Whenever you’re working out, you’re working hard. Whether your goal is fitness, bodybuilding, or simply losing a few pounds, the combination of exercise and nutrition is key to making progress. In layman’s terms, pumping iron creates tiny micro tears in your muscle fibers, which are then repaired by your body to build the muscle itself. The recovery process is just as essential as the workout itself. In fact, you technically can only build muscle AFTER your workout. That’s why you need to maximize your recovery with the right post-workout foods. Protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats all contribute positively to the recovery process. Here are a few foods and supplements to try out for your next post-workout recovery. For best results, consult with a physician or nutritionist prior to making any significant changes in your diet. Now that we got that out of the way, read on!(more…)
Posts Tagged ‘Fruit’
With so many options right now for beverages and drinks, we no longer know what is healthy and what can damage our body. Sodas and utterly huge servings of frappuccino or caramel macchiato can definitely bring us some unhealthy results, however, they were made to be delicious thus people still buy them.
Quite a good number of people believe that one should refrain from taking food a few hours before a workout. However, the body requires fuel to provide adequate energy, whether one is going for weightlifting or cardio. It is, however, imperative to choose foods that are easily digested by the body. For example, foods like whole grain bread, oatmeal, brown rice, and pasta are good sources of energy, they take at least two hours to be fully digested.
Ideally, individuals should equip their kitchen with a juicer that is reliable for making instant energy boosting juices. Such blends should include strawberries, apples, pineapple, and avocado among other energy giving fruits. These drinks will not only help the user to maintain endurance and stamina but also reduce the risk of contracting diseases such as cancer. Furthermore, fruits are readily available, easy to transform into juices and take only a few minutes to digest. Here are more compelling reasons for taking fruit juice before a workout.
“Superfoods” is a term that many of us have heard but not all of us understand. These are natural foods which boast a whole host of wonderful qualities. From protecting the immune system, to improving brain activity, to aiding eyesight and strengthening bones; they are rich in nutritional value.
As would be expected, they work great as part of a healthy lifestyle to burn fat and build muscle. Best of all; many of them are simple, readily available produce that can be easily worked into our everyday diet regime.
While whole foods are typically the best choice, supplementation can boost our total nutrient intake. Especially when it comes to green vegetables – I don’t know about you, but I can’t eat 3 kale salads every day – supplements like green powders and other antioxidants can really help us meet our daily needs.
But I digress…
So, what are some examples of the wondrous whole-food superfoods available today? (more…)
Introducing 4 Superfoods You May Have Never Heard About
When you pass through the produce aisles, you’ll pick up all the usual items — tomatoes, lettuce, apples, bananas, and other common fruits and vegetables. And then you might grab a bag of almonds or walnuts, too. We all know that these foods provide us with the range of nutrients our bodies crave.
Now if this sounds like you, I want to start off by saying, great job — the more fresh, whole foods you consume, the better. With that being said, if you want to take your health to the next level, you may need to step a little outside of your usual comfort zone.
Say hello to these superfoods, a fantastic way to boost your health throughout the new year! (more…)
Should Bodybuilders Eat Sugar?
Another food myth. This time we have to decide if eating sugar is acceptable in a bodybuilding diet. Sugar can do some nasty things to the body, but it can also help sometimes. Let’s look at the pros and cons of eating sugar so we can decide how, when, where, and why to eat sugar, if at all.
Similar to eating before bed, the sugar myth is another controversial subject about which everyone seems to have an opinion, whether educated or not. The two common opinions on sugar are as follows:
- Sugar will cause obesity, diabetes, and rotten teeth, so it must be avoided at all costs.
- Artificial sweeteners are bad for your health or taste horrible, so we must use sugar in our meals, drinks, and recipes.
The first opinion, that sugar has no place in a bodybuilder’s diet, is the most common myth that needs to be debunked. The second opinion is gaining in popularity, and although there is some sense in this approach, it too can be over used.
Acai Berry Not Just For Weight Loss — It Promises Longevity
Today’s guest post was written by Matt Papa, Ph.D. Having worked in biology labs for more than a decade, Matt devotes much of his time reading and researching the scientific literature pertaining to diets and natural weight loss programs. He blogs about research findings in obesity-treatment and gives away a Medifast discount coupon and a Nutrisystem coupon, two leading portion-controlled meal replacement diet plans.
About Acai Berries – Why Are They so Good for Your Health
Botanical-rich diets have been shown to have numerous health benefits, and acai is one botanical product that is garnering a great deal of attention. The acai berry, the fruit of a palm tree indigenous to the Amazon River area of South America, has been praised by experts for its health benefits.
The purple fruit is considered a superfood and is widely consumed as a dietary supplement because of the many therapeutic properties it is believed to possess. Marketed mostly as an effective supplement to induce weight loss, scientific studies are now recognizing other significant health benefits of the acai berry.
Berries, including the acai berry, receive their vibrant red, blue, and purple colors from a phytonutrient known as anthocyanin. In clinical trials, biochemical analysis, and animal and cell-based studies, anthocyanins have been shown to possess several important biomedical functions.
In addition to anti-inflammatory and anti-cardiovascular properties, anthocyanins have been demonstrated to decrease cancer cell growth by more than 50%. They also have significant potential as an anti-aging supplement, as they can reduce the oxidative stress associated with aging, improve neuronal and cognitive brain function, and repair and protect DNA – all of which are associated with aging, especially the accumulation of DNA damage or mutation.
Scientific Study Finds Acai Improves Longevity
The free radical theory addresses the issues of DNA mutation accumulation and oxidative stress mentioned above. This theory postulates that free radicals cause oxidative damage, which results in aging. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules responsible for cell damage, including oxidative harm to macromolecules like DNA. As organism ages, this oxidative stress accumulates in the cell. Based on this theory, treatments that reduce oxidative damage should be effective aging interventions. This has been supported through animal experiments that have shown reducing oxidative damage increases lifespan.
A study recently published in the January 2010 issue of Experimental Gerontology examined acai berry’s potential as an aging intervention. This groundbreaking animal study looked at the anti-aging effect of acai in Drosophila melanogaster, otherwise known as the fruit fly. Acai’s anti-aging effect was evaluated under two different conditions.
Condition 1. Flies fed a high fat diet.
Condition 2. Flies pre-conditioned to experience extreme oxidative stress.
Acai Counteracts High Fat Diet’s Damaging Effect
Conjecturing that acai’s beneficial phytonutrients and its robust anti-oxidant activity would reverse the harmful effects of a diet high in fat, researchers manipulated the diet of fruit flies. All flies in the experiment were placed on a diet high in saturated fat; compared to a standard diet, one high in saturated fat is known to shorten lifespan by 19%. The flies were divided into two groups, one of which had their high-fat diet supplemented at 2% with acai pulp.
Compared to the flies who did not receive the acai supplement, those in the supplementation group saw a 22% increase in lifespan. In effect, supplementing with acai restored lifespan to a normal length, counteracting the damaging impact of a high fat diet. The researchers’ search for the mechanism responsible for this positive effect on longevity found that the acai diet resulted in increased activity of anti-aging genes.
In addition to a shortened lifespan, high fat diets are associated with a heightened risk for a variety of health problems. One common result of a chronic high fat diet is the development of insulin resistance, which eventually leads to type 2 diabetes. Dr. Sun, the study’s primary investigator, is hopeful “that acai pulp may be effective in prevention and control of type 2 diabetes,” as the findings seem to suggest. Acai pulp has demonstrated promise as a medicinal food that can inhibit a high fat diet’s detrimental health effects.
Acai Found To Reduce Oxidative Damage
The researchers also proposed that the survival of flies in oxidative stress would be improved by the administration of acai pulp. They tested this by using a model of oxidative stress commonly used in the biological study of aging. The model relies on fruit flies which, as a result of genetic modification, contain a dysfunctional Superoxide Dismutase enzyme (SOD). This enzyme is essential to the flies’ ability to reduce the cellular damage done by free radicals as well as to repair cells that do sustain damage. The genetically modified (SOD-mutated) flies live under constant oxidative stress because they do not have the ability to repair oxidative damage.
The SOD-mutated flies were placed in two groups. One group received 2% acai pulp for the duration of their adult life, while the control group received no supplementation. Comparison of the groups showed that flies who had received the acai supplement lived approximately 18% longer than those in the control group, suggesting that acai alleviates oxidative stress and thereby improves survival.
According to the researchers, the anti-aging properties demonstrated by acai may be due to its high level of polyphenolics, which give it the ability to function as a hunter of free radicals. Another polyphenolic compound shown to have similar anti-aging benefits is resveratrol. Supplementation with resveratrol increased longevity in mice fed a diet high in fat.
This study, the first to examine the effects of acai’s anti-aging properties in an animal population, joins over 20 other peer-reviewed studies that refer to acai berry’s antioxidant properties and potential benefits to human health. In addition to these benefits, acai is currently being tested for its effectiveness as a weight-loss tool. Although research in this area is still ongoing, the inclusion of berries and other fruits is known to be an important component of any healthy weight loss diet.
Even though research on the weight loss effect of acai is not complete, anecdotal evidence and reports from real-life experiences suggest that it may help shed unwanted weight. The popular fruit is being recognized as a superfood with health benefits that include increased longevity, possible disease prevention, and the potential to aid in weight loss. Read Steve’s article where he clearly explains how the Acai berry speeds up weight loss.
– Açai palm fruit (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) pulp improves survival of flies on a high fat diet. Sun X, Seeberger J, Alberico T, Wang C, Wheeler CT, Schauss AG, Zou S. Exp Gerontol. 2010 Mar;45(3):243-51.
– What is the açaí berry and are there health benefits? Marcason W. J Am Diet Assoc. 2009 Nov;109(11):1968
Zola Acai Juice
I recently had the opportunity to try 7 of Zola’s products: 3 acai juice blends and 4 acai smoothies. To skip the background on Zola, click here to go straight to the product reviews. By the way, I get nothing out of reviewing these products, not even if you follow my links to buy some. This is just for Project Swole readers’ information.
The philosophy of Zola is to bring highly delicious and nutritious Brazilian superfruits to consumers, and that is what they do best.
Zola has an agreement with certain Brazilian communities which allow them full access to the best, freshest acai that Brazil has to offer. Because of this agreement they never have to buy acai on the open market, and they are able to give directly back to their partner communities in an effort to reduce poverty and preserve the habitat.
A recent article in Forbes magazine noted Rio de Janeiro, Brazil as one of the world’s happiest cities. It just so happens that Rio de Janeiro is one of the top producers of acai berries, and the people that live there have daily, cheap access to acai foods.
Could acai = happiness? 😛