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The first wealth is health...
During this time where you may be spending more time at home and practicing social distancing, what to eat may be on your mind. Restaurants are closed to in-house dining, but some are offering curb-side pickup. Drive-thru restaurants have created ways to provide safe handling of food as they serve their customers. Some establishments are even delivering meals to your doorstep. Essential grocery shopping is probably a priority for you and your family, too.
The question remains, what should you be eating during this COVID-19 pandemic?
It’s a good time to explore your Kitchen!
This may be a good opportunity to support local businesses as well as learn new talents in the kitchen. You may dust off those recipe books on the shelf and try a new recipe. Try baking a cake or some cookies as a fun treat for the family. Nutrition and eating healthy, though, may be a concern for you in any of these scenarios. There may be a fear of eating too many sweets or unhealthy meals that contribute to weight gain or even low energy and diminished mental focus.
Since you have some time at home, this can always be an educational moment to learn more about the nutritional value of food: how it affects your body and mind, what to eat and what to avoid. Let's dive a little deeper and explore the importance of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.
1. Everything you need to know about Macronutrients
To make the wisest choices in healthy foods, it would be best to breakdown the function of each of the major macronutrients: proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Using the analogy of an automobile, an explanation of how these nutrients work in the body will be used.
Think of your body as a running machine, like a car. You need all the necessary components to make your machine run efficiently. You first need the structure of your machine, the parts that hold it all together and keep it running. For the car, that is the engine and its parts. For the body, that is protein. Proteins are the building blocks of your bodily system. When ingested, proteins from foods convert into amino acids. Your body is in a constant state of repair.
As the tissues in your body breakdown, the amino acids are the regenerative component for all the cells and tissues to keep them functioning appropriately. Proteins also help all the normal functions of the body: heart beating, digestion, muscle contraction, and more. Proteins are the foundation of the bodily system. We need them in order to survive. But it takes more than just protein to keep the body functioning. Much like the car, your body needs fuel to run.
Carbs are one of the two fuels of the body. The other are fats. Carbohydrates provide immediate fuel and energy to the body. When your vehicle is low on gasoline, you fill it up at the station, then your car can continue to run. This is the same with your body. You need fuel to keep it running. When you eat foods containing carbohydrates, it converts into glucose; we sometimes know that as sugar. When we need a quick burst of energy, we can ingest something with sugar or carbs and it can give us the needed boost.
Glucose can be stored away for later use, too. Glucose converts into glycogen and is stored in the muscles and liver for use in the near future. You can say that the body has glycogen "storage tanks," so that you're always in supply of fuel. These storage tanks, though, have limited space. If you do not use up the fuel stored away in these tanks, they will reach their capacity. And it glycogen is stored for too long, it is converted into fat.
Fat is another source of fuel for the body, but it is stored away in your system for later use. Fat converts into fatty acids and are responsible for absorbing and distributing vital nutrients through the body. Healthy fats also regulate our body's temperature in addition to providing fuel for the body.
As mentioned, glycogen can convert to fatty acids and store in the body's fat cells. When your system is in need of fuel and the glycogen storage tanks are empty, it will rely on the fuel stashed away in your fat cells for energy. It compares to taking a road trip and you fill an extra gas can to place in your car. It is that emergency fuel tank that comes in handy when you're in an area where there are no gas stations and you're in need of fuel.
With the glycogen storage tanks having a limited capacity, fat cells do not. Your body can continue to produce fat cells. As they continue to grow and expand, so does the body.
2. What to Eat & When to Eat
Now that you have an understanding of these important nutrients, let's put it into the context of what to eat and when to eat.
2.1 Repair with Protein
Remember, your body is a machine that needs fuel. Proteins build the machine, but they diminish constantly since the tissues in your body are always in repair. That means, you need to ingest proteins throughout the day to keep these systems of repair running efficiently.
Build proteins into each meal you eat, even snacks. Here's a short list of foods that are healthy sources of protein. Consider these when you're going to the market and planning your meals:
2.2 Stay energetic with Carbs & Fats
Another thing to think about is how active you are during the day. Since carbs and fats provide energy, consider when you need the most energy. Morning breakfast may be an opportune time to ingest healthy carbs and fats. The sugars will give you the immediate energy needed to get you moving for the day. The added fat can be stored for later use. If you plan to exercise (e.g. bike riding, jogging, lifting weights, etc.) have a snack that has proteins to rebuild the muscles you damage and carbs for the energy you need for your workout. But don’t forget, to become stronger and healthier fast, you have to rest and recover too.
Rest & Recovery helps heal injuries & sore muscles to reenergize the body so you have the stamina to give it your all during your next workout
All workouts, especially tough ones, stress the body. You’re fatiguing, or tiring out, various muscles when you work out, which means you’re causing microscopic damage to muscle cells. Try our ‘Home Fitness & Muscle Recovery Bundles’. Explore which bundle suits your exercises the most and easily order online at the best prices available. You will love how these compact bundles will be able to help you strengthen and tone every muscle in your body. If you are ever feeling tight and are in need of a self-massage, use all the various products found in our Muscle Recovery Bundle to help relieve muscle tension, which will increase blood flow and oxygenate those aching muscles to help you feel and look more radiant.
If you're not as active, then less carbs and fat are needed in your system. Here is a scenario: let's say you're planning to have a relaxing day with no exercise. If you are less energetic, that means you may need less fuel (i.e. carbs). If you're hungry, though, find something that is high in protein rather than high in sugar or fat. The carbs you eat will convert to an energy source, but if you're not using that source, it is stored away for later use. Too many carbs will fill up your storage tanks and get converted into fat; and you can guess the result of that.
A healthy source of carbohydrates includes:
- sweet potatoes, brown rice, oats, bananas, berries,
- broccoli, carrots, beets, kale, squash, spinach, beans
2.3 Say no to Unhealthy fats & sugars
Do your best to avoid (or at least reduce) artificial and refined sugars that are in sodas, candy, white pastas and rices, chips, cookies, and other sweets.
The same goes for fats. Turn toward the healthy fats that enhance nutritional distribution in your body. Avoid fats that are unhealthy for your heart (i.e. trans fats).
You can find healthy fats in:
- Almonds, walnuts, pistachios
- natural nut butters, olive oil
- salmon, tuna, avocado
These and other healthy fats can be added in small amounts to compliment other components of your meals.
When you're making your shopping list, add the above items so you always have something healthy in your cupboards and fridge. Discover healthy recipes from cookbooks, the internet, and online videos. And most importantly, get the whole family involved in this quest for health. Learn together the importance of these nutrients, when to eat them, and what foods are the best sources. Find some fun and delicious recipes to cook together in the kitchen.
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