Diet is a common word thrown around these days but what about just using the word “nutrition.” Are we truly ingesting nutritious foods? It is not always about having to take something away, but rather adding in which is what I want to shed some light on today.
Let’s dive into water first….not literally. Did you know that 60% of our total body weight is water? We lose water throughout the day whether that is through urine, skin (sweating), exhalation, or feces. We should be consuming ½ of our body weight in liquids per day, with 60% of it being water. If the rigors of your day to day life do not allow you to track those numbers, a simple goal to look for when using the bathroom should be to have pale urine 5-7x/day.
Consuming fats is not always a bad thing! For example, carotene is found in yellow, red, dark green and orange fruits and vegetables. Carotene is a precursor to vitamin A but it needs healthy fat in order to convert to vitamin A. And vitamin A has so many positives that include aiding with protein digestion, a role in strong bone function and healthy blood, and it is an antioxidant for the body as well. Ultimately, fat is essential with helping digestion and proper absorption of good vitamins and minerals.
Protein - This is a hot topic right now and a whole blog probably could be written just about this. Research has shown that to obtain the proper blend of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients a combination of plant and animal based protein is best. Meat and cultured dairy proteins are actually easier to digest then plant proteins. Just some food for thought when mixing up your next dinner!
Carbs - Probably a hotter topic that protein. Carbs are not always a bad thing when you are consuming them in moderation and avoiding the processed stuff (think sugary cereals). Carbs are a major source of fiber and provide antioxidants needed for your body. They are a fuel source for muscles, the liver, and the brain. However, excess carbs do contribute to triglyceride and fat storage as well as can affect energy (due to blood sugar fluctuations). What it comes down to is moderation!
Cultured and fermented food - What does this even mean? Most people have heard of pre and probiotics, this is just a more natural way to obtain the same benefit. Cultured and fermented foods enhance the enzyme content in food and also help with pre digestion….double winner here! Some examples of high enzyme content foods would be extra virgin olive oil, raw honey, grapes, figs, avocados, bananas, pineapple, kiwi, mango. Quite a few people have also probably heard of cultured foods such as kefir or kombucha. So next time you whip up a smoothie, add some of these yummy nutrient dense foods!
As I know quite a few of us enjoy running, working out, yoga, etc I wanted to include some foods with anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. The next time you have a big workout, a long training run, or an unfortunate injury, consider adding these into your daily intake to help with any inflammation. They include ginger, pineapple, tart cherries, red grapes, thyme, extra virgin olive oil, salmon, and fish oil.
This is certainly a lot of information to take in and barely brushes the surface of the complexities of the human body and the nutrition that we need. For now, continue to take baby steps to add in these nutrient rich foods!