Eating for energy

The body uses different nutrients to provide lasting energy at each stage of activity. Those who are generally more active must load up on the carbohydrates since they are the first nutrients to be turned into energy. Proteins are used for muscle recovery by allowing the body to produce some amino acids, which are not normally found in the body, but still required for active people. There are many different ways to eat in order to get the energy you need; it is as simple as figuring out what type of active life you are leading and how each nutrient works with or against you.

Substances That Provide Energy

Carbohydrates are compounds made up of sugars and are classified by the number of sugar units contained: monosaccharides, such as glucose and fructose contain a single simple sugar. Disaccharides, such as sucrose and lactose, contain more complex sugar structures. Oligosaccharides and polysaccharides, such as starch, glycogen, and cellulose are the most complex and as such, are the most difficult to break down and transform into energy.

Proteins consist of amino acids joined by peptide bonds, creating an organic nutrient. The body cannot manufacture some of the essential amino acids found in proteins, so the body relies on the diet providing these nutrients. Proteins are broken down through digestion into free amino acids, which the body can then use for energy.

Fats consist of a glycerin molecule with three fatty acids attached. Fatty acids are un-branched hydrocarbon chains, which basically mean the bonds that connect them make up saturated fatty acids (single bonds) or unsaturated fatty acids (double bonds). Fats are important to help keep cell membranes functioning properly, to insulate body organs against shock, to keep body temperature stable. They also help in maintaining healthy skin, nails and hair. Just like amino acids, the body does not manufacture certain fatty acids, termed essential fatty acids, which must be further supplied by the diet. Fats are basically the reserve store of energy for the body.

Substances That Support Metabolism

One of the main reasons the substances above create energy is that they supply stored energy, which is broken down by metabolism. When foods are broken down by metabolism, they release their stored energy and transfer that energy to our bodies. Of course, many people start to see a decline in their metabolism as they age, but there are a few substances to focus on to help support and maintain a healthy metabolism for a longer period of time.

Trace elements, salts and ions such as copper and iron are some of the minerals that help make up dietary minerals, which are necessary to assisting your metabolism. Vitamins are key to a healthy metabolism. As organic compounds, they usually act as coenzymes or cofactors to help break down various proteins in the body.

Water is the universal solvent, which means it helps break down almost every thing our body throws at it. Since our bodies are made up of over 70% water, it only makes sense that this is an essential part to maintaining a healthy metabolism.

By understanding what makes up stored energy and what breaks it down into usable piece, you can better understand how to eat correctly for the maximum energy. If you have any questions, there are numerous resources, from your family physician to the trainer at your local gym. Get with a licensed professional to help determine the plan that is best for you.