Health Vitamins & Nutrition Centre, Langley BC
Healthy Nutrition for an Active Lifestyle.
  • June 15th, 2011
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  • Briony Martens B.Sc ROHP
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Increased Activity, sweating, and tissue wear and tear requires special support. Our bodies nutrient needs change when we begin to exercise regularly. If we do not support ourselves with a healthy diet and appropriate supplement we leave ourselves vulnerable to injury and illness.
OverAll Healthy Choices
If being active is part of your daily routine it is important to choose nutrient rich foods, especially when weight loss is desired. The more natural, unprocessed the food, the more nutrient rich. So emphasizing whole foods whenever possible, making meals yourself, instead of preparing something from a package.

Key Nutrients

Protein is some what of a confusing topic especially when it comes to athletes. Regardless of whether you are a vegetarian or carnivore, professional athlete or have an average amount of activity in your life, high quality protein is a must. Quality protein comes in the form of organic meats, poultry, and wild sustainably caught fish, nuts, seeds, legumes, and high protein grains like quinoa and millet. As soon as the protein source is processed the quality is almost always compromised. Avoid cured meats, nut butters full of sugar and preservatives and farmed fish that have been unnaturally fed grain. In order to distinguish high quality and poor quality we have to start reading labels and asking questions. When you go to your local fish market or butcher, ask them how the meat was raised? What were they fed? And where did you source the product from? We as the consumer have to start demanding high quality foods and then the market will provide, simple economics the market will shift to meet the demand.

Now when it comes to amount of protein this question gets a little more complicated. We need protein to support the building or rebuilding of muscle, to repair tissue along with being a component of every single cell in the body and involved with every reaction that takes place throughout the body. When too much protein is consumed it can clog the colon and put added stress on the kidneys. If you choose to increase your protein intake to compliment your active lifestyle supplementing with a high quality amino acid complex or protein powder is a good option. This will provide the cells and tissues with what they need rather then eating an excess of heavier flesh-food protein which will provide too much of other less desirable nutrients. An average amount of protein in the diet is between 10-20%. If you have regular vigourous exercise up to 25% and in some body building or marathon running athletes up to 30% of the diet as protein.

There are specific types of protein that one should emphasize if the goal is to build lean muscle mass. Branched chain amino acids (BCAA) make up approximately 1/3 of the muscle tissue. Protein powders containing BCAA should be consumed 30 minutes prior to exercise for maximum results.
The pH concern: My main concern with those who choose to have higher amounts of protein in there diet is the fact that protein creates an acidic environment in the body. An acidic environment leaves us vulnerable to disease, infection, and can increase the inflammation in our body therefore contributing to more pain due to injury or arthritis. To offset these acid forming foods, we must consume higher amounts of alkalizing foods, like greens and vegetables. There are many protein supplements available that have a greens component to not only alkalize the body but provide essential nutrients like B vitamins, and minerals.

B Vitamins and Minerals
When we exercise regularly we create an increased need for these essential nutrients. B Vitamins and minerals are involved with many pathways in the body and can become depleted when exercising and sweating a lot. Suplementing with a high quality multivitamin will ensure that your body gets at least a little bit of everything it needs. Certain minerals become of increased importance, especially if the body is sweating a lot. In these circumstances i would suggest an additional mineral supplement containing potassium, magnesium and calcium to replenish these electrolytes. Supplementing with B vitamins can be a useful tool to increase energy and facilitate more effective metabolism. B vitamins and minerals can be found in any greens supplement, and any time we can supplement with a whole food source, the better.

Water consumption in general is low throughout the population. 8-12 cups a day is minimum in my books. If you are exercising and especially if you are sweating a lot water becomes even more important. If you give your body all the nutrients in the world, the healthiest diet in the world, if you are dehydrated your body is going to have a very hard time utilizing those nutrients to give you energy and maintain health. If you decide to do one thing new today drink more water. As a side note, try to avoid ice water especially around meals as it will make digestion very challenging, warm water is ideal.

If you are starting a new health program, diet and exercise, i would suggest speaking with a professional to offer you some support and guidelines to ensure maximizing your health. Contact us at the store or via email and our team would be happy to answer any question you have.

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