Supplement Savvy - Page 2
How it helps: Greens are brimming with vitamins and cell-protecting antioxidants that runners need to sustain training and recovery. Further, greens help restore a healthy pH balance in the body, thereby improving bone health. Problem is, most people aren’t eating nearly enough of the dark greens available in the produce department such as kale, Swiss chard and collards.
When to supplement: Supplementing greens is a convenient and reliable way to help get your required daily intake of green vegetables and then some. The main players in green powders are typically nutrient-dense cereal grasses including alfalfa, oat, barley and wheat along with algae such as spirulina and chlorella—aquatic living organisms found on the surface of lakes and seas. Greens powders are easily mixed into water, juice or post-workout shakes. Concentrated green powder capsules are also available.
How to take it: A healthy daily dose is anything from one to six grams of greens per day. Select a powder brand that is at least 50-percent greens. As for store-bought green juices, watch out for those that are mostly apple or other nutritionally inferior juices with just a speck of greens. Read the ingredient list to make sure greens are one of the first few items listed as some “green” drinks on the market actually have as much sugar as soda.
We like: Amazing Grass Green Superfood
Eat it: You can grow your own grasses for juicing, but we don’t suggest skimming the top of any lakes for green stuff.
How it helps: Protein aids in muscle recovery, boosts strength gains in response to training, helps you maintain a healthy immune function and replaces the protein burned up for energy production during exercise.
When to supplement: While it’s easy to get all the protein you need to support daily training from whole foods such as poultry, fish, yogurt and beans, protein powders offer a convenient, dependable and portable source of protein when you need it most: post-workout. Isolated proteins, like whey, are digested faster than the protein in foods such as beef and chicken, so gulping a protein shake after a hard run can hasten muscle recovery.
How to take it: Whey protein contains an arsenal of muscle-friendly branched-chain amino acids like leucine (L) for example. Look for brands with whey protein isolate as the first ingredient—this is the purest form of whey available and contains very little, if any, fat or lactose. Hemp protein is a good non-dairy protein powder. It is one of the highest-quality plant proteins available and is free of allergens. Look for unflavored protein powders to avoid added sugars or artificial sweeteners. In most cases, a 20-gram protein serving is plenty. Pay attention to labels, as suggested serving sizes often contain more.
We like: Hammer Heed Whey Protein Powder (www.hammernutrition.com) or Manitoba Harvest Hemp Pro 70 (www.mantiobaharvest.com)
Eat it: Dietary sources of whey protein include ricotta cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese and milk. You can find hemp protein in hemp seeds, which add a nutty flavor to yogurt, cereal and smoothies.
The Buck Stops Here - Don’t let these supplements drain your pocketbook.
By helping deliver oxygen to muscles, adequate iron levels are a must if you want to perform your best. However, too much iron can damage organs. Pre-menopausal women who lose iron in their blood during monthly menstruation should select a multivitamin with iron. Don’t take an individual iron supplement, though, unless a doctor has diagnosed a deficiency.
Little data supports taking high doses of one or two antioxidants like lycopene on their lonesome. Researchers believe antioxidants in foods work together in synergy to fend off disease so isolating them may not have the same effect.
Studies in humans have yet to show that the flavonoid quercetin can bolster endurance performance by more than trivial amounts.
Studies involving vitamin-E supplementation on heart disease and cancer risk have generally come up lame, while Harvard scientists found it may raise stroke risk. Stick with food sources such as nuts, avocado and olive oil or what is found in a multivitamin.