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Why Nutrition May be the Missing Link For a Healthier, Fitter You






Real talk: proper nutrition is essential for overall health.


What you eat plays a big part in energy levels, immune support, and the foods you eat fuel your workouts. When it comes to nutrition, healthy individuals know it’s not a matter of looking good; it’s a matter of feeling good.


When we seek out the foods and nutrients humans were meant to consume, i.e., protein, healthy carbs, and healthy fats, we’ll set aside the sugar-rich, highly addictive snacks the food industry wants us to consume.


Why Is Nutrition Important?


So, what’s the deal with nutrition? Why is it so important for everything from general healthy living to elevated fitness performance?


The bottom line is that nutrient-rich foods will fuel your body's basic needs AND your workout.


And it’s more than choosing the vegetable over the doughnut. It’s about the right kinds of foods like choosing the right kind of carbs (complex vs. refined) and clean protein sources.


Carbs


Too many people rely on simple carbs to start their day (we’re looking at you bagels and toast.) If you replace these carb-heavy options with fiber and protein, you’ll offer your body a kickstart. Plus, you’ll stay full until lunch leaving less room to snack on unhealthy snack options at the office.


But, let’s look at carbs a little closer because, let’s face it, carbs have a bad rap. Some diets push the idea that we should be avoiding them at all costs, but we don’t have to be so extreme in most cases.


Carbs can serve as an excellent fuel source for both our everyday energy and can supercharge our workouts. But, we must consume the right kind of carbs (yes, all fruits and vegetables ARE carbs) and leave the refined and sugary options behind.  


Simple carbs are loaded with sugar and cause an unhealthy spike in our glucose levels.


Meanwhile, complex carbs are slower to release and less likely to spike your blood sugar. Complex carbs are also more likely to give us longer more sustained energy throughout our workouts.

Some great options include.

Rolled oats

Quinoa

Brown rice

High-Fiber Fruit (raspberries, pears, blueberries)

Vegetables

Beans


Protein


Ever wondered why protein shakes are so popular in the workout world?


Protein builds and repairs muscles. That means we’re more likely to reap the benefits of (and recover from) a productive workout.


[Protein shakes are just one vehicle for protein consumption but are a great supplement after a rigorous workout, plus they are super easy to make for all of us who live a very busy lifestyle.

It's imperative, however, to use a high-quality protein powder free from added sugar and artificial ingredients. Some great options include collagen protein, bone broth protein, or grass-fed whey (if dairy is well-tolerated.]


Also, if you’re ever running low on carbs but your workout isn’t over yet, protein will step in as an alternate fuel source.

Try adding plenty of clean, whole food protein sources to your diet by adding some protein to each meal from foods like:

Chicken

Wild-caught fish

Eggs

Lentils

Beans

Quinoa

Full-fat unsweetened Greek yogurt


Anti-Inflammatory Whole Foods


Burning 200 calories in a spin class only to consume two or three margaritas at night may not give you the results you are exactly looking for. It fills the body with empty calories that can’t be used for anything beneficial, and it inhibits the brain functionality that was just bolstered during a workout.


The same goes for highly processed foods. They pour nutrient-void elements into our bodies which brings us to the term "whole foods."

Basically, these foods provide tremendous fuel for our bodies because they have not been manipulated or stripped of their nutritional value. They’re low in sugar and high in vitamins. They provide us with healthy carbohydrates (the ones that don’t douse our systems in sugar) and healthy fats. They’re also super rich in antioxidants.


Highly anti-inflammatory whole foods include:

Spinach

Turmeric and Cinnamon

Coconut

Chia seeds

Flax seeds

Hemp hearts

Berries

Salmon

Nuts


Antioxidants

Speaking of antioxidants, antioxidants are great because they help ward off free radicals, chemicals that contribute to inflammation. 


We can find antioxidants in:

Dark leafy greens

Vegetables

Berries

Green tea


While we’re on the subject, it’s worth noting a lesser-known antioxidant called quercetin, which can be found in apples, berries, broccoli, and onions.


Metabolism Boosters


Of course, regular exercise (3-5 times per week) will help keep our metabolism running at high levels. However, some of the food we eat can provide a little added boost. There are plenty of foods out there that stimulate the fat burning process.


Heavy hitters in this category include:

Green tea

Black coffee

Nuts and seeds

Fatty fish (wild-caught salmon, sardines)

Coconut oil


And,  if you like adding a little bit of heat to your meals, then add a pinch of cayenne pepper to your foods as spicy foods may also help give your metabolism the little kick it needs to rev into high gear.


The Takeaway


Healthy and fit people around the globe know it’s not JUST about the hours we spend in Pilates class or on a treadmill or curling dumbbells. It’s very much about the food we eat.


We can choose to fuel our bodies with healthy carbs, fats, proteins, and antioxidants or we can slow down our systems and spike our sugar levels to dangerous highs, which encourages inflammation, disease, and obesity.


When you’re ready to merge regular exercise with your healthy eating habits, come on over and join me at The Whole Plate! I emphasize the importance of WHOLE wellness - the interplay between how we eat, how we move, how we think, and how we recover.



 









 





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