The Power of Good Food

March Madness has begun and it’s definitely an exciting one this year. Our very own UC Davis men’s basketball team is in the Big Dance for the first time ever and beat out NC Central to take home a win in the first four round. Today, UC Davis plays the number one seed, Kansas. Although the odds seem to be in Kansas’s favor, UC Davis has something on their side that Kansas doesn’t: good nutrition.

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The men’s basketball team at UC Davis is spectacular. The coaches work hard to instill good values in their players and teach them how to succeed on the court, as well as off the court. From our nutrition department, the inspiring Dr. Liz Applegate works with their players to focus on sports nutrition and healthy habits. Through this connection, I’ve had the pleasure of working with the team over the past few years to teach effective study habits and general nutrition concepts.

Here are some soundproof tips for your inner athlete:

1. Hydrate: Drink when you’re thirsty, especially when you’re working out. It’s a fine balance between dehydration and overhydration, so your best bet is to pay attention to your thirst cues. For prolonged exercise (>1 hour) or extremely vigorous exercise (competitive basketball), alternate sips with a sports drink for some quick energy and minerals, like sodium and potassium.

2. Fuel up: Before working out, go for a bite that’s a mix of carbohydrates and protein with more emphasis on the carbs. Carbohydrates power your muscles and protein helps with muscle repair. Some ideas are a whole-wheat toast with nut butter or topped with an egg, half a serving of granola with yogurt, 1/4 cup whole-wheat pasta with tomato sauce and chicken sausage, and more.

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3. Power down: After exercising, replenish your stores with carbohydrates and protein with more emphasis on the carbs. When you work out, tiny tears occur in your muscles, so it’s important to give your body time to heal and protein helps facilitate these repairs. Also, your stores of carbohydrate (for energy) can become depleted depending on the duration and intensity of exercise, so eating carbohydrates after helps your body re-fuel. Some ideas are chocolate milk (or chocolate soy milk), veggie stir-fry with brown rice and chicken breast (or tofu), veggies +pita + hummus, veggie omelet on whole-wheat toast, etc.

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With these tips in mind, UC Davis will be powered up and ready to take on the game today! Who’s watching later?!

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What are your sports nutrition tips?

Are you doing a March Madness bracket? Who are you rooting for today? (spoiler: there is a correct answer ;))

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Bring on the Controversy

Nutrition can be…controversial. Everyone seems to have something to say about food, whether it’s composition of nutrients, where their food comes from, pesticides, eating regimens, and much more. This is exciting – people care about their food. It’s a great time to be in the nutrition field. However, there’s so much misinformation out there, who are you supposed to look to for credible information?

I wanted to pop into this space today to share the evidence-based nutrition fact sheets my lab group creates that are available to everyone here: http://cns.ucdavis.edu/resources/infosheets.html

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These fact sheets are a great way to read about popular nutrition topics, such as cholesterol, fat, and soy, and get the research-backed facts to make informed decisions.

Also, Happy RD Day to a few of my favorite RDs, Charlotte, Lori, Elieke, Jackie, and Lisa! Keep on keeping on and encouraging health. I’ll be back with your regularly scheduled WTF Wednesday next week :).

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