I recently attended a roundtable discussion as part of an international nutrition conference on how the SAME foods can illicit different responses in people. In a way we were revisiting a famous centuries’ old saying: “What is food to one person may be bitter poison to another”. Hippocrates was an early observer of the importance of food to your health and equated food to medicine. He wrote, “Yes, if you have the right knowledge, food becomes medicine to heal you. However, some foods can be toxic to your body, slowly poisoning you even though you may not be aware of what is happening.” Awareness and proper knowledge of the effects that foods have on your particular constitution can significantly impact your performance.
It is a well-known fact that digestive troubles rank in the top two reasons of why people seek medical care. Eating the wrong food, too much food, or eating at the wrong time can cause discomfort and can result in diminished performance. In sport training, nutritionists remind athletes of the connection between food intolerances and performance, but in the business world not often mentioned.I listed a few common symptoms and possible implied nutritional habits or foods that could be cause for a performance drain. Hopefully, it will be a good awareness tool and even better, help you “think differently” about the foods you eat and the link to your performance!!
Important note: This is not meant to be diagnostic tool or in place of medical advice and it is prudent to seek individual care from healthcare practitioner that you trust. Medications and/or illness along with a variety of medical conditions may cause these symptoms, however nutrition is often overlooked as a possible contributor.
Fatigue: Poorly timed meals // Lack of adequate water // Too many gluten (wheat protein) containing foods // Too many processed foods
Unsettled stomach or cramps: Eating too much at one time // Eating too fast // Increased intake of highly seasoned foods // Eating too much before sleep //Experiencing common food intolerances to dairy, gluten (wheat), preservatives, soy, citrus or peanuts // Consuming too many beans or cabbage // Ingesting artificial sweeteners
Bloated: Eating too fast // Lack of adequate water (hydration) for proper digestion // Too little or too much fiber at one time // Eating when feeling highly stressed // Experiencing common food intolerances to dairy, gluten (wheat), preservatives, soy, citrus or peanuts
Reflux condition and/or heartburn: Frequent intake of sodas, caffeine, processed foods // Too little stomach acid for digestion (natural medicine experts advise considering adding lemon water with meals) // Gulping foods or eating too fast (taking in too much air during eating) // Increased intake of spicy or fatty foods
Dehydration: Insufficient fluid intake esp. water // Consuming too many alcoholic beverages, or caffeine-containing beverages // Eating too many sugary foods or ones that have high level of preservatives // Consuming excessive high protein diets
Intestinal discomfort or Diarrhea: Consuming too many sugary foods, rich- fatty foods or excessive fiber // Experiencing common food intolerances to dairy, gluten(wheat), citrus, peanuts or soy // Consuming foods that might have been ill-prepared and contain pathogens-contaminants
Nervousness or Jittery (Unable to concentrate): Poorly timed meals // Consuming too many sugary foods or caffeine containing beverages // Even consuming common food intolerances (see above) // Ingesting artificial sweeteners and/or additives and dyes present in foods
Sleeplessness: Poorly timed meals so blood glucose drops in the night // Highly spicy foods before bed // Ingesting large meal before bed // Consuming too many simple carbohydrates (ie. starches, sweets) or excess of caffeine-containing foods or alcoholic beverages
Headache: Experiencing food intolerances to MSG (monosodium glutamate), red wine, chocolate, artificial sweeteners // Too little food-so blood glucose levels fall to low
Remember one of TIGNUM’s high performance nutrition strategies is to nourish the brain and provide adequate energy for your day through proper meal timing to support blood glucose levels. I often hear that clients that make adjustments to eating smaller meals more often notice a positive change in their performance. Decreased energy levels, loss of mental focus, even an increase in stress hormones has all been associated with meal timing.
By Patti Milligan
Director of Nutrition