Nutrition For Active People
* Please note that these recommendations are for the generally healthy adult with no pre existing health conditions. If you have any medical concerns please consult with your physician, dietician or nutritionist.
There are 3 nutrients that make up the food we eat: Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fats. Proper balance of these nutrients in combination with adequate water intake can affect how you feel, how you lose weight, and how efficient you are during physical activity.
What are they? Fruits, vegetables, grains, cereals, legumes are all carbohydrates. There are 2 main groups; complex and simple carbohydrates. Refined foods (made with sugar and white flour) and fruits are classified as simple carbohydrates. Vegetables, grains, legumes etc. are considered complex carbohydrates some of which are high in fibre.
How much do you need? The amount of carbohydrates that you need can vary depending on the person (weight, activity level, goals). Most of us tend to be “carb hogs” and consume too much on a daily basis. Choosing foods high in fibre can leave you feeling full and then you are less likely to overload on breads, pasta, etc.
Why is protein important? Proteins help to rebuild and repair various tissues in the body as well as provide energy during extensive and endurance activities. Maintaining an adequate amount of protein is essential in preventing the body from breaking down its own muscle tissue for metabolic activities. A constant supply of protein must be taken in, in order to preserve lean body mass (the more lean body mass you have-the better).
How much do you need? To keep the lean body mass that you already have a general rule of thumb is to have .6gms of protein per pound of body weight (for light jogging or fitness training). This can change depending on the activity you do and how much you do. So what does that mean? A 140lb woman would then need 84gms of protein a day. This would look like: a chicken breast, 1 can tuna, 2 eggs, 1 cup baked beans. Seem like a lot? Chances are most women don´t even eat that much food in a day, let alone in just foods high in protein! Many people choose to buy protein shakes to help out with meeting their daily protein requirements. For a 160lb man you would be looking at 96gms of protein.
Fat gets a bad rap! Fat is a nutrient that is needed for vitamin and mineral storage and hormone production. We need fat in our diet to maintain proper health. How much do you need? Again, that can depend on the person and their activity level and what their goals are. A diet that has a higher amount of essential fatty acids, mono and polyunsaturated fats (vegetable fats and fish) is better than one which is mainly saturated fat (beef, dairy, pork, chicken). No less than 10 gms of fat per day and no more than 40-50gms per day for maintenance of weight (based on 2000kcal/day).
Essential Fatty Acids (omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids): Good for maintenance of proper brain and nervous system function, formation of healthy skin, hair and wound healing, and reduction of the time required for recovery of fatigued muscles after exercise. These can be found in flax, fish and fish oils or you can supplement with fish oil tablets or Udos Choice Oil. These are the good fats!
It is always best to try and achieve a balanced diet and hope that you meet all the necessary vitamin and mineral requirements. However, soil conditions, length of time before fruits and veggies get to our table, our lifestyle (smoking drinking, medications, etc) and our busy schedules can hinder this process. Vitamin and mineral supplements are pretty standard as well as B-Complex, and Calcium/Magnesium supplements. Although the bottle may say to take with food, when you do, only 8% is actually absorbed. If you can stomach it, take your supplements either 1.5 hours before or after you eat. Never take your vitamins with your coffee or tea! Take your vitamins and minerals regularly to get the best benefit.Calcium: Preferred Daily Intake (PDI) for a healthy adult who is actively training ¯ 1200 mg to 2600 mg (based on size and activity level). Sources in supplement form: calcium carbonate, calcium citrate, calcium malate, and calcium glycinate. Sources from food: all dairy, broccoli, kale, spinach, collards, oysters, shrimp, clams, and salmon. Magnesium: Preferred Daily Intake (PDI) for a healthy adult who is actively training ¯ 400 mg to 800 mg (based on size and activity level). Sources in supplement form: magnesium oxide, magnesium carbonate, and magnesium glycinate. Should be present with Calcium in a 1:2 ratio. Sources from food: fruit, oats, legumes, nuts, whole grains, and green vegetables. Zinc: Preferred Daily Intake (PDI) for a healthy man or woman who is actively training-15-60mg (based on size and activity level). Zinc is considered a healing nutrient and one of the prime contributors to male fertility. It plays a part in growth and testosterone production as well as prostate gland function. Zinc also is useful for overall health and performance as it helps to repair muscle tissue to meet the recovery demands of training. Sources in supplement form: zinc citrate and zinc arginate (preferred sources). Sources from food: eggs, seafood, liver, meat, and whole grains.