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Today we’re going to talk about fats, protein, carbohydrates, alcohol, water, and sleep. 
 
Nutrition plays a significant role in injury recovery and injury prevention. Having a healthy diet and good knowledge of what good nutrition is will really help you to achieve peak performance in whatever role you take on in life. 
 
We hope you find this information useful. As always, if you need any clarification please speak to your therapist or chat to us on social media. 

Fats 

In the 90s it was widely thought that all fat should be avoided. But that’s not the case. Fats are essential for a healthy, balanced body. They’re used for energy and balanced cellular function, and they’re an important element for healthy skin and hair, and they cushion your organs. There are 3 types of fat: Unsaturated fats (which consist of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats), saturated fats, and trans fats. 
 
Saturated fats and trans fats raise your cholesterol and are associated with several types of heart disease. You want to avoid these whenever possible. These fats are generally solid at room temperature, so for example, butter, margarine, and lard. 
 
Unsaturated fats are considered healthy fats. These are typically liquid at room temperature. Monounsaturated fats are mainly found in vegetable oils like canola, olive, and peanut oils. Polyunsaturated fats are also found in vegetable oils like sunflower, soybean, and corn oils, but are also the main fat found in seafood. Walnuts, flaxseed, salmon, and mackerel are examples of healthy foods rich in polyunsaturated fat. 

Protein 

Protein provides the building blocks for muscles and other complex structures in the body. In order to build and retain muscle, you must get enough protein. A general rule is to eat 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body mass. So, if you weigh 150 pounds you should eat 150 grams of protein). Protein breaks down into amino acids. There are 22 types of amino acid, 14 of which your body produces naturally, and 8 need to be taken in from food. These 8 are known as essential amino acids.  
 
The entire spectrum of amino acids is known as the amino acid profile. Even though many foods have a high protein content, if it is protein with a poor amino acid profile, it may not all be usable once it breaks down. A good example is eggs. Eggs are high in protein as other sources, yet they have the best amino acid profile. There is a quality over quantity sneaking into your healthy lifestyle again. 

Carbohydrates 

Carbs are probably the most misunderstood nutrient. In recent years, there has been an abundance of fad diets, all having different theories, but most attacking carbs. I’m going to simplify it for you: YOUR BODY NEEDS CARBOHYDATES TO SURVIVE! We generally tend to overuse them, but carbs are your body’s preferred energy source. 
 
You can categorise carbohydrates into 2 types: Complex and Simple. Although all carbs will eventually break down into glucose (sugar), complex carbs are the best choice. It takes longer for your body to break them down, which gives you a nice, consistent energy supply with no spike and no crash. 
 
Simple carbs (sugars) break down quickly and give your system an influx of glucose, causing your energy to spike. Your body releases insulin in order to absorb glucose. If your body’s insulin production cannot keep up with the amount of glucose in your blood stream you are left with an excess. This is when you crash. When glucose has nowhere to go, it turns into glycogen and is stored as fat. 
 
An easy way to regulate your carbohydrate intake is to base them around your activity level. If you plan on having a lazy day on the couch watching a Star Wars marathon, then you do not need to load up on carbs. If you are having an awesome active day, training with Tough Club, then you will need some complex carbs to fuel your body. It’s a good idea to start avoiding carbs 2 to 3 hours before going to bed. At the end of the day, your metabolism is slowing down and there is no need for the additional energy source. 

Alcohol 

Alcohol is alcohol no matter what form you drink it in, so in that sense we all know that we shouldn’t consume too much beer, wine, ale, and cider. The calories in the drink will differ based on what else is in it (e.g. mixers), but the calorie content of alcohol is always 7 calories/gram. So unfortunately, that cold one at your first BBQ of the summer weighs heavy on your diet. That said, there are drinks with fewer calories if that’s what you’re counting. 

Water 

Water makes up around 70% of our bodies, yet most people don’t consume enough water on a daily basis. Water helps with nutrient absorption, skin health, blood pressure, flushing toxins out of our system, regulating body temperature, maintaining energy level, assisting organ function, and so much more. Dehydrating even as little as 2% can have a negative effect on the body. Decreased cellular and nerve function and low energy levels are only the beginning of problems. In short, water is essential for life. It is recommended that you drink at least 2 litres of water a day. This is not counting other liquid sources such as coffee, coke, juice etc. If you just drink water and no fizzy drinks, so much the better. 

Sleep 

We realise sleep is not nutrition as such, but it’s vital to your health so it’s worth mentioning here. Many people don’t realise how important sleep is and how detrimental it is to not get enough. Although if you’ve just had a new-born baby you probably do realise how badly you need it! 
 
When you’re in a restful sleep, your body can repair itself, increase hormone production, regenerate energy sources, and increase brain function. The amount of sleep we require depends on our activity level, so if you are falling asleep while reading the paragraph about sleeping, you’re probably not getting enough. The reality is that there’s not an exact required amount because everybody is different, but most of us will fall in the region between 7 to 9 hours. Test it out! If you can wake up in the morning without an alarm clock and feel rested, you have probably reached balanced sleep for you and your lifestyle. Getting adequate sleep will relieve you from the need to have excess stimulants such as coffee and energy drinks. 
 
It’s important to remember that catching up on sleep is a common myth. If you don’t sleep enough one day, sleeping twice as much the next will never make up for it. Try to get yourself into a regular sleeping pattern by setting a bedtime alarm. Your body will thank you, particularly with rewards like slower aging, a better mood, increased performance, and the energy to take on any challenge. 
Tagged as: dieting, nutrition
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