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How to Eat and Stay Fit Like an Olympian

Posted Aug 02 2012 5:45pm
With the 2012 Summer Olympics underway, athletes are on their A-game. And when it comes to bringing home that medal, Olympians and coaches alike understand the importance of healthy-eating, along with practice. Given your busy lifestyle and lack of time, you don’t need a team of professionals setting and monitoring your daily schedule. With simple tips from Co-founder of BeyondDiet.com and Nutritionist Isabel De Los Rios, you too can learn to adjust your eating habits and stay fit like an Olympian.

Healthy Breakfast What you eat for breakfast has the ability to affect how you feel and perform the entire day.  You may not be a formal “athlete”, but if you’re a busy parent, corporate executive or just trying to get through a demanding day, the right breakfast can set you up for a great day. The first step towards a healthy breakfast is to make sure you eat one!  Many people are just too busy to stop and make breakfast in the morning.  If that seems to be the case for you, set up a “grab and go” meal that is easy to take with you in the car or eat when you get to work.  Hard boiled eggs, nut butter on sprouted grain toast, mixed nuts alongside a fruit are all great options and take no time to cook in the morning.  Have those foods ready the night before and you won’t have to think twice about breakfast in the morning. Next, you want to be sure to include a protein rich food in your breakfast meal.  Eggs, nuts, smoked salmon, Greek yogurt or a protein rich smoothie are all great options to ensure your breakfast is not a carbohydrate fest.  Protein has the ability to keep you satiated longer and keep your blood sugar from crashing early in the day.  Include protein into your breakfast for sustained energy throughout the day. Best Foods to Eat Pre-workout The best foods pre-workout are going to be those that give you energy without causing you to crash shortly after.  Ideally, you want to be sure your meal is a combination of healthy carbohydrates and protein without it being too heavy and difficult to digest.  Great combinations would be Greek yogurt with fruit, sprouted grain toast with almond butter or a trail mix that includes nuts and dried fruits.   It is essential that you try different foods before exercising and see which combinations work best for you. Best Foods to Eat Post-workout After a great workout, your body is ready to replenish its glycogen stores (energy in your body) with wholesome, healthy carbohydrates.  Post workout is the best time to include those healthy grains and carbs into your meals.  Be sure to add some brown or white rice, sweet potatoes, quinoa, millet, oatmeal and/or fruit to your meal after a workout.  This does not mean you should exclude protein.  Protein rich foods will be essential in helping your muscles recover and build themselves up so a healthy combination of carbs and proteins is also ideal at this time. Great meal combinations could be chicken breast with rice or a sweet potato, warm quinoa with nuts on top, oatmeal alongside an egg or a fruit smoothie with some nut butter for added protein. Best Foods to Maintain a Healthy Immune System The first step to ensuring a healthy and strong immune system is staying away from refined sugars and processed foods.  Those foods will not only make you feel lousy, they bring your immune system down as well. The following foods have the ability to keep your immune system strong and help your body recover from workouts:  

 Coconuts and Coconut Oil 
coconuts and coconut oil are rich in lauric acid, and contain the same compounds found in breast milk that strengthens a baby’s immunity. A great deal of research has been done establishing the ability of lauric acid to enhance immunity. Make sure your coconuts and coconut oil are organic ones that are unrefined, unbleached, made without heat processing or chemicals, and are non-GMO. 

Locally Grown Organic Vegetables
Raw organic vegetables are truly your best source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes for keeping the immune system strong. Ideally all vegetables should be fresh, as the canning process brings the nutrient value down significantly.  Visit local farmer’s markets for fresh fruits and veggies in season and choose organic whenever available.  

Blueberries and Raspberries
 Blueberries and raspberries contain an incredible amount of antioxidants compared to other fruits and vegetables. Wild blueberries in particular are potent immune boosters. They contain powerful phytochemicals and are lower in sugar than many other fruits

Garlic 
Garlic offers many incredible benefits to the immune system.  It’s antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal. Ideally, you should be eating garlic every day. One of the best things about garlic is that bacteria, viruses, and yeast build up zero resistance to it, unlike with synthetic antibiotics. For optimal benefits, garlic should be fresh and used instead of garlic tablets

 
Essential Vitamins Vitamin C is an important nutrient for a strong immune system.  It is recommended that adult males get 90 mg daily and females 75 mg daily. Foods to include into your eating plan to ensure adequate Vitamin C intake are citrus fruits, strawberries, papayas, kiwi, dark leafy greens and broccoli.  If you are eating a minimum of 6 servings of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis, you are most likely getting the recommended amount.   For those who are not, a quality Vitamin C supplement may be needed. Omega 3’s are essential fatty acids the body needs, but cannot make on its own.  That is why it is critical for us to ingest an adequate amount of Omega 3’s.  Omega 3’s have been found to play a critical role in decreasing and preventing inflammation inside the body. Chronic inflammation in the body has been linked to joint pain, heart disease, and the growth of cancerous tumors. Quality sources of Omega 3’s are salmon, sardines, walnuts, and organic eggs.  For those who do not consume these foods on a regular basis, a quality fish oil supplement may be needed. B Vitamins are critical for energy and the immune system, especially Vitamin B6.  B6 is involved in protein metabolism and cellular growth. Vitamin B6 helps your immune system keep the spleen, lymph nodes and thymus healthy.  When kept healthy, these organs can then make your white blood cells.

Studies have shown that if your body has a vitamin B6 deficiency, your immune system will suffer. It will decrease your body’s antibody production and restrain your immune system’s response. In order to keep a healthy immune system, vitamin B6 should be in your diet

Foods high in B6 that should be included into your meal plans each day are potatoes, bananas, chicken breasts, oatmeal, and avocados.
For more information on Isabel De Los Rios or BeyondDiet.com, follow @Beyond_Diet on Twitter, “Like” Beyond Diet on Facebook, and visit the website: www.beyonddiet.com .
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