Monday, September 21, 2009


Food is more than just fuel that stops your hunger. Food contains nutrients essential for maintaining optimal health and top performance. There are six types of nutrients.


Carbohydrates are a source of calories from sugars and starches that fuel your muscles and brain. Carbohydrates are the primary energy source when you're exercising hard. You should get about 60 percent of your calories from the carbohydrates found in fruits, vegetables, breads, and grains.


Fat is a source of stored energy (calories) that is burned mostly during low-level activity (e.g., reading and sleeping) and long-term activity (e. g., long training runs and gentle bike rides). Animal fats (butter, lard, fat in meat) tend to be saturated and contribute to heart disease and some cancers. Vegetable fats (e. g., olive oil, corn oil, canola oil) are generally unsaturated and less harmful. I recommend that my clients limit their fat intake to about 25 percent of their daily total calories.


Protein is essential for building and repairing muscles, red blood cells, hair, and other tissues, and for synthesizing hormones. Protein from food is digested into amino acids, which are then rebuilt into the protein in muscles and other tissues. Protein is a source of calories and can be used for energy if inadequate carbohydrates are available (e.g.,during exhaustive exercise). About 15 percent of your calories should come from protein-rich foods such as fish, poultry, meats, tofu, and beans.


lhtamins are metabolic catalysts that regulate chemical reactions within the body They include vitamins A, B complex, C, D, E, and K. Most vitamins are chemical substances that the body does not manufacture, so you must obtain them through your diet. Vitamins are not a source of energy.


Minerals are elements obtained from foods that combine in many ways to form structures of the body (for example, calcium in bones) and regulate body processes (for example, iron in red blood cells transports oxygen). Other minerals are magnesium, phosphorous, sodium, potassium, chromium, and zinc. Minerals do not provide energy


Water is an essential substance that makes up about 60 to 75 percent of your weight. Water stabilizes body temperature, carries nutrients to and waste away from cells, and is needed for cells to function. Water does not provide energy

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