Koslo's Nutrition Solutions

Monday, May 31, 2010

Three Cheers for Cherries!

Cherries are one of those delectable fruits of summer that not only taste good, but have so many health benefits that they should be an essential part of any endurance athletes’ nutrition plan.
There is a significant body of research suggesting that cherries are one of the most nutritious foods you can eat. Cherries contain anthocyanins 1 and 2 which are powerful antioxidants that not only give cherries their distinctive red color but also have an impact on relieving muscle and joint soreness similar to how non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs act. Cherries are the highest in these compounds compared to various other berries including strawberries and blueberries and they also contain a hefty dose of beta carotene, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, iron, fiber and folate. One cup of fresh cherries has just about 90 calories, no fat, 22 grams of carbohydrates and 3 grams of fiber.
Additionally, cherries are one of the few food sources of melatonin, an antioxidant which helps to regulate the body’s natural sleep patterns. Eating cherries can be a natural way to increase melatonin levels in the blood acting to hasten sleep and ease jet lag. New evidence also links cherries to heart health and weight management.
So how many cherries do you need to eat to get the benefits? While there are no established guidelines as of yet, experts suggest that consuming 1-2 servings of cherries a day can provide some of the health benefits identified in the research. Examples of what constitutes a serving includes: ½ cup dried; 1 cup frozen; 1 cup 100% juice; 1 ounce concentrate.
Try these tips to help speed your recovery:
• Drink 10 oz of tart cherry juice pre-workout
• Make a post-workout smoothie with frozen cherries
• Add dried cherries to your post-workout oatmeal
• Have dried cherries as a good grab-and-go snack
• Add dried cherries to a spinach salad with walnuts
• Create a yogurt parfait with vanilla yogurt, granola and dried cherries
• Swap your soda for 100% cherry juice

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Power up for spring training

Spring has sprung and if you are like most athletes you are planning your racing line up and putting your training plans in order. As you start ramping up your training you will also want to assess your current nutrition plan as it may be in need of a little “spring cleaning”. To help you jump start your fueling strategy I am including a recipe for a great breakfast full of muscle fueling carbohydrates, muscle repairing protein and antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and of course lots of good taste.

Boil water or milk/soy milk
Add: Rolled oats or instant oatmeal (1/2 cup dry or 1-2 packets instant)
Whey protein (1 svg)
Small scoop of dark chocolate baking cocoa ~1 Tbs
Ground flax ~1 Tbs
Blueberries ½ cup
Raisins – travel packet size or bananas

Enjoy before or after your workouts.

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Eggs: Good nutrition bang for your buck

Eggs are a naturally nutrient-dense food and contain almost every essential vitamin and mineral needed by humans. A large egg has about 74 calories and more than 6 grams of high-quality protein that is easily digested and absorbed by the body. Eggs are also an excellent source of choline, a nutrient that helps prevent birth defects, and a good source of riboflavin. The egg white consists primarily of protein while the yolk contains protein, choline, folate, lutein, zeaxanthin, fat, and vitamin D.
Each egg is separately wrapped in its own shell requiring no weighing or measuring and can be prepared in thousands of ways. Eggs are also naturally low in sodium and the yolk has a favorable mix of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and just 1.5 grams of saturated fat. And while many Americans still avoid eggs for fear of dietary cholesterol, 30 years of research has never linked egg consumption to heart disease. Additionally, the American Heart Association no longer places a limit on the amount of eggs a person can consume per week.
In an effort to meet consumer demand a number of specialty eggs are currently on the market offering an array of nutritional choices. Omega-3 eggs are laid by hens fed a special diet containing omega-3 rich flaxseed or marine algae. Cage free, organic, free-range and certified humane eggs all have the same nutritional content but the conditions under which the chickens are kept meet specific USDA standards. Brown eggs are no different from white eggs and are just from a different breed of hen.
The high-quality protein in eggs can be part of a balanced sports diet by aiding in muscle tissue repair and growth. So next time you are wondering what to have with that bagel try an egg or two.
American Egg Board (2010) http://www.aeb.org/retailers/nutrition-facts
Egg Nutrition Center (2010) http://www.enc-online.org/

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