With our crazy hurried lifestyles it’s not unusual for most people to just grab something to eat on the go, without due consideration of what it really is that they’re eating. All they know is that they have a hunger and need it quashed, now! They often intend to look at more healthy sustenance later on, when there’s time. But as we all know, for most of us that rarely happens. When we get home after a long and tiring day, quite often all we want to do is flop and put our feet up.
The sad fact is that the majority of people don’t really look at their nutritional requirements, nor do they work out ‘how much of what’ they should be eating. The trouble here is that this can have a detrimental effect on our bodies. Take, for instance, the British Royal Navy of the 18th Century. Long periods at sea meant that fresh fruit and vegetables became scarce, resulting in scurvy. When it was realized that lime juice prevented this the RN then began issuing it to all sailors, (hence the nickname ‘Limeys’) who then, typically for the time, added it to their daily rum ration. Rickets, scurvy, beriberi and a host of other illnesses are caused by vitamin deficiency – which shows the detrimental effects of not eating enough of the right foods.
We can easily draw a parallel to the family car. Yes, we throw fuel in it (the ‘nutrition’ that allows it to get from A to B) but what happens if we don’t add oil, windshield-wash, air to our tires (or even change them when needed): if we don’t check those oil and air filters, change the cam belt and a dozen other things? Sooner it later it ceases working as efficiently as it once did, and eventually it breaks down – much the same as our bodies do.
So what, exactly, do we need to consume daily? The higher education website CampusDish has created a list of our normal daily requirements while the healthy lifestyle site Livestrong tells us how to break down our nutrient requirements and informs us that our vitamin requirements vary with age.
Livestrong also adds a complete list of the vitamins and minerals we should really focus on. No matter what we eat, the chances are that sooner or later we are going to start missing some of the essentials that our body needs to function at its peak efficiency. So how can we get around this? Planning our diet in advance, sticking to it and of course taking vitamin supplements really helps us ensure we get the nutrients that our bodies require.
When starting a new physical training program we need to be aware that our bodies will need extra nutrients. Runners for example, will be burning calories at a much higher rate – around an extra 100 per mile.
Many runners will inform you that glucose drinks are a superb aid for their training, and that you can really feel them hit home when taken after a run; while slow burning foods – such as pasta, potatoes and whole grain bread – will provide the carbohydrates your body will need. Weight trainers ideally need several servings of lean red meat every day, not to mention lots of vegetables oily fish and even oats.
The long and the short of it is that if you are on a training program – be it running, cycling, weightlifting or boxing – you need to research what extra foods your body will need to peak in that sport. Food supplements are exactly that – a supplement. They aren’t there to replace the food that you should be eating, but they’re there to ensure that you have the exact nutrients your body needs.
So whether you’re going to be at sea for months at a time, continue with a current physical training program, flop when you get home or even take up a new sport, you need to research your body’s requirements for what you’re doing and meet them accordingly. A good supplement or super food can ensure those requirements are met and can supply those much needed extras as and when we need them.