Archived Story

Couch to 5K: Proper nutrition important for activity

Published 9:30am Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Fitness experts have long considered nutrition to play an important role in maintaining good health. However, recent studies suggest that it may be even more important than once thought – especially for physically active people. In fact, some experts have gone so far as to say that physical activity without proper nutrition may actually do more harm than good.

This is because of oxidative stress. Quite simply, oxidative stress is the wear-and-tear put on cells by environmental factors and chemical reactions in the body.

Oxidative stress is responsible for disease, premature aging, and reduced levels of health. It’s no surprise that things like pollution and solar radiation cause oxidative stress. Nonetheless, it may be surprising that physical activity also causes oxidative stress. This is because physical activity is nothing more than a prolonged series of chemical reactions. These chemical reactions occur when muscles transform chemical energy into physical energy. This is very similar to what a car engine does. While a car engine produces exhaust, muscles produce free radicals. Free radicals are the destructive particles that cause the oxidative stress. Basically, the more active a person is, the more free-radicals they produce.

However, that’s where nutrition comes in. The only defense against free-radicals is a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are the best source of anti-oxidants, which protect the body against the destructive effects of free-radicals. That’s why the FDA recommends 7 – 13 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Typically, athletes who eat high levels of fruits and vegetables have more energy for training and require less recovery afterward. That’s because they’ve built up a strong army of anti-oxidants to combat the free-radicals.

For centuries now, scientists have tried to replicate the healing power of fruits and vegetables. There are more vitamins on the shelves today than ever before. After all, synthetic vitamins will never take the place of good old fashioned fruits and vegetables. In many cases, they end up doing more harm than good. Fortunately, there are a few products on the market that seem to harness the power of fruits and vegetables through using fruits and vegetables themselves.

These products have helped many people who struggle to get the recommended 7 – 13 servings. Even these products describe themselves as “the next best thing to fruits and vegetables”, which further proves the power of the real thing. Have you eaten your 7 – 13 servings today?

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