Phosphorus is a mineral that your body uses for a range of essential functions. It’s actually the second-most plentiful mineral in your body after calcium, but you don’t usually hear about it. Here’s what your body does with all that phosphorus:
• Keeps bones strong and healthy
• Helps muscles to contract
• Builds strong teeth
• Manages your energy stores
• Filters and removes waste in your kidneys
• Reduces muscle pain after strenuous exercise
• Grows and repairs tissues and cells
• Helps produce the genetic material DNA and RNA
When it comes to the health of your digestive system, probiotics play a critical role by changing the gut into a healthier environment. They are the good bacteria that can allow better digestion, regulation of metabolism, and even mental health. Here are six foods that can help boost your good gut bacteria:
1. Yogurt - Be sure they contain live and active cultures to get the probiotic benefits.
2. Kefir - Think of kefir as drinkable yogurt and just with yogurt, be sure to look for varieties that state they contain live and active cultures.
3. Some Cheeses - Blue, mozzarella, cheddar, and gouda cheeses typically retain their healthy bacteria after the cheese-making and aging process.
4. Sauerkraut - Be sure to look for the refrigerated varieties, as the shelf-stable ones have been pasteurized, which kills the good bacteria.
5. Kimchi - Very similar to sauerkraut, kimchi usually has added goodness from ginger, garlic, and radishes mixed in.
6. Kombucha - Drink your probiotics with this increasingly popular beverage made from fermented tea. Check the label for sugar content and go for raw if possible.
Vitamin C is an essential vitamin that your body isn’t able to produce on its own. You hear lots about it, but what does it really do for you? Quite a bit actually:
🍊 Skin Health
Vitamin C helps produce collagen as well as skin and muscle tissue. It’s also been found to help speed healing of wounds.
🍊 Heart Health
Antioxidant properties of vitamin C along with its ability to widen blood vessels and reduce plaque make it great for your cardiovascular system.
🍊 Immunity Boost
White blood cell production and efficiency gets a boost from vitamin C. Additionally, your skin becomes more resilient and acts as a better barrier for your body.
🍊 Boosts Iron Absorption
Iron is critical in red blood cell creation and moving oxygen throughout your body. Vitamin C can help improve your absorption rate of iron from your diet. This is especially helpful for those on a meat-free diet that get their iron from plant sources, as those can sometimes be difficult to absorb.
Pure maple syrup is a delicious natural sweetener. While it’s no health food, going with pure maple syrup has some benefits over reaching for Mrs. Butterworth’s or other syrups that are full of corn syrup, artificial flavors, and coloring.
🍁 Pure maple syrup is sap from maple trees that’s been boiled until most of the water is gone - leaving a thick, rich syrup.
🍁 It’s a somewhat unexpected source of essential minerals including calcium, vitamin B2, copper, zinc, and potassium. A serving of two tablespoons will provide you with half of your recommended daily intake of manganese, which benefits bone health and your nervous system.
🍁 A polyphenol called quebecol (named after the world’s largest producer of maple syrup - Quebec) can be found in maple syrup. Polyphenols can help reduce inflammation and support immune functions.
🍁 Darker maple syrups supply more antioxidants than lighter varieties with counts reaching around 24 beneficial types.
🍁 A prebiotic called inulin can be found in maple syrup as well. This acts as food for good gut bacteria to help aid in digestion.
🍁 Pure maple syrup typically causes less gas, bloating, and indigestion than artificial sweeteners.
🍁 Keep in mind that pure maple syrup is still relatively high in calories at 110 for a two tablespoon serving, but if you’re going to top your pancakes in syrup you might as well get some vitamins and minerals while you’re at it!
• Ethylene is a gas that is emitted from some fruits and vegetables that encourages ripening.
• For example, you may have noticed some stores have plastic wrap on the stems of bananas. That’s because the ethylene is released from the stems and their shelf life will be increased by slowing the ripening process.
• Because ethylene is a gas that’s emitted, it can cause rapid ripening of other foods if they’re stored together with an ethylene-producing one.
• Some of the highest ethylene-producers are apples, avocados, bananas, peaches, kiwi, pears, and tomatoes.
• Some foods that are very sensitive to ethylene gas include asparagus, broccoli, cucumber, grapes, mangos, peppers, and squash.
• Be sure to avoid storing ethylene-producers with food that’re sensitive to the gas.
• Avoid storing ethylene-producing fruits and vegetables in bags or tightly sealed containers as the gas will get trapped and ripening will happen quickly.
Copper is an essential nutrient for your body that can help support healthy bones, nerves, blood vessels, and immune functions. Alongside iron, copper empowers your body to create red blood cells. Copper deficiency is rare, but it’s estimated that 25% of the population aren’t meeting the recommended intake. Here are some great food sources of copper:
🔆 Beef Liver
🔆 Dark Chocolate
• 1 Cup of Cheerios. 100 calories
• 14 Almonds. 100 calories
• 1 Cup of Cantaloupe. 45-60 calories
• 1 Container (5.3oz) Nonfat Greek Yogurt. 100 calories
• 2 Egg Whites and Toast. 100 calories
• Frozen Greek Yogurt Bar (Yasso brand). 100 calories
• 2 Rice Cakes. 80 calories
• 3 Tablespoons of Hummus and Celery. 75 calories for hummus, 6 calories per celery stalk
• 1 Cup Sugar Snap Peas. 35 calories
• 25 Baby Carrots. 100 calories.
If you’ve ever finished an intense workout and skipped eating, you know it can make you feel weird. Your body is looking for things like carbs to restore glycogen, water to replace what was lost from sweating, and protein to begin muscle repair.
When you need food quick and easy, here are some ideas to help you start recovering:
▪ Greek yogurt with fruit and granola
▪ Peanut butter sandwich
▪ Whole wheat crackers and tuna
▪ Protein shake and a banana
▪ Almonds and an orange
▪ Chocolate milk and pretzels
▪ Oatmeal topped with sliced banana
▪ String cheese and whole wheat crackers
Potassium is an electrolyte that your body uses for a myriad of purposes including:
⚡ transporting nutrients and waste in cells
⚡ proper heart function
⚡ muscle contraction
⚡ balancing water retention
⚡ reducing blood pressure
It’s also a mineral that your body can’t produce on its own and has to be absorbed through the food you eat. Luckily there is a wide variety of foods that are good sources of calcium:
Spinach, broccoli, peas, cucumbers, mushrooms, potatoes (both white and sweet), cucumbers, zucchini, pumpkins
Oranges, bananas, apricots, cantaloupe, honeydew, grapefruit, dried prunes, raisins
🌱 Beans & Legumes
Lentils, pinto beans, kidney beans, lima beans
Tuna, cod, halibut, trout
Whole-wheat bread, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, wild rice, bran cereal