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The Impact of the Plant-Based Revolution on the Fitness Industry

The Impact of the Plant-Based Revolution on the Fitness Industry

The Impact of the Plant-Based Revolution on the Fitness Industry

Our approach to food is starting to change on a grand scale. There’s always been differing preferences out there when it comes to the contents of one’s diet and a lot of that just boils down to personal taste. But then there’s the other side of it. The side that breeds a little bit more conflict between separate groups, and perhaps justifiably so.

While most humans have followed an omnivorous diet throughout history, plant-based diets have also been popular for a long time. In some cases, people will adopt said diet for health reasons, but ethics are the usual reason and that’s where things have historically gotten a little controversial.

Now that we have gotten pretty deep into the 21st century, our understanding of our bodies and how different foods affect us has advanced quite a bit. And it is becoming more and more clear that not only is a plant-based diet perfectly healthy, but if you approach it correctly then you can still reach your full fitness potential.

What we have come to realise is that meat is not an essential component of high-level fitness. For the purposes of this article, let’s imagine that you are an athlete and you have decided to shift to an entirely plant-based diet. What is your diet going to look like now? Let's discuss…

How to Source Plant Protein

As anyone who takes their fitness seriously knows, one of the most important aspects of building muscle is your protein intake. Proteins are made up of amino acids which build and repair muscle and bone in your body.

When we think about protein, our mind instantly jumps to things like red meat, cheese, fish and eggs. And obviously none of these things would fall into a plant-based diet. This is what leads a lot of people to believe that it’s impossible for vegans to build any muscle.

That’s not the case however; there are actually a number of somewhat lesser-known foods which you can get more than enough protein from. You need look no further than lentils for this. A member of the legume family, the nutritional value of legumes is shockingly vast.

100 grams of lentils contains 9 grams of protein. Now if you consider the fact that for a diet of about 2,500 calories, which is fairly standard for an average sized athlete, you would only need about 80-90g of protein per day, you can get more than 10% of that from 100g of lentils.

They are cheap, easy to prepare and you can adapt them to a lot of different meals which makes them basically a superfood. Vegans can also get protein from chickpeas, quinoa, black beans and a variety of nuts so there are a lot of options here.

RelatedPlant-Based Protein Foods – A Guide

Gaining Weight

Getting enough protein is one thing, but fitness and muscle building also requires eating a certain amount of calories every single day. And again, people tend not to associate calories with fruit and vegetables.

The actual reality is that plant-based products which are high in calories are actually significantly healthier than meat products which offer the same effect.

Think about avocados. A single avocado has over 300 calories, but the fats and fibre present are heart-healthy. You will also get Vitamin C and potassium out of an avocado too.

A single cup of quinoa, meanwhile, contains about 220 calories, and is also high in other important nutrients such as folate and manganese.

There’s also rice, sweet potatoes and nut butters which are all high in calories too, so there’s really no shortage of plant-based foods out there which can help to beef people up.

What About Nutritional Supplements?

The prevalence of supplements is a big part of the impact the plant-based revolution is having on fitness. But in a way, there’s a little bit of a misconception surrounding it. Vegans and vegetarians don’t necessarily need supplements, we’ve just realised how beneficial including supplements in our diet actually is.

B12 is the big one. This is the vitamin that everyone associates with veganism, and the reality is that yes, vegans should be taking a B12 supplement, but so should a lot of meat-eaters. An awful lot of people are low in this vitamin.

Similarly, vitamin D is an essential one that a lot of people are lacking. You can get it from meat and eggs but most of your vitamin D will come from sunlight. There’s nothing about a plant-based diet which is going to contribute to a lack of sunlight and so this can be a requirement for both.

Everybody is different of course, and some vegans may want to try something like a plant-based protein powder if they personally feel like they’re lacking in that regard. But as mentioned above, what this revolution has opened our eyes to is the fact that there are nutrients and vitamins that even meat-eaters are lacking in. 

And supplementing them will benefit your gains and your progress in terms of fitness no matter what your diet is primarily made of. 

Conclusion

Not only is a plant-based diet perfectly healthy, but if you approach it correctly, you can still reach your full fitness potential.

In answer to the main question posed by this article, the fitness industry has been impacted by the plant-based revolution in a major way, because it has allowed us to discover that there is nothing stopping us from building a lot of muscle and reaching peak physical fitness without animal products. 

With the knowledge and resources that we now possess, your diet can be entirely plant-based and no longer be a barrier to your physical progression. Don’t believe us? Just ask some of the world’s top vegan athletes.

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.

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The Secret to Reducing Recovery Time and Boosting Performance

The Secret to Reducing Recovery Time and Boosting Performance

The Secret to Reducing Recovery Time and Boosting Performance

Most keen athletes are astutely focused on their protein intake, as well as their micros and macros.

Naturally, your level of activity will impact the amount of protein that you should consume. But there’s more to it...

What if I told you that there was a secret ingredient that would help reduce inflammation, reduce recovery time and enhance performance?

That’s what we’ll be exploring in this article.

What should you do to reduce recovery time and boost performance?

While enhancing heart and brain health. Let’s dive right in.

The Three “Rs” of Nutritional Recovery


The three Rs of nutritional recovery are rehydration, refuel and repair. When all three are consumed, you’ll experience faster recovery rates.

When omega-3s are consumed with protein, there’s increased recovery. When you exercise you also create a lot of free radicals, that can damage your overall health. Thankfully omega-3s help reduce free radical damage. Protecting your ligaments, joints and muscles from damage. 

Rehydration is an obvious one. However, it’s important to ensure that you consume enough electrolytes. Refuelling and repair are done best when athletes consume adequate nutrition. Including omega-3s and healthy sources of protein. 

RelatedThe 5 Best Plant Sources of Electrolytes

Omega-3 in Muscle Volume and Loss


In a 2019 study, 20 healthy young women were recruited and split into two groups. One group took a daily 5g dose of omega-3s, while the other group took a placebo of sunflower oil, for 4 weeks.

After 4 weeks of supplementation, all participants had one of their legs cast in a leg brace and were instructed to refrain from exercise (other than walking and general activities). After two weeks of having one of their legs immobilised the women were given a further two weeks to recover prior to resuming weekly exercise. 

Interestingly, the group that took the sunflower oil placebo had a reduction of lean leg muscle mass of 6%. While the group taking the daily omega 3 supplement saw no significant muscle loss.

Researcher Chris McGlory PhD chalked this down to omega-3s increasing the rate of protein synthesis, stating, “That means it helps produce proteins to help your body build and repair muscle.”

RelatedHow to Support the Body’s Immune Response with Omega-3

Omega-3s Fuel Muscle Growth (While Helping You Burn Fat)

Omega-3s play an important role in protein synthesis. The process that turns the food you eat into muscle.

One 2012 study of healthy men and women who were given a daily 4g supplement of omega-3s for 8 weeks, found that omega-3s helped build and maintain muscle mass. The researchers discovered that insulin and amino acids were up-regulated with omega-3 supplementation

In another study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, researchers found that omega 3s help your body use fat as fuel. 44 men and women received 4g fish oil or a placebo of safflower oil. They found that increased omega-3s helped burn excess fat while increasing lean muscle mass. 

RelatedGood Fats, Bad Fats: Knowing the Difference

Omega-3 and Muscle Inflammation & DOMS


Inflammation occurs after micro-tares are created in muscles after intense exercise. Inflammation isn’t all bad, it’s your body’s way to protect itself.

However, often there’s too much inflammation that causes pain and discomfort after exercise. That’s where taking a daily omega-3 supplement comes in.

Most people don’t consume enough omega-3s in their diet, leading to increased risk of inflammation and other diseases that are caused by inflammation.

Such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and rheumatoid arthritis.

One undesirable side effect of rigorous exercise is delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Understandably, athletes and bodybuilders alike look for ways to reduce the effects of DOMS, so that they can train every day without the discomfort afterwards.

There are several ways to reduce DOMS such as – massage, hydration, sleep and active recovery. Additionally, recent research published in 2020 has shown that high doses of fish oil (omega-3s) can reduce recovery and soreness post-exercise.

In the study of 32 college-aged, resistance-trained males, subjects took either 2, 4 or 6g of omega-3 supplementation per day for 7 weeks. The result? The group that took 6g per day experienced increased performance and lower soreness after vigorous exercise.

Learn moreOmega-3 Fatty Acids: Are You Getting Enough?

Can You Take Omega 3 With Protein Powder?


The short answer is quite categorically – yes! Omega-3s up-regulate protein synthesis, and as such protein powder is fantastic when coupled with omega-3 supplementation.

In one 2018 study, football players were given a 6-week supplementation of daily fish oil, combined with whey protein and carbohydrates. The football players were split into 3 groups and they were all given 2 x 200ml drinks. 

Group one consumed a beverage of fish oil with n-3PUFA (1100 mg DHA/550 mg EPA), whey protein (15 g), leucine (1.8 g), and carbohydrate (20 g). The second group drank a protein beverage that contained whey protein (15 g), leucine (1.8 g), and carbohydrate (20 g). And the third group drank a carbohydrate supplement beverage that contained carbohydrate (24 g).

The first group saw a decrease in muscle soreness and higher blood concentrations of creatine kinase. 

RelatedThe World’s Weirdest Protein Powder

How Long Does it Take for Omega-3 Supplements to Work?

Although you may see the benefit of taking omega-3 within 6 weeks, it can sometimes take up to 6 months to see significant improvements.

Therefore, as with many things in life – consistency and patience is key. Once you’ve decided on the appropriate dose, make sure to take your omega-3 supplements daily. Ideally with foods containing fat, such as nuts or avocado.

Take-home Message

Omega-3s when consumed with protein significantly reduces both fatigue and muscle soreness. While allowing your body to burn fat and increase muscle mass. Can’t say better than that!

If you’re keen to enhance your athletic performance, then ensuring that you consume adequate amounts of protein and omega-3s while staying properly hydrated, is a must.

Written by best-selling author and integrative nutrition health coach Rowanna Watson, who has a passion for natural health. Rowanna is an expert in all areas of holistic health, plant-based nutrition, detoxification and personal development.

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.

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Six Top Tips for Faster Post-Exercise Recovery

Six Top Tips for Faster Post-Exercise Recovery

Six Top Tips for Faster Post-Exercise Recovery

Anyone who’s ever experienced the pain of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness – commonly known as DOMS – will attest that getting off the couch and conducting a workout is only half the battle. It’s what happens afterwards that requires some attention.

While we typically associate “recovery” with a sports injury, post-exercise recovery is a different concept entirely, referring to the process by which muscles repair themselves following a period of strenuous physical activity.

An entire industry has sprung up around the concept of post-workout, with nutritional supplements and sports bars promising the expedite the process by replenishing glycogen and protein stores, refuelling muscles with amino acids, providing much-needed electrolytes – and on and on.

Post-exercise recovery is big business, and supplements can certainly play their part. But they should be part of a joined-up, evidence-backed approach encompassing things like stretching, rest and hydration. In this blog, we’re going to take a look at several elements of the post-exercise recovery process, to help you get the most out of your workouts.

Epsom bath


The merits of taking a lot, hot bath have been extolled by grandmothers for aeons. And if there’s one truism you can take to the bank, it’s that granny knows best!

In all seriousness, taking a warm, post-workout bath with a sprinkling of Epsom salts is a terrific idea. 

Epsom salt is comprised of magnesium and sulfate, and bathing in them is known to help address symptoms of muscle soreness by targeting inflammation and swelling.

If muscles or joints are pained or stiff following a big session, soaking in an Epsom bath can have a relaxing, restorative effect. It can also help to soothe blisters – something worth noting if you’re pounding the streets or accustomed to running on a treadmill.

Although Epsom baths are a popular solution among athletes, others swear by cold therapy, concluding every session by jumping into a freezing ice bath or stepping into a nitrogen-cooled cryo-therapy chamber or cold shower. It really depends on the individual.

Related5 Surprising Health Benefits of Taking a Cold Shower

Omega-3


Omega-3s are known as some of nature’s best anti-inflammatories. Deriving mainly from fatty fish such as mackerel, salmon and anchovy, these powerhouse nutrients have also been shown to help improve muscle recovery following taxing workouts, attenuating losses in muscular strength and even reducing damage to skeletal muscle.

In one 2020 study published in the journal Nutrients, and involving work by no less than seven universities including California State University Long Beach and the University of New Mexico, it was suggested that “exercising individuals undergoing vigorous or unaccustomed exercise consume a higher dose of 6G per day (2,400 mg EPA, 1,800 mg DHA) in order to reduce perceived soreness and improve acute power production in the recovery period.”

The large study was placebo-controlled, randomised and double-blind, considered the gold standard in clinical medicine.

Needless to say, those looking to up their omega-3 intake should look first to food and then to supplements.

Where the latter is concerned, we recommend UnoCardio 1000, which has been independently validated as #1 for quality by Labdoor since 2015. UnoCardio 1000 provides 675mg EPA, 460mg DHA per softgel, plus 1,000 i.u. of Vitamin D. By taking one or two softgels every day, plus omega-3 from food sources, you’ll reach the 6G daily recommendation advised by the universities.

RelatedIs Fish Oil as Beneficial As Exercise for Some People?

Higher carb intake


Although many people are understandably wary about eating a high proportion of carbohydrates, research suggests that a higher intake is required for those pursuing high-endurance workouts – typically those are preparing to run marathons or triathlons, or people who are training for mass and strength.

A generous carb intake has been shown to forestall neuromuscular fatigue and even improve physical performance.

Consuming 0.5-0.7g of carbs per pound of body weight within a half-hour of training also appears to improve glycogen resynthesis and regulate insulin secretion.

Protein


Whether it’s enhancing glycogen re-synthesis or attenuating muscle tissue breakdown, the value of post-workout protein cannot be understated.

Protein is far and away the best-selling nutritional supplement in the multi-billion sports industry, and certainly the one most associated with “post-workout,” largely due to its association with the bodybuilding industry and the belief that protein powder enhances muscular development.

While not everyone is interested in building muscle, protein should be a post-workout staple for most people. Protein is a valuable nutrient source that can itself help to decrease muscle soreness while helping individuals lose body fat. 

Alkaline water

Alkaline water benefits from a higher pH than regular tap or bottled water, which tends to be neutral. But what does that have to do with post-exercise recovery, you might wonder. Well, according to a double-blind, placebo-controlled 2018 study, “drinking alkalized water improves hydration status, acid-base balance, and high intensity anaerobic exercise performance.”

Moreover, athletes who drank alkaline water for three weeks enjoyed benefits such as “greater muscle buffering capacity and enhanced removal of protons, resulting in increased glycolytic ATP production.”

The results supported the conclusion of a study conducted a year earlier, which found that drinking four litres of alkaline water per day engendered “a positive effect on urine pH during the anaerobic test protocol, and much more efficient lactate utilization after high-intensity interval exercise.”

Stretching and massage

 

It’s well known that stretching improves circulation. What’s less well-documented is that it can actually help your muscles recover more quickly after a challenging workout.

Moreover, post-workout stretches help to slow down your breathing and heart rate, improve range of motion and strengthen connective tissue. Adding some dynamic and static stretching to your post-workout routine is an undeniably good idea.

As for sports massages, they are geared towards reducing muscle tension and aiding flexibility, two endpoints supported by an extensive meta-analysis published in 2019.

As an added benefit, sports massages – like Epsom baths – can result in a better night’s sleep, pre-relaxing muscles and nerves and triggering the release of serotonin to engender a feeling of calm.

Conclusion

As outlined, there are much better ways to manage post-workout stress than popping a painkiller and soldiering on. We haven’t even covered all of them; in addition to the above, you should factor in sleep, pain-management tools such as foam rollers and magnesium (which helps move blood sugar into muscles).

Developments in this field play a big part in ensuring today’s elite athletes are, in the main, faster, stronger and less injury-prone than their predecessors.

Whether you’re training for a world championship or simply looking to shed a few pounds, make sure you’re backing up your gruelling workouts with a sensible, science-backed recovery protocol. With adequate nutrition and habits in place, you’ll ensure minimal downtime between intense sessions, leaving you free to focus on an arguably tougher task: maintaining motivation!

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.

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Which Dietary Supplements Help You to Heal Faster?

Which Dietary Supplements Help You to Heal Faster?

Which Dietary Supplements Help You to Heal Faster?

The body relies on nutrients to heal after an injury. Recovery pushes the system into high alert, leveraging hormones, enzymes, and proteins to return the cells to their usual, healthy selves.

Whether you are suffering with a muscle tear or bone breakage, high-quality dietary supplements can help you to return to good health and even improve your capacity to cope with pain-related anxiety.

The Magic of Protein


Protein is more than just a fuel source. It builds and repairs muscle tissue while reducing infection risk. It carries oxygen through the body, repairs skin, and keeps your body fluids in balance.

Still, improving your protein intake requires more than just eating more meat. The body breaks the nutrient down into amino acids and peptides, and your body needs all of them to stay healthy.

Red meat and oily fish are good, complete protein sources, while non-meat sources like quinoa, buckwheat, hempseed and soybeans all have their place.

As for the utility of protein supplements, the clue is in the name: they are designed to supplement a whole-food diet rather than replace it.

As you heal, you’ll need a protein powder that packs serious nutritional punch. Supplements are divided into egg, milk, rice, and pea proteins. The latter is hypoallergenic and easy to digest.

Milk proteins are best for immune support and muscle growth. Hemp protein sources pack extra omega-3 fatty acids into your diet.

Vitamin D and Calcium


You probably know calcium as the bone builder of the body, but it also keeps your nervous system healthy. If you suffer from muscle spasms, a simple calcium and magnesium supplement can have dramatic effects.

It is important to keep both minerals in balance because the body uses magnesium to metabolise calcium. Supplementing only one can lead to deficiencies, so most calcium supplements contain both minerals.

Vitamin D is included less frequently, but it is also responsible for your body’s ability to absorb calcium. If you don’t get much sun or take medications that reduce vitamin D levels, you might need a D supplement as well.

Vitamin D is an important nutrient for patients who are recovering from surgery, particularly operations on the anterior cruciate ligament.

Patients with adequate levels of circulating Vitamin D appear to suffer from fewer perioperative infections.

Vitamin D raises cathelicidin levels, which are antimicrobial peptides innate to the immune system. Any injury that carries an infection risk can benefit from balanced vitamin D levels.

Creatine & Silicon

Creatine is associated with ordinary post-exercise recovery, but it can also prevent injury, provide neuroprotection and support rehabilitation.

Creatine is an important part of the body’s energy system. It has a positive effect on muscle healing after intense and repeated bouts of exercise. Athletes who are facing championships or performing heavily on a weekly basis can benefit enormously from this magical nutrient.

Regular users gain the most benefits from creatine supplementation, which is also used for post-injury rehabilitation. It helps to maintain lean muscle mass, so if you are building strength, this is your go-to supplement.

You probably don’t think of silicon as a nutrient, but it plays a key role in bone formation, which is why osteoporosis sufferers often supplement it to provide strength to weakening bones. It can be used to treat wounds and sprains, too.

Silicon occurs naturally in certain vegetables, but it’s possible to supplement it to improve healing. Researchers believe it might also play a role in reforming bone and collagen.

Water

Water keeps the blood thin and allows nutrients and oxygen to move freely through the body. This speeds up recovery, helps the skin to heal and may even relieve some of your pain.

If you have developed an infection, water will help stabilise your body temperature and improve dehydration. That doesn’t mean you should raise your water levels to ridiculous levels, though. Too much water is as destructive as too little, particularly if you are an active sportsperson who is at risk of developing hypernatremia.

Most adults need two litres of water each day, an amount you can increase during heat waves or when you have nausea and a fever.

RelatedWhy Drink Water, What’s Wrong with Other Drinks?

Conclusion

The simple fact is that your body needs extra fuel to heal itself, and that means a more balanced diet, complete with grains, vegetables, fruits and protein. This isn’t the time to limit your calorie intake: it’s a rebuilding process, after all. With proper nutrition, you’ll soon be back to full strength again.

This article was written by Patrick Hanley of APC Physio. Patrick works with sports people to treat injuries at a specialised Sports Injury Clinic. He is an expert in the role nutrition plays in repairing injury.

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.

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small phial of hemp oil

Dietary Supplements and Sports Performance

Dietary Supplements and Sports Performance

It should go without saying that athletes and sportspeople need to keep their bones and hearts strong in order to maximise physical performance. The active body needs to heal itself faster and load up on energy-rich carbohydrates, while healthy cells ensure that you can recover quickly from a high intensity workout.

In this article, we'll take a closer look at the nutritional needs of athletes and consider which dietary supplements offer the most promise as far as sports performance is concerned.

Vitamins and Your Metabolism

Vitamins give your body the ability to regulate its energy metabolism, and that feeds several key processes related to physical performance.

Thiamin (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), and vitamin B6 are needed in the energy pathways. They also help cells to regenerate, so they’re an important component for healing muscle tears after a workout.

B vitamins are known as the best nutrients for the brain because they build the cells needed for brain health; they’re often used to aid athletic focus.

Antioxidants like vitamin A and E prevent oxidative damage in the cells, so they’re believed to help sportspeople to reach their peak performance rates.

Vitamin A can reduce the risk of hip fractures, but it’s risky in megadoses – so the decision to supplement is best made with the help of a medical doctor. Your family physician will make the best judgement based on your personal needs.

No athlete can reach the top of their game if they have nutrient deficiencies. Active people often suffer from a shortage of calcium, iron, and potassium. The latter nutrient doesn’t get enough attention, but without it, your aches and pains will increase exponentially.

Potassium also regulates your minerals, preventing hypernatremia. Still, it’s vitamin B deficiency that’s most often linked to poor athletic performance, so be sure to keep your levels where they need to be.

If you have a deficiency, your body will become over-reliant on carbohydrates and prevent your adipose tissue from releasing fatty acids. That can reduce muscle glycogen levels and push your endurance down.

Choline and Energy

We rarely speak of choline, but it’s an important part of a healthy diet. It’s used to keep the nervous system healthy and, when levels are low, could cause fatigue during exercise.

Studies on choline’s impact on aerobic exercise are preliminary, but time will tell if it’s the energy booster it seems to be.

Who Needs Vitamin Supplements?

While those who eat a healthy, varied diet don’t usually need vitamin supplements, there are a few exceptions: pregnant women, athletes, the elderly, and those with chronic illness are just some of the people who tend to use more of some nutrients and develop deficiencies.

Still, it’s important to bear in mind that occasionally, supplementation can do genuine harm.

Antioxidant supplementation can disrupt homeostasis, and unnecessary folic acid may increase cancer risk. In addition, all vitamins have a toxic dose (although in many cases it’s difficult to reach this), so it is critical to your athletic performance not to overdose on nutrients.

Vitamins, Botanicals and Weight Loss

Unexplained weight gain can be a symptom of a vitamin deficiency. A lack of iodine in the diet can cause thyroid imbalances that cause the body to pack on extra pounds.

vitamin D deficiency is equally damaging; low magnesium levels have the same effect, but supplementing may even play a role in boosting metabolism in those without deficiencies.

Thiamine, B6, iron, and calcium, meanwhile, have roles to play in metabolism, so if you’re trying to lose weight, it might be worthwhile to increase your intake.

The take-home? Weight management isn’t just a case of calories in, calories out. Making sure you’re hitting your RDA for vitamins and minerals will potentiate any possible weight-loss efforts.

Botanicals and Athleticism

Many botanicals speed up weight loss through herbal stimulants, but they can be dangerous. If you have a heart condition, for example, ma guang and ginseng can be potentially fatal. If you have epilepsy, even mild herbal stimulants can cause seizures. Consult your doctor before taking a herbal supplement.

Dangerous aside, botanicals can often boost performance where nutrients cannot. Betaine, for example, appears to boost the body’s production of creatine, thereby shedding water retention. Small human trials indicate that it might boost strength-based performance, too.

Branched-chain amino acids can be incredibly beneficial too; they’re metabolised by mitochondria, causing the body to release the energy it needs to boost sports performance. Creatine isn’t quite as new to the circuit. In fact, it’s been in use for many years for its ability to carry energy to the muscles. Trials show that it’s a potent strength-builder.

Final Thoughts

There’s a good reason elite athletes rely on dietary supplements to boost their performance. Whether you’re building endurance and strength, or merely improving your tolerance to exercise, they can support your hard work and speed up your results.

This article was written by Conor O’Flynn of O’Flynn Medical. Conor has worked in the healthcare industry for over two decades and is a strong believer in the benefits of supplements to help sportspeople reach their optimal fitness levels.

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.

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man's arm passing water bottle to someone else

5 Essential Hydration Facts All Athletes Should Know About

5 Essential Hydration Facts All Athletes Should Know About

Competing, or taking part in sporting events? Make sure to optimise your hydration.

Endurance athletes taking part in longer competitions are more prone to dehydration. That being said, all athletes should ensure that they consume enough of the right kind of water. Dehydration can negatively impact your performance on both a physical and mental level.

You can’t rely on feeling thirsty when it comes to hydrating your body as an athlete. 

The main reason is that exercise suppresses thirst. So even though you’ll be losing a lot of water through sweating, you might not know it because your body won’t signal thirst while you’re exercising. So what should you do?

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

When it comes to athletes, the need for hydration becomes more prevalent. What if drinking the right amount and the best kind of water (not protein shakes, supplements, etc.) is the key to boosting your athletic performance?

While practice, nutrition, sleep and lifestyle play a huge role in your ability to excel in any given sport, hydration is always the foundation. The aim of this article is to enhance your water IQ, so that you can take your game to the next level.

What is Your Water I.Q?

Water is the world’s most important resource, and certainly the most precious resource for human life. So it pays to know as much as you can about it.

We are blessed if we have access to proper water and sanitation, as 6 out of 10 people around the world don’t have access to proper sanitation.

Did you know that up to 95% of waste water is released back into the environment? In developed countries the figure is closer to 80%. This just goes to show how polluted our waters are becoming.

Meaning that we need to ensure we’re consuming the freshest water possible when looking to boost athletic performance. That means either sourcing pure spring water or filtering your tap water.

Related: Glyphosate: A Harmful Herbicide That’s Filtering into Your Tap Water

1. Some Foods Have a High Water Content

Although drinking pure water is optimal, you don’t need to drink plain water to be hydrated. Fresh fruits and vegetables contain lots of water, and are a great option for athletes.

While you can hydrate with a wide range of fluids, you do need to be aware of other compounds in your food and drinks. Making sure to steer clear of dehydrating fatty or dry foods; opting for foods that are filled with water will boost your water intake.

There is 85-96% water in fresh whole foods such as cucumber, celery, tomatoes, oranges and melons. Approximately 22% of your water comes from your food intake.

2. Water is Required for Digestion

Water helps to transport nutrients throughout the body. Many vitamins are water soluble, for example all B vitamins and vitamin C. As such, these vitamins have a higher requirement for water.

Vitamin C is also used alongside water to clear out waste products and conduct enzymatic reactions in the body.

3. Water Lubricates Your Joints

Strenuous exercise can take its toll on your joints. For this reason, it is important to drink enough water.

Water removes acidic byproducts such as uric acid and cellular waste, which if left can cause inflammation and pain.

Water is also used to provide cushioning in your spine. When exercising, water is used up quickly by all of the organs in your body and especially your joints.

Related: Rebuilding Joints Naturally Using Diet and Supplements

4. Athletes Must Replenish Water Stores

Did you know that up to 10% of the body’s water content gets replaced each day? In fact, up to 3 litres are lost each day through sweating, urination and breathing, making daily water replenishment essential. Especially for athletes.

Related: The 6 Best Times to Drink Water and When Not To

5. Weighing In Can Determine Water Loss

When exercising, your body sweats to prevent overheating. Exercise produces heat, that is transferred to the skin and sweat is evaporated to produce a cooling effect. This is known as thermoregulation.

If you don’t drink any water when you work out (not advisable in warm weather, or indeed ever), then you can weigh yourself before and after an hour of strenuous exercise to measure the rough amount of water lost.

1lb equates to roughly 450ml. A loss of 2lb will result in reduced athletic performance.

Why Do Athletes Become Dehydrated?

An unprepared athlete might overlook the importance of drinking water and keeping hydrated during exercise. Carrying water with you at all times should be a must for any athlete.

Also, some sports drinks can cause nausea which can prevent an athlete from drinking enough water. In this case, it is often due to the high concentration of electrolytes or flavourings.

It’s advisable for an athlete to drink 500ml to 1 litre per hour while exercising.

3 Famous Hydration Quotes

To be at the top of your game, you need to make hydration a priority. These two athletes and one wellness guru have pretty much summed up how critical water is to your performance.

“As an athlete you’ve got to watch your hydration and your nutrition, and use the right kinds of fuel to help you perform your best.” – Derrick Brooks, former NFL linebacker

“Running back-to-back races requires a certain tactical prudence. Going too hard in any one race might jeopardise your performance in another. Maintaining proper hydration and caloric equilibrium also becomes increasingly critical.” – Dean Karnazes, American ultramarathon runner

“When a body is in an alkaline state, it avoids disease, but when it’s in an acidic state – where you’re eating a lot of processed foods, meat, dairy – you’re not going to have that hydration in your body, and you’re not going to have that ability to fight off disease, and it’s going to impact your immune system and the inflammation in your body too.” – Vani Hari, Food Babe

The Bottom Line

The amount of water required daily differs depending on metabolism, activity levels, age and environment. Strenuous exercise quickly uses up the body’s water reserves and needs replenished to optimise performance.

If you exercise in warm climates, you’ll begin to feel weak without drinking adequate water. Dehydration can be fatal to athletes who neglect the critical importance of hydration.

Further reading: Sports Nutrition for Athletes – Top Foods to Fuel Performance

Written by best-selling author and integrative nutrition health coach Rowanna Watson, who has a passion for natural health. Rowanna is an expert in all areas of holistic health, plant-based nutrition, detoxification and personal development.


Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.

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runners on an athletic track

Sports Nutrition for Athletes: Top Foods to Fuel Performance

Sports Nutrition for Athletes: Top Foods to Fuel Performance

Food is fuel. What we put into our bodies necessarily impacts our physical performance: how fast we can run, how responsive our muscles are, the strength of our bones.

Athletes, by definition, must perform at a level beyond that which mere mortals can attain. As such, their nutrition is tailored for increased energy expenditure and a greater need for rest and recovery.

We’ve been thinking about optimal nutrition for athletes, and even if you don’t expect to be on the Olympic podium any time soon, there’s lessons to be learned for all of us.

You can apply many of the following tips to your own health programme, whether you’re interested in strength and conditioning, building stamina, improving recovery times or planning to run a 10k.

Athletic Nutrition: The Basic Nutrients

While the standard nutritional requirements keep us healthy, athletes are in a unique position, in that they must balance their caloric intake with the rigours of daily training and competition.

The diets of sportspeople, therefore, must be sufficiently nutrient-rich as to help them endure the intensity of their chosen discipline, be it tennis, football or long-distance running.

At the highest level, among the most disciplined, science-guided athletes, every morsel of food is accounted for; every eating plan fine-tuned to maximise one’s capacity for physical activity.

Making smarter decisions with regard to nutrition and hydration can prevent injury, expedite recovery and enhance performance.

The macronutrients that we’re all aware of are carbohydrates, protein and fat.

Carbohydrates

Historically, carbohydrates have been the primary fuel for athletes, since your body changes them to glucose, stores them in muscles as glycogen, then turns that glycogen into energy.

Carbohydrates are intrinsically tied to energy demands. In other words, the greater the duration and intensity of the activity, the higher one’s intake of carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates contain four calories per gram, and athletes will derive anywhere between 40-60% of their daily diet from the nutrient, typically in the form of unrefined, slow-digesting, high-fibre carbs like brown rice, oats and quinoa.

Protein

Proteins, meanwhile, are typically associated with muscle – and it is true that protein is critical for both maintaining and building new muscle tissue. However, protein also plays a role in helping the body maintain pH balance and fluid balance.

Although technically an energy source like carbohydrates, protein is the least preferable source as it is metabolises less efficiently. It is usually favoured for muscle maintenance and recovery, hence its use in post-workout supplements.

Protein contains four calories per gram.

While a daily dose of 1g of protein per kg of body weight is recommended for non-athletes, sportspeople relying on physical strength generally consume 1.4-2g of protein per kg; endurance athletes eat approximately 1.2-1.6g per kg.

Fat

Fat is another valuable source of energy, although due to a chronic misunderstanding about the nutrient (the “eating fat makes you fat” myth) it was not utilised properly for many years.

Fats supply fatty acids which provide a potent energy source, particularly if your workouts regularly exceed an hour in length.

Savvy modern athletes prioritise healthy fats, such as the polyunsaturated and monounsaturated kinds found in fish, nuts, seeds, avocados and olive oil. Fat stores contain considerably more energy than carbohydrate stores.

Fat contains nine calories per gram, and although the common recommendation for fat is 20% of your daily calories, many world-class athletes eat as much as 30% fat in a day.

Micronutrients for Athletes


There is no hard-and-fast rule for athletes as far as their macronutrient intake is concerned: it depends on energy expenditure, as well as on the philosophy of whomever sportspeople task with managing their nutrition plan.

We must also accept that our bodies metabolise nutrients differently; while a high-carb intake will be the perfect protocol for one athlete, another might respond better to more fat.

Micronutrients are not classed as energy sources per se, but some facilitate energy production and utilisation.

Low micronutrient intake can negatively impact performance, and this is why many athletes focus on consuming nutritious foods that not only contain appropriate quantities of carbohydrates, protein and fat but also a spectrum of beneficial micronutrients to aid vitality.

As noted in a 2007 review published in the journal Clinics in Sports Medicine, “The intensity, duration and frequency of the sport and the overall energy and nutrient intakes of the individual all have an impact on whether or not micronutrients are required in greater amounts.”

That being said, the micronutrients generally cited as being most important to professional athletes include:

• Magnesium: Without magnesium, the body cannot generate adenosine tri-phosphate (ATP), the de facto biological currency of aerobic energy. Magnesium is critical to the process of cellular metabolism and helps to regulate neuromuscular, cardiovascular and hormonal functions. A dietary shortfall of magnesium affects endurance performance by increasing oxygen requirements during exercise.

• Calcium: The primary advantage of dietary calcium is to improve bone density, an important consideration particularly for weight-bearing activity but also any sport that puts pressure on the joints.

• B vitamins: The importance of B vitamins for exercise was highlighted in a 2017 study of Dutch athletes published in the journal Nutrients: “Exercise increases the need for vitamin B1 and B2, as a result of a decreased absorption and/or an increased turnover related to tissue maintenance, repair and metabolism. It is generally assumed that athletes with a poor B1 and B2 status have a reduced ability to perform physical activity, especially performing maximal work.” Other important B vitamins include B6, B9 and B12.

• Iron: Iron indirectly supplies muscles and tissues with much-needed oxygen, since iron is part of haemoglobin, a constituent of red blood cells responsible for transporting oxygen to cells. Depletion is common among endurance athletes in particular due to losses via sweat and the GI tract, and female athletes are vulnerable because iron is lost during menstruation. As well as impacting oxygen flow, iron deficiencies can disrupt athletes’ ability to maintain a steady heart rate during exercise.

• Vitamin D: Vitamin D plays an integral role in bone density, immune health, skeletal muscle repair and exercise-induced inflammation. Because of its wide array of benefits, many athletes now incorporate a vitamin D supplement into their dietary protocol.

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list; competitors require many other micronutrients to function optimally. These include electrolytes like sodium, chloride and potassium, minerals such as copper, zinc and selenium, and antioxidants like vitamin C and E.

Ideally, we should be able to obtain the vast majority of micronutrients from foods: preferably from grass-fed organic meat, fresh seafood and organic produce.  However, unless you live in a warm climate it is difficult to obtain sufficient vitamin D without a high-quality supplement.

Furthermore, it is difficult to get all the micronutrients you need if you don’t consume enough calories, or a wide enough spectrum of whole foods. In this case, a nutrient-rich food supplement might be necessary.

Maximum Vibrance is a great choice, as one serving provides over 100% of your daily vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamins B1, B2, B6 and B12, and selenium. One serving also gives you 50% of your daily iron.

Nutrition Recommendations from High-Level Athletes


When you look at recommendations made by top athletes, it can be surprising how simple their advice is. Take the triathlon champions Jonathan and Alistair Brownlee, for example.

“Eat balanced,” says Alistair. “Don’t get caught up on any fad diets. Just train and eat consistently.”

Plenty of fruit and veg and try to stick to eating at meal times,” says Jonathan. “Don’t snack on loads of rubbish.”

Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis-Hill is similarly unscientific: “Try and keep both your diet and the exercise you do varied and interesting.”

Britain’s most successful distance runner, Mo Farah, is a little more specific in his advice: “Maintain a healthy balance between carbs and protein but always be careful on the carb intake, or it will ultimately slow you down.”

You can scroll through more testimonies by visiting the BBC’s Eat Like an Athlete hub.

Hydration Needs of Athletes

Hydration has a fundamental effect on athletic performance. All sportspeople should and do drink fluids regularly, monitoring their hydration levels to ensure the best results.

With exercise we lose fluids quickly, and those must be replaced if proper temperature regulation is to be achieved. Water intake also helps with nutrient transportation, which in turn supports energy output.

Dehydration, of course, affects mental clarity and provokes muscle pain: two major problems if you’re engaged in physical activity.

Replenishing your bodily fluids is a must, but will water suffice? Generally, yes. Sports drinks are also beneficial in certain instances (see below).

Alkaline water has become popular due to the results of a 2010 Montana University study, which showed that those who drank it exhibited “decreased blood and increased urine osmolality, as well as a decreased urine output during the second and third weeks of the study, which indicated higher levels of hydration.”

A separate study showed that drinking alkalised water “helped reduce the buildup of lactic acid and cardiorespiratory stress.”

Hydrogen-rich water is similarly touted for its pro-performance properties; drinking it before exercise has been found to “reduce blood lactase levels and improve exercise-induced muscle fatigue”.

You can obtain water that is both alkaline and hydrogen-rich from several of our water products including the AHA Bottle, Biocera Jug, Energy Plus and Alkaline Inline Filter Cartridge.

Can Supplements Aid Athletic Performance?

Sports supplements make up a large proportion of products lining the shelves of health stores.

Promising to boost strength, improve performance, enlarge muscles and speed up recovery, these artfully-packaged supplements include protein powders, multivitamins, single-nutrient capsules and powders, minerals and various ergogenic products.

It can be difficult to assess many of these products on their merit based on athlete testimony, since money often changes hands via endorsements and so forth.

Certain supplements, however, are objectively beneficial. Isotonic sports drinks, for instance, replenish electrolytes lost from sweat. This is why tennis players sip drink sports drinks between games and sets rather than plain water.

Seeking a nutrition evaluation from a certified sports dietitian is probably the best way to determine whether an athlete’s diet requires any form of supplementation, however we do have a few recommendations.

Oxyrev

Oxyrev is a stabilised oxygen supplement combining pure diatomic oxygen with de-ionised Grander Living Water and unrefined Atlantic sea salt  (the latter facilitates an electrolyte solution). This pH balanced formula provides an oxygen concentration of over 50,000 parts-per-million.

To put that in context, oxygen in tap water is about 8 ppm. Consuming Oxyrev is a great way of boosting energy levels.

Research conducted in Japan, USA, UK and Australia has demonstrated this: upon using Oxyrev at dosages of 6-15ml, marked increases in the partial pressure of arterial oxygen (POZ) of 5-8% have been measured.

S-Acetyl Glutathione

Glutathione is found within all cells in the body, and is comprised of three amino acids: glutamine, glycine and cysteine. Often dubbed the mother of all antioxidants, it is increasingly considered a vital nutrient for optimal health.

As far as athletes are concerned, glutathione has been shown to decrease oxidative and tissue damage within the lungsSupplemental glutathione has also been shown to improve cycling time trial performance by 7.2% in 36 days, in a study by Dr. Stanley B. Covert M.D.

S-Acetyl Glutathione increases intracellular glutathione without increasing energy expenditure, and could help with improved recovery times and reduced muscle fatigue.

Maximized Turmeric 46x

More and more studies are uncovering the benefits of turmeric, a spice whose powerful anti-inflammatory properties have been heralded in traditional cultures for centuries.

In relation to athletic performance, turmeric is beneficial after intense, high-impact exercise as it helps ease the agony of sports injuries.

According to a 2018 study of rugby players, curcumin – the key component of the Indian spice – eased players’ discomfort just as much as Ibuprofen and Paracetamol, but without the side effects.

The study group was composed of players suffering from bone or muscle pain as a consequence of repeated tackling.

Vibrant Health’s Maximized Turmeric 46x contains 500mg of the unique, highly absorbable curcuminoid raw material CurcuWIN. The problem with plain old turmeric is that its curcumin is not well absorbed, creating the need for a high-strength supplement.

Conclusion

Clearly there are many nutritional tools which can aid athletic performance. The key is to respond to the needs of your body, given whatever stress you are under.

Although one might suppose that world-class athletes ensure optimal consumption of macro- and micronutrients, evidence does not bear this out. Indeed, according to the aforementioned study of 553 Dutch athletes, vitamin D intake was below the estimated average requirement (AR) among the majority.

Non-users of dietary supplements were also at risk for low intakes of vitamins B1, B2, B3 and vitamins A, C and selenium, while mean iron intake was below the threshold in a substantial group of women.

Athletes, like the rest of us, must make sensible food choices in order to ensure proper nutrient flow and energy reserves. As demonstrated, they can benefit from proper supplementation when paired with a nutritious eating plan.

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.

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array of vegan food, veggie protein sources: Tofu, vegan milk, beans, lentils, nuts, soy milk, spinach and seeds. Top view on white table.

Why Plant Proteins are Preferable to Animal Proteins

Why Plant Proteins are Preferable to Animal Proteins

Recently we discussed the best vegetarian protein sources available to us, and why everyone would benefit from reducing their intake of meat. This was in a sense borne out by a new Imperial College London study illustrating the huge health benefits of eating ten portions of fruit and veg per day: meeting this ambitious quota will probably necessitate a reduction in the amount of meat we eat too. As far as health goes, you’re unlikely to read a study that recommends eating ten chicken breasts or steaks per day!

Going Green Promotes Better Overall Health

Going green is sometimes an ethical decision, motivated either by environmental awareness or a deep love of animals. But increasingly we are coming to understand that eating less meat and more fruit and vegetables reduces the likelihood of inflammation and cardiovascular heart disease.

There are many, many reasons for this. One concerns the antioxidants in plants, which help prevent the free radical damage associated with a hardening of the arteries.

Another is that dietary fibre in fruits and vegetables helps promote healthy blood pressure and safe cholesterol levels while also decreasing our cancer risk.

Moreover, key nutrients such as B-vitamins and beta-carotene have been shown to protect heart health and stave off disease.

Of course, it’s not stepping out on a limb to say that fruit and vegetables are good for us. But many people are unaware that animal proteins can be bad for us.

Consider, for example, the hormones, antibiotics and carcinogens in many different forms of meat. Reflect on the dearth of dietary fibre so essential to keeping our digestive tracts healthy.

Which is not to say you can’t live a perfectly healthy life unless you adopt a plant-based diet; you certainly can.

But it’s objectively better to eat more fruit and vegetables, which are dense in antioxidants, fibre, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, than meat, which is deficient in many of these departments. The health implications are obvious.

But Does a Plant-Based Diet Support Athletic Performance?

While we’re sometimes fed the line that athletes must eat meat in order to excel in the rarefied world of competitive sport, it is simply not the case.

Take former heavyweight boxing champion David Haye, for instance, who adopted a plant-based diet several years ago with no identifiable decline in performance.

In fact, Haye says cutting out meat has actually bolstered his energy levels. Speaking in February, he said: “I feel better than ever, I look and feel younger. People say, ‘Where do you get your strength from?’ I say, where does an ape get his strength from? He’s 20 times stronger than a human and doesn’t have a meat-based diet. They eat plants all day long. It’s a myth that you need meat for strength.”

But what motivated the brawny boxer to go green in the first place?

It started when I was injured and was researching the best diets to heal muscles. All roads kept leading back to a plant-based diet, and when you look at the horrible way animals are treated, that made it easier to switch.”

Haye isn’t the only top sportsperson to enjoy continued success in his field after adopting a plant-based diet. From world champion figure skaters and marathon runners to cyclists and even bodybuilders, the world of high-performance sport is not short of vegan and vegetarian adherents.

Many speak of shorter recovery times, improved mental focus and higher energy levels.

This all dovetails nicely with the results of a recent study into protein sources by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

AJCN researchers looked into the health records of nearly 3,000 men and women and found that plant proteins were just as effective at building muscle as meat.

Can We Get the Protein We Need from Plants?

If a 100kg boxer can sustain a Herculean physique without resorting to eating animal proteins, isn’t the question itself redundant?

The misconception that we need animal proteins to build and sustain lean muscle tissue and support health in general has been thoroughly debunked in recent years.

The plant world contains significant levels of protein, and protein which doesn’t come as a package deal with harmful elements such as hormones and toxins.

Perfect examples of plant-based proteins include raw nuts and seeds, sprouted grains like buckwheat and quinoa, legumes and leafy greens.

So-called super green algae like spirulina and chlorella are also tremendous sources of protein among other things.

Plant protein powders are now as easy to find as their animal-based equivalents.

Vibrant Health’s Maximum Vibrance is a good example: a single serving provides 20g of protein, or almost 39% of the recommended daily amount for an individual weighing 70kg (11 stone).

The premium-quality protein derives from yellow pea, sprouted brown rice, chlorella and spirulina. In addition to protein, Maximum Vibrance provides an array of beneficial micronutrients – certified organic vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, dietary fibre, probiotics – from over 8 grams of nutrient-dense plant food.

Conclusion

As we all know, making smart dietary choices is vital to optimum health. And where protein is concerned, plant-based options will almost always trump their animal equivalents.

Having said that, we do believe that some people require animal protein. Moreover, many of us could benefit from eating mostly plant-based but indulging in meat or fish once or even a few times per week.

This would mean that while we are reducing our intake of animal protein, and therefore maintaining our health while consuming plenty of plant protein in exchange, we are making a significant environmental contribution.

The important thing is to do what feels right for you. If you answer “Yes” to the question “Can I reduce my dependence on meat?” then you probably can. But above all, listen to your body. It will tell you what it needs.

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Are You Properly Hydrating Your Muscles?

Are You Properly Hydrating Your Muscles?

Many people believe that building healthy, sustainable muscle mass is just a matter of taking sufficient quantities of protein – but the truth is rather more complicated.

While proteins play an inarguably important part in providing your body with the resources it needs to facilitate the proper growth and repair of muscular tissue, it is important to remember that the amino acids they provide are not enough to maintain the health of your muscles on their own.

Read on to learn about another key factor you've probably been overlooking.

Nutrition 101: Muscles Need Nutrients


Like every other organ in your body, your muscles need an incredibly diverse array of nutrients in order to flourish.

Magnesium, for example, is vital to the growth of healthy muscles, both because it catalyses the enzymatic reactions needed to break proteins down into their constituent parts, and because it provides the energy needed to transfer resultant amino acids across cell membranes and into developing tissues – thereby facilitating the repair and replacement of damaged muscle cells and encouraging the growth of new muscle.

Potassium is also integral to the development of healthy muscles, partly because it is responsible for regulating the electrolyte balance of your muscle cells, and partly because it helps maintain homeostasis within your tissues.

This process helps ensure that developing muscles receive all of the energy and oxygen they need to flourish.

Vitamin C, too, plays an important role in facilitating the maintenance of muscular health – both in encouraging the growth of collagen and in boosting production of elastin, which lends developing muscle tissues the flexibility and tensile strength they need to function correctly.

Water: The Single Most Important Nutrient for Muscular Health


Most important of all, though, is water. Without this particularly vital nutrient, your body simply could not transport important micronutrient compounds to developing muscle cells, or maintain the correct levels of extracellular fluid needed to ease the transference of metabolic wastes back into your bloodstream and excretory organs – leading to a build up of toxins that can stunt tissue growth and encourage the breakdown of muscle cells.

Water also plays an undeniably important role in maintaining muscle health by providing cells with hydroelectric energy, which is needed to fuel the complex biochemical reactions that enable tissue growth and enable the proper metabolism of essential amino acids needed to lend structure to developing muscle cells.

According to Dr F. Batmangedlidj, author of Your Body’s Many Cries for Waterwater can also nourish healthy muscles by promoting the expression of certain growth-inducing hormones like motilin, which can increase nutrient uptake in the digestive tract, and help to supply growing muscles with the dense array of vital micronutrients needed to encourage lasting vitality.

Without Water, Muscles Quickly Deteriorate

Woman massaging pain back isolated on white

Unfortunately, the inverse is also true: According to recent research published by the Biochemical Journalfailure to supply your muscle tissues with sufficient amounts of water will quickly starve them of all the vital nutrients they need to maintain vitality, and inhibit their ability to properly metabolise proteins.

It will limit their access to potassium and magnesium, which they need to balance electrolyte levels on a cellular level, and prevent them from properly repairing the damage caused by everyday wear and tear.

Dehydration will also halt the essential electrochemical reactions needed to move amino acids across cell membranes.

Over time, insufficient water levels can shrink your muscles far faster than any level of protein deficiency – leaving you feeling fatigued and significantly impairing your quality of life, particularly if you enjoy a range of physical activities or are struggling with a health condition.

It is for this reason that we must take every care to properly hydrate our muscles, particularly if we want to maintain our strength and vitality.

How Do I Properly Hydrate My Muscles?


Fortunately, properly hydrating muscles is remarkably easy – all you need to do is drink plentiful amounts of healthy water and ensure you are providing the body with adequate amounts of  sodium and potassium, which are both needed to ensure that water can be properly absorbed by your cells.

If you’re worried about the amount of potassium and sodium that your diet provides, it may be worth your while looking at something like Biocera’s alkaline water jug, which uses natural bioceramics to turn tap or bottled water into mineral-rich, alkaline water rich in a broad range of trace electrolytes including potassium, calcium and sodium.

The jug also produces water that’s particularly rich in magnesium which is, as mentioned above, a very important mineral needed for the proper maintenance of muscles; both in providing them with the energy needed to repair damage, and in facilitating complicated electrochemical reactions needed to break proteins down into amino acids.

If you  prefer a more compact and easily transportable solution, you might also consider something like the AHA Water Bottle which is a portable, BPA-free Titan plastic flask that also uses natural bioceramics to make mineral-rich alkaline water that can nourish your muscles and properly hydrate your cells.

We would also recommend that anybody with a keen interest in maintaining the health and integrity of muscles look at a vegetable-based protein powder such as Maximum Vibrance.

Because they are made from highly-nutritious superfood extracts, these protein supplements can provide your body with trace amounts of the important micronutrients needed to nourish developing tissues, as well as providing the bioavailable proteins your body needs to properly repair damaged cells and stabilise freshly-formed ones.

Combining healthy alkaline water with a nutrient-dense protein supplement will help to ensure that you are taking in an array of essential nutrients needed to properly nourish muscles, as well as actively improving your ability to assimilate and break down the proteins needed to build healthy and sustainable tissue.

Discover More About Properly Hydrating Your Muscles

If you’d like to learn more about properly hydrating your muscles, remember that we are more than happy to provide information or chat about health-related issues; just give us a call on +44 (0) 1764 662111, or drop us an email using the contact form.

You might also find Dr Batmangedlidj’s book Your Body’s Many Cries for Water of interest, particularly if you want to learn more about the important role that water plays in the proper uptake of micronutrients.

Conclusion

Hopefully the information in this article has been of value to you. It is surprising how many people overlook hydration when it comes to muscular health.

Whether you’re looking to pack on some muscle, improve gym performance or simply maintain the integrity of muscles as you age, paying attention to your hydration status is a must.

Get your hydration and nutrition right, and your muscles will be strong and supple enough to cope with whatever you throw at them.

Water for Health Ltd began trading in 2007 with the goal of positively affecting the lives of many. We still retain that mission because we believe that proper hydration and nutrition can make a massive difference to people’s health and quality of life. Click here to find out more.

Read more