Did you know your level of key nutrients can drastically impact your sleep, cravings, energy level, muscle fatigue and performance?
One of the things I look at with my health coach clients is whether or not they are getting many key nutrients. Here are two that are essential for good health and crucial for athletes (yet often lacking).
If you want to be a stronger athlete (or simply healthier for life), these two are at the top of the list.
Omega 3 Fatty acids
You’re hearing about these everywhere, right?
What they do:
Protection! Omega 3s are anti-inflammatory and will help protect you from heart attacks, strokes, cancer and even arthritis. They help keep the blood thin to prevent clots. Lower blood pressure. Help combat depression. Promote healthy metabolism.
For athletes: Reduce muscle soreness and recovery faster. Promote fat burning (by enhancing insulin sensitivity). Less fatigue and joint pain.
Food sources: Salmon, sardines, grass-fed beef, walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, soybeans or tofu.
Supplements: If you don’t like any of the above, you can supplement with a high quality fish oil or krill oil. You can also use algae or spirulina, as these are what the fish and pasture-raised animals are eating that gives them high levels of Omega 3 fatty acids.
I’m enjoying these Amazing Grass samples. Several have spirulina and Omega 3s in them. All of them have greens or grasses, which are among the top superfoods we can eat!
L loves these in a smoothie, too. (With plenty of Dora band-aids and a tutu, please.)
If you were part of my sugar detox tele-course (next one in3 weeks!), you learned that our levels of Vitamin D is tied to our cravings. And it does so much more!
What it does:
Helps maintain calcium and phosphorous (two key minerals that sugar depletes in the body), protects us from hypertension, MS, arthritis and is linked to cancer prevention. Necessary for our immune system to fight off viruses and bacteria.
For athletes: Helps maintain strong bones and reduces the incidence of fractures. Essential for our muscles
Best sources: 10-15 minutes of sun exposure is the best way to meet your daily Vitamin D needs (without sunscreen). You can also find small amounts in fatty fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel and small amounts in egg yolks, mushrooms and fortified foods.
Supplements: If you find you have low Vitamin D levels, or if you live in the north with less sun exposure, you may want to take a supplement up to 2,000 IU daily.
Bottom line? Don’t fear fat. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet. Get sunshine.
For more on anti-inflammatory eating for athletes, check out my guest post at Miss Zippy.
Do you think about food as fuel for your workouts? Are you getting enough Omega 3s and sunlight?