Foods to include in your diet. search for an article and you will invariably end up a victim of native marketing. Basically sold a new “superfood” from a producer/retailer of said “superfood”. So to keep it simple, BOSSNA™ asked a member of the Kaprina LLC Advisory Board, who is a sports nutritionist, to outline what foods to include in your diet.
Know your Goal
For 10 years I was working with athletes and guiding them on a range of important matters from training to tournaments to contracts to marketing. The single most important matter was diet and 3/4’s of those I worked with were sorely lacking in knowledge and support. One female tennis player existed on a diet of orange juice for breakfast, a light salad for lunch and a small piece of fish and white rice for dinner. Her worry was gaining weight – yet she trained for 5 hours a day, every day. She didn’t know her goal – she was unable to decide between fulfilling her talent as a tennis pro and staying slim for Instagram pics.
If you are a bodybuilder and looking to gain and maintain muscle mass, you need to get enough protein and supporting nutrients into you body to reach your goal. A tennis player needs, above all else, stamina, so overloading on protein before a match will not win many extra points. And if you’re a healthy lifestyle enthusiast enjoying 2 trips a week to the gym and a weekend outing in sport or walking, what is going to make your diet better?
Carbohydrates – Commonly called “Carbs”, are used to provide your body with a source of energy.
Proteins – Also provides some energy, but essential for giving us amino acid building blocks with which we grow and repair our body.
Fats – Another energy provider, though vital for giving our body essential fatty acids which we cannot self-produce and help to transport fat-soluble vitamins and their absorption.
Apart from these main nutritional components there are the micronutrients such as water and fat soluble vitamins, minerals and non-nutrients (eg water and fibre).
So what foods to include in your diet that will provide the bulk of these components before you need to supplement?
Foods to include in your Diet
- Eggs: In the 1950’s there was a catchy advertisement, by the British Egg Marketing Board, entitled “Go to work on an egg”. Despite being a blatant advert for egg producers, it is science-based facts that eggs are good to include in your diet. Eggs, especially free range/organic ones, provide your diet with essentials from protein (2 eggs give 24g of protein), 9 essential amino acids, naturally occurring Vitamin B12, choline (for brain, cardio-vascular and nervous systems) and lutein and zeaxanthin for your eyes. While we don’t want to advise a Rocky Balboa style start to your day, eggs are an effective way of maintaining a healthy diet.
- Greens: Was that a shudder I felt? A memory of being told to “Eat your greens”? Fear not, you can make these helpful foods tasty – even Brussels Sprouts. Broccoli, Kale, Cabbage – all provide us with essentials for a healthy diet. Greens can provide us with Iron and Folic Acid (for our blood), Vitamins A, B and C, and a Green Vegetable Juice drink assists with weight maintenance and boosting energy. Next step is to find ways to make them tastier for regular consumption.
- Yogurt-Kefir: There’s a reason why both these products, in many forms, have been in the human diet for thousands of years. While yogurt will be more familiar, kefir is a health leader in Eastern Europe and Western Asia. Both provide proteins, multivitamins, calcium and probiotics. Probiotics, in this natural form, are very good in assisting the digestive system and improving intestinal health. Due to the processes used in production of both products, they are far more friendly products for those with a lactose intolerance.
- Porridge: I made sure to balance the shock factor in this article – as the Kaprina LLC sports nutritionist had given strict orders to present the material as bluntly as possible. Porridge or Oatmeal is a great start to a day or even an nice evening meal. Providing fibres to aid digestion, it also contributes to lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. It is essential to include such fibre in your diet to support a healthy heart.
- Olive Oil: This is a well known condiment and cooking staple, extra virgin olive oil is a top health promoter. Use it in salads (with those greens), cooking and for dipping. It contains Vitamins E and K, Iron and Omega 3 and 6 oils. A good quality olive oil might be expensive, though it will support your health.
- Meat: Controversial one this given the Vegan revolution and Vegetarians who see meat as murder. It is down to choice, however white meats (esp. Chicken and Turkey) are low in fat, high in protein, while red meat (esp. beef) has benefits outside of bodybuilding protein. Obviously we can all supplement or use other protein bearing foods, though our sports nutritionist at Kaprina LLC recommends having enough meat in your diet to support even the toughest workouts and lifestyle.
- Nuts: As you read this on your phone at the bar, you look past your beer and at the bowl of complimentary nuts that are of unknown origin. Apart from hygiene factors, why should you forgo those nuts and go buy a pack of your own? Almonds, as a basic, are excellent for your diet. They provide you with magnesium, protein, fibre, potassium, phosphorus, iron and vitamin E. As a snack food almonds are ideal to be one of the foods to include in your diet. Cashews and pistachios are also great for your diet. In addition to providing nutritional components, they are low in fats.
- Fruit: Sounds simple, though too often forgotten in the race for a quick hit. Bananas, oranges, apples, pineapples and strawberries all provide energy. Bananas also give you potassium, apples provide fibre and citrus fruits like oranges deliver vitamin C. Do try to get organic fruits where possible and be aware of pesticide usage in their growth, this handy link will give a little guide for you.
- Potatoes: Along with rice they provide starchy carbs to fuel your way to your goal. Organic is always best and they are staples in most dishes. Add in pasta and you have a triumverate of carb-filled foods that you need to balance. In constructing your diet it always helps to rotate the 3 staples and they will make those lovely greens seem more appeasing.
And a real goodie from Sports
Whey Protein Concentrate: Yes, that same thing you use to build and maintain muscle, it’s got a really wide range of health benefits. It’s not just for sports and as you age it is very important to take advantage of this body support. Quality WPC provides – Immunoglobins for your immune system; Promotes healthy Insulin Secretion and Effectiveness; Optimal intake of proteins needed for overall wellness and body maintenance. A good quality WPC is certainly one of the foods to include in your diet as it can be used at any time. A breakfast shake, a lunchtime drink or a post-training/exercise recovery. It’s about the protein, of course, however the parallel health benefits are clear.
Away you go!
We’ve given you a start with 10 foods to include in your diet, how you line them up with your goal is over to you. However the one thing our Kaprina LLC sports nutritionist told us is that by including the 10 foods listed above, you will cover the basics of your daily nutritional needs and provide you with a mix of carbs, proteins, fats and micronutrients that can fit into any diet.
Let us know your own additions to those our expert has outlined and especially dishes to make greens more appetising!