Nutrition

Go Nuts For Nuts

Go Nuts For NutsHi!  Today I wanted to discuss the nutritional benefits of nuts and how they can be a great snack or a nice supplement to a meal.  Almost all nuts have nutritional value, some more than others.  Below are some common nuts that are packed with nutrients.

Almonds – Almonds are rich in calcium which help strengthen your bones and teeth.  They also have vitamin E to help your skin and flavanoids to aid in heart function.

Brazil Nuts – Brazil nuts are a good source of selenium which is needed for your thyroid gland. Selenium also helps your immune system.

Cashews – Cashews have a good amount of protein, iron, zinc, and magnesium.  The magnesium also helps prevent memory loss.

Chestnuts – Chestnuts are a good source of fiber which helps with gastrointestinal and bowel function. They also have vitamin B to help with brain function and vitamin C to enhance your immune system.

Hazelnuts – Hazelnuts are rich with folate which helps with heart function.

Macadamias – Macadamias have a lot of fiber, magnesium, calcium, and potassium.  Magnesium and potassium can help with improving brain function.

Pecans – Pecans have plant sterols which help lower your LDL or bad cholesterol.  They also have antioxidants which help prevent against arteriosclerosis.  They have vitamin B3 which helps give you energy as well.

Pistachios – Pistachios are rich in vitamin B6 which helps keep your hormones balanced.  They also have antioxidants that help protect your eyes.  They contain a good amount of fiber and potassium too.

Walnuts – Walnuts are loaded with antioxidants and research has shown they help fight against cancer. They’re also a good source of healthy fat (monounsaturated) which helps lower LDL cholesterol.  They also have omega 3 which is another healthy fat.

Summary – The next time you’re looking for something to snack on while watching tv or just have a small hunger pang, go ahead and reach for some nuts.  They’re also a good option for the holidays or parties so you and your friends can get a healthy snack.  If you have any comments or questions please let me know and I will get back to you.  Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day!

Jon


How Much Protein Do I Need?

NutritionHello!  It seems nowadays a lot of people are obsessed with eating as much protein as they can.  They think it builds muscles and just about everyone wants to look stronger.

However, protein doesn’t actually build muscles like many people think, rather it helps repair muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, skin, hair, and other body tissues.  Therefore, eating tons of protein usually isn’t necessary and can sometimes have adverse effects.

How Much Protein Should I Eat?

The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) recommends eating .36 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day.  For example, a 190 lb man should eat about 68.4 grams of protein using this formula.  The amount of protein you eat should also only account for about 20%-35% of your total diet. Now, these numbers I just mentioned are for the average, non-athlete individual.

If you’re an athlete and engage in strenous exercise more than 150 minutes per week, your intake should be a little higher.  For athletes they should consume .55 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily depending on the sport.  If someone is a bodybuilder it could be even more.

Muscle Growth

As I mentioned before, protein only repairs muscles and doesn’t build them by itself.  It basically works like this.  Since protein repairs muscle fibers and tissue it helps you heal faster from working out.  It can help alleviate soreness and reduce the amount of time you need in between workouts.

By having the amount of time in between workout sessions shortened, it allows you to increase the number of times you can strength train during a week.  When this happens, you can usually repeat the strength training process at least twice a week or more.  By repeating that process over time, that’s how muscles are built and grown.

Sources of Protein

There are many different sources you can get protein from.  Some of the more common ones are chicken, beef, eggs, fat, and milk.  Generally speaking, animal foods will yield more protein than plant foods.  However, you can get protein from some vegetables and fruit.

Summary – Protein is like any other nutrient in a healthy diet and you should aim to keep your intake at proper levels.  The notion that if some is good, then more is better isn’t the case with protein.  As I mentioned earlier, too much can have negative effects on your health.  If you have any comments or questions please feel free to let me know and I’ll get back to you.  Thanks for your time and have a wonderful day!

Jon


Which Fats Should I Choose?

Which Fats Should I Choose?

Hello! Today I’d like to discuss which fats are better for you to focus on in your diet.  Sometimes when people hear the word fat, they automatically have negative thoughts about it. However, some fats have better qualities than others are necessary in our diet.  There are 4 main types of fats, and I’ll be going over the traits for each one.

  1. Monounsaturated
  2. Polyunsaturated
  3. Trans Fats
  4. Saturated Fats

Unsaturated – Research has shown that unsaturated fats in general have been found to help people with diabetes by aiding in lowering insulin resistance.  They also help you lower your risk of heart attack, heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

Polyunsaturated – One of the best polyunsaturated fats you can eat is foods rich in Omega 3.  Omega 3 also helps improve cognitive functioning in your brain and prevent memory loss.  A good source of Omega 3 is pretty much any type of fish.  Salmon, oysters, and sardines are a good choice to get Omega 3.  Other sources include flaxseed, kale, and spinach.

Which Fats Should I Choose?

Monounsaturated – Monounsaturated fats also help reduce your risk of heart and blood pressure problems.  Some of these include olive oil (extra virgin is best), most types of nuts, and avocadoes.

Saturated – Saturated fats usually have a higher level of hydrogen than the unsaturated ones.  As a result of this, your risk of heart disease and stroke is increased.  Examples of food in this category would be pizza and fat on the edges of meats such as steaks and ribs.

Trans Fat – Trans fat has the least amount of good qualities of all the fats.  Many nutritionists suggest cutting it completely out of your diet or minimizing it quite a bit.  Trans fat usually has the highest amount of hydrogen compared to the other 3 fats.  It increases your risk of high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol (which is the bad kind), stroke, and heart problems.  Some examples of this fat are stick margarine, vegetable shortening, and deep fried foods.

Summary –  Fat should only account for about 20%-30% of your diet, and balance is the key to eating the correct amounts of the different types.  I would suggest eating saturated and trans fat foods in moderation.  In fact, a lot of nutritionists recommend not eating more than 20 grams of saturated fat daily.  The unsaturated fats definitely have better qualities than the others.

Another thing you can do to eat healthier fats is stay away from processed foods and lean more toward natural foods.  The natural foods tend to have better fat ingredients.  If you’d like to share any ideas on how you choose which fats to eat in your diet please let us know in the comments.  Or, if you have any general comments or questions please let me know and I will get back to you.  Thanks for your time and have an awesome day!

Jon


Healthy Ways To Cook For Maximum Nutrition

Hello!  Today I’d like to share with you some ways to prepare foods to get the most nutrition out of them.  Some people think raw food always has the most nutrition, however that’s not 100% true all the time.  Research has shown that cooking can actually break down outer layers of some foods allowing your body to absorb more nutrients.

Steam – Steaming is better than boiling when it comes to preserving nutrients for many foods.  This is because with steaming you can keep the cooking time, temperature, and amount of liquid minimized. Boiling causes water soluble vitamins and antioxidants to be sucked into the water.  So unless you’re using the liquid as a soup or broth, it’s usually best not to boil.

Also, cooking some foods whole is a great way to preserve nutrients, because cutting can reduce nutrients in some cases.  One example of this would be carrots.  If it’s not possible to cook the foods whole, it’s usually best to cut them up in large pieces.

Saute – Studies have shown that deep-frying some foods causes fat to penetrate and dehydrate them. However, sauteing them in a healthy cooking oil such as virgin olive oil normally works better.  Sauteing will help bring out the flavor, and the virgin olive oil helps increase absorption of nutrients in some vegetables.

Healthy ways To Cook For Maximum Nutrition

Griddling – Griddling is a form of cooking using a pan with raised edges and it’s usually done on a stove or in an oven. Some vegetables griddled with olive oil can have great flavor and still retain a lot of nutrients. Studies have shown it to work really well for green beans, asparagus, and broccoli.

Baking – With baking it depends a lot on the type of food involved, oven temperature, and time as to whether many nutrients can be preserved.  Therefore, it can really be hit or miss as a good method or not concerning health benefits.  Celery, onions, tomatoes, and spinach have been shown to keep a good bit of nutrients after being baked.

Summary – There is no one good way to prepare all foods because every food has unique qualities.  If you’re not sure which method to use when cooking, it’s usually a good idea to go with steaming when possible.  You can also get a cookbook that specializes in healthy recipes to guide you in the right direction.

If you have any experiences with healthy ways to prepare foods you’d like to share, please let us know in the comments below.  Or if you have any comments or questions please let me know and I will get back to you.  Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day!

Jon





You Can’t Out Exercise A Poor Diet

Hello!  Some people believe if they exercise enough they can eat whatever they want and still be healthy. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.  In order to live a healthy lifestyle diet holds just as much importance as exercise.  Actually, the 2 go hand in hand and work like a team to keep you healthy. Sometimes I use a stereo as an analogy.  To enjoy listening to music on a stereo you must have 2 components.  One is the cd and the other is the speakers.  If you only have a cd, but no speakers you won’t be able to hear any sound.

You Can't Out Exercise A Poor Diet

Conversely, if you only have speakers, but no cd you still won’t be able to hear any sound.  The stereo must have both a cd and speakers to function properly and produce sound.  Your body is like a stereo and the cd and speakers are like diet and exercise.

Proper food intake and sufficient exercise are needed for your body to function in stereo and produce excellent health.  Let’s look at the diet part of the equation first.

Diet – Nutrition is basically the process by which you take in and use food substances.  Proper nutrition can expedite results from exercise, improve health and physical performance, reduce risk of disease and illness, increase your energy level, increase lean muscle and reduce fat.

 

Also important to a healthy diet is eating small, frequent meals, 3 or more per day plus healthy snacks on a regular schedule.  If you skip meals you are more likely to feel extra hungry and deprived.

This can lead you to snacking on or binging on high fat, high calorie, and sugary foods.  Someone who eats on a regular schedule is more likely to reduce total energy intake and improve their fat levels than someone who doesn’t.

A regular meal pattern also includes breakfast which is a benefit when trying to manage your weight. Research has shown that breakfast is more filling to you than late night eating and helps reduce total energy intake.  Studies have also shown that skipping breakfast lowers insulin sensitivity, raises LDL and total cholesterol, and leads to higher energy intake.

If you proclaim some foods totally off limits many times you set yourself up for failure.  A good rule of thumb is to adopt the concept “Everything in Moderation”.  You can place some foods off limits temporarily until you regain control of your diet and weight.  Once you learn to eat in moderation you can have a healthy diet and manage your weight successfully.  Making healthier choices more often than not is the key to moderation.

Physical Activity & Exercise – Regular physical activity is very important to weight management and good health.  It also discourages overeating by reducing stress, producing positive feelings, and reinforcing self-worth.  Many times it can be a pleasant social experience as well.  Adults should aim for a combination of moderate intensity cardiorespiratory and muscle strengthening exercises totalling 150 minutes per week.  Even if you can’t do quite that much, some activity is better than nothing.

You can also look for ways to incorporate more physical activity into your daily life.  You may not think you have an hour each day for exercise, but good physical activity doesn’t have to come from traditional exercise.

Walking the dog a little longer or taking stairs instead of elevators are examples to increase activity during your day.  For more details on these types of activities please visit my blog “Daily Activities to Burn Calories”.

Regular exercise and activity throughout life makes weight management and living healthy much easier. The sooner you start good habits, the sooner you can reap the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle!  If you have any questions or comments please let me know as I look forward to hearing from you.  Thanks for reading and have a great day!

You Can't Out Exercise A Poor Diet

Jon


CICO

Hi everyone! Nutrition is critically important in how to get in shape and live a healthy lifestyle.  It’s the fuel that provides energy for your activities and movements.  If you’re not consuming the right types of food it will be very difficult to get in optimal shape, regardless of how much you’re working out.

There’s one very simple formula you can keep in mind when trying to lose or gain weight.  It’s called CICO which stands for calories in = calories out.  Basically, what it means is if you’re attempting to lose weight you need to take in less calories than you’re expending. If you want to gain weight you need to take in more calories than you’re expending.Nutrition Foods

Finally, if you want to maintain your current weight you need to take in the same amount of calories you expend.  It’s really just simple math and an easy concept to keep in mind.

One important aspect of nutrition is metabolism.  Many people I talk to say they can’t understand why they gain weight because they only eat once or twice a day.  When I hear that it lets me know they just answered their own question.

Ideally you should eat 5-6 times a day, not 5-6 full course meals a day.  You should eat 3 healthy meals a day and supplement that with 2-3 healthy snacks.

When you do this it keeps your metabolism moving at a good pace to burn calories.  When you only eat once or twice a day your body goes into protection mode and burns calories much slower.  Your body is basically telling you that if you’re only going to feed me twice a day, we’re going to make these calories last as long as possible and conserve energy.  This is because your body needs energy to perform it’s daily tasks.

If you know for a fact you’re taking in less calories than you’re expending, by writing down what you eat to monitor the calories and are exercising on a regular basis and you still aren’t losing weight, then you should see a physician to have a physical examination.  This is just some information to help get you started on the right path to healthy living.  Diet and nutrition play a vital role in getting fit along with the exercises.  It’s really not any more complicated than diet and exercise.

Those same basic principles still hold true today even with all the technology that’s around.  If you have any questions or comments please let me know and have an awesome day!

Jon

photo credit: Panier “bio” via photopin (license)


No Carb and Low Carb Diets

Hello everyone!  There seems to be a lot of discussion surrounding whether no carb or low carb diets are good for you.  First I’d like to say that you should never go on a no carb diet unless directed to by a physician.  Low carb diets can be beneficial to someone trying to lose weight as long as the carb reduction isn’t too extreme.  However, before I go into too much detail about a low carb diet, let me explain the purpose of carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are intended to supply your body with the energy it needs to perform daily activities.  This includes exercise as well as other frequent movements such as walking, driving, etc.  The problem most people run into is they consume a lot of carbs, but aren’t active enough to metabolize them.  When this happens the unused carbs turn to fat and become stored energy.

Carbohydrates

Now, if you’re trying to lose weight a low car diet may be appropriate.  If this is the case, carbs shouldn’t account for more than 30% of your diet.  The majority of your intake should come from protein (60%) and healthy monounsaturated fats (10%).

You should also do a minimum of 150 minutes a week of moderate to high intensity cardio exercise.  By doing this your body will draw upon its fat reserves to supply the energy and you can gradually lose weight.

Therefore, the only time I would recommend going on a low carb diet is to lose weight in conjunction with a good exercise program. If you have any questions or comments please leave them in the comments box.  Thanks for reading and have an awesome day!

Jon

photo credit: ginger-sesame potato salad via photopin (license)

10 thoughts on “Nutrition”

  1. Hi, Jon. You got a very informative site regarding how to stay fit in the comforts of your own home. You have covered all the different exercises that are needed for optimum health fitness and has included the basic nutrition/diet in order to stay fit. I would suggest if you could include the benefits of sleep as well in your page or perhaps in one of your post. A well- balanced sleep is essential for overall well-being.
    I would be recommending your site to those who are struggling to stay fit and healthy and this includes me 🙂 Best regards!

    1. Hi Adel, Yes, getting adequate sleep is definitely important to having great overall fitness. I’ll be covering more on sleep and rest in the future as I build out the site. Thanks for sharing that and if you have any questions please let me know. Take care,

      Jon

  2. I learned about eating 5 or six smaller meals a day when I got stage 3 colorectal cancer a couple years ago and was looking for alternative ways to fight the tumor. Up until that point, I had eaten one, maybe two big meals a day. Quenched my thirst with Coca Cola. Had a few beers every night. Coffee every morning. My routine had been killing me.

    hen I learned that you shouldn’t eat a big plate of food filled with protein, carbs, fruit s and vegatables. I learned to eat all the different food groups at different times during the course of the day. I cut out sugar completely and drank only botled water – not even fruit juice for the year leading up to my surgery and recovery. They were able to remove the the cancer completely and I credit having changed my diet for that year for my survival.

    1. Thanks for sharing your story Hal and I’m glad you were able to recover! It’s amazing how a change in one’s diet can lead to great positive changes in their life.

  3. Hi Jon,
    Your website provides a lot of useful information on a very important topic – health and well-being. Thank you for your efforts, and thank you especially for reminding people that we should eat 5-6 times a day, distributing all kinds of food in those meals in a balanced and educated manner. I have been telling my friends just that for a long while, giving as proof my health track record and my body shape, which didn’t change for the past 30 years – I’ve had this weight and this body shape since I was 16 years old!
    I must thank my mother for that, as she was the one who raised me in this way. I never tasted a cola till I was past 15, and all my food was healthy and tasty – well, that’s easy as I’m Italian 🙂 I still find drinking cola a rather strange habit, as in Italy it’s used by plumbers to clear stuck manholes… Junk food and junk drinks are best left alone, if we treat our bodies as garbage bins they’ll take the shape and health of a garbage bin, sooner or later!
    Fitness is foundation of a GOOD life, and I appreciate your efforts of teaching people how to be fit in an easy way. Keep going Jon!
    Cheers, Alma

    1. Hi Alma, it sounds like you’re definitely on a great path to eating and living healthy. Keep up the good work and thanks for your input. Have a wonderful day!

      Jon

  4. Hi John. This is all very interesting. What to eat is always a question. I try to cook as healthy as possible. But sometimes…it just gets away from me. Also, cause someone else cooks as well and doesn’t consider the health issues.

    Both my husband and I have high cholesterol. We’ve started being more active. But the issue wimmis with out diet.

    My husband would like to lose some weight. Which would be perfect for our holiday in a week and a half. But he’s having a hard time losing it.

    Do you have a one week meal plan to help with weight loss?

    Thanks

    1. Hi Liz,
      Unfortunately, suggesting a meal plan is beyond my scope as a trainer so I would suggest contacting a Nutritionist or Registered Dietician for that. However, trying to lose weight in a week and a half is kind of hard to do safely. Normally, about a 1-3 pound weight loss per week is recommended. This is because if you lose weight gradually it’s an easier adjustment on your body and metabolism. You’ll also be more likely to keep the weight off losing it slowly as opposed to a rapid weight loss. If you’re husband is trying to lose weight it’s very important for him to monitor his calorie intake closely, and try to expend more calories than he’s taking in with exercise or activity. I can’t recommend any specific foods, but I would suggest he scale back on the carbs a bit, consume more protein, and do a minimum of 150 minutes of cardiorespiratory exercise a week. If you have any other questions feel free to let me know. Take care and thanks for the question.

      Jon

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