Achieve Optimal Nutrition in Any Situation
Good nutrition for optimal living, is important every day, but certain situations demand an even higher level of focused, specialized nutritional advice. To make sure you are equipping yourself with the optimal nutrients for special circumstances, check out these practical and helpful tips.
1. Staying Healthy on the Road. Trips are an easy time to lose track of nutritional goals. Busy days and limited access to healthy foods can lead to good nutrition falling to the wayside, but being on the road does not have to sabotage your health goals! Stay healthy when you are on the go with these smart strategies.
- Plan Ahead. The old cliché that ‘those who fail to plan, plan to fail’ rings true especially during travel. Just as you put thought into what goes into your suitcase before departing, plan what will go into your stomach! Take time to find healthy restaurants both at your destination and along the way (thankfully, the internet makes this easier than ever before!). Making some snacks and meals that are easily portable will also help you stay fueled in healthy way as well as save you some money.
- Think Outside the Box. Traveling can present you with many unhealthy temptations that can seem like the only options, but a little creative thinking will reveal there are actually plenty of nutritious options. Looking for some ideas to get you started? Convenience stores and gas stations often have roasted nuts that will provide you with healthy fat, protein, and fiber. Don’t neglect grocery stores as an option for a quick meal. A piece of fruit and some nitrate free deli meat can give you quick options far healthier than fast food fare.
2. Combating Illness. Our nutritional intake can be used to prevent and fight illnesses both big and small. Doctors are learning more than ever before about the role that nutrition can play in good health. So whether you are battling a cold or a major illness, the following advice can make good nutrition your biggest ally in the fight for health and wellness.
- Load Up on Antioxidants. Antioxidants fight off the damaging free radicals that attack our healthy cells. Arming your body with extra antioxidants from fruits and vegetables gives your body’s natural immune response the extra boost you need to feel better faster.
- Target Problems. Diet and supplements can target specific problems. For example, people with gastrointestinal issues (GI) like Crohn’s disease may find relief by following a high protein diet with extra fluids and taking a probiotic supplement. Recommendations vary by condition, but looking into the optimal diet/supplement combination for your particular issue can provide significant help for most conditions.
3. Staying Active. Good nutrition and an active lifestyle go hand in hand. The right choice of foods and drinks fuels your body with the energy it needs to perform at its best, and physical activity aids in your body more effectively metabolizing nutrients. So what do you need to do to make sure you are making the healthy changes to make an active lifestyle possible? In addition to your workouts stay focused on your nutrition.
- Hydrate. Skip the sports drinks that are often loaded with sugar and high fructose corn syrup, and choose water instead. For optimal hydration, drink one to two cups of water a couple of hours before your workout, a cup after your workout, and as much as your thirst dictates as you exercise. Activities done in the hot sun, such as gardening or an outdoor walk, may require additional fluids. If your activity is done at such a high intensity that you need to replace lost electrolytes, coconut water makes a perfect choice.
- Eat for Lasting Energy. To have energy to get you through your activities, your body needs slow releasing carbohydrates. Have a snack that has protein, fiber, and little to no added sugar so that the energy is slowly and steadily released in your bloodstream. An apple with nut butter makes a great choice!
- Rebuild. Protein helps rebuild the tiny tears in muscle tissue that occur during a workout to increase your strength and muscle tone. Consuming a small serving of a protein rich food like plain Greek yogurt or a boiled egg after a workout will help your body rebuild stronger muscles.
If you find your body seems to need additional help recovering from activity, a Branch Chain Amino Acid (BCAA) supplement may be the answer for you. This amino acid is critical for lean muscle growth and, along with protein, can help you achieve your fitness goals.
4. Sleeping Well. Anyone who has ever been plagued by insomnia knows that you would do anything to get a good night’s sleep! It turns out that the secret to successful shut eye is not confined to the bedroom; what happens in the kitchen can play a major role in making sure you get a good night’s sleep. Here’s what to do to sleep better tonight!
Cut Off the Caffeine. Long after you have finished that last sip of coffee, your body may still be feeling its effects. To prevent caffeine from interfering with a good night’s sleep, cut yourself off from any caffeine four to six hours before bedtime.
- Go Easy on Alcohol. Having a drink may make you feel drowsy at first, but as your body metabolizes the alcohol sugars it can create sleep disturbances. Limit or cut out alcohol to prevent such disturbances.
- Snack Wisely. Just as certain foods can cause sleep problems, others can help you have a better night’s rest. Magnesium has been shown to help with relaxation so magnesium rich foods like bulgur may help with sleep problems. The natural melatonin content in tart cherries can signal to your mind it’s time to go to sleep. Because of this, eating some tart cherries or drinking tart cherry juice before bedtime may help you drift off more easily. Melatonin is also available in supplement form if you find the amount in cherries is not enough to help with your sleep concerns.
www.webmd.com (various articles)