NUTRITION ARTICLES

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no abs? 10 reasons why

Double-Double The Perks

Top 4 Muscle Foods

The 7 Best Foods for Increased Energy

Add these energy boosting foods to your diet for a quick pick me up.

BROCCOLI

Rich in antioxidants, chlorophyll, and fibre, eating broccoli can help fight free-radical damage while keeping your body’s processes humming.

Coconut Oil

A great source of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), a type of fat that the body absorbs easily to use for energy.

Dark Chocolate

High in cocoa phenols, magnesium, and antioxidants, dark chocolate also contains a small dose of caffeine to keep fatigue at bay.

Lentils

Can stave off fluctuations in blood sugar levels and depleted iron stores, a known cause of lethargy.

Watermelon

Because it is made of 92 per cent water, this melon fights dehydration, a common energy-robbing culprit.

Wild Salmon

Its omega-3 fatty acid content can help boost your brain’s energy levels by opposing mental fatigue.

Wheat Germ

Vitamin B deficiency can lead to sluggishness; wheat germ is high in this vitamin as well as vitamin E and protein.

By the Editors

 

Double-Double The Perks

Have you ever thought you should give up coffee for the sake of your health? Think again! It seems with every new study comes more good news about the positive effects of coffee. According to an extraordinary amount of research, coffee provides health benefits across the spectrum, and is also the friend of athletes: it gives your performance a boost and can help you drop extra pounds. Miracle substance? Could very well be.

HISTORY OF COFFEE

 

It is known that coffee originated in Ethiopia, and the most common legend surrounding its introduction as a beverage is that a goat herder noticed his flock got boundless energy after eating coffee berries. Curious, the goat herder tried the berries and noticed the same benefit. It’s likely that he dried the berries to extend their lifespan beyond their season, discovering a beverage upon reconstitution.

For at least a few hundred years, coffee remained a drink of that geographic region. Somewhere around the 16th century it began to spread, and since that was a time of great exploration, it did not take long for coffee’s reach to extend worldwide. Still, in some parts of the world tea remained the drink of choice, and, believe it or not, this was important in the discovery that coffee actually protects your liver.

THE TRUE LIVER CLEANSE

During the last century a large number of Japanese men moved to South America and began drinking coffee instead of their traditional tea. Someone noticed that this group of men experienced far lower rates of liver disease when compared to most Japanese men, and the studies began.

At Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan, an analysis of two large studies published in the International Journal of Cancer showed an inverse correlation between coffee consumption and rates of liver cancer. In those who drank coffee daily, the risk of liver cancer was decreased by more than 50 per cent over those who never or seldom drank coffee. Similar results have been repeated, but it doesn’t end there.

Many studies have shown that coffee helps protect against fibrosis and cirrhosis of the liver, including a large study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. This study showed a 22-per cent decrease in the risk of liver cirrhosis for every cup of coffee consumed per day.

Your liver is your body’s filter, and liver cleanses are big business. Unlike other substances touted but unproven to cleanse the liver, coffee has been proven time and time again to not only cleanse the liver but also to actually prevent liver disease.

DIABETES PROTECTION

Coffee’s protective effect on the liver is one of its better-known health benefits, but it offers plenty more. With each cup of coffee you drink per day you also lower your risk of getting diabetes by five to 10 per cent. According to a meta-analysis of studies across eight different countries with a total of nearly 500,000 subjects, drinking six to eight cups of coffee per day lowers your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 50 per cent.

COFFEE AND YOUR MIND

You’ve probably been known to drink coffee while studying for an exam, and your instincts were correct: coffee does help with cognitive performance. Yes, caffeine alone can help, but not to the same degree. Studies on coffee and dementia may explain why.

Coffee not only improves cognitive function and memory on a short-term basis, but it can actually help prevent Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and other forms of dementia as well. Numerous studies have demonstrated that drinking three to five cups of coffee per day reduces your chances of developing these tragic diseases by 65 per cent. According to researcher Dr. Chuanhai Cao, lead author of one study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, a “mystery component in coffee reacts synergistically with caffeine to provide a boost in granulocyte colony stimulating factor (GCSF),” which improves memory.

ANTIOXIDANTS AND MORE

Its dark colour is a clue that coffee is anti-oxidant-rich. According to a major study published in 2005, coffee is the main source of antioxidants for the American population, and the results can be extrapolated to the Canadian population. Coffee has over 1,000 known antioxidant compounds, more than red wine or green tea, and roasting the beans creates even more.

Its antioxidant content may help explain coffee’s possible role in helping to prevent cancer. While it is known to help defend against liver cancer, it is also suspected to help inhibit other cancers, including prostate and breast. Also, despite the fact that it formerly was thought to promote heart disease because its caffeine caused an increase in heart rate, coffee is now believed to have mild cardio-protective qualities, and to slightly lower your chance of suffering a stroke.

YOU SOLD ME. NOW WHAT ABOUT MY PHYSIQUE?

Caffeine is considered a performance-enhancing substance, and until 2004 was on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Prohibited List. Whether or not it will help you depends on your activity and on your body’s own reaction to caffeine.

Caffeine stimulates the production of adrenaline, which prompts energy production and increases blood flow. These effects make you feel more energetic, and that can translate into improved performance. Caffeine also promotes fat mobilisation and utilisation, which can help with aerobic exercise and intermittent high-intensity exercise taking place over a longer period of time. So in other words, it should help you with your overall workout, but may not help you perform a specific exercise (such as clean and jerks) better.

FAT LOSS

Caffeine and its relatives are important components of weight-loss products. Caffeine works as an appetite suppressant, increases perceived energy levels (making you expend more energy), and is also slightly thermogenic.

But some argue coffee itself can actually cause you to gain weight. If you want coffee to be a fat-loss boon instead of bust, follow these tips:

    •  Do not add cream or sugar. Learn to drink your coffee black.

    •  Never drink specialty coffee beverages with flavoured syrups and creams.

    •  Understand that coffee and caffeine can increase your cravings for high-

       calorie foods, and eating these foods with coffee can become a habit. Even

       if you drink your coffee black, pairing it with a scone, cookies, or a 600-

       calorie muffin will quickly negate any benefit.

So lose the guilt; enjoy that morning cup of joe! Throw one in pre-workout, too, for a healthier — and harder — body.

By Wendy Morley

The 7 Best Foods for a Better Sleep

We’re always looking for ways to stay focused and awake, but sometimes what we really need is a good night’s sleep

KALE

Superpower: Helps promote better sleep

Fights: Calcium deficiencies

CHICK PEAS

Superpower: Boosts melatonin production which helps induce sleep

Fights: Low vitamin B6

WARM MILK

Superpower: High in calcium and other minerals that are known to have a relaxing effect

Fights: Insomnia

BANANAS

Superpower: High in potassium and magnesium

Fights: Muscle stiffness/soreness

BREAD

Superpower: Spikes insulin levels, and releases tryptophan and serotonin

Fights: Stress and anxiety

CHERRIES

Superpower: Natural source of melatonin

Fights: Irregular sleep patterns

CHAMOMILE TEA

Superpower: Low levels of caffeine compared to other teas, and raises the body’s temperature which promotes relaxation

Fights: Wakefulness

By the Editors

10 REASONS WHY YOU DON’T HAVE ABS

Great abdominal muscles are something that everyone wants, and very few have. There is an endless list of reasons why you might not have those six-pack abs you dream of; but I’ve compiled the top ten factors that contribute to a flabby midsection.

No.10: LOW MUSCLE TONE

We all have abs, they’re just usually hidden under a layer of fat and water. Even people who are lean won’t have visible abs if they have low muscle tone. Being thin is no guarantee of a chiselled stomach. Without great muscle tone, your abs will never be visible, no matter how lean you are. This part of your body needs to be trained like everything else.

No.9: POOR GENETICS

Yes, we all have abs. Unfortunately though, some people tend to carry most of their fat around the midsection. This is a problem for the majority. These people need to aim for lower than normal body fat to reduce this area. By doing this, the abs will become more prominent.

No.8: BAD FORM WITH ABDOMINAL EXERCISES

I see this all the time. Often while doing crunches, people will bounce or swing their entire body. These motions will hit more of your hip flexors than properly contracting the abdominal wall.

No.7: NOT ENOUGH SLEEP

We often hear, “get your required eight hours per night,” but what does this have to do with having great abs? Well, plenty. Lack of sleep affects all areas of your life. It can cause an increase in stress, which will increase cortisol levels. This may cause bad eating habits, which will directly affect your daily caloric intake.

No.6: HIGH STRESS

I touched upon this in #7. High levels of stress cause cortisol levels to rise. This can make it nearly impossible to burn fat or put on lean muscle mass. In turn, this hinders and improvements on your abdominal muscles. Try to reduce stress in your life, or eliminate those that are causing it. You will thank me for this.

No.5: NOT SUPPLEMENTING PROPERLY

There are numerous products that greatly help with your overall fat loss. They range from natural products like L-carnitine, Garcinia Cambogia and raspberry ketones, to more aggressive stimulant based products. Learning and educating yourself on which ones are effective, and getting personal references is the best policy here.

No.4: A HIGH SODIUM DIET

Sodium, which is put into so many products, can really be the secret killer when it comes to great abs. This is what truly made the difference for myself. I took a long look at all the hidden sodium I was consuming and realised that it was negatively impacting my progress. I was retaining water weight, which blurred the definition in my abs. Watch out for things like sauces, sports drinks, prepackaged chicken breasts, and lunchmeats. Make it a habit to start checking the food labels. Foods that contain less than 100mg of sodium per serving are good options.

No.3: DRINKING TOO MANY CALORIES

That’s right. Liquid calories count towards your daily totals. That glass of wine each night or that one beer every day can add up to over 2000 calories per week. Other products like concentrated orange juice, sports drinks, sodas, and specialty coffees can contain some serious calories. Some lattes can reach up to 800 calories with that whipped cream and chocolate topping.

No.2: NOT EXERCISING FOR FAT LOSS

Just doing a ton of cardio is not the answer. Combining both weight training and cardio is the most effective approach. An intense weight-training workout will burn more calories and stimulate your metabolism for many hours afterwards. Having leaner muscle will ensure your body burns more daily calories. During your workouts, keep your heart rate up with less rest to stay in your fat burning zone. Look into H.I.I.T. (High Intensity Interval Training) for optimal results.

No.1: CONSUMING TOO MANY CALORIES

It’s not rocket science. It all comes down to the calories consumed versus the calories burned. As the saying goes, “you can’t out train a poor diet.”

Dean Brandt

Top 4 Muscle Building Foods

Learn How to Create a Stronger, More Muscular You

Why is chicken breast so popular for bodybuilders? It’s probably because it has an extremely high protein to fat ratio. It’s virtually void of saturated fat and low in overall fat, making it a heart-healthy choice.

This is why bodybuilders feel safe in eating it three to six times a day and for 12 to 16 weeks at a time. I do not recommend consuming the same protein source more than once a day. This may cause your body to develop food sensitivities. Chicken has a BV of 76 making it a great choice for a high-protein food.  The low-fat content makes it a very versatile food. It leaves room for the addition of good sources of fat like olive oil or avocado to your salad and vegetables so you don’t have to eat the chicken breast alone.

1. Chicken Breast: The Bodybuilders

   “Go-To” Choice!

A typical 170g chicken breast is approximately 200 calories, 40 grams of protein and two grams of fat. A 170g chicken breast normally costs three or four dollars so it’s slightly more expensive in comparison to eggs, but the benefits are pretty close.

2. Whole Eggs – Don’t Throw Out the Yolks

If you’re looking for an excellent source of protein, you can find it in eggs. A whole egg has the biological value (BV) of 100 which measures the protein’s quality.  BV is based on how much of the protein consumed is actually absorbed and utilised in the body. The higher the amount of protein (nitrogen) retained, the greater the BV. If a protein has a BV of 100, it means all the protein absorbed will be utilised.

Whole eggs score the highest of all foods with a BV of 100. Beans have a BV of only 49- a significant contrast.

Whole eggs are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. Your body craves this in order to decrease cholesterol levels, aid in joint inflammation, and increase hormone production.  Eggs are high in BCAAs which aids in muscle growth.

Since the egg yolk is the source of fat and some of the essential amino acids, it’s necessary to include yolk in whole egg/egg white mix to achieve the optimal ratio of nutrition. A whole egg has about seven grams of protein with 3.5 grams from the yolk and 3.5 grams from the white. The yolk has about 3.5 grams of protein and five grams of fat.

I have found that adding one yolk with every four whites (one whole egg and three extra egg whites if you’re making a custom order at a restaurant) delivers 17.5 grams of protein and four to five grams of fat.

A carton of a dozen eggs, roughly costing three or four dollars, will have three whole eggs and nine additional egg whites. This will deliver approximately 52.5 grams of protein and 15 grams of fat.

A 300 gram protein diet from eggs would cost you about twenty dollars a day.  I prefer to use liquid egg whites, blended with a whole egg, instead of wasting the yolk from a carton of eggs.

3. Fish: A Great Catch

Tuna is probably the most popular muscle-building food amongst bodybuilders. The most redeeming quality is its non-existent fat content. Tuna is the best protein-to-fat ratio of all whole food proteins. It has a high concentration of BCAAs, so it made the list pretty easily.

Like red meat, tuna has a high amount of creatine in it (which is a nice bonus from a protein source). Tuna is not the only acceptable fish option; salmon is exceptionally high in omega-3 fatty acids (good fats). It’s a solid source of complete protein high in essential amino acids.

If you’re in a restaurant, look for the white fish options such as snapper, dhufish, shark, swordfish, and barramundi.  Each of these is a lean choice that dominates the protein to fat ratio.  White fish is excellent to include in your pre and/or post workout meal plan since it digests quickly and provides a quick influx of amino acids in your bloodstream. All proteins should be consumed with veggies to help undergo digestion. Vegetables help to push the amino acids into the bloodstream.

A typical serving size of 170g of tuna will contain 200 calories. The same sized portion of salmon will reach 300 calories. Tuna can provide up to 45 grams of protein per serving. The same serving of salmon will contain roughly 35 grams of protein. Salmon will have almost 15 to 20 grams of fat, only four grams from saturated fat. This is why bodybuilders rely on salmon more in the off season than the contest phase where calories and fat is reduced.

My favourite thing about tuna is the cost. Cheap cans of tuna can yield up to 60 grams of protein for only one or two dollars a can!  Consume tuna in moderation and no more than one can a day to minimise the mercury levels.  Again, it’s best to rotate your protein sources.

4. Beef: The Big Mass Growing Protein

If the plan is to pack on serious size, you know this is a reliable standby and most-used weapon. Why is beef so powerful for building muscle?

Aside from the great taste, beef is linked to being abundant in creatine and L-carnitine, which have both been shown to boost cardiovascular health and aid in muscle growth. It contains lots of zinc, vitamin B12, and phosphorus.

The BV of beef is 76, same as chicken, and contains a good amount of BCAAs.  The only downfall is that it is very high in saturated fat (hence why it tastes so good), and cholesterol; two things that will definitely hurt your cardiovascular health. The key is to rotate around your beef sources and focus on organic products that are higher in omega-3s.  Experiment with everything from beef fillet, rump to venison and sirloin.

By Vince DelMonte

THE 7 BEST FOODS FOR YOUR ABS

Exercise isn’t the only answer to getting those washboard abs. Your diet plays a huge part in the way you look and feel. The following 7 superfoods are the healthy, secret weapons your abs are looking for.

No.1: Almonds (and other nuts)

Superpowers: Helps build muscle and reduce food cravings

Fights: Heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure

 

No. 2: Beans and Legumes

Superpowers: Helps burn fat and regulate digestion

Fights: Heart disease, obesity, colon cancer

 

No. 3: Spinach (and other green vegetables)

Superpowers: Slows the aging process, neutralises free radicals in your body

Fights: Cancer, stroke, osteoperosis

 

No. 4: Dairy products

Superpowers: Builds strong bones and supports weight loss

Fights: Cancer, osteoperosis, high blood pressure

 

No. 5: Berries

Superpowers: Protects heart, enhances eyesight, improves short term memory

Fights: Obesity, cancer, heart disease

 

No. 6: Peanut Butter

Superpowers: Builds muscle, burns fat

Fights: Obesity, muscle loss, wrinkles

 

No. 7: Olive Oil

Superpowers: Lowers cholesterol, boosts immune system

Fights: Obesity, cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure

By the Editors

7 best foods for abs

7 foods for better sleep

7 BEST ENERGY FOODS

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