How much do you think about magnesium?
Chances are, you and your clients don’t give this marvelous mineral the credit it deserves. Name the bodily function, and chances are pretty good that magnesium is somehow involved. It plays a role in a diverse group of over 300 biochemical reactions in the body, including a number of them specific to physical activity: protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, energy production, oxygen uptake and electrolyte balance. It’s also involved in blood glucose control, blood pressure regulation, structural bone development, normal heart rhythm and more (ODS 2019).
With each new year comes an influx of clients, friends, and colleagues with lofty health and nutrition goals. Which is a good thing. But it’s no surprise that by the time the new year confetti settles, those resolutions may have fallen by the wayside. Here are some expert tips to help your friends, clients, and self make 2020 the year of keeping nutrition goals within sight and success within reach.
Finally! Gone are the days where fats were a 4-letter word. Research has dispelled the myth that a diet rich in energy-dense butter, marbled meats, and nuts can make you, well, fat. Informed eaters are now seeking out formerly forbidden coconut oil, fatty fish, and ALL the avocados.
Yes, it’s possible to bulk up on tofu. A joint research study by Canadian and Brazilian scientists, presented at the 2019 American College of Sports Medicine annual meeting, discovered no difference with respect to lean body mass and muscle strength gains between 19 vegan and 19 omnivorous young men enrolled in a 12-week, twice-weekly program of resistance training. During the intervention, each participant consumed 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, either solely from plants or from a mix of plants and animals.
Health organizations have given advice on nutritious eating for decades, and yet a diet “report card” published in JAMA shows that American adults are still consuming too many nutritionally poor carbohydrates and more saturated fat than is recommended. The study, conducted by researchers from Tufts and Harvard universities, examined data on food choices recorded between 1999 and 2016 by almost 44,000 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
Many home cooks believe you need to wash poultry, but an observational study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) found that 60% of people who rinsed raw chicken before cooking had potentially harmful bacteria left in their sinks afterward, and 14% had bacteria lingering in the sink even after cleaning it. Perhaps even more worrisome: More than 26% of study participants transferred bacteria from their cleaned bird to nearby lettuce. The USDA says the best practice is not to wash poultry prior to cooking, but instead to make sure you cook the meat to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, which will knock out dangerous bugs.
True, some people did not win the genetic lottery with respect to gaining pounds, but that doesn’t mean they can’t tweak their diets to stave off weight creep. A study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition involving more than 14,000 adults over a 20-year period discovered that increasing one’s intake of fruits and vegetables can be protective against a genetic susceptibility to obesity.
We now have even more reasons to go nuts for nuts. Research published in the journal BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health found that adding a half-serving of nuts (14 grams) to a daily diet may reduce weight gain and obesity risk in adults (participants were followed over two decades). Consuming calories from nuts in place of calories from less healthy items, such as processed meats and potato chips, was also protective against extra weight.
For years, fitness professionals have had to combat genetic rationales their clients use to justify why they can’t achieve their goals—ranging from statements like “Everyone in my family is overweight; it’s just in my genes” to “Athleticism just isn’t in my DNA.”
Irritable bowel syndrom affects about 10%–15% of the population worldwide, and up to 70% of athletes go through some sort of gastrointestinal disturbance. What fitness professionals can do is educate ourselves about the condition and learn how a low-FODMAP diet can play a role in managing IBS symptoms.
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