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Fuel for an Active Lifestyle

March-April 2004

Fuel for an Active Lifestyle

Everyone should eat a balanced diet, but exercisers in particular should pay attention to the following advice, says nutritional biochemist Jennifer Sacheck.

* Drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercise. Your heart and body work much harder when you become dehydrated.

* Within 30 minutes after exercise, consume a carbohydrate-rich food along with a little bit of protein: a multigrain sandwich with lettuce, tomato, and a slice of lean turkey, for example. That is the best way to replenish intramuscular energy stores. It will also keep you from getting so hungry that you reach for the potato chips when you get home.

* Include nonfat dairy, whole grains, and lots of different-colored fruits and vegetables in your diet. Lean meat, fish, nuts, tofu, and the combination of beans and rice, bread and lentils, peas and corn, and cereal and milk are good protein sources. Many nuts, such as pistachios, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, peanuts, and natural peanut butter, are also a source of healthy fats.