It may seem like shunning junk food, soda, and other processed foods are enough for optimal health. According to fitness experts, it’s not just what you eat – knowing when to eat is very important.
Below are some guidelines regarding the ideal composition and timing of meals.
Basic Breakfast Guidelines
Many people believe every day should start with a hearty breakfast. However, there may be benefits in not eating breakfast or something smalll, as your body is in full detox mode during the morning.
Eating a poor diet and doing so at the wrong time can compromise your body’s ability to eliminate waste effectively. This can cause irregular bowel movements and even constipation.
Fitness experts advise re-examining what you’re eating for breakfast. It is highly recommended to eat only the following foods until noontime:
- Vegetables, except for carrots and beets, which have lots of sugar
- Low glycemic fruits like lemons, berries, and papayas
- High-quality protein sources like whey protein, organic free-range chickens and eggs, and pastured meats
It is also crucial that you avoid refined carbohydrates, such as cereals, bagels, and bread. They can nullify your fitness efforts and raise your risk for health problems.
Your Post-Workout Meal
What you eat after your meals can influence the effect of your workout. After your workout, your body lacks nitrogen and your muscles have been broken down. Your muscles require nutrients to stop the catabolic or breakdown process, and trigger the process of rebuilding and growth. If you don’t supply your muscles with nutrients, the catabolic process can go too far and damage your muscles.
Similar to your breakfast choices, the ideal foods for your post-workout meal are high-quality proteins (like whey protein, pastured meat, free-range chicken, and organic eggs) combined with high-quality carbohydrates (from vegetables and low glycemic fruit).
Although it is crucial to combine vegetable-type carbohydrate with a high-quality protein in each meal, the type of workout you perform determines the timing of your meal. When you do cardio, you should wait 45 to 60 minutes before consuming your post-workout meal. For resistance training, where your body requires rapidly absorbed nutrients, you should wait 15 to 30 minutes.
What to Eat When Stressed
When you’re stressed, it is not advisable to eat large meals, since your digestion is suppressed. Stress can decrease nutrient absorption, reduce blood flow to your gut, and can cause you to excrete water-soluble nutrients and minerals. Eating while stressed can also cause an imbalance in your gut flora.
Fitness experts recommend eating small meals during stressful hours – when you’re physically or mentally on the run. They also advise eating high-quality whey protein because it is absorbed quickly.
How to Choose High-Quality Foods
Other than knowing what and when to eat, you should also know where to obtain high-quality foods.
Whey protein is a byproduct of the cheese making process. In order to reap all of its benefits, make sure that the product you buy comes from non-hormonally treated, pastured cows. It should be minimally processed, so its amino acids and beneficial immuno compounds are intact.
The best whey protein products often have medium-chain fatty acids (MCTs) rather than long-chain fatty acids. MCTs are easily digested and can be stored as energy.
Commercial whey products are often pasteurized and processed with heat and acid, which kills the nutrients in the whey product. They also frequently contain sweeteners and additives, which can do more harm than good. This is also the same for dairy products. Make sure that your whey and dairy products come from organic sources.
Vegetables and fruits should be organic and eaten raw/unprocessed as much as possible. Avoid buying commercial produce, as it is most likely covered with pesticides, herbicides, and other chemical toxins. Support organic produce, which is free of chemical fertilizers and pesticides and using sustainable methods.
About the Author
Adrienne R. writes for Mercola. At present, she is researching popular foods that promote fitness, like whey protein powder, and vegan protein bar.