Being part of the Western world, we are continuously bombarded with an attractive selection of fast foods and junk food in all shapes, sizes and colours. In today's rushed lifestyles, this is further complicated by a lesser amount of time being available for the preparation of good and healthy slow cooked food. Saying no or balancing one's diet is not an easy task but it is vital if one is to live healthy and avoid medical complications in the future.
Unlike common public perception diets do not necessarily mean less food but the right sort of food depending on the exercise one does in his daily routine. During army recruitment for example a good intake of natural grain carbohydrates will proof useful since it serves as fuel for the extreme physical exercise to follow.
A good healthy breakfast consisting of cereal with milk and fresh fruit helps prepare the soldier to face an arduous day of training. Whole grain cereal free from added sugar is preferable. Bridging meals with vitamin rich fruits like bananas is also very helpful for muscle alimentation and to maintain constant blood glucose level.
Fruit should also be consumed immediately after exercise to help replace the glucose stores present in our muscles. Also important is maintaining our body well hydrated by consuming water regularly during training especially in warm weather. When passing urine, this should be clear.If the latter is not the case, this would imply a certain degree of dehydration and should drive us to drink more fluid.. Deep fried foods should always be avoided whilst fatty food deriving from natural produce can be consumed with moderation.
Green vegetables (preferably organic) are always extremely advantageous through their high content of vitamins, minerals and fiber whilst smoothies with seasonal fresh fruits is a great option between meals or even as breakfast. In the Armed Forces Protein should always exceed the civilian daily recommended intake (which amounts to 20% of the daily calorie intake) since during training muscles do come under stress especially with activity that involves lifting of weight, pushing and endurance.
Protein intake after exercise helps the muscle recovery whilst boosting the immune system. Being Mediterranean and therefore with fish being more readily available, this meat should regularly form part of our diet and should be our main choice of protein intake. Eating fresh fish together with olive oil, helps increase the absorption of beneficial oils, very useful for muscle joints that are under constant pressure by long distance running and route marches.
One must understand the basic concepts of Balance in ones diet and apply an appropriate diet depending on the lifestyle and rate of metabolism.
The latter rate will obviously be higher for someone undertaking physical activity as more energy is required by the body to fuel working muscles.
Finally, one should keep in mind that excess of any nutrient (carbohydrate, protein and fat) is converted to fat and therefore one needs to be guided in his daily nutritional intake.
The above is just a brief synoptic introduction to healthy eating and a diet should always be coupled with good sleep and adequate well planned workouts.
There are in existence numerous supplements which may be consumed by individuals undertaking physical activity. Some of them carry significant side effects and your doctor should ideally be consulted prior to consuming these products. One supplement which we encourage all our soldiers to consume is glucosamine coupled with chondroitin.
This supplement helps limit joint damage as well as may help in the healing process of damaged cartilage. Multivitamins may be added to supplement ones diet but strictly speaking, natural food sources of vitamins are always preferred.
If ones diet is varied sufficiently, it is probable that the individual is consuming sufficient amount of vitamins and minerals. Calcium is an important constituent of dairy products, and being important for bone structure; its intake is also recommended.
Being a very important element in healthy living sleep tends to be given secondary priority in the busy world we are living in. Whether you are joining the army or you are just interested in getting into shape a good 6-8 hour sleep is essential.
When one engages in the army the first few months will be characterised by lack of sleep and alteration of the normal biological clock. One cannot really prepare for this except by dedicating the little free time in your schedule to sleep. When fitness is concerned we tend to emphesise on food and workouts when sleep is as important.