Taking another Nutrition Twist on our Fitness Journey…
Nutrition is HARD. So many times we salivate over foods for pleasure and while I’m not discouraging this, it also makes it challenging to salivate over foods in their true form. Something that really helps motivate me to make the time for better choices is knowledge. Learning and reflecting on the WHY always inspires me. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. This blog is meant for just that. Let’s find out just how cool, unique and beneficial some of our foods are by digging into their Micronutrients. These are the essentials to good health. We discussed MACROnutrients in blog #2 which are the basic makeup of our food sources- Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats. MICROnutrients are the vitamins and minerals found in our food choices. The more “whole food” the source is, the more micronutrient rich. The more processed the source is, the less nutrient rich! This will catch up to you and your health sooner than later.
Do you find yourself taking the path of least resistance in this ever so busy life? Drive throughs and fast food chains are soooo easy, convenient and sometimes even decent on the palate...but will destroy your immune system with the lack of nutrients. Fresh food isn’t always the easiest route, but it’s most definitely the best route! Fresh, nutrient DENSE foods will give you so much more than enriched, processed foods. Your energy, cardiovascular and immune system will thank you :) You can take the convenient route of fresh foods - pre sliced, chopped and ready to be cooked, but when it’s easy it comes at the price of an arm and a leg. I don’t know about you, but I struggle with using all of the fruits and vegetables in my fridge before they go bad. My life is very “on the go” and if I don’t have fruits and veggies washed and cut ahead of time, they will get overlooked on the fly. I might pick two days a week to cut and wash everything so it’s all grab ready; or I might cave at the price of my right arm and get the pre- skinned and cut up version. At any rate, it’s important to figure out what works for you and to make that time. Your health is a priority in this life we’re given and it sure feels good to accomplish small victories towards our well-being! I have pulled out what I believe are 10 super important micronutrients to receive through whole food choices. I hope to leave you feeling inspired to enjoy a nice, well-rounded, colorful and whole-food filled meal. Fall in love with some new recipes and feel purposefully good <3
10 Micronutrients to Support Exercise, Training and Immunity
**Food sources are not limited to what’s listed..
Vitamin B: Lacking the energy to push out those last few reps? Chances are you’re low
on this group of micronutrients, which includes vitamins B6 and B12, thiamin, riboflavin
and folate. The body uses these to convert protein and sugar into energy and produce
red blood cells. Deficiency will decrease performance on higher intensity workouts.
Food Sources: Tuna, Black Beans, Lentils and Peanuts
Calcium: Milk, It does a body good! The commercials don’t lie. Calcium supports bone
density and strong muscles are needed to support a strong skeleton! Reduce stress
fractures with nutrients like Calcium.
Food Source: Milk, Yogurt, Leafy Greens and Beans
Vitamin C: This supports the immune system and will reduce the chances of catching
the common cold. It will also help ease up on coughing and wheezing and shortness of
breath during exercise.
Food Sources: Kiwi, Guava, Beets, Oranges, Strawberries, Bell Peppers, Kale, Broccoli, Pineapple, Grapefruit, Peas, Parsley, Papaya… so many options here!
Vitamin D: Boost your POWER with this bad boy! Without enough of this nutrient, the
mitochondria in muscle fibers can’t adequately regenerate energy after your muscles
contract, making you feel tired more quickly.
Food Sources: Milk, Fatty Fish like Salmon, Trout, Egg Yolks
Vitamin E: An oily antioxidant that can also help reduce sickness such as pneumonia.
Food Sources: Almonds, Raw seeds, Spinach, Turnip Greens, Swiss Chard
on: To help your muscles work efficiently, you need to pump some iron — literally! An
hour of working out could deplete 5.7 percent of your level of this mineral, which helps
red blood cells carry oxygen to muscles. Losing too much of your stores can result in
iron deficiency anemia, which causes fatigue and zaps your endurance during lengthy
Food Sources: Spirulina (good luck- this may need to get disguised in a smoothie), Grass Fed Beef, Liver, Dark Chocolate, Lentils, Eggs, Spinach, Broccoli
Magnesium: This mineral is a powerhouse for weekend warriors and endurance
athletes alike. Magnesium is a component of more than 300 enzymes involved in
energy metabolism, plus it plays a role in bone formation. Improved bone density is
important for protecting yourself from stress fractures during high-impact activities. You
lose magnesium through sweat, so munch on some good sources of it before a hard
training session or long row/run.
Food Sources: Avocado, Leafy greens (Spinach), Almonds, Pumpkin Seeds, Dark Chocolate, Black Beans
Potassium: There’s a reason marathoners grab a banana after crossing the finish line:
Its high potassium content helps nix cramps and speed up recovery. How? The mineral
works with sodium to help your muscles and nerves work properly. Plus, It’s the primary
electrolyte in intracellular fluid, meaning it plays a big role in balancing water content
throughout the body. Consider it essential fuel following a tough workout. This brings me to the next one....
Sources: Sweet/White Potatoes (with skin and you’re REALLY loading up on Potassium!!), Beets, Bananas, Avocados, Lima Beans, Winter Squash, Tuna, Sport Drinks- Coconut Water is SO GREAT for you! Body Armor is a better, more natural alternative to Powerade.
Sodium: It seems like “sodium” is a swear word in the health world— and with its high
levels in processed and take-out food, it’s true that many people need to cut back.
However, if you’re into endurance events, by sweating out sodium and hydrating with
water alone, you could experience heat cramps and more extreme problems. Not only
do we live in hot, humid temperatures... but we sweat when we workout! We don’t catch a break down here, so be mindful of replenishing!
Sources: Sport Drinks (Same as listed under Potassium), Pretzels, Sea Salted Nuts
Zinc: Loading up on carbs while limiting protein and fat causes deficient levels of zinc in
up to 90 percent of athletes. This can zap your energy and endurance. Make sure you
have enough of the mineral for a challenging session by ordering a side of meatballs
during your pre-race pasta dinner.
Food Sources: Dark Chocolate, Grass-fed Beef, Chickpeas, Pumpkin and lots of other Raw Seeds, Quinoa
Now, I don’t know about you, but I saw a lot of Dark Chocolate, Avocado, Grass-fed Beef and Leafy Greens on that list! Sign me up! (or is it just what my eyes wanted to see? haha). Anyways, the list goes on, so have fun exploring some new options and faithing it til you make it! Who knows, you might fall in love with some new foods!
Throughout the chaos of change, don’t lose site of some simple facts: We were made for so much more than ordinary life - We were made to THRIVE. This is YOUR journey and no one else’s. Let no one steal your joy and most importantly, don’t deprive yourself of the joy you deserve.
Stay tuned for the next blog!
Cheers to good fuel for our mind, body and soul! Until next time,
NSCA- CPT, CSCS
INNERSTRENGTH SPORT AND WELLNESS, LLC