Nutrition Tips for Better Fitness
Avoid exercising on an empty stomach. While some people get cramps if they exercise too soon, eating something very small about an hour before your workout shouldn’t cause cramps. A small snack will improve your workout performance because it will provide you with the glucose needed to fuel your workouts.
|Nutrition Tips for Better Fitness|
If your workout is just a short stay at the gym, then you shouldn’t need any food during your workout. But if you are going on a 4-hour hiking trip, be sure to pack some high carbohydrate snacks to bring your energy level back to par. Raisins, or energy bars are great suggestions. Fluid is another story, however. You need to drink 4-8 ounces every 10-15 minutes during your workout to stay hydrated.
Try eating within 15 to 30 minutes after your workout to replenish your glycogen stores so that muscle repair and fat metabolism may occur. A snack or meal mixed of carbs, protein, and a little fat is a good choice post workout.
Carbs should make up between 55-65% of your daily diet. If you exercise for more than an hour every day then you should consume a higher end of 65%. If you workout every other day, then you should stay at the low to middle end of 55-60%. What should you eat? You should focus on complex carbs and natural simple sugars, rather than refined sugars. Basically, that means you should try to avoid the processed carbs, and stick to foods as close to their natural state as possible. Choose an orange over orange juice, or whole grain bread over white bread. Breads, cereal, and pasta are all great choices, but try to stick with the whole grain options.
Carbohydrates provide our bodies with short bursts of quick energy. When we eat a carbohydrate, it is immediately converted to glucose, and our bodies release insulin to “help” the glucose get to where it is needed (working muscles). Glucose also fuels all of our brain functions. Each cell in our body gets a little bit of glucose after we eat a carbohydrate. The glucose is then stored as glycogen. When we are in need of energy, the body will first burn glucose which burns off very quickly, however, because there is so little of it in each cell. So include ample carbohydrates in your daily diet!
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Eating too many carbohydrates may elevate blood levels of triglycerides, blood fats that are thought to increase heart disease risk. However, if you do occasionally eat too many carbs, a recent study revealed that daily moderate exercise can thwart the increase in triglycerides that usually results.
Protein is essential in the diet, but most people consume far more than needed. Protein builds and repairs muscle tissue, tendons, and ligaments; synthesizes hormones and enzymes; and is also important for the transport of fluids. If your body does not have adequate carbohydrate stores, it will use protein as an energy source, but that is not its primary function. The body prefers to use glucose instead, reserving protein for the functions listed above.
Just like a carbohydrate, protein has 4 calories per gram. Proteins are made of 20 different amino acids, 9 of which the body cannot produce on its own. You need protein in your diet for these essential amino acids. The recommended protein intake for an adult is: 0.4 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
If you’ve been hesitant about trying tofu in the past, it may be time to give it a go. Eating more tofu and less meat could be good for your heart. In a recent study, two groups of people ate similar diets, but the participants in one group ate 290 grams (about a cup) of tofu per day while the participants in the other group ate 150 grams of lean meat per day. After one month, the tofu group had significantly lower total cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Lower blood-fat levels could translate into lower heart disease risk over time.
Fight Heart Disease and Cancer with Soy Antioxidants includes a delicious antioxidant-rich, cholesterol-free, heart-healthy and cancer preventing salad dressing recipe made from tofu.
Don’t buy into the the “energy bar” hype for their special powers. Just because they have more like 30% protein instead of the average “less than 20%” doesn’t mean that you couldn’t get the same thing from other smart snacking. What is very beneficial is their portability. Buy them for convenience, not the suggested advantage that their advertisement wants you to believe.
Many people ignore nuts as a nutritious snack because of their high fat content. Indeed, approximately 75 percent of a nut’s calories come from fat, but most of that fat is the heart healthy monounsaturated kind. Nuts also pack a wallop of protein: a one-ounce serving of peanuts has about as much protein as a glass of milk. Many nuts also provide valuable fiber, vitamin E, the B vitamins folic acid and niacin, and the minerals zinc, copper and magnesium.
A few spoonfuls of flaxseed every day may have prostate-protective powers. In a small study of men with prostate cancer, participants who followed a low-fat diet that was supplemented with flaxseed appeared to have slower-growing tumors than men who did not follow the flaxseed diet. More research is needed to confirm the link, but in the meantime, adding flaxseed to your diet will boost your intake of fiber and healthy fats.
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Research suggests that diets high in vitamin E-rich foods, such as
sweet potatoes, may be associated with a reduced risk of the artery disease atherosclerosis. In one study, the neck arteries of women who had the highest dietary intake of vitamin E showed the fewest signs of atherosclerosis.
Consider adding leeks to your diet. Leeks are rich in allicin, an organosulfur compound that inhibits the growth of certain cancer cells, including breast, endometrial, and colon cancer cells. Leeks also contain calcium, iron, vitamin C, and fiber.
Are you getting enough fiber in your diet? The recommended intake of fiber per day is 25-35 grams, but most only get 10-15 grams. If you need a good reason to eat fiber, here it is: for every gram of fiber you eat, your body saves 7 calories in food! That means, if you do eat the recommended 35g per day, you can eat an extra 245 calories without gaining any weight! Or, if you are trying to lose weight, you can save 1715 calories per week, which results in a half a pound weight loss! Also, if you are trying to lose weight, fiber is bulky and low in fat, so you will feel fuller, longer!
Good sources of fiber include: barley, wheat and oat bran, apples, apricots, blueberries, many breads (read the label!), lentils, beans, baked potato with skin on. Ways to avoid getting fiber include: processed foods, fiber pills, wheat crackers. While many products imply they are high in fiber, read the labels before you buy.
Recent research revealed that eating foods made from unrefined (or whole) grains may reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In the study, men with the highest whole grain intake were much less likely to develop the condition compared to men with the lowest intake of whole grains.
Saturated fats are the BAD fats. Saturated fats are found in foods like meats, whole milk dairy products, and some oils like coconut, palm kernel, and sadly enough the cocoa fat in chocolate. Saturated fat increases your risk of heart disease, so it is important that you keep your saturated fats to less than 10% of your daily diet. By cutting your fats in total, you will usually cut your saturated fats as well.
Unsaturated fats are better, and they make up the remainder of the fat content in your foods. Vegetable foods, like oils, contain a larger proportion of unsaturated fats. There are monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, depending on how many points of the fat molecule have hydrogen attached. The important thing to remember is that saturated fats are the worst of the fats. Do beware of hydrogenated fats, however, as they are unsaturated fats that have hydrogen atoms attached to make them more resistant to going rancid. Hydrogenated fats should be avoided.
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If you have trouble consuming the recommended eight to ten 8-ounce glasses of water, try adding a little zest to your water by squeezing some fresh lemon or lime juice into it.
If you are a salad lover but find that they don’t keep you filled up, try adding some protein! A cut up grilled chicken breast can add just the right amount of protein, and it can be marinated, blackened, etc., to add some real punch to your salad. Don’t forget about good old nuts. You can add a tablespoon of chopped nuts to your salad for a dose of protein and healthy fat. But don’t add too many nuts, as they can add calories quick. A hard boiled egg is another good option. A single egg only has 5 grams of fat. Want more ideas to make your salads more interesting? How about adding some fruit to boost up the nutrition! Mandarin oranges, raisins, craisins, grapes and apple chunks are just a start!
Eat your greens! Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, and kale, have high levels of cancer-fighting compounds, but kale has the highest concentrations of vitamins A, C, and E.
Not only does broccoli contain calcium and iron, two essential minerals, but it is also high in vitamin C which is importating for healthy skin, teeth, bones, and gums and vitamin A which helps grow and maintain skin and hair.
A recent review of the eating habits of Mediterranean populations revealed that a high dietary intake of calcium was associated with a reduced risk of high blood pressure. Calcium-rich foods include dairy products as well as collard greens, spinach, kale, and green soybeans. A calcium supplement is another good way to meet your daily needs.
Researchers believe that the calcium in dairy products may play a protective role in warding off ovarian cancer. In a recent study, women who consumed the most calcium-rich dairy products, including low-fat and nonfat milk, had about half the risk of ovarian cancer that women who ate very little dairy had.
Try adding the Chinese cabbage bok choy to your diet. You’ll be get a healthy dose of compounds called indoles. According to research, these compounds may inhibit cancer, particularly breast cancer. Look for this leaf green cabbage in the produces aisle of your local grocery stores, or in Asian food stores.
Most pastas that fill your plate do little to fill your nutritional needs. Unless those noodles are soba. Soba noodles are made from a blend of wheat and buckwheat flours and have more nutrients than the typical white-flour noodles. In fact, several studies indicate that buckwheat boasts two cancer-fighting antioxidants, quercetin and rutin. Soba noodles also are a powerhouse of virtually fat-free protein.
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Nutritionists have changed their focus to study how athletes stay so healthy, and they have learned that sugar is not as bad as everyone thinks. When fit people eat sugar they don’t get an insulin rush. The sugar is turned into muscle glycogen for tomorrow’s run. An out-of-shape person who eats sugar, converts it to fat and stores it in the fat cells. Rather than eliminate all sugar from your diet, start a good solid exercise program and your body will be able to handle all nutrients better!
Eating a bowl of cereal in the morning is a great health habit, but don’t overindulge! Many people pour themselves almost twice the recommended serving size for their breakfast cereals which is a lot of extra calories. To balance your morning meal and add variety to your diet, eat the recommended serving size but add fresh fruit to your meal
Raspberries are a good source of ellagic acid, a compound believed to inhibit cancer growth. What’s more, research shows that the ellagic acid content of raspberries is mostly maintained when the berries are processed into jams or spreads.
Red plums are one of the best fruit sources of antioxidants, such as vitamins C and A. Plums are also a good source of fiber and potassium.
The little kiwifruit is the most nutrient-dense of all fruits, according to a study published in the Journal of American College of Nutrition. Kiwis are loaded with vitamin C and fiber, and they’re a decent source of potassium and vitamin E, too.
Did you know that tangerines contain beta-cryptoxanthin? This carotenoid is one of a group of antioxidants associated with improved respiratory health. Also, one medium tangerine also contains half of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.
Star fruit, also known as carambolas, are one of the lowest calorie ways to getting your fill of several important nutrients. Eating one large star fruit supplies you with 200 milligrams of potassium and a healthy dose of vitamins C and A. A star fruit contains only about 40 calories.
Quince are a tart and tangy pear-like fruit that can be chopped up and cooked with applesauce, made into jams and jellies, or poached and drizzled with yogurt and honey. Best of all, they contain anti-aging nutrients, such as caffeoylquinic acids, which may help keep arteries healthy.
Eat a generous portion of strawberries, watermelon, grapefruit, pineapple, papaya, lemons, limes, oranges, apples or grapes first thing in the morning. Then wait two hours before eating a fat burning breakfast. The two-hour waiting period allows your body time to digest the fruit, which speeds up digestion to help you burn more calories during breakfast. Two hours after eating fruit, try one of these low-fat breakfast ideas:
1 toasted bagel with a little jelly or lightly buttered
slices of whole wheat toast, lightly buttered
1 toasted English Muffin, lightly buttered
1 slice of cheese on toast
1 low fat muffin
1 hard roll, lightly buttered
5 rye crackers and a slice of cheese
2 egg omelets and 1 slice of toast
2 scrambled eggs with 1 slice of bacon
1 cup of oatmeal with skim milk and honey
1 cup of corn flakes with skim milk