Feb 19, 2024
Three common questions first responders have about nutrition

first responders

First responders are tasked with making high-stakes split-second decisions in their on-the-go, physically demanding roles. Much like training and being fluent in the latest protocols and procedures, eating right is essential to setting first responders up for the mental clarity and physical readiness they need to respond to the demands of the job.

Understanding the vital role that diet plays in enhancing performance, energy levels and overall wellbeing is crucial for those on the front lines of emergency services.

A recent article from EMS 1 asked nutritionists some of the most frequently asked questions they get from first responders about eating healthy.

Below is an excerpt from the EMS 1 story.

Our nutrition experts noted there are some common questions they get from first responders about nutrition and healthy eating, and shared their responses.

  1. How much caffeine can I get away with? It will come as no surprise that one of the most common questions first responders ask nutritionists relates to coffee consumption. Lautz tells her first responder clients to limit caffeine to 400 mg per day with no more than 200 mg per serving (per FDA recommendations for healthy individuals). “Leave a buffer of 5 hours between the last caffeinated beverage and bedtime,” she suggests.
  2. Should I take a multivitamin? If you’re not including all the food groups in balance in your diet, or there are days when being on shift prevents you from getting enough healthy food, then sure, Dr. Joyce says. A multivitamin will not prevent any chronic diseases, like heart disease or cancer, she notes, and if you are a smoker, it may even increase your risk of cancer. However, she refers to a multivitamin as “nutrition insurance.” “Like health insurance, you pay for it and don’t often use it or see the benefit of it, but it is there when you need it to swoop in and support your diet to get you to adequate vitamin and mineral levels,” she noted. As always with supplements, talk to your doctor before starting one, as it may interact negatively with medications or medical conditions.

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  3. Why does “healthy” food always taste so boring? If you find healthy options unexciting or bland, it may be because you haven’t reset your taste buds yet, Nice explained. “Consistently choosing healthier foods for at least a month will help you regain your ability to taste smaller amounts of sugar and salt, and that will make foods that once tasted boring start to taste more flavorful. Also, don’t be afraid to add healthy herbs and spices to meals and snacks, it can make a world of difference.”

To read the full story from EMS 1, click here.