Vitamin Supplements: Smart Strength Training?
We received a question from one of our awesome Twitter friends about vitamins, supplements, and their place in fitness. Here’s what we discovered:
With the availability of pretty much every type of vitamin supplement you could dream up (in delicious gummy and chocolate forms, no less!), women are wondering about the health benefits and drawbacks of taking such supplements–especially when it comes to fitness. Many health experts agree that women should take supplements if they’re not getting proper nutrition from their food, but women should exercise caution in the types they take–read the labels to make sure you’re not getting anything fishy (though they say fish oil is pretty good for ya). Bottom line, however, is that it’s better to get these vitamins and minerals from your diet and that you must always discuss your health with your doctor and ask them for their recommendations before you begin taking anything new.
Here’s some info on the vitamins that women need for optimal strength, and how to get them as naturally as possible:
Are you strong-boned? Keep your bones strong and your stamina high by getting enough calcium and Vitamin D through your diet. Unless you have a deficiency, nutritionists recommend that you load up on your low-fat dairy naturally: skim milk, low-fat yogurt, low-fat cheese, cottage cheese, and fortified soy or almond milk.
Vitamin C: Many of us reach for packets of C as soon as we feel a cold coming on. But Vitamin C has many benefits. In addition to keeping you healthy (which obviously allows for more gym sessions), it helps strengthen our muscles by aiding tissue repair. The most nutritious and tasty sources of Vitamin C are oranges, grapefruit, cantaloupe, strawberries, broccoli, kale, cabbage, and spinach.
Get like Popeye. There’s a reason that Popeye was so strong–spinach. And though Popeye wasn’t a woman, there’s no reason we can’t be as strong–or stronger! Myoglobin, or muscle hemoglobin, carries oxygen to our muscles–and it needs iron to properly function. Women should have their doctors check their iron levels to rule out a deficiency. If you want to supplement your iron intake naturally, reach for the spinach and lean red meat. Consult your doctor before supplementing your iron consumption with a pill, as many women do not have a deficiency and it is possible to overload on the mineral, which can cause other health problems.
Want to learn more? Check out these articles:
Do Vitamin Supplements Make Sense? via WebMD
Vitamins and Minerals for Muscles via LiveStrong
Note: Women should take their specific health concerns and risks into account before deciding on any kind of vitamin or supplement. We are not doctors or medical professionals. Always consult your doctor before changing your diet or adding supplements. This information is based on basic research but is not intended as medical advice.