Fitness Nutrition 101
Important Classes of Nutrients
- Protein– Proteins provide structural support to your body, help maintain acid-base balance, allow your body to build hormones and enzymes, transport various substances throughout your body and allow your immune system to function properly. Lean meat, dairy foods, nuts, seeds and beans are good sources of protein.
- Carbohydrates– Carbohydrates are your body’s main source of energy. Carbohydrates contain the simple sugar glucose, which supplies energy to your brain, muscles and nervous system. Your body needs them in large amounts. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are healthy sources of carbohydrates vs. white flour and sugary baked goods which are less nutritious.
- Lipids/Fats– Fats are important to your diet. They are the main storage form of energy in the body, insulates and protects vital organs, provides fat-soluable vitamins. However, too much can cause you to take in excess calories and hinder your fitness success.
- Vitamins – Vitamins are organic compounds made by plants or animals. Vitamins are considered micronutrients because your body only needs them in small amounts. Vitamins are divided into two categories based on how your body absorbs them – fat-soluble and water-soluble. The fat-soluble vitamins include vitamins A, D, E and K and the water-soluble vitamins are vitamin C and the B vitamins.
- Minerals – Minerals are considered inorganic compounds because they come from soil and water. Minerals help regulate body functions and allow your tissues to grow. Minerals also play a role in the release of energy in your body. Minerals are divided into two categories – trace minerals and major minerals. The trace minerals include iron, zinc, copper, selenium, chromium, iodine, fluoride, manganese and molybdenum. The major minerals include calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, chloride and phosphorus.
- Water– is ESSENTIAL. Period point blank. Because so much of your body consists of water, and you use it in so many reactions within your cells, water is more essential than any other nutrient.