07/21

lemon-poppy-seed-energy-bites
 
MAX Nutrition breakdown-(entire recipe)
1 Protein
1/4 Fruits
1/2  Carbs
1/4 Fats 
 
Ingredients
1 tsp Lemon, zest
3 scoops MAX Vanilla protein powder
6 tbsp. Lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1/2 9.5 oz. container of oats, old-fashioned gluten-free
1 tbsp. Poppy seeds
6 tbsp. Water
½ tbsp. Stevia
 
Directions:
1. In a large bowl, combined the protein powder, oats, poppy seeds, Stevia, and lemon zest. Add in the lemon juice and water, stirring until fully incorporated.
 
2. Shape the mixture into 28 small spheres, and place into a Tupperware container. Seal and store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

07/18

 
ask-the-doctor
As members of the MAX, we have all decided to put our health at a premium and work to make beneficial healthy changes for our bodies. At MAX, there are individuals of all levels of fitness.
 
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, to attain the cardiac benefits from exercise, the exercise should be
– At least 3 times per week for at least a 12 week duration
– At least 30 minutes per session (can be broken up into 3 ten minute sessions)
– Performed at an individual’s perceived intensity of 13-15 on a scale of 6-20 (the Borg Exertion scale) or at a level of “somewhat hard to hard”.
 
Some of the most common benefits of exercise include:
– Improved exercise tolerance
– When Exercise and Diet is combined:
o Improved Lipid (fat) and Lipoprotein (fat/protein) levels
o Decreased blood pressure
– Stress Reduction
– Improved Psychological well-being
 
One important question, especially among beginning exercisers and those returning to exercise after a long hiatus, is “Is this safe for me?”
 
Certain risk factors increase the likelihood of heart attacks and strokes and it is important to be aware of these factors when deciding on your exercise regimen. Some risk factors are modifiable and can improve with exercise and diet, while others are fixed risks. Some common risk factors are:
– High Blood pressure (hypertension)
– Diabetes
– Elevated Cholesterol or abnormal lipid (fat) profile
– Family history of heart disease or strokes
– Smoking
– Sleep Apnea
– Abdominal Obesity
 
According to Dr. Baggish, the Associate Director of the Cardiovascular Performance Program at the Massachusetts General Hospital, “ Everyone can do a form of exercise, if it is done carefully, with the supervision of a doctor”. If you are starting the MAX with a significant number of risk factors, it is important to first be evaluated by your Primary care Physician or Cardiologist for clearance to begin an exercise regimen. In general, it is important to “start low and go slow”. Even just doing brisk walking does provide substantial improvement in overall health.
 
When beginning with the MAX it is perfectly ok to march in place throughout class as this may be significantly more exertion then you are used to consistently. Try to do exercises with modifications first and increase your intensity as tolerated. Sudden start and stop exercises can put extra stress on the heart, especially if you are normally sedentary so it is important to all yourself a cool down period after exercising.
 
SYMPTOMS occurring during exercise that can require immediate attention are:
– Left sided chest pain
– Pain radiating into the jaw or down the left arm
– Significant shortness of breath that does not quickly improve with rest
– Dizziness
– Sensation of an irregular heartbeat or pounding in the chest
– Nausea or indigestion (usually Gastrointestinal related but can be a sign of
heart issues)
 
In addition, if you suffer from chronic shortness of breath with minimal to no exertion, or from swelling in both legs, this can indicate issues with the hearts ability to pump. It is important to note that individuals with diabetes, especially females, may not always have the “classic” symptoms for heart issues. Vague complaints, flu-like symptoms and/or indigestion may be the only symptoms. Or you may have none at all.
 
If you suffer from any of the above listed symptoms, it is crucial to be evaluated to make certain that you are not putting your self at risk during exercise.
 
While it might seem overwhelming to embark on lifestyle changes, especially if you have some or all of the above symptoms, it is important to realize that following the MAX diet, will beneficially modify your risk factors. Closely following all phases of the diet, most likely improve your lipid (fat profile), decrease your insulin resistance, reduce the fat around your belly, lower your blood pressure and increase your ability to exercise.
 
Disclaimer. The information provided here is not intended to substitute for medical care and should not be used for treatment or diagnosis. If you have, or suspect you have a problem concerning your health please consult with a licensed healthcare professional.

07/15

plum-lemon-shake-325

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MAX Nutrition breakdown

1 Protein

1 ½ Fruits

 

Ingredients

1.5 scoops MAX Protein Powder Vanilla

1 Ripe plum, pitted

1 juice of a lemon

2 cups of water

ice

 

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender to desired consistency and ENJOY!

 

07/12

steelcutoats-blackblueraspberries
MAX Nutrition breakdown
1 Protein
1 Carb
1/4 Fruits
 
Ingredients
11/2 scoop MAX Protein Powder Vanilla
1 9.5 oz of cook steel cut oats or plain oatmeal
¼ cup of favorite berries
 
Directions:
Cook steel oats or oatmeal from direction on package. (Steel oats take longer to cook) Add 1 scoop of MAX vanilla protein and top with your favorite berries. ENJOY!
 
MAX Protein can be purchased from your local center.
 
Take it to THE MAX!
Rita

07/11

ask-the-doctor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last week we discussed the importance of avoiding aspartame and artificial sweeteners due to the numerous deleterious effects on our bodies.   One of the issues we addressed was the potential for headaches due to the use of aspartame.   However, this is only one of the myriad of triggers for headaches.

When addressing headaches, it is important to determine the characteristics of your headaches.  It is crucial to understand dangerous vs. “safe” headaches.   I use safe as a relative term, because all headaches are painful and significantly impact our quality of life, but not all headaches are indications that a serious issue is going on.  Headaches have been classified by the most common constellation of symptoms that occur with each type.

To begin, we will discuss the headaches that require emergent attention.

HEADACHES DUE TO BLEEDING IN THE BRAIN

A sudden onset of a severe headache, often described as “the worst headache of my life” is concerning for possible bleeding in the brain.  These headaches can be associated with nausea, vomiting, visual changes, neurological changes and/or changes in consciousness.   Especially if these headaches occur after a trauma or head injury, it is imperative to go directly to the emergency room for imaging studies to evaluate for any bleeding in the head.  In addition, if you have a family history of individuals having bleeding strokes, you should be evaluated promptly.

Another headache that, if chronic, requires attention is a headache that presents upon waking up.  Infrequent morning headaches are not generally worrisome especially if you have a cause, like a sinus headache, significant tension/stress, or an illness.  However, if you have chronic morning headaches, which actually get better throughout the day it is a good idea to have these headaches evaluated by a health care professional.   Especially if the headaches are associated with progressive neurological symptoms such as, but not limited too, numbness, tingling, weakness, word finding difficulties, visual changes, balance issues, and decreased coordination.

Finally, any headaches associated with fever, chills, light sensitivity, and neck pain should be evaluated promptly as these can be indications of infections in the brain and/or spinal cord.

TENSION HEADACHES

The most common type of benign headaches are TENSION HEADACHES.  These headaches can be described as band-like in nature.   Typically, there is dull aching pain around the temples.  Often there is tightness or pressure in the forehead, sides or back of the head.  In addition, you may have tenderness in the shoulder and neck muscles and even the scalp.  Generally these headaches are brought on by stress and alleviated with stress reduction and relaxation.  Exercise can be helpful to relieve tension headaches.

CLUSTER HEADACHES

These headaches are much less common and not very well understood.  It is hypothesized that they are related to blood flow in the brain.  These headaches by definition occur in groups or clusters.  These headaches are always located only on 1 side of the face.  Usually, they present around the eye but can radiate to the jaw, temporal region or forehead.  They can be associated with symptoms on the side of the headache, such as eye tearing, nasal congestion, sweating, eyelid drooping, and pupil changes.  These headaches can be worsened by alcohol consumption during the time when they are occurring.   In addition, cluster headaches are associated with heavy smoking.   These headaches tend to occur in groups (ranging from 1 time every other day, up to 8 times per day, by definition) and there can be periods of remission.  Cluster headaches are more difficult to treat and require physician supervision for treatment and prevention.

MIGRAINE HEADACHES

Migraine headaches can also be described as the worst headache of ones life and therefore can be confused with headaches due to bleeding in the brain.  Typically, migraine suffers have had a series of migraines and are able to tell the difference.   In general, migraines can occur with or without an aura.  An aura is a constellation of symptoms which presents before the actually headache ensues.  For example, an aura can be visual changes, sensory changes (such as smells, strange lights,)  or hallucinations (confusing thoughts).   Migraines can be associated with nausea, vomiting, visual changes and even neurological symptoms.  In addition, migraines can be associated with hormonal changes.  Like Cluster headaches, Migraine headaches should be managed by your health care professional.

SINUS HEADACHES

These headaches are associated with sinusitis, or an infection/inflammation of your sinuses.   Typically these headaches are associated with facial pressure, pressure above your teeth, congestion, and post-nasal drip.  Treatment of these headaches should be focused on treating the sinusitis.

So what can you do to help alleviate your headache intensity and frequency?

Monitor your diet, because often headache triggers include foods.  The most common offender is dairy.  This can be because dairy leads to sinus congestion. However, other foods, such as alcohol, gluten, chocolate, bananas, sugar and artificial sweeteners can be implicated causes for headaches.

If you suffer from chronic daily headaches, keep a food diary and rotate your foods.  Sometimes, headaches can occur even 1-2 days after eating the offending food.   Try to eliminate foods and then re-introduce one food at a time every 2-3 days to determine if your headaches return.

Daily exercise also helps to alleviate most headaches, though you can get an exercised induced headache if you do heavy lifting, heavy exertion, or especially if you are dehydrated.

A few tips for preventing headaches:

  1. Stay hydrated – drink lots of water and eat foods with a high water content such as cucumbers and watermelon
  2. Coffee can help with headaches – however, caffeine withdrawal headaches are often a common cause of headaches
  3. Foods rich in B vitamins, or the addition of a B complex vitamin to your diet can help prevent headaches. Both vitamin B2 and B3 deficiencies have been implicated in contributing to headaches
  4. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids help prevent headaches (salmon, flax seed)
  5. Bananas and foods rich in potassium are helpful for headache treatment and prevention
  6. Magnesium containing foods or supplements are helpful in treatment and prevention of headaches (quinoa, spinach)
  7. Co-Enzyme Q10 and Selenium have also been useful for treating headaches (speak to your doctor first before beginning these supplements).

As always, if you suffer from chronic daily headaches, address these with your healthcare provider for optimal treatment and prevention.

Disclaimer. The information provided here is not intended to substitute for medical care and should not be used for treatment or diagnosis. If you have, or suspect you have a problem concerning your health please consult with a licensed healthcare professional.

 

07/07

MAX Protein Tropical-Pineapple

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MAX Nutrition breakdown

1 Protein

1 Fat

11/4 Fruits

Ingredients

*1.5 scoop MAX Protein Powder Vanilla

*¼ cup of frozen pineapple

*½ banana

*½ orange

*1 Tbsp. coconut oil

Directions:

Add all ingredient to a high speed blend and enjoy!

07/04

Tips for staying compliant over July 4th weekend!!!

Summer is finally here!   There is nothing like relaxing and enjoying the July 4th weekend with family and friends.  To those of us who have committed to lifestyle changes, a weekend of abandonment can have quite devastating effects on our weeks of hard work.

Fortunately, there are some simple choices and substitutions that we can make to help alleviate the negative effects of glutinous consumption during a holiday weekend.  The issue with July 4th weekend, is that it is just that, “a weekend” instead of a simple cheat meal.  To properly stay complaint with the MAX diet, you should select the event that tempts you most and use that as your cheat meal and otherwise stuck to the diet.

 

However, for a lot of us, we have multiple events throughout the weekend, all of which are tempting.   So below I have listed just a few tips to help you make better choices that do not cause you to spiral out of control.

  1. Eat at home before you go.

This way you will be less tempted to eat junk food while you are out and about.   Limit the amount of carbs you eat at home before your activity and add in some extra good fats like grass fed butter, olive oil, avocado, eggs etc.  This extra fat will stimulate your satiety center and will keep you feeling full and satisfied.

2. Really try to keep the simple carbs to a minimum

‘We all know that eating simple carbs such as cakes, candies, chips, pretzels, M&M’s etc are devastating to you diet, but do we know the reason?  According to Dr. David Ludwig, MD, PhD, an Endocrinologist and researcher at Boston Children’s Hospital, eating sugar actually activates the very same centers in the brain that are activated by using cocaine and heroin.  Sugar is unbelievably addictive.  Eating simple carbs that quickly turn into sugar makes you hungrier and does not turn on your satiety center.   Once the sugar “high wears off”, you feel hungry and start to look for more simple carbs for a quick fix.  This becomes a negative cycle that spiral downward can derail any diet very quickly.

 

  1. If you do need something crunchy and are not in the mood for raw veggies – skip the pretzels and pita chips.

Instead eat a handful of potato chips. While this sounds counter-intuitive it’s because most pretzels and pita chips contain gluten and are highly processed carbs.  Many people are intolerant of gluten, which is why it is eliminated in later phases of the diet.  In addition, eating gluten can cause you to hold onto water weight.  Potato chips (especially baked or those cooked in olive oil) contain some fat in addition to the carbs.  The addition of fat helps to curb your appetite.   Most potato chips are made with inflammatory omega-6 fats so are not a great choice routinely, but in this case a few won’t hurt.

 

  1. Skip the diet soda (and the regular soda)

Diet soda is one of the worst choices you can make because it has artificial sweetener, which reeks havoc on the bacteria in your gut.  In addition, the artificial sweetener tricks your body into thinking it is getting calories.  However, when the calories do not accompany the sweetener, the body craves it.   This will make you more ravenous. In addition, artificial sweeteners negatively effect the bodies ability to respond properly to insulin.

 

  1. Feel free to drink some alcohol, but be selective in what you drink.

Skip the beer and sweetened mixed drinks and instead reach for a glass of red or white wine, or Vodka with club soda/fruit flavored seltzers (no artificial sweeteners).  Steer clear of mixers such as Crystal Light as that contains aspartame or sucralose (Splenda) and will cause the issues just listed above.

Most beer contains gluten and can pack on the calories,  therefore avoiding beer will help in reducing calorie intake and prevent the negative effects of gluten containing foods, such as bloating, fatigue and weight gain due to water weight.

  1. Use lettuce wraps as a bun or put the burgers over a salad.
  2. Lettuce provides fiber, has negligible calories and is more filling without all the negatives of bread.    In addition, use condiments but avoid those with corn syrup and lots of added sugars (i.e regular Ketchup).  Heinz makes a simply Heinz Ketchup without all the additives found in regular Ketchup.   Also, feel free to use the sauerkraut and pickles for the probiotics they contain as long as they are not overly processed or loaded with additives.

 

  1. Although in MAX dairy is usually eliminated, if you are going to have dessert, your best bet is fresh fruit or frozen fruit smoothies (without added sugar). However, if you are craving something sweet, go for the 5 ingredient full fat ice cream. Avoid the processed ice creams and desserts with lots of additives and indulge in real ice cream.  The high fat content in this case is combined with a fair amount of sugar, so you may not turn on your satiety center.  That being said, you are much better off choosing real, non-processed, not artificially sweetened foods over the low fat, high sugar, highly processed desserts.
  1. Try to get in at least 20-30 minutes of exercise at least once or twice during the three-day weekend. Take your family for a walk, a bike ride, a walk on the boardwalk, or play sports.  Make sure to do whatever it takes to be active.    This will release endorphins and help elevate your mood, but also allow for positive social interactions and help to instill the importance of exercise in your family members.

Most importantly don’t beat yourself up if you slip up a bit.  The MAX challenge is a 10- week program that gives you the tools to live a better, healthier and more fulfilling life.  While it is phases are broken up into 10-week cycles, the idea behind the MAX and the diet are meant to be lifestyle changes.  Making small changes each challenge will have lasting effects and over time become big changes.

Disclaimer. The information provided here is not intended to substitute for medical care and should not be used for treatment or diagnosis. If you have, or suspect you have a problem concerning your health please consult with a licensed healthcare professional.

 

06/06

ask-the-doctorPlantar fasciitis is a common cause of foot and heel pain. Typically this pain is located on the bottom of the foot just in front of the heel pad on the inner or middle side of the foot. The plantar fascia is a thick tendon that connects the heel bones to the toes. This tendon serves as a shock absorber for the foot and helps in supporting the arch of the foot. Overuse or excessive stress on this tendon can cause small tears that lead to inflammation and significant pain.
 
Some common risk factors for plantar fasciitis include:
-Obesity
-Poor foot mechanics
-Improper shoe wear
-Long distance running
-Jumping exercises
-Prolonged standing
 
In MAX we have a fair amount of jumping or plyometric exercises that are very good for cardiac conditioning and development of muscle power. Generally speaking the heart muscle gets conditioned faster then skeletal muscle. Therefore, your skeletal muscles will fatigue more quickly and your form will break down before you get “exhausted” due to deconditioning from the heart.
 
There are muscles on both sides of the foot and leg that help to support the foot and ankle. The peroneus longus and peroneus brevis insert on the outermost or 5th metatarsal (mid bones of the foot) and the tibialis anterior inserts on the inner or 1st metatarsal bone. When these muscles are strong and conditioned, they help with stabilizing lateral (side-to-side) foot motion and control the rate of movement in the foot during jumping exercises. If however, these muscles fatigue quickly or are not yet strong, the foot and ankle has more mobility and collapse in the arch, which in turn can put more strain on the plantar fascia.
 
This is one of the reasons that plantar fasciitis typically develops in an exerciser after several weeks or months of exercise. It generally occurs when the aerobic or cardiac conditioning out paces the skeletal muscle conditioning. In other words, your heart endurance allows you to jump or run for longer periods of time, but your leg muscles are not conditioned enough to control your ankle motion. If in addition to decreased muscle strength, you are carrying around extra weight, are wearing improper shoes, have poor foot mechanics or are increasing the amount of time or the intensity of your jumping, you are a set up for plantar fasciitis.
 
So what should you do?
 
It is important to know what type of foot you have and have the proper shoe wear before embarking on exercise and lifestyle changes. There are several very good running stores and even some online stores which will question you about your feet and recommend proper shoe wear. Podiatrist or Sports Medicine/Rehabilitation Medicine physicians are also useful for providing recommendations and treatment plans. It is important to note that not one type of sneaker is good for everyone. Sometimes due to foot or even hip and knee mechanics you will need an orthotic insert to place in your shoe.
 
In general, a helpful guideline for shoe wear and orthotic use is to fix what is too flexible (i.e put in arch support in a very flat foot or over-pronating foot) and to accommodate foot deformities that are fixed (i.e. relief or padding around bony deformities such as bunions). A common mistake is to over correct too much (using too rigid or too high an arch support). This can lead to other issues higher up the kinetic chain such as knee, hip or back issues.
 
Plantar Fasciitis is typically worst in the morning just after getting out of bed. Pain is usually severe with initial weight bearing and then subsides throughout the day with walking and weight-bearing. Pain can also be severe after prolonged sitting or immobility. It is often helpful to wear nighttime splints to keep the foot/Achilles tendon stretched out overnight. This will decrease the initial severe morning pain because the fascia will have more mobility and will not be able to “scar down” overnight.
 
Aside from using proper shoe wear and night time splints, occasional use of anti-inflammatory medications such as Motrin will be helpful. Adding anti-inflammatory foods such as turmeric, (curcumin), boswellia, and Omega-3 fatty acids in addition to decreasing intake of Omega-6 fatty acids may also be helpful. Icing can be helpful as well. Sometimes, despite the above interventions, you will might need a cortisone injection into the plantar fascia to decrease inflammation and pain.
 
During the acute inflammatory phase of plantar fasciitis, it is important to limit the activities such as high impact jumping and running that can aggravate the condition. Modify your exercise to limit jumping until pain resolves during activity and upon wakening. As pain decreases is it imperative to resume jumping/high-impact exercises slowly over a period of weeks to even months to prevent recurrence. As with all my recommendations, if you have persistent heel pain that is refractory it is important to seek the advice of a medical professional to make sure other modifications or treatments are indicated.
 
Disclaimer. The information provided here is not intended to substitute for medical care and should not be used for treatment or diagnosis. If you have, or suspect you have a problem concerning your health please consult with a licensed healthcare professional.
Article written by Dr. Jessica Miller

05/31

ask-the-doctor

Fatty acids have many important uses in our bodies. Fatty acids come in different shapes and sizes, and are named based on their size and chemical structure. Omega-3 fatty acids are a specific class of fatty acids that are utilized by our bodies and are used as the precursors for anti-inflammatory compounds.

Essential Fatty Acids are those that cannot be made by our bodies and must be consumed as part of our diet. The name Omega -3 Fatty acid describes a class of different length fatty acids which all contain a similar chemical structure.

The most well-known Omega 3 fatty acids are ALA (alpha linolenic acid), EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).

ALA is found in
Flaxseed
English walnuts
Brussel sprouts
Salmon
Sardines
Chia
Hemp
Tofu
Spinach
Other plant foods

The body in theory has the ability to convert ALA into DHA and EPA. However, this pathway is influenced by dietary intake and does not work optimally in all people. Therefore, it is often helpful to consume foods with DHA and EPA in case the body is unable to make these compounds in the needed amounts. There are multiple studies that have shown the health benefits of DHA and EPA and I will describe these in more detail later in this article.

EPA and DHA are more difficult to obtain with a strict vegetarian diet. Sea plants and certain fermented foods do contain small amounts of DHA, but DHA is not found in land based plants. DHA makes up about 20% of the brain by weight, and is found in most fish, eggs, and milk and cheeses obtained from grass fed animals. EPA is found in most fish, especially salmon and sardines. The amount of EPA and DHA in fish is dependent on their diet. Farmed fish are sometimes supplemented with processed Omega-3 fatty acids to increase the concentration found in these fish.

Multiple studies have demonstrated the beneficial effects of Omega-3 fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA, for our general health and well-being. Below is a summary of my review of the literature, and the findings in various studies:

– Fish oils lower blood sugar and decrease liver fat stores
– Increasing DHA and EPA decreases the incidence of metabolic syndrome by 20%
– EPA and DHA supplementation helps to lower blood pressure (at approx. 1gm/day)
– In obese patients, insulin sensitivity is improved with supplementation of EPA and DHA (at approx. 1 gm/day)
– Higher levels of EPA consumption lower risk of CHF (congestive heart failure) and increase survival in patients with heart failure by 35% – thought to be because of the effect on the heart muscle pumping ability
– Omega-3 fatty acids improve exercise-induced asthma and increase pulmonary function 5-fold based on pulmonary function tests
– Fish oils help to slow neuro-inflammation and may slow progression of neuro-degenerative disorders (eg. Alzheimers, Parkinson’s)
– Mild cognitive dementia improves with supplementation of 900mg of DHA
– Omega-3 Fatty acids may slow or reverse nerve damage from diabetes

So what should you do? All fish oils are not created equally. Fish oil in its natural state obtained directly from the diet is probably best, but it is difficult to eat the amount needed by our bodies. The next best option is supplementing our diet with at least 2.5 grams/day of EPA and DHA in the form of a pharmaceutical grade, highly refined Omega-3 fatty acid supplement (if ok with your doctor). Unrefined fish oils can have many contaminants such as PCBs and Mercury. Most fish oils sold over the counter have a very low concentration of EPA and DHA and contain “other Omega-3 fatty acids” which require our bodies to convert them into an active form. As was stated earlier, ALA intake is important, but this needs to be converted into DHA and EPA in order to be effectively utilized in the anti-inflammatory pathway.

One final note is that while Omega-3 fatty acids such as ALA, EPA, and DHA are the precursors of anti-inflammatory mediators in our body, Omega-6 fatty acids such as AA (arachidonic acid) are the precursors of the pro-inflammatory mediators in our body. Omega-6 fatty acids are found in many cooking oils such as corn, palm, sunflower, safflower and soybean oil. The western diet is very high in omega-6 fatty acids and relatively low in omega-3 fatty acids. By increasing the amount of omega-3 fatty acid consumption and decreasing omega-6 fatty acid consumption, the inflammatory state of the body is improved. This is thought to have a beneficial effect of chronic inflammatory disease states such as arthritis.

Disclaimer. The information provided here is not intended to substitute for medical care and should not be used for treatment or diagnosis. If you have, or suspect you have a problem concerning your health please consult with a licensed healthcare professional.

05/23

 

ask-the-doctor

Now that you are eating a cleaner more nutritious diet, you should be feeling the beneficial effects of your efforts. In theory, if you are eating a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables and meats, you should be able to get the majority of your nutrients from your diet. The problem is that many fruits and vegetables are grown in over-farmed soil devoid of vital nutrients.

In addition, the way food is cooked can denature or destroy nutrients found in food. For example a study published in 2009 in the Journal of Zhehiang University Science, was done which examined the effects of steaming, microwaving, boiling, stir-frying and stir-frying follow by boiling on broccoli in China. The study found that all types of cooking except steaming resulted in “significant losses of chlorophyll and vitamin C and significant decreases in total soluble proteins and soluble sugars”. The study goes on to say that “indole glucosinolate were significantly modified by all cooking treatments but not steaming”. Indole glucosinolates are sulfur-containing compounds that have been associated with a possible decrease in lung cancer and colorectal cancers.

Lilli Link and John Potter from the Mailman School of Public Health in Columbia University reviewed 9 years of medical studies and published an article in 2004. They found that consumption of vegetables (raw or cooked) was associated with a lower cancer risk, however 9 of the 11 studies reviewed showed an even lower risk with raw vegetables as opposed to cooked vegetables. They suggested that “cooking changes the availability of nutrients, destroying digestive enzymes and changes the structure and digestibility of food“. So it appears that consumption of vegetables in general is beneficial but consumption of raw vegetables may be even more beneficial to your overall health. That being said, make sure that you carefully wash and clean vegetables, because raw vegetables often contain bacteria which can be harmful. Furthermore, it is important to do your best to remove as much pesticides as possible from the surface of the vegetables.

Amino acids provide the building blocks for protein production in your body. Amino acids are divided up into three groups, Dispensable (our bodies can make these under almost all circumstances), Indispensible or Essential (can never be made by our body and must be consumed through diet or supplements) and Conditionally Indispensible (can be made by our body under many circumstances but not always).

Consuming foods such as fish, eggs, sea vegetables, salmon, brussel sprouts, broccoli, garilic onion, chicken legumes, dairy (occasionally) and soy will help to provide you indispensable amino acids. It appears that you do not need to eat these foods at every meal, but it is important to eat them over a period of several days to help maintain your body’s amino acid stores.

There are many nutrients which are helpful to add into your diet, possibly via supplements, such as Vitamin D3, Calcium, Magnesium, Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Glutamine. In the following weeks articles, I will be addressing the importance of each of these supplements as valuable additions to our diet.

To summarize the above information, adding well cleaned, raw vegetables and fruits to your diet, and adding high quality proteins such as eggs, chicken, legumes and fish will increase the nutritional density in your diet and provide your body with important building blocks to function optimally.

Disclaimer. The information provided here is not intended to substitute for medical care and should not be used for treatment or diagnosis. If you have, or suspect you have a problem concerning your health please consult with a licensed healthcare professional.