Heels to Laces Menu

Viewing all items for tag Minerals

Permalink:

Sick Of It

athlete-fatigueDo you work out, eat well and take care of yourself yet often find you are sick or tired all the time?

Despite taking such good care of your body, if you are an avid exerciser and fitness enthusiast you can actually break down your immune system with overtraining. Many factors associated with overtraining compromise an athlete’s immune system. In fact, upper respiratory infections are actually very common in athletes.

This was a big topic during the training for my Nutrition Certification I just completed this past week. Let’s break it down.

What Happens?
When you exercise, there is an increase in stress hormones which leads to high inflammatory markers (bi-products of chronic stress). There is also a decrease in innate and acquired immunity.

Interesting Fact: 90 minutes after strenuous activity, your immunity is the lowest and you are more apt to get sick! It’s important to refrain from putting your hands near your mouth or eyes (the most susceptible areas of the body) post exercise & wash your hands immediately.

How Do I Keep The Sickness and Fatigue Away?

Protein
Protein is a key component to building immunity. Make sure you are getting adequate amounts. Your daily protein intake should be between 0.8-1.8 grams per 2.2 lbs. The high or low range depends on your activity level. An average adult needs about 0.8 – 1.2 g/2.2 lbs. where a strength athlete needs between 1.4-1.8 g/2.2 lbs.

Example: For a 150 pound active woman: divide 150 by 2.2lbs and multiply that number by about 1.2 grams of protein. Total = 82 grams of protein per day.

Vitamins and Minerals
There are several vitamins and minerals that work as anti-oxidants and help keep your immunity strong including Vitamin A, E, B6, B12, C and Folic Acid. Zinc and Iron are also important, but they should be ingested in moderation as too much can actually have the opposite effect and lower immunity. Most of these vitamins/minerals can be ingested in the food you eat: green leafy veggies, beans, eggs, dairy, lean meats, fruits and whole grains.

Ingest Carbs
Eating carbs post-exercise is said to help build your immune system and reduce stress hormones. We are not talking about eating a box of crackers or bag of pretzels – try to keep to “real” foods such as fruits, veggies and healthy grains.

Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated is critical to helping your body function. Dehydration can be the main reason for fatigue. When you exercise, especially in hotter weather, it’s important to rehydrate 125-150% of fluid loss during exercise. Thirst is regulated in the brain. You are already very dehydrated when you even begin to feel thirsty.  You have to stay ahead of it.

Probiotics
I have professed my belief in probiotics for years – studies suggest probiotic and prebiotic ingestion in athletes reduces sick days.

Polyphenols
Polyphenols are abundant micronutrients in our diet, and evidence for their role in the prevention of degenerative diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases is emerging. They are said to be great stress inhibitors and promote immunity. These can be found in foods like kale, hot peppers, onion, apples, etc. Here is a list of 100 richest dietary sources of polyphenols.

Sleep
As I preach to my clients all the time, adequate rest is crucial for an athlete’s recovery and keeps stress hormones low and repairs mental and physical function. Consistent sleep patterns and getting enough sleep to repair your body is crucial in keeping your immunity & performance levels high and stress hormones low.

Stress
And of course, keeping regular stress at bay is a big component. The more stressed you are, the lower your immunity levels and higher your fatigue. Your body may even start to hold onto some fat. The unfortunate result is when we are chronically stressed by life crises and work-life demands, we are prone to getting an extra layer of “visceral fat” deep in our bellies.

Nutrition is a big component of your day to day. It dictates everything – how your body responds to stress, your energy level and a strong immune system. Getting enough anti-oxidants, keeping stress levels in control and being able to replenish & repair your body are key to optimizing your health and energy levels.

To leave a comment on this article or any other blog entry, please fill in the “Leave a Comment” box under each blog entry on our site: Heels to Laces.

  • Thanks for leaving a comment, please keep it clean. HTML allowed is strong, code and a href.

    Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.

Permalink:

Vitamins and Minerals: What, Why & How Much?

Vitamins and minerals are micro-nutrients, part of the 6 Essential Nutrients, required for your body to turn food into energy.  Whole foods are the best source of vitamins and minerals, but it sometimes difficult to figure out if you are getting enough from the foods you eat.  Below is a list of the most important vitamins and mineral women need and suggestions as to the best food sources.  Note: Recommended daily allowances (RDA) listed below are for an average 45 year-old female.Healthy-Nutrition-For-Optimal-Tennis-Fitness

Calcium:

  • Why you need it:  The body uses calcium to build and maintain strong bones and teeth, to help muscles and blood vessels contract and expand, to secrete hormones and to carry messages through the nervous system.  Women start to lose bone density in their twenties which can lead to osteoporosis over time.  Calcium is one of the best defenses against bone loss.
  • Where to find it:  Milk, cheese, yogurt and dark green leafy vegetables such as broccoli and kale.
  • How much you need: 1000mg.  Do not exceed 2,500mg.

Iron: 

  • Why you need it:  Iron carries oxygen in the body, aids in the production of red blood cells, supports immune function and cognitive development, and is essential for cell growth.
  • Where to find it:  Lean red meat, chicken, turkey, fish, cereals, whole-grains, beans and dark leafy vegetables. Also remember that vitamin C rich foods enhance absorption of iron.
  • How much you need: 18mg.  Do not exceed 45mg.

Magnesium:

  • Why you need it:  Magnesium is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body, including maintaining normal muscle and nerve function, keeping heart rhythms steady, supporting a healthy immune system, regulating blood sugar levels and promoting normal blood pressure.
  • Where to find it: Leafy green vegetables, whole grains, almonds, cashews and other nuts, avocados, beans, soybeans and halibut.  Note that a diet very high in fat may cause less magnesium to be absorbed.
  • How much you need:  320mg.  Do not exceed 350mg in supplement form.

Vitamin A:

  • Why you need it:  Vitamin A ensures proper development and function of eyes, skin and immune system and may prevent some types of cancers.
  • Where to find it: Leafy green vegetables, orange and yellow vegetables, tomato products, fruits, dairy, liver, fish and fortified cereals.
  • How much you need: 2,310 IU.  Do not exceed 10,000 IU.

Folate (Vitamin B9): 

  • Why you need it:  Folate helps to produce and maintain new cells.  It is necessary for proper brain function for mental and emotional health, and helps protect against birth defects.
  • Where to find it: Leafy green vegetables, fruits and beans.  It is also often added to cereals, breads, pasta and rice.
  • How much you need: 400 micrograms.  Do not exceed 1,000 micrograms in the synthetic form.

Vitamin C:

  • Why you need it:  Vitamin C facilitates normal growth and development, and repairs bodily tissue, bones and teeth.  It is used to produce collagen, functions as an antioxidant to block some of the damage caused by free radicals and boosts the body’s immune system.
  • Where to find it:  Most fruits and vegetables especially citrus fruit, red peppers, broccoli, tomatoes and strawberries.
  • How much you need: 75mg.  Do not exceed 2,000mg.

Biotin:

  • Why you need it:  Biotin plays an essential role in energy production and the metabolism of sugar and fats.  It is also believed to aid in healthy hair, nails and skin.
  • Where to find it:  Nuts, eggs, soybeans, cauliflower, fish, avocados and berries.
  • How much you need:  There is no RDA, but generally 30 to 100 micrograms.

Other B Vitamins:

  • Why you need them: The B vitamins help the body convert food into fuel for energy.  They contribute to healthy skin, hair, and eyes and also help to maintain muscle tone, metabolism, nervous system functions and memory.
  • Where to find them:  Fish, poultry, meat, eggs, dairy products, legumes, and many fortified cereals and whole grains.
  • How much you need: 
    • B1 (Thiamine):  1.1mg.  No upper limits have been set.
    • B2 (Riboflavin):  1.1 mg.  No upper limits have been set.
    • B3 (Niacin):  14mg.  Do not exceed 35/mg in supplement form.
    • B6 (Pyridoxine):  1.3 mg.  Do not exceed 100mg.
    • B12 (Cobalamin):  2.4 mg.  No upper limits have been set.                         

Vitamin D:

  • Why you need it:  Vitamin D regulates the absorption of calcium and phosphorous in our bones and it is needed for bone and cell growth.  It also helps to reduce inflammation.
  • Where to find it:  Fortified mils and cereals, eggs yolks and fish.  The body can make Vitamin D from exposure to sunlight.    
  • How much you need:  15 micrograms.  Do not exceed 100 micrograms.

 Omega-3:

  • Why you need it:  Omega-3 assists in proper brain function, helps reduce high blood pressure and calms inflammation.
  • Where to find it:  Fish, especially salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel, flax seeds and walnuts.
  • How much you need:  There are no standard doses for Omega-3.  Check with your doctor to find out your specific needs.

To leave a comment on this article or any other blog entry, please fill in the “Leave a Comment” box under each blog entry on our site: Heels to Laces

  • Virginia

    Great information!

  • Thanks for leaving a comment, please keep it clean. HTML allowed is strong, code and a href.

    Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.

Permalink:

6 Essential Nutrients

There are 6 essential nutrients our bodies depend on for proper functioning:

Water, Carbohydrates, Protein, Fats, Vitamins and Minerals.

Water

Water is the largest single component of the body. Up to 60% of our bodies are made up of water. Muscle holds the highest concentration of water while fat tissue holds someHealthy food pyramide on the white background of the lowest amounts.

The amount of water a person has in their body varies based on their proportion of muscles to fat tissue. So, a person who exercises more will have a higher percentage of water.

Water has a variety of functions that are essential to life:

  • Regulates your body temperature
  • Transports nutrients in our bodies
  • Flushes out waste
  • Helps our immune system and brain
  • Helps your joints work

As little as a 5-10 % loss can cause dehydration. When you are thirsty, it’s a sign your body is already dehydrated.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates provide the energy we need for physical activity and organ function.

  • Our bodies break down carbohydrates in order to make glucose (the end result of carbohydrate digestion) for energy
  • Carbohydrates are necessary for the normal metabolism of fat

2 Types of Carbohydrates

  • Complex Carbohydrates / “Good Carbs” = starches like cereal, bread, beans, potatoes, and starchy vegetables.  Good carbs are fiber-rich carbohydrates, like those found in many complex carbohydrates. Good carbs are absorbed into our systems more slowly, which helps us avoid escalations in blood sugar and provide a lasting form of energy.
  • Simple Carbohydrates / “Bad Carbs” = milk, fruits and some vegetables are natural, simple carbs and are still healthy because they are rich in other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and fiber. Bad carbs are foods that are refined or processed, such as white rice or white bread, and foods with added sugar such as desserts, candy, soda and sugary cereals. They should be avoided as they offer little to no nutritional value, while adding way too many calories to our diet; making them “empty” calories. Empty calories contribute to excessive weight gain and other associated health risks.

There is no “Recommended Daily Allowance” for sugar like there is for carbohydrates, because we get our glucose needs from good carbohydrates.

Protein

After water, proteins are the most abundant substances in most cells.  It is what our body’s tissues are made up of…our muscles, organs, immune system and, our hair, nails and skin. Protein builds strong muscles and repairs your body.

What foods have protein?

  • Protein is made up of amino acids…there are 20 amino acids, of which 9 are essential, which means the body can’t produce them on its own so you have to get them from food.
  • Protein is found in milk, eggs, peanut butter, chicken, fish, meat, yogurt, cheese, legumes, nuts, seeds and grains

Fats

Fats are necessary for our body to survive – they transport fat-soluble vitamins and form cell membranes. Fat is also the coating under our skin and in our organs to insulate and protect our bodies. Fats are the major stored form of energy in the body.  Some fats are really good for us and some are not so good:

  • Good Fats (Polyunsaturated and Monounsaturated – the healthiest): olive oil, nuts, milk, olives, avocado
  • Bad Fats (Saturated): butter, beef, pork, fried foods, mayo
  • Trans fatty acids (the most unhealthy): manufactured during food processing (ie. hydrogenated fats) 

Here’s an interesting fact…For energy, our body uses carbohydrates first, then fats and then protein as a last resort.

Vitamins

Vitamins are non-caloric, organic compounds that help our bodies grow, maintain and repair. There are two types of vitamins:

  • Fat-soluble: Vitamins A, D, E and K – can be stored in the liver. Therefore, an overdose on these vitamins can lead to toxic levels in the body.
  • Water-soluble: not able to be stored – they are excreted by the kidneys.

Minerals

Minerals are inorganic compounds that assist processes and are part of the structures of the body (iron in blood and calcium in teeth and bones).

The body best absorbs vitamins and minerals when provided through natural sources than pill form.  Eating food triggers satiety, which prevents consuming toxic levels of nutrients, something pills can’t do.

To leave a comment on this article or any other blog entry, please fill in the “Leave a Comment” box under each blog entry on our site: Heels to Laces

  • Thanks for leaving a comment, please keep it clean. HTML allowed is strong, code and a href.

    Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.

close
Facebook IconTwitter Icon