Ease Inflammation with the Right Foods

By Golf Fitness MagazineApril 22, 2009, 4:00 pm
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Do you ever have a sore shoulder after a particularly intense round of golf, or a 'bum knee' that requires repeated doses of anti-inflammatory medication? New research on inflammation reveals a link to painful joints and muscles, as well as chronic ailments such as heart disease, cancer, and a depressed immune system. The studies also offer a significant promise of relief for those suffering from inflammatory conditions. Reduced inflammation can mean reduced pain, which is welcome news for anyone suffering from a painful condition.
Inflammation 101
Inflammation is an internal reaction in response to injury or infection. Tissue in the body becomes inflamed in a healing effort to stop the spread of the injury or infection. Inflammation can happen anywhere in the body. Sometimes you can see and feel it, and sometimes you cannot. For instance, you can see a cut get red or an ankle swell after spraining it; but you can't see your internal organs when they become inflamed. You can't feel the vessels in your heart, but they can also become inflamed. Some common conditions associated with inflammation include irritable bowel syndrome, pneumonia, arthritis, gout, cancer, fibromyalgia, and allergies such as hay fever.
If you have a sore back from shoveling snow or raking leaves, you know what inflammation feels like. But you often cannot feel when something inside your body is inflamed. Your doctor can order a blood test called C-reactive protein (CRP) to test for inflammation, but the test is non-specific; while it may indicate the presence of inflammation, it doesn't reveal specifically where it is.
Researchers think that eating certain foods may contribute to inflammation, while other foods may reduce inflammation. Diet alone may not replace the use of anti-inflammatory medications or treatments, but including anti-inflammatory foods will certainly help reduce recurring inflammation, especially that which leads to chronic diseases.
Pro-inflammatory Foods
The foods thought to cause inflammation are those high in unhealthy fats and simple sugars, and low in nutritional value.
Saturated fats: High fat dairy such as cream, ice cream, and cheese; fatty cuts of red meat, coconut oil, and palm kernel oil. Certain fatty acids present in saturated fats such as arachidonic acid promote inflammation. It is also a type of fat that sticks to arteries, leading to plaque buildup.
Trans fats: Hydrogenated oils found in various foods such as deep fried foods, crackers, donuts, and cookies. These synthetic fats lead to atherosclerosis, thickening and inflammation of the arteries.
Sugar: Various sources found in sweetened beverages, desserts, and candy. A diet high in sugar can cause a spike in blood sugar and a surge of insulin, causing an inflammatory response in the body.
Refined grains: White bread, white rice, and white pasta. These refined grains have been stripped of much of their nutritional value and fiber, causing a similar blood sugar/insulin response as sugars.
Nitrites: Processed meats such as deli meats, hot dogs, and sausages. These chemicals can cause cell damage and lead to inflammation.
Alcohol: Beer, wine, and liquor. While small amounts (one drink per day) may have potential health benefits, larger amounts can contribute to inflammation. Even two drinks per day has been linked to higher levels of inflammation and certain disease risk.
Anti-inflammatory Foods
Omega-3 fats: Salmon, trout, herring, tuna, certain eggs (read labels), flaxseeds, walnuts, and canola oil. Research strongly supports suggests omega-3 fats as an anti-inflammatory powerhouse.
Monounsaturated fats: Olives, olive oil, canola oil, nuts, and avocados. These healthy fats should replace the saturated and trans fats to reduce inflammation.
Antioxidants: Fruits (berries), grapes, cherries, apples, pears, and vegetables such as beans, artichokes, potatoes, cabbage, peppers, spinach, tomatoes, and broccoli. Tea, coffee, whole grains, nuts, and spices are also good sources. Antioxidants help to kill off free radicals, which cause inflammation and damage cells.
Whole Grains: Whole wheat, quinoa, brown rice, millet, oats, barley, corn, and rye. Whole grains are also high in antioxidants, and the fiber helps to reduce inflammation.
Lean protein: Skinless white meat poultry, lean beef, lean pork, low- fat dairy, eggs, beans, and soy. Since protein helps to build and repair tissue, it is essential for injury repair and to reduce inflammation.
Getting these anti-inflammatory foods in your diet is the best defense. Eating the whole food is always better than getting the nutrient from a pill, because you are getting the synergistic effect of all of the health promoting components of the food, not just a single nutrient extracted into a pill. However, if you are not a fish eater, taking a supplement of omega-3 in the form of fish oil has been shown to be beneficial. Taking 1,000-2,000 mg per day of omega-3 in the form of DHA and EPA has proved most effective. Do not exceed 3,000 mg per day, as higher levels may increase the risk of hemorrhagic stroke. Check with your doctor if you are taking medications, before you start a regimen of omega-3 supplements.
Supplements of antioxidants have not been proven effective. Phytochemicals are naturally occurring plant substances that also have antioxidant-like effects on your body. Eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is the only way to ensure you are getting the recommended amount of antioxidants and phytochemicals.
Anti-Inflammatory Diet
1. Aim for five to nine servings of high antioxidant fruits and vegetables daily. One serving is one-half cup cooked, or one cup raw, so it is easier than you may think to get all these into a day. Try to get two servings at each meal, and additional servings at snack time.
2. Choose whole grains as often as possible. At least three of your daily servings of grain should be whole grain.
3. Aim for two to three servings of low- or reduced-fat dairy per day. Choose low-fat yogurt, skim or 1% milk, or reduced fat cheese.
4. Get one or more servings of beans every day. Beans are high in soluble fiber, and red beans are the highest antioxidant vegetable. Choose from kidney, red, pinto, black, garbanzo, cannellini, great northern, lima beans, black-eyed peas, and lentils.
5. Eat fish. Aim for a serving a fatty fish at least three times per week. A daily serving is even better. You can get omega-3 from flax, walnuts, and canola oil, but fish is the richest source of EPA/DHA, the healthiest kinds of omega-3s.
Tara Gidus, MD, RD, CSSD, is a Board Certified specialist in Sports Dietetics, a nutrition consultant and a member of the GFM Advisory Team. For further information on Tara, log onto www.golffitnessmagazine.com/advisoryteam.
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The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

“What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

“I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.

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Landry stays hot, leads desert shootout at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 12:35 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – 

Andrew Landry topped the crowded CareerBuilder Challenge leaderboard after another low-scoring day in the sunny Coachella Valley.

Landry shot a 7-under 65 on Thursday on PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course to reach 16 under. He opened with a 63 on Thursday at La Quinta Country Club.

''Wind was down again,'' Landry said. ''It's like a dome out here.''

Jon Rahm, the first-round leader after a 62 at La Quinta, was a stroke back. He had two early bogeys in a 67 on the Nicklaus layout.

''It's tough to come back because I feel like I expected myself to go to the range and keep just flushing everything like I did yesterday,'' Rahm said. ''Everything was just a little bit off.''

Jason Kokrak was 14 under after a 67 at Nicklaus. Two-time major champion Zach Johnson was 13 under along with Michael Kim and Martin Piller. Johnson had a 64 at Nicklaus.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

Landry, Rahm, Kokrak and Johnson will finish the rotation Saturday at PGA West's Stadium Course, also the site of the final round.

''You need to hit it a lot more accurate off the tee because being in the fairway is a lot more important,'' Rahm said about the Pete Dye-designed Stadium Course, a layout the former Arizona State player likened to the Dye-designed Karsten course on the school's campus. ''With the small greens, you have water in play. You need to be more precise. Clearly the hardest golf course.''

Landry pointed to the Saturday forecast.

''I think the wind's supposed to be up like 10 to 20 mph or something, so I know that golf course can get a little mean,'' Landry said. ''Especially, those last three or four holes.''

The 30-year-old former Arkansas player had five birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine. After winning his second Web.com Tour title last year, he had two top-10 finishes in October and November at the start the PGA Tour season.

''We're in a good spot right now,'' Landry said. ''I played two good rounds of golf, bogey-free both times, and it's just nice to be able to hit a lot of good quality shots and get rewarded when you're making good putts.''

Rahm had four birdies and the two bogeys on his first six holes. He short-sided himself in the left bunker on the par-3 12th for his first bogey of the week and three-putted the par-4 14th – pulling a 3-footer and loudly asking ''What?'' – to drop another stroke.

''A couple of those bad swings cost me,'' Rahm said.

The top-ranked player in the field at No. 3 in the world, Rahm made his first par of the day on the par-4 16th and followed with five more before birdieing the par-5 fourth. The 23-year-old Spaniard also birdied the par-5 seventh and par-3 eighth.

''I had close birdie putts over the last four holes and made two of them, so I think that kind of clicked,'' said Rahm, set to defend his title next week at Torrey Pines.

He has played the par 5s in 9 under with an eagle and seven birdies.

Johnson has taken a relaxed approach to the week, cutting his practice to two nine-hole rounds on the Stadium Course.

''I'm not saying that's why I'm playing well, but I took it really chill and the golf courses haven't changed,'' Johnson said. ''La Quinta's still really pure, right out in front of you, as is the Nicklaus.''

Playing partner Phil Mickelson followed his opening 70 at La Quinta with a 68 at Nicklaus to get to 6 under. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer is playing his first tournament of since late October.

''The scores obviously aren't what I want, but it's pretty close and I feel good about my game,'' Mickelson said. ''I feel like this is a great place to start the year and build a foundation for my game. It's easy to identify the strengths and weaknesses. My iron play has been poor relative to the standards that I have. My driving has been above average.''

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on a sponsor exemption, had a 70 at Nicklaus to match Mickelson at 6 under. The Southern California recruit is playing his first PGA Tour event. He tied for 65th in the Australian Open in November in his first start in a professional tournament.