Water is a primary component of the human body and is involved in nearly every physiological function.
It keeps us hydrated, maintains body temperature, transports nutrients and waste products in and out of cells, improves digestion and enhances organ function. So with all that going on, it is crucial that you get enough of it!
We lose a lot fluid through perspiration, so it is vital to replace that fluid when we exercise. Dehydration impairs both physical and mental functioning and you will be more prone to dizziness, fatigue or painful cramping if you don’t drink enough.
Always keep a water bottle to hand and try a sports drink after strenuous activity to help replace the sodium lost in sweat.
As well as increasing your pure water intake, try adding plenty of fresh or frozen produce to your diet.
Most fruits and vegetables contain up to 90% water which will satisfy some of your body’s fluid requirements whilst also providing you with essential nutrients and antioxidants.
© Sarah West Nutrition
Dark green leafy vegetables are highly nutritious, providing a wide variety of important essential vitamins and minerals (such as folic acid, potassium, magnesium, iron and calcium) plus a source of carotenoids and anti-oxidants (including vitamins A, C and E).
However, despite their nutritional advantages they are one of the most under-consumed foods in the average person’s diet.
Spinach has long been known as the food that gave Popeye his bulging muscles. And it seems he had the right idea; research has indicated that eating 200g of green leafy vegetables can make your muscles more efficient, reducing the amount of oxygen needed to power muscles during exercise by as much as 5% (resulting in both improved muscle gains and better overall health).
So why not follow Popeye’s example for an improved workout?
Try some of these suggestions to increase your intake of leafy greens:
- Wrap it up: Try preparing a tortilla wrap with chicken or turkey and adding romaine leafy greens for some extra nutrients and flavour.
- Wilt It: Wilted green leafy vegetables will hugely reduce in size, providing the same nutritious goodness in a far more manageable form. Try lightly steaming spinach over a pan of boiling water then mixing with crushed garlic and stirring into hot pasta.
- Curried: Spinach is an old favourite in curry houses. Make your own Saag Aloo by mixing shredded spinach with chopped new potatoes and adding turmeric, cumin and grated ginger.
© Sarah West Nutrition