Nutrition Tips from Southwest Spine and Sports for A New Year and A New You

Top athletes can tell you, food is fuel. You don’t run fast, jump high, or swim far on a diet of candy and ice cream. But the benefits of eating well don’t apply just to athletes. There are several reasons why better nutrition improves anyone’s life, whether they ever dunked a basketball, aced a serve, or caught a touchdown pass.

Nutrition is an obvious factor in successful rehabilitation, but our doctors at Southwest Spine & Sports have advised patients on the many benefits of eating well for healthy living as well as PM&R. And, at the time many people make resolutions and change habits for the New Year, it’s also time to explore the advantages of nutrition to improve your lifestyle.

Different foods generate different chemical processes in the brain, creating different impacts.

healthy-foodGo for good carbs – Most of us know fruits and veggies are more nutritious than cake and donuts. But do you know why? Fruits and vegetables, along with other options such as whole grains, release serotonin in the brain. And that can be soothing, making the healthy food the true comfort food. Stay away from white bread, white sugar, essentially processed carbohydrates. And leafy greens are the best veggie choice.

Pick the protein – The brain loves the release of chemicals from eating protein-rich foods. Specifically, dopamine and norepinephrine make us mentally sharp. Eat chicken, seafood, some dairy (eggs and yogurt) to carry on that improved focus.

Don’t forget the vitamins – Search for foods that contain valuable vitamins and minerals that reap rewards such as improved memory. It’s true, eat your eggs and enjoy the benefits of the B vitamin choline as it aids memory and helps with learning and mood. Other minerals, like folate in greens such as spinach and kale, have been found to battle symptoms of depression.

Like Southwest Spine & Sports, he National Institutes of Health advocates eating well to improve your mind and mood. NIH also notes a healthy eating plan will lower the risk of heart disease and other conditions. If you want to shed a few pounds to improve overall health, the same diet of veggies and whole grains, lean proteins, and vitamins can help with weight control, too.

Losing weight for most of us can be as simple as the formula of calories in and energy out. So to lose 1 to 1-1/2 pounds per week, reduce the daily calorie count by 500-750.

In general:

  • Eating plans that contain 1,200–1,500 calories each day will help most women lose weight safely.
  • Eating plans that contain 1,500–1,800 calories each day are suitable for men and for women who weigh more or who exercise regularly.

Southwest Spine & Sports helps treat and repair injuries of all kinds and encourages everyone to examine their routines and embrace a comprehensive approach to better health, a fit New Year, and a more energetic lifestyle for years to come. Contact our doctors for consultation on treating an injury and improving your performance. We hope all our patients enjoy a nutritious and healthy 2015.