Why Nutrition is Important During These Times
We look at the four key reasons why nutrition is a core component to staying on track with your health while staying at home.
Nutrition is one of the most important and influential factors when it comes to your health, especially right now. With many of us working, training, and eating at home, it’s essential that we bring structure to our day, particularly with food and nutrition. The F45 Nutrition team is here to help keep you motivated and informed. We’ve outlined four key reasons why nutrition is a core component to staying on track with your health during these next few months.
The impact on mental health
Research has demonstrated that our eating habits directly impact our mood. Studies have noted that excess consumption of processed and refined foods—including chips, cakes, soft drinks, and fast food—may negatively impact our mood and increase feelings of stress and anxiety. Instead, aim for a diet rich in whole foods, such as the Mediterranean-style diet, which consists of an abundance of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, and extra-virgin olive oil. For more information, visit the Food & Mood article.
The impact on gut health
Regularly incorporating probiotic and prebiotic-rich foods into our diet helps to bring balance to the gut and supports overall digestive health. To optimize both our physical and mental health, it’s essential to maintain a strong balance of beneficial bacteria in our gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Research has shown that by adding plant-based foods—like beans, avocados, nuts, and fiber-filled whole grains—to our daily eating routine, we can positively impact our gut microbiome. The impact that our bacteria has on our mental health stems from the “brain-gut connection.” Our microbiome consists of a diverse population of bacteria that lives in the GI tract, and is crucial to the health of our brain and neurological systems. Studies have shown that imbalances in the microbiome due to inflammation or lack of bacterial diversity may be associated with an overgrowth of unhealthy gut bacteria and contribute to feelings of anxiety and/or depression. Therefore, be sure to incorporate prebiotic and probiotic-rich foods, such as plain yogurt, kefir, cottage cheese, oats, and legumes, to maintain a strong balance in favor of beneficial bacteria. These foods will preserve the intestinal lining and optimize nutrient retention for a positive overall effect on mood, energy, and well-being. For more info on the Brain-Gut Connection, visit the ‘Love Your Gut’ article https://f45challenge.com/blog/love-your-gut
The impact on weight management and body composition
Nutrition is key when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight and managing body composition. The weight management equation is simple in theory and is underpinned by an energy balance of ‘calories in’ versus ‘calories out.’ In other words, when we consume more than our estimated total daily energy expenditure or recommend daily caloric intake, we’ll store these excess calories as body fat. However, if we expend more calories than we consume on a daily basis and create a negative energy balance, we’ll lose weight. The next layer to that equation is what you eat, or the quality of your diet. Consumption of predominantly lean proteins, fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds are more favourable for a healthy body composition versus diets consisting of mainly refined sugars and excess saturated and trans fats. The real challenge for us now is that we have a greater temptation to snack or eat more regularly, as we are spending the majority of our time at home. Snacking coupled with higher levels of stress and feelings of uncertainty can make it extremely difficult to sustain a healthy eating routine. We recommend focusing on a few key aspects of nutrition to hold yourself accountable, including incorporating lean proteins and dietary fiber—both of which will aid in appetite control and promote a healthy body composition. As per the revised Challenge guidelines, F45 members should aim to have at least 15-20 grams of protein at each meal and snack. Be sure to use the F45 Challenge recipes, meal plans, and meal delivery services as a resource to keep your nutrition in check if you are struggling. For more information on this topic, visit the article ‘Why nutrition is key to fat loss.’
The impact on your immune system
Sleep, hygiene, and quality nutrition are essential to support and strengthen the immune system to minimize our risk of getting sick. Nutritional aspects to focus on during this time include consuming adequate fruit and vegetables, whole grains and fiber, while also staying on top of hydration. Be sure to incorporate antioxidant-rich and anti-viral foods, including garlic, ginger, and echinacea, all of which are known to give the immune system an extra boost. For more on this topic, visit ‘The Immune System: Antiviral nutrients.’ https://f45challenge.com/blog/the-immune-system-antiviral-nutrients