What does it take to give a great performance? You need talent, for sure, but you also need to function at your peak level of creativity, coordination, energy, and stamina. Athletes call this being “in the zone” — a state nutritionists define as a balanced level of hormones, blood sugar, insulin, and neurotransmitters. We strike this balance by making proper food choices that effect how we feel and function from day to day and hour to hour.
Low blood sugar, for example, can be a musician’s worst enemy. Blood sugar (glucose) fuels muscles and is the brain’s primary energy source. When blood sugar takes a nosedive we can become irritable and depressed, have difficulty concentrating, and experience a craving for sweets or stimulants. Also called hypoglycemia, low blood sugar typically occurs when you’ve waited too long to eat. You can boost your blood level by eating something sweet, but having too much sugar in your diet only perpetuates the problem. Get into the zone for your next gig by eating a small protein-containing meal about two hours before showtime.
You can stay in the zone by maintaining an unprocessed diet supplemented with a vitamin-mineral to assure you receive the essential nutrients. Dietary surveys indicate that most Americans are lacking at least a few essential nutrients. And if you frequently imbibe alcohol, caffeine, or tobacco you are further risking a vitamin or mineral deficiency, which could translate into all sorts of symptoms including fatigue, headache, muscle cramping, or frequent illnesses to name a few.
So supplement your diet with a multiple vitamin-mineral to assure that you are receiving optimal amounts of essential nutrients. Most one-a-day multiple vitamin-mineral formulas provide substantial amounts of vitamins, but only contain token amounts of calcium and magnesium. This is because minerals are bulky and take up a lot of space in the pill. It’s a good idea to look for a formula that spreads its contents into two or more tablets or capsules a day to get meaningful quantities of essential minerals. And by spreading the dose out among several meals you will maintain appropriate levels in blood and tissues throughout the day.
It’s easy to go crazy with all sorts of herbs, accessory nutrients, and superfoods. And that’s fine if you’ve got the cash and are willing to down all those pills. I favor antioxidant formulas, tonic/adaptogen herbs, and superfood supplements. Antioxidants inhibit damaging cellular oxidation caused by free radicals (unstable molecules that contribute to aging and deterioration of tissues). Adaptogen herbs such as ginseng, eleuthero, and rhodiola have been shown to improve resistance to stress. And superfoods such as bee pollen, royal jelly, and green food extracts contain numerous semi-essential phytochemicals that may protect against certain diseases. Who couldn’t use that?