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How doctors and dietitians help NBA players fight jet lag with nutrition…

How doctors and dietitians help NBA players fight jet lag with nutrition

BY JAMIE LISANTI…  Posted: Wed Oct. 22, 2014
This story appeared in the October 27, 2014, issue of Sports Illustrated. Subscribe to the magazine here.
How doctors and dietitians help NBA players fight jet lag with nutrition

Photo: Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

With an 82-game schedule, NBA teams travel a lot. This season the Trail Blazers will lead the league with nearly 60,000 miles on the road, followed by the Lakers (55,000) and the Heat (53,000). All that flying means frequent time-zone changes, which can make it difficult for players to perform at peak levels. But jet lag is about more than having trouble sleeping. “It also results from feeding the body when it isn’t expecting it, or vice versa,” says Dr. Chris Winter, a sleep specialist who currently works with the Thunder, as well as the NHL’s Rangers and MLB’s Giants, on proper sleep techniques.

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by Jamie Lisanti Thus, when you eat is a key part of curing jet lag. An athlete trying to quickly acclimate to a new locale can time meals to trick his body into thinking he’s still at home, Winter says.

What a player eats is also important. Lakers diet doctor Cate Shanahan makes sure players eat the same food they would at home. To accommodate an airline’s culinary limitations, she opts for meals that keep well and reheat easily—like braised meats such as barbecued baby back ribs instead of steak. “The fats and the exclusion of most carbs help to get rid of blood-sugar fluctuations that keep people awake,” says Shanahan.

When players lose sleep, Winter says, the body doesn’t produce the normal amount of natural growth hormone, which aids in recovery. That’s why Dave Ellis, a dietitian who has worked in sports for more than 30 years, recommends beets and leafy greens that are potent nitric-oxide producers, which he says “helps muscles get an oxygen-rich and nutrient-rich bloody supply.”

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by Jamie Lisanti Ellis also whips up a mean dessert: Greek yogurt topping a mixture of unflavored gelatin, tart cherry juice, a vitamin drink mix and a protein powder that contains alpha-lactalbumin (a natural compound found in milk). The concoction contains sleep-inducing melatonin and tryptophan, and slow digesting proteins for a good night’s rest and overnight muscle repair.

“Hydration is also very important because airplanes are very dry, low-pressure environments,” Ellis says. “During the flight we continue to hydrate, but we want to promote as much uninterrupted sleep as possible.” Who wouldn’t drink to that?

FOODS TO HELP BEAT JET LAG

YOGURT
Rich in calcium, yogurt can increase the production of melatonin to aid sleep—and the protein is an added bonus.

BEEF JERKY
The flat sticks travel well and provide a savory source of protein, which can help you get some zzz’s.

TART CHERRY JUICE
A small serving of this deep-red liquid is a natural source of melatonin and high in antioxidants.

HEART-HEALTHY FATS
Regular consumption of nuts and seeds may aid sleep because the polyunsaturated fats they contain can boost serotonin.

#elainehastings #NBAplayers #NBA #proSportsNutrition

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About Elaine Sirt -Hastings, RD. Nutrition, Energy & Human Performance Expert

Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist Elaine Sirt-Hastings, RD, LD/N, CSSD is the Founder of Associates in Nutrition and Sports Specialty and President of. Elaine Hastings and Associates, experts in Nutrition, Energy and Human Performance, a leader in the health, wellness, fitness and sports nutrition industries. Elaine is an engaging and informed Supplement, Performance and Energy Expert. Elaine is a go-to media source both nationally and internationally, with extensive knowledge in every aspect of nutrition. She has been a multimedia content contribute and media resource for some 20 years. Elaine specializes in human performance, wellness, energy, nutrition, fitness, eating disorders, sports and team nutrition. She is a highly sought after educator, author and spokesperson with excellent cross-cultural awareness. Being a former athlete and model Elaine knows how to help you Stay in Your Game! Stay in Your Game™ Eat and move for Top Performance in YOUR Life! …work. fitness. corporate. teams. athletes. kids.

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