Top 5 Nutrients for Golfers

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Golfers spend a lot of time and money on the right equipment to perfect their game. However, many golfers often ignore the right fuel and nutrients to maximize their concentration and focus. In Western societies, vitamin deficiency diseases such as scurvy and beriberi are uncommon. However, not getting enough of certain vitamins and minerals can be a risk factor for chronic diseases and can impair athletic performance.
 
According to surveys conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), most people do not meet the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for many essential vitamins and minerals. The most common nutrient deficiencies include: Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin B6 Calcium Magnesium Iron (especially for women) Zinc Vitamin D Folic Acid
 
In addition to those deficiencies, studies show that many of us are not getting enough fiber and essential fatty acids like the omega-3 fats. As a society, we are not malnourished, yet we are still not meeting our nutrient needs.
 
Why are we deficient? The cause of our deficiencies can be summed up with a few reasons:
 
1. Poor diet. How can you meet your calorie needs without meeting your vitamin and mineral needs? Quite easily if the majority of your diet is high calorie foods without much nutritional value. Numerous studies have shown that Americans are getting too many calories and we are getting heavier as a nation. Even though we are getting an excess of calories, we are still nutrient deficient. Foods that are highly processed lose much of their nutritional value.
 
2. Soil quality. Researchers have found that the actual nutrient content of many of our grains, fruits, and vegetables are not as high as they once were. Reusing soil without allowing proper nutrient cycling is a big problem. The result is nutrient poor crops.
 
3. Medical conditions. If you have any problems with absorption such as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohns disease, or other gastrointestinal problems, you may not be absorbing your vitamins and minerals properly. Also, if you have had certain surgeries such as gastric bypass or surgery to remove part of a diseased stomach or colon, you are likely not absorbing nutrients very well.
 
4. Age. As you age, you tend to eat less food. Less food means fewer nutrients. In addition, our ability to absorb nutrients properly declines as we age.
 
Why are we deficient?
Calcium
Why you need it
Helps build and maintain strong bones
Helps muscles contract for a proper swing
Important role in keeping the heart beating when anticipating an important put
Plays a role in nerve function
Where you can find it
Milk
Cheese
Yogurt
Calcium fortified foods (read labels for calcium in orange juice, soy milk, cereals, nutritional bars, bread, etc.)
Tofu made with calcium sulfate
Certain green leafy vegetables (kale, broccoli, bok choy)
Special Considerations
Dairy foods supply about 72% of all the calcium available in the US food supply.
Vitamin D is necessary for calcium to build and maintain good bone structure
High doses (more than 2,500 per day) may affect absorption of iron, magnesium, and zinc and may lead to kidney stone formation
Oxalates (found in vegetables) and phytates (found in grains) bind with calcium partially blocking their absorption
Caffeine also slightly interferes with calcium absorption

 
Iron
Why you need it
Is part of hemoglobin, the part of the blood that carries oxygen from your lungs to your cells
Keeps immune system strong to help fight infections
Prevents anemia, a major cause of fatigue
Where you can find it
Meats such as liver, beef, chicken, pork
Fortified cereals and breads
Pumpkin seeds
Soybean
Spinach
Legumes (kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc)
Special considerations
Iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency, especially in women
Women who are menstruating have higher iron needs, and iron needs decline once she starts menopause
Iron from animal sources is called heme iron. About 15-35% of heme iron is absorbed
Iron from plant sources is called nonheme iron. Only 2-20% of nonheme iron is absorbed
Vitamin C-rich foods (oranges, tomatoes, potatoes, berries, peppers) help the body absorb iron better
Eating foods high in heme and nonheme iron together also helps absorption. For example, eat a spinach salad with a sirloin

 
Potassium
Why you need it
Helps fluid balance in cells of body
Helps maintain proper blood pressure to keep you cool under pressure
Helps transmit nerve signals
Helps muscles contract
Where you can find it
All fruits (bananas, plums, peaches, apricots, oranges, pears, etc.)
Potatoes
Milk
Legumes
Tomatoes
Almonds
Sports drinks
Special Considerations
If you are prone to cramping, make sure you are eating plenty of potassium rich foods. Bring a banana on the course with you.
You may need a potassium supplement if you are taking blood pressure medication. Check with your doctor.
While sports beverages do contain some potassium, eating a piece of fresh fruit will also provide carbs and potassium to keep you fueled on the course.

 
Omega-3 fatty acids
Why you need them
Help reduce inflammation in sore muscles
Help to thin the blood and prevent clotting and clogging in arteries
May reduce blood pressure and triglyceride levels
Where you can find them
Fatty fish like salmon, sardines, herring, swordfish, tuna
Flaxseeds
Canola oil
Walnuts
Special considerations
Three major types of omega-3s exist. EPA and DHA are predominantly found in fish. ALA is found in flax, canola, and walnuts.
EPA/DHA has been found to be more beneficial for heart health and in reducing inflammation.
The American Heart Association recommends that everyone have at least 2 servings of fatty fish per week. They also recommend that anyone with heart disease take 1000 mg (1 g) of DHA/EPA omega-3 daily.
If you do not eat fish, consider taking a fish oil omega-3 supplement, but check with your doctor first.

 
B-Vitamins
(folic acid, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, B6, B12, biotin, pantothenic acid)
Why you need them

Important to produce energy in all cells of the body to keep you focused
Helps the body use sugars and fatty acids to give you energy to play
Plays vital role in making new cells so you can recover from each game
Where you can find them
Fortified breakfast cereals and other grain products
Meats
Eggs
Vegetables
Legumes
Milk and Yogurt
Special considerations
Getting enough B-vitamins is important for energy production. However, having more will not necessarily give you more energy.
Your body will excrete extra B-vitamins, but it is a good idea not to take mega-doses. High levels of some B-vitamins in supplement form have been linked to nerve damage.

 
Do you need a supplement?
If you are eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, experts say you do not need a supplement. The bottom line is if you can get the nutrients from your diet, then eat them. Eating your nutrients is much better than a supplement, says Jim White, RD, a sports dietitian and owner of Jim White Fitness Studios. He recommends taking a supplement if you are not able to eat the desired number of servings from each food group daily.
 
Daily Diet Guidelines*
Grain: 6-10 ounces
Fruits: 1.5-3 cups
Vegetables: 2-4 cups
Dairy: 2-4 cups
Protein: 5-10 ounces

 
*These numbers vary based on your age, height, weight, gender, and physical activity. Go to the My Pyramid Plan section of www.mypyramid.gov to get a more accurate picture for you.
 
If you dont eat nutrient-rich foods daily, you may benefit from a dietary supplement. Just remember that the supplement is just that ' a supplement to your diet. Fill your plate with nutritious food and take vitamins, minerals; omega-3s to fill in any gaps that exist in your diet.
 

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