Proper nutrition for active individuals can be a finick topic. Sure, sometimes your competition requires you to do some carb-loading while at times you are required to diet down for your physique goals. With nutrition easily being 80% responsible for most fitness achievements, it’s not hard to see why one should take what they eat seriously. Here are some of the questions the health-conscious can turn to before making decisions when it comes to food:
1. Where did the food come from?
Remember to check your food label for its origins! Ask yourself if the food came from an organic farm from a farmer who lovingly harvested his crops or was it produced through various chemical means in a factory? You don’t have to shop organic if the costs are too high; regular whole food is just as good.
2. Are the food rich in nutrients?
Food composition is important for remaining accountable for your diet. Eating highly-processed food regularly can cause metabolic damage and even lead to fat-gain. Such food has the reputation for containing too much sugar and too little of anything useful, resulting in a body that’s used to feeling lethargic and sluggish.
Food that is nutrient-dense will leave you nourished and healthier. Getting your essential dose of vitamins and minerals via fruits and vegetables is crucial to keeping your body functioning at a normal level.
3. Is my food high in protein?
It's hard to meet your protein requirements when you’re not paying attention to how much meat you’re eating. It's important to keep track of your protein intake because of the following reasons:
- Raises your metabolism
- Makes you feel full and satisfied after your meals
- Builds and repairs muscle
Always go for high quality animal protein that has been minimally processed, such as whole eggs, turkey, beef and seafood. Protein supplements like whey powder can also be used to make getting enough of this macronutrient more convenient.
4. Will it make me feel bloated?
If you’re aware of certain intolerances that you might possess (e.g.dairy, gluten, soy, etc.), you would do well to steer clear of such food. Even their use as additives in certain food products can be enough to trigger reactions, depending on your level of sensitivity.
Your meals should also be geared towards optimising or improving the state of your gut’s microbiome, as poor flora can also lead to issues regarding gastrointestinal distress. Fermented food like yoghurt, kimchi, sauerkraut and kombucha are excellent examples of probiotic-friendly choices and can be consumed on a regular or daily basis.
While this list is far from being an exhaustive compilation of the concerns centred on healthy eating, it represents a good starting point for those who often find themselves being overwhelmed by the sheer variety of products made available to them at the grocery store. Don’t go making snap decisions when informed ones will serve you better!