This month, find out some of the surprising benefits of creatine, why you should be eating more eggs and drinking more coffee, and some tips to burn fat over the holidays.
1. Eggs, eggs, eggs, and more eggs.
Eggs are my go-to food for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. They are healthy and can be prepared in a variety of ways. Here are instructions for how to prepare hard boiled eggs properly. Don’t skimp out and buy the cheap eggs, either. Spend the extra few bucks and get some free run/free range eggs that are higher quality – you will get more nutrients out of them, and most importantly, they will taste better.
It is time to break away from nutritionism: eat a yolk or two. The way it’s naturally packaged has got you covered. Minimally processed foods are superior to processed garbage. And as always, over time, if you consistently strive to eat and drink from a majority of less processed foods, in reasonable portions, everything will take care of itself.
The bad type of cholesterol comes from resistin, a type of protein.
The research, presented today at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress, proves that resistin increases the production of LDL in human liver cells and also degrades LDL receptors in the liver. As a result, the liver is less able to clear “bad” cholesterol from the body. Resistin accelerates the accumulation of LDL in arteries, increasing the risk of heart disease.
A lot of people taking medication for high cholesterol are not getting the full medicinal benefits because of their high resistin levels.
3. Gary Roberts has done awesome work at getting nutrition to be a bigger part of the lives of many of the top NHL players. Here is a goo read on nutrition preparation for a tournament – this can be applied to regular games or every day life, as well.
A very good pre-game meal idea:
Whole grain wraps or sandwiches with either lean nitrate-free meats (e.g., roast turkey, grilled chicken, ham), tuna or egg salad. I always wrap some greens around the meats, tuna or egg salads to add more nutrient-packed fibre and to help stop the bread from getting soggy. I like to use baby spinach, lettuce, sprouts or arugula as my greens.
4. Creatine is a fantastic supplement for anyone looking to get stronger, bigger, faster, or leaner. Here are some benefits you may not have known about:
IMPROVED MEMORY FUNCTION
That’s why creatine has been demonstrated to help with memory.
Our brains use a lot of energy to operate over the course of the day, and intense thinking can actually deplete our energy reserves.
Research performed by the University of Sydney and Macquarie University, both in Australia, found that vegetarians who took creatine supplements improved their short term memory by a significant amount. Research leader Dr. Caroline Rae said, “Creatine supplementation gave a significant measurable boost to brain power.”
There are a lot of ways to take creatine. Some cycle it, some take more at the beginning and taper off. I’d recommend 5-10 grams per day in the morning, and take a week off every five or six weeks (not necessary, but I have found that this works best for sustainable gains in the gym).
5. Score another win for the coffee fans – here are seven more reasons you should drink coffee.
Chlorogenic acid, one of many compounds found in coffee, is the main culprit they have targeted which increases insulin sensitivity and reduces the chance of developing type 2 diabetes.
Like anything else, coffee shouldn’t be taken in mass quantities, and watch the additional ingredients like sugar and cream. However, cup or two a day of high quality coffee can provide a lot of health benefits.
Low-carb diets are all the rage right now, and for a good reason – they work, if you are trying to lower body fat. However, if you are an athlete or even someone who works out on a regular basis, don’t be afraid of carbs.
Just like the sedentary person shouldn’t get caught up in following Food Pyramid dogma, the strength-training athlete shouldn’t get caught up in following no-carb dogma. Treating sick populations (insulin resistant, obese, etc.) is not advising athletes. Targeted carbohydrate intake can help the athlete fuel, recover from, and respond to intense strength training sessions.
7. Here is a great printable kitchen “cheat sheet” for measurments, how to best store and cook food, and a lot more basic (but important) kitchen rules.
Just why high-fat diets might affect the brain and how exercise undoes the damage is not yet clear. “Our research suggests that free fatty acids” from high-fat foods may actually infiltrate the brain, says Vijayakumar Mavanji, a research scientist at the Minnesota VA Medical Center at the University of Minnesota, who, with his colleagues Catherine M. Kotz, Dr. Charles J. Billington, and Dr. Chuan Feng Wang, conducted the rat study. The fatty acids may then jump-start a process that leads to cellular damage in portions of the brain that control memory and learning, he says.
This study is interesting, but don’t fall into the trap that many people do when they avoid all fatty foods and start stocking up on excessive carbs or chemically modified products. As always, eat whole foods when possible, eat fresh, eat local, and eat healthy. Everything else seems to work itself out. Obviously changing your diet completely isn’t easy, but incremental improvements in nutrition and exercise can have a positive effect on each other (as this study states).
Consume Organic Chia Seeds Before Meals – according to folklore, Aztec warriors consumed chia seeds to help with strength and stamina. Whether that’s true or not is irrelevant: chia seeds are an excellent food. They contain plenty of omega-3s, vitamins and trace minerals. The unique nutritional profile of chia seeds will improve your strength, endurance, recovery and sleep.
The key to losing fat is to incorporate foods that are low in calories while being densely packed with nutrients. Chia seeds fit the bill perfectly. The digestive support they provide, along with five grams of fiber per tablespoon, makes them a natural and effective appetite suppressant.
I love chia seeds – they are essentially tasteless, which makes them quite versatile. And their health benefits are numerous.
Heavy training substantially increases requirements for protein synthesis. This is where satellite cells come into play. Muscular contractions activate satellite cells, which then proliferate (multiply in number), differentiate (become more specialized), and then fuse to working muscle fibers, where they donate their nuclei so that muscles can produce more protein to support continued growth.
I at one point was taking six to eight advils per day back when I was recovering from a rib injury. Obviously they serve a purpose, but when you can, try to avoid them. If you have achy muscles, stretch and roll before simply popping pills. This study is very eye-opening, and while it gets a bit “sciency” at times, I’d recommend reading it in its entirety.
Previous Nutrition Tips
- 5 Tips – October (The effects of seratonin, and much more)
- 5 Tips – September (The importance of nutrition for pro athletes, what body fat percentage really means, a great protein pancake recipe, and more)
- 5 Tips – August (The benefits of fasting, stress and health, making smarter drinking choices, and more)
- 5 Tips – July (Is dark chocolate one of the best pre and post-workout snacks? You bet. Read on to find out why)