Foods to Consume

October 30th, 2008

Avoiding bad foods is not useful if you avoid foods that will provide needed nutrients to function and perform at your peak. Here are some essential liquids and foods you should consume on a regular basis.

Water is the single most important substance for life, and not just human life, all life. Most people do not get nearly enough water on a daily basis; they are surviving, but their bodies cannot respond as well with limited amounts of water. Water is more important when you are active and sweating water that was previously inside your body. As I said last time, water is key in transporting nutrients throughout and aiding in digestion. By not drinking water you can easily become dehydrated, impedes nutrient absorption and wastes will remain in your body longer because they are unable to be transported out as well.

A common rule is to drink 6-8 tall glasses of water every day; it is also been said that if you are active for an hour or more a day and are sweating during that activity you should be drinking a half gallon of water a day. Think about that! How much water do you normally drink? If you are finding it hard to drink that much water, space it out, drink a glass after every meal, and stop at every drinking fountain you pass and drink for ten seconds. Another method is to drink room temperature or slightly cooler water; the body tends to feel more satisfied while drinking cold water and you will not consume as much as you would if drinking warmer water. It might not taste the best at first, but try it out. Other liquids such as tea are okay to drink, but many of them have caffeine, sugar and calories which take away from the effectiveness of water. Drinking tea or milk added to the 6-8 glasses of water is the best thing to do. Stay away from high fat milk if you are trying to cut weight and stay away from alcohol and caffeine at all costs. Both of these substances have detrimental effects on the body and both are addictive.

Protein is essential for people no matter their level of activity. Your body is filled with proteins and muscles are built using this nutrient. Some good foods that contain high levels of protein are eggs, fish, white meats, red meats, legumes (beans, peas, and peanuts), milk, and nuts. Eggs have a very high protein to fat ratio which is what most people want to build muscle and cut fat. White meats or poultry, such as chicken and turkey, are much higher in the protein-fat ratio that red meats. Beans are a commonly overlooked source of protein; they include a good amount of protein and other different types of nutrients depending on the bean. Some good beans to eat are lentils, garbanzo, and soybeans and types of nuts to eat are walnuts, cashews, and almonds. Milk is also a very good source of protein and also fat if you are not careful. If you are very active and have a high metabolism, you might not have to worry about fat as much, but if you are worried, you can always drink skim milk, or one/two percent. Fish are amazing sources of protein and healthy fats; try salmon, tuna (actual tuna, not that canned stuff, even though the canned stuff is better than no fish), and cod; all of these are excellent choices for any meal.

On Sunday I will look at different ways that carbohydrates and fat are good for you and how they can be consumed in a healthy manner.

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