A balance in nutrition is essential for a healthy diet. There are six main parts to a human diet: Proteins, Carbohydrates, Fats, Vitamins, Minerals and Water. All nutrients are inter-dependent on each other and therefore must all be present for a body to function well.
Protein is very important to your body as it helps the growth and maintenance of all body tissue. It is a source for building material for muscle, blood, skin, hair, nails and internal organs. As you can see, protein is very important to the human body. Protein is broken down into “amino acids” during digestion. All amino acids are stored in the body and are used whenever needed for tissue growth or repair.
Protein in foods that have all essential amino acids is called “Complete Protein” and protein in foods that do not have all essential amino acids is called “Incomplete Protein”. An example of complete protein foods is meat and dairy products. Incomplete protein foods are things like vegetables and fruits.
If your body contains too little protein, you may experience poor muscle tone, low energy levels, slow recovery from injuries and weakening if nails, hair and skin. On the other side, if your body contains too much protein you are putting too much stress on your kidneys as they have to process the nitrogen from the excess protein. So in order for you to get the best of both worlds and leave out the worst of both worlds, you must eat a protein balanced diet. This means you must balance between complete protein foods and incomplete protein foods to achieve the best results.
Carbohydrates act as the primary fuel for the human body. They can be found in such foods as bread, pasta, potatoes, vegetables, fruits, candy and soda. After the digestive process has converted carbohydrates into a type of sugar, they are transported to the liver where they are converted to “glucose” which is blood sugar. Glucose is then used as energy for muscles and the brain. A diet low in carbohydrates will make you very tired from physical activities.
There are two types of fat: body fat and dietary fat. Body fat is made from excess protein or carbohydrates and stored as energy for later use. Dietary fat is ingested and provides lots of calories. Fats are essential to our diet. They enclose and protect heart, liver and kidneys. Body heat is also contained by fat. While fat is needed for our bodies to function well, excess fat found in traditional American food, such as French fries, chips and other fried food, is a factor in heart disease and should be consumed rarely and in small portions.
The body cannot produce vitamins yet they are essential to life. There are about 20 different vitamins, which are present in different foods. Vitamins are most important for processing of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Basically vitamins allow for food to be converted into energy and used by the body. All vitamins must come from the food we eat.
About 4-5% of our body weight is composed of minerals. The role of minerals is to strengthen bones, teeth, tissue, muscle, blood and verve cells. Minerals also act as catalysts for some functions within the body and help to regulate blood and tissue fluid as well as acids. Most minerals are formed naturally in rivers, lakes and oceans. They are also found in the plant roots and trees. Minerals can also be found in the animals who eat the plants and drink the water and therefore make it into the human body once the human eats the animal.
Last but not least is water. It is the most important ingredient that we consume. A human being can go a lot longer without food then without water. Water is essential for: Circulation, Excretion, Digestion, and Absorption, maintaining normal body temperature, transporting nutrients in the body. The weight in our body is about 50% water. We loose water from our body throughout the day even without physical activities and therefore need to maintain a healthy amount of water in our body. It is recommended to drink at least 6-8 glasses of water each day.
Milk for Muscles
For those of you who do not want to experiment with sports supplements for whatever reason, there is always the option of drinking lots of milk! It is a known fact that milk contains a lot of protein which is essential for muscle tissue growth. Although drinking milk alone will not yield results quite as good as using supplements it can help those of you who are just starting out with weight lifting. I usually enjoy a bowl of healthy cereal with milk about an hour after I finish my workout. This is a great source of fiber and protein in your diet.