College Volleyball Star Mac Podraza Shares Swimsuit Photo of "Lake Day"
Penn State volleyball star Machaela "Mac" Podraza spent summer chilling out ahead of an intense season, getting some much needed rest and relaxation at Bald Eagle State Park in Pennsylvania. Podraza posted a picture of herself posing in a red bikini next to friend and fellow volleyball player Maddy Bilinovic plus a whole group of girls, enjoying the beautiful lake. "Can everyday be lake day?" she captioned the post. "Petition for lake day everyday starting now," commented teammate Camryn Hannah. Here's how Podraza is always ready for action.
Podraza relies on iced coffee to give her the energy to stay on top of both athletics and studies. "Antioxidants help prevent and repair damage to cells and genetic material around your body," says Caroline Thomason, RD, CDCES. "Research has shown that coffee is a significant source of polyphenols, a type of antioxidant, in many people's diets. Polyphenols also help fuel your 'good' gut bacteria. One polyphenol in coffee is called chlorogenic acid. Some researchers have linked this antioxidant to metabolic benefits. They believe that chlorogenic acid might reduce the risk of a range of conditions, including cancer, diabetes, and obesity."
One of Podraza's favorite meals is protein-packed chicken nachos. "Protein plus fiber keeps us full longer, which means you don't feel the urge to eat as often," says Nancy Waldeck, chef and dietitian at Thomas F. Chapman Family Cancer Wellness at Piedmont. "This helps keep weight down while fueling our cells with the right nutrients they need."
Vegetables and Protein
Podraza fuels up with green vegetables such as brussels sprouts and lean proteins. "Cruciferous vegetables are easy to find in most places and are some of the most nutrient-rich veggies around," says registered dietitian Amber Sommer, RD, LD. "As a group, cruciferous vegetables all offer similar health benefits. I wouldn't say any one is 'better' than the others. They each have a unique composition, so the key is to include a variety in your diet."
Podraza enjoys healthy bowls with berries, granola, and peanut butter. "Besides being delicious, berries provide some impressive health benefits," says Jenna Porter, RDN, LD. "They are loaded with antioxidants which help protect your cells from damage. They are also high in fiber which helps you to feel fuller longer, can help with blood sugar control, and promotes a healthy digestive system."
Podraza gets her healthy fats with delicious avocado toast, which is chock-full of essential nutrients. "Avocados contain nearly 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, vitamin E, vitamin C and multiple forms of vitamin B," according to Northwestern Medicine. "Eating avocados is great for your heart health and vision, and lowers your risk of cancer and depression."