Can the science behind nutrition in sports help build a better military force? Does it really matter what’s included in your three squares? Or is the goal at chow just to get through the meal?
Well, considering the amount of research that is conducted by the military in the field of what can be referred to as “nutritional fortification”, it wouldn’t be hard to conclude that the military is interested in how the quality of your food and dietary supplements can improve the health and quality of our military during training, during combat, and in their life at home.
Nutrition in Sports: Improving Health and Quality of Life for our Military
Military training has the same mental and physical demands on your body that an elite athlete experiences. A soldier is an athlete. And to be the best you can be at your job, you have to be in top shape. Even when your military job requires less activity after bootcamp. You still have to be ready for deployment at any time and whatever job you do may affect our troops in combat directly or indirectly. Those that do a good job are healthy.
Nutritional fortification can increase energy, protect your heart and repair your muscles. The foundation of your overall health is the health of your heart and your cardiovascular system, which is why the daily dietary supplements from Military Grade Nutritionals focuses on that area.
Protecting Your Heart Health with Nutrition
Your heart does double-duty as an organ and a muscle. Just like any other muscle, regular physical activity strengthens your heart; especially vigorous activities. In fact, The New York Times reports that people who exercise regularly and vigorously have the lowest risk for developing heart disease. However good nutrition, in sports and during military life, is just as important to your heart’s health as taking part in military fitness training.
One way to increase your heart’s health is to add monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats to your military diet. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats reduce your risk of developing heart disease by improving your cholesterol levels. Examples of unsaturated fats are olive oil, safflower oil and corn oil.
Benefits of Nutritional Fortification to Increase Energy
Sports such as football and soccer require a lot of energy to keep up with the fast pace changes that occur in each game. Hiking in and carrying out your mission once you get there also requires a lot of energy. Having adequate energy helps you to perform better and focus better.
Training helps; however, focusing on your nutrition like athletes do in sports training and on your dietary supplements will give you a solid foundation for that training. You need calories…but you want to make those calories matter. Nutrient dense foods, rather than “empty” calories from commercially packaged and processed foods, will give you the tools needed to stay energized. The military works hard to be sure your meals have what you need.
But when the military isn’t in control of your menu…it’s all up to you.
Starting with a healthy breakfast that includes dietary fiber sources and complex carbs such as whole-wheat cereal or oats, can provide you with a steady release of energy. This helps maintain your blood sugar levels. If you’re gluten sensitive than quinoa may be a good option. Like it sweet? Choose raw, natural sugars or berries rather than processed crystallize sugar. You don’t need a sugar rush and crash.
The better you are at maintaining your blood sugar levels without relying on shots of heavily caffeinated beverages, the more likely you will experience a consistent level of energy throughout the day.
According to the United States Anti-Doping Authority, carbohydrates are considered a master fuel, and eating them on a regular basis helps to beat fatigue and poor performance. Athletes using a sports diet benefit by eating 150–350 grams 3–4 hours before their game.
How Does Nutrition Benefit Muscle Repair?
During any rigorous physical activity, such as running or jumping you can get small tears in your muscles. This is part of the muscle building process; however, those tears must be repaired. And that takes protein.
Your muscles are made up of protein and since the body cannot manufacture protein, you must obtain it through food and supplements. Protein works to create and repair muscles and tissues in your body.
Protein food sources are “complete” or “incomplete”. Incomplete proteins are missing a number of vital building blocks called amino acids, whereas complete proteins contain all essential amino acids. Most complete protein food sources are animal-based, whereas incomplete protein food sources are often plant-based. Although there are exceptions.
Heart health, increased energy, and building muscle. This is what the right nutrition can do for you. While we all try to get most of this through what we eat, the reality is that so much of our food is processed, prepared, and cooked in a way that decreases the true amount of nutrition we get from food. This is where dietary supplements come in. Supplements are not meant to replace your food. They are intended to supplement the vital nutrients you need in your life as a soldier to keep you healthy and focused.
To find out more about what those ingredients in your Dietary Supplements do, get your copy of Muscle Building ABCs.
New York Times: Physical Activity
United States Anti-Doping Agency: Optimal Dietary Intake Guide
Mayo Clinic: Nutrition and Healthy Eating: Dietary Fats – Know Which Types To Choose
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Protein
http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/protein.html#How much protein