Nutrition: All the basics

Nutrition is and should be your primary asset towards reaching your fitness goals. Someone said that the abs are not made in the gym but in the kitchen. It’s true for everything fitness related. Proper nutrition can help propel your fitness regime towards success and improper nutrition can result in failure of your goals even if you are spending multiple hours in the gym. So what should you do?

First of all understand nutrition basics and understand your fitness goals. If you are training for weight loss, you will eat a different diet than you would if you would be after muscle gain. If you are an athlete, you would take a different diet course than if you have a regular 9 to 5 job. Your body structure, level of physical activity, DNA, metabolism can play a role in designing your diet plan but the core of all the diet plans remain the same.

Often people tend to overcomplicate things while following a diet chart and that is the prime reason so many of them fail within a month of starting a diet plan. Keep your diet simple folks. That’s the key to success. Now let’s discuss Nutrition. Our body needs nutrition or food as a fuel to do its functions same way a car needs battery and gas to run. If the gas you put into your vehicle is of bad quality chances are that your car will break down at some point of time. Same principle applies on our body. If we feed our body with junk, it will start to break down sooner rather than later.

First of all, understand calories. Our food gets broken down into calories which our body utilizes for its day to day work. There are three prime sources of calories  in our food – protein, carbohydrate and fats. These nutrients are called “macro nutrients”. All other nutrients which include vitamins and minerals fall under the category of “micro nutrients”. As mentioned earlier food gets broken down into calories in our body. Lets find out the caloric value of all the macro ingredients and their specific job

  1. Protein: Protein is one of the three macro nutrients and probably the most important nutrient as well. Chemically, Proteins are made of small compounds called amino acids. There are hundreds of amino acids that exist in nature, but the human body only utilizes 22 of them. Protein is the major building block of the body. Its main job is to build, maintain and repair tissue. It is typically found in animal products although it is also present in other sources like nuts and legumes. 1 gram of protein gets broken into 4 calories in our body.
  2. Carbohydrate: Carbohydrates provide fuel for the central nervous system and energy for working muscles. They also prevent protein from being used as an energy source and enable fat metabolism, according to Iowa State University. Carbohydrates have several roles in living organisms, including energy transportation, as well as being structural components of plants and arthropods. Also, “carbohydrates are important for brain function,” Smathers said. They are an influence on “mood, memory, etc., as well as a quick energy source.” 1 gram of carbohydrate gets broken into 4 grams of calories in our body. Carbohydrates are generally found in grains and fibrous fruits, vegetables and starchy eatables.
  3. Fats: Fats are the most misunderstood macronutrient of all. When we hear fat we immediately go into cringe mode. But fat is very important for our body. Fat is a concentrated source of energy for our body. 1 gram of fats gets broken into 9 grams of calories. Fats are often thought of as the nutrients that cause weight gain, when in fact they are used primarily to absorb nutrients into the body, it is only when we have an excess of starch and carbohydrates in our diet that the fat cells fill with excess sugar and cause the appearance of weight. For simplicity sake, fats are divided into good fats and bad fats. As the name suggests good fats are good for you and vice versa. Good fat sources are nuts and seeds, fish, nuts and seeds oils. Junk food is the main source of bad fats in our body.

In addition to these macro nutrients, which as the name suggests you need bulk of, you also need micro nutrients which most of the foods that you eat will have them already. Together all these ingredients lead the way towards a healthy life.

A typical human body needs anything around 1500-200 calories daily for its function. It depends upon your height, weight, physical activity, your body mass index. If you are getting those calories from good sources, you will be healthy else there is going to be sickness and regular break down of the body. We hope this article helped you understand basics of nutrition and you will have a template towards your diet charts now. Keep posted to healthsblog for more tips and articles. Stay healthy!!

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