Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tart Cherries: Sour has the Power

Eating well, before and after a workout, is key to performance, and cherries may be a key to reducing the soreness that comes with exercise. Studies suggest that the antioxidants in tart cherries may provide healing by adding them to your pre- and post- workout meal plan. Yes, cherries! Cherries are fun to eat, easy to add to your diet, and a powerhouse of nutrition important to athletes. Not just a summer time treat, sour cherries are available all year round as dried or frozen cherries or cherry juice. While health benefits are greater in sour cherries than in their sweet cousins, all cherries provide a great addition to your day.

Colorful fruits and vegetables play a key role in any healthy diet. Science indicates that purple and red foods contain powerful antioxidants. But what is unique about cherries is that they contain specific anothycyanins that have been shown to block enzymes called cyclooxygenase 1 and 2, thereby reducing pain from inflammation. Research seems to support that cherries are a rich source of these anthocyanins – greater than other fruits and berries. This enzyme inhibiting activity has found to be similar to the actions of ibuprofen. More research is on the horizon.

One study conducted by Oregon Health and Sciences University seems to indicate the power of cherries on inflammation. Runners drank tart cherry juice twice a day for seven days prior to and on the day of a long-distance relay. Participating runners reported noticeably less muscle pain following the race.

In addition to their anti-inflammatory properties, cherries are also a source of carbohydrate and high in Vitamin A and C, and also contain Vitamin E. Cherries are also a source of iron, magnesium, potassium, and folate. All of these nutrients are important for taking care of your health and your sport.

Here are a few ways to include cherries in your pre- and post-workout meals:


v Drink a 10 oz glass of tart cherry juice or cherry juice blend

v Add dried cherries to a cup of oatmeal or other whole grain cereal

v Consider substituting dried cherries for raisins in muffins or oatmeal cookies

v Combine frozen cherries with other berries and low fat yogurt in a smoothie

Post Workout

Remember to refuel within 30 minutes of exercising with a 3-4g:1g ratio of carbs to protein.

v Enjoy dried cherries with a handful of nuts for a quick grab-and-go snack

v Drink tart cherry juice with a sports bar

v Add dried cherries to a green salad along with a balanced dinner

v Add dried cherries in chili or pasta to add tang and nutrition

**Remember practice your nutrition game plan in practice before your big meet. Never try anything new on competition day!


Choosecherries.com. [Internet]. Cherry Marketing Institute. [updated October 27, 2009; cited November 18, 2009]. Available from http://choosecherries.com/.

Murray M, Pizzorno J, Pizzorno L. Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. Atria Books; 2005.

Wood R. The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia. Penguin Books; 1999

Yeager S, Editors of Prevention Health Books. The Doctors Book of Food Remedies. Rodale; 1998.

Momentum Nutrition & Fitness 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sport Nutrition for Soccer

Sport nutrition is a key to successful performance in all sports! See here how sport nutrition plays a big role in local soccer...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Truth about Sports Drinks

Click on this link to see the Q13 Fox news story featuring Momentum Sports Dietitian Emily Edison...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Back to School Nutrition

Back to School 2009
Start the school year off with a nutritious bang by planning healthy breakfasts and snacks. This plan will be the brainpower for successful school (and work) days.

Combine at least TWO foods for snacks, using all three marco-nutrients carbohydrate, protein and fat whenever possible. Some examples of this are: peach and plain yogurt, cheese and plums, whole grain toast with peanut butter.

Check out this link to healthy and brain power filled snacks and meals:

We often get asked "How long should I wait between meals and snacks?" Our answer is "When do you get hungry?" You will have to "tune in" to your body and listen to hear what is going on behind the scenes.

Hunger is on a scale of 0 to 5. 0 is flat out S-T-A-R-V-I-N-G. Eat the door off the fridge hungry. Where 5 is neutral, neither hungry nor full. We recommend eating around a 3. Meaning you can feel some hunger in your tummy (maybe a little grumble) but you do not have a headache, you are not grumpy, and you are not ready to eat the hair off your arm.

When we wait too long to eat, what happens? We do not make clear conscious choices about what we really want. We end up eating whatever is around (ie. MnM's on your neighbors desk, candy bars from the vending machine, handfuls of Doritos...you get the point?!), instead of what we really want. When we do not eat what we really want, we feel unsatisfied and end up eating more, reaching for satisfaction and all we end up with is FULL. Usually over the top full.

Give it a shot. Check in with your hunger levels every 2 hours or so and see where you fall on our hunger scale. You may find you need a snack at about the 2-3 hour mark. Or you may have eaten a larger meal and may not need a snack. Eating differs from day to day, this is "normal" "healthy" and "ok".

Check out www.king5.com and search for Emily Edison to hear the latest on Brain Power Breakfasts!
Eat breakfast, snack well, and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Amino Acid Supplements versus Food

With claims of ‘enhanced endurance, increased muscle gain, and protection from over-training,’ it’s not surprising that many athletes include individual amino acids in their fitness routine. It’s best to be cautious, though.  There is a lot of misinformation out there about protein, amino acids, and muscle building. While studies generally support the idea that athletes may require a little more protein than non-athletes, there is little evidence to prove taking amino acid supplements, rather than eating high protein foods, is beneficial or even necessary.

Issues with Amino Acid Supplementation:  

Too much protein stresses the kidneys

Dehydration due to excess protein

Stomach cramping and diarrhea

Problems with absorbing and using nutrients from food (including naturally occurring amino acids!).

Did you know that it’s possible to EAT all the amino acids your body needs just by choosing the right foods?  Let’s take a look:

Arginine From Foods 

Spinach Salad with Roasted Chicken and Almonds:  3660 mg arginine

Whole Wheat Muffin:  300 mg arginine

Glass of Milk:  80 mg arginine

PLUS complete proteins, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals!

Total:  4040 mg arginine

Arginine From Supplements

Six 750 mg supplemental arginine pills:

4500 mg arginine

Total:  4500 mg arginine

BUT no other benefits!

Do your best to get your amino acids from food, rather than supplements, because you’ll also be getting important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are essential for health and optimal performance! 



If you’re taking Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA), try:


Chicken and turkey




Seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, flax, etc.)

Nuts (walnuts, almonds, cashews)


If you’re taking arginine, try eating:



Seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, flax, etc.)

Nuts (walnuts, almonds, cashews, etc.)





If you’re taking glutamine, try eating:






Dairy products




If you’re taking carnitine, try eating:


Chicken and turkey


        Dairy products




These food sources can be a safe and effective way to increase your intake of amino acids – without the high cost of supplements!  

If you do choose to use supplements, be sure they are high quality. The highest quality standard you can look for is a supplement that has been “USP Verified.” This means that the company has been independently evaluated to ensure that the ingredients listed on the bottle are accurate. You can find the “USP Verified” seal on the label. The FDA does not guarantee the effectiveness of any supplement, so it’s important to do your research and find a company you can trust.

Most importantly, remember to take the time to eat (and drink) often throughout the day – three meals and two snacks is a good general rule. Regularly fueling your body with nutritious food will go a long way toward helping you achieve your athletic goals. And, of course, keep up with your training program!