Be the Light!

Our entire world has been severely impacted by COVID-19. Not only, have many individuals lost their lives, but businesses have closed, people have lost their jobs and it will be years before our economy rebounds.

 

As I sit here today thinking about what positive light I could share on my community, I turn back to nutrition…what I know best. Nutrition and athletes. Many athletic races have been moved or cancelled, and while that may seem so small on the grand scale, to athletes, the impact is substantial. The shift in races and park/business closures alters athletes training plans, ability to train, nutritional needs and even impacts emotional well-being.

 

Today, I want to share a few tips that apply to everyone, and there will be some athletic specific comments made in my tips since that is my wheel house. Hopefully, the tips below will help you make it through this time in a more positive and healthful way.

 

3 Nutrition Tips

PLAN

  • Stick to a plan
    • Remain on a similar eating schedule that you had prior to COVID-19. Many are working from home, which can promote grazing throughout the day and increases access to food. Try to manage temptations to graze and remain on your healthful eating schedule as before transitioning to working from home.
    • Athletes: The amount of food consumed daily may need to change, but the same components are all still important. Protein, fat and carbohydrates are still needed by your body to fuel and perform properly. You may be switching from a build training phase to a base load which will impact your total caloric needs.
  • Reduce Food Waste
    • Get creative with your meals. Some are experiencing shortages at the grocery store. Now is a great time to become skilled in looking in your refrigerator/pantry and using the items that will spoil first.
  • Mindless/Emotional Eating (or not eating)
    • Emotions may be driving hunger cues. By allowing your emotions to dictate fueling, you are more likely to over or under consume. Stick to your nutrition plan and try to resist the urge to snack if it is not a snack/meal time.
    • Also remember, you can’t stop eating/fueling during the day. Athletes: You may have reduced your training volume, but you still need to eat throughout the day…just not as much.

HYDRATE

  • Training indoors vs outdoors
    • Our weather has been in transition from cooler to warmer temperatures, but most of us are not quite heat adapted yet. As it gets warmer, our fluid needs increase due to sweat loss. Athletes: If you are training more indoors, you may notice you are sweating more due to it being warmer inside than it has been outside. Make sure to drink appropriate water and or electrolyte replacements as needed for training.
  • Assess what and how much are you drinking? Water? Coffee? Juice/Soda? Electrolyte beverages?
    • Most of us are not drinking enough water. When I was researching how much water is recommended, I found that the U.S. Dietary Guidelines of 2015-2020 do not specify how much water we should be consuming on a daily basis. #nothelpful But, what I did find was that The National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine recommended men consume 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) and women consume 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) per day. My recommendation, is to assess what your consuming and how much. It you are far from this fluid recommendation, start by adding 1 cup of water a day and see how you feel/perform/urination frequency/etc. Staying hydrated is so important and effects most bodily functions.

IMMUNITY

  • Increase foods that improve your immune system
    • If you are looking for a simplified explanation, then consume fruits, vegetables, proteins, nuts/seeds and fermented foods on a daily basis. If you are interested in a little more in depth info keep reading.
    • Vitamins & Minerals play an important role in your immune system. Below are several key players along with a few food sources:
      • Vitamin C: citrus, strawberries, bell peppers, dark leafy greens
      • B6: chicken, salmon tuna, chickpeas
      • Vitamin E: nuts, seeds
      • Vitamin A: sweet potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, mango, broccoli
      • Zinc: beef, wheat germ, beans, nuts, tofu
      • Probiotics: yogurt, fermented foods (kimchi)
      • Selenium: garlic, broccoli, sardines, tuna, brazil nuts, barley
      • Iron: poultry, seafood, beans, broccoli, kale
  • Reduce inflammatory foods
    • Foods that have been shown to increase inflammation
      • Fried foods
      • Refined/sugary carbohydrates
      • Sugar sweetened beverages
    • Foods that have been shown to reduce inflammation
      • Fruit and vegetables
      • Healthy fats: Salmon, nuts, seeds
      • Dark chocolate (greater than 70%)
      • Turmeric, ginger

Lastly, I wanted to provide a general recommendation of staying active. There have been some thoughts that being active can actually weaken your immune system. If you’re interested in reading a great article about activity and immune health, click HERE to check out this article from Precision Hydration.  The moral of the story is staying active will help you stay healthy. Being active, helps with the mental mind frame and physical state. Be smart in what and how much you participate in for a beneficial impact on your health.

If you have questions or are struggling with your nutrition, feel free to reach out. You can email me at krista@fuelfearlessly.com and we can set up a time to chat.

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