What about Micronutrients?

With all the talk about macronutrients, I thought that micronutrients deserved some attention.  As you probably know, macronutrients (carbs, protein, fats) are the body’s source of energy (calories) to fuel life processes.  Many health conscious people count their macros to either lose weight or to stay on track with healthy eating.  Micronutrients, as defined by the World Health Organization, are the “magic wands” needed in small amounts that enable the body to produce enzymes, hormones, and other substances essential for proper growth and development.

Micronutrients consist of vitamins, minerals, and water.  When we get the right amounts, it leads to optimal health and function.

VITAMINS

Vitamins are substances that your body needs in order to develop and grow normally.  There are 13 different vitamins that are essential.  We can get all of these through food with the exception of vitamin D, which we can self-produce with sun exposure and vitamin K and biotin, which can be made by normal intestinal flora (bacteria that live in the intestines).

The best way to get all the necessary vitamins is to eat a well balanced diet with a variety of foods.  In some cases, you might need to take a supplement, but it’s best to ask your medical provider.  High doses of some vitamins can be harmful and cause problems!

Vitamins are divided into 2 categories:  water- soluble and fat-soluble.   Water-soluble vitamins (with the exception of B6 & B12) cannot be stored in the body, so it’s necessary to maintain a consistent daily intake.  Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the liver or fat tissue and can be stored in the body for a long amount of time.

Here are the 13 different vitamins that we need and the best sources:

Water-soluble

  • thiamin (B1): fortified cereals and oatmeal, whole grains, meat, liver
  • riboflavin (B2): whole grains, leafy greens, organ meat, milk, eggs
  • niacin: fish, poultry, meat, peanuts, potatoes, eggs, dairy products
  • pantothentic acid: lean meats, whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits
  • folate: green leafy vegetables, organ meats, dried peas, beans, lentils
  • B6: fish,poultry, lean meats, banana, prunes, dried beans, avocado, whole grains
  • B12: meats, milk products, seafood
  • biotin: cereal/grain products, yeast, legumes, liver
  • vitamin C: citrus fruits, berries, vegetables (especially peppers)

Fat-soluble

  • vitamin A: yellow or orange fruits & vegetables, leafy greens, liver, dairy
  • vitamin D: sunlight, fortified milk, fish, eggs
  • vitamin E: nuts, wheat germ, leafy greens, multigrain cereals
  • vitamin K: green leafy vegetables, fruit, dairy, grains

MINERALS

Minerals are crucial for human life.  Our bodies use minerals to keep our bones, muscles, heart, and brain working accordingly.  Minerals are also important in making hormones and enzymes.  There are two categories of minerals:  macrominerals and microminerals (trace minerals).  We need larger amounts of macrominerals and smaller amounts of trace minerals.

Macrominerals and best sources:

  • calcium: leafy green vegetables, dairy products, fortified tofu
  • phosphorous: fish, meat, poultry, eggs, grains
  • magnesium: nuts, beans, green vegetables, whole grains
  • sodium: table salt
  • potassium: leafy greens, root vegetables, fruits
  • chloride: table salt, sea salt, seaweed, olives
  • sulfur: onions, garlic, eggs, meat, dairy

Trace Minerals

  • iron: liver, legumes, dried fruits, eggs
  • iodine: seafood, iodized salt
  • zinc: beef, pork, nuts, whole grains, legumes
  • selenium: vegetables, brazil nuts, fish, grains

There are various other minerals but they do not have an established dietary reference intake (DRI).

WATER

We might not think much about water, but it is considered a micronutrient!  Water provides no calories but it’s necessary to consume daily.  Water makes up 50-70% of body weight and performs many important jobs such as, regulating body temperature through perspiration, protecting vital organs, provides a driving force for nutrient absorption, and keeps a high blood volume for optimal athletic performance.

If we fail to get enough water throughout the day, we can become dehydrated due to our body fluids being out of balance.  How much water we need is different for everyone.  It is dependent upon age, weight and activity level.  Certain medical conditions can also determine your water needs.

As you can see, getting the proper amount of micronutrients is extremely important for a healthy body.  Of course, it’s not as easy to track micros as it is to track your macros.  The best way to insure we are getting all our vitamins and minerals is to consume a balanced diet with a variety of foods.

Most studies have shown no significant connection between vitamin supplementation and improved health.  There are a few exceptions such as folic acid during pregnancy and calcium in the prevention of recurring precancerous colon polyps.  Of course, if you have a deficiency that was confirmed by your doctor, it’s important to get to the appropriate levels to help prevent medical problems.

*References:  ACE’s Essentials of Exercise Science;  MedlinePlus.gov*

Do you track Macros?

What do you do to insure you’re getting all of your micronutrients?



Feeling Safe on the Run

When I came across this article on the Runner’s World website, I quickly scrolled past it, ignored it and wanted it to go away.  I was heading out for a run and didn’t want to scare myself and feel unsafe.

The next day, after my long run, I read it.  I had to.  This is reality and I can’t ignore it.  It’s so unfair that we, as women runner’s, need to worry about feeling vulnerable and possibly being attacked on the run.  I typically do all my runs through a large subdivision near my house.  I also venture out on a path that is along side a fairly busy road.  All my runs are solo, but I never feel unsafe.  Dogs are more of a concern to me than being attacked by a person.

My mom suggested that I take a self-defense class.  She also read the article and of course is concerned for my safety.  Taking a self-defense class is a great idea which I’m going to look into.  I like to think that if I ever did get attacked, I would fight back with all my strength.  But you never know what you’ll do in a particular situation.

Apparently, this woman was running in a popular park and was attacked in a public restroom. (luckily she was able to defend herself and is ok) These attacks can happen anywhere.  We need to be aware of our surroundings at ALL times.

Years ago I purchased some pepper spray.  Not once did I take it running with me!  It eventually expired and I threw it away.  A lot of good that did.  Here are some tips I found to help keep you safe while running:

  • Run with a buddy or group
  • Always be aware of your surroundings
  • Ditch the headphones
  • Run with pepper spray (know how to use it)
  • Trust your gut
  • Change up your route
  • Be especially careful at night
  • Take a self-defense class

We, as women runner’s, need to be confident and learn how to defend ourselves.  I feel one of the best tips is to always be aware of your surroundings.  If you are zoning out listening to music, you can easily be caught off guard.  Also, altering your route is a good idea.  If someone notices your daily schedule it makes you an easier target.

Overall, I feel that we can run safely and not be intimidated by the stories we read.  After all, runners like to run!  We can’t stay inside and hide.  Don’t be afraid to run alone.  Take a class, be aware, and always trust your gut!

Do you run solo?

Have you ever taken a self-defense class?



Current Running Essentials

I’ve been running for about 22 years!  My first marathon, Columbus Marathon, was almost 14 years ago.  I actually ran my first half-marathon as part of training for the Columbus Marathon.  My true love for running began after those races.

Running is a fairly low maintenance sport.  Of course, it can get pretty pricey if you buy every fancy gadget, gear, supplement, etc. that is available.  I like to stick with the basics!  Here are my current favorite running essentials:

Saucony Ride 9Saucony is my favorite running shoe brand.  At my very first visit to a running shoe store, I was fitted in Saucony’s.  Maybe that’s why I love them!   I did wear the Nike Vomero model for a while, but eventually switched back to my Saucony’s.  I prefer a neutral running shoe and I have a wide foot.  These fit great and never disappoint!

Garmin Forerunner 10 GPS watch:  I never go for a run without my Garmin.  I need to know my distance!  Pace and time are important facts to know as well.  I realize it’s beneficial to run without a watch sometimes, but I never go without it.  My first Garmin watch was huge!  This model is the perfect size.  It doesn’t have too many bells and whistles and is easy to use, which is why I like it so much.  It keeps time, distance, pace, calories burned (which I pay no attention to), mile splits, history and alerts you when you hit a record time.  It’s reasonably priced and is available in cute colors as well.

Nike DayBreak Running Hat:  I don’t remember the last time I ran outside without my hat.  It keeps the sun out of my eyes, as well as rain.  Hot or cold, I need my hat.  I have several other hats, but this one is my favorite.  It’s light, soft, and very comfortable.  As you can see in this picture, it is pretty worn out!  This particular hat may no longer be available because I’m having a hard time finding it.

Nike Vest: This Nike running vest is very light weight and water resistant.  I usually wear it during runs in 40 degrees or below.  It has pockets which come in handy for my car key and for my phone when listening to music or a podcast during long runs.  I also like to wear it casually too.  I love it!

Kinesiology Tape:  KT tape is “an elastic sports and fitness tape designed for muscle, ligament and tendon pain relief and support”(KT tape website).  I first used kinesiology tape last year when I experienced knee pain, but only occasionally.  After being diagnosed with left kneecap tracking disorder a few months ago, I have been using it for every run and workout.  It really does give support and helps stabilize my kneecap.  There are many you tube videos you can watch to learn how to apply the tape.  I was always concerned that I might be taping it incorrectly, so I asked my physical therapist to show me how to use it properly.  I have tried several different brands and I could definitely see a difference in quality between brands.  Maybe in a future post I can review the different brands I have tried.  Currently, I am using Curad Performance Series and it is doing it’s job!

Training Journal:  This year I purchased the Believe Training Journal.  It’s a year long training log that allows you to track your runs and workouts and also has a weekly focus section.  There is plenty of space for notes and it also offers advice and motivation.   I like it, but I will probably go back to the Runner’s World training log that I usually get for free with my magazine subscription. (yes I still get the actual magazine in the mail!)  While I appreciate the extra inspiration and training tips, I really don’t use a training log for that purpose.  I prefer a basic log to track my workouts.

Finally, I must include what I have after every morning run, a cup of coffee and a sweet potato topped with sunflower seed butter.  This combo is so delicious.  I don’t think I will ever get sick of it.  I’ve been eating it for years…….

 

Do you have any running essentials?

Have you splurged on any running gear?