NUTRITIONAL ADVICE FOR SPORTS
Nutrition is a very personal thing to each individual, with different people requiring/wanting different ratio amount of the macro nutrients. As a general rule of thumb “avoid sugars and processed food, eat whole foods especially greens, vegetables, lean meats, nuts and seeds and limit starchy carbs based on your weight goals and activity levels”
Water is the most important nutrient, just a 2% drop in water can impair coordination, slow thinking, reduce strength, stamina and cause cramping. Regular water consumption has many health benefits including, healthier skin, teeth, bones, mind, digestive system and will help to ensure optimum performance weather in sport or just in life.
When to drink, if you are thirsty you are probably already dehydrated, water consumption varies greatly from person to person with variables like climate and activity playing a big part. Always drink before, during and after exercise, first thing in the morning to break your water fast also. A good test of hydration is the urine test, urine will be a light straw colour when hydrated. Caffeine alcohol and large amounts of vitamins and minerals will effect hydration also.
Micro nutrients are vitamins and minerals found in a variety of plant and animal products. These nutrients are essential to a healthy life and deficiency has major health implications. Fruits and vegetables are nutrient dense with low calories, “5 a day” is a minimum for disease avoidance and everyone should to strive to have a complete and varied diet and surpass 5 a day.
Macronutrients are where our energy comes from, fat, Carbohydrates and protein which contain 9,4,4 calories per gram respectively. Fats have had a bad time over recent years about obesity, however science now suggest sugar to be a worse cause of weight gain and disease. Fat is also essential for the absorption of vitamins A,D,E and K. Fat is found in meat, poultry, nuts, milk products, butters and margarines, oils, lard, fish, grain products and salad dressings. There are three main types of fat, saturated fat, unsaturated fat, and trans fat. Saturated fat (found in foods like meat, butter, lard, and cream) and trans fat (found in baked goods, snack foods, fried foods, and margarines) have been shown to increase your risk for heart disease.
Replacing saturated and trans fat in your diet with unsaturated fat (found in foods like olive oil, avocados, nuts, and canola oil) has been shown decrease the risk of developing heart disease. Proteins are required for the repair and rebuild of our body after illness and exercise, proteins also help in hormone production, When we eat these types of foods, our body breaks down the protein that they contain into amino acids (the building blocks of proteins). Some amino acids are essential which means that we need to get them from our diet, and others are nonessential which means that our body can make them. Protein that comes from animal sources contains all of the essential amino acids that we need.
Plant sources of protein, on the other hand, do not contain all of the essential amino acids. Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of fuel. Carbohydrates are easily used by the body for energy, they are made up from sugars and if consumed to excess are a significant contributor to weight gain. Refined processed carbs as sugar should be avoided whenever possible, they not only lead to weight gain but contribute massively to many health problems such as diabetes, and heart disease. Fibre refers to certain types of carbohydrates that our body cannot digest. These carbohydrates pass through the intestinal tract intact and help to move waste out of the body. Diets that are low in fiber have been shown to cause problems such as constipation and hemorrhoids and to increase the risk for certain types of cancers such as colon cancer. Diets high in fiber; however, have been shown to decrease risks for heart disease, obesity, and they help lower cholesterol. Foods high in fiber include fruits, vegetables, and whole grain products.