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Diet and Nutrition

The components of food that the body uses to sustain itself are known as nutrients. Nutrients can be divided into two broad categories; macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, and fat), substantial quantities of which are required for energy and growth, and the micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), needed in small amounts for growth and to facilitate regular body functions. Though not necessarily regarded as nutrients, water and fiber are also essential parts of a healthy diet.

The human body has the ability to synthesize certain nutrients on its own. Those that cannot be produced atall or in sufficient quantity must be supplied by food and supplements. Such nutrients are known as essential nutrients. If you do not get enough of them in your diet, the body develops potentially harmful deficiencies. Foods vary in the amounts and types of nutrients they have. No single type of food provides all the nutrients required for good health. For peak nutrition, one has to consume a wide variety of foods. By the same token, foods lacking in certain nutrients can still be part of a balanced diet as long as other foods or supplements provide the body with the lacking nutrients.

When starting a fitness regimen, it is essential to also examine your diet. This means knowing what you eat and cutting down on things like sugar, soft drinks, processed foods, and snacks. The limitation of caffeine, alcohol, and cigarettes can also help promote health and fitness levels. After cleaning up the diet, it is also essential to figure out how much to eat. Determining the correct portion (serving) size is an important part of good nutrition. Just as important is keeping track of what you are eating and drinking.

A balanced diet with wholesome sources of protein, carbohydrates and fats should be sought. Protein is essential for our health as it facilitates growth and repair of muscle tissue. Its ideal sources include lean red meat, chicken, fish, dairy and eggs. Carbohydrates are essential in providing energy and stimulating anabolic hormones, especially insulin. High fiber, fruits, vegetables and low glycemic sources of carbohydrates are preferred, staying away from the highly processed and sugar laden products. Fat is essential not only as a store of energy but also for its role in enabling various anabolic functions within the body. Unsaturated and essential fatty acid rich vegetable oils are the often recommended sources of fat.

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