Traditionally, spring is the time of year when many of us deep clean our homes and finally focus on clearing out our closets and throwing out unnecessary items.
Despite all the time we spend dedicating ourselves to restoring the environment around us, many of us fail to put the same time and effort into spring cleaning our lifestyles. With an estimated 80% of us giving up our New Year's resolutions by mid-February, spring is the perfect time to get back into better habits. If you're looking for a boost to help you master that next workout, or just need some extra motivation to keep going, M&F has provided you with these essential tips for improving overall health and fitness so your energy levels can blossom anytime you age or stage of your fitness journey.
Spring clean your diet for more energy
While spring's daffodils need healthy soil to grow, your body also needs a rich base of good nutrition to function at its best. If you're feeling sluggish, the root of your problem may be the things you're not putting into your body.
"Nutrients are the raw materials that our cells need to perform their functions," says Dr. Bill Cole, the founder of Key Cellular Nutrition and the Cellular Health Accelerator Program, which has one of the largest online health coaching resources of its kind. “The cells' energy factories are called mitochondria, and they require specific amounts of macronutrients and micronutrients to produce copious amounts of energy. Without them, the mitochondria cannot produce enough units of energy, called ATP, to properly run the fuel cell. Because we are made up of cells, when our cells are low in energy, we are low on energy.”
Looking for food for thought? Try adding bananas or sweet potatoes to your diet. Both contain potassium to boost your electrolytes and improve energy levels. Vitamin C from sources like oranges supports tissue growth and repair. Snacking on seeds like chia is also a convenient way to conveniently consume proteins and healthy fats and keep your body's energy levels steady throughout the day.
Spring cleaning for your nutritional supplements
If you're constantly feeling weak and unmotivated but trying to eat the right foods, it's important to understand that many people, especially when prolonged sun exposure is scarce, may still be lacking in some essential nutrients.
"Vitamin D3 supplementation is what I recommend for my patients," says Cole. “It is important to understand that vitamin D3 is better absorbed when taken in combination with vitamin K2, magnesium and vitamin A. Finding a complement with all four is helpful. Another important supplement are omega-3 fatty acids. Our overconsumption of omega-6 fatty acids, such as those found in vegetable oil, has resulted in an omega-6 to omega-3 imbalance. For most people, this is known to be pro-inflammatory. Eating oily fish like wild salmon provides plenty of omega-3 fats, but in today's world it makes sense to fortify your diet with a good fish oil supplement.
“Magnesium is another important nutrient needed for so many cell functions. It's also a nutrient that many people are deficient in due to the lower levels of magnesium found in modern foods compared to the foods our ancestors ate. Magnesium glycinate is my favorite form of magnesium as it is well absorbed and utilized by the body. Raw pumpkin seeds and spinach are also good dietary sources of magnesium.
“A good B-complex supplement containing methylfolate (B9) and methylcobalamin (B12) is another mainstay of supplementation. The B vitamins play a very important role in cellular energy production.”
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spring cleaning your gut health
Diets high in sugar, salt and other preservatives have been linked to increased obesity, heart disease and diabetes, but you don't have to have any of these ailments to become healthier by taking better care of your belly.
"Another staple of supplements is a good probiotic because of the overuse of antibiotics and other things like chlorinated water and certain herbicides that can kill our good gut bacteria," says Cole. “Many people have a condition called dysbiosis; where they have an imbalance between the good and bad bacteria in their gut. Aside from causing poor digestion, dysbiosis has also been linked to so many other health problems; such as resistance to weight loss, poor brain function and a suppressed immune response. Choose a probiotic with at least 5 billion CFU (Colony Forming Units) per day to restore good bacterial balance. Eating fermented vegetables like raw sauerkraut is also very helpful, but it must be raw as pasteurized or heated sauerkraut will kill the good bacteria.”
The quality of the food you eat determines the quality of your gut's ability to digest what you put into it. So always choose the wholesome and natural foods that nature intended for you.
spring cleaning your free radicals
As you banish unwanted clutter from your closet, don't forget to revitalize neglected cells as well, because when free radicals damage them, especially at the cell membrane, your cells' growth and survival is compromised. t all free radicals are bad for your health and they are essential for oxidizing nutrients and converting food into energy, but excessive accumulation of free radicals can be harmful.
“This is oxidative stress caused by the [over] Production of harmful free radicals, and that stress reduces our cells' ability to scavenge them," says Cole. “Chemicals in our food, beauty products and cleaning products, for example, can increase oxidative stress and the aging process. Most chemicals are fat-soluble, meaning they are attracted to areas in the body that are made up of fat. Cell membranes are a bilipid layer, meaning they are made up of two layers of fat. When toxins enter the body, they are attracted to cell membranes, creating chronic inflammation until they are removed. We can avoid this by simply being aware of what we are putting into our bodies or what we are exposing ourselves to. Reducing refined sugar is a great way to improve your cellular health.”
Other ways to reduce your excessive exposure to free radicals include controlling your carbohydrate intake and limiting your consumption of processed meats like sausage and bacon, as these often contain preservatives that lead to greater free radical production. Foods that are rich in antioxidants are cranberries because they are packed with vitamins A, C and E. Broccoli is another great addition to any meal thanks to the presence of lutein and zeaxanthin, which are believed to prevent oxidative stress.
So there you have it. When spring cleaning your home this year, take a good look at the fridge and pantry and declutter your health and home.