Whilst a large proportion of FitMag readers crave bigger muscles, more defined abs and stronger lifts there are a few who don’t. Some people just want to implement the healthy habits of an athlete into their every day life, with the solo goal being able to enhance their overall health! This is great because above all performance figures and extra inches of muscle, every athlete’s main aim should be to optimise their health! With that being said here are 7 very simple yet effective tips which should enable you to achieve just that!
Amazingly according to recent studies around 75% of our population in the western world are dehydrated on a day to day basis! Considering dehydration often prevents people from working, both mentally and physically and even 50% of their potential capacity that is a scary thought! By drinking at least 3 litres of clear water a day, you will not only enhance your concentration and energy levels but your overall health as well. How? Water acts as a transportation system within the body, helping carry nutrients around the body and removing damaging toxins and free radicals. Simply put, if your dehydrated free radicals in your blood (anyone drink alcohol regularly?) have more opportunity to cause more damage! In some instances, free radicals have been linked to cancer to take heed!! Due to the fact water helps transport nutrients, vitamins and minerals around the body it is normal to have healthier looking skin when you are hydrated as well! All you have to do is sip on water to enhance your overall health.
Multi Vitamin & Mineral
Supplements are not just for hardcore athletes! With the average modern day person’s diet being a million miles off what is really ‘healthy’, they will struggle to get close to their RDA of vitamins and minerals! Processed foods have taken control of many people’s diet simply because of their convenience factor. However, these foods are not very rich in vitamins and minerals. Why do you need them? If I was to outline every need you would have to listen to me drone on for many hours, you don’t want that and neither do I! What I will say is that having the correct balance in vitamins and minerals is absolutely imperative to general health, focussing on healthy skin, healthy blood, healthy blood pressure, healthy organs, strong immune function and healthy bones to name a few.
Top tip – ‘As a by-product of increasing your water intake you will be certainly flushing more fluid out of your system. As a result your natural mineral and vitamin stores can become depleted which is why it is very important you use a comprehensive supplement.’ Please follow the link below to see our range of multi vitamin and mineral products!
If you’re a mainstream customer to the food market, meaning you have gathered much of your knowledge on ‘healthy’ eating from the commercials you will know that ‘fat’ is BAD! Not the case my friend! Saturated fat is bad in large amounts, but even a small amount of this each day is healthy for men, due to the fact it supports testosterone production. Most other fats are very healthy for you for the following reasons –
. Promote a healthy cardiac system
. Help lower blood pressure
. Promote healthier joints
To get your healthy fats eat foods such as lean read meat, eggs, oily fish, cottage cheese, extra virgin olive oil, nuts and nut butters. If you are feeling plush, go for the ultimate healthy fat source, Udo’s Choice Multi-blend! I use this product everyday to help keep my body healthy and my fat levels down.
First we said the ‘f’ word and now we went one worse and said the ‘c’ word! Foods which contain cholesterol, eggs and red meat for example get very bad press. However what many people fail to realise is the differences between cholesterol. In your body you have HDL and LDL cholesterol levels. HDL cholesterol is GOOD for you because it helps transport bad cholesterol (LDL) away from the body! In short, HDL cholesterol acts as a transportation system taking the LDL cholesterol to the liver, where it can then be processed. Egg yolks and red meat, in moderation are both good sources for HDL cholesterol!
Sugar is a very problematic ingredient in the modern world when it comes to general health. It is now even in burgers, wraps, sandwiches as well as other ‘savoury’ foods simply because it adds taste! Why is sugar harmful? If you have for example, corn flakes for breakfast, chocolate bar mid morning, white ham sandwich for lunch, orange in the afternoon and then baked potato with chilli for supper your blood sugar level chart will look like a rollercoaster! As a result your insulin levels will be affected. If your insulin levels are spiked continuously, especially through the day, they will remain high which causes a lot of people to gain weight. In short, what happens is your fat cells ‘open’ and store dietary fats and it becomes very difficult to remove them! This can also potentially lead to diabetes! In the UK we have record numbers of people falling down with diabetes and high sugar diets are often the cause!
What you need to do is try and keep your blood sugar levels relatively steady for most of the day! In the morning you need to give them a small spike, which is why fruit is a good breakfast food a long with oats or brown toast for example. So how do you keep your blood sugar levels steady?
5 a day
Forget that fruit and vegetable slogan, this stands for 5 small meals a day! By eating small regular ‘meals’ you are far more likely to sustain steady blood sugar levels which will also help keep your insulin levels balanced. What foods should you eat? To be fair to a lot of people, they do eat what they ‘think’ is healthy but it is often wrong. The supermarkets bombard you with ‘healthy’ low or zero fat options, but what they don’t tell you is that the sugar content is pretty high!
Protein is a key nutrient because it helps stabilise your blood sugar levels. Forget looking like a meat head, you wont! Girls, if you need proof checkout Jennifer Aniston! She was one of the firs female celebs to openly endorse a high protein diet. When we say ‘high’ what we mean is a small portion with each meal. Where do you get protein from?
Lean red meat, poultry, eggs, fish, nuts, pulses and protein powder. (NOTE – protein powders don’t make you ‘muscley’ they are just like eating a chicken breast!)
Please follow the link below to view our wide range of protein powders!
Carbohydrates are another key nutrient which will certainly play an important role in keeping your blood sugar levels steady. You are after carbohydrate sources with a LOW glycemic index because this means they digest very slowly. Why is this important? Well let’s take brown bread and white bread as an example. Eating a single portion may contain the same number of calories and carbohydrates, however what is really important is the way the body can cope with the content. The white bread will digest fast, forcing a large amount of sugar into the blood within about 30 minutes of eating it. However, the brown bread can take as long as 3 hours to digest, enabling your body to utilise the contents bit by bit. As a result, your body isn’t forced to convert it into sugar, avoiding that dreaded blood sugar spike! To help prevent calories from these complex carbohydrates turning into body fat in the evenings, switch to a fibrous carbohydrate. So what carbohydrates can you have?
Complex carbohydrates - Brown pasta, brown rice, oats, wholegrain rice cakes and brown bread.
Fibrous Carbohydrates – Broccoli, cabbage, green beans, spinach and cauliflower.
Top Tip –‘Fibre is an important part of any diet therefore you should aim to have at least 2 servings of greens a day, preferably 3 to 4. Having a constant supply of fibre will help keep your gut healthy and it will also aid with fat loss!’
Finally, to further aid steady blood sugar levels you need some healthy fats. Healthy fats slow down the rate at which your body digests food. Therefore you are essentially buying your body more time to make ‘good’ use of the nutrients you have ingested, opposed to convert them to sugar. Where can you get healthy from fats from?
Nuts, nut butter (low sugar option), red meat, eggs, extra virgin olive oil and Udo’s Choice oil.
Bringing these foods groups together to create yourself a healthier diet should hopefully enable you to prolong your health, enjoy a healthier lifestyle and enjoy life more in general!
Many people who become health conscious will tend to eat a lot of fruit! This is great, but you need to know when to eat what fruits. Natural or not, the sugar in fruit is still SUGAR therefore it can and will spike your blood sugar levels. Fruits like oranges, berries, kiwi fruit and pineapple are all perfect for breakfast and post-exercise because the sugars will help boost your depleted blood sugar levels. However, having these in the middle of the day can really upset your blood sugar levels, as we pointed out earlier when discussing sugar. Fruits like apples, pares and bananas digest more slowly, so having these occasionally as a snack in the day is OK.
Whether you want to shed a few pounds, decrease your blood pressure or just feel healthier I really hope these points have helped. Please be mindful these tips are for anybody who wants to improve their health, this is not necessarily only relevant to athletes.