Vitamins and minerals are good for you. Seems pretty obvious, right? Well... Not really. Every vitamin and mineral is unique and helpful in a different way. Because of this, you can change your body's performance by changing how you eat. Let's explore some of the key nutrients to encourage flexible muscles and to help your body bend better.
Well known for playing an important role in building healthy bones, calcium is a must have! Flexibility isn't just about the muscles. The skeleton is the foundation that your muscles sit upon and if the foundation is weak then your quest for flexibility isn't going to go very far.
However, calcium does more than just build strong bones. It also helps blood vessels and muscles expand and contract which can improve your circulation. Ever had your leg go numb during a stretch? It's the worst.
Vitamin D is like calcium's badass sidekick. Your body needs it in order to absorb calcium properly. Without it you can lose bone density and are more likely to suffer breaks. Aint nobody got time for that shit!
Every sidekick has powers of their own and vitamin D it no exception. Although it can be absorbed naturally through the sun, Vitamin D can be difficult for many people to get, especially in the winter. A small supplement goes a long way in fighting depression and seasonal affective disorder.
Essential for life and required for more than 300 biochemical reaction in the body, magnesium is quite the multitasker. It helps with nerve function, bone building, detoxification, healthy sleep cycles and regulating body temperate. Another major role it has is in the production of energy! Our bodies have a very difficult time making energy from our food without it.
Magnesium has also proven in many studies to lessen chronic pain, migraines, stress and anxiety. With the ability to relax mind and body as well as boost energy, magnesium is a valuable asset in your practice!
There are 8 different B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12). Despite the fact that they all fall under the "B" umbrella, they're all chemically unique and have different functions. They are often all found in the same foods and sold together as "Vitamin B Complex" supplements so, for the sake of simplicity, in this article we'll talk about them as a whole.
These nutrients can boost your practice with their ability to increase energy and improve your mood. They do this by helping your body break down fats and carbs to use as energy as well as by playing a key role in the making of serotonin and other neurotransmitters.
As a sweet bonus, they also nourish your brains, preventing migraines and guarding against memory loss. However, they are water-soluble. This means that they dissolve in water and are carried to your body's tissues but they aren't stored in the body. Because of this, it's important to keep up on your intake.
Just like the B vitamins, vitamin C is water-soluble. Fortunately it is easily found in almost all fruits and vegetables! Vitamin C helps your body produce collagen which is a protein found in connective tissues. Keeping up on your intake will help promote elasticity in your tendons, muscles and ligaments, making stretching easier. Another perk, because of it's role in collagen production, it will also give you healthier and younger looking skin.
It also has a couple other jobs including supporting the immune system, helping your body absorb iron, improving blood flow and repairing tissues. Because of this, vitamin C will decrease your recovery time and allow you to stretch further!
Iron in an important ingredient in hemoglobin. (Hemoglobin. What a silly word! Hemoglobin.)
Hemoglobin is needed to create healthy red blood cells and is the star player in carrying oxygen throughout the body. Since oxygen in needed by every part of the body to do the stuff it was designed to do... this is an incredibly important job! No pressure, hemoglobin. If you don't have enough healthy red blood cells full of delicious hemoglobin then your body doesn't get enough oxygen. This can lead to breathlessness, dizziness, fatigue and anemia (which is a fancy word for iron deficiency that causes the aforementioned symptoms and others like bruising and a weakened immune system).
2/3 of your body's iron is found in hemoglobin and therefore in the blood. Because of this women are more likely to be low on iron than men thanks to mother nature's gift of menstruation. It's wise to make sure you're getting enough through your food and to consult a doctor if you don't believe you're getting enough. A prescription is often necessary for iron supplements.
To wrap it up:
Lots of these can be found in your food and you can also consider taking supplements. If you go that direction, make sure you're buying from a reputable brand. Not all supplements are created equal. Two awesome "one stop shop" options are Fleximine from Yoga Body Naturals* or VEGA*.
If you really have your heart set on getting flexible then check out our online course Bendy & Badass! Happy bending!
Note: For the sake of transparency, I am affiliated with these companies. I wouldn't recommend or be affiliated with them if I didn't believe in them!