Nutrition is important, no matter what your health and fitness goal. Whether you are trying to lose weight, gain muscle, improve your fitness or enhance your general health and wellbeing, the foods you eat provide the nutrients (or the raw materials) your body requires to instill these changes.
So, here are three important tips that you should consider implementing into your nutritional regime to enhance your results and improve your general health.
Nutrition Tip 1: Eat small, regular meals throughout the day
Your metabolic rate is highly dependent upon how regularly you consume foods. It's quite simple - if you don't eat, your metabolism will slow right down. This is a survival mechanism hard-coded into the human genome through many generations of evolution.
A million years ago, we didn't know when our next meal was going to be. It could be days (or weeks) between meals! So, our bodies adapted. The way that the body compensated for this was to raise or lower the rate at which we expend calories (our metabolism). A couple of hours after your meal, your metabolism will slow down to conserve as much energy as possible. Your body still store fat (our hard-coded energy storage system) and your body will break down muscle (because muscle expends so many calories!). This slowing in metabolism occurs when our blood glucose levels drop, approximately 2-3 hours following a meal.
The answer - eat a small meal every 2-3 hours to keep your metabolism elevated and promoting fat break down and muscle gain.
Nutrition Tip 2: Eat Your Vegetables!
Vegetables are a highly dense source of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, or plant nutrients. They contain an array nutrients that cannot be put into a tablet, or sourced from meats, fish, poultry and dairy. These nutrients are essential for the normal functioning of the human body and to promote good health. Generally speaking, the more colourful the vegetable, the denser in nutrients it is.
Vegetables are great to curb hunger cravings and to boost your metabolism. They are so low in calories that you could consume kilograms of veggies and they would have a negligible effect upon your daily caloric intake.
Go for variety in your vegetable intake and ensure to eat plenty of deep green leafy vegetables like broccoli and spinach.
Nutrition Tip 3: Variety!
Variety is the spice of life. No matter what you goal, you must ensure that you consume a well balanced diet.
It is NOT healthy to consume tuna all day long and miss out on other meats. Chances are you could experience an undesirable build-up of mercury, in addition to missing out on vital nutrients such as omega-3, iron and selenium from other meat, poultry and fish sources. It is also important not to confine yourself to a single fruit only. Eat widely to ensure that you obtain sufficient nutrients throughout your day.
A big misconception is that certain natural foods are "better" than others. Have you ever heard a new "superfood" proclaimed on the news? Just because one food has been identified to be good in one respect, does not mean that other foods aren't going to be beneficial for you! There is no single food that should replace all other foods within that same food group.
Good nutrition isn't rocket science. By implementing these three principles, you will be well on your way to better health and achieving your fitness goals!