Energy - it's something North Americans are looking for. When so many of us are involved in an intricate balancing act- jobs, children, family life, and personal time-we need all the energy we can get. Indeed, reports note that some 14 million Americans go to doctors complaining of "lack of energy."
A look at grocery store shelves reveals a variety of energy-boosting products with high amounts of caffeine, products with natural but potentially dangerous stimulants, and products using herbal extracts.
What people don't seem to realize is that energy comes from one source: our diet. If we don't eat enough, or eat too much of the wrong foods and not enough of the right foods, our cells won't be able to produce the energy we need in our often hectic lives. This means that the solution to a lack of energy is not drinking more coffee and colas, taking natural stimulants, or taking herbal extracts. The solution is simply to improve your diet and supplement it with a whole food concentrate like Barleygreen.
Macronutrients and energy
The macronutrients-proteins, carbohydrates, and fats-are the fuels that the body turns into energy. Carbohydrates are the principle source of energy, although both proteins and fats can be converted into energy. Briefly, carbohydrates are broken down in the digestive process into glucose, fructose, and galactose. Glucose is used to manufacture energy. The more carbohydrates you get in your diet-in particular complex carbohydrates-the more energy you will have, and the longer it will last.
Vitamins and minerals
Although vitamins and minerals are non- caloric-that is, they do not provide energy directly to the body-many of them are important in the processes that the body uses to produce energy.
According to Shari Lieberman and Nancy Bruning in The Real Vitamin and Mineral Book, the B vitamins provide energy by being necessary for the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.
Specifically, vitamin B2 is important in transporting oxygen to cells and in the metabolism of fatty acids. Many people deficient in this vitamin tire easily. Sheldon Saul Hendler, in his book The Doctors' Vitamin and Mineral Encyclopedia, writes "Pantothenic acid, the B vitamin, plays a number of essential metabolic roles in the body, including the production of energy."
Although vitamin C does not appear to directly affect energy production or pathways, it does help to the extent that it increases the body's ability to absorb iron from non-animal sources. Iron, because it transports hydrogen to oxygen in the cellular system, is important in energy production.
Iodine is also important in energy production. It is a necessary constituent of thyroid hormone, which, among other functions, is involved in energy metabolism.
Potassium is important in both protein and carbohydrate metabolism. And, of course, proteins and carbohydrates are two of the fuels from which we derive energy. If protein and carbohydrate metabolism is not efficient, less efficient energy production could result.
A number of minerals are important in the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is what our cells need to produce energy. Phosphorus helps us utilize proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, which leads to the formation of ATP. Magnesium is also part of the process that results in the cellular production of ATP, and calcium enables the enzyme adenosine triphosphatase to help provide energy for muscle operation.
Alkalinity and Energy
Steve Wootton, in Nutrition for Sport, notes that one of the primary causes of fatigue in short, intensive exercise is acidity. This is caused by the accumulation of hydrogen ions due to the rapid-too rapid-breakdown of glycogen into lactic acid. The lactic acid then breaks down in the muscle and produces hydrogen ions. Hydrogen ions tip our acidity/alkalinity balance to the acidic side. (Indeed, if hydrogen ions continue to accumulate, cells could be destroyed.)
This acidity results in a number of things. You cannot create energy as easily, and muscle power is reduced, inhibiting the contractile action of muscle fibers.
According to Michael Colgan, Ph.D., in Optimum Sports Nutrition, one of the most important things you can do to avoid overacidity when exercising is to reduce the accumulation of acidity in exercising muscle. Animal studies have shown that making blood more alkaline increases the rate that hydrogen ions leave the muscle, thus reducing acidity. According to Wootton, using an alkalizing agent may enhance performance in certain areas. This can be done by seeing that you consume foods high in buffering substances-that is, foods that remove hydrogen ions. Buffering substances include the minerals potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
Although Barleygreen is low-calorie and, on a per-serving basis, does not provide large amounts of macronutrients, its greater whole does provide the body valuable nutrients involved in energy production.
Barleygreen contains a wealth of vitamins and minerals, in natural forms and in natural proportions. These include the vitamins and minerals mentioned earlier, plus many more. Although these vitamins and minerals are not found in "Recommended Daily Allowance" quantities, adding them to your diet through Barleygreen will enhance your nutritional profile.
Barleygreen also functions as an alkalizing agent. Because it contains the buffer minerals sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, Barleygreen can help people maintain a healthy balance between acidity and alkalinity.
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