Are You a Well-Oiled Machine?

Fish oil is a dietary oil extracted from fish rich in beneficial omega 3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA. These essential fatty acids cannot be produced by the body, and therefore must be consumed. Foods rich in omega 3s include fish and other algae eating animals. While nuts and seeds also contain omega 3s, they are composed primarily of ALA fatty acids, which research has yet to prove whether or not they also contain the same beneficial properties of DHA and EPA found in fish. Unfortunately, to meet your daily requirement of DHA and EPA, you would need to consume several pounds of fish per day. Not only would this be a daunting dining expectation, you would also be increasing your exposure to mercury, which would negate many of the healthy brain and cognitive benefits of consuming fish oil. Alas, there are several fish oil supplements available on the market in both pill and liquid form, both flavored and natural. Look for supplements containing 300mg or more of EPA/DHA per serving.

Health benefits of consuming several grams of fish oil daily include:

- increased brain and cogitive function - decreased risk of Alzheimer's, dementia, and other cognitive degenerative disorders - increased cardiovascular function - decreased risk of heart disease - decreased inflammation, and chronic disease associated with inflammation - increased joint health - increased metabolism

A diet rich in omega 3s is associated with increased insulin sensitivity (decreased sensitivity being associated with diabetes), promotes greater nutrient absorption at the cellular level, and an increased metabolism due to the increased enzymatic activity, thereby burning more fat cells. Consider adding a fish oil supplement to your diet for increased healthy and well being. Consult with your physician before beginning any new diet or exercise program.

Healthy Fats, High Fiber Carbs, Lean Proteins, Heavy Metals??

This summer consumer reports and some other independent researchers found unhealthy amounts of heavy metals in a number of name brand protein supplements. Check out what Consumer Reports and NPR had to say.

Most of us know we should be eating a balance of healthy fats, high fiber carbs and lean protein at each meal and snack, 4 -6 times per day. The billion dollar supplement industry tries to make it easier to obtain this nutritional frequency with an array of fast convenient meal replacements shakes, bars, and other snacks. You may, however, be getting more than you ask for, as these products are not FDA regulated.

Protein shakes are a great way to get an appropriate amount of lean, muscle building protein in your diet. These shakes are often well balanced with macronutrients and vitamins. They do not, however, replace natural whole foods. Supplements are not FDA regulated and periodically, independent researches target popular supplements to test for quality. Even our heavily regulated food industry can let us down. The egg, and milk industry are the latest foods to be struck by yet another salmonella contamination. Hopefully these supplement companies are addressing the heavy metal issue. Be careful for cheap or calorie cutting ingredient additives like artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and saturated fats. I use to supplement with protein, but stick to whole, unprocessed foods now. A balance of fat, lean protein and high fiber carbs are essential each meal to regulate hormones and blood sugar, leaving you fuller and satisfied. I find liquid calories are often not filling, even though they are calorically adequate, and then I eat more, to fill my stomach. Also satiety should not last 4,5, or 8 hours at a time. You should be eating 4-6 small balanced meals per day every 3-4 hours. On a good day I eat oatmeal or a high fiber cereal in the morning with whole milk and or fruit, nuts or peanut butter. Mid morning I usually make some eggs with veggies. The rest of the day varies, but I try to eat a fat, carb, and  protein at each meal and snack, every few hours throughout the day until I sleep.

Supplementation

Often Im asked about specific supplements or what is THE best supplement to take. My answer is, WATER. I follow up by asking, why do you want to supplement, what are your goals? Athletes use supplementation to enhance performance for a specific goal, short term, on the scheme of athletic careers. Most of my clients are amateur fitness enthusiasts who want to maintain lean mass and strength as they age. Your body is 70% water, so is muscle mass. If you want to maintain and fuel that mass, it needs to be hydrated. Many people consume too much salt, caffeine, and sugar. All of which dehydrate and starve your muscles of their most important nutrient. Before you shell out your hard earned money on unconfirmed supplements, start drinking 2 liters a day of the worlds most abundant, and free, natural resource. And then ask yourself, have I been sleeping 7-8 hours a night, weight training 3 times a week, eating 6 balanced meals a day? Start supplementing these habits into your routine and watch the results come faster than ever, then we ll talk about supplementation.