Balanced Diet : It is always said that food is fuel and hydration as well. We often think that gaining the right physique requires a complex diet plan or eating habits. It is often heard that one is not able to stick to a diet plan after a few days of following it.
The real secret to maintaining a suitable and proper diet is nothing but keeping it as easy as possible and listening to the needs of your body.
A balanced diet is essential for maintaining proper growth and providing sufficient nutrition for a smooth mechanism of one’s body.
An ideal diet comprises
45% to 65% of carbohydrates,
10% to 25% proteins
and 20% to 35%of fats.
Knowing this, your diet should consist of food resources which provide the required amount of the above.
Carbohydrates- THE ENERGY PROVIDERS
For carbohydrates, you can include, fruits, oatmeal, starchy vegetables(potatoes), broccoli or leafy vegetables( non-starchy vegetables), multigrain or whole grain foods, etc. With the correct amount of carbohydrates and with practice/ daily sports activity, you’ll observe the results.
The correct intake of carbohydrates is as important as the correct amount required for your body. Carbohydrates are often said to be the fuel to perform any sports activity. The higher the intensity/duration, the more the amount of fuel. For a healthy way to eat carbs, you can stick to a low-carb diet like whole wheat, most vegetables and grains/lentils and low-carb dairy products are beneficial for your body fuel.
PROTEINS- THE BUILDERS
For proteins, eggs, greek yogurt, milk, poultry products, etc.
If you are lactose intolerant or want to opt for vegan products, various types of pulses are excellent sources of protein. There are many vegan options available in the market which help to gain the required amount.
How exactly do the proteins work for your body?
Here are three key points to understand in a simple way:
Prevents muscles from breakdown.
Builds up muscles.
Proteins and amino acids go hand in hand and to some extent look after the secretion of different hormones like growth hormone, insulin, etc. and regulate various metabolic processes.
Proteins should be tailored in the diet as per digestibility. If you are looking for supplements for your protein intake, animal-based proteins are easier to digest compared to plant-based proteins. Eg. Cow’s milk proteins are more efficient the soy-based proteins. If you are considering options like eggs and poultry products, make sure to keep the count and maintain your required amount.
“A man is what he eats.” - Lucretius
FATS- THE PRIMARY FUEL
For the intake of fats, one should be aware of the two types of it: healthy fats and unhealthy fats.
Sources of healthy fats are nuts and seeds(almonds, peanuts, cashews, etc.), peanut butter, hummus(made of chickpeas), olive oil, etc.
To avoid unhealthy fats, cutting off deep-fried products, products which contain refined wheat flour(maida) and packaged snacks are required. The two types of unhealthy fats; saturated fats and trans fat are identified as potentially harmful fats for your health.
HOW TO INCULCATE HEALTHY FATS IN YOUR DIET?
Fats are often mistaken to be bad for your body. Healthy fats are as important as any other nutrient in your body.
Some easy ways to inculcate fats are:
Switch from your present oil to olive oil.
You can start your day with cashews, soaked almonds, etc.
Instead of full-fat butter, you can eat peanut butter. And switch from refined flour bread to multi-grain bread to avoid unhealthy fats.
Instead of deep-fried foods, you can always go for grilled or air-fried foods.
There are lots of healthy snacking options like flavoured raisins, makhanas(lotus seeds), pumpkin seeds, etc.
The proper intake of water and other fluids is equally important for your body.
Water can be sufficient for hydration however if one is exercising at high intensity for a long duration, they may require a sports drink or other fluids.
The calories, potassium and other nutrients in the sports drink will provide energy and electrolytes to help one perform for a longer duration.
Water plays a significant role while playing a sport. It not only helps in keeping a normal body temperature but also lubricates and cushions joints. It also protects the spinal cord and other sensitive tissues.
While playing a sport, a lot of fluid is lost in sweating. That should be replaced by water or any other sports drink which will help maintain a body temperature, reduce the risk of heat stress, maintain normal muscle functioning, and prevent performance decreases due to dehydration.
The right nutrition can help enhance athletic performance. The key to an active lifestyle is to exercise, eat well and stay hydrated.
Keeping your diet easy to follow and listening to your body's needs will go a long way.