What is the point of all the nutrition plans that most grapplers use? If I had to sum it up in one word, I’d choose performance. Performance on the mats, in everyday life, in the bedroom… It is pretty straightforward – if your body has the “fuel” it will perform. However, performance is affected by more than just one variable of grappling nutrition. It is not just when you eat, what you eat, and how much. One aspect many people fail to consider is gut health and how it influences your attempts at “performance nutrition”.
Gut health is becoming a subject more and more of us are getting interested in. There’s a lot of information out there, though, and it can be hard to make sense of things if you’re not a medical professional. The important thing is figuring out how to keep your guts healthy so that they can actually absorb everything else that you provide via whatever nutrition plan you’re following. that is the bottom line. From the perspective of grappling nutrition, there’s no need to overcomplicate stuff past this point, but we will discuss the subject a bit deeper.
Effects Of Poor Gut Health
The gut has the purpose of transporting nutrients into the bloodstream. That is the simplest way possible of explaining what our guts do. However, it is just a small piece of the role our gut plays in our overall health. There are plenty of cells that release stuff like neurotransmitters like serotonin, which affect our mood among other things. The gut also plays a huge role in our immune system, helping us fight off infections of all kinds.
One example of poor gut health everyone can relate to is “leaky gut”. This refers to situations where the intestinal lining is damaged, and part of the food passes through, causing inflammation in the body. This causes stress to the body and the release of stress hormones that make things even worse. Such an imbalance can be the reason why people have allergies, skin conditions, intolerances, etc.
Poor gut health definitely decreases performance, given that the body has to deal with a bunch of issues, and can’t process food and liquids optimally. there are trillions of bacteria in the gut that help use break food down and even have a role to play in immunity. They exist in a balance, which poor gut health can shift towards the reproduction of unwanted types of bacteria that might result in serious illnesses
Gut health is affected by a host of reasons, from genetic, through environmental, to nutritional ones, which shows that your grappling nutrition plan is just one piece of the puzzle. It is an important one, though.
Grappling Nutrition: Setting Up to Win
Without going very deep into the realm of gut health from a medical perspective, let’s look at several ways in which you grappling nutrition plan can help you improve gut health, while you’re achieving all your other goals like weight loss.
The first step would be to remove a lot of the things you normally eat and which can cause trouble in your gut. These include processed foods, sugar, alcohol, saturated fats, and similar things. In fact, you should remove anything that affects the balance of your microbiome and your gut health, even if it is not a “bad food”. Intolerances are highly individual, like for example, with caffeine.
The second would be to repair the damage that foods like that might have done to your gut. This is where grappling nutrition really plays a role, as food choices will help you expose your gut lining to compounds that help it heal. Examples are zinc, Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, etc.
Restoring balance would be the next step, which is shifting the gut back towards an environment where helpful bacteria dominate the microbiome. You could actually ingest bacteria directly, like Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis to help repopulate the gut quicker. These bacteria are usually found in probiotics, especially yogurt-based ones.
A Carefully Picked Supplements Stack
Finally, you can help improve your gut health by replacing some of the things that make it work with external sources. For example, you could use digestive enzymes or organic salts to help with digestion and aid the compounds already begin secreted by your body.
L-glutamine is one supplement that is particularly useful for gut health. It also helps with recovery after training. Fish oils, as we mentioned earlier are very important to gut health. They help battle inflammation, which is something that often happens in pour guts when we just cram stuff in there without giving them a rest. Probiotics also fall under the supplements category.
Minerals like zinc, are also important to include in any grappling nutrition meal plan. They are building blocks for plenty of enzymes which are key to a balanced gut microbiome. Cinnamon, mint, and other commonly found herbs and spices can also help improve digestion and gut health. Finally, you could always look to counter the acidic nature of the digestive system by using pH balancing foods, like kale, spinach, broccoli, etc.
All In All
Grappling nutrition will only be good as its most fundamental parts. Not taking into account gut health when you’re choosing your food sources will mean that your performance won’t improve as much as it can. Moreover, gut health is not just about performance but also longevity. There’s no point in doing something you can’t keep on doing for the rest of your life, so when you’re’ trying to solve the complicated puzzle of a meal plan, make sure you start with gut health.