The following is a guest post from Sports Performance Nutritionist and Coach, Elizabeth Inpyn.
Here you are dutifully filling up the Vitamix with spinach, blueberries and wheatgrass and loading up your dinner plate with greens and veggies, all the while patting yourself on the back for being such a “healthy” eater and properly fueling your 'athlete body'. Unfortunately the picture on the inside isn't so pretty.
Depending on which study you cite, research shows that anywhere from 70-99% of the American population is deficient in one or more minerals. Many don't even know what minerals really are. Minerals are substances that occur naturally in non-living things such as water, rock, soil and some plants and animals. Minerals are essential for almost all bodily functions and some – potassium, sodium and iron – are of particular concern to athletes. Minerals are more likely to have an immediate effect on the health and performance of an athlete than vitamins.
The goal is always to meet increased micronutrient needs through food alone. But that can be difficult to achieve consistently. This is especially true with athletes who have longer training hours, restricted eating patterns (intentional or unintentional), disordered eating, a food allergy, or by following fad diets.
The question then becomes why is eating healthy not enough to keep mineral count in the optimal range? There are 5 main reasons that help explain chronically low levels. These outside factors are inhibiting the benefits you may be getting from eating a well balanced diet.
Minerals play an important role in energy production, maintenance of bone health, adequate immune function and the synthesis and repair of muscle tissue. The reality is that most of us are not consistently eating as well as we could be. We lead stressful lives, work and train long hours and ask a lot of our body. We take medications, eat processed foods, can't always afford to buy organic and consume more than our share of packaged sugar -laden performance enhancing foods. While a healthy diet is crucial for performance and long tern health, it’s also your responsibility to ensure you're supplementing wisely to overcome any deficits.
Elizabeth Inpyn is the founder, creator and NAME behind inpyn, Coach Elizabeth Inpyn has a long and successful career as an athlete and coach. She transitioned into triathlon after college and is a multiple podium finisher at the Olympic and 70.3 race distance and a USAT National Qualifier at the Olympic distance.
Coach Elizabeth has an undergraduate degree in Humanities from UCSB, an MA Education in Health Sciences and a CA Teaching Credential in Health Sciences and History. In addition, she is a certified sports nutritionist from the ISSN (International Society of Sports Nutrition), holds a plant based nutrition certification from the T Collin Campbell Institute and carries a USAT Level 1 Tri Coaching certificate.
For more information on nutrition counseling and coaching services you can visit her website at www.inpyn.com