Most of us need to make up for cutting corners and taking shortcuts in our health and wellness regimens. Even those of us who live the perfect yogic lifestyle with a clean and balanced diet may want to consider supplementing a few vitamins and minerals. Popping a generic multivitamin is a quick and easy solution to filling any nutritional gaps in your diet, but you may wish a more refined and mindful approach. As yogis have different dietary needs and goals than the general population, we have created a list of the most essential vitamins and minerals for flexibility and optimum wellness.
The Best Vitamins and Minerals for Yogis
Vitamin B Complex
Vitamin B is an umbrella term referring to eight vitamins. Several B-vitamins can increase muscle flexibility and may reduce the risk of developing osteoarthritis. As a whole, Vitamin B Complex is essential in the production of serotonin and other neurotransmitters. These hormones help prevent depression and are responsible for breaking down food into the energy needed to fuel your yoga practice.
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Even though vitamin B as a whole is a necessity, Vitamin B12 is especially important. It helps in the formation of red blood cells, which are responsible for oxygen transportation from the lungs to the rest of the body. It also plays a role in energy production. A B12 deficiency can damage the nervous system and cause depression, confusion, and dementia.
These vitamins are mainly found in animal products like seafood, milk, and eggs. There are also fortified food products available that offer an alternative for vegans.
Vitamin C is useful to recover after a strenuous yoga class by preventing lactic acid from building up in your muscles. This vitamin also assists the body in producing collagen, which is a protein present in connective tissues. Increasing your intake of vitamin C helps increase elasticity in your muscles, ligaments, and tendons, making it easier to stretch. Vitamin C is also known to strengthen the immune system and helps to reduce the duration of a cold.
Vitamin C is mainly found in fruits and vegetables. Citrus fruits especially are concentrated with this nutrient.
Magnesium helps with building bone, nerve function, stress management, sleep cycles, and production of energy. Without adequate magnesium in the cells, the muscles cannot relax properly. The nerves and muscles can get stressed, causing restless legs, cramping, or involuntary spasms. Low magnesium can also cause lactic acid to build up, which can lead to post-workout tightness and pain.
Whole grains, leafy vegetables, and leguminous plants are some of the richest magnesium sources.
Calcium is fundamental in the formation of the bones, which creates the overall structure of our body and affects our range of movement in the joints. It facilitates the expansion and contraction of blood vessels and muscles, thus making sure that the blood circulation is at an optimum. Calcium also assists the proteins in our muscles to contract and relax.
Milk and fish are some of the go-to products for calcium.
Vitamin D is crucial because it works with calcium to protect the joints and increase the strength of the bones. A Vitamin D deficiency can cause muscle and joint pain. Anyone taking part in activities that require lots of movement, including yoga, can benefit from supplementing this vitamin.
Eggs, fortified milk, and most seafood have it in abundance. Your body also makes vitamin D when you expose your skin to sunlight.
There is a number of nutritional supplements that are an easy and effective tool to enhance, deepen, and support your yoga practice. Taking one or more supplements can boost your energy, enhance bone and muscle health, improve metabolism, and promote overall health and wellness.Boost Your Yoga with Supplements ➞
Iron is important for the formation of hemoglobin, the chemical in red blood cells that carries oxygen in the blood. All your body parts need oxygen to function optimally. If you lack enough red blood cells full of hemoglobin, your body will not get adequate oxygen. This can lead to anemia, dizziness, breathlessness, and fatigue, which will affect your yoga sessions.
Beans and fortified breakfast cereals contain plenty of iron.
This mineral is an essential building block of healthy elastic connective tissue, skin, and joints. It is also vital for mitochondrial energy generation. Cartilage and connective tissue contain proteins with flexible sulfur bonds, which gives them flexibility. As we age, the flexible tissues in our bodies tend to lose their elasticity, which leads to wrinkling and sagging of skin, painful joints, and stiff muscles. A shortage of sulfur can contribute to these age-related issues.
Sulfur is found in garlic, broccoli, and onions.
Silica is essential for the functioning of the nervous system. It strengthens the brain and spinal cord tissues, which improves memory. Silica ensures that there is a steady and sufficient production of insulin. It also plays a role in maintaining the function of joints. Most body tissues, including your bones and joints, contain silica. It helps to increase flexibility and strengthen your body’s joints and connective tissues.
Beets, potatoes, and mangoes can provide you with the silica you need.
Knowing your Vitamin and Mineral deficiencies
If you have a very unbalanced diet, your vitamin and mineral deficiencies should be obvious. There are specific symptoms that relate to specific nutritional deficiencies, but these are also fairly obvious. Most of us will have a harder time knowing if we need to supplement or not. There are three ways to get a clearer picture of your nutritional health needs:
- A blood test for comprehensive nutrition panels. This can be arranged through your primary doctor, but these lab tests can cost several hundred dollars.
- A nutritionist or dietician can review your diet and eating habits and provide recommendations.
- A DNA test with a nutrition analysis can offer recommendations based on a survey and your genetic predispositions. The data from a basic 23andMe or AncestryDNA report can be imported into several nutrition specialized companies like Genopalate, Athletigen, and Genomelink.
To sum up
There are many vitamins and minerals that can improve your health and flexibility. You can easily adjust your diet to eating more of the specific vitamin-rich foods we listed above. You can certainly take individual vitamins as necessary or choose to cover all your basis with a multivitamin. When shopping for a multivitamin supplement, make sure it contains the above vitamins and minerals to help boost and support your yoga practice. Yogis may also wish to find a multivitamin that is organic and made from vegetarian sources. Fortunately, there are companies that specialize in high-quality supplements for yoga to make your choices easier.