Meeting Your Nutrient NeedsIN ORTHOPEDICS
Nutrition bars and supplements may be convenient meals, especially if you’re busy—but experts agree that over the long run they may let you down. The best way to consume the right nutrients in the right quantities each day is to select foods that are nutritious. Fresh fruits and vegetables are an excellent source of vitamins, and unlike supplements, they also contain natural fiber and numerous other compounds important to health.
McGraw-Hill’s Physician and Sportsmedicine Nutrition Advisor (www.physsportsmed.com) says that if you eat enough calories from the foods recommended in the five major groups of the United States Department of Agriculture’s food guide pyramid (www.usda.gov/cnpp), you’ll meet your need for carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, minerals, and fats. A healthy diet comprised of those five groups is the key to feeling energetic. If you miss some of the groups or consume too little, you’ll feel tired and weak
- A carbohydrate-rich diet will increase the energy in your muscles and improve your overall athletic performance. Most of your calories should come from carbohydrates such as bread, cereal, grains, pasta, vegetables, and fruit.
- Protein is a minor fuel for energy production. The recommended dietary allowance of protein is about 0.4 grams per pound of body weight per day. Active people need slightly more.
- Fat is particularly important for athletes who are involved in prolonged, low-intensity activity.
- Carbohydrates are the best fuel for high-intensity, short-term activities.
- Vitamins and minerals are not energy givers themselves, but they are integral elements of healthy metabolism and energy production.
Don’t Forget the Water
Water is the ultimate performance-enhancing aid, but to maintain peak performance you must drink before you are thirsty. When you feel thirsty it means you are already slightly dehydrated, and because of that your performance may diminish. To stay optimally hydrated, drink about a quart of caffeine-free, alcohol-free fluids for every 1,000 calories of food you eat.
Doctor, Nutritionist, Food Guide Pyramid
Work together with your doctor and a nutritionist on your nutrition goals and concerns, and get to know the USDA’s food guide pyramid (www.usda.gov/cnpp). The pyramid outlines the five basic food groups along with recommended daily portions. The basic groups are grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and protein-rich foods. Fats, oils, and sweets can give you extra calories after your needs for foods in the other groups are met.
|Do You Need Vitamin and Mineral Supplements?
Experts say there is no evidence that extra vitamins build muscles, increase energy, increase strength or endurance, or generally improve athletic performance. Experts do say, however, that too few vitamins can impair your performance, but, deficiencies are unlikely in active people with robust appetites. Supplements may be helpful if you are dieting, lactose intolerant, have food allergies, are a vegan, might become pregnant or are pregnant, or are at risk for heart disease or cancer. If you are interested in supplements, the best course is to consult with your doctor.
Sources: nutrition.gov, usda.gov/cnpp, physsportsmed.com© 2013. True North Custom Media. All Rights Reserved.
From more information on bone, joint and muscle care, visit the orthopedics website.