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Fueling Your Body ( Not Fooling Your Body!!): A Guide to Understanding Nutritional Needs and Role of Exercise





Do you usually feel sluggish and struggle to maintain your focus when working? Well, you're not alone in feeling down. We all feel like this when we're not taking a proper balanced diet.


A healthy balanced diet is the secret to feeling energized and mentally powerful. Having so much on our plates, it's common to miss out important nutritional ingredients from diet. But every missed nutrition creates a unique weakness in the body in the long run.¹


Therefore, understanding the key elements of nutrition that fuels the bodies is very important. Mixing it with just the right exercises is the key to unlocking a healthier, happier life. 


In this guide, we'll help you explore dynamic nutrition options paired with exercise, to make the most of every meal.  

Yes , It Is Important to have a Balanced Diet!!


Working requires energy and our bodies are designed like incredible machines that constantly function to produce unlimited amounts of energy behind the scenes. Using that energy, we are able to keep moving, thinking, and feeling our best self.¹


However, like all other machines, our bodies also need fuel which we fulfill by constantly feeding various types of meals and snacks to our bodies. The problem is that fulfilling hunger never means you're fulfilling the body's actual nutritional requirements.²


Now, that's where a Balanced Diet comes in! A healthy balanced diet provides us with all the essential nutrients that we need for producing energy, body growth, and repair. 




This also helps in building strong muscles, fight off illness, and keep your brain sharp. By fueling your body with a variety of nutritious food items, you prepare yourself to lead a happy, healthy life.²

Macronutrient: Body's True Powerhouse Players

Starting with the basics of nutrition, Macronutrients are the powerhouse molecules that provide your bodies with the bulk of energy that you need to perform any movement.³


Let's dive into the different macromolecules present in your routine meals.

A.  Carbs: the Quickest Energy Source

Sugar or Carbs (carbohydrates) are the quickest molecules that your body uses to produce energy. When you eat carbs, your digestive system breaks them down into glucose sugar that provides the primary fuel for your cells.⁴


You eat carbs in two main forms:

●     Simple carbs: Found in sugary treats and white bread.

●     Complex carbs: Found in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.



Whichever carbs you choose to eat, the recommended daily intake should contribute 45-65% of your daily calories.


The most efficient carb diet with nutritious benefits should include whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and oats, some fruits and vegetables along with other essential elements like fiber and minerals.⁴

B.  Proteins: the Building Block Molecules

Next up, we have Proteins commonly called the building blocks of life. Proteins are macromolecules made of smaller units called amino acids, used for building and repairing tissues, and creating enzymes.⁵


Proteins are found in two main types:

●     Complete proteins: Found in animal sources like meat, poultry, and fish.

●     Incomplete proteins: Found in plant-based sources like beans, lentils, and nuts




You can solve this issue by combining different plant-based protein sources together in your meal throughout the day to ensure that your body gets all the amino acids it needs! ⁵

C.  Fats and Lipids: Maintaining Good Cholesterol

Don't let the "fats" word confuse you ( or scare you), you do not have to (and actually cannot) eliminate it completely. You need to understand that fats are an equally important component of your healthy diet.  Fats and Lipids are essential for energy storage, insulating our organs, and producing hormones.⁶

 

OK now,  I am not encouraging a seven course meal at Burger Empire!!!


Seriously, we will discuss the two types of fats:

●     Better (Healthy) Fats: Found in avocados, olive oil, and fatty fish. (of course, in moderation)

●     Bad Unhealthy Fats: Found in processed foods and fried items.




Healthier fats will play less of a role in raising your cholesterol levels, improve your brain activity and keep you feeling full for longer hours while Unhealthy fats cause various heart diseases and other health problems.⁶

D.  Water: Needed for Hydration

This one is obvious since it's the magic life source needed by every living creature on earth. Contributing to 60% of our body weight, water is needed for a long list of bodily functions ranging from flushing toxins to regulating body temperature and others.⁷




Why is water necessary for the body?

●     It keeps our joints lubricated so you can move easily.

●     It transports nutrients to all of your body cells.

●     It maintains your body temperature.

●     It helps with digestion to remove toxic waste out of the body.

●     It keeps you looking healthy and young by boosting your life processes etc.


On the contrary, dehydration (loss of water) drains your body from all the privileges and grinds it to a halt. You should drink at least eight glasses of water a day to keep your body fully hydrated! ⁷


MUY IMPORTANTE!!

Role of Micronutrient in Balancing Your Diet

Micronutrients are equally important for the body as macronutrients to keep a healthy lifestyle. Here's what micronutrients are:

A.  Role of Essential Vitamins , The Underrated Helpers

Vitamins, those essential micronutrients, might be tiny but they do pack a powerful punch! These wonder workers act like spark plugs in our bodies, helping convert food into energy, supporting our immune system, and keeping our organs functioning properly.⁸


While we only need them in small amounts, absence leads to deficiency causing a variety of health problems.


So, let's explore the different vitamins and their roles in health.


Vitamins

Normal Body Range

Role

Deficiency Diseases

Vitamin A

300-1000 mcg

Vision, immune function, cell growth

Night blindness, dry eyes, impaired immunity

Vitamin C

75-90 mg/day

Antioxidant, collagen production, immune function

Scurvy (weakness, fatigue, bleeding gums)

Vitamin D

20-50 ng/mL

Bone health, immune function

Rickets (soft bones in children), osteoporosis (weak bones in adults)

Vitamin E

4-15 mg/day

Antioxidant, cell protection

Nerve problems and muscle weakness

Vitamin K

0.1-3.2 ng/mL

Blood clotting, bone health

Easy bruising, bleeding


B Vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B6, B12)

160-950 pg/mL

Energy metabolism, cell function, nervous system function

Fatigue, Weakness, Nerve problems, Anemia


B.  Magic of Mineral

Minerals are essential micronutrients that play a crucial role in keeping our bodies running at all times. While we only need minerals in small amounts, the deficiency can lead to a variety of health problems.⁹


Here's a quick chart to learn some key minerals, their roles, and the results of deficiency:


Mineral

Normal Body Range

Role

Deficiency Diseases

Calcium

8.6-10.2 mg/dL

Bone health, muscle function, nerve transmission

Osteoporosis (weak bones), muscle cramps

Phosphorus

2.5-4.5 mg/dL

Bone health, energy metabolism, cell function

Rickets (soft bones in children), weakness, bone pain

Potassium

3.5-5. mEq/L

Fluid balance, muscle function, nerve transmission

Muscle weakness, fatigue, heart problems

Sodium

135-145 mEq/L

Fluid balance, nerve transmission, muscle function

Hyponatremia (weakness, confusion, seizures)

Iron

37-145 mcg/dL

Oxygen transport, red blood cell production

Anemia (fatigue, shortness of breath, pale skin)

Magnesium

1.5-2.5 mg/dL

Muscle and nerve function, blood sugar control

Muscle cramps, weakness, fatigue, irregular heartbeat

Zinc

80-120 mcg/dL

Immune function, wound healing, enzyme function

Impaired immunity, delayed wound healing, hair loss


Remember, incorporating a variety of mineral-rich foods into your diet is essential for keeping your body healthy and strong!

C.  Fibers: Improving Digestion (I Just Can't Get Enough of It !!)

Fibers are another micronutrient that plays a significant role in keeping our digestive system happy and healthy. 



Unlike other components, our bodies can't fully break down fiber molecules. Instead, the fibrous material acts like a supplemental food that facilitates our digestive tract in promoting regularity. It helps to avoid constipation and keep things moving smoothly.¹⁰


Fiber also helps us feel fuller for longer, which helps in managing weight and lower cholesterol to improve gut health and overall well-being.¹⁰

How can Exercise Help Balance Your Meals?

Your body is like a high-performance machine which can be effectively fueled with a balanced diet. Similarly, exercise helps to unlock its full potential.






Here's how different types of exercise can help you balance your meals for optimal health:

1.   Cardio Workout:

Activities like brisk walking, running, cycling, and swimming get your heart pumping and blood flowing. Cardio workout improves circulation and helps your body absorb nutrients from food more efficiently.¹¹

2.   Muscle Strengthening:

Strengthening your muscles mostly include bodyweight exercises like squats, lunges, and push-ups, or weightlifting. Building muscle mass increases your body's ability to burn calories even at rest, when you're not exercising. This helps your meals to fuel your body more effectively throughout the day.¹²

3.   High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT):

HIIT includes short bursts of intense activity exercises followed by quick recovery periods. HIIT workouts can be a great way to build insulin sensitivity in your body. It helps your cells become more responsive to insulin, regulate blood sugar levels, allowing your body to utilize glucose sugar more efficiently.¹³

4.   Yoga and Pilates:

Yoga and Pilates are mind-body exercises that enhance flexibility, core strength, and balance of your body. You build an improved core strength that can aid in digestion, keeping your gut happy and functioning smoothly.¹⁴

5.   Balance Training:

Balance Training includes activities like standing on one leg, tai chi, or using a balance ball to improve your balance and coordination. Such training can help create balance and stability. It also enhances your performance in other exercises and sports.¹⁵



By incorporating these different types of exercise into your routine, you'll maximize the benefits of your meals in fueling your body performance.

Conclusion:

We get hungry and eat (eating should not be done in extremes) , it's OK to enjoy your meal. A good approach to eating is to satisfy your body's needs (healthy eating) instead of fueling your hunger ( crave eating).  Start taking a balanced diet that's rich in essential nutrients, and find exercises suited for your body.


Take Charge of Your Health and Fuel Your Body's health status.


Remember, exercises is not work and you are never to old to retrain the body!


Special Thanks to contributors:

Dr. Hunzala , Medical Content Writer

Lal Chand, Senior Technical Executive



Manuel Arruffat PT DPT FMS SFMA

CPT CES PES NASM

SSC ISSA

Flexibility and Stretching Coach NASM


References

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  2. de Ridder, D., Kroese, F., Evers, C., Adriaanse, M., & Gillebaart, M. (2017). Healthy diet: Health impact, prevalence, correlates, and interventions. Psychology & health, 32(8), 907–941.

  3. Venn B. J. (2020). Macronutrients and Human Health for the 21st Century. Nutrients, 12(8), 2363.

  4. Kiely, L. J., & Hickey, R. M. (2022). Characterization and Analysis of Food-Sourced Carbohydrates. Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.), 2370, 67–95.

  5. Ferrari, L., Panaite, S. A., Bertazzo, A., & Visioli, F. (2022). Animal- and Plant-Based Protein Sources: A Scoping Review of Human Health Outcomes and Environmental Impact. Nutrients, 14(23), 5115.

  6. Liu, A. G., Ford, N. A., Hu, F. B., Zelman, K. M., Mozaffarian, D., & Kris-Etherton, P. M. (2017). A healthy approach to dietary fats: understanding the science and taking action to reduce consumer confusion. Nutrition journal, 16(1), 53.

  7. Çıtar Dazıroğlu, M. E., & Acar Tek, N. (2023). Water Consumption: Effect on Energy Expenditure and Body Weight Management. Current obesity reports, 12(2), 99–107.

  8. Diab, L., & Krebs, N. F. (2018). Vitamin Excess and Deficiency. Pediatrics in review, 39(4), 161–179.

  9. Goff J. P. (2018). Invited review: Mineral absorption mechanisms, mineral interactions that affect acid-base and antioxidant status, and diet considerations to improve mineral status. Journal of dairy science, 101(4), 2763–2813.

  10. Hojsak, I., Benninga, M. A., Hauser, B., Kansu, A., Kelly, V. B., Stephen, A. M., Morais Lopez, A., Slavin, J., & Tuohy, K. (2022). Benefits of dietary fibre for children in health and disease. Archives of disease in childhood, 107(11), 973–979.

  11. Garber, C. E., Blissmer, B., Deschenes, M. R., Franklin, B. A., Lamonte, M. J., Lee, I. M., Nieman, D. C., Swain, D. P., & American College of Sports Medicine (2011). American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal, and neuromotor fitness in apparently healthy adults: guidance for prescribing exercise. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 43(7), 1334–1359.

  12. Park, H. K., Song, M. K., Kim, D. J., Choi, I. S., & Han, J. Y. (2021). Comparison of core muscle strengthening exercise and stretching exercise in middle-aged women with fibromyalgia: A randomized, single-blind, controlled study. Medicine, 100(50), e27854.

  13. Ekkekakis, P., & Biddle, S. J. H. (2023). Extraordinary claims in the literature on high-intensity interval training (HIIT): IV. Is HIIT associated with higher long-term exercise adherence?. Psychology of sport and exercise, 64, 102295.

  14. Kannan, P., Hsu, W. H., Suen, W. T., Chan, L. M., Assor, A., & Ho, C. M. (2022). Yoga and Pilates compared to pelvic floor muscle training for urinary incontinence in elderly women: A randomised controlled pilot trial. Complementary therapies in clinical practice, 46, 101502.

  15. Thomas, E., Battaglia, G., Patti, A., Brusa, J., Leonardi, V., Palma, A., & Bellafiore, M. (2019). Physical activity programs for balance and fall prevention in elderly: A systematic review. Medicine, 98(27), e16218.


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