Is Distilled Water Healthy for You?

Is Distilled Water Healthy for You?

Question:

Is drinking distilled water bad for you? What type of water should I drink?

– Danisha O.

Answer:

Distilled water is one form of purified water and it is safe to drink, but not exclusively. The thing with removing impurities is that the natural minerals like calcium and magnesium are also removed. This is desirable for household appliances like hot irons, but your blood has sodium and other solutes in it. In summary, distilled water may not be as beneficial for your body as other forms of water.

The water used for intravenous injection is sterile but still contains solutes to match blood concentration and pH. Tap water impurities and micronutrients vary based on the local source, as do those for spring waters and bottled waters. Filtered water removes contaminants like heavy metals and pesticides but some can also lower the mineral content. Carbon block filters allow the mineral salts to remain. Specialty waters that are ionized, reverse-osmosis or alkaline are promoted for various reasons but overall for proper hydration, an adequate volume of fluids is key. Having affordable, good-tasting water means you’ll drink more of it. In the end, there is not an absolute consensus on the type of water you should drink.

A special note: for exercise, sports drinks are actually ideal as they have the proper concentration of glucose and electrolytes to enhance absorption and promote fluid balance.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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Foods to Help Aid Muscle and Ligament Recovery

Foods to Help Aid Muscle and Ligament Recovery

Question:

What are the best foods for muscle and ligament recovery?

– Craig K.

Answer:

If you’re talking about short-term daily recovery from your workouts, you want to alleviate soreness and oxidative stress while prompting muscle fiber protein synthesis. Plant foods are rich in antioxidants and polyphenols that may help combat delayed onset muscle soreness. Consider increasing your daily fresh produce intake and enhancing dishes with ginger, cinnamon, curcumin, saffron, and ginseng.  Consume a protein and carbohydrate-rich recovery snack within half an hour of completing your workout to combat muscle damage and maximize future performance.

If you’re talking about long-term recovery from an injury, the goal is to maintain adequate nutrition to support healing and prevent muscle loss. Thus, keep up protein intake and calories overall. Initially, you want to avoid inflammation so include foods with proteolytic enzymes such as pineapples and ginger root. The micronutrients zinc and vitamin C are also anti-inflammatory, so have oysters, wheat germ, liver, citrus fruits, potatoes, broccoli, and tomatoes often. Omega-3 fatty acids may help counter muscle loss, so consume sources like salmon and nuts daily. In the rehabilitation phase after surgery or time off, supplementing with branched-chain amino acids or creatine may help rebuild strength.

Resources:

A review of nutritional intervention on delayed onset muscle soreness; Part I. Kim J, Lee J. Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation. 2014; 10(6): 349-356.  doi:10.12965/jer.140179.

Meal Timing: What and When to Eat for Performance and Recovery. U Rock Girl! Ace Fitness April 19, 2017. https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/professional/expert-articles/6390/meal-timing-what-and-when-to-eat-for-performance-and-recovery

Nutritional Support for Exercise-Induced Injuries. Tipton KD. Sports Medicine (Auckland, N.Z). 2015; 45: 93-104.  doi:10.1007/s40279-015-0398-4.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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Plant Protein Advice for Seniors

Plant Protein Advice for Seniors

Question:

I am in my 60s. I was having a conversation with someone who has become a vegan since becoming a senior. He states that we seniors no longer need the protein from meats. He believes that our bodies do better when we receive our proteins from other sources other than animals. Is there truth to this?

– John D.

Answer:

To maintain muscle mass and strength (which begin to decline in one’s 50s), older adults need a protein-rich diet. Because of a decline in protein digestion with age (see italicized below), protein needs for seniors are higher than those of other adults (1.0 gm/kg vs. 0.8 gm/kg). Some evidence supports that plant proteins contribute more to muscle strength, while animal protein helps preserve mass.*

While animal protein sources boast more B-12, vitamin D, heme-iron, and zinc, plant proteins are by far healthier in the long run. With a diet rich in plant proteins, there’s a lower incidence of cancer, reduced inflammation, lower risk of heart disease, improved insulin sensitivity, and the list goes on! With plant protein, you get fiber and phytonutrients from the whole food source instead of saturated fat and cholesterol with animal proteins.

Regardless of protein source, intake should be spread throughout the day and protein included with each meal.

Digestion of protein is dependent on mechanical breakdown and gut enzymes. Stomach acids are needed to unravel the proteins into peptide strands so that enzymes in the small intestine can cleave them into individual amino acids for absorption. Both stomach acid and enzyme production tend to decline with age, making protein digestion less efficient.

*Higher Protein Intake is Associated with Higher Lean Mass and Quadriceps Muscle Strength in Adult Men and Women. S Sahni, et al. The Journal of Nutrition July 2015. Vol. 145 (7):1569-75. https://doi.org/10.3945/jn.114.204925

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.


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Cheese Substitutes

Cheese Substitutes

Question:

How do I cut out cheese in my diet? Almost every dish is cheese, grains, and meat. How can I get that flavor in a healthier way?

– David N.

Answer:

I agree that typical American fare is heavy in the cheese department. You’re right that it seems to be everywhere. What goes in your mouth is under your control, though. Peel off that slice! Or better yet, ask for a substitute like avocado, pesto or sundried tomato spread. If the cheese is melted in, you’ll have to find an alternative item altogether (e.g. marinara sauce instead of alfredo sauce, roasted potato instead of potatoes au gratin).

The flavor of cheese is unique because of the enzymes utilized and the particular dairy source (cow, goat, sheep). The creamy mouthfeel is largely attributable to the fat content, which you can get from vegan alternatives. A soy or nut-based cheese substitute works well in combination with prominent flavors like smoked turkey and arugula on toasted rye.

One simple single ounce of sandwich cheese has 100-120 calories and 6-10 grams of fat. Compare that with the 600+ calories and 30+ grams of fat from two slices of large cheese pizza or 2 cups of macaroni and cheese. Turn away from these cheese-based dishes period. When using cheese as a topping or flavor enhancement, opt for the strongest dry cheese for the most flavor punch, as it requires much less volume and saves calories and fat. Avoid cheese flavoring powder though, as it is high in salt and artificial color.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.


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Help! I’m Hungry ALL. THE. TIME.

Help! I’m Hungry ALL. THE. TIME.

Question:

I’m hungry all the time, what can I do?

– Charlotte S.

Answer:

As opposed to a specific craving or passing desire, true hunger is uncomfortable and is a strong message for our bodies to seek food. If you experience hunger throughout the day, it may be that you are not consuming enough calories. The easy answer is to eat more food.

If you have been maintaining weight or wish to lose, then modifying your diet to include satisfying foods at regular mealtimes may drive down hunger:

When to Eat

Your body uses energy throughout the day, so you need to fuel it regularly. Having consistent meals and snacks ensures that your fuel tank doesn’t go empty. Most people eat too little in the morning and consume the bulk of their calories in the evening when they’re less active. By having a substantial breakfast, medium lunch and smaller dinner, you’d better match your body’s energy use. A small snack to support your workout is also ideal.

What to Eat

Foods high in fiber, protein, fat and physical volume are the most satisfying. For example, a slice of 7-grain toast with almond butter, half a grapefruit, an egg, and a glass of milk would stave off hunger better than two toaster waffles with syrup, a cup of orange juice and mug of coffee. Including a healthy plant fat at each meal helps to lock in the complex carbohydrates and lean proteins eaten so they are digested more slowly. Vegetables are the most notable source of bulk and fiber with the least calories so they should fill up your plate!

Consult a physician if hunger is unabated, you’re also experiencing weakness or observe unintentional weight loss, as these may be due to an underlying medical condition.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.


Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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