Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients the body needs to function properly and stay healthy in your every day life. Trace elements are also vital to the body’s well being, but are needed in much smaller amounts.
If a body has a good supply of these nutrients, then all your internal and external organs, muscles, joints, bone structure, eyes, blood cells, brain and everything else that goes on inside your body should function properly, and your ability to fight infection, ward off colds, turn the food you eat into energy, regulate your blood sugar levels and create red and white blood cells etc. will be greatly increased. Your body should run like clockwork.
Shane could do with a few vitamins & minerals
However, if your body lacks any particular nutrient, you can easily become susceptible to any number of ailments ranging from small or minor problems to major health issues. A serious deficiency in some of them can cause life threatening problems.
For instance – deficiencies in vitamin C can easily weaken the immune system and leave a subject more susceptible to colds, flu, infections and serious illness such as heart disease and cancer. Vitamin C is a powerful anti oxidant and fights the effects of ageing. A lack of it can also cause muscle weakness, dental problems, bruising, water retention and painful joints.
Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. A deficiency may result in a long term susceptibility to fractures and problems of the skeletal system. It can also result in a higher probability of developing heart disease.
If you want to stay healthy for your music, you are going to have to make sure that your body receives the regular supply of the vitamins, minerals, trace elements and amino acids that it needs to function properly.
These vitamins, minerals and trace elements are all supposed to be readily available in the food we eat every day, as long as we eat a healthy balanced diet including a wide range of vegetables, whole grains, fruit, nuts and fish.
The problem most of us have is that we don’t eat the diets we know we should, and even if we try to eat healthily for a while, social pressure, work, family life and temptation will generally pull us back into a diet that is essentially inadequate for our body’s needs and most probably lacking in vital nutrients that could help keep us in peak condition.
Refined products such as white bread, white flour and sugar etc. are heavily processed to suit the average consumers tastes, but “during processing, a lot of beneficial nutrients like fiber, minerals and antioxidants are lost, especially in highly processed refined grain products,” says Frank Hu, an epidemiologist at Harvard School of Public Health who tracks the effects of food on diseases in the American population. “Manufacturers also add a lot of sugar and trans fats back in to enhance the taste,” he says. “So you get rid of the good stuff and add a lot of bad stuff, and that’s the reason those kinds of foods are really detrimental.”
The annoying thing about trying to eat a healthy diet is that buying the best nutrient rich foods such as blue berries, pomegranates, strawberries, fish, whole grain foods organic vegetables and other such healthy produce can be really expensive, as opposed to the unhealthy alternatives.
Healthier less refined food products such as brown or whole grain bread, brown rice, brown sugar etc. are much better for you and although they are unprocessed and therefore have less manufacturing costs they actually cost more to buy than their heavily processed counterparts.
Preparation of really healthy meals can also be much more time consuming than eating a pile of old junk served out of a container or microwave, but the stress of modern day living means we often don’t have time to do this. We all know that eating junk food like chocolate, crisps, take away’s, burgers, pizzas, fizzy drinks, cakes, pasties, ready meals, McDonalds and KFC are no good for us what so ever, but we still eat them every day and excuse ourselves with reasons like, “I’ll go on a diet next week, or I didn’t have time to cook, or I just couldn’t be bothered to make anything decent.”
We can’t deny that eating a cheese burger and chips is much more appealing than eating a plate of vegetables, but the fact is, one will make you fat and eventually kill you and the other will keep you slim, keep your body in good condition and help you live a long and healthy life.
A major problem with trying to gain these elements through eating the correct foods is that modern day farming methods and the strain placed on our agriculture to produce food for an ever growing population has literally sucked the nutrients out of our fields. Although farmers add nutrients to the soil to promote crop health and growth, the levels of natural nutrients present in our farmland and eco system are much smaller than in our previous generations. The addition of an ever growing need for pesticides and bug killing toxins to fight an increasingly resistant population of pests also adds to the concoction of poisons we put in our bodies every day.
Cheap mass produced processed food high in salt, saturated fats and low in vitamins and minerals is increasingly responsible for a generation of people suffering from ill health and prone to life threatening diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
The way we store and cook our food also has a direct impact on the vitamins, minerals and trace elements present in what we eat.
It is a fact that freezing, drying, processing and cooking also greatly diminish the levels of nutrients in our produce.
Eating fresh fruit and vegetables in their raw or partially cooked state has been proven to be much more beneficial in preserving the goodness in our food than through conventional cooking.
Microwaves have been proven to kill vital enzymes in our food, affect vitamin and mineral levels and cause substantial changes to the atomic structure of our food when cooked using them. Deterioration in the levels of haemoglobin, good cholesterol and white blood cells have been noted in the blood of people clinically tested after consuming food cooked in microwaves.
Many tests over the last few years have shown eating food cooked in a microwave has various small yet significant detrimental effects on the user, yet we still commonly use them every day. It seems that in today’s world, we have put convenience in front of our own well being and that of our loved ones.
Even if you do manage to keep a balanced and varied diet, unless you are extremely careful and aware of all the things that affect the food we eat, you could struggle to reach the optimum levels of vitamins, minerals, trace elements and amino acids required to keep your body in good working condition.
Being a musician, your success and earning potential depends not only on your skill and musical ability, but on your own health and bodily well being.
Singers especially need to look after them selves for as soon as you get a cold, flu or sore throat, your singing ability and stage presence goes down the pan. Guitarists, drummers and keyboard players can probably get away with it slightly more than a singer, but the fact remains that you cannot play at your full ability if you feel like death or have been knocked out for the last week or two unable to practice because of the flu.
Not feeling to good
Being constantly subjected to large numbers of people in confined spaces such pubs and clubs is going to dramatically increase your chances of catching something which may affect your future performances or practice regimes. The general public are amazingly uneducated and inconsiderate in their efforts to stop the spread of colds and flu by staying in and avoiding public places whilst being ill. You even hear the most intelligent people commenting on how sick they were the night before or how they feel seriously ill, and yet they are still out and about spreading their germs to each and every person they come into contact with.
People often think it is brave of them to battle through their illnesses by still coming in to work or socialising with friends while feeling sick as a dog, but although their struggle is admirable, they are still being incredibly selfish by placing themselves in social situations and passing on their ailments to others who have not yet been unfortunate enough to come into contact with the bug or virus. This is the reason we have huge flu epidemics that rapidly spread across nations as those who are suffering from their ailments refuse to stay in and venture out before the contagious stage of their virus has passed.
This sort of behaviour will never change, and even if you do manage to avoid mixing with people with ailments, colds and flu, the chances are your children, partner or friends have at some point come into contact with someone else who is ill and could easily pass on the virus to you and others around you without even knowing.
It is for these reasons that it is vital to have your immune system working at its absolute peak at all times to a) prevent you from catching colds in the first place and b) when you do catch one, to get over it as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Check out my guides on vitamins and minerals and trace elements to see the sort of foods and supplements you need to be consuming on a daily basis to ensure your body has the correct nutrients it needs to fight infection, colds and flu all year round.