Move More: Tips to Increase your Incidental Exercise

Incidental exercise is the movement you perform as part of your everyday life that makes up your daily activities. These movements can be simple – from walking to the mailbox to gardening to playing with the kids – but together these bite-sized chunks can add up to a significant portion of your total daily physical activity. Physical activity has excellent health benefits and forms the foundation of a healthy lifestyle. It raises your daily energy expenditure and helps reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.

Sitting is the new smoking. Here are some handy ways to boost incidental exercise:

  • Set an alarm on your phone or watch to move hourly from your desk or chair
  • Invest in a standing desk
  • Take regular breaks to grab another glass of water
  • Take phone calls on your mobile and do laps around the office
  • Don’t install a printer at your desk, walk to collect printing
  • Catch up with work colleagues or friends over a brisk walk instead of sitting down at the office or coffee shop
  • Always use the stairs over the lift or escalators
  • Jump off the bus a few stops early and walk the rest of the way
  • Multi task – instead of sitting down in front of the television, do chores like washing, ironing and folding.
  • Park further away from the shop entry
  • Leave the TV remote on the coffee table and get up to change the channel

 

Exercise to manage stress and mood

It is well known that exercise increases your fitness and improves your overall health and well-being. Exercise is also an effective way to manage your mood and stress levels.

Virtually any form of exercise from weight lifting to running or even yoga, has powerful ‘mood-boosting’ effects. Exercise can help:

·       Decrease stress and anxiety levels

·       Ward off feelings of depression

·       Boost confidence and self-esteem

·       Increase productivity

·       Improve sleep

So how does exercise work it’s magic?

Endorphins. Endorphins are feel-good neurotransmitters or chemicals. When you perform any type of physical activity your body responds by releasing these neurotransmitters. The endorphins interact with your brain’s opiate receptors and trigger feelings of euphoria and general well-being. They also suppress your ability to feel pain.

Although a demanding schedule sounds like the perfect reason to for-go exercising, setting aside some time to move every day helps turn your daily physical activity into a healthy habit. The current recommendations for healthy adults is 150 to 300 minutes of moderate or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous activity per week. Try breaking exercise up into smaller chunks, mixing up the intensity of your physical activity and alternating between morning, lunch time and evening activities to fit around your busy days. Whatever you do, don’t think of exercise as another chore – it is actually the key to de-stressing after a hectic day! 

Why Alcohol is the Hand Break on Your Weight Loss Goals

No-one likes a hand brake. 

Yet consuming even moderate amounts of alcohol has detrimental effects on weight loss. The biggest problem with alcohol is not simply its energy density, it’s also how alcohol effects our body’s metabolic processes. Most importantly, its capacity to metabolise fat.

The reason why alcohol impacts our metabolism is linked to the way in which ethanol is processed. Ethanol is a toxic molecule and our body doesn’t have a storage place for it. Unlike fat, which is deposited into fat cells or carbohydrates which are stored as glycogen in our muscles and liver. Essentially the body has no choice but to prioritise the breakdown and removal of alcohol over all other macronutrients.

The major processing site for alcohol in the body is the liver. Up to 98% of alcohol consumed is transported to the liver where the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase converts alcohol to acetaldehyde. This molecule is then transformed into acetate, producing a sudden increase in blood acetate levels.

The body prefers to burn acetate over fat because it is more efficient. Acetate is a very readily available fuel source so the body doesn't have to do much metabolic work to use it. Our body suppresses fat oxidation (fat burning), sometimes by up to 73% (!), until the acetate is burned off. This means that for the subsequent hours after drinking, your body is in unable to utilise fat stores and any plans you had for fat loss come to a grinding halt.

But wait, there is more bad news…

When we drink heavily for an extended period of time, our body recognises alcohol as a consistent energy source and adapts to use it more efficiently. The body activates a system known as the ‘microsomal ethanol-oxidising system’ in order to redistribute and remove excess alcohol and promote body fat storage. The most common site of fat storage is around your mid-section (hence why lovers of alcohol usually sport a "beer gut").

If you’re a part of our Healthy Lifestyle Challenge, these are just a couple of good reasons why alcohol intake scores so poorly. While for some it may be hard to avoid, it wouldn’t be called a ‘challenge’ if it wasn’t challenging, right? We only have your health at heart. Plus it’s only 30 days out of your whole life – you’ll thank us for it later. 

 

 

7 Tips to Drink More Water

For some, drinking enough water each day is easier said than done. Maybe you dislike the taste, get too busy or just plain forget about drinking until bedtime, when chugging eight glasses is highly impractical (and not advised!). To help you drink more water, we’ve put together 7 tips you can use to develop this healthy and essential habit.

  1. Buy a water bottle (and use it)
    Invest in a high-quality, stainless steel or heavy duty BPA free plastic water bottle and take it with you everywhere! If you regularly forget to drink water, find ways to keep your water bottle visible. Keep it on your bedside table, on your desk and in the car. Increase your availability of water and opportunity to drink and chances are you will.
     
  2. Add sugar-free flavour
    If plain water isn’t your thing, try flavouring it with fresh fruits and herbs. Try these tasty combinations:

    Cucumber and mint
    Fresh lemon or lime wedges – squeeze some of the juice into your water first
    Frozen berries – strawberries, raspberries, blueberries. These also double as ice cubes and are great for summer
    Fresh lemon and ginger root
    range slices & blueberries
    Watermelon and mint
    Rosemary and grapefruit
    Kiwi and cucumber
     
  3. Switch things up and go for a sparkling mineral water.
    Soda streams are all the rage at the moment and are a cheap way of making your own bubbly water without the wastefulness of buying numerous bottles from the supermarket.
     
  4. Add water to your daily routine
    Adding water into your morning and night time routine is an easy way to ensure you drink at least two glasses of water each day. Get into the habit of drinking a glass of water before you have breakfast and another right before you brush your teeth at night.
     
  5. Turn your water bottle into a timer
    You can create drinking goals and mark them on your water bottle to hit targets by certain times of the day. Use tape or a permanent marker to mark how much water you aim to drink by a particular time.  This is a helpful way to keep track of whether you are going to hit your goal water intake (or not). You can also buy motivational water bottles pre-marked or even fancier products with inbuilt computers that track your water consumption.
     
  6. Create mental triggers
    Identify some mental prompts to drink water. For example, if you feel hungry opt for a glass of water before eating. Not only will this keep you hydrated it will could also possibly curb your hunger.
     
  7. Be active
    We lose water in sweat which needs to be replaced during and after exercise. If you're struggling to drink, go for a brisk walk or do some exercise in the gym. This will help drive thirst as your body works to restore its hydration balance or homeostasis.

Happy drinking!

 

3 Benefits to Eating What’s in Season

Fruits and vegetables naturally grow in cycles and ripen during a certain season each year. Purchasing your fruits and vegetables when they naturally ripen is called ‘eating seasonally’, and eating with the seasons has some serious perks to it. 

1. Bang for your buck

Choosing seasonal produce can help you get the most value out of your dollar. Fruits and vegetables picked during their season are in peak supply and this means the cost of growing, harvesting and transporting produce is much lower. If your produce is sourced locally from Australian farmers, the cost of transporting and storing the crops is reduced too. All of these savings are passed on to you, the consumer. For example, buying berries when they are in season is much friendlier on the wallet than buying in their off season when prices can double or even triple!

2. Tastier

Non-seasonal produce typically must be harvested before it is ripe, cooled to stall ripening, stored and transported significant distances to where it will be sold and consumed. The ripening process is then controlled by hot rooms, humidity and ethylene to cause even, uniform ripening. The other way seasonal fruits and vegetables are farmed in Australia is with the assistance of green houses. While there are no food safety issues with either of these methods, seasonal fruit and veggies are naturally ripened on the plant, tree or vine and harvested when they are in their prime. This means tastier, crispier vegetables and sweeter fruits. Strawberries are a great example of how sweet and delicious in-season varieties are.

3. More nutritious

Buying out-of-season fruits and vegetables can mean your food has travelled thousands of kilometres with controlled aging in that time. This can affect nutrient density – particlarly some antioxidants. Green leafy vegetables like spinach are rich in folic acid which decays over time and the vitaminc C content of spinach can decrease by up to 90 percent! In-season produce is fresher and this can mean it’s higher in nutritional value. 

How to Make Vegetables Tasty

Hopefully we don’t need to sell you on the fact that vegetables are good for you. We’ve all heard the nutrition pitch on their micronutrient density, high fibre and low energy content. But for some of us, eating vegetables feels like an unpleasant chore. Luckily there are many ways to prepare, cook and serve veggies which makes getting your ‘five a day’ surprisingly enjoyable.

Use different cooking methods

Adding tasty veggies to your diet could be as simple as changing how you cook them! Sometimes the vegetable you don’t like boiled, taste amazing roasted, grilled, steamed, sautéed or stir-fried. Roasting is a great method because the roasting process caramelises the sugars in vegetables, enhancing their flavour and making them sweeter. Virtually every vegetable, from potatoes and parsnips to broccoli, carrots and Brussels sprouts can be roasted. Try chopping up a variety of different coloured veggies (e.g. eggplant, capsicum, zucchini, red onion, sweet potato), tossing in extra virgin olive oil and seasoning with a little salt and pepper. Bake in the oven on a foil-lined tray at 180-200°C for 30-45 minutes and voila! Crispy, sweet and delicious vegetables!

Add herbs and spices

Using herbs and spices to season your vegetables is a great way to enhance their flavours. Here are 10 quick herb/spice and vegetable pairings to try:

  1. Asparagus with dill, marjoram, nutmeg or rosemary
  2. Broccoli with sage, oregano, thyme, rosemary, garlic, marjoram or nutmeg
  3. Carrots with parsley, basil, curry, chives, sage or thyme
  4. Zucchini with garlic, basil, parsley or oregano
  5. Eggplant with garlic, parsley, mint, sage, curry, basil, rosemary or oregano
  6. Leeks with mustard, parsley, dill, bay leaves, thyme, paprika or celery salt
  7. Mushrooms with ginger, pepper, cumin, parsley or thyme
  8. Peas with tarragon, mint, parsley, nutmeg, sage, marjoram or basil
  9. Potatoes with garlic, nutmeg, paprika, pepper, rosemary or thyme
  10. Tomatoes with basil, tarragon, garlic, chives, dill, mint, oregano, paprika, fennel, parsley or thyme

Flavour with healthy dip

Eating veggies as a snack on the go or at the office is an easy way to get your ‘five a day’. If eating raw vegetables doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, you need to try veggie sticks and dip. Dips are super easy to make at home in a food processor or you can purchase from a supermarket. Pair tzatziki, hummus, guacamole or white bean dip with capsicum, celery, carrots, snow or sugar snap peas. Chobani* do some amazing healthier dips made from yoghurt. So good you could get away with eating the whole tub!

*not sponsored

Try soups

An easy way to get extra veggies into your day is to include vegetable soup!

All you need to do is boil or slow cook whatever veggies you like with a little water or stock, then blitz with a stick blender or eat as is.
Pumpkin soup is always a fave, with pumpkin, potato, onion, leek and garlic. Or pea and ham, beef and vegetable, chicken noodle, lamb shank and pasta, Moroccan carrot, sweet potato and chickpea. The flavour combinations are endless! 

Hide the veg!

If all else fails, hide vegetables in meals to mask the taste or texture to sneak them in. Vegetables can be added to almost every meal, even the ones you might least expect. Grate or puree veggies into sauces, mince dishes, soups and casseroles. Greens like kale, zucchini and baby spinach are easily disguised in a berry smoothie. Load omelettes up with finely diced onion, capsicum, mushrooms, spinach and cherry tomatoes. They will be tastier and are a whole lot more filling.

For more recipe ideas…register for our monthly newsletter in the footer below! 

2 Fruit 5 Vegetables - What is a Serve?

As part of our Healthy Lifestyle Challenge, participants strive to include 2 fruit serves and 5 vegetables serves into their diet each day. So what exactly is a serve?

Fruit

1 standard serve of fruit is approximately 150g (350kJ)

1 serve = 

  • 1 medium piece of fruit e.g. 1 apple, orange, pear, small banana
  • 2 small pieces of fruit e.g. 2 kiwi fruit, apricots, plums, nectarines
  • 1 cup diced fruit e.g. fruit salad, melon, berries, pineapple

Fresh is best but occasional sources include:

  • 30g Dried fruit e.g. 1.5 tbs sultanas, 2 dried apricots
  • 125ml Juice (100% juice, no added sugar)

These should not constitute your fruit serves of a daily basis but are OK to include occasionally.

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Vegetables

1 standard serve of vegetables is approximately 75g (100-350kJ)

1 serve = 

Non-Starchy Vegetables:

  • ½ cup cooked vegetables
  •  1 cup raw salad vegetables

Starchy vegetables:

  •  1 medium potato
  • ½ cup corn kernels
  • 1 small sweet potato

We challenge you to use at least 4 of your serves from the non-starchy veggies each day, leaving 1/day for the starchy variety.

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Only 6% of Australians get enough vegetables each day - we're hoping to change that, one challenge at a time!

Pour me a Standard Drink

Although they sound the same, one drink doesn’t always equal one standard drink....

One glass of wine.jpg

Why?

An alcoholic drink is not pure alcohol – it is a solution which contains varying amounts of ethanol (pure alcohol) and other ingredients. Some alcoholic drinks are stronger than others because they contain a greater amount of pure alcohol (ethanol) in the same volume. The higher the concentration of ethanol in the drink, the stronger the drink and the more standard drinks it will contain.

For example, mid-strength beer is 3.5% alcohol while spirits are approximately 40% alcohol.

What is a standard drink?

A standard (STD) drink is a unit measure of the amount of pure alcohol (ethanol) in your drink.

In Australia, 1.0 STD drink = 10g Ethanol

Below are some examples of typical drinks and how many standard drinks each contains:

For more information on alcohol and standard drink serves, visit www.alcohol.gov.au and download the standard drinks chart HERE

For more information on alcohol and standard drink serves,
visit www.alcohol.gov.au and download the standard drinks chart HERE

To further complicate matters, no matter where you go alcohol is served in different glasses, jars, bottles and jugs. Next time you’re out, take note of the size of the glass your drink is served in – don’t assume that a glass holds one standard drink. A standard restaurant pour of wine is in fact 150ml, while 1.0 standard drink of wine is 100ml.

When keeping track of alcohol intake it is more reliable to count the number of standard drinks you have had, than the number of glasses.

If you're a part of our Healthy Lifestyle Challenge...

You lose points for each alcoholic drink you consume. Deduct -10 points for each 1.0 Standard drink you consume. So if you had 150ml of wine, that's 1.5 standard drinks and means -15 points. ouch!

Beer Smoothie meme.jpg

Dietary Periodisation: What is it but how do you do it?..

We talk about periodising nutrition all the time, but WHAT the heck is it? And HOW do you do it?

Nutrition Periodisation is the use of planned nutritional strategies aimed at maximising the results from specific training sessions to improve performance (1). It is just like having a training plan but for your nutrition, where your nutrition is planned around your training to get the most bang for your buck out of it.

Periodising nutrition primarily manipulates our glycogen stores, or our carbohydrate fuel tank.

There are a few ways dietary periodisation can be used:

1. Train low

This is where you train with low glycogen stores. For example, you train first thing in the morning on an empty stomach or you don’t quite top your glycogen stores back up between sessions. This allows your body to learn to run more efficiently on a lower fuel tank. For athletes that train twice or even three to four times a day, chances are they are probably running on lower glycogen stores for some of those sessions.

2. Sleep low

This is where you sleep with low glycogen stores. For example, you have a hard, glycogen depleting session in the evening and don’t include adequate carbohydrate with dinner to fully refuel your glycogen fuel tank overnight. You’re going to sleep ‘low’. This allows the body to adapt overnight. It’s then important to fuel up before your session in the morning (especially for females) as this has implications on iron and calcium pathways.

3. Recover low

This is where you delay refuelling in that immediate post-exercise recovery window. Not refuelling immediately after training allows us to adapt to changes occurring as a result of training (2).

4. Train high

This is where you train on a full glycogen tank. This not only supports a quality training session, it also trains your gut to absorb carbohydrate efficiently and can maximise the amount of carbohydrate we can use for energy each hour (1).

By manipulating our carbohydrate availability around sessions, we can maximise our training response. Training with high carbohydrate availability, improves performance, especially for the high intensity sessions where top end speed is required (1). By training with low glycogen stores, we force our body to adapt, to utilise fat as a fuel, making this pathway more efficient and improving aerobic performance. However, when we are running on an empty carbohydrate tank, the quality of our training is compromised.

We train to get fitter, faster and more efficient. We spend hours and hours training, but if we haven’t got our nutrition sorted, it can be harder to reach our goals. Invest in some planning of your nutrition, periodised across your training week to get the most bang for your buck. Improved performance was observed after just 1 week of periodised nutrition in cyclists (3).

As Accredited Sports Dietitians, periodisation is our forte! We can help you work out which method to utilise when across your training week as you can’t do them all at once. Nutrition periodisation is most effective when following a plan and choosing the most appropriate training sessions to pair it with based on your goals (2).


Now let’s talk about HOW to periodise your nutrition... 

Here is an example of the same recipe, but adjusted for carbohydrate content depending on the goals of that meal.

Image 1 is our chicken burger patty with an Asian slaw and soy dressing.

Image 2 is our chicken burger patty on a wholegrain wrap with salad

Image 3 is our chicken burger patty on a large Turkish bread roll with salad

You’ll see that the protein portion of each meal remains the same. And the SIZE of the meal is also similar. Yet the carbohydrate content ranges from 20g up to 90g. This my friends, is an example of HOW you periodise your nutrition. You're welcome.

Now we don't want to give all of our secrets away so the detail stops there, sorry :)

Dietary Periodisation

References: 

1. Jeukendrup, A, E. Periodized Nutrition for Athletes. Sports Med. 2017; 47 (Suppl 1): S51-63.

2. Marquet L, A et al. Enhanced Endurance Performance by Periodization of Carbohydrate Intake: “Sleep Low” Strategy. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2016; Vol 48(4): 663-672.

3. Marquet 2 et al. Periodization of Carbohydrate Intake: Short-Term Effect on Performance. Nutrients. 2016; 8(12): 755.

Happy gut for a happy life! Boost your mood through food

Feeling sad, moody or a bit low? We all do from time to time. Especially for us if we haven't done any exercise! 

Did you know your gut can have a role in your mental health? 

A number of studies have confirmed a close link between our gut bacteria and our brain; ever heard of the gut-brain axis? The gut microbiota (bacteria) greatly impacts our brain physiology, influencing behaviour and responses to stress. Research shows that a plant-rich diet high in probiotics and prebiotics helps to increase the richness and diversity of our gut microbiota and therefore aids in our stress responses and mental health.  

How can you eat for a happy life?

To promote balanced moods and feelings of well-being:

  • Focus on a plant rich diet including a wide variety of fruit, vegetables and legumes. Aim to fill half of your plate with salad and veggies at lunch and dinner.

  • Include wholegrains such as brown rice, quinoa, wholemeal pasta, couscous and grainy bread.

  • Keep your plate portions of animal protein rich foods to 1/4, not 1/2. These include lean meats, eggs, poultry, fish and seafood. Most people overeat protein.

  • Choose healthful, unsaturated fats such as extra virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds and avocado 

  • Get adequate calcium by including 2-3 serves of high calcium dairy foods such as milk, yoghurt and cheese

To promote healthy gut bacteria, combine the balance above with:

  • Probiotic yoghurt, such as Greek yoghurt with live active cultures

  • Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, pickles, kimchi

  • Kefir and kombucha

  • Sourdough bread

  • Cultured soymilk if dairy is not for you

Runners Gut. What is it? How can you prevent it?

Are you the type of runner that knows exactly where every public toilet is along your route?

Don’t worry - you're not alone! 30-50% of athletes regularly suffer from gastrointestinal (GI) problems while exercising (1).

Far too common among endurance athletes, GI symptoms include nausea, cramps, bloating, wind, vomiting, diarrhoea and urgency. The frequency, intensity and severity of these symptoms seems to increase as the event distance increases.

So why exactly does it happen?

It’s multifaceted and highly individual but reasons include mechanical, physiological, and nutritional factors (2). We also know that the symptoms are exacerbated by dehydration and hot weather conditions. If you are female, younger and run at high intensity, you may be at higher risk of GI symptoms too (1) (damnit).

Running causes an increase in intra-abdominal pressure which, when combined with our organs bouncing up and down can cause GI symptoms (2). When we exercise, blood flow is re-directed away from our gastrointestinal tract to the exercising muscles, heart, lungs, brain and skin. Blood flow to our intestines can be reduced by as much as 80% !! This obviously compromises gut function and can exacerbate symptoms.

Hydration plays an important role. Dehydrated athletes have reported increased rates of nausea, abdominal cramps and delayed gastric emptying (food leaving your stomach) and associated nausea. Combine decreased blood flow to the gut with dehydration and it can cause increased permeability of the gut (2). In plain English – things are moving across the gut walls in a way they shouldn’t be, causing GI upset.

From a nutritional point of view; fat, fibre, protein and high carbohydrate concentrations (osmolarity) can all be associated with increased risk of GI symptoms. Fat, fibre and protein all slow down digestion – not ideal when you’re running at pace. Large amounts of carbohydrate may not be fully absorbed, leaving residual carbohydrate in the stomach causing GI symptoms during exercise such as bloating, fullness, flatulence and nausea (2).

What can you do to prevent runners gut? Here are our tips:

1.     Train your gut

The gut is extremely adaptable. Research (in humans) shows that you can train your gut in as little as ~30 days to increase absorption capacity (2). Train your gut, just as you would your muscles. Start small and slowly increase the quantities of food and/or fluids you consume while running over a few weeks/months to build your tolerance. Try different types of foods, liquids and gels in training to figure out what works best for you. The golden rule of sports nutrition – NEVER try anything new on race day.

Keep in mind that GI symptoms are usually increased with distance, heat and humidity (3, 4), so you will likely need different strategies depending on the season and the distance you are running.

2.     Play with different carbohydrate sources

We know our gut absorption rate of glucose alone maxes out at approx. 1g/min, or 60g/hour. For the longer endurance events >2hours (i.e. half and full marathons, 50km, 100km and ultra’s), higher carbohydrate intake is recommended, although it's important to find your individual ceiling. You can increase your carbohydrate absorption by utilising different carbohydrates e.g. fructose. This is because it’s absorbed across the gut wall via a different pathway to glucose and can occur simultaneously. Stick to smaller doses, then build you tolerance up over several weeks/months.

3.     Avoid high fibre foods before competition

In the day or two leading into hard training or competition when you bump up your carbohydrate intake, maintain your typical fibre intake to minimise the amount of undigested fibre left in your gastrointestinal tract. Choose white, more refined breads and cereals instead of wholemeal or wholegrain. Keep high fibre veggies and fruits to a minimum. Some lower fibre options include tomato, zucchini, olives, grapes and grapefruit at <1g fibre/serve.

Note: This is not a long-term approach. It should only be followed for 1-2 days ahead of competition. Generally, you should be consuming a high fibre diet to regulate bowel movements and keep you regular.

4.     Go easy on the coffee (sorry)

If you have a sensitive gut, avoid drinking coffee on an empty stomach or right before hard runs. I know, I know…coffee is the best elixir and has performance enhancing effects - but coffee is a strong gut irritant and could be exacerbating your problem. Save your brew for post-exercise. There are plenty of other ways to get caffeine in – don’t stress.

5.     Start exercise hydrated and stay hydrated!

It goes without saying right? Yet the number of athletes we see turn up to sweat testing already dehydrated is insane. Without the use of regular USG’s (urine specific gravity), monitoring the colour of your urine can give you a general idea on your hydration status. You’re aiming for pale, straw coloured urine on a day to day basis as a measure of good hydration. Crystal clear and you’re overdoing it. Really dark and you probably need to drink more…

During exercise you typically need to drink to replace sweat losses enough so you don’t put yourself into the red of dehydration where performance is affected. Do some sweat testing to figure out your sweat rate in different environmental conditions, then work to replace 50-80% of the losses depending on the conditions, duration and intensity. Again, something to practice. If your sweat rate is >3L/hour – you will struggle to drink and absorb this volume of fluid without some serious gut training!

Another good tip is to have a good hit of water with your pre-exercise meal (300-450ml) as this will help prime the stomach to empty well and absorb any nutrition you’re using during exercise. Something to practice. Start with a smaller volume (100-200ml) then build up to 350-450ml 2 hours before exercise.

An Accredited Sports Dietitian can help you with an individualised hydration plan for training and racing.

6.     Your day to day diet impacts your ability to absorb nutrients

Studies have shown increased gastric emptying of carbohydrate by increasing daily dietary carbohydrate (8). Interestingly, increased daily fat intake results in faster gastric emptying of fat, but not carbohydrate. How cool is that?

So, if you generally have a high carbohydrate diet, this increases your ability to absorb carbohydrate across the intestinal wall which in turn, allows greater absorption and then oxidation of carbohydrate during exercise (6). This lowers the chance of GI distress.

For those people that follow a low carbohydrate, high fat diet generally, your intestines respond by decreasing intestinal absorption of carbohydrate and increasing fat absorption. If you then try and ramp up your carbohydrate intake just before competition, chances are you won’t absorb this as well and will have a higher chance of running into GI issues on race day (pun intended). It is also unlikely you will be able to increase your carbohydrate intake beyond 60g/hr if this isn’t something you’ve practiced in training.

Ideal scenario – periodise your intake across the week so you have some days of high carbohydrate availability and some days with low carbohydrate availability depending on your goals and events.

Speak to an Accredited Sports Dietitian about the best strategy for you. Research shows that runners who applied a freely chosen nutritional strategy consumed less carbohydrates during the race and their finish time was longer (5).

Want better results and easy to follow strategies that are tailored to your individual needs? Get professional advice.

 

References

  1. de Oliviera EP, Burini RC. Food-dependent, exercise-induced gastrointestinal distress. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2011; 8: p12
  2. de Oliviera EP, Burini RC. Carbohydrate-Dependent, Exercise-Induced Gastrointestinal Distress. Nutrients. 2014; 6: p4191-4199.
  3. Pfeiffer B et al. Nutritional Intake and Gastrointestinal Problems during Competitive Endurance Events. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2012; 44(2): p344-351.
  4. Sessions J et al. Carbohydrate gel ingestion during running in the heat on markers of gastrointestinal distress. European Journal of Sport Science. 2016; 16(8): p1064-1072.

  5. Hansen EA et al. Improved Marathon Performance by In-Race Nutritional Strategy Intervention. International Journal Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. 2014; 24: p645-655.

  6. Cox GR, Clark SA, Amanda J. Cox AJ, Halson SL, Hargreaves M, Hawley JA, Jeacocke N, Snow RJ, Yeo WK, Burke LM. Daily training with high carbohydrate availability increases exogenous carbohydrate oxidation during endurance cycling. Journal of Applied Physiology. 2010 109(1); p126-134 DOI: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00950.2009

  7. Lambert GP, Lang J, Bull A, et al. Fluid tolerance while running: effect of repeated trials. International Journal of Sports Medicine. 2008; 29: p878–82.

  8. Cunningham KM, Horowitz M, Read NW. The effect of short-term dietary supplementation with glucose on gastric emptying in humans. British Journal of Nutrition. 1991; 65: (15–9).

  9. de Oliveira, E. P., Burini, R. C., Jeukendrup, A. 2014. Gastrointestinal complaints during exercise: prevalence, etiology, and nutritional recommendations. Sports Medicine 44 Suppl 1: S79-85.

Dietitian Approved Crew - Pat Nispel

Introducing Pat! 

We have the absolute pleasure of running regularly with Pat right here in Brisbane.

He makes running look just so easy! We could only dream of running even half as fast or as efficiently as this Swiss machine! 

Quite the competitor, Pat has a long list of achievements in the running world. Just quietly, he also won our Healthy Lifestyle Challenge in 2016 which he adds to his list of accolades.

Read on for his story...

Patrick Nispel Marathon runner
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Name: Patrick Nispel

Current location: Brisbane, QLD

Profession: Accredited Running Coach, used to work as an Architect/Urban Designer

Sport of Choice: Running in any form from track to road and the occasional multisport event.

How many years have you been training and competing in your sport? 25 years of competitive running

What got you into it in the first place?

I grew up in a small village in Switzerland and started with the local gymnastic club at age 5. My sister got me into running at age 12 but we played many other sports as well. It was not until age 17 I started to take athletics more seriously and qualifed for national teams regularly. I moved to Brisbane in 2007 and transitioned to road running with a focus on half and full marathons in 2011.

What’s your favourite training session?

When I'm fit, I like to push myself in some track intervals e.g. 10 x 1km reps or a Marathon specific long run of 30 to 38km at close to race pace.

Main Competition or Events for 2017:

21st at Gold Coast Airport Marathon in 2:28:25 (comeback race after stress fracture in 2017),

Australian Championships half-marathon Sunshine Coast (August), Melbourne half-marathon (October), Overseas Marathon end of 2017 TBC

Looking ahead to 2018 and beyond, what are your bigger goals for your sporting career:

Improve on my marathon PB. Run some of the World Marathon Majors including Tokyo, New York, Chicago, Boston is on my bucket list too. I would also like to take my running group to some big overseas marathon events.

What’s your biggest achievement in your sport so far:

I've had a long running career in track, cross country, mountain, trail and road running. Some results and highlights can be found on my website. My top 3 experiences would probably be:

·      Winning Zatopek 3000m Steeplechase in Melbourne 2008 (8:59 PB)

·      3rd place at Senshu International City Marathon Osaka JAP 2012

·      9th at International Zurich Marathon SUI 2013 (2:22:55 PB)

Do you have a saying or motto you live your life by?

Train smarter, not harder!

What are one or two things you do in your day to day training life that you feel are keys to your success?

Eating a well balanced diet, body maintenance work, getting quality sleep (not always possible with a 17 month old son ;-)

Three things you can’t live without?

My family, coffee, running

Favourite food:

I like and eat almost anything and strive for a balanced diet. Seafood dishes as well as some hearty Swiss potato/veggie/cheese dishes are my favourite.

Favourite post-training meal or snack?

After a big training session; a typical breakfast for me would be: 3 weet-bix, a cup of muesli, rice milk, yoghurt, chia seeds, lots of nuts and berries/ fruits, with cinnamon on top. Green juice or orange juice and large coffee.

What’s the number 1 (or 2) thing you’ve learnt about sports nutrition for performance in your sport?

Nutrient timing as well as optimising my carbo-loading, race day nutrition and hydration plan.


Pat is the owner and head coach at P.A.T.42.2 RUNNING that offers personal running coaching in Brisbane and online. If you want further info, check out his website at:

http://pat422running.com.au/

Photo cred: David Magahy
Dietitian Approved Crew in France
GCAM 2017
City2South Winner 2016.jpeg

Calcium

Calcium is one of the most important minerals in our body. In fact, without calcium we wouldn’t be able to stand or eat as 99% of our calcium is in our bones and teeth!

A small amount of calcium is also dissolved in the blood and is essential for our heart, muscles, blood and nerves. In fact, every contraction of our muscles requires calcium.

So how much calcium do we need and where do we find it?

Calcium Requirements

Calcium Requirements at different age categories

After higher calcium needs as a growing teenager, our requirements stabilise at 1000mg/day until they increase again as we get older. This is because calcium isn't absorbed as well in our later years.

We achieve peak bone mass by our early 20's so it's important to lay down a good foundation in our teenage years to set you up with good bone density for life.

Food sources of Calcium

In food terms, the best sources of calcium are dairy sources. 


Check the label on your milk product and ensure that for each 250ml serve, it contains at least 300mg of calcium. If you prefer milk alternatives, a lot of these are calcium fortified but always check the label for a product that is and ensure it provides at least 300mg calcium per 250ml.

Calcium content of food

Did you know that low fat dairy products contain just as much, and often more calcium than regular fat products?

Seafood is another good source of calcium

Look for canned fish that contains bones as this is where the majority of the calcium is coming from.

For the vegetarians and vegans, there are some good plant sources of calcium to be sure to include regularly.

Firm tofu, tahini, dried figs, broccoli, canned soy beans, kale and almonds to name a few.

Enhance your calcium absorption

Protein can help with calcium absorption, although too much can have the opposite effect. Vitamin D is also helpful, so get outside for 10-15 minutes each day to catch some rays. 
Natural sugars like lactose in milk help calcium absorption too

Calcium blockers

Unfortunately, caffeine and alcohol are not so good for our calcium stores. 

The same applies for diets high in oxalates which come from foods such as spinach, rhubarb and beans. These only reduce calcium absorption from the food they are present in.

Phytic acid from seeds, nuts, grains and certain raw beans can reduce calcium absorption from foods when eaten in combination.

Finally go easy on the salt, as calcium is eliminated from the body with it. Choose your canned fish in spring water rather than brine to maximise the calcium absorption from this source.

Daily example that gives you enough calcium...

Breakfast: 1 cup of milk with your porridge, cereal, toast or as a smoothie. Be sure to separate your tea or coffee from your meal so you're not blocking the calcium absorption.

Morning tea: 200g Yoghurt with fruit

Lunch: Canned salmon with bones or sardines tossed through an Asian slaw salad

Afternoon tea: Small handful of almonds with 1-2 dried figs

Dinner: Firm Tofu stir-fry with rice or noodles

 

Dietitian Approved Crew - Dave

Introducing Dave! 

Dave aka Bangar can do it all. From indoor rowing to rugby, surf swimming, pool swimming and running, what can't you do well Dave? Just quietly he holds the title for the No. 1 ranked Indoor Rower for the half marathon IN THE WORLD!

Dave's next focus is on smashing his Gold Coast 10km run time with the goal to go sub 39 minutes this weekend. Good luck Dave!

Burleigh Swim Run 2017

Burleigh Swim Run 2017

Name: David 

Current location: Palm Beach, QLD      

Profession: Turf Contractor

Sport of Choice: Running/Swimming

How many years have you been training and competing in your sport? 26 years

What got you into it in the first place? Looking for a new sport

What’s your favourite training session? 4-10 1km reps (running)

Main Competition or Event for 2017: Gold Coast 10km run + Burleigh Swim Run (Australia Day 2017)

Looking ahead to 2018 and beyond, what are your bigger goals for your sporting career:
2018 World Indoor rowing champs;
Australia Day Challenge Burleigh Swim Run;
Burleigh to Surfers 10km swim

What’s your biggest achievement in your sport so far:
10 games with the QLD Reds 1988-1990
2015 No. 1 ranked indoor rower in the world for half marathon 

Do you have a saying or motto you live your life by?

-       Be kind to others

-       Strive for excellence and quality 

What are one or two things you do in your day to day training life that you feel are keys to your success?

-       I am always thinking about recovery

Three things you can’t live without?

-       My 2 sons + my ute

Favourite food:

Wild caught fish (Mackerel, Swordfish), mashed potato, cereal, Dietitian Approved Thai Red Curry

Favourite post-training meal or snack?

Fresh fruit scone hot out of the oven from the Vietnamese bakery at Highgate Hill.

What’s the number 1 thing you’ve learnt about sports nutrition for performance in your sport?

-       Keep the protein trickling in all through the day

-       Periodise your eating

Photo cred: David Magahy

Photo cred: David Magahy

Dietitian Approved Crew - Bec

Introducing Bec! 

An all round LEGEND, Bec is one of our longest standing clients! She even has an original meal plan with our old logo on it - sorry about that Bec :) From humble beginnings as a triathlete 3 years ago, she's gearing up to race Cairns IRON(Wo)MAN this weekend. Good luck Bec! You're going to absolutely smash it!

Photo cred: Delly Carr

Photo cred: Delly Carr

Name: Rebecca aka Bec

Current location: Mackay, QLD      

Profession: Podiatrist

Sport of Choice: Triathlon, but my first love was and still is netball – I’ve retired from playing now to coach

How many years have you been training and competing in your sport? On and off since 2010, started taking triathlon more seriously in 2015

What got you into it in the first place? I love a challenge and a few people I went to university with competed at a pretty decent level so they were a bit of inspiration for me

What’s your favourite training session? Long rides or a brick session

Main Competition or Event for 2017: Ironman Cairns

Looking ahead to 2018 and beyond, what are your bigger goals for your sporting career: Ultimately (in a few years) I would love to be able to balance having a family and still train and race in triathlons. I’m enjoying long course racing at the moment so maybe a few more 70.3’s and IM’s …. and I wouldn’t mind qualifying for Kona one day - that would be pretty awesome!

What’s your biggest achievement in your sport so far: Mooloolaba Olympic Distance (OD) 2017 – did the race with no taper as part of my training for Ironman Cairns. Managed to get an overall OD PB by about 5mins and beat my 2015 MooTri time by about 25mins.

Do you have a saying or motto you live your life by?

-       A life lived in fear is a life half lived

-       Control the controllables

What are one or two things you do in your day to day training life that you feel are keys to your success?

-       Always have my bag packed and food prepped the night before

-       Trusting the process

-       Listening to my body

Three things you can’t live without?

-       Family

-       Coffee

-       Friends

Favourite food:

-       Post race = hot chips

-       Any other time = rump steak (med rare), mushroom sauce with chips and salad

Favourite post-training meal or snack?

This is normally breakfast so I love my overnight oats or Dietitian Approved pancakes.

What’s the number 1 thing you’ve learnt about sports nutrition for performance in your sport?

-       The timing of what you eat!

Dietitian Approved Crew Bec Baird
Dietitian Approved Crew_Bec running

Stay well this winter - Top 5 Tips to Surviving the Cold and Flu Season

With the cooler weather setting in, the cold and flu season is upon us. There’s nothing worse than getting sick, especially right before a key event! Here are our top five tips for looking after your immune system and staying well this winter.

Staywellthiswinter

1. Get your 2 fruit and 5 veggie serves in each day

Vitamins and minerals are important for a huge range of reactions within the body such as growth and repair, muscle function, energy metabolism and protection from free radical damage. If we don’t get enough of certain nutrients, our health and performance suffers. It also increases your risk of getting sick. That doesn’t mean you need to start sucking back the multivitamins. Focus on getting a variety of nutrients each day from fresh fruits and vegetables. The more colours, the better to ensure you’re getting a wide range of important, sickness busting vitamins and minerals.

Keep up your daily dose of 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables during the comfort food season with these ideas:

  • Go for warm salads with plenty of roasted vegetables like zucchini, eggplant and capsicum, red onion.  
  • Try vegetable soups loaded up with all of the leftovers in the fridge at the end of the week. These will keep you warm from the inside and provides loads of nourishment. Be sure to include a protein source though if this is your main meal.
  • Baked fruits like apples, pears and stone fruit make perfect snacks with a little Greek yoghurt on top.

 

2. Get enough sleep

Despite what some people think, most adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep each night. If you’re sleep deprived and run down you increase your risk of getting sick. Sleep is your ultimate form of recovery, so if you’re not getting enough, you may actually be blunting the effect of training and increasing your risk of picking up the next bug.

Turn your screens off early as the blue light emitted from phone and computer screens affects your natural sleep hormone, melatonin. Set night shift on your phone to start from 6pm which shifts the colour of your screen to the warmer end of the colour spectrum. This may help you sleep better. Get out of the habit of scrolling through Instagram before bed. Read a book instead to relax and wind down.
 

3. Stress less

High stress levels are well documented as being immunosuppressive.  Stress hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline, noradrenaline and prolactin are influenced by negative events and negative emotions, inducing adverse immunological changes.

The longer you’re stressed for (1 month or more) and the more often you’re stressed appears to be directly related to increased incidence of developing cold and flu symptoms.

Life is sometimes stressful – we get it. If you feel your stress levels getting out of hand, find ways to manage this that works for you. Do some exercise, yoga, meditation, go for a walk, read a book, call a friend, take a holiday!

 

4. Look after your gut micro-biome

Your gut plays a huge role in maintaining your immune function. Look after it to prevent picking up colds and flu’s this winter.

Promote balance of good bacteria by eating lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, legumes, yoghurt with live cultures and fermented foods such as tempeh, miso, kimchi and sauerkraut. Take antibiotics only when they are necessary. Remember, antibiotics won’t help you if you have a virus such as a cold or the flu.

Probiotic supplements also have proven benefit in maintaining gastrointestinal function and positively affecting immunity. If you travel a lot or have a key event coming up, talk to a sports dietitian about whether it’s worth taking a probiotic supplement to support your immune function.

 

5. Be hygienic

This shouldn’t be news by any means, but good health habits like covering your cough and washing your hands frequently can help stop the spread of germs and prevent getting sick. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated and then touches their eyes, nose or mouth. Prevention is key.

  • Wash your hands often with warm water and soap, especially before eating.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces frequently, especially when someone is sick.
  • Dispose of tissues hygienically, don’t leave them lying around.
  • Don’t share cutlery, glasses or water bottles with someone that is sick (or well for that matter)
  • If family or friends are sick, give them space and be extra careful with hygiene
  • If you fly frequently, don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth unless you’ve washed your hands with warm water and soap.

 

If you do feel like you’re coming down with something, there’s good evidence to suggest Vitamin C and Zinc can help prevent or decrease the severity of a cold or flu. Check with your GP or Sports Dietitian to see if this is a good idea for you.

Stay well guys!

 

 

 

Muscle Cramps - Part 1

Over the next few weeks we look at the latest evidence on what cramps are, why we get them, how to prevent them and how pickle juice may be able to help.

What are muscle cramps? 

Ah cramps! They make me nervous just thinking about them! Most of us have had one at some point or another but what are they exactly?  

A cramp is defined as a painful spasmodic involuntary contraction of a skeletal muscle which occurs during or after exercise. There are actually two main types of cramps: 

  • Whole body cramping, but thankfully these are not as common;  

  • Exercise-Associated Muscle Cramps (EAMC). This type of cramping involves individual muscles or groups of muscles and is common in the calf, hamstring and quadriceps. Think a calf cramp as you go to push off the wall in the pool. It typically involves the muscle being used.

Cramping prevalence has been reported to be as high as 6-20% during Ironman events, 30-50% in marathon runners, 60% in cyclists and 30-50% in team sports.

Although localised and short in duration, EAMC may lead to musculo-skeletal dysfunction, reduced performance and muscle damage, making prevention key for optimum performance. 

What Causes Muscle Cramps?  

There are many theories on why we cramp...

For many years it's been believed that cramping is caused by dehydration and electrolyte imbalances, in particular, sodium.  This is based on earlier research with underground miners and marathon runners. A heat exhaustion study discovered that miners who cramped were more dehydrated and more sodium depleted than those who didn't cramp. In marathon runners, they found the athletes that cramped were more likely to be saltier sweaters and have lower serum sodium at the end of a race. 

However in contrast to these earlier studies, more recent research has failed to show an association between EAMC, dehydration or abnormal serum electrolyte imbalances.... 

A more recent theory suggests that altered neuromuscular activity in the central and peripheral nervous system is the cause of EAMC. Fatigued muscles disrupt the normal functioning of peripheral muscle receptors, altering the excitability of the central nervous system. This causes an imbalance between increased muscle contraction (afferent activity) and relaxation (inhibitory afferent activity) leading to a decreased ability for the muscle to relax after contraction. This is particularly the case when working in a shortened position such as shortened calves when pointing toes in swimming or quads when pedalling while standing on the bike. This theory also helps explain why stretching out a cramping muscle can be the most effective way to relieve it. 

So which theory is it that causes cramps? The bottom line - we don't know.....cramping is still poorly understood!

Despite exercise-associated muscle cramping being a common complaint among athletes, the exact cause remains uncertain due to a lack of quality scientific evidence to guide management. Perhaps for the heavy and salty sweaters amongst us, doing some sweat testing and developing your own personalised hydration plan will assist in your management of cramping. For others, regular massage, neural stretching, adequate strength and muscle conditioning may assist.

Tune in next time where we discuss prevention and the new kid on the block - pickle juice.

Putting the FUN back into school lunches

by Marzia Bell - Dietitian to be and Mum to 2

Schools are back .... "Phew!" I hear you say... Kids are kept busy for the term and parents can find their sanity again.

With back to school also comes the challenge of school lunches. They can be fun for the first week or two and then boredom sets in for both parents and kids alike. Here are a few tips on packing school lunches to make your life easy and fun.


1. Have your tools ready

Containers of different shapes and sizes make packing lunch easy and allow you to separate foods so juices from one don't run into the other. Have an insulatedbag to put all your containers into to keep lunches fresh in this hot weather.


2. Cold packs:

Food safety is important; especially with the summer heat, cold packs are a must to keep your kids food cold until lunch time.


3. Stick with a basic structure 

(it is much easier to slot things in if you have a basic plan): 

  • Brain snack: small apples, pears, carrot or cucumber sticks, strawberries or snacking tomatoes are perfect for this quick snack. (not all schools do this)    
  • First break: aim for a fruit or veggie serve plus a yoghurt or healthy home baked goodie
  • Second break: a protein and salad sandwich or wrap, leftovers, snacking lunch (e.g. cut up cheese, tinned tuna/salmon, boiled eggs, veggie sticks, almonds)

4. Save time, bake ahead:

make home made quiches, muffins, banana bread, muesli bars etc. ahead of time and freeze them in individual portions. The night before or morning of, take them out of the freezer and they will defrost in time for first break. They can also help keep lunch boxes cold.


5. Yoghurt

is a great mid morning snack. The protein in yoghurt will keep little people full and energised until lunch time. There are great little yoghurt containers with an outer shell that can be frozen, helping to keep it cold all morning. Choose plain Greek yoghurt and add some fresh or frozen fruit for flavour. Don't forget to pack a spoon!
 

6. Make school nights easy. Prep ahead of time - utilise your weekends. 

Try washing and cutting salad items up into containers in the fridge for lunches, so all you need to do is take your bread or wrap, add protein quickly (ham, cheese, egg, tuna, beans, chicken) and you're set! Try different combinations to keep things interesting e.g. egg & lettuce, ham, spinach & tomato, grated carrot, lettuce and beetroot.

Have your veggie sticks and fresh fruit cut and prepped in a large container of time (perhaps twice a week for optimal freshness). It's then easy to putting individual serves in a container, add a little hummus,salsa, guacamole or tzatziki for dipping. Little salad dressing containers are perfect for this (find in your local supermarket in the containers aisle).


7. Leftovers are the best!

Full of nutrients and ready to use, these can really help save you time. Get yourself a hot food container (Thermos make some fancy ones, but you can also buy cheaper alternatives at Kmart for under $10). In the morning fill it with boiling water, leave it for 5 minutes, meanwhile heat up the leftovers in a container. When the 5 minutes are up just empty the water and put the food in, easy! You can also use it for warm baked beans with a slice of wholemeal bread. Don't forget to pack a fork or spoon!


Make sure the lunch box is full of nutrient rich foods; Kids brains and bodies need them to stay focused all day. Pre-packaged snacks are easy and tempting but are often nutrient poor and will slow them down.

Have fun, experiment and find some new family favourites!
 

Turmeric – the next big sports nutrition supplement?

As the Turmeric latte surges to the front of the trend list, what is it about this spice that’s causing all the hype? We take a look at what it is, the potential benefits and how to include it in your diet.

Why the hype?

Turmeric is a golden yellow spice that has been used for centuries in Indian cooking. Turmeric contains the bioactive compound Curcumin, which has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s claimed to have a positive effect on heart disease, irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, arthritis, depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s disease, colorectal cancer and many other conditions. Be mindful though that research for these benefits has been done in vitro (in a petri dish) or in animal models (mostly rats) which is difficult to extrapolate to humans. The research in humans is limited and more trials are needed.

How much Turmeric and Curcumin may benefit?

It’s not as simple as adding a little turmeric to your latte or smoothie. Curcumin makes up <5% of turmeric. In its naturally occurring state, curcumin has very low bioavailability in humans (i.e. it’s poorly absorbed). Partly due to its low intestinal absorption and partly due to its rapid metabolism. Based on research to date, oral supplementation in the range of 80-500mg is likely to be required, however studies have shown doses as high as 8000mg being insufficient to increase levels of curcumin in the blood (1, 2, 3). The jury is still out on exactly how much curcumin and in what form is required to reap the benefits.

Increasing Curcumin bioavailability

Laboratory testing is currently underway to explore better ways to take curcumin so that it’s more bioavailable, absorbed better and delivered directly to the required tissue. Taken orally, it seems to stay in our digestive system and pass through without being absorbed into the blood stream.

It is possible to enhance curcumin absorption by combining it with piperine, a black pepper extract. One study found that 20mg of piperine paired with 2000mg of curcumin increased curcumin bioavailability by 2000% (4).

Curcumin is also fat soluble so it’s possible to increase absorption by consuming with fat soluble components e.g. oils or traditionally gum ghatti. There is also current research occurring to produce water soluble curcumin supplements.

Curcumin – the next big sports nutrition supplement

In the sports nutrition space – it has been suggested that Curcumin supplementation may acutely blunt DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), improve tendon healing and play an anti-inflammatory role in tendinopathy. Preliminary studies however (5, 6, 7) have failed to show a statistically significant difference between curcumin supplementation and placebo groups. There are a number of reasons why (small sample size, curcumin dose and bioavailability, fitness level of participants) and further work is required to develop appropriate protocols for athletes.

Is there any risk associated with supplementing curcumin?

Due to its low bioavailability and low concentration in turmeric, it is unlikely that you can over consume curcumin in its naturally occurring form. However, supplementation has shown side effects when taken in higher doses.

Curcumin has potential interactions with antiplatelet and anticoagulant medications, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, salicylates, and thrombolytic agents which may cause bleeding. Taken on an empty stomach, especially in high doses, it may cause nausea and diarrhoea. The safety of curcumin supplements during pregnancy and lactation is also not established. As with any supplement, speak to your doctor or sports dietitian to see if it is suitable for you.

Take home message

Watch this space. Curcumin potentially has some benefit but it’s not a miracle spice that will cure the qualms of the world. There’s no harm in using it in a normal dose – but be careful with a high dose supplement until we know more.

Tips to include more turmeric in your diet

  • Sprinkle on your oats: this works well with the flavours of coconut milk in particular
  • Add to a smoothie or juice
  • Stir through scrambled eggs, it takes a mild, interesting flavour and gives it a beautiful colour
  • Add to rice during cooking
  • Add to mince mixes: whether it’s burger patties or cottage pie, a little spice will brighten the flavour
  • Soups, casseroles and stews: a curry is not a curry without turmeric, but you can add a mild Indian flavour to soups, casseroles and stews with a little turmeric
  • Sprinkle on roast vegetables, particularly root vegetables such as potato, parsnip and sweet potato
  • Spice up your salads with a pinch in your salad dressing. This works well with lemon based dressings

 

Turmeric Scrambled eggs

References:

1. Lao, C.D., Ruffin, M.T., Normolle, D., Heath, D.D., Murray, S.I., Bailey, J.M., Boggs, M.E., Crowell, J., Rock, C.L. and Brenner, D.E. (2006) BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 6(1), p. 10. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-6-10.

2. Cheng, A.L., Hsu, C.H., Lin, J.K., Hsu, M.M., Ho, Y.F., Shen, T.S., Ko, J.Y. and Lin, J.T. (2001) ‘Phase I clinical trial of curcumin, a chemopreventive agent, in patients with high-risk or pre-malignant lesions’, Anticancer Research, 21(4B), pp. 2895–2900.

3. Dhillon, N., Aggarwal, B.B., Newman, R.A., Wolff, R.A., Kunnumakkara, A.B., Abbruzzese, J.L., Ng, C.S., Badmaev, V. and Kurzrock, R. (2008) ‘Phase II trial of Curcumin in patients with advanced Pancreatic cancer’, Clinical Cancer Research, 14(14), pp. 4491–4499. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.ccr-08-0024.

4. Shoba, G., Joy, D., Joseph, T., Majeed, M., Rajendran, R. and Srinivas, P. (1998) ‘Influence of Piperine on the Pharmacokinetics of Curcumin in animals and human volunteers’, Planta Medica, 64(04), pp. 353–356. doi: 10.1055/s-2006-957450.

5. McFarlin, B.K., Venable, A.S., Henning, A.L., Sampson, J.N.B., Pennel, K., Vingren, J.L. and Hill, D.W. (2016) ‘Reduced inflammatory and muscle damage biomarkers following oral supplementation with bioavailable curcumin’, BBA Clinical, 5, pp. 72–78. doi: 10.1016/j.bbacli.2016.02.003.

6. Tanabe, Y., Maeda, S., Akazawa, N., Zempo-Miyaki, A., Choi, Y., Ra, S.-G., Imaizumi, A., Otsuka, Y. and Nosaka, K. (2015) ‘Attenuation of indirect markers of eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage by curcumin’, European Journal of Applied Physiology, 115(9), pp. 1949–1957. doi: 10.1007/s00421-015-3170-4.

7. Drobnic, F., Riera, J., Appendino, G., Togni, S., Franceschi, F., Valle, X., Pons, A. and Tur, J. (2014) ‘Reduction of delayed onset muscle soreness by a novel curcumin delivery system (Meriva®): A randomised, placebo-controlled trial’, Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 11(1), p. 31. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-11-31.

Stay on Track in 2017

2017 is here and motivation is at its peak! It can be easy to jump headfirst into New Year's resolutions, only to run out of puff after a few weeks. If you want long term change, set realistic goals using our top tips to help you achieve them…

Top tips to Stay on Track this New Year

1. Forget Detoxes

From colon cleanses to juice fasts (*face palm), detoxes are believed to be the best way to rid your body of toxins, lose weight and kick start a healthier lifestyle. The truth is though, there is no evidence to support such practices. Our body is well equipped with 2 kidneys and a liver to filter our blood and eradicate toxins. By simply eating a healthy, balanced diet and ensuring healthy habits each day, we help our body to maintain a balance in the long-term, without the need to “detox”…..whatever the heck that means. 

2. Choose SMART goals

SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. By making your goals these factors, you'll have greater chance of keeping them throughout the year. Write them down and hold yourself accountable to them! Tell your accountabilabuddy (yes that’s a word) what your goals are so they can help keep you on track too.

3. Slow and steady wins the race 

If weight loss is your goal, the steadier the loss, the more likely it is that the weight will stay off. A healthy weight loss is approximately 0.5kg to 1 kg per week. It may sound small but it can quickly add up to a considerable change. Slow and steady, while not sounding particularly “sexy”, is more achievable and can be maintained long term, increasing your chance of overall success.

The same goes for diving head first into exercise - if you overdo it, the more likely it is you'll never want to do it again. Consistency is key; one huge work out that induces so much pain you cannot walk for a week will not make you stronger or fitter! Regular exercise that builds on the previous session will ensure long term change for the better. Start easy, and build as your fitness increases.

4. Make many small goals instead of one big one

Map out your Ultimate Goal and then break this up into smaller, bite sized goals. It will be easier to achieve your overall goal if you can imagine the outcome occurring in the not so distant future. Smaller chunks will help you keep working steadily and more consistently on your Ultimate Goal. Onwards and upwards!

5. Reward yourself (but not with food!)

When you reach your goal/s, celebrate! Choose an activity that is special for you such as a gold class movie, some time with your favourite people, an indulgent massage or beauty treatment, a new outfit or set of wheels :) I like to treat myself to a swim in the Ocean, it's completely up to you. As long as it’s not food.

6. Get back on the horse

If you had planned to go running every day and today you sat on the couch and ate a block of chocolate instead (we know, sometimes it just… happens), pick yourself up and get back out there tomorrow.  Don’t wait for Monday to roll around. Remind yourself that consistency is the key. You haven't let anyone down and every day is a new day! Which brings me to the next point...

7. Make every day your New Year's resolutions day 

Get away from the "all or none" mentality; incorporate healthy behaviour into your everyday lifestyle! Our Healthy Lifestyle Challenge aims to achieve just that! It's those small, daily habits we consistently repeat over time that become entrenched. Make the choice and stick to it.

8. Practice makes perfect 

Keep practicing those great healthy habits. A study by researchers from the University College London shows that it takes 66 days for a new habit to become the norm. Don’t give in - recognise it takes time to turn new behaviours into habits, so keep going and you’ll soon see they become second nature.

Happy New Year!

Dietitian Approved