The Truth: What You Need to Know About Turmeric

Turmeric root and chopped turmeric.  The bright orange color of turmeric is from curcumin, the active compound with reported benefits

Turmeric root and chopped turmeric.  The bright orange color of turmeric is from curcumin, the active compound with reported benefits

Most of us who are health conscious have probably heard of turmeric, a root that is used as one of the primary ingredients in curry powder and which gives it its distinct yellow color (careful, it stains!).  We've probably seen hipstery blog posts providing you recipes for turmeric teas, turmeric juices, and recommending just plain raw turmeric to munch on.

But what many people fail to either recognize or are simply unaware of is that although turmeric is a great food with some reported health benefits, the active compound which actually delivers those health benefits, like inflammation support, brain health, and general anti-oxidant support is a compound called curcumin...and curcumin has a very low bioavailability.  

To put that in easy to simple terms, you can eat all the turmeric you want, and you'll get very little of the known benefits of its curcumin.  That is not to say that you shouldn't eat turmeric, you should!  It definitely won't hurt anything, and it might even do a little good.  And if you like the earthy flavor, then it's all the better.  But if you are looking to reap any of the health benefits that scientists are beginning to discover about curcumin, you'd better find yourself a great supplement with high absorbability or bioavailability.

This is where the Field Work Nutrition philosophy of science meets nature comes into play.  We love food as much as anyone else, and if we had it our way, would get 100% of our nutrition directly from whole food sources.  But...reality doesn't always work that way.  We look at the research and incorporate practical findings into our product development, as is the case with curcumin.  The form of curcumin we use is highly bioavailable and 95% curcuminoids.  With a single serving of a Primo Smoothie and the curcumin it contains, you'll get substantially more benefit than drinking about as much turmeric tea as you can stomach.

There are other companies that make high quality curcumin supplements, which you can find at many health food stores and even mainstream retailers these days.  If you are going to buy a supplement, be sure you get something with high bioavailability and a high percentage of curcuminoids.  And as with any supplement, if you can verify the quality of its manufacturer through a GMP certification and / or third party quality certification, that's even better.  

The media loves to sensationalize anything that appears to be the "next big superfood."  Though some foods have more benefits than others, remember to do your own research and that few things beat a healthy diet with a variety of whole foods, lean meats, and lots of vegetables and fruits.  

We'll see you out there.  

Red, White, and Blue-ish Smoothies

Hi folks, in the spirit of the 4th of July holiday, we threw together a few patriotic smoothie recipes for you, check them out below.  We're calling them our "red, white, and blue-ish smoothies."

Red - 1/2 cup frozen raspberries, 8 oz almond milk, 2 scoops Primo Smoothie - blend!

White - 2 fresh angelcots (white apricots), 8 oz almond milk, 2 scoops Primo Smoothie - Blend!

Blue-ish - 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, 8 oz almond milk, 2 scoops Primo Smoothie - Blend!

Enjoy these fresh summer smoothies and have a safe and sane 4th of July holiday!  We'll see you out there...

 

 

Our red, white, and blue-ish smoothies

Our red, white, and blue-ish smoothies

The Superfood Smoothie Hack

Adding a daily smoothie to your diet is a great way to conveniently get additional quality nutrition

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It’s time to face the music, we all know we can stand to get more fresh fruits and vegetables in our diet, particularly brightly colored berries and leafy greens.  And for the training triathlete, an additional dose of 20 grams of clean, convenient protein between meals, or at meal time, goes a long way to help aid muscle recovery and maintain lean body mass, crucial when you are doing two, and sometimes more, workouts in a day.

One of the best ways to do this is with a high-protein smoothie.  It’s quick to make, portable so you can take it with you on the go (you’re busy, we know and feel your pain!), and customizable, allowing you to boost up the flavors or ingredients you particularly like or need.  As a busy triathlete training for more than one sport who’s body is in constant need of fueling and / or recovery, it’s hard to beat the convenience and nutritional value of a good smoothie with the right ingredients, not to mention portability.

When we make our smoothies, we tend to look at them as the “catch all” for everything healthy we know we need to eat in a given day.  Had a particularly hard run session that morning? Throw in a little extra protein.  Feeling like you’ve been missing getting enough green roughage in your diet lately? Toss in a handful of spinach or another leafy green.  It really is what you make it, and gives you the certainty and peace of mind that if later in the day all else fails because your swim went long and you just aren’t going to have the time to throw together that well balanced dinner you had been planning, forcing you to compromise your food choices (let’s face it, we all do from time to time), “at least you had your nutrient dense smoothie!"

Let’s address the nutritional elephant in the room and the smoothie’s not so equal counterpart:  juicing.  It is an alternative way to get micro and phytonutrients in your diet, but frankly, it is far inferior compared to a well-balanced smoothie.  Juicing omits almost all the fiber from whatever you are pressing to make your juice, which means you are leaving nutrition on the table.  We'll come clean and say that at times we do believe in juicing, but not as a primary meal.  We only use it as a supplement because it does not provide your body the complete nutrition it needs for both fueling and recovery.

A well-balanced smoothie on the other hand should have a blend of low glycemic carbs, the micronutrients and fiber of whatever fruits and / or veggies you add, protein, some healthy fats, and a general profile of other vitamins and minerals that the athlete's body needs.  It is hard to beat the nutritional punch this packs for a body that is constantly looking for a little reprieve.  Not only will those ingredients provide a balanced and steady insulin response, you get the added benefit of providing your gut with pre-biotic fiber from the blended up fruits and veggies, which can help maintain healthy digestive system flora, better known as the beneficial bacteria that keep everything “running smoothly.”  Just make sure you use a very good blender (we prefer the Magic Bullet) and texture will always be amazing.

If you are using a Field Work Nutrition Primo Smoothie as your base, you will be getting 20 grams of high quality protein with a full spectrum of essential amino acids, whole food based carbohydrates, healthy fats from sources like coconut and flax, including omega-3’s, berries, greens, turmeric and tart cherry to help reduce exercise induced inflammation, probiotics, prebiotics, a whole profile of vitamins and minerals that triathletes are regularly deficient it, plus a whole lot more. 

So if you are looking for one simple way to add some additional nutrition to your diet in an extremely user-friendly way, consider a daily superfood smoothie. 

Try one of our favorite recipes:

½ cup strawberries

1 small banana

1 handful of spinach

8 oz milk or milk substitute

2 scoops Primo Smoothie Meal mix

Blend and enjoy!

Why your performance may be suffering from a lack of magnesium

Electrolytes.  We hear about them all the time.  Made famous by Gatorade, and made better by just about everyone else, we all know that electrolytes are important to help hydration and help athletic performance by doing things like helping to prevent muscle cramping and helping to support proper muscle function.  

A villain in the normal world, when it comes to electrolytes, cramping, and hydration, sodium tends to reign supreme.  But although sodium may be critically important while working out, there are other electrolytes that are just as important for athletes and anyone living an active lifestyle, one of which is magnesium.  

On the most basic level, magnesium is an essential mineral that we must have in our diets for the proper functioning of the body.  Period.  It is involved in over 300 known chemical reactions in the body, including muscle contraction and relaxation, cardiac activity, immunity, blood pressure regulation, and basic metabolism and energy production, to name a few.  

For athletes, or anyone exercising at an above average to strenuous level, magnesium becomes even more important.  It is directly involved in ATP production, one of the body's primary mechanisms for producing energy.  A deficiency in magnesium present can be a limiting factor in ATP production, thus limiting the amount work work that can be done, and potentially leading to fatigue and overall reduced performance.  No bueno.  

Magnesium may also play a role in limiting lactic acid accumulation, and for the training athlete, lactic acid accumulation is directly correlated to performance limitations, so limiting build up while exercising can have a positive effect on performance.  Due to the relaxing effect magnesium has on the nervous system, it may also help reduce perceived effort while working particularly hard.  Even if this effect does not actually help improve performance, anyone who has ever spent time in the pain cave or hurt locker will surely welcome any help they can get - perceived or actual!

There are plenty of foods that are rich in magnesium, like certain leafy green vegetables and pumpkin seeds.  As is our approach with many things, we all know that reality often steps in and inhibits even our best intentions, throwing off our dietary plans and sending us to the cupboard grabbing things we probably shouldn't.  This is why we have included magnesium in our Primo Smoothie - helping you get an adequate serving daily.  If you feel you may need a little extra, throw a few pumpkin seeds in your mix, or a small handful of leafy green vegetables.  

As always, eat well, and we'll see you out there.