We’ve often heard that fitness is just as important as a healthy diet, and rightly so. You cannot pursue a healthier lifestyle, weight loss and physical health by neglecting one or the other. As intricate as fitness and nutrition are, focusing on nutrition inadvertently impacts our fitness ability (Leal, 2019).
In other words, eating right or healthier gives us the energy and strength to pursue a more active lifestyle. In turn, we are able to burn fat, improve cognitive health among other benefits more effectively and efficiently. Hence, studies are proving more and more that proper diet and nutrition should form the foundation of all fitness programs.
Below we take a deeper look at how and why proper nutrition is important and a prerequisite to fitness.
Food As Body FuelIn order to exercise, we need to be physically strong or at least have some energy for motivation. The body needs fuel in the form of food for physical activity. Highly nutritious foods not only give our bodies strength and energy, but they also sustain it.
When we consume food, our body breaks it down in the form of glucose. The glucose is then converted into energy to act as fuel for our bodies. Essentially, food is the main source that drives exercise and fitness. It allows one to have the capability to stick to an effective workout regimen (Humphries).
Notably, not just any food will do. To be able to adhere to a healthy diet, you want to look and stick to healthy foods such as leafy vegetables and fruits. For instance, bananas are high in healthy carbohydrates and Vitamin B6, as well as potassium. These nutrients make it one of the top energy giving foods that can also help curb cravings and increase satiety (Arlene Semeco, 2017).
Another food type that is beneficial is fish. Tuna and salmon are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which reduce bad cholesterol and reduce inflammation. Inflammation is not only responsible for the development of diseases, but increasing fatigue (Arlene Semeco, 2017).
Food As MedicineProper nutrition and a balanced diet always involve nutrient dense foods. Nutrient dense foods are loaded with minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, healthy fats, healthy carbohydrates and lean proteins. All of the above nutrients benefit our bodies in various ways.
For instance, foods such as berries, kale and spinach are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants, according to numerous studies, fight and destroy free radicals within our bodies. Free radicals are what cause ageing and certain diseases. Additionally, they help in the excretion of harmful and toxic substances and chemicals (Leal, 2019).
Certain foods are known to burn fat within the body after consumption, which aids in weight loss. For example, chilli peppers contain an antioxidant known as capsaicin, which is responsible for burning fat within the body. Greek yoghurt is another good example since it contains conjugated linoleic acid, a fat burning acid (Franziska Spritzler, 2017).
With the above in mind, individuals suffering from obesity, metabolic syndrome and even cardiovascular disease can treat their conditions by eating right.
By adding fruits and vegetables such as apples and onions, you get to introduce an antioxidant known as Quercetin. Quercetin helps decrease muscle inflammation that takes place after workouts, allowing the body to heal and recover (Leal, 2019). Undoubtedly, highly nutritious food is medicine for our bodies.
In conclusion, if you want to improve your fitness game, improve your diet and nutrition. Get rid of anything that is high in unhealthy fats such as Trans fats, sugar and salt. Then stock up with fruits and vegetables that will color up your plate and life as well.
ReferencesArlene Semeco, M. R. (2017, December 4). 27 Foods That Can Give You More Energy. Retrieved May 28, 2019, from Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/energy-boosting-foods#section1