9/5/08

Feeling fruity?

Check out IronGirl.com for my new article (which I posted below.....)

Feeling Fruity?
By Marni Rakes






You would think that athletes obtain all the necessary vitamins and minerals in the daily diet due to an increased requirement for food. Because athletes expend more energy than inactive people during exercise, there is a need to consume sufficient calories to foster a healthy and balanced diet while fueling exercise. However, many studies have shown that athletes are deficient in many vitamins and minerals. While athletes primarily focus on carbohydrates to fuel training, it is also noted that hectic schedules, weight loss goals and dietary preferences create difficulty in obtaining essential vitamins and minerals.


Without a doubt, vitamin and minerals are necessary in the diet of athletes. What is not known, however, is whether vitamin and mineral supplements significantly improve the performance of athletes. For any person deficient in a certain vitamin and mineral, the need for supplementation may arise. However, the most important component of the daily diet is avoiding any nutrient deficiencies by seeking wholesome foods to keep the body nourished.

While you might find it satisfying to slice a banana for your morning oatmeal, you would probably enjoy a cup of yogurt and a cup of berries. Rather than focusing on specific nutrient recommendations, try to include at least three servings of fruit in the daily diet. If anything, do not avoid a serving of fruit because you think it is high in calories. It is assumed that eating a handful of grapes may not cure a growling stomach but it important to find which fruits are most satisfying, filling and nutrient dense.

When attempting to add fruits into your diet, choose all colors of the rainbow to provide your body with an assortment of nutrients. While eating a small piece of fruit may be a convenient snack, try a medley of cut fruit, high-fiber fruit, fresh/frozen fruit or a home-made fruit smoothie to keep you full between meals. An easy way to add more fruit to the diet is through a piece of fruit at breakfast, 1-2 servings of fruit for mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks and fruit for desert. Because fruits do contain calories, it is always important to use portion control.

Include some of the following fruits in the daily diet to ensure that you are meeting your daily vitamin and mineral recommendations:

High fiber fruits -
Keeps food moving through the intestines. Helps treat and prevent diabetes, elevated cholesterol and digestive tract problems.
-Apple
-Pear
-Avocado
-Banana
-Prunes
-Berries


Vitamin A fruits -
Helps maintain healthy hair and skin. Promotes good eyesight and strong bones and teeth.
-Mango
-Cantaloupe
-Apricots
-Watermelon
-Peaches
-Blackberries

Vitamin B fruits -
Creates antibodies to help immune system, maintains normal nerve functioning and chemical reactions of proteins. Essential for body metabolism and formation of hormones. Helps the digestive system and with converting food to energy. Critical for functioning of the heart, muscles and nervous system.
-Watermelon
-Kiwi
-Peaches
-Bananas
-Cantaloupe
-Oranges
-Strawberries

Vitamin C fruits -
Contains antioxidants that protect the body from oxidative damage. Anti-viral mediator.
-Kiwis
-Strawberries
-Cantaloupe
-Banana
-Orange
-Papaya
-Grapes

Vitamin E fruits-
Contains antioxidants that protect the body from oxidative damage. Important in red blood cell formation. Soothes and heals stressed skin tissue.
-Blackberries
-Bananas
-Apples
-Kiwi

Calcium fruits -
Builds strong bones, carries messages in nerves and helps regulate nutrient passages through cell walls.
-Oranges
-Blackberries
-Kiwi
-Strawberry
-Grapes
-Apples
-Cantaloupe
-Peach
-Bananas

Iron fruits -
Prevent fatigue and weakness in the case of a deficiency. Important for red blood cell functioning.
-Blackberries
-Kiwi
-Strawberry
-Bananas
-Grapes

Manganese fruits -
Helps with enzyme reactions concerning blood sugar, metabolism and thyroid functioning.
-Blackberries
-Strawberries

Folate (vitamin B9) fruits -
Produce red blood cells and create DNA for normal brain functioning.
-Oranges
-Strawberries
-Avocado
-Melons


Potassium fruits -
Help keep a balance of water between the cells and body fluids. Helps with proper heart function and the body's growth and maintenance.
-Bananas
-Plum
-Apricots
-Peach
-Berries




Berry Great Breakfast Smoothie

½ cup frozen strawberries
½ cup frozen raspberries
½ cup frozen blueberries
½ ripe banana
8 ounces vanilla yogurt
1 cup light vanilla (or plain) soy milk
½ cup ice cubes
*Optional: add 1 scoop whey protein to the smoothie for a great post-workout meal.

1. Blend soy milk, yogurt, banana and ice until smooth.
2. Add berries and blend again until smooth (add optional whey protein in step #2).
3. Pour 8-12 ounces of smoothie into a tall cup and enjoy!