The hot talk these days is about supplementing your diet. Is it necessary?
We might argue that we eat healthily and include the right proportion of proteins, carbohydrates, and good fats in our daily meals and that we even try to get our food from organic sources. But American soil is found to be the most depleted in terms of trace minerals and ultra trace minerals that play very important roles in the body.
Besides, most produce is almost always irradiated. And, irradiation of food has been shown to reduce nutrient content.
To top it all, most of us, aside from the occasional salad or two, rarely consume our foods raw, which is the state in which they retain the most nutrients. Cooking reduces the number of vitamins available for our bodies to absorb. Microwaving is even worse. For example, broccoli loses up to 97% of its antioxidant properties after being cooked in a microwave oven.
So, yes, we definitely need to supplement with a vitamin and mineral formula and other extras based on individual needs. More importantly, for those of us athletes and golfers, who lead an active life, supplementing with essential vitamins and minerals and antioxidants is of the utmost importance.
Which multivitamin should you choose? With the plethora of multivitamin formulations out on the market, choosing one that’s suitable is the great shopper’s dilemma of the century. Here’s how you can tell a good one:
o It is sourced naturally–each vitamin or mineral is extracted from plant or animal sources and is not produced synthetically.
o It is not a one-a-day formula. Most one-a-day formulas have too many of vitamins or minerals to be absorbed by the body in a single dose. Your body takes what it needs from the supplement and is good for a few hours thereafter but is then running on empty for the rest of the day.
o It contains natural absorption enhancers such as piperine or ginger.
Of course, if you are on any medications, it is wise to consult your doctor before starting any multivitamin regimen.
Antioxidants are any of certain vitamins and minerals and certain enzymes that counteract the harmful effects of oxidation that takes place in body tissue. Oxidation is a normal bodily function and happens, even more, when the body undergoes physical exertion as in any type of exercise. During this oxidation process, free radicals or atoms that have lost an electron are rampant in the body. These free radicals if left unchecked can lead to chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and so on.
So, especially for a full-time golfer, antioxidants are a top priority. Good antioxidants are all types of green food concentrates; vitamins A, C, and E; selenium, zinc, copper; and extracts of grape seed, pine bark, red wine.
Many multivitamin formulations also include antioxidants such as gingko biloba, bilberry, Co-enzyme Q10, and others.
Women golfers especially need to make sure that their iron levels are at their optimum for a number of physical demands. Low iron often leads to fatigue and lethargy, resulting in a compromised round of golf.
Most often, iron deficiency goes unnoticed–your doctor may not even diagnose you with anemia. But, if you notice that you are paler or feel more tired than usual, experience headaches or a quick heartbeat or have cold hands and feet and brittle nails, or if you get out of breath very quickly while golfing, you might be low on iron. Check with your doctor and start an iron supplement especially if you don’t eat meat and liver or abstain from seafood, dried fruits and nuts, and leafy green vegetables.
Calcium and Magnesium supplements
All golfers, especially women, should make sure that they get at least 1200 to 1500 mg of calcium from food and supplements per day.
As a golfer, you definitely must be training on your off days. Excessive training, where excessive is anywhere from seven or more hours of training per week, can disrupt hormonal levels in younger women that could temporarily stop menstruation. When female hormone levels decline, bone formation and maintenance are compromised. This is what often causes osteoporosis and in the case of younger women, it could lead to an irreversible form of the problem. A similar problem is also seen in male endurance athletes–low levels of testosterone due to increased activity also leads to osteoporosis.
Magnesium helps in the absorption of calcium. And, calcium is the mineral of choice to counter osteoporosis. So most often, a calcium supplement contains magnesium. Magnesium is also very important for muscle relaxation and to prevent cramps when you’re on the golf course.