Monday, December 19, 2011

Need to Know

In the latest Tennis magazine that comes to our house, there was an interesting article entitled “The 20 Things You Need to Know About Nutrition”. Some of them you’ve heard before, others are a bit new. I won’t share all 20, but just the ones I found to be most interesting.

1 – your diet impacts your brain function: A study done at the University of Washington found that the overconsumptions of classic western diet can lead to brain changes that create a domino effect that may impact weight regulation. Overconsumption led to inflammation in the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that regulates body weight. “Ditch the processed stuff loaded with refined carbs, added sugar and salt, fried stuff and fatty animal products, and load up on fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean proteins and plant based fats.”


2 – the right breakfast fights hunger all day: A recent study published in the journal Obesity found that eating breakfast, especially with adequate protein, can control appetite all day long. If you find yourself overeating at night or snacking too much in the afternoon, try adding a bit more protein to your morning.

3- food can fight pain: Inflammation in joints can cause pain, reduced flexibility, and a host of other problems. But anti-inflammatory foods like ginger can fix that. In one study of 250 osteoarthritis patients, those who received ginger extract twice a day experienced less pain daily. Ginger has been shown to share the same properties as ibuprofen. Other anti-inflammatory foods are tart cherries, berries, and extra virgin olive oil.


4 – don’t run on empty: Since it is impossible to burn pure body fat, the idea that exercising on an empty stomach burns more fat is false. During aerobic exercise you burn a combination of carbs and fat. When carbs aren’t available, your body has to break down it’s own muscle mass and convert it to carb. Not a good idea. So even if you don’t feel like eating a full meal, try to grab a snack or a smoothie to prevent your body from tapping into your lean tissue.

5 – sleep matters a lot: Yes, sleep has to do with nutrition. Healing and repair from the wear and tear of exercise occurs during sleep, and getting too little sleep has been shown to rev up hunger hormones, increase inflammation, up the risk of obesity, depression, type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and negatively impact productivity and performance. Goodness…I’d get some sleep if I were you.


6 – Omega-3s are beyond essential: Omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to tons of benefits from heart disease to Alzheimer’s and staving off type 2 diabetes. But a recent study in the Journal of Physiology found that they also influence protein metabolism and improve muscle development.

7 – don’t get fooled by the afterburn myth: While it’s true that you do torch more calories in the hours after a workout than normal, it is probably far less than you think. Even as few as 50 calories. If you are trying to lose some weight, estimate the number of calories burned and eat only 50% of those.

8 – organic food is worth the extra money – Organic food is better for the environment, no doubt. But it is also better for your physique. Organic foods contain more antioxidants, which protect your cells from aging, inflammation and disease, and may also make you leaner. A study done at the University of Florida found that those who consumed more antioxidants had lower body mass indices, smaller waistlines, and lower body fat percentages. Research has also shown that pesticide residues from conventionally grown foods may be a factor in rising obesity rates.


9 – spices are a secret weapon: A Penn State study found that adding such herbs and spices as oregano, cinnamon, turmeric, black pepper, cloves and garlic powder to meals significantly upped post-meal blood levels of antioxidants, lowered insulin levels, and reduced unhealthy blood fats. Natural seasonings can also boost satiety and rev up metabolism.

10 – a little vitamin C makes a big difference: Researchers at Arizona State discovered that vitamin C does more than just fend off the sniffles. It can build stamina and enhance your body’s ability to burn fat for fuel both at rest and during exercise. It is essential for the production of carnitine, a nutrient that helps turn fat into a useable fuel

Hope these nifty nutrition facts find you enjoying your holiday season. Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay happy!

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