A Vitamin D and Calcium Primer

When it comes to nutrition, the media often finds an ingredient, supplement or product that steals the spotlight for a period of time.  Sometimes the ingredient is lambased to the point where it becomes an outcast at warp speed, this happened with partially hydrogenated oils (man made trans fats).  Other times, the news is good.   And this is what has happened with vitamin D.  This vitamin has gone from the kid at the back of the class to center stage in a short period of time.  

Why Vitamin D along with Calcium?
When it comes to bone health, many of us automatically think of calcium and milk/dairy.  However, calcium alone can't do its job without adequate vitamin D.  Think of vitamin D as the gatekeeper to bone tissue, it aids in the absorption of calcium.  Many calcium supplements now come fortified with vitamin D to make supplementation easier for consumers.

Vitamin D may also decrease our risk for certain types of cancer.  Most notably, colon, prostate and breast cancer.  And, a deficiency in vitamin D can lead to osteopenia, osteoporosis, chronic pain, muscle weakness, fractures and autoimmune diseases.  A recent U.S. study in the June 9 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, found that Vitamin D deficiency may increase the risk of heart attacks in men.

We need sunlight - but in moderation
Vitamin D is manufactured in the skin upon exposure to sunlight.  Past recommendations have indicated that just a little exposure - say 15 minutes a day, will give us all the sunlight we need to make vitamin D.  However, recent studies have shown that many of us fall short.  Even people living in climates sunny throughout the year like southern Arizona.  How can this be the case?  Individuals with darker skin and older individuals just don't produce vitamin D as well as fair-skinned, younger people do.  And, people who live in less than sunny climates simply aren't exposed to the sun's rays often enough.  Lastly, many people have had skin cancer (basal and squamous cell carcinoma is on the rise) and are avid sun block users and therefore don't manufacture adequate vitamin D.

Calcium - our bones needs it!
Now, on to calcium. Aside from its role in bone health, calcium also aids in:  muscle contraction, blood vessel contraction and expansion, hormone secretion, heartbeat regulation, conducting nerve impulses and blot clotting.  And, all of these functions are considered more vital than keeping our bones strong.  So, when we fall short on our calcium intake our body leaches it from our bones. If this process occurs frequently, over time we end up with weak, porous bones, osteopenia and osteoporosis.

Make sure you get enough!
It's clear we need to take in adequate levels of calcium and vitamin D daily.  Calcium is more easily obtained from foods, especially dairy foods.  Greens like spinach are often noted for their calcium but, this calcium is bound to the oxalic acid present in these greens and therefore, not readily absorbed.  The same thing goes for calcium that is fortified into grain products - it is bound to phytic acid and not easily absorbed in the body.  Vitamin D is a bit harder to find in foods.  Salmon, mackerel, canned tuna, canned sardines, and milk are your best options.  If you don't drink 4 glasses of milk a day or a combination of other dairy and the fish mentioned above, try a calcium + Vitamin D supplement.

liquid calcium and Vitamin D supplement is very easy way to get what you need each day.  You can take it all at once or split up the dosage.  Calcium is best absorbed if you take 500 mg at a time, usually morning and evening doses.

SEE ALSO: What You Need to Know About Calcium and Vitamin D and  What You Need to Know About Osteoporosis

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Health Tickets to Minimizing Breast Cancer Risk

A few nights ago I was talking to my mom about breast cancer and she interrupted me and started naming the women she knew on nearby streets who were breast cancer survivors. There’s a reason we are hearing so much about this disease and you too many know many women who have had it - breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide. But here’s the good news: there are steps each of us can take to decrease our risk.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight increases one’s risk of developing breast cancer and leads to a poorer prognosis if you have breast cancer as well as an increased rate of recurrence, particularly in post-menopausal women.

Make Time for Physical Activity 

According to the most comprehensive report on food, nutrition and cancer prevention from the World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research, greater than 3 hours of physical activity per week reduces risk of breast cancer. Get your calendar out and schedule periods for exercise. If you are having trouble finding time, get an activity counter (Nike and several other companies make them and there are apps on your phone that you can use as well) and measure your physical activity each day (aiming for at least 10,000 steps per day). Activity counters make you accountable.

Minimize Alcohol Consumption

One or more drinks per day increases your risk of developing breast cancer. And, the more alcohol a woman drinks, the greater her risk of breast cancer.

Eat a Nutrient-Rich Diet

Eating a healthy diet rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber will help you feel better and keep your weight within normal limits. Also, diets that contain plenty of vitamin C rich foods including citrus fruits (oranges, tomatoes, grapefruit), potatoes and strawberries may help protect against certain types of cancer including lung, breast and colon cancers. And, be sure to consume vitamin D rich foods as well including fortified milk or a milk substitute, fortified yogurt (check the container since only a few have added vitamin D) and fatty fish. And, get your vitamin D levels checked and if you are having trouble maintaining them within normal limits through diet alone, take a supplement. The latest research shows patients with the highest levels of vitamin D in their blood had approximately half the death rate from breast cancer as those with the lowest levels of vitamin D in their blood.

SEE ALSO:  Calcium, Vitamin D & Weight?  and  Can Calcium & Vitamin D Supplements Reduce Breast Cancer Risk?

 

References

Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes: Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, and Carotenoids. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2000. Website: http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=9810

Anticancer Res 2014;34(3):1163-1166.

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Banana Cream Pie Chia Pudding

The rich, smooth flavor of banana cream pie combine with bone-supporting calcium, vitamin D3, and magnesium is a delicious way to get your vitamins!

This chia seed pudding takes on the divine taste of a classic dessert. Banana, cream, and milk married together replicate the silky filling of homemade pie. Use your choice of any dairy or non-dairy milk and substitute chilled, full-fat coconut milk for the heavy cream. Wellesse Calcium & Vitamin D3 liquid supplement adds everything you need for healthy, strong bones. Your body and taste buds will thank you!

The benefits of adding Chia seeds into your diet are numerous as well.  Chia seeds are a concentrated bundle of wholesomeness, including healthy Omega-3 fatty acids and a whopping 10 grams of fiber in just 2 tablespoons!

Banana Cream Pie Chia Pudding

  • 1 banana
  • 4 Tbsp heavy cream (or full-fat coconut milk, chilled)
  • ¾ Cup milk (dairy or non-dairy)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • ¾ tsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp stevia, or to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. Wellesse Liquid Calcium Supplement with Vitamin D3
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of turmeric, for color
  • ¼ Cup chia seeds

Combine banana, cream, and milk in food processor or blender until smooth. Add all remaining ingredients, except chia seeds, and process until well blended. Fold in chia by hand. Refrigerate 1-2 hours until thickened.

SEE ALSO: Matcha Chia Pudding For Strength and Energy  and  Immune Boosting Peanut Butter & Banana Smoothie

GUEST POST by Blogger, Recipe Designer and Test Chef Brittany Angell.  Visit her at www.brittanyangell.com and sign up for Club Angell to receive amazing Paleo, Gluten Free, Grain Free recipes.

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Isometric Exercises to Improve Strength

I get why many people can be intimidated by compound, complex exercise movements, “Burpees?...I might break something if I try that!

I also understand that sometimes doing these types of compound movements can be hard on people’s joints, especially if not performed in the right manner. Even with the best form, it can sometimes hurt! That’s where isometric exercises can come into play.

Isometric exercises involve holding a position for a predetermined amount of time. This static position doesn’t allow for your joints to move throughout the duration of the exercise. You are basically holding your muscles as they are against a force, which is usually your own body weight.

This can make isometric exercises great for people with joint problems (as always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program). 

Let’s break down a quick isometric workout that you can do at home with minimal equipment to help build your strength!

Isometric Workout

Wall Sits 

This exercise is great for you lower body! Lean back against your wall as if sitting in a chair with your knees at a 90 degree angle (indicating you are low enough). Hold that position as a timed exercise. You can hold a weight in your lap in order to increase the difficulty.

Planks

To strengthen your core put your body weight on your elbows and toes with your midsection off the ground. Keep your body as straight as possible;  your butt should not be high like a tent or sagging down low either.

Chest Squeeze

Holding your weights out in front of you at arms length, squeeze the weights together. Squeeze the weights together hard with your pectorals the entire time (will also work your shoulders).

Squat Punch

Sit down into a squat (knee over toe, back straight, head up) and hold that position the entire time. While holding the position and dumbbells in hand, punch out repeatedly the entire time! Although the second part (punching) isn’t an isometric move, it will increase the difficulty of the exercise. You can also get down into a squat and hold it while holding onto a table or chair for balance or support.

Leg Holds 

While on your back and your hands under you glutes for added support (take you hands out to make it more difficult) hold your legs about 6 inches off the ground throughout this exercise!

Wrap-Up

To help build strength while saving your joints, perform this set of exercises 3 times trying to hold each position for at least 30 seconds. If it is easy for you (and as it becomes easier) make sure to increase the time you are holding each position. With these simple, joint-friendly, yet highly effective exercises you can keep building your strength! Trust me they are harder than they look! 

SEE ALSO: Exercise Do’s and Don’ts … on a Joint-by-Joint Basis and  Get Physical For Free! Body Weight Exercises for Top Fitness

GUEST BLOGGER: Josh Anderson, Owner of Always Active Athletics

For more great at-home workouts from Josh that you can do easily that are effective and convenient visit the Fit Female Club – “Forget the Gym, You’re In the Club!”

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Is there any difference being an older athlete? The Loneliness Factor

Welcome back! This is the final blog in the series:  Is there any difference being an older athlete? 

This blog series selected topics that have discussed a gritty side to the life of an older professional athlete.  Our  families and loved ones are affected - not always positively, even when there is great communication and commitment to the goal, for the athlete by the family or spouse. 

This series is titled “Is there any difference being an older athlete?” which infers that it will cover topics specifically about being a older athletes; but the series also covered much of what the loved ones and inner circles within a professional athlete’s life have to cope with as well. 

That said, this final blog is all about the athlete.  

How lonely is it?  

Being an older athlete means juggling a lot of issues.  Between career, training, spouse, children, finances, medical visits, sometimes intimacy issues and competitions, it’s easy to feel isolated and lonely.

There is a difference between being alone and being lonely.

Let’s stipulate to the following:   We own our choices and that is that – no whining, or as I was raised “no blood, no Band-Aid.”  It is rewarding to be an older athlete, it is invigorating, and it keeps you healthy, young and well, not sure about “wealthy or wise.” But I would not trade my choice for the world – until the moment I do.  Being an older athlete means that at any point in time you might have to make a different decision for the family, for the retirement plan, for the career.  A younger athlete usually does not have all of these decisions to face.  

Being an older athlete can be extremely lonely!  It is exhausting!  I do not mean physically because of a hard work out - I mean the juggling of life.  I am going to use my specific sport because it is my experience. The sport of skeleton is the one I chose (somewhat) blindly to go “all in”.

I am a winter athlete which means if I do not live near an ice track, I have to go find one in EU, Canada, Japan or the USA.  We train at the gym in the morning –we train on the ice at night, on a track at higher altitude.  By the time we commence training, it is cold and dark.   We warm up, we slide, we go down the hill, and go back up in a truck, in the dark, at temperatures of -10 degrees, in a paper thin speedo.  If you are in Alberta it can be -20 (-25 and they close the track). 

The cold alone can create emotional fatigue and loneliness.   

In addition, there is something about training for something in the dark - Special Forces Navy Seals train in the dark in the water, Divers train in the dark. 

Darkness brings an entirely different dimension to any sport or training. 

3:17 AM – The alarm goes off and again it is dark and cold.  There is no one to say,  “come on Prata, you can do it! – we are doing deadlifts and core today.”  I wake up to silence and my own energy of mixing the right protein shake, planning food for the day and packing the car for the gym and then the laptop for a days work. 

During the day I train, mix protein shakes, take my daily supplements, try to stay warm, work on my sled, call the insurance, the 401K investment research, and work a minimum of 12 hours in corporate America – do conference calls on mute while sanding the runners on my sled in a basement that I rented with a hat on because it is damp and cold.  No one has checked on me to see how I am or if I have eaten enough or am I ready for the night.

3:30 PM – I still have to get my sled ready for the night, get to the track, night train, load up my gear after sliding, get home often chaining up to get out of snow and arrive home around 11:00 p.m., wet, cold and insanely hungry.  This is lonely.  I love it, but, after four days of physical and emotional pushing, even the energizer bunny is tired. 

 I have stood in curves of the track, in the dark, with my love for the sport and the ice, studying what I did wrong on that steer and cried.  I have cried hard knowing I am older and have to learn faster.  There is no learning faster in this sport – a friend said, “You cannot force it – it will come.” 

I have always been able to conquer- there were nights the harder I tried the worse I did. And after working so hard to do well and missing that mark, I still have a full night ahead.  This is lonely.   

There is no one to call who would understand, support or even know what to say.   Being an older athlete can or might mean you do NOT have emotional support.  Even your most inner circle does not really know why you are doing this, let alone agree with your choices.  

No one in your corner championing your efforts means you start every day out emotionally alone.

You have to dig very deep to find the drive.  I have tenacity and determination in spades and I use these to prevail.  I also happen to be a Girl Scout and survival trained so when I am stuck on the pass at night after training cold and hungry,  I already have protein bars, a sleeping bag and shovels and lights to dig out if I have too.  Talk about lonely!!! All you want is someone in that moment to care, love or support you or even just take a turn with the shovel.    

This is the time, as an older athlete, you dig deep and ask why you are doing it? 

For Fame?   Wrong answer. 

FOR the purity of the sport?  YES!!.  

For me, I fell in love with the ice.  Often falling in love is a beautiful thing.  In this case it has proven to be one of the most amazing blessings and also a curse.   Being alone can make one lonely but I mean the emotional loneliness of the internal struggle to drive forward.  I have been fortunate and figured out that sometimes the best love and support is from friends who become family.    

Do not expect support from someone who does not understand- that will never happen.  Do not pursue a dream like this for the purpose of trying to impress anybody!  

BUT, pursue your dream no matter what. If that means you learn to deal with a deep loneliness on occasion, then so be it.  I assure you, it will make you stronger, your resolve more intact and your focus more clear.

So I have pulled up to my temporary den, the snow is blowing and I cannot get down the driveway and into the garage without shoveling 40 meters of driveway.  What the hell!  At this point in the night I am thinking, “BRING IT!”  Another workout!   Thirty minutes later I am in the garage, unloading sled and gear bag- my sled weighs 34.5 KG (75+lbs). Picking it up and down at 11:30PM, even as a strong athlete will wear on you some nights more than others.  I still need to shower and get food in me fast so my muscles recover.  Strip, hit the shower- water is cold.  My heart rate has been high enough for such an extended period of time being in survival mode after training that I will burn in excess of 8000 calories this night.  I am so hungry!   I am emotionally processing my runs in the shower. It never stops!

There was no one to have watched or videoed, no one to say, “Nice job Prata or what the hell was that?”  No one to make sure the salmon does not overcook (prefer my salmon quite rare) and no one to dry the clothes, dry off Gabriel (my sled); and yet, as lonely as this can be, I have no regrets.

I fell in love with the ice, and anytime anyone falls in love and you are fortunate to have that happen in life, then you have to play it out! It is amazing what one will do for love and in my case the true purity of the sport. I have no regrets!  

This blog is dedicated to Louis Cardello- a precious kind human who has supported me emotionally from a distance and asked me on many nights, “Well, how did curve 6 go?”  He has never seen a track, he never will, he simply knows and trusts my commitment and passion for this sport and he respects that I must play it out.

SEE ALSO: Is It Different Being an Older Athlete? The Financial Impact and  Is It Different Being an Older Athlete? The Medical Impact

Anna Prata is an Olympic hopeful Competitive Skeleton Athlete. Otherwise known mainly by her last name of Prata, she is 100% committed and passionate about living every moment of her life and leaving it on the field every day.   In her non-athlete time, Prata is a highly successful executive in the niche of corporate turnaround.  Both her corporate life and her sports life have similarities of stealth, intensity, and speed in creating value and less time down the ice; while wearing Kevlar to protect from the dangers of companies in distress and from potentially hitting a wall of ice at 90 MPR.  Ms. Prata is not a nutritionist, a physical therapist or in any way should her opinions be considered medical, physical  or psychological advice. 

P/S Prata is 50 Years of age!

 

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Energize Naturally

How many times have you thought to yourself that you are more tired lately than you used to be? Or you simply don’t have the energy to do the things you love? Or things would be so much easier if you weren't tired all of the time?

While this does accompany aging, have you ever noticed that you seemed to have more energy back when you were more active, maybe it was due to being active all the time? There are many natural ways to energize from foods and exercise. Instead of drinking 3 pots of coffee before 9 a.m. let’s discuss some more natural  and healthy ways to stay energized throughout the day.

Energize with Morning Workouts

You may not like the idea of waking up 45 minutes earlier in order to workout before beginning your day, but it can help power you throughout the entire day. Taking 45-60 minutes extra to get in a quick workout will get your blood flowing, wakes you up faster than coffee ever would, and gets your endorphins flowing which can help make you feel happier, have a greater sense of well being, and be more energized after the workout is over (exercise in general is a great way to increase your energy levels). This can equate to a day full of energy and determination!

Eat for Energy: Top 5 Foods to Keep You Energized

1. Eggs –Eggs are an incredible source of protein and vitamins including B-vitamins and vitamin D. Vitamin D can help to keep your immune system running smoothly while B-vitamins help convert food into energy; instant energy. Grab some eggs and basically grab some energy!

2. Sweet potato – As with all good carbohydrates, sweet potatoes are loaded with energy. Carbohydrates help to fuel the body by providing glucose which energizes the brain, central nervous system, and bunch of other functions (there are GOOD carbs out there). The high load of vitamin A and C in sweet potatoes will help you stave off fatigue any time of the day. This makes sweet potatoes (think sweet potato fries) a perfect snack for energy.

3. Honey – This may be the first food that comes to mind if you want to get an energy rush. Honey is basically nature’s energy drink. Feeling sluggish, grab a spoon full of honey! Honey can help to refuel and replenish muscles during and after a workout. It does this by acting as a time released sweetener.

4. Bananas – You have got to love bananas they are full of natural sugars, which can provide us with a boost of energy. Not only are they full of fructose, sucrose, and glucose, they also have a high fiber content which can equate to a sustained energy boost.

5. Apples – Like the banana mentioned above, apples are also full of glucose. They are also full of antioxidants, fiber, and a ton of vitamins. This means that apples provide a convenient energy boost in a small package. Plus their high fiber content means that they provide us with a longer pick-me-up as well!

Just missed the list: spinach, beans, almonds, yogurt, and salmon, so keep these all in mind too!

Wrap-Up

There are many natural ways to energize yourself instead of reaching for a sugar laden cup of coffee. From exercising to natural foods, there is always a more natural way to stay energized and kick that sluggish feeling!

SEE ALSO:  Are Carbs Really That Bad? Nope. and Healthy Energy – Who May Benefit from a B-Complex Supplement?

Guest Blogger: Josh Anderson ~ For more of the latest at-home fitness and nutrition advice visit Always Active Athletics: “Your #1 Source For At-Home Fitness.”

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Matcha Chia Pudding For Strength and Energy

Matcha and chia together make this a superfood super-pudding!

In only 1 oz. of chia seed you get:

  • 10 g of dietary fiber
  • 4.7g of protein
  • 17% of your daily calcium
  • 23% of your daily magnesium

Cool, creamy, and packed with antioxidants, this chia seed pudding starts with a milk and cream (dairy or non-dairy) base. To that I add, matcha and Wellesse Liquid Iron to help restore your body’s energy levels and reduce fatigue. You can also add in a serving of Wellesse B-Complex Complete for a comprehensive boost of metabolism support!

Matcha Chia Pudding

  • 1 Cups Milk (dairy or non-dairy)
  • 2 Tbsp Heavy Cream (or full-fat coconut milk, chilled)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ tsp liquid stevia (or to taste)
  • 1 Tbsp Wellesse Liquid Iron supplement
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 ½ Tbsp Matcha Powder
  • ¼ Cup Chia Seeds

Mix all ingredients, except matcha and chia seeds, until well combined, use a food processor or blender for convenience. Whisk in matcha, and then fold in chia seeds. Refrigerate 1-2 hours until thickened.

SEE ALSO:  Tropical Protein Powerhouse Smoothie

GUEST POST by Blogger, Recipe Designer and Test Chef Brittany Angell.  Visit her at www.brittanyangell.com and sign up for Club Angell to receive amazing Paleo, Gluten Free, Grain Free recipes.

 

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When Vitamin and Mineral Supplements Are Necessary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is now widely accepted that good nutrition starts with a healthy diet.  The USDA food pyramid, now a food plate, outlining the proportion of protein, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and fats that make up a healthy diet is the clearest  visual description of the best way to provide your body with proper nutrition.  But...

What if your body is struggling to use the nutrients in food you eat?

What if your diet is restricted due to food allergies, medical or financial conditions?

Certain circumstances make getting the proper amount of vitamins and minerals from food next to impossible.  Nutritional deficiencies are a common concern among those with a consistently poor or unbalanced diet, and for those with conditions that do not allow for the body's full use of nutrients from food.  Many factors can contribute to nutritional deficiencies and multiple reasons can come together in one person to greatly restrict healthy food intake and a body's ability to use available vitamins and minerals.  A vast array of medical and lifestyle conditions can restrict proper food intake or lead to an inability to absorb proper nutrients from food. 

  • Food allergies

  • Obesity

  • Continual use of antacids

  • Weight loss surgery

  • Celiac disease

  • Advancing age

Quality supplementation of essential vitamins and minerals is one key component of good health.  Continuing to eat a well-balanced diet, including whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean protein is essential as well.  But faced with absorption hindering conditions, keeping a close eye on essential nutrient levels through regular blood panels and adding supplementation to offset deficiencies is very important.

Many supplements can present challenges for those trying to increase their vitamin and mineral intake.  Pills can often be too plentiful and too large to be comfortable swallowing what is needed.  There may be a lack of stomach acid needed to break down pills into their useful nutrient parts.  

Liquid supplements offer an easy alternative to pills.  The important nutrients are already broken down into a form your body can readily absorb.  The nutrients in quality liquid supplements are in their most bio-available form, making it quick and easy for your body to best use what it needs.  Do the research to find a reputable company manufacturing high-quality liquid supplements, and staying healthy will be that much easier.

SEE ALSO: Celiac Disease and a Gluten Free Diet - Watch for Nutrient Deficiencies in Both  and  Vegetarians and the Elderly & Risk of Developing B12 Deficiency

 

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Swim To Boost Joint Health

When an athlete gets injured, they often end up doing a lot of rehab work in a pool. The water’s buoyancy reduces stress on joints and bones while providing resistance to help build muscle. And continuous movement increases fitness and burns calories. Warm water therapy also helps ease many types of muscle and joint pain.

If you are considering diving in, here’s how you can get the most out of your pool workouts:

Drink Up 

Even though you are in water, you are still sweating. Therefore, it is important to drink plenty of fluids before you go to the pool and eveb put a water bottle on the side and sip on it throughout your workout. Don't forget to drink plenty of fluid after you are finished too. There are even liquid glucosamine and chondroitin supplements for joint health to give your drinking water an extra helpful element.

Join A Class 

If you aren't quite sure what to do in the water, consider joining an aerobics class. Check out your local public pool, gym or YMCA for a variety of classes that can challenge beginners and advanced swimmers alike.  Getting in the water with other participants can even help make exercise more enjoyable.  

Bonus: the instructor should be able to help you correct movement patterns (so you prevent injury or work around a current injury) while challenging and motivating you. 

Try Bands

Many band workouts can be adapted to the water. If you aren’t comfortable figuring out which band workouts you should do, talk to a personal trainer or aquatics instructor.

Challenge Yourself

If you want to increase fitness and burn more calories, it’s important to continually challenge your body. In addition to swimming, consider running in the water.

If you are a beginner, start in water that you can stand up in. Stand upright with your stomach tightly tucked (engage your core muscles), shoulders and head back (and chin in) and arms slightly bent by your sides. Now run!

Once you’ve mastered the movement, you can increase resistance by wearing hand paddles or gloves (make sure your shoulders stay upright). Or, move to the deep water with a flotation belt (or for a real challenge, don’t use a flotation belt!).

When you are ready, challenge yourself even more by trying intervals. Run as fast as you can for 20 – 60 seconds, take a 20 – 60 second break (ideally the break should be long enough for your heart rate to come down) and then repeat this pattern for several minutes.

Working out in water offers many of the same advantages of land workouts – there are several types of workouts you can do, you’ll burn calories and increase muscle strength without putting undue stress on your joints. 

SEE ALSO: Understanding Metabolism - Positive Changes to Rev Yours Up!  and   Tips for YOGA H20: Great Summer Poolside Exercise

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Water Soluble Vitamins for Everyday Health

Vitamins have several important functions, including helping the body produce energy, transporting oxygen throughout the body, supporting bone health, synthesizing and repairing muscle tissue. If you have a deficiency in any vitamin your body won’t function as well.

There are two main categories of vitamins:

Fat-soluble vitamins - stored in the body’s fat tissue  

Water-soluble vitamins - excreted in urine (with the exception of one – vitamin B12 - which does stay in your body longer) 

Because our bodies must use water-soluble vitamins right away and we excrete any that are not used, it is important to consume them every day.

 How can you make sure you are getting enough? Focus on eating a diet that includes the foods below:

Vegetables (including beans and lentils) & Fruits

Vegetables contain fiber, minerals (minerals help build your body including your bones, teeth, hair and more), and they are important sources of folate (folic acid), vitamins A and C. Fruits are also an important source of fiber, minerals, vitamin C and folate (folic acid). Folic acid helps the body form new cells including red blood cells. Vitamin A supports eye and skin health while also protecting against infections. Vitamin C is necessary for tissue growth and repair, would healing and keeping gums and teeth healthy. Plus it helps the body absorb iron from plant foods.

Whole Grains

Grains are not only a source of fiber and minerals but they contain the water-soluble B vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and folate. The B vitamins are necessary for metabolism – they help your body use the energy in food. And the B vitamins are also essential for a healthy nervous system.

Fortified Dairy Foods

Milk is the top source of calcium in the diets of Americans over the age of 2. Yogurt and cheese are also calcium-rich. In addition, fortified milk and fortified yogurt also contain vitamin D, which supports bone health, the nervous system, and muscle functioning. More than 90% of Americans do not consume enough vitamin D from foods alone. So, take a look at your diet and add dairy or other foods fortified in calcium and vitamin D. Or, consider a supplement.

People who cut down on their calorie intake, follow restrictive diets (such as a very low carbohydrate diet), eliminate one or more food groups, or follow a vegetarian or vegan diet are more likely to fall short on their vitamin and mineral needs. The best thing you can do is eat a balanced diet that includes a wide variety of foods (more different, healthy foods means you are more likely to consume more nutrients) and, consider dietary supplements and fortified foods to help fill any nutrient gaps.

SEE ALSO: Healthy Energy – Who May Benefit from a B-Complex Supplement?  and  Why do Water-Soluble Vitamins Need to be Replenished Every Day?

References:

Fulgoni VL. Foods, fortificants, and supplements: where do Americans get their nutrients? J Nutr 2011;141(10):1847-54.

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Summer Hydration from Water and Foods

Staying Hydrated This Summer

We are currently dealing with some of the hottest days of summer, so it is very important to stay well hydrated especially if you are outside working, hiking, jogging…etc. We all know that we need to stay well hydrated throughout these types of days (and everyday in general) but how do you know if you are well hydrated? How much water should you drink? Can’t you get a good deal of water through your food?

While I have discussed the amount of water that individuals should consume per day, I think it is a good idea that we go back other this issue especially with the oppressive heat some of us are dealing with. Likewise, let’s cover some hydrating foods that you can also add to your diet!

How Much Water?

We know it is vitally important to stay properly hydrated. Our digestive system, brain, and muscle efficiency are all related to how hydrated we are! There are two methods to determine how much water you should drink per day. There is the old adage of drink eight, 8oz glasses a day, for a total of 64 ounces. While this is really not backed by science it has become an easy way for people to remember to drink enough water and is what most doctors will tell you.

Another method which is more personalized to your body weight goes like this: take your body weight and divide it by 2. Whatever number you get is the number of ounces of water you should consume per day. This would basically mean that a 130 pound person should consume at least 65 ounces of water a day. This is a good method because it is correlated to that specific person’s bodyweight. Both of these methods are for average days though; you should try to consume more if you are dealing with high heat and sweating profusely

What are Some Hydrating Foods?

You can get a good deal of water and fiber form many of the hydrating foods out there. In fact, a recent Livestrong article indicated that the Institute of Medicine found that foods make up about 20% of your water intake! One thing that hydrating foods have in common, besides the obvious water content, is that they are high volume and full of fiber which can help fill you up and keep you full! Foods such as cucumbers (maybe the most hydrating food; 96% water), celery (94-95% water), tomatoes (94-95% water), broccoli (91-93% water), strawberries (92% water), watermelon (92% water), cantaloupe (90% water), and peaches (85-87%)are great choices when it comes to hydrating foods!

If you already take vitamin supplements like a multivitamin or a dietary supplement like glucosamine, look for it in liquid form.  That way, you can mix it in your morning smoothie or even your water bottle to give it a little more flavor, and motivate yourself to not only take your supplements, but to get all the fluids you need.

Conclusion

While it is important to remember to drink your 8 (8oz) glasses of water a day during the summer (as through the rest of the year as well) it is also important to remember that a good deal of your hydration actually comes from the things you eat! When it’s hot outside, make sure you and your loved ones are staying well hydrated!

SEE ALSO: Playing in the Heat - Staying Safe On The Hottest Days of Summer

For more nutritional tips and at-home weight loss workouts visit Always Active Athletics: “Your #1 Source For At-Home Fitness.”

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Is There Any Difference Being an older Athlete - The Intimacy Talk

Hello blog Fans and older athletes!  I was at the gym this week (of course) and ran into an athlete over 48 who was complaining of a couple of issues:   First, pain in his fingers from arthritis.  Well that was an easy fix - he is now taking liquid glucosamine and chondroitin!

The second issue was not so easy for me to solve. He mentioned that his wife “has about had it with his weekend warrior competitions and the trips to athletic supply stores for gear, when he should be at the home repair store to fetch supplies to fix the back porch and the fence;  plus they never see their friends for dinner anymore.” 

I asked, “Jim, what part is she really not thrilled with?  The time you are gone doing other things not for the house?  The time you are not with her, or is there really something else? “   Jim responded, “Prata, yes, both, and then there is the intimacy issue;  but Prata, I am so tired after training that I just want to sleep and she wants to cuddle and play.” 

Sound familiar? This is a true story that happens to many of us athletes.  Years ago I read an article about the high divorce rate among athletes who are in a committed relationship due to the fact that they were too tired for sex or simply appeared not to prioritize intimacy in the eyes of their partners.    Obviously I am over-simplifying but you get the point.  That said, the topic is real and gritty and it is being written toward the end of this Older Athlete series for a reason.   

I have written about the perceptions of being an older athlete, the medical and financial impact and how they can affect a relationship but this wraps it all up! 

Often, the time commitment is something our mates can adjust to or accept; provided we are equally supportive of their endeavors – even the financial issues can be negotiated better than potential intimacy challenges.  The reason intimacy is often avoided as a topic, is because it is so difficult to talk about.   Nobody really wants to say

“Sorry honey, I just ran 26.2 miles and I need food and sleep and NOT SEX.”    

Often, the topic is avoided, skirted around and animosity builds.  When this topic is not discussed misconceptions happen such as:   the non-athlete partner thinks they are no longer attractive to the other, perceptions of rejection then anger builds or the non-athlete partner thinks that there is a hormonal change or other cause that makes intimacy challenging and thus avoided by the athlete.    

Emotional infidelity is common.  Humans need human contact emotionally and otherwise and if there is a commitment where this understood need is being avoided – basically nothing good comes of it and breakup/divorce has often been a by-product.

Before I say anymore, these sentiments just mentioned are absolutely equal gender opportunity perceptions. 

A female athlete who swims 3 miles, cycles 10 and runs 6 miles and has to cook for the family is in a no different place than a male who runs 26 miles and has to fix the family fence.  If  the woman is fixing the fence and the man is cooking, same story.   

Athlete families/couples have all sorts of different roles – partnered or married Olympians often make many trade-offs as a family to achieve their goal. 

That said, time and energy for intimacy for an athlete can ironically be challenged on several fronts.  In addition to being too physically tired, depending on the level of competition, there can be times where one’s head is more in a different game of life than courting and romance.  The animosity builds not just because of the lack of human contact or affection, but also the appearance of selfishness on the part of the non-athlete.  Distance creeps in and a wedge is created.  Disdain for the sport by the non-athlete is certainly one potential by-product.

Just for the record – if there are two athletes in the family and they are both too tired for intimacy all the time, then this will come to a head eventually too.  Emotional infidelity can also rear its head here. 

This is a delicate topic, yet an important one.  As an athlete myself – I know all about the rejection a partner can feel from my mental focus or my physical exhaustion, not to mention an injury or surgery that precludes intimacy while healing, broken bones, torn ligaments can be managed around and then again as an athlete, you sometimes are so worn out that you just want to heal, not hurt, and go to sleep.  You do not want or have the emotional bandwidth let alone the physical energy to go with family or friends for dinner and eat weird stuff (not in your training diet);  then  try to get some sleep and sacrifice a day or two of being “off”  in training.  It can feel and be very selfish. 

 If you are an athlete, check yourself at the door, or in the mirror; the people in our lives do support us.

At the end of the day, there comes a time in life where the training will likely be second to the relationship, so try to not burn out the relationship which is a long term investment, and we do know that long term investments in the game of life are far superior to a short term gain!  

SEE ALSO:  Is It Different Being an Older Athlete? The Medical Impact  and  Is It Different Being an Older Athlete? The Financial Impact  and  10 Tips for Healthy Aging - Don't Act Your Age!

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Rec-League Summer Sports Safety

Adult recreation league sports are a great, fun way to get a little exercise while enjoying your friends. Every time I've played in a league I find it a nice break from my competitive sports days. And even though you may not feel the need to go all out to dive after a softball, chase a soccer ball or block a shot during a basketball game, you still run the risk of getting injured.

In adults, injuries typically come from overuse. As adults, are bodies aren't quite as limber as they were when we were kids. And, previous years as a competitive athlete may mean you have more wear and tear on your joints than some of your sedentary friends. Also, excess body weight can take a toll on your joints. Combine excess weight with athletics and you will definitely stress your knees, back and other joints.

So, how can you stay limber and lower your risk of injury?  

1) Keep trying to lose excess body fat (rec-league sports are a great start!) In addition to putting you at risk for a variety of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, being overweight or obese stresses your joints. In fact, those who are overweight or obese have an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis (wear and tear of the cartilage that cushions joints). Osteoarthritis can cause painful, stiff joints and limit your activity.

2) Talk to your physical therapist or physician about glucosamine and chondroitin supplements.  They may be right for you, and can help make an active lifestyle more comfortable on your joints.

3) Warm up. Dynamic warm-ups (as opposed to just sitting and stretching) help get your body ready for activity.

4) Wear the right equipment, safety gear, clothes and shoes that fit properly. Also make sure you are wearing the right type of shoes for the sport you are playing.

5) Cool down to get your heart rate down gradually when you are finished.

6) Build up your exercise routine or training gradually. And, if you are in pain, stop.

If you have nagging injuries, consider going to a physical therapist that specializes in sports and can help you correct muscle imbalances, areas you are tight, poor bio mechanics and more. Poor movement patterns can increase your risk of developing an acute or chronic overuse injury. And finally, see an orthopedist if you are hurt. “Toughing it out,” can lead to a bigger problem than you started with. For more information about preventing and treating injuries, click here

SEE ALSO:  Concentrating on Long-Term Joint Health

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The Joint Health Equation, Equal Parts Exercise and Nutrition

Its pretty well known that low impact and resistance strengthening exercise is critical to joint health, whether you're in preventive/maintenance mode, or actively working on joints already in distress.  Activities like swimming, yoga, walking and other low-impact resistance exercises are regularly recommended.  But did you know that while exercise is essential to healthy bones and joints, its only half of the equation?

Great nutrition, quality food and sometimes additional supplementation make up the other, equally critical part of keeping joints and bones in good working order.    

There are important nutrients that contribute to keeping your joints healthy.  Minerals such as copper, calcium and mangenese, naturally occurring quercitin, omega-3s, vitamins D, C, and E all contribute on a structural and cellular level to keeping joint tissues strong, flexible and healthy.

Look to the following foods (among others) to increase your intake of these joint-focused nutrients:

Wild Salmon - good source of Omega 3s and Vitamin D

Apples - Unpeeled, quercitin concentrates strongest under the skin and is essential to the formation of collagen in joints

Black Beans - Loaded with mangenese and a full panel of amino acids 

Kale - Healthy bone go-to vegetable, supplies calcium, copper and mangenese, which activates enzymes needed for tissue repair

Broccoli - An alphabet soup of important vitamins and calcium

Ginger - possible anti-inflammatory properties

Lifescript.com has more in-depth information about these foods and their links to good joint health.

And if you want to do further research on other supplements thought to promote good joint health, take a further look into these ingredients. The NIH (National Institutes of Health) and the Mayo Clinic websites both have search functions for easy research.

  • Glucosamine and Chondroitin
  • Collagen
  • Aloe
  • Tart Cherry Extract or Concentrate

Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements likely have the most scientific studies behind their use to promote joint health.  But as we know, everyone's body different, and you never know what may work best for you!

SEE ALSO: Concentrating on Long-Term Joint Health

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Have You Considered Probiotics Yet?

Probiotics are one of nature’s super foods. These tiny microorganisms found in foods such as yogurt, sour cream, and sauerkraut can truly help us in so many ways. By simply consuming probiotics with a high CFU (colony forming units; shoot for at least 109 CFU) on a regular basis, you can possibly help prevent asthma/skin reactions to allergies, treat/repair stomach ulcers, and prevent the flu and the common cold! Let’s break down these benefits of consuming probiotics in more detail:

Helps Prevent Allergies

One common cause of asthma is food allergies ~ probiotics have been found, in some studies, to be able to calm the inflammation associated with these foods reactions. This helps to prevent and reduce the symptoms of asthma such as coughing, wheezing, and chest tightness. Probiotics are able to do this because they help ramp up and regulate our immune systems reactions to allergens in general, therefore reducing some of the symptoms of asthma.

Another common symptom of allergies is skin reactions or eczema (this often occurs more in infants and toddlers). One study looked at the effect of probiotics on eczema by having pregnant mothers regularly consume probiotics. The infants (from birth to 3 months old) of the mothers who consumed probiotics compared to a placebo group were half as likely to have eczema.

Helps Treat and Repair Stomach Ulcers

Research has found that probiotics may be more effective than traditional antibiotics at treating stomach ulcers induced by the bacteria Helicobacter pylori. Research has illustrated that the long-term consumption of probiotics can actually help reduce ulcers caused by H. pylori and in fact reverse some damage (this research was conducted on mice). Even if you don’t have ulcers, the regular consumption of probiotics can help maintain a healthy intestinal and digestive health.

Helps Prevent and Reduce Colds and Flu

Besides the fact that probiotics can help increase the health of our digestive system, they can also help prevent and reduce the effects of other common illnesses like colds and flu. Probiotics can help boost our immune system so much that it allows our body to fight off these kinds of attacks and also contributes to our ability to recover from these illnesses more quickly!

Wrap-Up

All-in-all probiotics should be a welcome addition to your diet. They can provide you with a plethora of benefits from improving your intestinal health to helping your immune system fight off the common cold! One thing to make sure when choosing a probiotic is that it contains multiple strains of clinically tested bacteria and that it has a 109 CFU count. Whether you get your probiotic fix from yogurt, sour cream, sauerkraut, or a supplement it’s amazing what a tiny microorganism can do!

SEE ALSO: Why You Need a Healthy Balance of Intestinal Bacteria and  6 Secrets to Better Digestive Health

For more at-home fitness, workouts, and nutritional tips visit Always Active Athletics: Your #1 Source For At-Home Fitness. 

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The Healthy Way to Road Trip This Summer

Last summer I decided I would drive 20 hours round trip for vacation. And because I try was trying to make each part of my drive as short as possible, I made 2 brief stops during each 10-hour drive. As a dietitian I had plenty of healthy snacks with me but there are two things I neglected – moving my body and better posture while driving. As a result I ended up at a rest stop in one of the Carolinas bending over to stretch my back, hamstrings and butt muscles that seemed to be stuck in a sitting position. Needless to say I’m better prepared this year after finding a few solutions to a more comfortable drive: 

Better Posture

When I get lazy, I slump. So, I have to remind myself to sit up straight or wear an intelliskin, which prompts me to maintain better posture. Also, it helps to make sure I’m close enough to the steering wheel so I’m not reaching and so my shoulders are square against the back of my seat, my head is against the head rest and the creases at the back of my knees are not flesh with the end of the seat (this may cut off blood flow). For more information on sitting posture (including pictures), click here. Also, if your car seat doesn't adjust to meet your needs, consider checking out removable back supports, butt cushions and neck supports to make it more comfortable.

Food & Drinks

Staying well hydrated will make you feel better, ensure you can focus and concentrate, keep your body from overheating and make you get up every few hours to go to the bathroom (and therefore, walk around). How do you know if you are well hydrated? You should need to use the bathroom every few hours (at least) and your urine color should look like dilute lemonade (though some medications, B vitamins and supplements may make urine bright yellow, so if this is the case, just ensure that you are producing a good quantity of urine). Caffeine is okay and will not dehydrate you but keep it to a minimum – you shouldn't need to constantly sip on caffeine in order to stay awake.

I keep snacks with me when I travel and I like having smaller meals (or mini meals) every few hours rather than big meals that can make me tired. I love snacking on:

  • Apples (though a little messy), bananas, grapes
  • Baby carrots
  • Protein bars
  • Nuts (un-shelled of course)
  • Cheese sticks or mini cheese snacks (if individually pre-packaged these can be left un-refrigerated for hours)
  • Peanut butter sandwiches

More Breaks

And finally, this year I’ll take more breaks. Sitting all day makes my body stiff. Not to mention sitting for hours is hazardous to your health

SEE ALSO:  Staying Cool this Summer While Exercising

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Are You Making Sense of Supplements? Let Us Help!

In some ways medicine seems so advanced. In other ways, medical science is still in the beginning stages of discovering the big picture of how our body uses nutrients and how they all interact in our bodies. There are so many little components and processes that haven’t been completely explored, and many that cannot be directly observed.

Nothing works in isolation in our body. Identifying all of the processes one antioxidant or nutrient is part of or responsible for is an incredibly difficult task. 

Add to that the physiological differences in every unique human body and we are left making healthy decisions using general guidelines and recommendations rather than hard numbers.


To figure out what levels of any nutrient, dietary supplement or food may be best for you given your health status, activity level, current dietary intake and goals, it is important to sit down with a registered dietitian (RD) who specializes in your area of need or type of goal. If you want to lose weight, go to someone who specializes in this, if you have Type 1 diabetes and you are an athlete, go to a RD who works with diabetic athletes.

 

There really is no substitute for a thorough analysis, including laboratory tests of existing nutrient levels that can then be integrated into a specific diet and supplement plan to get you on the right track to a balanced, nutrient-rich body.

 

Following the general guidelines is a good place to start, if you don’t feel a full nutrient-by-nutrient workup is in order. Recommended Daily Intake values for common vitamins and minerals are in most retail brands. 

 

Be sure to check the brand out thoroughly though, so you know you've picked a quality brand that uses quality ingredients.

 

As always, the type of supplement you choose should depend on personal preference and compliance – what will you continue to take on a regular basis. Because, after all, if you don’t continue taking it regularly, there’s really no point in buying it to begin with!  

 

If you are tired of swallowing yet another pill, try taking liquid supplements instead.  It does make taking your essential supplements each day a little easier, and the quality of ingredients tends to be higher grade in order to make them work well in liquid form.  They’re easy to mix into protein shakes, morning smoothies, or to take as a straight shot!

 

SEE ALSO:  Three Easy Ways to Get the Best Ingredients For a Healthier Lifestyle

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Is It Different Being an Older Athlete? The Financial Impact

Third post in series - Is it different being an older athlete?  Let’s talk finances.

Committment to any sport has a financial impact.

Even if you are a marathon runner; which some might think is not as expensive as skiing or buying a skeleton sled and perhaps that is true.   That being said, we all have new technology in the shoes, new biomechanics data and increasingly better all-around nutrition and supplement information and maintenance medical.  All of these buckets have costs that add up.

All to say, no matter the sport, it can be costly.  Gear, supplements, entry fees and travel (luggage fees too) are just a couple of the financial commitments we make all the time. 

So how does being an older athlete and finances play or not play so well together? 

Let’s start with gear.  Most gear is now marketed to “improve performance,” whether right or wrong. An older athlete will not waste time or money working their way up the gear cost chain.  Make sense?  First, financially we often decide, buy the best to start; but we also do not have time to waste on a potentially inferior product. The more expensive product might wear out faster or require more money to maintain, yet we make that choice.  Learning curve be damned!  Buy the best, go all in!   But wait, what if there is a shared budget?

An older athlete in competitive sports is often married or in a relationship.  Money for equipment, hamstring rollers, home weights, muscle creams, and medical physical therapy all cost.  This is money that is taken away from other household or family commitments. 

A younger athlete may not have this issue.   Specifically, they are not the ones making the difficult financial choice to reallocate funds that may impact the family.   Parents make the choice and perhaps the most awesome part of this is the child does not have any guilt over the decision or otherwise emotional gyrations to go through.

Consequently, for an older athlete in a marriage with or without children; the financial impact is not insular.  

When we spend money on our gear or an extra massage, chiropractic, doctor visits or travel, then we are or can be perceived as taking away from the family.   College funds, retirement funds for the family, even family vacation time can be sacrificed. 

These are non-trivial choices that in a gritty way do not stop with financial impact; there is also an emotional struggle of selfishness and sometimes resentment from your partner.  We also spend time on our given sport that would otherwise be allocated to a partner or the family.   Training takes time, but so does research for equipment or the sport in general.

There is also the food issue.  Increasingly and even for myself the supplement world is changing fast and nutrition can arguably be one of the best competitive advantages an athlete can have so, “If you are what you eat” then spending money on special food or supplements to maintain muscle is a financial hit to perhaps the food budget.    Supplements can easily cost upward of $300 a month that is $3600/year.    At the end of the day, as an older athlete making a choice to buy the months’ supply of protein powder or fresh salmon can have ripple effects because we are trading financial priorities and almost always there is a sacrifice by someone or taking from another bucket.  Even if you are single your choices are often directly impacting the nest egg of your retirement. 

These important financial choices can affect an athlete physiologically and emotionally, and depending on the strength of support at home, performance can be easily impacted.   

At the end of the day – there is a measurable financial price to being an older athlete! A younger athlete can skip merrily through the day, in new high tech gear, sucking down all the protein shakes they want, while holding the refrigerator door open and not worrying about the electric bill, the 401K or staying up to wipe down their sled after training (to keep it from rusting) in -10 degrees in the middle of the night, then cook and get the calories back in you and try to make sure the snow is out of the wheel wells before it freezes to your chains delaying your next 6:00 AM training session …… because that is what parents are for.

SEE ALSO:  Is There Anything Different About Being An "Older" Athlete?

Anna Prata is an Olympic hopeful Competitive Skeleton Athlete. Otherwise known mainly by her last name of Prata, she is 100% committed and passionate about living every moment of her life and leaving it on the field every day.   In her non-athlete time, Prata is a highly successful executive in the niche of corporate turnaround.  Both her corporate life and her sports life have similarities of stealth, intensity, and speed in creating value and less time down the ice; while wearing Kevlar to protect from the dangers of companies in distress and from potentially hitting a wall of ice at 90 MPR.  Ms. Prata is not a nutritionist, a physical therapist or in any way should her opinions be considered medical, physical  or psychological advice. 

P/S Prata is 50 Years of age!

 

 

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What Are The Best Sources of B Vitamins?

What are the best sources of b vitamins?

Feeling drained and lacking energy? Analyze your B vitamin intake.  Together, the group of B vitamins commonly referred to as the B-Complex group work together to produce energy in cells throughout your body.  Fall short of getting enough, and you may feel a lack of energy.

Though B vitamins are prevalent in a variety of foods, you may not be getting what you need if you cut out certain food groups from your diet, if you are on a low-carb diet or don’t get enough variety in your diet.  There are also certain circumstances that deplete your body’s available B vitamins or that don’t allow for proper absorption, such as gastric bypass surgery, aging, alcohol consumption, excessive caffeine consumption and excessive stress.  Vegetarians and vegans typically do not get enough vitamin B12.  

A B-Complex supplement is a great idea if you know you fall into dietary, circumstantial or malabsorptive reasons that your body may not be getting enough B’s.

  • All B Vitamins – Fortified cereals.  Can’t go wrong here, just be sure to stay away from the sugary ones, most are good source of fiber too.
     
  • Vitamin B1 (thiamin) –  Necessary for energy production.  Chronic alcoholics are most likely to be deficient in thiamin.   Top food choices: grains (cereal, bread, etc.), pork, beef, rice, nuts.
     
  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (niacin), and Pantothenic Acid – Deficiencies for these three B’s are not very common in the U.S.  If you consume an adequate amount of protein (vegetarian or vegans may not), you are most likely getting enough B3.
     
  • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) – Like all B’s it helps to convert energy from the food you eat in to a usable form in your body, and it also contributes to red blood cell formation and is necessary to proper nervous system function.  A poor diet, some medications and conditions could cause a shortage of this vitamin.  Top Food Choices: chicken, pork, peanut butter, black beans, almonds.
     
  • Biotin – Important to skin, hair and nails, energy conversion from food and nervous system function. Pregnant women, malnourished people and those who have lost a large amount of weight quickly can all be affected by a deficiency.  Top Food Choices: cooked eggs, wheat germ, peanuts, cottage cheese, and whole-wheat bread.
     
  • Vitamin B12 – An outlier of the B vitamin group, B12 is the only one that can be stored in the body. Strict vegetarian/vegan diets run the risk of B12 deficiency since it can only be sourced from animal-based foods, as are those who have had certain kinds of gastric bypass surgery in which parts of the small intestine where B12 is absorbed have been removed.  Top Food Choices: liver, salmon, clams, trout, beef, yogurt, haddock, tuna, milk, and cheese.

What happens if you get B vitamins from food and from a supplement?  Can you get too much?

Because B vitamins are water soluble, what your body needs will be excreted, so there’s a low risk of getting too much. Look for a good liquid multivitamin or B-Complex supplement that contains at least 100% of the recommended daily intake for each vitamin. It’s the best way to insure you get all the essential vitamins and nutrients you need to stay healthy.  

See where to get your next B-Vitamin Boost Here!

SEE ALSO:  B Vitamins Help Reduce the Affects of Stress

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Is It Different Being an Older Athlete? The Medical Impact

Hello one and all!  I am back with more gritty tales of being an older athlete.

Athletes get hurt, they always have....

We see this play out increasingly on TV.  As the demands for what it takes to be competitive get higher, so do the injuries.  TV and YouTube can replay for hours an ACL being blown or a bobsled crash.

Most of us all go to the doctor from the day we get hatched; but if you are an athlete, do you go more or less?  Does this change if you are an older athlete vs. a younger one?  Yes, it does, but perhaps not necessarily for the reason you are thinking.

Most people think if you are an athlete, you are healthier than the average bear and less likely go to the doctor which could in fact be true.  But times have changed and so has expectations from training, medical care and competitive athletic performance.  

One could suggest that these days, because an athlete pushes so hard, they need to go to the doctor more often.  All age groups do!!   Many of my friends with children who are athletes have no problem hitting the IRS tax deduction of the required 10% of adjusted gross income for the medical deduction.  Having children who are competitive athletes is expensive.

Training, medical care, competition metrics and supplements are changing insanely fast.

If this is the case for a younger athlete guess what happens to an older one?  Well, we are older and arguably wiser and hopefully smarter as a result; consequently, we actually DO go to all the PT appointments that the doctor prescribes after the ACL is torn and after the surgery.  Then of course we add the NMT (neuromuscular massage therapist, perhaps an acupuncturist, etc.) at the end of the day, you get the point. 

Older athletes may or may not get hurt more or heal slower but if the injury is the same for a 20 and a 50 year old, the older one will have more appointments, be more responsible about keeping them, may take longer to heal and will incur more costs.  

Now, what happens if an older athlete gets bad medical advice and is injured as a result?  This is the gritty topic that is potentially career ending and catastrophic.  I have had bad advice that caused an injury – I know many have.   You get hurt, you need help, you go to a doctor who says they can help but they do more damage and you are set back.  A bone is not set correctly or surgery is delayed creating a bigger issue.  As a competitive athlete, I see it a lot.  

But a younger athlete has time to take a year off.  Coaches and parents will insist.  When an older athlete gets hurt – we miss milestones that are expected and we do not have the luxury to take a season off to stay on the coach’s radar.  For an older athlete, we cannot afford to miss a season and come back later. 

Being a competitive athlete is full time work – you work to hit dictated milestones, to stay on the team, on everyone’s radar and to be competitive. “

If this has happened to you – you are not alone.    If a doctor advertises that he or she is an expert, first find out about their experience and ask others who have been treated by that person before you become the guinea pig.  Bad doctors will cost you greatly financially and emotionally and their mistakes can be career-ending.   

As always, any feedback, input or other blog suggestions that this inspires are most welcome. It is much more fun when we all play!  

Share your story! 

SEE ALSO:  Broken Bone Healing - How Can You Help Your Body Mend Broken Bones Faster?

Anna Prata is an Olympic hopeful Competitive Skeleton Athlete. Otherwise known mainly by her last name of Prata, she is 100% committed and passionate about living every moment of her life and leaving it on the field every day.   In her non-athlete time, Prata is a highly successful executive in the niche of corporate turnaround.  Both her corporate life and her sports life have similarities of stealth, intensity, and speed in creating value and less time down the ice; while wearing Kevlar to protect from the dangers of companies in distress and from potentially hitting a wall of ice at 90 MPR.  Ms. Prata is not a nutritionist, a physical therapist or in any way should her opinions be considered medical, physical  or psychological advice. 

P/S Prata is 50 Years of age!

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