What a summer. I am currently writing this article on an airplane, taking a trip with family to seek out clean air to breathe. A bit of respite.
For weeks now I have been seeing status updates on my news feed with a variety of recommendations on how to combat the poor air quality. Anything from reducing exposure - sticking indoors and filtering the air — to supporting the respiratory system — increasing use of inhalers or adding in respiratory herbs or supplements.
The environment here dictates the need to boost up the antioxidants. If you are unfamiliar with what the antioxidant category is, they are the compounds that help give us a buffer from chemical exposures & hasten healing time. Without antioxidants, our body couldn’t repair as well as it does.
Our forests and air have become a stress to our bodies this summer. Yet it is not the only time that our bodies can be under stress. Take for example pre-season training. Getting your body up to speed prior to the lifts turn can be a stress of its own. You know the drill. Upping cardio. Cross training. Squats. Running. And more squats.
In the realm of antioxidants. These are my favs.
Load up on the greens. Some of us are hard pressed to fill our plates with veggies. If that sounds like you, load your veggies in a high-powered blender. The colours in our veggies are what are packed full with antioxidants, keeping our body in a surplus ready for repair. Veggies win over supplements every day, as they are the most complete, unadulterated and super yummy when prepared right.
Vitamin C. Such a well-known antioxidant. It’s well thought of when we are getting sick. A cold comes on, so downs the Vitamin C. But what about when it comes to muscle, ligament and tendon repair. Vitamin C is also integral to collagen production, where collagen is the glue in the body.
When it comes to Multivitamins, I am more on the side of taking them only when you need them or utilizing custom formulas based on the symptoms your body is presenting. As symptoms are the way that the body communicates with us about what is not in balance. Listening to the symptoms will guide you to what your body is missing. But when it comes to short bursts of stress — airplane trips, smoke covered skies and pre-training — taking a multivitamin can be a quick easy way to reload your body to prevent symptoms from occurring.
Curcumin. This power antioxidant is the yellow pigment of turmeric - the major spice in Indian curry powders. Curcumin is a bit of a panacea where it modulates inflammation - a source of many disease conditions. Curcumin is also neuroprotective and modulates one of our main stress hormones, cortisol. Like any antioxidant, Curcumin is powerful in reducing the oxidative damage on the body.
Hydration. Our kidneys filter our blood and aid in removing toxins that we come in contact with. To help the kidneys flush toxins hydration is key. Like the kidneys, our muscles need to be hydrated to reduce risk of injury, under strenuous conditions. It is so easy to get dehydrated. Especially in desert country. Many of us don’t drink enough water in the day. My rule of thumb is 1/3 of your body weight in fluid ounces per day, plus another 8 ounces for every hour of exercise and another 8 ounces after any vice (coffee, pop, juice, alcohol). Yet in desert country, throwing in electrolytes into water is key to its retention as so much can be lost in sweat.
One of the tenants of Naturopathic medicine is to appreciate the innate healing power of nature. My hope is always that there is a healthy cycle of Play. Injury. Repair. Repeat. As will it be with our forests, wild fires will die down and snow will begin to fall. Not too long now will we be breathing fresh crisp winter air along the runs of Apex.
As seen in Apex Matters September Edition