Sophie Higgins Nutrition

Nutrition & Yoga

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23 12 2016

Nutrition for Yoga

Even though the benefits of such yoga disciplines are unquestionable, it is still important to look after your body to ensure it is getting everything it needs to stay in tip top condition.

Over the years it has become increasingly common in the West to practise vigorous and demanding styles of yoga, and even to practise in the heat, with styles such as Bikram taking the yoga world by storm. Even though the benefits of such yoga disciplines are unquestionable, it is still important to look after your body to ensure it is getting everything it needs to stay in tip top condition. Get the best out of you and your yoga practice by following these 5 simple tips:

1. Antioxidants

When engaging in a yoga practice, or any kind of exercise for that matter, it is important to keep antioxidant levels topped up. Things called free radicals can be produced inside the body when physical strain or stress is experienced, and can cause damage quickly if not stopped by antioxidants, which have a neutralizing effect on these nasties. Two of the most important antioxidants are vitamin E and vitamin C, as they act as free radical scavengers, so make sure you are eating foods rich in these two vitamins to stay protected. Dark green leafy veg, berries, nuts, peppers, and cruciferous veg such as broccoli and cauliflower, are all packed with a variety of amazing antioxidants.

2. Stay Hydrated

We lose water through our breath and our sweat when we engage in physical exercise, so making sure we keep water levels topped up is crucial. Water helps our body to exercise effectively, meaning not only performance will be better when we are hydrated, but recovery will also be extra efficient, as tissues will heal more quickly. The amount of water needed by the body varies from person to person, but aim to drink about 2 litres per day, slightly more if your yoga practice (or exercise regime) is physically demanding. Try adding an electrolyte powder or drops to water to ensure any electrolytes lost through sweat are replenished.

5. Vitamin D

Bone health is super important, especially when we practise yoga or exercise regularly. Vitamin D helps yours body absorb calcium and keep your bones strong and healthy, so it is vital to make sure you are getting enough, especially when we live in a climate with very little sunshine! Mushrooms, oily fish, and eggs all contain high levels of vitamin D. If you think you may be deficient in the sunshine vitamin, which quite a lot of us are, a vitamin D test by your GP will tell you exactly what your levels are, and what they should be. By keeping vitamin D levels up, you’ll also be giving your immune system an extra turbo boost – essential for fighting off any colds or infections.

4. Protein

Protein is essential when engaging in any form of exercise, even yoga, as it helps to maintain a healthy body. As scary as it sounds, when we exercise we break down and tear muscle fibres, and protein is needed to help repair these. It also plays a major role in helping to keep our blood sugar levels balanced and helps support the immune system – both important factors to ensure we get the most we can from our yoga practice. A diet rich in fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, lean meat, beans and pulses, will help to ensure you’re getting enough. You can even try adding a scoop of protein powder to your morning breakfast smoothie or post yoga shake!

5. Omega – 3

Well what doesn’t this super nutrient do!? Omega 3 fatty acids are essential to overall health and wellbeing, and will ensure your body and mind function optimally both on and off the mat. Heart health, cholesterol, mood, skin, the nervous system, and joint health, are all benefited by this wonder nutrient. Oily fish, flaxseeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and green leafy veg, are all great sources of Omega-3. So start filling your plate with these beauties and begin to feel the glow from within!