New Year, New Nutrition Goals

With 2022 quickly approaching, here are our top 3 nutrition goals!

  1. Include more Vitamin D in your diet!
  2. Eat the rainbow!
  3. Drink more water!

1. Include more Vitamin D in your diet!

Why more Vitamin D?

Vitamin D and bone health are so often tied together that we fail to consider the many other health benefits that the micronutrient has to offer. 

Yes, Vitamin D allows our bodies to absorb calcium and calcium helps to support bone strength. Therefore, a deficiency in this micronutrient can lead to brittle bones [1].

But what else can it do?

Other studies have demonstrated how Vitamin D can influence muscle strength and performance. In fact, injured athletes that are deficient in Vitamin D can have delayed recovery times for certain injuries that are related to bone or muscle health [1].

Vitamin D can also influence the lungs. Low Vitamin D levels have been correlated with impaired lung function, like asthma. As an athlete, this could be disastrous as proper lung functioning is necessary for optimal performance [1]. 

Our immune systems also depend on this micronutrient. Studies have demonstrated in the past that athletes deficient in Vitamin D demonstrated higher frequencies of respiratory infections [1]. 

More recently, COVID-19 has been at the forefront of everyone’s minds and researchers studying the relationship between this respiratory virus and Vitamin D have found that individuals deficient in the micronutrient showed an increased risk for testing positive with COVID-19 [2]. 

So, what foods are a good source of Vitamin D? Fish, for example salmon, egg yolk, and even some milks that are enriched with the micronutrient are great sources [3]. 

But what if you’re vegan? Try fortified milk alternatives like soy or almond milk. Some cereal brands are even enriched in Vitamin D.  

Vitamin D levels still too low? Supplementation may be an option for you. We highly recommend Thorne’s Vitamin D/K2 Liquid!

Thorne is a great brand in that many of their products are third party tested to ensure that the quality and purity of the ingredients listed on the label are what is in the product. The dropper version of this Vitamin D supplement really allows you to be in control of the dose. Furthermore, Throne pairs Vitamin D with Vitamin K2 to help your body absorb both K2 and D3.

2. Eat the rainbow!

When was the last time you ate a purple vegetable?

We’re going back to the basics with this second nutritional goal, but there’s a good reason why “Eating the rainbow” has been frequently recommended.

The catchphrase encourages people to try all different kinds of veggies and fruits which thereby increases your consumption of the various micronutrients that each plant has to offer. Additionally, each of these foods provides a unique type of fiber that can promote a healthy gut microbiome. Healthy guts mean less GI issues and stronger immune systems. (Learn more about the gut in our recent blog post here!)

So, let’s dive into some of the diverse nutrients that these foods have to offer. 

  • Red colored foods, like watermelon and tomatoes, often contain lycopene, a pigment that has been correlated with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and beneficial endothelial effects. In other words, lycopene has a positive and protective influence on the vascular system [4]. Looking for a quick recipe? Check out this Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric Chicken Salad recipe!
  • Yellow and orange foods often contain carotenoids, a pigment that gives these foods their specific color. Examples might include bananas and oranges. Studies have shown that carotenoids have a protective effect against age-related diseases such as dementia, diabetes, or even cancer [5]. Peanut Butter Banana Waffles are a delicious way to incorporate bananas into your next breakfast!
  • Green foods include your classic veggies, however, we will focus on cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli and brussel sprouts. These cruciferous veggies contain chemicals that have been shown to have negative effects on several cancer cell pathways, thereby making these foods a possible protective force against cancer [6]. 
  • Blue and purple foods, like blueberries and eggplants, contain anthocyanins. This pigment demonstrates antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, in addition to the ability to provide protection against neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases [7].
  • White and brown foods can contain allicin. These veggies include garlic, onions, and leeks. Allicin has been shown to help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, thereby providing major benefits to the cardiovascular system [8]. Our Creamy Roasted Garlic and Kale Soup with Cauliflower would be a perfect winter day dinner!

3. Drink more water!

It’s cold out, you’re not sweating as much, so why should you worry about staying hydrated? 

The cold weather actually tricks you into thinking that you’re not thirsty for water! Your body doesn’t feel hot, and your sweat evaporates more quickly into the cold air. One study showed that cold temperature could diminish an individual’s thirst response by up to even 40% [9]! 

Athletes who continue to train or even compete in these colder temperatures are just as likely to experience a risk of dehydration. Any exercise will increase vasodilation and cause you to sweat. Without properly hydrating, you can easily become dehydrated which can lead to impaired athletic performance and possibly even compromise some biological functions [10].  

But, there’s an easy solution! Studies demonstrate that consistent hydration throughout a training session can prevent the state of dehydration and thereby improve athletic performance [10]. 

So, just because you don’t feel like you’re sweating as much, you still need to make sure that you’re drinking your water! 


References: 

  1. de la Puente Yagüe, M., Collado Yurrita, L., Ciudad Cabañas, M. J., & Cuadrado Cenzual, M. A. (2020). Role of Vitamin D in Athletes and Their Performance: Current Concepts and New Trends. Nutrients12(2), 579. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12020579
  2. Meltzer, D. O., Best, T. J., Zhang, H., Vokes, T., Arora, V., & Solway, J. (2020). Association of Vitamin D Deficiency and Treatment with COVID-19 Incidence. medRxiv : the preprint server for health sciences, 2020.05.08.20095893. https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.05.08.20095893
  3. Lamberg-Allardt C. (2006). Vitamin D in foods and as supplements. Progress in biophysics and molecular biology92(1), 33–38. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pbiomolbio.2006.02.017
  4. Mozos, I., Stoian, D., Caraba, A., Malainer, C., Horbańczuk, J. O., & Atanasov, A. G. (2018). Lycopene and Vascular Health. Frontiers in pharmacology9, 521. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2018.00521
  5. Tan, B. L., & Norhaizan, M. E. (2019). Carotenoids: How Effective Are They to Prevent Age-Related Diseases?. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland)24(9), 1801. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24091801
  6. Royston, K. J., & Tollefsbol, T. O. (2015). The Epigenetic Impact of Cruciferous Vegetables on Cancer Prevention. Current pharmacology reports1(1), 46–51. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40495-014-0003-9
  7. Mattioli, R., Francioso, A., Mosca, L., & Silva, P. (2020). Anthocyanins: A Comprehensive Review of Their Chemical Properties and Health Effects on Cardiovascular and Neurodegenerative Diseases. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland)25(17), 3809. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25173809
  8. Borlinghaus, J., Albrecht, F., Gruhlke, M. C., Nwachukwu, I. D., & Slusarenko, A. J. (2014). Allicin: chemistry and biological properties. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland)19(8), 12591–12618. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules190812591
  9. Kenefick, R. W., Hazzard, M. P., Mahood, N. V., & Castellani, J. W. (2004). Thirst sensations and AVP responses at rest and during exercise-cold exposure. Medicine and science in sports and exercise36(9), 1528–1534. https://doi.org/10.1249/01.mss.0000139901.63911.75
  10. Murray R. (1995). Fluid needs in hot and cold environments. International journal of sport nutrition5 Suppl, S62–S73. https://doi.org/10.1123/ijsn.5.s1.s62

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