Today we have a guest post from Alex Estra, MD. His bio follows this article. I was contacted by Mary Jane from http://www.dansdepot.com asking if I accept guest posts. I do from time to time. If you have a post that would be interesting to SS readers, please contact me here on the blog or via email through the Contact Info tab at the top of this page.
I hope to post a review of a cool camp stove tomorrow. Stay tuned.
Health and well being is an often overlooked component of modern life. In the race to accumulate more, we often neglect the general health of our body for material gain. We often think that people from poorer countries don’t have enough to eat, yet here in the United States we may have more than plenty to eat, but the reality is most Americans have an unbalanced and unhealthy diet. Let’s discuss an essential topic when talking about having a well-balanced diet. This is about vitamins and minerals.
When talking about diet with regards to health, we should not be simply talking just about general health. As outdoorsmen and athletes, diet plays an essential a part in sustaining peak performance during physical activity. Now you may think that you are within your ideal body weight and have a healthy level of conditioning, however what happens inside your body is just as important as what you see outside. Let us be clear first, with regards to the outdoors, vitamins are taken to supplement a normal and healthy diet. Vitamins should never be used in a survival situation as this may hasten dehydration.
Now vitamins are essential part of a healthy diet. Almost all of the vitamins that you need are supplied by a well balanced healthy diet. You might ask, “what about vitamin pills”? Now there is no harm taking one single vitamin pill per day, particularly with the typical American diet, which has an imbalance of certain nutrients. Our exceptionally stressful lifestyles also need some vitamin supplementation, even within the realm of a healthy diet. Stress often leads to more oxidation of cells and vitamins may help restrain this oxidation. You can further consult your healthcare provider about how to properly take vitamin pills.
Some Important Vitamins and Minerals
Calcium, Zinc, and Magnesium:
These three minerals are highly essential to have in your diet. Calcium and magnesium play a large part in healing and bone building. Magnesium also helps your body in absorbing calcium, and aids your body’s defensive cells to migrate to an area of injury or infection. Zinc plays a large part in enhancing your immune system, making you more resistant diseases and illness.
Copper is another additional mineral that is important for the wound and tissue healing. It also plays a part in absorbing iron and making energy for the body. Copper is also important for the formation of hormones and collagen.
B complex vitamins:
B complex vitamins are co-factors when it comes to important metabolic functions and tissue healing. Without proper amounts of Vitamin B complex in our bodies, we wouldn’t be able to release the all the energy from the carbohydrates we take in. Amino acid (needed for protein building) production is also highly dependent on adequate Vitamin B complex in our body. Other important functions include formation of hemoglobin for health red blood cells, and the formation of serotonin, an essential neurotransmitter that plays an essential part in regulation sleep and moods. Some great food sources of Vitamin B complex would include whole grains, tuna, liver, meats, bananas, eggs, and even everybody’s favorite, beer!
Vitamin C has always been touted as the super vitamin. It is reputed to reinforce the immune system, helping you resists both viral and bacterial infections. It also plays an immense role in collagen production, which is important for tissue rebuilding and repair. Take note however, that taking large doses of vitamin C is not good for you as this may cause an upset stomach and other possible side effects. Although vitamin C can be taken as a supplement pill, it is much better to take it in the form of fruits such as oranges or green leafy vegetables. Taking your vitamin this way is so much better because it also supplies fiber, needed for a health digestive system and cholesterol lowering effects.
Vitamin K is an often neglected part of a healthy diet, yet vitamin K plays an important part of blood clotting, particularly when you sustain wounds. However, as with everything too much of a good thing is bad for you, and overdosing on Vitamin K may lead to excessive clotting, which results to a stroke. It can also affect “blood thinner”drugs. So if you’re ever on these drugs, always ask your healthcare provider about Vitamin K. Vitamin K usually does not need supplementation as it is abundant in most natural food sources, so chances are you will get sufficient amounts. Foods that have a high amount of vitamin K include green leafy vegetables and bread.
If your are planning to take a long hike or even a day trip where the food sources you bring with you are limited, it would probably be a good idea to bring a complete multivitamin pill that you can take per day. You can ask your healthcare provider if he has any to recommend.