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How to support your body with whole foods when exercising

By Emily Seddon |


Keys2words – 7 exercise myths personal trainers want you to know

The Aussie culture of being active and outdoors is alive and well.

In my close group of friends alone, we have sports teams playing on three different weeknights! It’s no surprise then, that this can end up taking its toll on our bodies physically.

But, if you’re feeling the wear and tear more acutely, it can be tough to know what to do. Should you ditch movement entirely? Or power through?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to those questions, but aside from eating enough food to meet your energy demands, fortunately we have a few whole food tips and tweaks to optimise your performance and speed up recovery.

Be worth your salt.

Human cells constantly generate electrical charges and send messages via our nerves using electrolytes. In human bodies, sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, bicarbonate and hydrogen phosphate all function as electrolytes.

For any given muscle movement, magnesium, calcium, sodium and potassium all need to be present and imbalanced electrolyte levels can lead to either weak muscles, or muscles that contract too severely.

Generally, electrolytes are kept at constant levels by our kidneys and hormones, however levels tend to alter when our hydration changes. An example is when we sweat and lose electrolytes – generally sodium and potassium.

Replace lost electrolytes by consuming the following foods:

  • Sweet potatoes for sodium and potassium.
  • Magnesium can be found in spinach, pumpkin seeds, yoghurt and almonds.
  • Green leafy vegetables aare a great source of calcium, potassium and magnesium.
  • Milk contains calcium, sodium, magnesium and potassium, along with high-quality protein, which aids muscle recovery.

Beetroot before biking.

Beetroot (along with green leafy vegetables), are a great source of nitrates. During digestion, nitrate is converted to nitric oxide, which acts as a vasodilator – relaxing and opening blood vessels, increasing blood flow and oxygen delivery to muscles.

Research has shown that even the consumption of can prove beneficial in terms of performance, endurance and for those training or competing at high altitudes.

Dominate DOMS with fish oil.

Ever feel the urge to kickstart your exercise regime but then find yourself in a world of pain for the next few days? This muscle pain and stiffness is known as delayed onset muscle soreness (or DOMS), and can last up to 72 hours after exercise. But, it can be ameliorated by the fatty acids found in fatty fish!

show that taking as little as three fish oil capsules a day for one week can decrease muscle soreness. This is roughly the equivalent to 500g (3–4 fillets) of each week. The same effect was seen with concentrated .

As we move into the summer months, hopefully these tips will keep you motivated and pain-free as we find ourselves more active and outdoors.

Movember is also a great time to bring awareness to men’s health issues – so why not use this motivation for a good cause and support the initiative ?

Emily Seddon
Naturopath + Nutritionist
Emily is a qualified Naturopath and Nutritionist based in Sydney. She loves using herbal medicine to treat ailments and lives by the philosophy of "there is no such thing as too much tea".

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