Whether you’re an outdoor-enthusiast, gym rat, couch potato, or somewhere in between, your body needs fuel to function and perform well in any situation. We often think of the macronutrients in food (fats, carbohydrates, and proteins) as our sole source of energy—and they are! But without essential micronutrients, food can’t actually deliver on its promise to fuel us. To ensure that the macronutrients found in food function best, micronutrients are indispensable.
High levels of micronutrients can be ingested by way of a mixed, healthy diet, but many scientist doubt that’s adequate enough, especially in modern times where the food at grocery stores tend to be processed, altered, genetically modified, or just not quite what our grandparents ate. The best and most efficient way to get enough micronutrients in your diet is by way of supplements.
What are Micronutrients?
Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals commonly found in a variety of foods, like meat, fish, grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and especially fruits and vegetables. A healthy, balanced diet is important, but without micronutrients, the highest quality food won’t be used efficiently or the way it was meant to be. In other words, micronutrients are critical for the body to have optimal performance, health, and overall well-being, including both physical and mental.
That’s where vitamins and supplements come in.
For those into outdoor and extreme sports, micronutrients are all the more critical. Your body is stressed more in the outdoors than in everyday settings due to heat/cold extremes, dehydration, unfamiliar environments, and challenges, and altitude changes. In addition to that, the quality of food drops drastically in outdoor environment due to logistics. It’s just not realistic to pack or cook meals that have the most micronutrients, like meat/fish, fruits, and vegetables, especially if coolers aren’t available and weight is an issue.
In fact, for activities like backpacking, you’ll likely to eat food resembling that of astronauts—dehydrated and packaged. As fun as outdoor activities can be, they present a number of obstacles to your body. You may not be able to eat like a king or queen in the outdoors, but supplements can trick your body into thinking you are, helping it perform optimally.
While there are many great supplements out there, here are four of the best on the market.
Huperzine-A is one of the most researched nootropics available, and it’s often used as a pre-workout supplement used to enhance focus, memory, and attention. This can be useful while working or studying, but also when you’re in the outdoors. Whether you’re hiking, running, rafting, or hunting, you need to focus on your environment to avoid hurting yourself. It’s common to zone out during workouts, but in the outdoors, it can be quite dangerous to get out of touch with your body and your environment. Huperzine-A can help you stay alert and focused instead going into auto-pilot mode.
For those who participate in indoor activities like bodybuilding, swimming, or strength training, Huperzine-A has been known to help with maintaining or increasing muscle tone and smooth muscle contraction. Even for those less inclined to work out, Huperzine-A has been used to enhance memory, whether it be muscle or intellectual.
Also known as the “magic bullet of endurance,” Phosphatidylserine is a naturally occurring compound found in foods such as fish, rice, and leafy greens. It covers and protects the cells in your brain, helping them communicate with each other. It not only plays a key role in keeping your mind focused and your memory sharp, but it can also reduce cortisol levels after exercise by 20 percent, allowing you to train harder and prevent muscle damage. Perhaps more importantly, Phosphatidylserine makes it easier for you to sleep, as it quiets the very hormones that keep you awake at night with stress. In the outdoors, where the body is usually in more of a “fight or flight” mentality, this can be key to waking up well-rested.
3. Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) is a supplement that can naturally stimulate your body to produce higher levels of Human Growth Hormones (HGH). GABA has also been known to calm an overactive brain by controlling the nervous system’s firing and, therefore, enhance your athletic or work performance. This can be extremely useful in the outdoors or at work, where we tend to be more stressed than usual. GABA is also used to fight things like PMS and ADHD, promote muscle growth, burn fat, and to stabilize blood pressure.
4. Alpha Lipoic Acid
While Alpha Lipoic Acid is often used to treat type 2 diabetes and promote weight loss, its benefits are far reaching, as it’s also an organic compound found in all human cells, particularly the mitochondria, which is the “powerhouse” cell that helps turn the most important enzymes into energy. More importantly, Alpha Lipoic Acid can be used to reduce inflammation, which is at the root of most human pain.
When choosing a supplement to enhance your health, wellness, and readiness check ingredients carefully. You might be surprised to discover that major brands such as Centrum Adult, Bayer Men’s One A Day, Walmart Equate Complete Multivitamin, and Nature’s Way Men’s Alive do not contain 100 percent of all 13 essential vitamins and nine essential minerals. Nor do they contain the four special micronutrients described above.
SurvivaGuard contains 100 percent of all 13 essential vitamins, 100 percent of eight essential trace elements, 11 anti-oxidants, and all four of these micronutrients.
Written by Melanie Hamlett for RootsRated Media in partnership with SurvivaGuard.
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