You might have heard the famous saying, “You are what you eat.” Fun fact, this saying originated in 18 26, courtesy of a French lawyer – Anthelme Brillat-Savarin. His exact words were in French, which, when translated to English, read – “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.”
The notion behind this saying is that healthy food leads to a healthy body and vice versa. Sure, exercise and physical activity are also just as crucial for good health. But without a proper diet, the benefits of exercise will be nullified. So whether your fitness goal is to gain weight, lose weight, or have a strong and attractive physique, diet and nutrition play an extremely significant role.
Why Does Good Nutrition Make a Difference?
- Good nutrition is vital for your fitness goals because each type of nutrient has a specific role in the human body.
Carbohydrates provide energy to the body for daily activities.
- Protein is essential for every cell of the body for the growth of muscles and to repair old and damaged tissues.
- Vitamins boost the immune system and help fight illnesses
- Minerals are essential for healthy teeth, bones, hair, and skin
- Certain fats are also necessary for small amounts for cell growth and formation, proper muscle movement, and even certain brain functions.
- Water is essential for hydration, digestion, lubrication, and washing out toxins from the body.
According to nutritionrealm.com, a healthy balanced diet incorporates all these nutrients in optimal quantities, while an unhealthy diet lacks some nutrients and contains other nutrients like fat or carbohydrates in excess amounts.
No amount of exercise and workouts can make up for the function of these nutrients. In fact, regular exercise without proper nutrition will do you more harm than good in the long run as it could cause injuries and fatigue.
Benefits of Good Nutrition, Combined with Regular Exercise
Workouts can increase your strength and stamina, improve your physique, but when it comes to fighting off diseases naturally. Nothing can substitute proper nutrition. Vitamins and minerals boost your immune system, so regular intake of these nutrients will result in you rarely falling sick or going down with the occasional flu.
Enhances the Productivity and Results of Your Workout
Good nutrition can multiply the effects of regular workouts.
Are you looking to gain weight? Add more protein to your diet along with heavy workouts, and you’ll gain muscle mass faster. Want to lose weight? Follow a low fat, low carb diet, and your workouts will result in faster and more efficient weight loss.
No matter what fitness goals you’re pursuing, complementing your workouts with the right type of diet will lead to better results.
Increases Metabolism Naturally
A healthy diet also increases your metabolism, which means your body gets better at breaking down food, converting it to energy, and absorbing nutrients. As your metabolism improves, the positive effects of eating healthy food become more prominent.
Importance of Fluid Intake and Hydration
Around 60% of the human body is made up of water. But we’re also losing water regularly through perspiration and urination. When you’re working out, you’ll sweat more which means you’re losing more water. So naturally, all that loss of water must be replenished, or else you’ll end up dehydrated. And with dehydration comes weakness and fatigue, which certainly isn’t a part of your fitness goals.
3 to 4 liters of water per day is not just recommended, but also essential for the human body, that too in normal conditions. Now, if you work out regularly, it’s best to add a liter more to those numbers. Especially, make sure that you rehydrate before and after a heavy workout.
What “Fitness Foods” Do Nutritionists and Fitness Experts Recommend?
Knowing the importance of a healthy diet and proper nutrition, many enthusiasts often raise the same question – “What should we eat”? But first, you must understand what type of nutrients you need based on your fitness goals.
When trying to gain weight, you want to build more muscle mass, so protein should be the essential part of your diet. Carbs are also needed to provide you with enough energy for physical activity. If you want to lose weight, you should minimize your intake of carbs. You’ll still need regular protein-based foods to help repair muscle and tissues after workouts. As for vitamins and minerals, they are required in trace amounts regardless of whether you’re trying to lose or gain weight.
With that in mind, here are some of the best fitness foods based on the nutrients they provide:
It’s common knowledge that lean meat, poultry, milk and dairy products, fish/seafood, and eggs are great protein sources. Apart from that, vegans and vegetarians can consume protein through nuts (and nut butter), legumes, and beans.
Vitamins and Minerals
Fresh green vegetables and fruits are the primary sources of vitamins and minerals. Dark leafy greens like spinach and kale contain multiple types of vitamins all in one. Citrus fruits (lemon, oranges) and strawberries are excellent sources of Vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium.
Carbs are good in moderation, bad in excess. Some of the healthiest carbohydrates are oats, quinoa, buckwheat, chickpeas, and kidney beans.
Avocado is one of the best foods, which contains healthy fats essential for the body. Other healthy fatty foods are eggs, fish, nuts, cheese, and also dark chocolate.
Exercise and workouts are necessary for maintaining good health and fitness, but it’s only as effective as the food you eat. A healthy diet with the right amount of nutrients is a must for achieving your fitness goals and further enhancing the effects of regular workouts. Along with various foods that provide ample nutrition, don’t forget the most essential part – to drink plenty of water and fluids and keep yourself properly hydrated.