The month of March is National Nutrition Month, and today is Registered Dietitian Day! Here's a little story about myself and a few cool nutrition tid bits I've learned along the way.
I was instantly hooked on nutrition when I took a Nutrition 201 class my sophomore year in college at University of Idaho. Once my interest in nutrition was sparked, I attended a “Nutrition Club” meeting held in the university’s nutrition department. At this particular meeting, there were numerous RD’s with different specialties in attendance, and one of them was a Sports Nutritionist. When I heard her describe her job, I knew right then and there I wanted to do that. Even though I have practiced in numerous different areas of nutrition, sports nutrition is by far my favorite.
Here are the Three Very Cool Tid Bits I’ve learned over the years as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist:
1. Garlic is a great source of organosulfur compounds, which have potential to prevent and treat diseases. Here’s the catch, to receive these health effects of garlic, after you crush or chop the garlic, allow it to “stand” for at least 10 minutes before cooking. This ensures time for all the enzyme reactions, responsible for the health benefits, to take place. Who would have thought so much was going on inside something so small and seemingly insignificant!
2. I have to throw in a sports nutrition tid bit. One of my favorites has to do with the importance of eating for recovery. It’s important to eat carbohydrate-containing foods or fluid within 15-30 minutes after strenuous exercise. This window of time is important because it’s when your muscles are most receptive to replacing glycogen (storage form of carbohydrates). Waiting longer than two hours to eat after exercising results in 50% less glycogen stored in your muscles. This means, the next day, your legs feel like tree trunks, you feel more fatigued and out of breath than usual, your performance isn’t up to par, and it’s more difficult to exercise as long or as intense.
3. A food’s nutrition facts label doesn’t begin to describe what’s actually in the food. You MUST read the ingredients!! I started a list of ingredients to stay away from, which makes choosing foods so much easier. Here’s my personal list of ingredients I avoid as much as possible: Hydrogenated Oil, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sugar, Enriched/Bleached/Refined Flour, Sodium Nitrate, Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), Artificial Color, and Soy. Although there are many other weird ingredients in food, if a person avoids these biggies they’re off to a good start. Usually I am able to find the same product in a healthier version.
What are your favorite nutrition tid bits?
In Health and Happiness,
Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods