Nutrition: Food vs Supplements

March is National Nutrition month which helps bring awareness to what we use to fuel our bodies. In my training and workouts I have heard it said by my personal trainer, CJ, focus on the mind and the body will follow. Many people say Fitness is only 20% and Nutrition is 80%. CJ tells me that mindset is 50%; fitness is 20% and nutrition is 30%. The battle of being healthy, disciplined and consistent starts and ends with the mindset. Let’s dive into some of his advice for me.

Food Vs. Supplements: Instead of considering them enemies can’t they all just get along?

1. Clean Organic Wholegrains: Opt for wholegrains
Like everything else in your body, the brain cannot work with- out energy. The ability to concentrate and focus comes from an adequate, steady supply of energy — in the form of glucose in our blood to the brain. Achieve this by choosing wholegrains with a low-GI, which release glucose slowly into the bloodstream, keeping you mentally alert throughout the day. Opt for ‘brown’ wholegrain cereals, granary bread, rice and pasta.

2. Fish Oil or Oily Fish: Eat oily fish
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) cannot be made by the body which means they must be obtained through diet. The most effective omega-3 fats occur naturally in oily fish in the form of EPA and DHA. Good plant sources include linseed (flaxseed), soya beans, pumpkin seeds, walnuts and their oils. These fats are important for healthy brain function, the heart, joints and our general well- being. What makes oily fish so good is that they contain the ac- tive form of the fats, EPA and DHA, in a ready-made form, which enables the body to use it easily. Choose salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, sardines, pilchards and kippers.

3. Organic Blueberry: Snack on blueberries
Evidence accumulated at Tufts University suggests that the con- sumption of blueberries may be effective in improving or delaying short term memory loss. They’re widely available, but you can also look out for dark red and purple fruits and vegetables which contain the same protective compounds called anthocyanins.

4. Organic Tomatoes: Eat more tomatoes
There is good evidence to suggest that lycopene, a powerful anti- oxidant found in tomatoes, could help protect against the kind of free radical damage to cells which occurs in the development of dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s. Favor cooked tomatoes and enjoy with a little olive oil to optimize absorption and efficacy.

5. Add vitality with vitamins
Certain B vitamins – B6, B12 and folic acid — are known to reduce levels of a compound called homocysteine in the blood. Elevat- ed levels of homocysteine are associated with increased risk of stroke, cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. A study of a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment found that after two years of intervention with high doses of B6, B12 and folic acid there was significantly less brain shrinkage com- pared to a subset given placebo treatment. Opt for B-rich foods like chicken, fish, eggs and leafy greens.

Next month we’ll add to the list of my nutrition options. In the meantime, join me as I work towards staying fit and eating right. Hopefully, I’ll see you at Fitness-Essentials, I’ll introduce you to CJ and Reggie.

Clif “CJ” Joseph operates Fitness-Essentials in Warren.  Diane has been a client for 11 years.

Fitness-Essentials vision statement: “To create a judgment-free zone that allows our members to reach their maximum potential by embracing positive changes in their mind and body.”

Submitted by Diane Maurer, as told by Clif “CJ” Joseph