6 Key Nutrients for Fitness

Key Nutrients for Fitness

Making a commitment to exercise regularly is a fantastic way to start getting fit and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

However, if you’re eating the wrong kinds of food (i.e. highly processed foods) or not getting the proper nutrition along with your workout schedule, you might find that you’re not getting the results you expected.

Your body also requires certain nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to maintain and build strong muscles, reduce fatigue, support healthy bones, help avoid injury, and much more.

** We are not medical doctors. This article should be considered health knowledge and not construed as medical advice. **

Are you getting enough vitamins and minerals to keep training hard?

1. Calcium

Why You Need It: Calcium is essential to bone integrity, hormone secretion, proper nervous system function, muscle contraction, and blood vessel function.

When You’re Running Low: While regular exercise has been found to boost bone mineralization, consistently training hard can lead to a decrease in circulating levels of sex steroids (i.e., estrogen). Low levels of sex steroids can lead to an imbalance in calcium absorption. And when your blood calcium levels dip, the risk for low bone mineral density (i.e., osteopenia and osteoporosis) and stress fractures increases.

Top Up: Aim for 1,000–1,200 milligrams of calcium per day — half in the morning, half at night, to maximize absorption. Check the label for the amount of elemental calcium; the amount of elemental calcium is the figure you should use to calculate your true daily intake.

Best Food Sources: Collard greens, spinach, turnip greens, plain yogurt, sardines, salmon, and fortified orange juice.

Key Nutrients for Fitness - Vitamin D - Wild Salmon

2. Vitamin D

Why You Need It: This vitamin plays a crucial role in bone mineralization through the regulation of calcium and phosphorus. It promotes the absorption of calcium, integrates calcium into bone tissue, and helps maintain bone density and strength. It also regulates immune and neuromuscular function.

When You’re Running Low: A deficiency in this vitamin can result in bone loss, muscle weakness, and compromised immune function.

Top Up: Aim for 400–800 IU per day.

Best Food Sources: Dairy products, fortified cereals, wild salmon, white fish, and mackerel.

3. Magnesium

Why You Need It: This tireless multitasker is involved in more than 300 biochemical reactions, including muscle contraction, nerve function, hormonal interactions, immune function, and bone health. It’s also vital for metabolizing carbohydrates, fats, and adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy system used during hard training.

When You’re Running Low: A shortfall in this mighty mineral can limit your body’s ability to generate energy, leading to fatigue, reduced strength, and muscle cramps. Because magnesium is also lost through sweat, training hard in hot and humid environments further leeches your body of this mighty mineral.

Top Up: 400–800 milligrams daily; look for one with magnesium citrate, which is more readily absorbed.

Best Food Sources: Swiss chard, spinach, bran cereal, black-eyed peas, pumpkin seeds, almonds, wild salmon, and halibut.

Key Nutrients for Fitness - Vitamin C - Bell Peppers

4. Vitamin C

Why You Need It: This antioxidant not only fights damaging free radicals, it also has strong cortisol-lowering effects. Cortisol, a hormone produced by the adrenal glands, begins to spike toward the end of your workout.

When You’re Running Low: The daily jolts of cortisol spur the catabolism of proteins, resulting in poor recovery and the break down, or loss, of muscle tissue.

Top Up: 500–1,000 milligrams daily with food, preferably post-workout.

Best Food Sources: Brussels sprouts, bell peppers (red, yellow, and green), papaya, pineapple, citrus fruit, and fortified orange juice.

5. Zinc

Why You Need It: This mineral is critical in growth, building, and repair of muscle tissue, energy production and immune status. It’s also essential for thyroid hormone and insulin function.

When You’re Running Low: Inadequate intake of this mineral can lead to impaired immune function. Your metabolic rate also slows, making it harder to burn off unwanted body fat.

Top Up: 30–50 milligrams daily, on an empty stomach.

Best Food Sources: Seafood, liver, beef, wheat germ, bran cereal, pumpkin seeds, and lentils.

Key Nutrients for Fitness - Potassium - Almonds

6. Potassium

Why You Need It: Potassium is an essential mineral and electrolyte that is promotes proper cell, nerve, brain, heart, kidney, and muscle function.

When You’re Running Low: The body, particularly the kidneys, tightly regulates blood levels of potassium. But when these levels take a nosedive, a condition known as hypokalemia, the result can be fatigue, decreased muscle strength, muscle cramps, mood changes, irregular heartbeat, and gastrointestinal disturbances, such as bloating and constipation.

Top Up: The adequate intake (AI) is 4,700 milligrams per day. Because over-supplementation can easily catapult you in the opposite direction and interfere with kidney function, try to get your potassium from food sources and maintaining proper hydration.

Best Food Sources: Bananas, avocados, sweet potatoes, white beans, almonds, and prunes.

Written by Sommer Robertson for Oxygen Magazine and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

Featured image provided by K15 Photos

Fitness Nutrition with MariGold

At MariGold, we have a variety of products that are all designed to fuel your body with beneficial nutrition to help you accomplish your fitness goals.

It all started with our Protein Bars. Each of our 16+ flavors is packed full of its own unique ingredients including:

  • Potassium-rich Almonds
  • Magnesium-rich Cashews
  • Antioxidant-rich Organic Cacao Nibs
  • Mineral & flavanol-rich Natural (non-alkalized) Cocoa
  • Healthy Fats – Organic Coconut Oil and Grass-Fed Organic Ghee

The ingredient they all have in common is Premium Quality MariGold Truly Grass-fed™ Whey Isolate Protein Powder.

For decades, Whey Protein Isolate has hands-down proven to be the best protein source for building and maintaining muscle. It is rich in BCAAs (Branched-Chain Amino Acids) Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine.

These key amino acids are vitally important for minimizing exercise fatigue and soreness, increasing muscle growth, preventing muscle breakdown, protecting and repairing muscle tissue, and even helping to improve liver function.

Whey Isolate protein has also been proven in clinical studies to increase nutritional status, glutathione levels, and immune function.*

MariGold Grass-Fed Whey Isolate Protein Powder comes in 3 flavors (UnflavoredRich Chocolate Malt, and Creamy Vanilla). It’s cold-processed and micro-filtered, leaving it UNDENATURED and incredibly creamy. This process helps to retain the natural immune-boosting nutrients, antioxidants, amino acids, and minerals to help keep your body strong.

Then it’s INSTANTIZED, with choline-rich sunflower lecithin, so it mixes easily into your favorite recipes or shakes. Sunflower lecithin is rich in phosphatidylcholine, which helps protect against inflammation in the gut. That means MariGold WPI can help keep your gut healthy! Sunflower lecithin is also a brain-boosting ingredient.

Our flavored protein powders, as well as many of our Protein Bar flavors, also include L-Glutamine for added gut-healthy and muscle-building benefits!

Our protein powder is 100% pure, non-GMO, rBST-free, lactose-free, soy-free, gluten-free. It is low sugar (or no sugar) and contains no added sugar and no sugar alcohols.

Be sure to also check out our High Protein Coffees (Whey Protein and Collagen Protein available), Fat BombsSnack Nuts, and Collagen Peptides for even more beneficial nutrients for fueling a healthy body and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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