Essential Nutrients for a Fit and Lean Body Checklist
Nutrients are essential for the body to function properly. Each nutrient is important for different body processes and can be found in different foods. Some nutrients, such as Vitamin A and iron, are required in large amounts, while others, such as calcium and Vitamin D, are found in smaller amounts.
What are the best nutrients for your body?
- Proteins are the macronutrients that your body depends on to rebuild and repair muscles and joints after they experience microtears when you exercise, which will tone and strengthen your muscles.
Foods: Meat, dairy products, beans, fish.
- Carbohydrates are your body’s main source of fuel when it comes to day-to-day activities and having enough energy to power through a tough and intense workout.
Foods: starchy foods, quinoa, grains, oats, sweet potatoes, potatoes, beetroot, and fruit.
- Fats help to fuel your body during long and strenuous workouts and allow you to continue for longer than usual. Healthy fats also help curb appetite, so you eat less, promote brain health, and support various functions in the body.
Foods: oils (olive, vegetable, canola), avocados, salmon and other fatty fish, nuts, nut oils, nut butter, and seeds.
- Vitamin A plays a vital role in post-workout recovery, reducing the time required to recover fully and helping the body heal properly from your workout.
Foods: broccoli and all cruciferous vegetables, dairy products, carrots, apricots
- Vitamin B is incredibly useful after an intense workout, specifically in relation to the development of muscle growth and the repair of damaged muscle tissues.
Foods: seafood, eggs, leafy greens, avocados.
- Vitamin D will help to improve your mood throughout the day, but it also been positively linked to an increase in muscular strength and power.
Foods: Eggs, mushrooms, cheese, fatty fish (tuna, salmon)
- Folate, also sometimes called folic acid, plays an important role in helping with red blood cell production and oxygen delivery during extended periods of exercise.
Foods: Beets, broccoli, and all cruciferous vegetables, legumes, citrus fruits
- Pantothenic acid, also known as vitamin B5, can help to improve your body’s endurance and strength during exercise by encouraging the body to create energy from ingested foods.
Foods: sunflower seeds, brown rice, mushrooms, milk
- Riboflavin can aid in muscle recovery after a particularly intense workout and can help to get you back into the gym sooner than expected.
Foods: broccoli, spinach, mussels, clams.
- Sodium is usually given a bad reputation, but sodium is an electrolyte lost during sweat that your body must replace to maintain proper nerve and muscle functioning.
Foods: salted nuts, meat, frozen meals, canned foods.
- Potassium is another electrolyte that plays a huge role in keeping your body hydrated and functioning properly, especially given how important potassium is in maintaining healthy blood pressure and heart rate.
Foods: bananas, spinach, sweet potatoes, and beans.
- Calcium is ideal for keeping the physical structure of the body stable and durable, as calcium is responsible for maintaining strong bones and teeth, which helps to prevent major conditions like osteoporosis.
Foods: Yogurt, seeds, almonds, milk.
- Magnesium is extremely effective when it comes to aiding recovery post-workout, helping to reduce the amount of lactic acid buildup in the muscles and allowing your muscles to recover much more quickly than usual.
Foods: Leafy greens (spinach, collard greens), nuts, seeds, legumes.
- Iron can prove beneficial when it comes to developing proteins within the body that the body can then use to build and repair damaged muscles, but iron can also be effective in improving blood flow and oxygen consumption in endurance activities.
Foods: Spinach, dark chocolate, red meat, beef liver, chicken.
- Iodine is the nutrient that directly impacts the functioning of the thyroid gland, and the body’s loss of iodine through sweat can severely affect the functioning of the thyroid gland and lead to weight and appetite issues.
Foods: tuna, dairy products, shrimp, table salt.
- Water is required by your body to perform daily functions, keep your cells properly hydrated, prevent the development of conditions like heat stroke and heat exhaustion, and help maintain your current blood volume.
17. Omega-3 fatty acids can help to improve the functioning of your heart, lower your heart rate and blood pressure, and assist with muscle and body recovery after working out.
Foods: seeds (chia, flaxseed), salmon, walnuts, oils.
- Selenium doesn’t only help to reduce your risk of developing cancer, but it can also help you to maintain a healthy digestive system, which can aid in maintaining a healthier weight.
Foods: tuna, sardines, chicken, dairy products.
- Zinc: Consuming zinc after weight training activities might aid your body in slightly increasing the levels of blood testosterone, which will hasten your body’s ability to recuperate from a difficult workout.
Foods: oysters, whole grains, red meat, spinach.
- Copper doesn’t only help the immune system and body cells function properly, but it can also help your body produce energy that you can then use while exercising.
Foods: avocado, figs, mushrooms, sweet potatoes.
The best approach to receiving the essential nutrients for a lean and fit body is to eat a diversified diet rich in fruits, vegetables, healthy proteins and fats, and whole grains, as well as plenty of water, exercise, and sleep.