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Your Health & Wellness, Issue #005 -- Weight lifting will help to keep you out of nursing homes
August 03, 2007
(Guide to a Healthy Lifestyle)
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Week of August 5, 2007
Table of Contents
* Weight Training Has Many Health Benefits *
* There Is No Substitute For Whole Foods *
* Beware of MSG *
Weight Training Has Many Health Benefits
Strength training plays a great part in one's overall exercise program. I am talking specifically about lifting weights. Weight lifting becomes ever more important the older one gets. And it is gender neutral--it benefits men and women.
Lifting weights or 'pumping iron' provides another weapon in the war against obesity. It builds and preserves muscle tissue. A pound of muscle can burn anywhere from 35 to 50 calories a day. Muscle is metabolically active. Fat is not.
A consistent weight lifting program will go a long way towards keeping seniors out of nursing homes. This means that they will be able to care for themselves. Tasks such as walking up and down stairs, carrying groceries, and keeping their balance no longer will be something to dream about. Weight training will also build bone density. This is especially important for women as they get older.
As you age, muscle naturally atrophies (wastes away) and fat accumulates. The only way to slow down and even reverse this process is through weight training. At the gym where I work out there are two 80 and older seniors who are as far away from a nursing home as you can possibly be. One, Gene is 80 years old and has been lifitng weights for over 50 years. His sons work out there too. The other senior is 85 years old and a World War II veteran (by the way, his wife is in her 40s!)
I began lifting weights consistently in 1978 at the age of 27. It was then I learned what was happening to my muscles during training and recovery. Training provides the stimulus for strengthening and building muscle tissue. It damages and breaks down the muscle. Technically speaking, weight training injures the muscle.
Nutrition is very important in any weight training program. It is where you provide the raw materials for muscle repair and growth. Nutrition is where you provide the fuel to train your muscles and nutrients to repair them. The third and equally important phase is recovery. This is the stage where the muscle repairs itself and grows. Sleep and time away from weight training allows this process to take place.
Weight training doesn't require you to lift a ton of iron. I am not talking about a powerlifting competition. Intensity which equates to quality is the key--not how much you can lift. Get your doctor's approval first. This is especially important if you have been inactive for awhile, or 'on the other side of your youth.'
There Is No Substitute For Whole Foods
Is there a short-cut to good health? Can we apply the microwave approach to health by getting the nutrients we need in a pill or two?
At one of my recent health seminars, I was asked if there is a pill or something to take for health. It would have been alright if the question had been asked as a joke. Unfortunately the person who asked the question was dead serious. This makes it even more tragic.
Actually, the person who asked the question is not unique. There are literally hundreds of thousands of people across America who are asking the same question. Or maybe many are asking for a pill for an ill. Both amount to the same thing.
Good health is one of the greatest gifts you can have. It makes life enjoyable. Good health cannot be bought at any price. It is something that you apply to yourself because you respect your body. You only get one body in this lifetime, and if you let it go downhill through neglect and abuse, you can do irreparable harm.
No one will ever care more about your health than you. You have to be the one to take control of it. If you don't, the health care system will do it for you (but you'd better read this first.) Take care of your body now, and I can guarantee you that it will take care of you in your senior and retirement years.
Our bodies have been made to get the nutrients it needs for maintainance, repair, and nourishment from whole foods. Whole foods are foods as close to nature and as least processed as possible. Of course almost all foods are processed to some extent. But the process that a whole, organic food product has to undergo does not involve removing any nutrients, or adding any chemicals.
No man-made technique or process can ever equal what is found in nature. Fruits, vegetables, and grains have nutrients that science hasn't discovered yet. And they work together in ways which science has no clue. Some of these phytonutrients work together synergistically. And they are in precise ratios to each other which make them optimum for good health.
Good health is not possible without the nutrition provided by whole foods. To give you a simple idea of how substances work together, consider calcium. It is one of the minerals needed for strong bones. Yet without vitamin D, calcium is not well absorbed. Taking a calcium supplement for bone strength is not going to help unless you also take vitamin D.
The relationship between calcium and vitamin D is well understood in nutritional circles. But there are many compounds in fruits and vegetables which are not understood in how they interact with each other. And too there are others which are unknown. of course the ones which science has no knowledge cannot be isolated into a pill. You miss out on these nutritional powerhouses if you for the most part avoid fruits and vegetables, or simply drink the juice.
In a joint study between Rutgers University and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a compound in blueberries has been discovered which lessens precancerous lesions and suppresses genes having to do with inflammation. This newly discovered compound is called pterostilbene.
The researchers studied rats in which colon cancer similar to human cancer was induced. The rats were all given a balanced diet, and some were given pterostilbene while others were not. The rats who were given this compound had 57 percent fewer pre-cancerous colon lesions and less inflammation.
Colon cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the United States. Lead researcher, Bandaru Reddy, Ph.D., said that pterostilbene helps to prevent colon cancer naturally. The standard American diet (SAD) contributes to colon cancer.
Until recently, pterostilbene was unknown. But if you ate blueberries you reaped the benefits. It has always existed in blueberries. But if you were looking for an elusive all-in-one, all-purpose health pill, you missed out.
It is always recommended that you eat a varied and balanced diet. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables during the week. Include all colors. This way you are ensured of getting all the nutrients the body needs for optimum health. And it makes it impossible to ingest toxic levels of vitamins or minerals, or to upset the natural balance between vitamins and vitamins and minerals and minerals.
When it comes to health via nutrition, food gets the priority. Don't sabotage your health by looking for man-made alternatives. There are none. But sometimes you have to supplement your diet. A supplement is a vitamin or mineral that is added to the diet in order to compensate for a deficiency.
When you cannot get a certain vitamin or mineral from your diet, or cannot get it in sufficient quantities, that is when you turn to pills. Pills are option number 2, NOT the first option. At the very least it is recommended that you take a good multi-vitamin/ mineral supplement. Other supplements should only be taken if they are needed.
Pay attention to the following guidelines in buying the best supplements you can. You may have to pay a little bit more than you would buying them at the local supermarket, but it is well worth it. You want to make sure that your body absorbs the nutrient. And you also want to make sure you get the nutrients and not fillers and binders and artificial ingredients. This is very important.
Buy naturally occurring rather than synthetic vitamins. And buy capsules rather than tablets. Capsules are highly absorbable whereas tablets are not. Tablets sometimes have a waxy substance called a flowing agent applied. The flowing agent interferes with absorption. These agents are magnesium stearate, calcium stearate, and ascorbyl palmitate. Tablets can also contain binders, fillers and bulking agents.
Make sure your supplement doesn't contain any of the following: corn, wheat, milk or milk by-products (lactose, casein), citrus, potato starch, eggs, yeast, or soy. And stay away from supplements which have artificial ingredients as preservatives or colorings. Minerals are best absorbed in citrate/malate or aspartate form.
When it comes to your health, accept no substitutes. Don't look for magic bullets or quick fixes. There are no such animals. Your health is too valuable to short-change through a pill for a meal replacement or penny-pinching.
Beware of MSG
There are some food ingredients which are ubiquitous--seemingly everywhere. Sugar is one, and salt is another. It is a well-known fact that sugar is addictive which is why food manufacturers put it into almost all of their products. There isn't a human being living who doesn't like sugar. Did you know that the biggest user of sugar is the tobacco industry?
Salt (sodium) is another product which is put into almost every food product you can think of. Sugar and salt are flavor enhancers. However there is another ingredient which you can find in snack food, Chinese food, fast food, vegetarian food, and even restaurant food. It is in baked goods, soups, sauces, and gravies, and, it is even put in baby formula.
This ingredient is potentially more dangerous than excess salt and sugar combined. It is monosodium glutamate (MSG.) Monosodium glutamate is a flavor enhancer like no other. Food that is made for vegetarians or food that is otherwise bland is given a taste boost by the addition of MSG. The flavor that it imparts to food is irresistable.
In the early to mid 1970s my fast food of choice was Kentucky Fried Chicken. My favorite menu choice was the dinner box which consisted of french fries, a biscuit, and a piece of chicken. I loved it all--especially the chicken. Now I know why I found the taste so irresistable--MSG. Although the Colonel's secret recipe might have included more ingredients, the predominent ingredient was monosodium glutamate.
The federal government has given monosodium glutamate GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status. The government doesn't recognize the many studies which have shown that not only is MSG responsible for obesity, but diseases ranging from ADHD to cancer as well.
All laboratory studies concerning MSG were performed on animals--mainly rats. It has been found that human beings are 5 times as sensitive to MSG as rats, and that infants are 4 times as sensitive as an adult! The effects of MSG in human beings is a virtual time bomb!
MSG affects the hypothalamus section of the brain. This is the area where hunger and satiety is sensed. Dr. John Olney discovered as early as 1960 that MSG caused his laboratory rats to become obese. The fat that is caused by consuming MSG is visceral or abdominal fat. This is the most dangerous type of fat that a person can have. It is very difficult to get rid of.
10 million pounds of MSG was produced in 1933. Since there are no government controls on MSG production, we can safely assume that this amount has increased geometrically.
Obesity is rampant world-wide. Lack of exercise, the enormous amounts of sugar and artificial sweeteners consumed, and the enormous amounts of MSG consumed at home and at restaurants are to blame. Both sugar and MSG are addictive. They cause you to overeat. This sets up a vicious cycle whereas the more you eat, the more you want to eat. The brain can no longer sense when the stomach is full.
I went to high school with Ronald Bell, 'Kool' of Kool and the Gang, in the late 1960s. As a matter of fact we were in the same Algebra class--both struggling. Robert, like myself, was always thin. I recently saw a picture of Robert in a national magazine. I couldn't believe my eyes. He had gained a tremendous amount of weight. This weight was obvious in his face and around his mid-section.
If Kool was not identified in the caption, I would not have recognized him. Kool is not unique. Many baby-boomers from the era of the 50s and early 60s have gained weight. I am not talking about 5 or 10 pounds. I am talking about the type of weight which would classify some as overweight and others as obese.
Food plays a large role in the fattening of America. Our meat and dairy products are full of antibiotics and growth hormones. Our restaurant and fast foods, as well as soups and gravies, are bathed in MSG to appeal to the taste buds. Americans are developing chronic diseases as never before. Others are having their risk factors zoom sky high.
Monosodium glutamate plays a large part in the incredible growth of obesity. It is hard to avoid even when one is health-conscious. MSG is hidden under so many different names that it becomes confusing. And to add to that confusion is the fact that many manufacturering processes produce MSG.
How many times have you gone out to eat and found the meal simply delicious? Chances are that your meat, gravy, salad dressing (especially diet), soups and sauces were laced with MSG. Of course you are going to complement the chef. It is unfortunate that something that tastes so good can cause so much harm in the long run.
About 40 percent of the American population is allergic to MSG. Upon eating it they notice a reaction immediately. Diarrhea, migraine headaches, vomiting, and irregular heartbeats are common symptoms.
Because MSG is in just about everything we eat, and we are so sensitive to its effects, many diseases are actually made worse because of it. The average American consumes many grams of MSG daily. MSG can make worse the effects of autism, ADD (attention deficit disorder), Alzheimer's disease, ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease), Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis and more.
Because many organs have glutamate receptors, MSG could be the cause of or lead to heart attack, cancer, diabetes, infertility and more. Because traditional medicine is not aware of the dangers of MSG, the cause of many medical problems and chronic diseases goes undetected.
Despite taste, consumers are going to have to be very cautious in the products they choose to eat. Read product labels very carefully. Avoid all obvious sources of MSG. I also would advise that they eat more home-cooked meals. Buy organic products.
The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) are like ostriches. Despite the evidence from many studies, they choose to see no danger. They are motivated by politics and money. The agency also has conflicts of interest. Don't look for them to protect you the consumer.
New E-book now available Let Food Be Thy Medicine.
The title of this manual is from the famous saying of Hippocrates in 400 bc. The full quote is “Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food.” Hippocrates is known as the father of modern medicine. The foods which constitute the standard American diet (SAD) lack the ability to supply essential nutrients, let alone be medicine for a sick body.
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