The following are five key nutrients required in order to properly fuel training, and are often deficient in weekend warriors and athletes alike.
  • A reduction of stress through better nutrition combats free radical production. Antioxidants in food help to rid the body of free radicals by escorting them out of the body.
  • Regular strenuous physical activity creates an abundance of free radicals. We therefore need to combat this negative side effect through the consumption of antioxidants. Antioxidant compounds found in fruit and vegetables – vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, and the carotenoids (compounds that give vegetables their orange color) – cancel out the effect of the cell-damaging free radicals by slowing or preventing the oxidation process.
Best food sources: berries, fruit in general, green tea
  • Protects cellular health
  • Speeds physical recovery
  • Reduces risk of disease
  • Improves skin appearance and elasticity
  • For most people, building, strengthening, and repairing bone is calcium’s major role. Active people, however, have another important job for the mineral: muscle contraction and rhythmic heartbeat coordinator.
  • Advertisements in magazines and on TV try to convince people over the age of 40 to take calcium supplements. Unfortunately, the body doesn’t properly absorb the inorganic forms of calcium found in supplements.
  • Plants take inorganic calcium that the human body can efficiently and completely make use of. Consuming an adequate supply of organic calcium from such sources as leafy green vegetables will ensure that bones stay strong and that muscle contractions remain smooth and efficient.
  • We also must make sure we don’t remove the calcium that already exists in our bodies. Therefore, avoid acid-forming foods, as these weaken the bones.
Best useable plant sources: dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, collard greens; unhulled sesame seeds
  • Improves muscle function
  • Increases bone strength
  • Reduces risk of osteoporosis
  • Electrolytes are electricity-conducting salts. Calcium, chloride, magnesium, potassium, and sodium are chief electrolyte minerals.
  • Electrolytes in body fluid and blood regulate or affect the flow of nutrients into and waste products out of cells, and are essential for muscle contractions, heartbeats, fluid regulation, and general nerve function. When too few of these minerals are ingested, we may suffer muscle cramps and heart palpitations, lightheadedness and trouble concentrating. In severe cases, lack of electrolytes leads to confusion, inability to reason, and loss of equilibrium.
  • Most commercial sport drinks contain unnecessary refined sugar and artificial flavor and color.
Best food sources: coconut water, molasses and molasses sugar, seaweed (dulse and kelp in particular)
Secondary food sources: bananas, tomatoes, celery
  • Helps maintain hydration
  • Improves fluidity of muscle contractions
  • Increases the heart’s efficiency, lowers heart rate, improves endurance
  • Boosts mental clarity
  • The word ‘essential’ in the name means the body cannot produce these fatty acids – they must be ingested. There are two families of EFAs: omega-3’s and omega-6’s.
  • EFAs support the function of the cardiovascular, immune, and nervous systems. Responsible in part for the cell’s ability to receive nutrition and eliminate waste, they play an integral role in repair and regeneration of cells, keeping the body biologically young. A balance of omega-3 and omega-6 EFAs will keep skin looking and feeling supple. In addition, EFAs are linked to healthy and efficient brain development in children.
  • A diet with an adequate supply of EFAs can help to improve endurance.
Best useable plant sources: salba, flax, and hemp all contain a balance of both omega-3 and omega-6
  • Improves endurance
  • Increases the body’s ability to burn fat as fuel
  • Improves ability to stay well hydrated
  • Improves joint function
Share This