Dr. Andrew Myers answers your questions and offers advice on building muscle and support for eye health.
Q. Dr. Myers, I’d like to build muscle mass. Are there foods I should focus on?
A. Athletes seeking to build strength typically set a goal that is twofold: to build muscle while keeping body weight low. The more you weigh, the more energy it takes to propel that weight through the motions of your sport. And since fat does not exert force, it follows that reducing body fat must be a dietary goal alongside developing muscle.
If you’re looking to get stronger, build muscle and lose fat, here are some ideal strength-building foods to try:
- Lean Meat Poultry, such as chicken and turkey, can provide up to 30 grams of protein per serving with a low saturated fat content.
- Fish Salmon, anchovies, tuna, sardines, cod, tilapia and halibut are some of the best high-protein options for athletes.
- Egg whites A typical egg white contains about 4 to 5 grams of protein, making it a power food for athletes.
- Complex carbohydrates Brown rice, sweet potatoes, quinoa and oatmeal are great examples of quality complex carbohydrates. These carbohydrates digest slowly and release their energy gradually, providing long-term fuel to muscles during difficult exercise.
- Nuts Cashews, peanuts, almonds and other nuts are ideal protein sources for athletes especially for those who don’t eat meat. Nuts contain substantial protein and high levels of healthy fats that reduce inflammation and improve cardiovascular health
Q. Dr. Myers, what are some natural ways I can support eye health?
A. Your eyes are important for nearly everything you do: walking, driving, household chores even building relationships and experiencing joyful moments in life. Unfortunately, eye disease is a large and growing problem in the United States. About 24.4 million Americans suffer from cataracts, often due to aging, and about 2 million have advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a condition that can cause vision loss and blindness.
The good news is there are several things you can do to naturally support eye health. Eat plenty of fatty fish and fresh fruits and vegetables, especially the green leafy kind, all of which have nutrients that directly benefit the eyes. Wear sunglasses when you’re in bright sunlight; opt for shades that block at least 99 percent UVA and UVB rays. Keep your weight down and avoid smoking, as obesity and smoking have been shown to increase the risk of certain eye conditions.
Additionally, when working, take eye breaks regularly (if you’re at a computer) or wear protective eye gear (if working a job that puts the eyes at risk). Consider adding nutritional support in the form of supplemental vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein, zeaxanthin, zinc and copper (as cupric oxide). And be sure to get a regular eye exam ranging from every one to five years, depending on age and wellness to keep tabs on your eye health.
Do you have a question about supplements?Email us firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to us at Healthy Living Made Simple, 1703 Phyllis St., Suite 202, Bentonville, AR 72712.
Dr. Andrew Myers is an expert in nutrition and preventive medicine and the co-author of The New Heart Health and the Health Is Wealth series.