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Energy Bars: Which ones are best?

Athletes have many questions about energy bars:

Which ones are best?

That depends on your taste buds. The best energy bars are the ones you enjoy eating, settle well for a pre-exercise energy booster, and fulfill your dietary needs.

Are they better than Fig Newtons or other traditional foods?

Like Fig Newtons, they are a source of carbohydrate to fuel your body and nutrients to invest in your health. They are pre-wrapped and convenient to toss into a gym bag or backpack without crumbling.

Are they just glorified cookies?

For the most part, yes. For athletes, little is wrong with a few (sugar-containing) cookies/energy bars when balanced into an overall healthy eating pattern. Sugar (carbohydrate) in a sports diet fuels muscles. As a fit person, your muscles take up the sugar and use it to power your workouts. Please focus more on what comes with the sugar: whole grains? protein? fiber?


Today’s overwhelming assortment of energy bars offers an option for every dietary niche, be it vegan, kosher, low FODMAP, nut-free, etc.. Below is a list that categorizes the bars and might help you find ones that suit your dietary preferences.  The key is to remember that energy bars are not meal replacements, but rather emergency food that comes pre-wrapped. Be sure there are some banana peels and apple cores in your wastebasket, and not just wrappers.

Additive-free (that is, no added vitamins or minerals): Clif Mojo & Nectar, Epic, Good Greens, Gnu, Honey Stinger Waffle, Kashi, KIND, Larabar, Optimum, Peak Energy, Perfect 10, PowerBar Nut Naturals, ProBar, Pure, Raw Revolution, Red Square Power-flax, RX, thinkThin, Trail Mix Honey-bar, Zing

Budget friendly: Nutri-Grain, Nature Valley Granola, Kashi Chewy, Quaker Chewy

Caffeine-containing: Better than Coffee, Clif CoolMint Chocolate, Clif Peanut Toffee Razz, Honey Stinger Caffeinated, Peak Energy Plus, Picky Bar Game-Set-Matcha, Verb

Dairy-free (see also Vegan): Bonk Breaker, Bumble Bar, Clif Builder’s & Nectar, Enjoy Life, GoMacro, KIND, Larabar, Perfect 10, Picky, RX, thinkThin Crunch, Vega Endurance

Enriched/Fortified with added vitamins: Balance, ZonePerfect

Fiber, high (grams fiber): Fiber One Chewy (5-6g), Gnu Flavor & Fiber (12g), NuGo Fiber d’Lish (12 g), Oat-mega (7g), Quest (13-14g), thinkThin Protein and Fiber Bar (5g)

GUT-Friendly, Low FODMAP: Fody, GoMacro Peanut Butter Protein Replenishment, EnjoyLife Dark Chocolate (and some other flavors), GoodBelly, Happy

energy bar nutritionGluten-free: Bonk Breaker, BumbleBar, Elev8Me, Enjoy Life, Enjoy Life, EnviroKidz Rice Cereal, Fody, Good Belly, GoMacro, Hammer, KIND, Lara, Picky, PowerBar Protein Plus, Pure Protein, ProBar, RX, Quest, Raw Revolution, That’s It Fruit, thinkThin, Truwomen, Zing, 88 Acres Seed and Oat.

Low-carb: OhYeah! One, Pure Protein, Quest, Keto

Kosher:  GoMacro, Extend, Larabar, Pure Fit, ReNew Life Organic Energy, thinkThin, Truwomen

Nut-free: Don’t Go Nuts, Enjoy Life, Freeyumm, Go Raw, Honey Stinger Waffle, Jumpstarter Bodyfuel, Luna Bar Lemon Zest, That’s It, 88 Acres Seed & Oat

Organic: Cascadian Farm, Clif, Pure, GoMacro, Red Square Powerflax

Peanut-free: Clif, Truwomen (some flavors), Enjoy Life

Protein Bar (Your choice of soy, whey, egg, or blended protein source) (grams protein): Clif Builder (20g), Gatorade Whey Protein Bar (20g), GoMacro Protein Replenishment (10-12g) Honey Stinger Protein (10g), Lenny & Larry’s Muscle Brownie (20g), NuGo (10-12g), Oatmega (14g), PowerBar ProteinPlus (30g), PowerCrunch (13g), Pure Protein (20g), Quest (21g), RX (12g), thinkThin Protein (20g)

Raw: Good Greens, Pure, Raw Revolution, Vega Whole Food Raw Energy Bar

Recovery bar (3-4 g carb to 1 g protein ratio): Clif, KIND Breakfast Protein, PowerBar Performance, Picky, RX

Soy free: BumbleBar, Clif Nectar, Enjoy Life Chewy, GoRaw, KIND, Larabar, NuGo Fiber d’Lish, Oat-mega, Picky, ProBar, Pure, Quest, Raw Revolution, Vega Endurance, Zing

Vegan: (grams protein): Clif (most flavors; 11g), Clif Builder’s (20g), Go Macro (11g), Good Greens (10g), Hammer Vegan (15g), Larabar (5g)  Picky (7g), Pure Organic (4g), ProBar (8-11g), thinkThin High Protein (some flavors are vegan; 13g), Truwomen (12g), Vega (10g), 88 Acres Seed & Oat (6g)

Women’s bars (fewer calories; added calcium, iron, and folic acid): Healthwarrior Chia, Iron Girl Energy, Larabar, Luna, PowerBar Pria. Truwomen

40-30-30 Bars: Balance, ZonePerfect

My suggestion for the best bars

Google homemade energy bars and you will see many yummy, healthy, cook-free and simple-to-make options. These are likely the best bars, in terms of taste, positive ingredients, and lack of litter. Enjoy!

Recipe for Homemade Energy Bar from Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook

Sweet and Crispy Nut Bars

These bars can be made with almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, or other chopped nut or seed of your choice. Whether eating them for breakfast on the run, a preexercise snack, or an afternoon treat, you’ll enjoy these crispy bars.

When measuring the honey, add a little more than the 1/2 cup, so the mixture sticks together better. You’ll need to pack the ingredients firmly into the pan; otherwise the bars will fall apart (but the crumbs are tasty—especially in yogurt or sprinkled on top of your morning bowl of cereal).

  • 2 cups uncooked oats
  • 2 cups Rice Crispies or puffed brown rice cereal
  • 1 cup peanuts ((preferably chopped briefly in a food processor)) or slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup (heaping) honey
  • 1/2 cup peanut or almond butter
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon salt

Cooking Instructions

  1. Lightly coat a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, Rice Crispies, and peanuts or slivered almonds.
  3. In a medium microwavable bowl, combine the honey and nut butter. Microwave for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Slowly pour the nut butter mixture over the cereal, stirring until all the ingredients are well coated.
  5. Transfer the mixture into the prepared pan and press firmly while still warm. (Butter your fingers so the mixture does not stick to them.) Cool to room temperature.
  6. Cut into 20 bars and store them in an airtight container. (If you keep the bars in the refrigerator, they will be sturdier because the nut butter hardens.)

Yield: 20 servings
Nutrition information: 3,400 total calories; 170 calories per serving; 24 g carbohydrate; 5 g protein; 6 g fat

Article reprinted with permission from Nancy Clark.


Nancy Clark, MS, RD counsels both casual and competitive athletes in the Boston area (Newton, 617-795-1875). Her best selling Sports Nutrition Guidebook and food guides for marathoners, cyclists and soccer players offer additional information. They are available at www.NancyClarkRD.com. For her popular online workshop: www.NutritionSportsExerciseCEUs.com.

Senior Couple Cooking In The Kitchen

A Mature View on Sugar

Sure, there’s nothing new about saying added sugar is bad for you (regardless of your age). Your mom told you, and your doctor says so, too, but you can’t sugar-coat the truth — you love the sweet stuff. So what else is new? Well, it turns out that there is something that is both new and troubling about sugar.

A new study reported that added sugars have been found to have a profound effect in causing frailty in adults over 60. Frailty is defined by meeting three out of five of these criteria: unintentional weight loss, exhaustion, low physical activity, slow walking, and weak grip strength. The frightening consequences of frailty are an elevated vulnerability to falls, disability, and earlier death. (1)

In the study, participants were divided into three groups based on their intake of added sugars. Three years later, those participants who consumed at least 36 g sugar per day (about the amount in one 12-ounce can of soda) had more than double the risk of becoming frail over the follow-up period compared to those who consumed less than 15 g per day. Even after adjusting the group’s results for physical activity, the risk was still elevated more than two-fold in the high-sugar group. (2)

The reason? It could be sugar’s impact on muscle mass. Other research has found that high sugar intake may diminish the body’s ability to maintain muscle mass with age. (3)

And if that wasn’t enough to sour your taste for sweet, the study also found that sugars in processed foods were the most strongly associated with frailty. Given the fact that added sugar is often hidden in processed food — think tomato sauces, yogurt, ketchup and granola bars — this is concerning news for all.

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

Fortunately, you can still enjoy the deliciousness of naturally occurring sugars. They were not associated with an increase in frailty risk (naturally occurring sugars in this study included those in fruits and vegetables, but not fruit juices).

Instead of seeking out added sugars, try adding naturally sweet fruits and vegetables (such as carrots and sweet potatoes) to your diet. They provide valuable phytochemicals, such as flavonoids and carotenoids, and – importantly – fiber, which slows the absorption of their sugars, minimizing their glycemic effect.

The Standard American Diet: lots of sugar, very little fruit: (4)

But don’t go overboard with dates and dried fruit. Avoid all sweetening agents including maple syrup and honey.  Excessively sweet foods keep your taste buds accustomed to that excessive sweetness, perpetuating the desire for more sweet foods, which also promotes weight gain. When you consume overly sweetened foods regularly it makes real food such as fresh fruits not taste as spectacular. A piece of fruit for dessert or a small amount of dried fruit to sweeten a sauce or salad dressing is all you need.

Don’t Let Sugar Sour a Good Diet

A healthy diet excludes processed foods and includes a wide assortment of fruits, vegetables, beans, seeds and nuts—with their vast array of phytonutrients.

In a systematic review of many studies, researchers found a low intake of several micronutrients — including vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin C, folate, vitamin A, vitamin B6, and carotenoids alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and cryptoxanthin — also had links to frailty. Similarly, biomarkers of nutrient inadequacy were also linked to frailty, such as MMA (a marker of B12 deficiency), and low levels of serum carotenoids, alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E), vitamin D, and vitamin B6. (5) So you see, it is important to not only be aware of the harm caused by add sugar, but also to keep eating healthfully.

The Bottom Line

The good news? A diet with higher antioxidant capacity (like a Nutritarian diet) was associated with a lower risk of frailty.(4)

One of the most important benefit of a Nutritarian diet is that, coupled with exercise, it allows you to enjoy life in your 80s and 90s while gobbling up delicious dishes that even your sweet tooth will appreciate. This eating style not only promotes weight loss in the short term, it is designed to slow aging and maximize longevity. Here’s why:

  • It provides a excellent exposure to micronutrients and antioxidants,
  • It  prevents age-related chronic diseases
  • It helps avoid muscle loss and bone fractures,
  • It optimizes immune function and brain function with aging.

A last note about protein: The loss of muscle mass associated with frailty can be due in part to undernutrition, inadequate protein in particular. The elderly may have less efficient absorption and utilization of protein, which could lead to excessively low IGF-1 levels. Older folks may require a higher and evenly distributed protein intake compared to younger and middle-aged adults to maintain muscle mass. (Read more about this topic.)

Originally printed on DrFuhrman.com. Reprinted with permission.


Joel Fuhrman, M.D. is a board-certified family physician, six-time New York Times bestselling author and internationally recognized expert on nutrition and natural healing, who specializes in preventing and reversing disease through nutritional methods. Dr. Fuhrman coined the term “Nutritarian” to describe his longevity-promoting, nutrient dense, plant-rich eating style.
 
For over 25 years, Dr. Fuhrman has shown that it is possible to achieve sustainable weight loss and reverse heart disease, diabetes and many other illnesses using smart nutrition. In his medical practice, and through his books and PBS television specials, he continues to bring this life-saving message to hundreds of thousands of people around the world.

References

  1. Xue QL. The frailty syndrome: definition and natural history. Clin Geriatr Med 2011, 27:1-15.
  2. Barzilay JI, Blaum C, Moore T, et al. Insulin resistance and inflammation as precursors of frailty: the Cardiovascular Health Study. Arch Intern Med 2007, 167:635-641.
  3. Cleasby ME, Jamieson PM, Atherton PJ. Insulin resistance and sarcopenia: mechanistic links between common co-morbidities. J Endocrinol 2016, 229:R67-81.
  4. Lorenzo-Lopez L, Maseda A, de Labra C, et al. Nutritional determinants of frailty in older adults: A systematic review. BMC Geriatr 2017, 17:108.
DNA strand

Protecting Our Telomeres with Targeted Nutrition and Lifestyle Changes

Telomeres are sections of genetic material that form a protective cap at the end of each chromosome in every cell of the body. When a cell divides, the telomere gets a tiny bit shorter, until there is no more telomere left to protect DNA from “unraveling,” and the cell dies. Cellular death causes the body to age, whether the cell is from cardiac muscle, skin, or brain tissue, thus making telomeres a novel biomarker for biological age. The longer one’s telomeres, the younger one’s biological age. Several things affect telomere attrition rate – both positive (good nutrient status, healthy blood sugar and lipid metabolism, normal weight, exercise, etc.) and negative (micronutrient deficiencies, inflammation, cellular stress, a sedentary lifestyle, etc.).

Telomeres over time

Shammas M. Telomeres, lifestyle, cancer, and aging.  Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2011 Jan; 14(1): 28–34. Illustration: Ivel DrFreitas MD, ABIM, ABAARM.

 

How is micronutrient status linked to the aging process?

Micronutrient status has direct implications for telomere length. This makes it especially important to correct specific deficiencies and maintain micronutrient balance. Measuring total antioxidant capacity via SPECTROX® is equally important as the body’s ability to handle oxidative stress contributes significantly to telomere health/length.

Why measure fatty acids?

OmegaCheck® measures the amount of three very important fatty acids (EPA, DHA, and DPA) in one’s blood. Fatty acids can either contribute to or alleviate inflammation, and the OmegaCheck determines the amount of these pro- and anti-inflammatory fatty acids. Although the protective omega-3 fatty acids influence enzyme and hormone systems throughout the body, they have gained attention primarily for their superb cardiovascular benefits. Since fatty acid status is a surrogate marker for inflammation and oxidative stress, it is not surprising that omega-3 fatty acids can slow cellular aging by preserving telomeres. When it comes to OmegaCheck, higher is better.

Omega-3 fatty acids can slow the aging process. There are many reasons for this: they reduce inflammation, help maintain the cardiovascular system healthy, and protect the brain. However, the existing research points to an entirely different mechanism of action against aging: protection of telomeres.

A recent study on people with active heart disease demonstrated that individuals with high blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids also had the lowest rate of telomere attrition, suggesting that omega-3 fatty acids protect against cellular aging.In another study, the adoption of comprehensive lifestyle changes (including daily supplementation with 3 grams of fish oil, which is high in omega-3 fatty acids) was associated with an increase in telomere length in human leukocytes.In animal studies, dietary enrichment of omega-3 fatty acids prolongs life span by approximately one-third.3

Yet another way that omega-3 fatty acids have a protective effect on telomeres is through their action on cortisol. Following six weeks of fish oil supplementation, a group of men and women in a study demonstrated significantly reducedcortisol, a stress hormone known to reduce the activity of telomerase,5an enzyme that protects and even lengthens telomeres. Even stress-related cellular aging may be thwarted by omega-3 fatty acids!

SpectraCell’s Telomere Analysis

SpectraCell’s telomere test measures a person’s telomere length. A control gene is also measured and compared to the telomere length, and then results are stated as a ratio. A higher ratio means a longer telomere, and younger biological age. The Telomere Score is also compared to other individuals in the same chronological age group.

The price of the Telomere Test is affordable and is also covered by insurance. Testing once each year or every other year is suggested to monitor the rate of telomere loss.

The great news is that with the telomere analysis and appropriate lifestyle, habits, you can protect your telomeres and reduce the rate at which they shorten! Discover your estimated cellular age today with a comprehensive, and individualized approach to managing the aging process.

Click here to learn more about SpectraCell testing services.

Reprinted with permission from the SpectraCell blog.


SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. is a leading clinical laboratory specializing in personalized disease prevention and management solutions. Our pioneering intracellular micronutrient and cardiometabolic testing, driven by state-of-the-art technology, assesses a spectrum of risk factors and biomarkers for optimum wellness. Through our dedication to research and development, SpectraCell also provides innovative solutions for hormone health and genetics.

holidays-xmas

Surviving the Holiday Season

The hardest time of year for weight management is from Halloween until Valentine’s Day – temptations are everywhere from home to the workplace and everywhere else you go, people wear more clothes and are more covered up because of the weather, and people tend to exercise less because they are stressed, exhausted, it is cold, and they have very little time. Here are some tips to manage weight during the holiday season:

Plan ahead

  • Eat something before you go out so that you are not inclined to eat everything or anything in sight.
  • Stock your home, office, and/or car with healthy snacks such as fruit in your home, almonds in your office, and a nutrition bar in your car.
  • Plan on making healthy choices for your meals such as mustard instead of mayonnaise or light Italian rather than ranch dressing.

Manage stress

  • Make a list of stress relieving activities that do not include food or eating such as getting a massage, exercising, listening to music, or talking on the phone.

Party responsibly

  • If you are attending a pot-luck party, bring something healthy so you know there will be at least one healthy choice at the party.
  • Eat small portions of your favorite sweets at parties.
  • Try to fill your plate with mostly fruits and veggies at parties.
  • If you want to try new dishes, only take a taster size portion so that you are not tempted to eat more than you should. Then go back and get more of what you like if you are still hungry.
  • Drink a glass of water after each glass of soda or alcoholic beverage in order to cut beverage calories in half.
  • Focus on socializing with other guests rather than eating the food available.

Keep moving

  • If you know you will not have time to exercise, try to fit other small activities into your day such as parking farther away, taking the stairs, and putting the shopping cart away instead of putting it to the side.
  • If you have a stationary bicycle or a treadmill that you haven’t used for a while, take it out and put it in front of the TV, so you can watch TV when you work out.
  • Take a walk alone or with your spouse, kids, or other family and friends after dinner.

Kristy Richardson is a dietitian and exercise physiologist, specializing in sports nutrition and weight management, She is the founder of OC Nutrition and also works as a nutrition professor at Fullerton College.

References

Cleveland Clinic. (2009). 8 Steps to Surviving the Holiday Weight Gain. Retrieved December 22, 2009 from: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/heart/prevention/nutrition/holidayeating12_01.aspx

Zamora, Dulce. (2007). Holiday weight management; Surviving the Feasting Season. Retrieved December 22, 2009 from: http://www.medicinenet.com/holiday_weight_management/article.html

stomach upset

Managing the Problem: Natural Treatments for Gastrointestinal Disorders

Millions of Americans suffer from some form of gastrointestinal disorder. In fact, as many as 45 million Americans have irritable bowel syndrome. There are many different kinds of GI disorders—and different ways to treat them. It can be a painful and disruptive way to live, and people often suffer for years without realizing the real source of the problem is digestive in nature. If you are experiencing chronic heartburn, bowel discomfort, persistent diarrhea, or severe cramping, you may have a serious digestive problem and should consult your doctor.

If you are someone who experiences digestive ailments, know there are plenty of ways to effectively address them through diet, exercise, and other natural methods. Gut health plays a critical role in our overall well-being, so making sure you take the steps to optimize your digestive health is imperative. Here are some common ailments, as well as strategies that can help alleviate the associated symptoms.

Dysbiosis

When harmful bacteria is dominant in the GI tract, the gut is in a state of imbalance, also known as dysbiosis. While the optimal solution is to achieve balance between beneficial and harmful bacteria, it can be a problematic situation for many people. Bloating is one of the more unpleasant symptoms, but this can be treated with probiotics.[1]

Acid reflux

Acid reflux is a condition in which stomach acid backs up into the esophagus, causing severe discomfort and, over time, damage to the esophagus.[2] Other symptoms include nausea, chest pain,  tooth erosion, bad breath, and trouble breathing or swallowing. There are a number of approaches a patient can implement, including weight loss, not overeating, emphasizing low-carb foods (which inhibits bacterial overgrowth caused by undigested carbs), minimizing carbonated drinks, and limiting alcohol and coffee intake.

Crohn’s disease

Crohn’s Disease is an inflammatory bowel condition thought to be caused by family history and genetics, though the precise causes are unknown. It’s a painful condition with symptoms that may include diarrhea, rectal bleeding, fever, weight loss, and abdominal pain. While anti-inflammatories are typically used to treat Crohn’s, there are several natural approaches that have worked for Crohn’s sufferers. Wild oregano oil is sometimes used to get rid of disease-causing bacteria and viruses, while probiotics can be helpful, taken in amounts high enough to have a therapeutic effect.[3]

Irritable bowel syndrome

IBS is a common problem among Americans, who may experience diarrhea, painful dry stools, or loose stools. Bloating is another problem commonly associated with IBS which, as mentioned, can be treated with probiotics found in live yogurt. Symptoms are generally treated through diet—with an emphasis on low-fat, high-fiber foods—and by avoiding dairy, alcohol, caffeine, and foods that tend to produce gas.

Diverticulitis

Diverticulitis is caused by small pouches formed in the colon. The condition occurs when these pouches become inflamed, which can cause severe abdominal pain and fever.[4] Since obesity is considered a major risk factor, exercise is usually indicated as a form of treatment. A severe attack may require treatment with antibiotics and a liquid diet that allows the colon to heal. This can also help prevent the need for surgery to treat or remove the impacted portion of the colon. Dietary modifications include an increase in vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.

Gallstones

Gallstones are hard deposits that form in the gallbladder, an organ involved in digestion. There are about 1 million new cases of gallstones diagnosed each year in the United States, according to the American Gastroenterological Association.[5] It’s a condition associated with high amounts of cholesterol or excessive waste in the patient’s bile.

Some gallstone patients have success treating gallstones by drinking apple juice or using apple cider vinegar to cleanse the system. Milk thistle, which is available in pill form, may also be effective in treating gallstones naturally. Studies have shown that regular exercise, such as running or walking, can help prevent the development of gallstones.

The millions of Americans who live with some form of intestinal disorder struggle with unpredictable pain and digestive problems. They are manageable conditions that are difficult to cure. However, a combination of natural treatment methods, diet, and exercise can make a significant difference for patients.


Henry Moore is the co-creator of FitWellTraveler. The site blends two of his favorite subjects (travel and health) to provide readers with information about how to get the most out of both.

References:

[1] https://plexusworldwide.com/sunnyshare/trust-your-gut/probiotics-bloating

[2] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/146619.php

[3] https://www.healthline.com/health/crohns-disease/alternative-treatments

[4] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diverticulitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20371758

[5] https://www.gastro.org/practice-guidance/gi-patient-center/conditions

Seniors using exercise ball and weights

How the Human Body Changes As It Ages

The human body undergoes a lot of changes during its lifetime. From infancy to old age, there are biochemical processes in the body that define these changes.

Some of them are visible externally, such as the greying of hair, skin becoming less supple, etc.

But beneath all of this, some processes happen to make all of this possible.

Metabolic Changes

Metabolism is defined as the chemical reactions that occur to keep the body functional.

Although metabolism does decrease during old age, this effect can be slowed down by exercising and staying fit.

Metabolism is influenced by four major factors:

  • Resting Metabolic Rate – This is the number of calories that you burn while you’re in a state of rest. This is the least amount of energy that you need to keep functioning.
  • Thermic Effect of Food – This is the number of calories that you burn by digesting and absorbing food.
  • Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis – The number of calories that you burn by small actions that are not defined as an exercise. Ex: Casual walking, washing dishes, etc.
  • Exercise – This is the number of calories that you burn through active exercise.

Through active exercise, you can sustain your metabolism while aging. This does not prevent it, but delays the onset and reduces the impact.

Genetic Changes During Aging

Throughout a person’s lifetime, their cells are exposed to harmful environments, continuously damaging them. This reduces the body’s capacity to heal from injury and regrow dead cells. This damage to the cells also damages the DNA.

While DNA can replicate, it’s not infinite.

It’s limited by Telomeres.

Telomeres are protein complexes that cap the end of linear DNA strands. During replication of DNA strands, Telomeres do not replicate. Instead, they stretch themselves out between the newly created strands. Because of this, there are a limited number of times that DNA can replicate.

It’s been observed that there’s a direct correlation between the shortening of telomeres and the production of somatic stem cells throughout the course of aging. This shortening of telomeres is what causes a large number of age-related diseases in humans.[1]

Hormonal Changes During Aging

Hormones cause significant changes while the human body ages.

Before adulthood, there’s a substantial increase in the production of the growth hormone in the human body.

After attaining adulthood, the production of this hormone is reduced and ultimately declines as the person grows older.

Tropic hormones rise during puberty.  This hormone increases the production of sex steroids and growth hormones. It’s been observed that the decline of Growth Hormone reduces by 15% for every ten years in adulthood.[2]

Sleep is also a factor in hormonal changes during aging.[3]

Without adequate sleep, hormonal imbalances have been known to occur, when compared to individuals who get a proper amount of sleep regularly.

In men, it’s been found that there is a significant reduction in the production of testosterone as they age.

This commonly happens during Andropause. This reduction in testosterone is attributed to the loss of libido, depression, the decline in cognitive ability, and loss of muscle mass and strength.

This can be slowed to an extent through an active exercise to maintain muscle mass. But it’s not entirely preventable.

The reason for this reduction in the production of testosterone is because of the reduced hypothalamic secretion in the pituitary gland.[4] Although this can be treated with Androgen replacement therapy, it is usually only reserved for those with an abnormal change in their testosterone levels.

In women, the balance of hormones changes during menopause. Common symptoms of menopause include “hot flashes,” mood swings, and problems with sleeping.

Menopause typically happens to women in their mid-forties. Their bodies start making less of the female sex hormone, Estrogen. Because of this, their menstrual cycles slow down, become less regular, and eventually stop altogether. This signifies the end of the woman’s fertility.

When a woman has her last period that is when her menopause begins. In addition to the end of menstrual cycles, the walls of her vagina will also dry up and thin.[5]

Both Andropause and menopause cannot be completely stopped, but the loss of hormones can be reduced with hormone replacement therapy. This is done by artificially injecting hormones like estrogen and testosterone into the person’s body.

Exercise can lessen the impact of this to an extent, but it is not entirely preventable. It’s a natural cycle that happens to everyone.

Slowing Down the Effects of Aging

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to prevent the effects of aging. It’s a natural process that cannot be stopped. But it can be reduced to a great extent with controllable factors.

But for most people, a healthy and balanced diet with proper exercise can keep the effects of aging from impacting them too adversely. You can follow this at any age, and it isn’t restricted to only those that are beginning to feel the signs of aging.

Loss of muscle mass is a significant aspect of aging, and continuous exercise can help keep muscles from degenerating from loss of testosterone. A proper protein diet also helps, since this ensures that there’s an adequate supply of protein for the human body to repair damaged cells. [6]

Talk to your doctor about a proper exercise regimen for you to arrive on a schedule that is suited to your requirements.

Maintaining this should help prolong your lifespan while minimizing the adverse effects of aging.


Jill Roberts, is an owner and editor of Wellness Geeky Health & Wellness Publication. She and her team dedicated to provide readers and clients with most reliable Health information. She holds Master’s Degree in Molecular Biology and PHD in Epidemiology and Clinical Research. She also worked as an editors for European Medical publication (European Medical Journal) for 7 years.

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3295054/#b9-ad-2-3-186
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279163/
  3. https://www.wellnessgeeky.com/3-tips-to-get-more-sleep-and-reduce-stress/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1502317/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0072495/
  6. https://www.wellnessgeeky.com/arbonne-protein-shakes-powder-reviews/
apple-world

Waste Not, Want Not

In 32 years (2050), we will be dealing with major food issues. By then, the global population will have grown from today’s 7.6 billion people to 10 billion people (not due to lots of new babies, due mainly to longer lifespans related to better health care and nutrition). We will need 60% more food than is available today. To do so, farmers will need to increase crop yield, use water more effectively, and feed animals more efficiently. The agricultural industry is working hard on that—and climate change complicates it all.

As athletes, we like having plenty of food to eat and clean water to drink. Hence, we want to think about how we can invest in a sustainable future with our food and lifestyle practices. While we may suffer less from food shortages than will the people and athletes in less developed countries, we won’t be able to escape these environmental problems:

  • oppressive heat that not only damages crops but also drains the fun from playing outdoor sports, like soccer and tennis;
  • storms that disrupt plane travel for sports teams, as well as the flights of thousands of recreational athletes going to, let’s say, New York City for a marathon;
  • floods that ruin farms and crops, as well as playing fields;
  • droughts that kill crops, golf courses, and gardens.

The timely topic of sustainable diets and animal agriculture was prominent at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food & Nutrition Convention & Expo (#FNCE). The message was clear: We are facing the urgent need to curb greenhouse gas emissions (GHGE) to reduce our carbon footprint and invest in our future well-being. Here’s some of what I learned from speakers Frank Mitloehner PhD, professor and air quality specialist at the University of California-Davis, and Amy Myrdal Miller RD of Farmer’s Daughter Consulting. Perhaps this information will nudge you to think more about how your food and lifestyle choices impact the climate—and inspire you to make some changes.

Waste less food.

Up to 40% of the food we produce gets wasted. About 16% of that happens at the farm (e.g., sick animals not treated with antibiotics, unharvested crops due to labor shortages or “ugly” produce); 40% happens in food service and restaurants, and 43% in our homes. Who among us hasn’t tossed out “ugly” apples, over-ripe bananas, and perfectly good leftovers?  A huge contributor to food waste is the “best used by” date on food packages. Please note: the “best used by” date is not a “don’t eat this” expiration date, but rather a marker for quality and freshness.

Wasted food required energy to be produced and then transported to your supermarket (and landfill). Wasted food takes up 21% of precious (and limited) landfill space; this represents the largest percentage of all waste in US landfills. As it rots, creates the greenhouse gas methane.

To reduce food waste, you want to shop carefully, use leftovers, and compost food scraps. Restaurants, colleges, and other quantity food producers need to figure out how to find a meaningful home for leftovers, such as by donating to food pantries, if permitted.

Eat less animal protein.

Farm animals produce methane, so reducing the demand for meat is another way to help the environment. Yet it is not the biggest way to help. That’s because meat/food production is not the leading cause of GHGE, despite what you might have read repeatedly in the recent past. Hence, you do not need to become vegan unless you truly want to do so. If everyone were to eat a vegan diet every day, GHGE might drop only 2.6%. But you do want to eat meat less often and in smaller portions. If all Americans honored Meatless Mondays, the drop in GHGE in the US would be 0.5%. While not the cure-all for carbon emissions, every little bit helps!

Instead of blaming farm animals for being methane producers, the far bigger sources of GHGE are from the burning of oil, coal, and natural gas (fossil fuels). The environmental benefits of eating less animal protein of any type pales in comparison to the benefits from reducing fossil fuel use. Using fossil fuels to create electricity accounts for 30% of all GHGE. Transportation accounts for 26%, and industry, 21%. Agriculture contributes to only 9%, and animal agriculture alone, about 4% of all GHGE in America. (This number includes the carbon footprint of animals from birth to being consumed.) To put this in perspective, a recent study showed that switching from a meat-based to a vegan diet for one year equates to the GHGE of one trans-Atlantic flight from the US to Europe.

Educate yourself about the pros and cons of grass-fed beef.

With conventional agriculture, corn-finished cattle are generally raised on pastureland first for about 10 to 12 months, and then finished on a corn-based diet for the last 4 months to optimize marbling. Grass-finished cattle spend a total of 26 to 30 months on pastureland before they are slaughtered. All of that time, they are making manure, belching from the high fiber grass diet, and releasing methane. Corn-fed cattle produce far less methane and are content to eat the corn when well-balanced into their diet. (Yes, I know there are other reasons you might want to choose grass-fed cattle. I’m just talking sustainability here.)

Another way to reduce GHGE might be to start considering the possibility of eating protein-rich insects. I admit, I’m not there yet—but they are a sustainable source of protein. We just need more research to learn about the digestibility and bioavailability of insect protein—and how to make it yummy.

Solving the world’s impending food (and water) crisis is a huge global issue. We need governments around the world to look holistically at the complex interplay between the environment and food production systems. While we need to work together globally, each of us can act locally. How about biking more, driving less and wasting less food, as well as eating less meat? The next generation will thank us.


Nancy Clark, MS, RD counsels both casual and competitive athletes at her office in the Boston-area (Newton; 617-795-1875). Her best selling Sports Nutrition Guidebook and food guides for cyclists, marathoners, and soccer players offer additional information. They are available at www.NancyClarkRD.com. For her popular online workshop, see www.NutritionSportsExerciseCEUs.com.

fruits veggies colorful

5 Ways to Amp Up Your Nutrient Intake

Thanks to fad diets, everyone has their own idea of what constitutes a healthy diet – and has a mental list of which foods will never touch their lips again. We’ve all been there: Low-Carb, No-Carb, Paleo, South Beach, Atkins, Gluten-Free, Foods That Match Your Eye Color – you name it. But these diet trends simply cherry-pick a few nutritional facts, served up alongside lots of disinformation.

The simple truth is that a healthful, nutritionally favorable diet means consuming a variety of vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds and herbs. Fun fact: each and every plant food has its own distinct nutritional profile. More importantly: there are over 100,000 biologically active chemicals found in plants, agents that offer anticancer, antimicrobial, antioxidant, analgesic, and wound healing effects.

So how do you get those active chemicals to up our chances of living a long and healthy life? Let’s break it down:

1. Eat “the rainbow,” using a variety of natural plant foods.

Ensure that you consume a wide range of phytonutrients, many of which are antioxidants that offer a range of health benefits, from helping you lose excess weight and preventing disease, to slowing brain degeneration. The red in tomatoes comes from lycopene, the orange in carrots and sweet potatoes from alpha- and beta-carotene, the blues and reds of berries from anthocyanins, and the green in spinach and kale from lutein and chlorophylls. A variety of colors means a variety of health-promoting nutrients. 

2. The next time you load up at the grocery store, be sure your cart has these Superfoods.

Greens, Beans, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries and Seeds, known collectively to Nutritarians as G-Bombs. The planet’s best foods should be a part of everyone’s diet every day. Why? According to Dr. Fuhrman, these six magical foods benefit the immune system, can make you slim and healthy, and keep you that way while protecting you from cancer. Here’s just a taste of the power they possess and a simple recipe to help you reap some of their amazing benefits:

  • Greens, cruciferous vegetables in particular provide unique phytochemicals (ITCs) with a variety of cancer-fighting effects. Greater consumption of these vegetables is linked to reduced risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease and a longer life.1-3
  • Beans and other legumes  are rich in fiber and resistant starch, which help keep blood glucose, blood pressure, and LDL cholesterol down, promote weight loss, promote colon health, and nourish the microbiome.4-7
  • Onions and garlic are linked to a reduction in the risk of several cancers, and their distinctive sulfur-containing phytochemicals have a number of actions that benefit the cardiovascular system.8-11
  • Mushroom phytochemicals are unique in their promotion of immune system function and their abiity to inhibit of estrogen production; mushroom consumption is associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer.12-15
  • Berry phytochemicals have anti-cancer and blood pressure-lowering effects, and are linked to a reduced risk of heart attack.  Blueberries in particular have also shown promise for improving brain health, in studies on memory and cognitive function.16-22
  • Seeds and nuts: Eating nuts regularly is associated with longevity, reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, and a healthy body weight. Different seeds have different nutritional benefits; flax and chia, for example, are rich in omega-3 ALA and lignans, anti-estrogenic phytochemicals linked to a reduction in breast and prostate cancer risk.23-27

3. Focus on the nutrient-density of your diet.

A standard weight loss “diet” is one that focuses on controlling portion size and cutting down on junk food. The absolute best diet is one that concentrates on the amount of nutrients that food can provide and their phytonutrient power to protect against cancer. Natural foods with a high nutrient-density contain a significant amount of vitamins, minerals and other healthful substances with respect to their calories. This way of eating, called a Nutritarian Diet, has surged in popularity just as interest in the health benefits of various ingredients – kale, turmeric, berries – has spiked. Superfoods describe not only G-Bombs, but many others, too. For the list of some of Dr. Fuhrman’s must-eat foods, download his infographic 10 Best and 10 Worst Foods. Or for a deeper dive into the foods that benefit health and longevity, read Dr. Fuhrman’s magazine to learn his choices for the planet’s 100 Best Foods.

4. Break the junk food habit.

Processed junk foods are incredibly harmful to our health. They lead to obesity and illness, and cause detrimental chemical changes in the brain, affecting our emotional well being and drive cravings for more junk food. Eating junk food is a learned habit. These foods need to be eliminated entirely from your diet.

Kick start your transformation by cleaning out your refrigerator and pantry so you won’t be tempted with unhealthy foods. Here’s some easy ways to start:

  1. Sauté with water or low-sodium vegetable broth instead of oil
  2. Switch from cow’s milk to unsweetened soy, hemp, or almond milk
  3. Switch from sugar-sweetened breakfast cereal to steel cut oats topped with flax or chia seeds and berries
  4. Add tofu into a veggie scramble instead of eggs
  5. Say no to cheese
  6. Finish your meals with fresh fruit rather than sugary desserts

5. Don’t snack on healthy foods, either.

Learn to eat only at mealtimes, and only when you are hungry. If you are hungry between meals, it means you didn’t eat enough during the meal, so adjust your portions accordingly. Refraining from snacking might be hard to do at first, but it will become second nature after a while.  It is especially important not to eat after dinner before bedtime.

Originally printed on DrFuhrman.com. Reprinted with permission from Dr. Fuhrman.


Dr. Fuhrman is a board-certified family physician specializing in nutritional medicine. He is President of the Nutritional Research Foundation and the author of 6 NY Times bestselling books, including The End of Heart Disease. Visit him at DrFuhrman.com.

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  1. Zhang X, Shu XO, Xiang YB, et al. Cruciferous vegetable consumption is associated with a reduced risk of total and cardiovascular disease mortality. Am J Clin Nutr 2011, 94:240-246
  2. Pollock RL. The effect of green leafy and cruciferous vegetable intake on the incidence of cardiovascular disease: A meta-analysis. JRSM Cardiovasc Dis 2016, 5:2048004016661435.
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