Eating the right food is not just essential for athletes, it is also important for people who want to lead healthier lives.
“Sometimes people think that Olympic athletes are different specimens. They are normal people. I have worked with them, and have to remind them that they also need to eat well. Eating the right way is important for everybody,” said Dr. Julian Alvarez, the former Sports Director of the Spanish Olympic Team and the current head of the Medical Services of Sports Medicine at the High Performance Training Center in Alicante.
Dr. Alvarez is one of the members of the Herbalife Nutrition Advisory Board, which is comprised of leading experts in nutrition, science, and health from around the world. A Sports Medicine specialist and Sports Physiology expert, he has also been a team doctor in professional basketball and footballs in the Spanish Major Leagues and a Sports Medicine Professor in Miguel Hernandez and Alicante Universities.
Dr. Alvarez was the guest speaker in the most recent Herbalife Nutrition eWellness Tour presented by Herbalife Nutrition Philippines and shared ways in which people can practice correct nutrition.
Get the Right Amount of Quality Protein
One of the most important nutrients that every person needs is protein. According to Dr. Alvarez, protein is vital to a healthy diet.
“It is one of the essential building blocks for many cell components in the body. Without enough protein, it can be difficult to sustain a balanced diet and reach your health goals. Protein is not stored, so we need to consume it in a continuous way,” Dr. Alvarez underlined, adding that one’s protein needs depends on one’s age, gender, and lifestyle,” he said.
Protein can be found in red meat, fish, eggs, whole dairy, soy, peas, whole grains, and nuts.
“It is recommended that people get 50% of their protein from plants. Soy is a great option because it’s a plant protein of high quality and digestibility,” Dr. Alvarez said.
Don’t Forget Your Vitamins and Minerals and Stay Hydrated
Vitamins and minerals are micronutrients that the body needs to maintain sustainable health.
“Unlike macronutrients, you only need miniscule amounts of micronutrients to maintain good health,” Dr. Alvarez said.
Hydration is also important as water helps maintain the normal regulation of the body’s temperature and physical cognitive functions.
“Your daily water intake may affect your mental as well as your physical performance,” Dr. Alvarez said.
He added that that in standard conditions (when one is not doing exercise and not in a hot environment), it is recommended to consume 2.5-3 liters a day and to consume more when doing exercise. Water also plays an important part in digestion.
Consume Fiber and Healthy Fats
When it comes to maintaining a healthy digestive system, fiber is likewise essential. The latest scientific research has shown that the bacteria in the body’s gut likes to be fed with fiber and fiber diets can help create a more diverse and friendly microbial system.
Fats, meanwhile, are a diverse group of nutrients that have a varied range of functions in our bodies. They provide energy and help with the absorption of some nutrients (like vitamins A and D) and the body requires some amount of fats in order to work properly. Not all fats are the same, though.
“Healthy fats play a key role in our bodies. They help maintain normal blood pressure and triglyceride levels and are needed for normal function of your vision, brain and heart. Some of these healthy fats are also considered essential. Therefore, we have to consume them through foods,” Dr. Alvarez said.
At the end of the day, a balanced nutrition, a healthy active lifestyle, and the best supplements are the three things that everybody needs.