The Top 3 Sports Supplements for Women

    You train hard and eat healthily. But if you’re a woman who wants to optimize her workouts and nutrition, adding the right sports supplements can give you an extra edge.

    With the vast array of sports supplements available, it can be confusing to know where to start. Here are 3 supplements that women should put at the top of their list for consideratio

    Protein

    Protein is probably the most common workout supplement and for good reason.  Having an adequate amount of protein intake is important to build, repair and maintain muscle. So even if you are not looking to build a muscular physique, protein is vital for your body’s recovery if you’re a female with an active lifestyle.

    There are many types of protein, but whey is the most popular because it is rapidly absorbed and contains a wide range of branched-chain amino acids. However, researchers at the University of Massachusetts Lowell recently showed that plant protein can be just a beneficial as animal protein for building muscle mass and strength.

    BCAA

    Amino acids are basically the building blocks of protein, and some are called essential because the body cannot make them. Therefore, you must obtain them from food, supplementation or a combination of both. Branched chain amino acids (BCAA) are essential amino acids which include leucine, isoleucine and valine.

    BCAA is a popular nutritional supplement for both endurance and strength sports because research has demonstrated that they can reduce exercise-related muscle soreness, prevent mental and physical fatigue during exercise, and build more muscle following resistance training.

    A review of the studies available to date suggests that a reasonable dose of BCAA is 100 mg per kilogram of body weight per day to prevent fatigue, reduce muscle soreness, and help build or maintain muscle.

    When Should You Take Protein and BCAA?

    Most evidence-based fitness professionals agree that you should consume protein following exercise. After training, muscles are more responsive to the muscle-building stimulus that protein provides. The rate of muscle protein breakdown begins to quickly rise after a workout, and protein intake during this time helps to negate this.

    You can also take protein first thing in the morning to feed your body after several hours of no caloric intake during sleep. Another option is to use a protein supplement to replace a protein in a meal.

    BCAA can boost your energy during a workout. So, if you sip on BCAA during training, not only will it hydrate your body, it can also help you train longer and with more intensity.

    Creatine

    The muscles of your body contain creatine which provides your cells with quick energy. It is used as a supplement to increase your potential energy, helping your muscles work harder and longer. Creatine also has an antioxidant effect which can reduce muscle damage, improve recovery and preserve lean muscle.

    When first starting to take creatine, it used to be popular to do an initial “loading phase” where you consume 20 to 25 grams daily and later decrease the amount. However, there is no strong evidence that taking more than 5 grams of creatine daily is necessary to “load” your muscle stores.

    When Should You Take Creatine?

    Take 3 to 6 grams of the creatine monohydrate with a meal (or in a shake) each day. It’s actually best to consume creatine before resistance training and in combination with a simple sugar like glucose or dextrose, or with a meal containing protein and carbohydrates. This stimulates the release of insulin which drives creatine and other nutrients into your muscle cells giving them an energy boost for your workout.

     

    Published in Nutrition

    Simple and Delicious Protein Powder Recipes

    Protein powder is not just a supplement for shakes or other bodybuilding drinks. This versatile ingredient has a texture that makes it work well for a variety of other recipes. Since it is made from protein instead of grain, protein powder is ideal for crafting keto, low-carb or low-calorie treats. Here are a few great recipes that add protein to a diet while also creating tasty meals and snacks.

    Protein Powder Pancakes
    Enjoy a tasty and protein-packed breakfast by using protein instead of flour to make pancakes. This recipe can be made with any type of protein powder, including those with a chocolate or vanilla flavor. It is low in carbohydrates and contains no processed sugars, so it can accommodate most diets. One can easily toss in mix-ins like chocolate, fresh blueberries or nuts if desired.

    Ingredients:

    1 cup oats
    2 scoops protein powder
    2 Tbs. ground flax seeds
    2 eggs
    3 egg whites
    4 tsp. baking powder
    1/2 tsp. cinnamon
    1 banana
    1 pinch salt
    1/2 cup optional mix-ins
    Instructions:

    Place all ingredients besides the mix-ins in a blender or food processor and mix until a smooth batter forms.
    Heat a nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Keep in mind that the pancakes may fall apart if the heat is too low.
    Pour 1/4 cup of batter at a time into the pan.
    If desired, gently sprinkle some mix-ins on the pancake in the pan.
    Wait two to three minutes until the edges look slightly dry, and then flip the pancake.
    Cook a minute or two more and serve warm.


    Chocolate Protein Pudding
    This is a quick and easy snack that can be enjoyed at any time of the day. It is ideal for those who are on a low-carb diet but miss rich desserts like pudding. This recipe makes a single snack-sized serving, but it can easily be doubled.

    Ingredients:

    1 scoop chocolate egg white protein powder
    1 tsp. cocoa powder
    3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
    1 - 3 tsp. milk
    Instructions:

    Mix together protein and cocoa powder.
    Gently stir powder mixture into Greek yogurt.
    Depending on the consistency of the yogurt, add a splash of water to make the mixture slightly thinner.


    Vegan Coconut Popsicles
    These Popsicles are the perfect treat for a hot summer day. They are very low in calories, so they are a great dessert for those trying to maintain a healthy weight. Another great benefit is that they are both vegan and vegetarian. Depending on flavor preferences, any type of frozen or fresh berry can be used. A Popsicle mold will make the whole process easier, but these Popsicles can be made without a mold if desired.

    Ingredients:

    1 1/2 cups strawberries, raspberries, blueberries or blackberries
    2 scoops vanilla protein
    1 cup soy milk
    1/2 cup coconut milk
    1 banana
    Instructions:

    Finely dice 1/2 cup of berries and set aside.
    Blend remaining berries, protein powder, milk and bananas until smooth.
    Set out the Popsicle molds and put a few of the sliced berries in each mold. If no molds are on hand, small cups or an ice cube tray can be used.
    Pour the Popsicle mixture on top of the berries.
    Insert Popsicle sticks into each serving.
    Freeze at least four hours or until firm.


    Chocolate Protein Cookies
    This recipe uses coconut flour and Brazil nuts instead of wheat, so it is gluten-free as long as a gluten-free powder is used.

    Ingredients:

    1/2 cup chocolate pea protein powder
    1/4 cup coconut flour
    1/2 tsp. baking soda
    1/4 cup dried coconut flakes
    1/4 cup ground Brazil nuts
    1/4 cup milk
    1 egg
    1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
    Instructions:

    Preheat the oven to 340 degrees Fahrenheit.
    Mix together protein powder, flour, baking soda, coconut flakes and ground nuts in a large bowl.
    Mix together milk and egg in a small bowl.
    Slowly add milk mixture to protein powder mixture, stirring to combine the entire time.
    Gently fold in chocolate chips.
    Divide cookie batter into 12 equal balls and put them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
    Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until cookies are firm but slightly soft in the center.
    Cool completely and serve.
    Cinnamon Protein Powder Oats
    Adding protein powder to a morning bowl of oatmeal might seem like a great idea, but many people realize that it can be quite tricky. Using whey protein with super-high heat can lead to curdling that causes an unpleasant texture to form. Follow these steps to make a filling bowl of oatmeal that also contains plenty of protein.

    Ingredients:

    1/2 cup rolled oats
    2 cinnamon sticks
    1 chopped apple
    1 cup almond milk
    1/2 cup vanilla whey protein powder
    1 tsp. cinnamon
    Instructions:

    Combine rolled oats, cinnamon sticks, apple and milk in a small pot.
    Place pot over medium-high heat until it boils.
    Turn heat down until the oatmeal simmers.
    Let the oatmeal cook, anywhere from five to 15 minutes, until it reaches desired level of softness.
    Remove from heat and gently stir in whey.
    Serve topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
    Nutty Protein Powder Bites
    Those who are bored of eating plain protein powder or dry granola bars will enjoy this snack. These protein balls taste delicious, and they contain plenty of healthy fats. They can be stored at room temperature for quite a while, so they are a great protein boost on a hike. If desired, these protein bites can be customized with any tasty mix-in.

    Ingredients:

    1/2 cup whey protein powder
    1 cup nut butter
    1/4 cup agave nectar
    1 - 2 Tbs. coconut oil
    1/4 cup coconut flakes, crushed nuts, dried fruits or other mix-ins
    Instructions:

    Place all ingredients, except coconut oil, in a bowl and stir to combine.
    Start with 1 Tbs. of coconut oil and slowly add more if the mixture seems dry.
    Divide mixture into 1/8-cup size portions and roll into firm balls.
    Store in an airtight container until ready to eat.

    Published in Health

    5 BIG Reasons to Love Whey Protein

    Whey is a natural byproduct of the cheese making process. Cow’s milk has about 6.25% protein. Of that protein, 80% is casein (another type of protein) and the remaining 20% is whey. When cheese is made, it uses the casein molecules leaving the whey behind. Whey protein is made via filtering off the other components of whey such as lactose, fats, and minerals. Whey protein is a soluble, easy to digest, and is efficiently absorbed into the body. When taken prior to a meal, it improves blood sugar control.

    1.   Protein Quality

    Whey protein has the highest biological value of all proteins. In order to assess the quality of a protein, scientists measure the proportion of the amino acids that are absorbed, retained, and used in the body to determine the protein’s biological value (BV).

    Whey protein is a complete protein in that it contains all essential and nonessential amino acids. One of the key reasons why the BV of whey protein is so high is that it has the highest concentrations of glutamine and branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) found in nature. Glutamine and branched chain amino acids are critical to cellular health, muscle growth, and protein synthesis.

    2. Its Rich in Glutamine

    Glutamine, the most abundant amino acid in the body, is involved in more metabolic processes than any other amino acid.  Glutamine is important as a source of fuel for white blood cells, and for cells that divide rapidly, such as those that line the intestine. Supplementation with glutamine has been shown to heal peptic ulcers, enhance energy levels, boost immune function, and fight infections.

    Although bodybuilders and athletes use whey protein to increase their protein intake, almost everyone can gain benefit by adding whey protein to their diet. Whey protein is especially important as an aid for weight loss, nutritional support for recovery from surgery, and to offset some of the negative effects of radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

    Research has shown that individuals who exercise benefit from diets high in the essential amino acid leucine and have more lean muscle tissue and less body fat, compared to those whose diets contain lower levels of leucine. Whey protein concentrates have approximately 50% more leucine than soy protein isolate.

    3. Whey Protein Boosts Glutathione Levels

    Whey protein has been shown to boost immune function by raising the levels of the important antioxidant glutathione that is found in all cells including white blood cells. Sufficient glutathione levels are critical to proper immune functioning. In immune cells, glutathione stimulates antibody production and the ability of white blood cells to engulf and destroy invading organisms.

    Glutathione is also involved in the body’s detoxification reactions and is able to bind to fat-soluble toxins such as heavy metals, solvents, and pesticides, transforming them into a water-soluble form, allowing for more efficient excretion via the kidneys. Eating additional whey protein is one of the best ways to raise glutathione levels in the body and assist in effective detoxification.

    4. Whey Promote is a Dieter’s Friend

    Whey protein ingestion has been shown to reduce feelings of hunger and promote satiety making it a valuable aid in weight loss programs. It contains bioactive components that help stimulate the release of three appetite-suppressing gut hormones: cholecystokinin (CCK), peptide tyrosine-tyrosine (PYY), and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1).

    One of the best strategies for utilizing whey protein is taking it before or between meals.  Studies have shown that consumption of whey protein in small amounts prior to a meal, improves after-meal blood sugar control and also leads to greater satiety and appetite control. Many of these benefits are the result of bioactive components in whey that stimulate the release of three appetite-suppressing hormones found in the gut: cholecystokinin (CCK), peptide tyrosine-tyrosine (PYY), and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). By stabilizing blood sugar levels and reducing hunger, dieting is easier and success more likely.

    Vegan sources of protein do not seem to be able to duplicate these weight loss benefits.  In a study conducted at University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, 40 overweight men and women completed a 14-day calorie restricted diet and were randomly assigned, double blind, to receive twice-daily supplements of isolated whey (27g) or soy (26g), or maltodextrin (25g). Using a blood measurement for muscle fiber synthesis, results indicated that muscle breakdown was significantly less in the whey protein group than that seen in the soy and maltodextrin groups. In fact, soy protein had no effect on reducing muscle loss. These results indicate that whey protein supplementation can help preserve muscle mass during weight loss.

    5. Whey Protein Fights Aging

    One of the most preventable changes associated with aging is the loss of muscle mass and strength, which is called sarcopenia. Sarcopenia is to muscle mass what osteoporosis is to bones. While osteoporosis gets all the media attention, sarcopenia is a more significant factor. The degree of sarcopenia is the major predictor of physical disability and is linked to decreased vitality, poor balance, walking speed, falls, and fractures, especially with elderly people.

    Just like building strong bones when young is important in preventing osteoporosis later in life, building and maintaining muscle mass is essential for avoiding sarcopenia. Muscle mass increases throughout childhood and peaks during the late teens through the mid-to late 20s. After that, a slow decline in muscle mass begins. From the age of 25 to 50 the decline in muscle mass is roughly 10%. In our 50’s the rate of decline is slightly accelerated, but the real decline usually begins at 60 years. By the time a person reaches 80 his or her muscle mass is a little more than half of what it was in their twenties. Taking whey protein and engaging in weight bearing exercises and lifting weights can help preserve muscle mass and can even help those with sarcopenia rebuild.

    How to Get More Whey Into Your Diet

    The amount of whey protein you need depends on how active you are. If you are active and workout regularly, 50g of whey protein daily is often recommended. If you exercise infrequently, the recommended intake is 25g per day.

    The easiest way to use whey is by adding whey powder to smoothies or drink mixes. Whey protein powder is available in a variety of flavors including vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry available in pre-measured individual serving packets.

    Published in Nutrition

    3 Biggest Diet- Myths Busted

    3 Biggest Diet Myths Bustedwink

    Have you ever wondered what is fact and what is fiction when hearing about the endless diet plans and weightloss methods? If so, you’re not alone. 

    We’re busting 3 of the most common myths surrounding dieting and nutrition.

    Myth #1: Eat a Low Fat Diet to Lose Weight 

    The trend to eat a low-fat or fat-free diet has long been a confusing one. In theory, it sounds correct. How can one eat fat to lose fat? But recent studies have brought to light the knowledge that has been around for hundreds of years: eating natural, healthy fats are good for you. 

    When people eat man-made “low-fat” versions of foods that are meant to be naturally fatty, they are introducing chemicals into their diet.

    Butter, lard, dairy, oil and meat are healthier and can lead to having a leaner body than eating chemically-altered foods like non-fat dairy, margerine and meat alternatives.

    Myth #2: Eating Red Meat Can Kill You 

    With the vegan and vegetarian craze spreading in recent years, many people are under the impression that eating red meat is bad for your health and even can lead to heart disease and death. 

    However, according to Dr. Michael Roussell, eating four to five ounces of lean red meat a day can lower your “bad” LDL cholesterol and protect your heart by decreasing triglycerides numbers.

    So why does the media continue to publish claims that red meat will kill you? The research simply isn’t there. According to an article on MarksDailyApple.com, “that health according to the media and health according to reality are two very different things.” 

    So not only is red meat not killing you, it is actually healthy for you, containing multiple vitamins, minerals and iron.

    Myth #3: Eat Less to Lose More 

    While it’s true that weight loss comes down to burning more calories than you are taking in, the types of food and how often you eat are important. 

    When people go on crash starvation diets, they may lose weight right away. However, as soon as “normal” eating habits resume, the weight will come back and often more than before.

    According to a report in American Psychologist, it is difficult for peole to stick to strict diets for a long period of time. They will feel deprived and hungry. 

    In addition, not all foods are created equal in terms of calories. Depending on what you choose to eat while trying to lose weight, you may end up eating more of a healthier, more filling food than before.

    Published in Health

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