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Anna Paré: “Nutrition is the invisible training of the athlete”

We interviewed Anna Paré, pharmacist, dietician-nutritionist, founder of Nutresalut and partner of ADE Vallès. Paré has been one of the speakers at the third edition of the SC Trade Center Talks, the series of conferences of the Trade, with the theme Women in sport: Health.

What do you think of this type of activities such as the SC Trade Center Talks?

I believe it is a very good initiative because it brings together different people who are concerned about women in sport and who deal with different issues, such as the ones we are talking about. I like this kind of initiatives and I wish we had more accessibility to be able to attend all this type of events, since there are similar occasions and we cannot always participate in them. 

What encouraged me to participate?

 I have been briefed by the manager of Trade Center that they were talking about women and sport and it was like I started talking about it and suddenly I saw myself here at this event.

What do you think of the facilities at the SC Trade Center’?

I am on the board of ADE Vallès and we organise events here and therefore I can confirm that the facilities are outstanding.

Nowadays to talk about mental health has become in demand. To what magnitude does diet influence mental health?

Nutrition is essential to overall health and when we talk about it, we need to consider all aspects, including mental health. On one hand, everything we eat becomes part of our body and it has a direct influence on our daily lives. We should think that our brain also eats, so it is good to know which nutrients are neuro-healthy and good for our brain.

On the other hand, we are more and more informed about the relationship between intestine and brain to the point that it is spoken as if it were a second brain, because of their close connection. This is where the intestinal microbiota comes into play, which is the set of microorganisms that we have distributed throughout our body, but especially in the intestine. How our intestinal microbiota works has an impact on our mental health.

Briefly, our intestinal microbiota can incorporate different neurotransmitters that will make us feel sadder or more predisposed to depression. It may also work on the contrary, to make us feel pleased and happier. Basically, the intestinal microbiota depends on what we eat and accordingly nutrition is crucial for the brain in general, especially for the cognitive function. Moreover, if we are going to talk about mental health, mental pathologies, nutrition is a great field to consider.

With all this in mind, what are the preferred foods for our health?

When we talk about healthy dietary patterns, we always refer to the Mediterranean diet, because nowadays it is one of the most studied dietary patterns with the most recognised scientific evidence. But if we talk about the traditional Mediterranean diet, today we do not consume it accurately. The suggestion should be a good consumption of vegetables, either in salads or as quality vegetables, go along with a portion of foods rich in protein, which can be meat, fish, eggs and legumes.

It is well known the vegetable protein from legumes is a good alternative to the animal one. Today’s advice is we should eat more legumes and less meat or fish, because we should think not only in our health, but also in the planet’s heath. Without forgetting an important group of carbohydrates, such as rice, pasta, quinoa, potatoes, bread, which we should eat depending on our physical activity and our energy needs. This would be approximately what we should establish.

How does nutrition improve the performance of athletes?

We always say that nutrition is like invisible training for the athlete. In other words, a poorly or incorrect training cannot be replaced by healthy food, but a good diet can help you recover better after training or competition, increase your performance, and reduce the risk of injury. That is why it is important to be aware of the importance of nutrition for athletes.

Should women athletes have a different diet?

Women athletes are more at risk of suffering lack of certain vitamins, micronutrients and minerals than men. In addition, they may also have more deficiencies than other women because their energy and nutrient needs are greater than those of a non-sporty person and men. For example, vitamin D, calcium and iron, which are micronutrients, are more likely to be deficient in women. Therefore, we as women have to make sure don’t be lack of  these nutrients.

Is Sant Cugat a good place to do sport?

I love Sant Cugat because it has many green areas. I live in Sabadell and I don’t know much about Sant Cugat, but whenever I come here I always notice that there are many avenues with trees, and just now I was coming here and I saw everything with flower pots, with flowers everything very well cared for.

Anna Paré: “Nutrition is the invisible training of the athlete”
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