Nutrition helps achieve fitness goals

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Steve Grever
  • 5th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
To achieve overall fitness, health and wellness, people need to consider their nutritional requirements as well as their physical needs.

"Good nutrition goes hand in hand with exercise to help a person live a healthier lifestyle," said Tech. Sgt. Ronald Cochran, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the base health and wellness center here.

"For those wanting to maintain or lose weight, they should pay close attention to the number of servings they consume daily of both high-carbohydrate foods and high-fat foods," Cochran said. "Excessive intake of these foods causes weight gain as well as potentially elevating a person's blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels."

Cochran said eating smaller meals more frequently is much healthier than eating one or two larger meals daily.

"(Eating smaller meals) helps increase a person's metabolic rate, which causes calories to be burned quicker," he said.

Tech. Sgt. Dan Borca, the fitness center manager here, said having well-planned, balanced meals is one of the keys to eating healthily.

"A meal should consist of protein, carbohydrates and fats," Borca said. "Fat is an integral part of nutrition. Fat is the most concentrated form of energy, and our body derives energy from fat when other means of energy are depleted. Fat is also critical because it insulates and protects the body's vital organs from injuries."

However, too much fat in a person's diet could be unhealthy, he said.

"When people consume too much fat, it can lead to many health problems like arteriosclerosis, which is a deposit of fatty substance, and weight gain," he said. "Excess fatty deposits in the heart are considered a health risk because they can cause ... heart disease."

To find the right nutritional mix, Borca said carbohydrates and protein are equally important in a person's diet.

"When eating carbs, consider complex carbs like whole grains, green, leafy and brightly-colored vegetables and fruits," Borca said. "Consider your own activity level when consuming carbohydrates since the carbohydrate is the body's number-one source of energy."

Carbohydrates should make up 60 to 65 percent of a person's daily calorie intake, he said.

To round out the best nutrition plan, people need a healthy dose of protein every day. Some good sources of protein are beef, pork, poultry, fish, eggs, beans and lentils. Protein gives the body its building blocks for tissue repair and muscle growth, as well as helping people have a better immune system, Borca said.

"A better immune system is vital in every aspect of a healthy body," he said. "In bodybuilding, protein is extremely important because muscles are made out of protein molecules called amino acids. Amino acids are found in meat products."

Cochran said eating a variety of healthy foods daily, using the food pyramid as a guide, and choosing smaller, more frequent meals puts better nutrition within reach. (Courtesy Air Combat Command News Service)