Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Optimal Health Through Nutrition

Your body needs protein, energy-providing carbohydrates, healthy fats and nutrients to reach optimal health.  When we fuel up with the right combinations we can maintain a healthy body weight, support a strong immune system and protect our health for the long-term.  But how do we pack all that wellness into a few meals a day from the foods we purchase at the supermarket? 
Unfortunately, the fresh fruits and veggies we buy have less nutritional value today due to nutrient deficient soil, not ripened on the vine, irradiated and stored for days before eaten.  Our diets may lack the essential building blocks of the foods that are vital  to good health derived from proper nutrition.  So how do I ensure that I'm getting all the nutrition needed for optimal health?  I take supplements.  Whether you're in a state of sickness or considered yourself in top health, you can benefit from nutritional supplementation.  I take them morning and night.  I feel energized when I do.

My supplements help me to start the day out right with my breakfast and fuel my body with nutrients following my daily evening P90X workouts.  These 12 intense training workouts put my body through rigorous exercises.  The supplements help to supply my body with nutrients, minerals and oils that help me to fully recover.  I feel like my post workouts are less tiring and quicker muscle healing, less tenderness and soreness when I take supplements than when I don't.  Its not a scientific measurement.  It's my own personal experience.

Always ask your doctor, a physician or nutritionist for advice before taking supplements.

What supplements to use can depend on several factors such as your weight, gender, the kind of exercise you undertake, your age, etc.  So what I share is what I'm currently adding as a nutritional supplement to an already very clean diet of lean protein, fruits, veggies and healthy fats.
1.  Multi-Vitamin/Mutli-Mineral.  I use Dr. Whitakers Forward Plus  taking one packet in the morning and a packet following my workouts.  I highly recommend it and you may benefit from it.

2.  Ginkgo Biloba.  This herb is helpful for middle-aged to older people with increased blood flow to the brain.  Here's an overview from The University of Maryland Medical Center.

3.  Coenzyme Q10.  CoQ10 boosts energy, enhances the immune system, and acts as an antioxidant.  This University of Maryland Medical Center overview has some good information.

4.  Grape Seed Extract.  It's another powerful antioxidant

5.  Wild Oil of Oregano.  This herb is known for it's healing value as an anti-inflammatory, anti-pain and anti-viral properties. 

6.  Garlic.  It has been used as both food and medicine in many cultures for thousands of years, dating back to when the Egyptian pyramids were built. It is also rich in antioxidants

7.  Flaxseed Meal.  This superfood is essential in providing lignans and fibre, plus the omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic (ALA). 

8. Bee Pollen granules.  This is one of the richest and purest natural foods ever discovered, and the incredible nutritional and medicinal value of bee pollen has been known for centuries.

In his book BRING IT!, P90X creator Tony Horton has a challenge to take supplements.  His challenge is a simple test.  For 1 week, while eating healthy and exercising, do not take any supplements.  I had to do this before I could do a round of tests for my doctors medical examination.  Then answer 13 questions at the start and end of the week.  At the start of the following week, add back in your supplements to your food and workout routine.  At the end of the second week take the test again and compare and you'll see how supplements make a difference. 
  1. I experience sound, restful sleep most nights of the week
  2. I have plenty of energy throughout the day
  3. I have a healthy and normal appetite with very few cravings
  4. I am happy with my present weight
  5. I'm enthusiastic about my fitness and have plenty of energy during exercise
  6. I'm good at handling stress
  7. I'm satisfied with the state of my libido
  8. My memory, cognition and mental acuity are good
  9. I have good/full range of motion and am not experiencing joint pain
  10. My muscles are strong and lean and recover quickly after exercise
  11. My heart and lung capacity are strong during cardiovascular exercise
  12. I have normal digestion with no stomach or intestinal issues
  13. I feel that I am in good mental health, free from sadness, depression and anxiety
Answer all the questions on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being never and 10 always.  Be honest!  How did you do?  Let me know in the comments section of the blog.

If you want the straight dope on fueling your body with nutritious food and what to avoid, I'm here to help and it won't cost you a penny for the free advice based on my own experience and what has worked for me.  I hope you'll follow my blog and provide me with some feedback on my posts.  I'll be catering good choices that include both dietary and lifestyle changes.  So if you could use a boost to your engine, buckle up for the ride of your life and let's get started!.

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