I want to pick up from last month’s article, Power Your Punch. In this article I explained the importance of hydration and how this not only comes from fluid intake but from solid vegetable sources high in water. Vegetables are also a source of carbohydrates which is a fuel source. I highly believe the bulk of your diet and carbohydrate source should be from vegetables due to their nutrient-dense sources of vitamins and minerals. However, there are other sources to consider when training for a fight or any endurance event.
You need adequate carbohydrates to fully fuel your muscles and this should be the foundation of each meal. Vegetables are one of the main sources of carbohydrates, (just in case you didn’t understand…I’ll repeat, vegetables are one of the main sources of carbohydrates. Yes, I’ll say it over and over! The recommended amount is at least 2.5 cups a day…I say MORE! ) however, other sources such as unrefined grains, are an excellent source of carbohydrate, fiber and B vitamins. Examples are brown rice, oatmeal and whole-grain cereals such as Kashi.
Unfortunately, most of what is consumed is in the form of refined grains such as white bread, white rice, products made with white flour. The refining process strips grains of their bran and germ, thereby removing fiber, antioxidants, minerals and other health-protective compounds. Intake of refined grains increases chances of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
Fruit is another great foundation to your carbohydrate intake. The nutrients in fruits improve healing and aid in recovery of exercise. The potassium in many fruits such as bananas replaces the potassium lost in sweat as well as against high blood pressure. Berries, my favorite fruit source (lower in calories) are also good sources of potassium and can be used mixed with your protein shake for a great post workout meal.
Now, the balanced equation! While carbohydrates should be your main source for fuel, we need to balance this with our fellow macronutrients, protein and fat.
While there are some proteins in vegetables, fruits and unrefined grains, we need to accompany these sources with protein from lean animal sources (meats, seafood, eggs, and poultry) and plant sources (beans, nuts, and legumes). These will allow for the right amount of amino acids you need to build and repair muscles. In darker meats, you also obtain important minerals such as iron and zinc. You may also get some protein in dairy sources such as milk, yogurt and cheese which is best consumed for calcium.
Many people either consume too little or too much protein. The amount you intake will vary depending on your sex, weight and goals but a range will be from 30-40% of your total daily calorie intake.
The final piece of the puzzle is to include healthy fats. Saturated fats should be minimal and Trans-fats should stay below 1% of your daily calorie intake. One way to do this is to stay away from commercially prepared foods such as crackers, cakes, cookies, chips pastries and even the chocolate covering on energy bars. A range of fat intake should be from 15-30% again…depending on goals.
The best sources of fat should come from nut butters and nuts such as walnuts and almonds, ground flax seed and oils such as flax oil, walnut oil and unrefined extra-virgin olive oil.
Now that you know the best choices and sources of a well balanced meal, the trick is to assemble the best foods into wholesome meals and snacks. To determine if your daily food intake is balanced and adequate, you can track your diet on the Internet using any number of websites. For performance and personalized specific pro-rations and meal plan feel free to contact me via email Caroline@X3Sports.com .