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Diet : food and drink considered in terms of its qualities, composition, and its effects on health
ref: Dictionary.com

Diet : The Basics

Food is often a misunderstood and complex subject, but I will aim to break things down for you in easily digestible morsels. The first thing to learn about foods is that they have two main components, and they are: Macro Nutrients and Micro Nutrients.


MACRO NUTRIENTS

First let's talk about Macro Nutrients.

There are three Macro Nutrients: Fats, Proteins and Carbohydrates.


Fats

(Also known as fatty Acids) are a nutrient that gives us energy, insulates us from the cold, protects our nerves and cushions our organs against impact. There are different kinds of Fats - Saturated and Unsaturated. Then these two groups also have different types within them, and they are mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated. Unsaturated fats are in the form of a liquid. 

Types of food which you will find fats in are butter, margarine, the fats in meats, olive oil, Sunflower oil, cod-liver oil, cheese, whole milk, and some fruits like avocados.

Proteins

Proteins are a nutrient which makes up the raw materials of what our bodies are made of. We need sufficient amount of proteins in our daily diet for our bodies to repair themselves - for it is constantly being broken down and renewed on a continuing basis.
Proteins in themselves are made up of smaller items called Amino Acids, there are 20 true individual Amino Acids which our body uses. Different types of Proteins contain different proportions and concentrations of these Amino Acids, in fact some proteins doesn't contain some of these Amino Acids at all. Now, the interesting thing is, you do not need to eat all of these  because your body can make them out of others, these are known as 'non-essential'
However not all can be manufactured by the body, these are known as 'essential', which means you have to include them in your diet. Below there is a chart to show which ones falls into which category.


Amino Acids

Essential
Non-Essential
Isoleucine
Alanine
Leucine
Arginine
Lysine
Asparagine
Methionine
Aspartic Acid
Phenylalanine
Cysteine
Threonine
Glutamic Acid
Tryptophan
Glutamine
Valine
Glycine

Histidine

Proline

Serine

Tyrosine


Types of protein-containing foods are vegetables, all forms of animal dishes including fish and bird, cheese, milk, and eggs.

Carbohydrates

(Also known as Carbs, or lesser extent - Carbos) This Macro Nutrient is primarily used to support the bodies fuel and energy needs. Again - as in the other two Macro Nutrients - there are different kinds of carbs ranging from Simple Carbs to more Complex varieties. The body uses these Carbohydrates in the form of blood sugar, Muscle Glycogen (water and sugar stored inside the muscle) or Liver Glycogen (sugar and water held in the Liver)
So lets discuss simple carbs. Simple carbs have an ability to be rapidly absorbed into the body to be used as an immediate energy source.
Complex carbs, on the other hand are more slowly digested which will result in a more stable release of energy.

Below you can see examples of carbohydrate foods which fall into the two categories.

Carbohydrate Foods

Simple Carbs
Complex Carbs
Common Sugar
Bread
Dextrose
Rice

Pasta

Wheat

Corn

Fruit

Vegetables

Here is an example of just some of the healthy foods you can include in your diet.



MICRO NUTRIENTS

Now we can discuss Micro-Nutrients

Micro-Nutrients are the smaller forms of food. These are what we know as Vitamins, Minerals and Trace Elements.
Our bodies need all of these to function correctly. Luckily for us we can get them all from the foods we eat. (That's assuming the quality of the particular food is high)

Vitamins and Minerals


PROBIOTICS

IMPORTANCE

SOURCES

Probiotic NutrientsSupports your immune system to help you cope with being run down. Helps Maintain a healthy digestive system.Certain yogurts, milk cheese and buttermilk
VITAMINS
IMPORTANCESOURCES
Vitamin D
Aids the absorption of Calcium for strong and healthy bones and teeth. Aids in the utilisation of potassium and phosphorus required for healthy bones.
Cod liver Oil and oily fish (e.g. salmon, mackerel and herring).
Thiamin (B1)
For proper function of the heart, nervous system and muscles. Aids the release of energy in the food.
Beef, Kidney, liver, brown rice, whole grain products.

Riboflavin (B2)
For healthy skin, hair and nails. Also helps in the release if energy from food.
Brewers Yeast, chicken, cheese, and wheat germ.

Niacin (B3)
Aids the release of energy from food, Helps maintain a healthy nervous system and skin.
Brewer's yeast, chicken, peanuts, pork and tuna.
Vitamin B6
Maintains healthy skin, blood cells, nervous system and hormonal balance.
Bananas, avocado, carrots, rice, wheat germ.
Folic Acid B9)
Helps in the development of foetus in pregnancy.
Brewers yeast, liver, cabbage, peas, wheat.
Vitamin B12
Regulates healthy blood cells and the immune system.
Beef, blue cheese, eggs, mackerel, milk.
Biotin
Plays a role in the metabolism of amino acids.Brown rice, liver, cashew nuts, eggs, milk.
Pantothenic Acid
Aids the production of energy.
Blue cheese, eggs, liver, peas, soya beans, wheat germ.
ANTIOXIDANT VITAMINS
IMPORTANCE
SOURCES
Vitamin A
Helps maintain healthy hair, skin, nails, good vision, teeth and gums. Also encourages cell division for normal growth.
Broccoli, carrots, kale, liver, spinach.
Vitamin C
Helps maintain a healthy immune system, bones, teeth, gums, skin and blood cells. Heps absorb iron.
Broccoli, cabbage, lemons, oranges, potatoes.
Vitamin E
Maintains skin and blood cells
Corn oil, peanuts, sunflower seeds, wheat germ.
MINERALS
IMPORTANCE
SOURCES
Iron
Important for keeping blood healthy, Helps the release of energy from food.
cheese, eggs, mussels, walnuts, wheat germ.
Zinc
Present in all body tissues, Plays a role in the metabolism of energy. Helps maintain a healthy immune system and skin.
Oysters, beef, pork and green leafy vegetables.
Iodine
Helps maintain a healthy body. Required for the synthesis of the thyroid hormone which controls the metabolism.
Cod, oysters, herring, sunflower seeds.


As you can see by the table above these Micro-Nutrients are very important to keep your body running optimally and can even help prevent certain illnesses.

To find out how to eat for getting your body to accept major muscle gains or fat loss why not check out the Fit4eva E-Book!