. Ingesting excess vitamins and minerals has no advantage. Just as a truck with a full tank of gas will peform as well as a half tank or quarter tank.
Supplements are as the name indicates, supplemental, or in addition to, a good diet. The supplement industry is a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States. They try very hard to market their products as essential. A poor diet plus expensive supplements will still result in poor performance. Spend your money on good food first. Supplements can have value when someone’s schedule is so busy that they don’t get regular meals. They can help fill the gaps, but are not magic formulas. Focus first on eating whole foods and getting adequate servings of the basic nutrients through real food.