What you need to know from Women’s Sports Medicine at TRIA
No matter your age or activity level, your body needs food and nutrients. Enough food and nutrients, at the right times, helps you feel and do your best. Bodies come in all shapes and sizes and your body is unique. It’s more important to make sure you fuel and move your body to feel and perform the best, rather than try to change the way you look. Read this information to learn why nutrition is important to meet your energy needs and your health. Follow the tips provided to feel and do your best. If you have questions or concerns about your food and nutrition needs, ask your doctor about meeting with the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at Women’s Sports Medicine at TRIA.
Nutrition for activity and health
- Active women (like you) have unique needs for energy and nutrition compared to men. Factors such as hormones and body size make a difference. For example, your period and athletic performance are connected. That’s because your hormones fluctuate throughout your menstrual cycle, and that can impact what your body needs from a nutritional standpoint.
- Protein needs increase with age to maintain lean muscle mass and bone strength.
- Carbohydrates are the preferred source of energy for your body and brain. Carbohydrates are especially important for women because they help to keep hormones balanced.
- Enough nutrition also is important for your:
- Brain health.
- Immune system to work properly.
- Body to build and repair bone and muscle tissue.
- Fad diets and messages in the media often negatively influence women into believing thinner means healthier and that thinner is the ideal body type. If you eat and drink less than your body needs, you may:
- Increase your risk of injury and illness, fatigue, and menstrual and hormonal problems (which could lead to more serious conditions like female athlete triad syndrome if left untreated).
- Reduce your ability to recover from injury or exercise fatigue.
- Weaken your immune system.
Tips for eating
- Make sure you eat and drink enough to meet your body’s energy needs.
- Eat foods with protein throughout the day to maintain lean muscle mass and bone strength.
- Eat foods with carbohydrate throughout the day to give your body the energy it needs. Carbohydrates are the preferred source of energy for your body.
- Avoid fad diets and focusing on only foods that are considered “healthy” or “clean,” which may lead to eating less than your body needs.
- Don’t compare your food and nutrient needs to men or anyone else.
- Listen to your body’s signs (internal cues) for feeling hungry or full, thirsty or dehydrated, fatigued or energetic to guide your eating. Avoid relying on other factors (external cues), such as calorie-tracking apps, restrictive diet plans or online calorie calculators.
- Take some time daily to plan what you’ll eat. But avoid letting thoughts about food and how your body looks take over your life.