Archive Monthly Archives: April 2019

Best Nutrients to Help Build Strong Muscles

Best Nutrients to Help Build Strong Muscles

Building muscles is not as simple as just going to the gym. Beyond the workouts, you need to get a good night’s sleep giving your muscles time to repair. In addition, you need to eat healthy nourishing food to feed your body and muscles. And, you have to make sure to regularly take the best nutrients for building the strongest muscles.

best nutrients

Best Nutrient - Beta-Alanine

Beta-Alanine is a non-essential amino acid that helps prevent muscle cramps. And, Beta-Alanine does this by helping to produce carnosine. Indeed, carnosine balances the pH in muscles. Consequently, carnosine restricts the buildup of lactic acid. Most noteworthy, lactic acid buildup leads to fatigue and cramping.

And, the way to get this best nutrient is by eating animal proteins and plant foods like asparagus, edamame, seaweed, turnip greens and watercress.

Biotin

Biotin helps convert carbohydrates, fats, and proteins to energy.

Most of all, the way to get this best nutrient is by eating peanut butter, oats, egg yolk, hazelnuts, and almonds.

Best Nutrient - Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates or carbs are the best building blocks of muscles. In fact, carbs support muscle growth and repair. Especially relevant, carbs help form glycogen, which helps fuel your workouts and rebuild muscles after your workouts.

And, the best way to get carbs is by eating whole grains, vegetables, fruits, beans and other legumes.

Calcium

Calcium helps build strong bones. Also, calcium helps trigger muscle contractions. Most of all, muscles are made of two protein filaments known as myosin and actin. In fact, when muscles contract, these filaments slide over one another to convert Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) to energy. And, the more you exercise, the more ATP your body needs to move your muscles.

Especially relevant, research shows that with insufficient calcium, the body releases calcitrol. In fact, calcitrol is a hormone that causes you to store fat.

Moreover, the way to ingest this best nutrient is by eating yogurt, fortified milk, fortified cereals, cheese, tofu, spinach, almonds, sesame seeds, and sardines.

Copper

Copper helps protect the cardiovascular, nervous, and skeletal systems. In addition, copper also strengthens the tendons needed to lift weights.

And the sources of this best nutrient are peanuts, sardines, crab, and sunflower seeds.

Best Nutrient - Glutamine

Glutamine is a conditionally essential amino acid that helps repair muscle tissues, including the lining of the digestive tract, especially after intense workouts. In addition, glutamine helps maintain gut functions and boost your immune system.

Furthermore, the best way to get glutamine is by eating chicken, fish, beef, dairy, eggs, spinach, Brussel sprouts, and fermented foods.

Best Nutrient - Iron

Iron helps build red blood cells. Most noteworthy, red blood cells bring oxygen from the lungs to muscle tissue. And, without enough iron, your red blood cells can’t carry enough oxygen to the muscles and tissues that need oxygen. In addition, iron also helps regulate metabolism and promotes a healthy immune system. Finally, iron helps metabolize protein and fats for use in muscle building and repair.

Most of all, the best sources of iron are dried apricots, leafy greens, lean beef, venison, poultry, fish such as sardines, eggs, and fortified whole grains.

Magnesium

Magnesium is essential for relaxing muscles and preventing muscle cramps. And together with calcium, magnesium helps to reduce blood pressure. Most noteworthy, magnesium is found in muscles, soft tissue and body fluids.

Indeed, magnesium helps muscles contract and, also boost your energy levels. In addition, magnesium helps reduce fatigue. Finally, magnesium helps improve sleep. And sleep is important because that is the time when your body works to repair damaged muscle tissue from your workouts.

The way to get this best nutrient is by eating leafy greens, squash, garlic, nuts, seeds, whole grains, bran, beans, and other legumes.

Omega 3

Omega 3 fatty acids improve blood flow and helps the heart become and stay healthy. In addition, these fats suppress hunger which helps you lose weight.

Also, the best way to get these fatty acids is by eating brazil nuts, flaxseed oil, salmon, mackerel and walnuts.

Potassium

Potassium is a key electrolyte that helps muscles contract. In addition, potassium helps carry nutrients such as water to the muscle cells. Finally, potassium helps your kidneys flush out excess sodium in the body.

Moreover, the way to get this best nutrient is by eating bananas, squash, sweep potatoes, broccoli, chicken, and salmon.

Best Nutrient - Protein

Because they contain amino acids, proteins are needed for muscle growth and repair. Most of all, you need to eat proteins after a workout to restore muscle building macronutrients. Indeed, proteins are a core part of enzymes and hormones that help communicate with the body to repair itself.

The best way to get proteins is from dairy, lean meats, seafood, soy, eggs, beans, and other legumes.

Riboflavin Also Known as Vitamin B-2

Riboflavin helps the breakdown of proteins, carbohydrates and fat, which are transformed into energy. In addition, riboflavin supports antioxidants in the body.

Also, the way to get this nutrient is by eating cornflakes, spinach, eggs, and chicken.

Selenium

Selenium helps boost your immune system and fights damage from free radicals resulting from weight training.

And, the best way to get selenium is by eating fresh tuna, sunflower seeds, wholemeal bread, and brazil nuts.

Vitamin B-12

Vitamin B-12, also known as cobalamin, helps build red blood cells. In fact, red blood cells contain hemoglobin which binds to oxygen. And this oxygen is delivered to the muscles. In addition, vitamin B-12 assists in metabolizing proteins and fat. Indeed, the amino acids produced when protein is metabolized helps repair and build muscles. In the meantime, the fat is a source of energy. Finally, vitamin B-12 helps the brain and muscles to communicate efficiently, which helps muscle growth and co-ordination.

Because, vitamin B-12 is an essential nutrient, you must get it from food. However, if you must get it from supplements, the recommended dosage is 2.4 micrograms per day. In any case, your body can only absorb at most 10 micrograms from a 500 microgram B-12 supplement.

Most of all, the best food sources of vitamin B-12 are poultry, meat, fish, eggs, and dairy.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps metabolize carbs for fuel and also protect the body from oxidative stress. In addition, vitamin C helps the body absorb iron. Furthermore, vitamin C helps fight inflammation in muscles due to excessive exercise. Finally, vitamin C helps with muscle repair because vitamin C supports production of collagen.

In fact, the best food sources of vitamin C are green peppers, broccoli, blackcurrants, and citrus fruits.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps build strong bones, glutes, and biceps. Also, vitamin D helps healthy hormones like testosterone, which helps muscle maintenance and growth. In addition, Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus. Meanwhile, calcium helps muscles contract. While phosphorus helps in the synthesis of ATP, the useable form of energy in the body.

Most of all, according to the Institute of Medicine, you need 15 micrograms or 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D daily.

Also, the best food sources of vitamin D include fatty fish like salmon and sardines, fortified yogurt, milk, orange juice, mushrooms, olive oil, sunflower seeds, and eggs.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a nutrient that helps protect your cells from harmful free radicals. When we exercise, we create oxidative stress or free radicals. And, vitamin E helps remove these free radicals. In addition, vitamin E helps flush out metabolic waste. Finally, vitamin E needs fat to dissolve in your body.

And, the recommended daily dosage is 15 milligrams or 22.4 international units for anyone over 14 years and older.

Meanwhile, the best food sources of vitamin E are sunflower seeds, safflower, wheat germ oils, corn, and soybean oils. Also, asparagus, avocado, and nuts such as almonds are good sources. Finally, breakfast cereals, fruit juice, and margarine are also other sources.

On the other hand, cholesterol drugs called statins may not work as well with vitamin E if you also take selenium, vitamin C, and other antioxidants. Finally, vitamin E may even interfere with cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiotherapy. If you have any doubt, always good to check with your medical provider.

Best Nutrient - Zinc

Zinc enables your body to produce muscle-building testosterone. Also, zinc promotes recovery from workouts while increasing the number of infection-fighting T-cells.

Most noteworthy, zinc contributes to muscle growth. In fact, the zinc in your cells is incorporated into hundreds of different proteins. And, one of the proteins regulated by zinc is the growth hormone. Especially relevant, this growth hormone promotes protein synthesis in muscle cells. Therefore, healthy growth hormone is essential for muscle growth.

If you must, according to the Institute of Medicine, men should take about 11 milligrams and women about 8 milligrams of zinc every day.

On the other hand, the best food sources of zinc include red meat, eggs, pulses, pumpkin seeds, and cheese.

Is a Nutritional Supplement Really Good for You?

Is a Nutritional Supplement Really Good for You?

Most noteworthy, over half the people in the U.S. take nutritional supplements on a regular basis. And the main reason for taking a nutritional supplement is their belief that a nutritional supplement may help improve and/or maintain their health.

nutritional supplements

Nutritional Supplement Types

Meanwhile, the National Health and Nutrition surveyed 37,958 U.S. adults in 2012. And, the survey showed that:

  • 52 percent of the survey population were taking a nutritional supplement
  • 31 percent taking multivitamins
  • 19 percent taking vitamin D
  • 14 percent taking calcium
  • 12 percent taking vitamin C

Nutritional Supplement Quality

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported that 776 dietary supplements sold over the counter from 2007 through 2016 contained unapproved pharmaceutical ingredients. Consequently, it is important to buy supplements from reputable sources.

Nutritional Supplement Impacts

Vitamin E

In a large clinical test, those who took 40 international units (IU) of vitamin E were more likely to have heart problems compared to those who didn’t. ln addition, a National Institutes of Health study of 20,000 men found that men who took the vitamin E supplement everyday were at a greater risk of prostate cancer.

Studies

A study published in June 2018 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology reported that multivitamins, vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium, and selenium had no effect on preventing cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke, or premature death. Furthermore, the study reported that niacin (vitamin B3) with a statin had increased risk of all-cause mortality. On the other hand, the study reported that folic acid alone and B-vitamins with folic acid may reduce risk of stroke.

Next, another study in July 2018 showed that people who take vitamin and mineral supplements did not see any reduction in risk of heart disease. This study, published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, was based on data from 2 million people who were followed for 18 years on average.

Finally, a study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, reported that vitamins B6 and B12 from individual nutritional supplement sources (as opposed to from multivitamins) were associated with a 30 percent to 40 percent increase in lung cancer among men. On the other hand, use of vitamins B6, folate, and B12 supplements showed no effect on lung cancer among women.

Study in Annals of Internal Medicine

Survey Description

Next, yet another survey was conducted to study the use of dietary supplements. Moreover, this survey collected data from 27,000 U.S. adults over the age of 20. In fact, these adults were found to be generally healthy. In the survey, these participants answered questions about their use of a nutritional supplement and their diets. And, the results of the study were recently (April 2019) published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Indeed, the study reported that over 50 percent of the survey participants used at least one nutritional supplement, while more than 33 percent used multivitamins. Especially, relevant, those who took dietary supplements were more likely to be female, white, have high levels of education, and high income. Furthermore, they were also more likely to eat a healthy diet and lead a physically active lifestyle.

Commonly Used Dietary Supplements

Especially relevant, vitamin C was the most commonly used nutritional supplement, followed by vitamin E, calcium, and vitamin D.

Meanwhile, the study also found that vitamins A and K, along with magnesium, zinc, and copper were associated with lower risk of death from heart disease or stroke. In addition, these vitamins and minerals were linked to overall lower risk of dying in the average six years of follow-up after the survey. Paradoxically, this linkage to lower risk of death was only true when the vitamins and minerals were ingested from foods and not from taking nutritional supplements.

Highlights

In addition, the study found that taking a thousand milligrams of calcium supplements, daily, increased risk of death. On the other hand, ingesting calcium directly from foods had no effect on risk of death.

In summary, taking dietary supplements provided no benefits to the generally healthy survey population. In fact, there is no need to take a nutritional  supplement when eating a healthy balanced diet.

On the other hand, dietary supplements are not a substitute for not eating a healthy balanced diet. Most of all, avoid highly processed foods because the processing strips many foods of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Most noteworthy, it’s not clear why nutrients from supplements don’t provide the same benefits as the nutrients found in food. It may be that while the body can regulate and limit absorption of nutrients found in food, the body can’t do the same with the concentrated nutrients found in supplements.

When to Take a Nutritional Supplement

So, if you are healthy there is no need to take dietary supplements. On the other hand, if your medical provider reports deficiency in certain nutrients, then taking supplements, recommended by the medical provider, is the right thing to do.

In addition, there are times when vitamin and mineral supplements are necessary and important. For instance, anyone following a vegan diet may not get enough omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, and vitamin D. Also, you may need to take a nutritional supplement to help your skin.

Nutritional Supplement Guidelines

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans have published the following recommendations:

  • Anyone over 50 years old. They should consume vitamin B12 in its crystalline form from fortified breakfast cereals or as a supplement
  • Women of childbearing age who may become pregnant and adolescent females. They should eat foods like meats that contains iron or iron-rich plant foods like cooked dry beans or spinach, or iron-fortified cereals, along with vitamin C.
  • Women of childbearing age who may become pregnant and those who are pregnant. They should eat adequate synthetic folic acid daily from fortified foods or supplements in addition to the food forms of folate.
  • Older adults, people with dark skin should take extra vitamin D from fortified foods or supplements. Also, the trend to protect yourself from the sun’s rays and staying out of the sun for extended periods of time results in not getting enough vitamin D naturally. Consequently, vitamin D from fortified foods or supplements may help fill the void.

Finally, pregnant women need prenatal vitamins. Also, nursing mothers, people with food allergies, certain people with vitamin deficiencies, people with cancer, kidney, bone or cardiovascular diseases. They all need prescription supplements.

Summary

In summary, it is best to get your vitamins and minerals from your diet. However, if that is not possible, taking dietary supplements is the next best thing. And just to be safe, discuss it with your medical provider before you actually start taking them.

The Power of Being Fit and Healthy

The Power of Being Fit and Healthy

People, in general, tend to take health and fitness for granted. In fact, it’s only when something isn’t right that they try to do something about it. For example, if you are naturally gifted and healthy, it’s unlikely you’ll think too much on what you eat or how much physical activity you are getting. On the other hand, if you are underweight, overweight, or have some other malady, you’ll get more focused on your diet and exercise. However, almost everyone needs to pay attention to their health and fitness.

fit and healthy

Benefits of Fitness and Health

Most noteworthy, chances of living a long life are best for fit and healthy individuals  In fact, staying fit reduces your risk of suffering from heart diseases, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and may types of cancer.
In addition, staying in good shape gives you more energy to perform everyday tasks at home or at work. Furthermore, staying fit as you age reduces your risk of falling.

Also, according to the Centers for Disease Control, staying active and fit reduces your risk of depression and helps you maintain a healthy brain.

Next, a fit and healthy person will spend less money on health care than one who is not. And, these savings continue to increase as you get older. In fact, a study at University of Texas looked at 20,000 middle-aged men and women. And the study found that the healthiest participants had 38 percent lower health care costs later in life than participants who were not fit and healthy.

In addition, another study published in the Public Library of Science Medicine had 20,000 participants. And this study reported that participants who exercised regularly, drank alcohol only in moderation, consumed a nutritious diet and avoided smoking had a 14 year longer life expectancy.

Finally, a healthy diet and regular exercise helps reduce free radicals as well as inhibit the release of toxins associated with disease and infections.

Components of Fitness and Health

The four major components of fitness and health are:

  • Diet and food
  • Sleep
  • Stress
  • Exercise

Diet and Food

First and foremost, food and diet plays the most significant role in keeping you fit and healthy. A diet that is well balanced provides the energy you need to keep active all day long. And staying active helps you maintain a healthy weight. In addition, your body gets nutrients needed for growth and repair, which helps prevents diet-related illness.

For example, a balanced diet low in saturated fat and high in fiber found in whole grains, helps to reduce risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Meanwhile, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy helps reduce risk of heart disease by maintaining low blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Finally, a diet rich in calcium keeps your teeth and bones strong while helping to slow down bone loss as you get older.

Sleep

Sleep is an important component necessary for your health and fitness, overall health, and mental well-being. Well published guidelines recommend that to obtain the most benefits, eight hours of good sleep is needed every day. On the other hand, lack of sleep has many bad consequences on your health and well-being. For example, insufficient sleep has been proven to lower the efficiency of your immune system. In addition, lack of sleep has also been implicated in contributing to heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Finally, as another example, recent studies suggest that not getting enough sleep prevents people from losing weight.

Stress

Stress is also an important component of your health and fitness, overall health, and mental well-being. In fact, stress affects you in many ways. Some of them include, anxiety, overeating, under eating, fatigue, sleep problems, lack of motivation, restlessness, social withdrawal to name just a few. Fortunately, there are many techniques, such as physical activity or meditation, to help you reduce stress.

Exercise

Physical activities, such as regular exercise, helps you become and stay fit and healthy in some of the following ways.

  1. 1
    First, regular exercise helps you live longer.
  2. 2
    Next, exercise reduces the likelihood of chronic diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, stroke, metabolic syndrome, abnormal blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, colon cancer and breast cancer.
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    Also, regular physical activity improves muscle strength and boosts your endurance, thereby making you fit and healthy.
  4. 4
    Next, exercise increases bone density
  5. 5
    Moreover, exercise helps burn calories. Also, in combination with a good diet, exercise helps control your weight and makes you look good.
  6. 6
    Next, physical activity helps reduce stress, anxiety, and depression while improving your mood. Consequently, you feel happier, more relaxed and less anxious. You also feel better about your appearance and yourself. Which, in turn, boosts your confidence and self-esteem.
  7. 7
    Also, exercise gives you a chance to engage in activities, such as dance classes, that make you happy and gives you opportunities to socialize.
  8. 8
    Exercise helps you sleep better.
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    In addition, moderate exercise increases production of natural antioxidants, which help protect your skin and delay signs of aging.
  10. 10
    Furthermore, exercising helps brain health and memory. In fact, exercise stimulates production of hormones that enhance growth of brain cells.
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    And, exercise enables you to present yourself as empowered and confident, just as you would feel after completing a long run or after lifting your personal best in the gym.
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    Lastly, exercise boost your sex drive.