10 Focal Points of Nutrition by 619 Challenge Winner DJ Silvia
WATER- Water serves many functions in the human body, some of which, according to the Mayo Clinic, include maintaining an optimal body temperature, protecting and cushioning body organs and tissues, preventing constipation and moving waste through the system, carrying nutrients and oxygen to the body’s cells, lubricating joints, and helping to dissolve minerals and other nutrients to make them accessible to the body. Water is one of the six nutrients essential for life. The other five nutrients include the energy-yielding nutrients carbohydrates, protein and fat, as well as vitamins and minerals which are non-energy-yielding micronutrients–and often can be found in the energy-yielding nutrients. Though plain water offers no calories, in terms of nutrition value, this nutrient is priceless and, for optimum health, is needed daily in large quantities. According to Dr. Jeffrey Utz, the human body, on average, consists of 60 percent to 70 percent water. Lean muscle mass holds more water than fat tissue, and, because men have more lean muscle mass than women, they hold more water. Water serves many functions in the human body. The recommended adequate intake (AI) level for adults is 3.7 liters daily for men and 2.7 liters daily for women. Water for consumption should always be Chlorine free (! ltered) and contain an abundant amount of minerals.
VITAMINS- There are two categories of vitamins: fat soluble vitamins and water-soluble vitamins. Any excess of water-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin C, can be flushed from the body through the kidneys (with the exception of vitamins B12 and B6). However, fat-soluble vitamins are not readily excreted from the body in excess. This can lead to toxicity if these vitamins are over-consumed; a major reason why one should be careful of the over-consumption of energy drinks, high in B vitamins. Vitamins are available in a variety of forms, but best consumed through whole foods. A simple rule one can follow to help get a good variety of necessary vitamins in their diet is to consume the most colorful vegetables and fruits (focusing on deep greens, reds, oranges and yellows) in an assortment of shades.
MINERALS- There are two categories of minerals that are necessary in every diet: “Major minerals” and “Trace Minerals.” As one may guess, the difference is in necessary quantities. Major minerals should be consumed in quantities equal to or greater then 100mg. These are minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, sodium, chloride, magnesium and iron.Trace minerals should be consumed in quantities less than 100 mg. Manganese, copper, and iodide are some of these. Minerals help in the breakdown of glucose, fatty acids and amino acids into carbon dioxide, water and “energy.” They can also help build up glucose, fats, fatty acids and amino acids into glycogen, fats and proteins.
ANTIOXIDANTS- When our cells use oxygen, they naturally produce free-radicals as by-products which can cause damage to the body which results in pre-mature aging and diseases such as cancer. Antioxidants are the nutrients in our foods that can prevent and repair that damage. They act as healthy “scavengers” of many of the bad things going on in our bodies. Oxidative damage can results in such health problems as heart disease, muscular degeneration, diabetes and some cancers. Colorful foods such as carrots, squash, tomatoes, broccoli, spinach and berries, as well as whole grains, are rich in antioxidants. The link between immune system boosting and antioxidants may be a key factor in their ability to ward off cancer and infection.
ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS- There are many positive effects one can get from the consumption of some oils. Most of the fats you eat should be polyunsaturated (PUFA) or monounsaturated (MUFA) fats. These fatty acids are necessary for health and are known as “essential fatty acids.” MUFA’s and PUFA’s are found in fish, nuts and vegetable oils and do not raise our LDL cholesterol. They are also a major source of Vitamin E in our diet. Found in nuts (almonds and walnuts), vegetable oils, eggs and dark green vegetables, this fat soluble vitamin aids in blood cholesterol reduction, blood flow to the heart, capillary wall strengthening, age retardation and anti-oxidation. A lack of vitamin E can lead to dull and falling hair, enlarged prostate, gastrointestinal disease, impotency, miscarriage, muscular wasting and heart disease.
FIBER- Dietary fiber is carbohydrates that cannot be digested. They are present in all consumable plants, including whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans.
There are a number of different categories of fiber. Fiber from whole grains is referred to as cereal fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves in water. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water. These different types of fiber are important because they react different ways in the body and can have effects on the risk of developing certain diseases.
Heart disease, diverticular disease and constipation are all diseases linked to a lack of good fiber in the diet. One should consume at least 20 grams of fiber a day and the best sources are whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes and nuts. Some easy suggestions to add fiber to your diet are to add ground flax seed to yogurt and fruit, put seeds or nuts in your salads, soups or other appropriate foods, blend fresh or frozen berries to your protein shake, or finally and most deliciously you can snack of broccoli or sliced green apples.
PROBIOTICS- The World Health Organization defines probiotics as “live microorganisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.” These friendly microorganisms maintain the balance between good and bad bacteria to keep a healthy digestive system. Aside from the many foods on the market today that are enhanced with probiotics, they can be found naturally in yogurt. They are found in other products made of fermented and unfermented milk, as well as miso, tempeh, some juices and soy beverages. Many believe these can help in the avoidance of bowel and digestive problems and illness, as well as tooth decay and stomach and skin infections.
PHYTOCHEMICALS- Another important focal points of nutrition that we focus on in our dietary plans is phytochemicals. There are non-nutritive plant chemicals that have properties to fight and prevent diseases. There are over 1,000 phytochemicals which are known. As part of a healthy diet, these power foods can act as anti-oxidants, fight bacteria, and stimulate enzymes which reduce some hormones, such as estrogen, which make one more prone to cancer. By incorporating more fruits and vegetables, particularly green, leafy ones, you can ensure getting more phytochemicals in your diet. Phytochemicals are naturally present in many foods but it is expected that through bioengineering new plants will be developed, which will contain higher levels. This would make it easier to incorporate enough phytochemicals with our food.
LEAN SOURCES OF PROTEIN- You have heard it before. I’ll say it again. And again. A diet rich in lean proteins is key to fat-burning. This is another of the focal points of nutrition that we emphasize at CrossFit 619.Lean proteins slow the movement of food from the stomach to the intestines. Aside from being lower in calories, this also creates a residual benefit of a longer, fuller feeling. Feeling more satiated means that you are less-likely to indulge in snacks, the downfall of many diets. In addition, lean proteins do not cause severe blood sugar spikes which can drain one’s energy after eating.The body also uses more energy to digest these lean proteins, as opposed to carbohydrates, which will aid in fat-burning. It is recommended to consume about 0.8 grams of lean protein per kilogram (2.2 lbs) daily.Good sources of lean protein are turkey or chicken breasts (with skin removed), – fish (cod, sole, flounder), shellfish, low-fat cottage cheese and other low-fat cheeses, egg whites and cooked beans such as lentils.
Low Glycemic Carbohydrates- Carbs often get a bad rap. The reality is that a well-chosen carb is an important part of a healthy, balanced diet. A diet completely void of carbohydrates will leave you drained and not give you enough energy for a proper workout. Therefore, when you eat your carbs, it is imperative to choose wisely. The focus should be on low-glycemic index carbs. Carbohydrates provide fuel for the body that it needs not only for physical activity, but also proper organ function. Low glycemic carbs are those that burn more slowly in the body and have less of a boost to blood sugar. These carbs are generally whole, not processed, such as whole wheat products, like pasta and breads, oatmeal and sweet potatoes. Their less desirable counterparts, like white pasta and breads, cream of wheat and white potatoes, will cause a spike to blood sugar and make fat-burning more difficult.