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Nutrition plan for physically active lifestyle

Most people consider the foods that must be avoided, such as processed sugars and fats, but there are foods that your body needs in order to perform under such high stress. Like machines, we need fuel
Most people consider the foods that must be avoided, such as processed sugars and fats, but there are foods that your body needs in order to perform under such high stress. Like machines, we need fuel in the form of food to provide us with energy. The higher demand placed on our bodies, the more energy we need. (Photo: Unsplash)
AMMAN — Our bodies are like machines; you get out what you put in. For those who lead a physically active lifestyle, this means being mindful of what they consume.اضافة اعلان

Most people consider the foods that must be avoided, such as processed sugars and fats, but there are foods that your body needs in order to perform under such high stress. Like machines, we need fuel in the form of food to provide us with energy. The higher demand placed on our bodies, the more energy we need.

Additionally, food does not only supply us with energy, it also supplies us with the building blocks we need to keep all components of our body functioning. These components are called macromolecules and consist of carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids, all of which are found in certain foods we eat.

Generally speaking, carbohydrates (carbs) are responsible for providing energy, lipids (fats) are used for long-term storage of energy, proteins are the building blocks for the cells in our bodies — particularly muscle cells — and nucleic acids are components of our DNA.

Carbohydrates
Carbs are the body’s fuel source and are a nightmare for people dieting to lose weight. Despite the popular misconceptions on carbs, they are extremely important for highly active people.

Carbohydrates are found in many healthy and unhealthy foods and come in the form of sugar, fiber and starch. The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) suggests bread, pasta, oatmeal, and cereals as healthy options and goes on to mention that at least half should be whole-grain foods, such as whole-wheat bread or brown rice.

For athletes, carbs are especially important before big events such as track or football. Under a diet plan called “carb-loading,” 1-3 days prior to the event, you should consume 8-12 grams of carbs per kilogram of body weight according to the Mayo Clinic. Carb-loading works by increasing the amount of energy stored in your muscles and reduces fatigue.

Proteins
Proteins are the building blocks for your muscles and essential for building and repairing. Every day, body tissues become damaged on a micro level, and when performing strenuous activity, the rate of damage is higher. For this reason, it is important to constantly replenish with protein.

Much like carbs, protein is found in healthy and unhealthy foods. The best sources of protein are lean meats that contain less fats such as skinless chicken, turkey, low-fat cuts of beef or lamb. Protein can also be derived from plants such as lentils, chickpeas, and beans and the HHS also suggests seafood twice a week to include unique and healthy fats.

Fats
Lipids, regardless of fitness goal, are still important for the body. It is known that consumption of fats and processed sugars can lead to fat build up in the body and are associated with health risks, but much like sugars, there are healthy and unhealthy fats.

Generally speaking, foods containing trans fats should be avoided and cooking with ingredients such as butter should be substituted with different lipids such as olive oil. The topic of fats is an in-depth one and requires careful navigating, but as a general rule of thumb, solid fats in cooking such as lard and butter should be replaced with oils, especially olive oil.

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