Diet, Nutrition and Performance

Diet, Nutrition and Performance

  • The human body requires different types of nutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, fibre and water. Each of these has a key role in maintaining a healthy and functioning body.

  • Carbohydrates are the body’s main energy source. Complex carbohydrates, like those found in whole grains and vegetables, should constitute the largest part of a diet because they release energy slowly.

  • Proteins are essential for growth, repair, and maintaining a healthy immune system. These are found in meats, eggs, and dairy products, as well as some vegetables such as beans, lentils, and soy.

  • Fats, though higher in calories, are still essential for the body for insulation, protection of organs and transport of fat-soluble vitamins. It’s crucial to differentiate between ‘good’ unsaturated fats (found in avocados and oily fish) and ‘bad’ saturated fats (in animal products and processed foods).

  • Vitamins and minerals play a variety of roles, including keeping bones strong, healing wounds, and converting food into energy.

  • Hydration is another key aspect of nutrition. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, reduce concentration, and impair performance.

  • Consuming a balanced diet is crucial for physical fitness. Failure to do so can negatively impact performance, increase risk of injury, and decrease immunity.

  • Certain sports and activities may require increased energy intake, for example endurance events, while others may involve more strength and require more protein, like weightlifting.

  • The timing of meals and snacks before and after exercise can also significantly impact performance and recovery.

  • Athletes often need more calories due to increased activity. However, these calories should come from nutrient-dense foods and not from ‘empty’ calories like sugars and processed goods.

  • Supplements can be taken in some cases to achieve a specific nutritional goal, but they should not replace real food and a balanced diet.

  • Lastly, dietary needs can change based on age, gender, body size, disease state, and lifestyle.