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My Fresh Balance Fit Foods

My Fresh Balance Fit Foods

So What Are The Best Foods You Can Eat that will help Support a Long Term Weight Loss and Diet Plan?

Tell Me more about These So-Called
My Fresh Balance Fit Foods.........

Super Berries ' The #1 Anti-Oxidant of Fruits

Blue - Black - Rasp - Straw - Berries

In addition to being flavorful, colorful, and delightful, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries are packed with important nutrients our bodies need to stay healthy.

My Fresh Balance Fit Foods - Super Berries

Berries - the Tasty Antioxidant Solution! The National Cancer Institute reports that eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day can help reduce the incidents of cancer. Yet, only one out of every ten people actually follows these guidelines. Berries are a delicious way to get antioxidants, phytochemicals, and other important nutrients that may reduce cancer rates. Fresh berries of all kinds are: Loaded with Strong sources of vitamin C, fiber, folic acid, and phytochemicals (or phyto-nutrients as they are sometimes called) sodium-free, cholesterol-free and low in calories and fat. Add to quinoa, oatmeal or an awesome whole grain pancake recipe, or blend them into your favorite protein supplement shake, and you are well on your way to building a complete and balanced fresh balance diet plan.

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Dark Green Nutrient Dense Vegetables

Broccoli Rabe - Broccoli - Spinach

Commonly known in the United States as broccoli raab (also spelled broccoli rabe), this truly is a vegetable with many names around the world.

Originating in the Mediterranean and also China, it is actually a descendant from a wild herb. Today, Rapini is found growing in California, Arizona, New Jersey, Quebec and Ontario. It is one of the most popular vegetables among the Chinese. It is probably the most popular vegetable in Hong Kong and also widely used in the western world.

Although it has broccoli's name, broccoli raab is not related to broccoli. It is, however, closely related to turnips, which is probably why the leaves look like turnip greens. Lots of broccoli-like buds appear here and there but a head never forms. It is grown as much for its long-standing, tasty mustard-like tops as for their multiple small florets with clusters of broccoli-like buds.

Good-quality broccoli raab will have bright-green leaves that are crisp, upright, and not wilted. One of the many health benefits of this vegetable is that it is rich in certain phytochemicals, including sulforaphane and indoles. These are chemicals which are proving to protect us against cancer.

Broccoli truly is a wonder vegetable. Only 25 calories and broccoli is high in vitamin A, and is a good source of folic acid (especially important for pregnant women), calcium, potassium, vitamin C (ounce for ounce, more vitamin C than an orange!) and beta-carotene (an antioxidant).

It is packed with antioxidants. It also contains the phytochemical sulforaphane, a natural chemical that stimulates the body to produce enzymes which destroy carcinogens, and therefore which can help reduce the risk of cancer. Johns Hopkins University study showed that Broccoli is more effective than antibiotics for peptic ulcers and stomach cancer. This is a cruciferous vegetable.

Ounce for ounce, broccoli has as much calcium than a glass of milk and more vitamin C than an orange! It is one of the best sources of vitamin A and has more fiber than a slice of wheat bran bread.

Spinach is an excellent source of iron, calcium, chlorophyll, beta carotene (needed for the production of Vitamin A), vitamin C, riboflavin, sodium and potassium. As it is a rich source of iron, it helps build the blood, whilst its sulphur content helps to clean the liver. ItsVitamin A content can help prevent night blindness.

Spinach can partially interfere with the absorption of calcium because of its high content of oxalic acid.

Calorie for calorie, leafy green vegetables like spinach with its delicate texture and jade green color provide more nutrients than any other food. Although spinach is available throughout the year their season runs from March through May and from September through October when it is the freshest, has the best flavor and is most readily available.

Researchers have identified at least 13 different flavonoid compounds in spinach that function as antioxidants and as anti-cancer agents.(Many of these substances fall into a technical category of flavonoids known as methylenedioxyflavonol glucuronides.) The anticancer properties of these spinach flavonoids have been sufficiently impressive to prompt researchers to create specialized spinach extracts that could be used in controlled studies. These spinach extracts have been shown to slow down cell division in stomach cancer cells (gastric adenocarcinomas), and in studies on mice, to reduce skin cancers (skin papillomas).

A study on adult women living in New England in the late 1980s also showed intake of spinach to be inversely related to incidence of breast cancer.

A carotenoid found in spinach and other green leafy vegetables fights human prostate cancer two different ways, according to research published in the September 2004 issue of the Journal of Nutrition.

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Avocados - The Nutrient Fit Booster

The avocado (Persea americana) originated in south-central Mexico, sometime between 7,000 and 5,000 B.C. But it was several millennia before this wild variety was cultivated. Archaeologists in Peru have found domesticated avocado seeds buried with Incan mummies dating back to 750 B.C. and there is evidence that avocados were cultivated in Mexico as early as 500 B.C.

One-fifth of a medium avocado or about one ounce is 55 calories, but contributes beneficial nutrients such as fiber, potassium, Vitamin E and lutein to the diet.

' Avocados act as a "nutrient booster" by enabling the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, such as alpha- and beta-carotene as well as lutein, in foods that are eaten with the fruit.

' Avocados provide more than 25 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins, and folic acid.

' One-fifth of a medium avocado has 55 calories and provides beneficial phytochemicals such as glutathione, beta-sitosterol, and lutein. Phytonutrients are thought to help prevent many chronic diseases. ' Avocados can help consumers meet the dietary guidelines of the American Heart Association, which are to eat a diet that is low to moderate in fat. The fats should be primarily unsaturated and low in saturated fat and cholesterol. The avocado is virtually the only fruit that has monounsaturated fat.

' Avocados help assist consumers in meeting a major dietary goal of reducing saturated fat in the diet, when they are consumed in place of saturated-fat containing foods.

' Avocados are a good source of fiber and fiber may help maintain heart health.

' When used instead of other fats, avocados contain over 25 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients and can be part of a calorie-reduced diet.

' When used instead of other fats, avocados can be a satisfying addition to a calorie-reduced diet.

' Avocados are a good way to get more lutein in the diet. An ounce of avocado contains 77 micrograms of lutein. ' Avocados are a good way to get more lutein in the diet. By adding avocado to foods like salads, salsa, soups or sandwiches you can get more of the phytonutrient in your diet.

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Quinoa - (pronounced keen-wah)

The Super Grain from South America

The Super Grain from South America was a staple of the ancient Incas, who called it 'the mother grain'. It remains an important staple in South America cuisine, as it contains more protein than most other grains. Its delicious flavor makes it a great alternative to rice or couscous as a side dish, and can also be added to vegetables and meat as a main dish.

Quinoa cooks to a light fluffy texture, with a bit of a crunch from the grain's external germ, making this a wonderfully unique grain. Truly versatile, it can be used in soups, salads, breads, puddings or as a breakfast cereal.

Most Quinoa today is produced and exported directly from Bolivia, the smallest in population of all the South American countries.

Quinoa contains more protein than any other grain; an average of 16.2 percent, compared with 7.5 percent for rice, 9.9 percent for millet, and 14 percent for wheat. Some varieties of quinoa are more than 20 percent protein.

Quinoa's protein is of an unusually high quality. It is a complete protein, with an essential amino acid balance close to the ideal ... similar to milk!

Quinoa's protein is high in lysine, methionine and cystine. This makes it an excellent food to combine with, and boost the protein value of, other grains (which are low in lysine), or soy (which is low in methionine and cystine). Rich & Balanced Source of Nutrients

Besides its unique protein, quinoa also provides starch, sugars, oil (high in essential linoleic acid), fiber, minerals, and vitamins.

Easy on the Stomach Quinoa is light, tasty, and easy to digest. It is not sticky or heavy like most other grains, and it has a delicious flavor all its own.

Quick and Simple to Prepare A whole-grain dish of quinoa takes just 15 minutes. Versatile Quinoa can be substituted for almost any grain in almost any recipe. It looks and tastes great on its own, or in any dish from soup to salad.

Perfect for Summertime Many people eat grains only during the colder months, but quinoa's lightness combined with its versatility in cold dishes like salads and desserts makes it an ideal source of good summertime nutrition.

Quinoa is 35 on the *Glycemic Index: A good source for people with wheat and gluten related food allergies as well as senior and diabetic diets. *(Taken from the Glycemic Index in the book 'Eat Yourself Slim' by Michel Montignac).

1. It's a VEGETARIAN solution, a balanced-amino-acid source of high quality protein.

2. It's a SENIOR solution, a high-iron food that raises the hematocrit, delivers more oxygen to the brain, fights senility.

3. It's a DIABETIC and Health Food solution, a very low-glycemic-index cereal type food. Great served with Fresh fruit and splenda and a little cinnamon as replacement to oatmeal.

4. It's a TASTE SOLUTION, quite delicious. It can be made into pilaf and cooked just like rice. In fact one way to add more flavor to the quinoa is to roast or toast the quinoa first in a fry pan with no oil and it makes it add a nut like taste to the grain itself.

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Legumes - Beans

The Protein & Fiber Fit Food Group

Legumes ' more commonly known as beans, are good sources of protein and fiber. Legumes are a low-fat, low-cholesterol substitute for meat.

When was the last time you ate chickpeas, navy beans or black-eyed peas? Has it been days, weeks or even months?

Legumes are among the most versatile and nutritious foods available. They're good sources of protein and can be a healthy substitute for meat, which has more fat and cholesterol. Rediscover legumes and all the nutrition and versatility they have to offer.

Why eat legumes?

Legumes ' a class of vegetables that includes beans, peas and lentils ' are typically low in fat, contain no cholesterol, and are high in protein, folate, potassium, iron and magnesium. They also have phytochemicals, a group of compounds that may help prevent chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. In addition, they're a good source of fiber ' the part of plant-based foods that your body doesn't digest. A diet high in fiber can reduce your risk of developing diabetes and help lower blood cholesterol levels, which can reduce your risk of heart disease.

Soybeans, one type of legume, are unique among beans because they contain all of the amino acids needed to make a complete protein, just like meat. They also contain isoflavones, a plant-based compound that may reduce the risk of some types of cancer.

What are some common legumes?

Black beans are medium-sized, oval beans with black skin. They have a slightly sweet flavor and are used in soups, beans and rice, and many Mexican, Caribbean, and Latin American dishes. Black-eyed peas are medium-sized, oval beans that are cream colored with a black dot. They have a sharp flavor and smooth texture. They are usually served with rice or eaten as a side dish.

Garbanzo beans, also called chickpeas, are medium-sized, round beans that are beige in color. They have a nutty flavor and firm texture. Garbanzo beans are used in soups, salads, Mexican dishes, and popular Middle Eastern dishes like hummus and falafel.

Kidney beans, also called Mexican red beans, are large and kidney-shaped with a strong flavor and soft texture. Kidney beans are used in soups, salads, chili, Creole dishes, and traditional rice and beans.

Lentils are lens-shaped seeds found in the fruit pods of an annual herb grown in southwestern Asia. There are two common types of lentils - one is small and brown and the other is larger and yellow. Lentils taste great in side dishes, soups, and stews.

Navy beans are small, white, oval beans with a mild flavor and powdery texture. They are used to make baked beans, soups, and stews.

Pinto beans are medium-sized, oval beans with a spotty beige and brown color. They turn completely brown when cooked and are used to make refried beans and other Mexican bean dishes.

Add more legumes to your diet Consider these ways to incorporate legumes into your meals and snacks:

Prepare soups, stews and casseroles that feature legumes. Stir-fry extra-firm or firm tofu rather than meat in oriental dishes. Freezing and then thawing tofu before use gives it a firmer, chewier texture.

Use pureed beans as the basis for dips and spreads. Replace eggs in baking recipes with 1 tablespoon of soy flour and 2 tablespoons of water for each egg. Add chickpeas or black beans to salads.

Snack on a handful of soy nuts rather than on chips or crackers. Use tofu in place of half the ground beef for meatloaf or tacos. Add garbanzos or other canned beans to your salad. If you typically buy a salad at work and no beans are available, bring beans from home in a small container.

If you can't find a particular type of legume in the store, you can easily substitute one type of legume for another. For example, pinto and black beans are good substitutes for red kidney beans. And cannellini, lima beans and navy beans are easily interchangeable. Experiment with what types of legumes you like best in your recipes to make your meals and snacks both nutritious and interesting.

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Eggs ' Omega 3 Enriched & Egg Whites

The Over Billion Year Old Wonder

Eggs existed long before chickens, according to On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen by Harold McGee. These all-in-one reproductive cells, incorporating the nutrients to support life, evolved about a billion years ago. The first eggs were hatched in the ocean. As animal life emerged from the water about 250 million years ago, they began producing an egg with a tough leathery skin to prevent dehydration of its contents on dry land. The chicken evolved only about 5,000 years ago from an Asian bird.

Eggs are an excellent nutrient-dense food that packs six grams of protein, a bit of vitamin B-12, vitamin E, riboflavin, folic acid, calcium, zinc, iron, and essential fatty acids into a mere 75 calories. Second to the lactalbumin protein in human milk, eggs have the highest quality protein of any food. In addition to being good for the body, eggs can be prepared in a variety of tasty ways.

Want more nutritious eggs in your diet? Find out what the hen was fed. In fact, research has proven that better chicken feed results in better eggs. Free-range hens allowed to forage on barnyard plant food produce eggs that are lower in cholesterol than commercially-fed caged hens. Studies comparing eggs from the average hen-laying factory with those of free-range chickens fed diets high in essential fatty acids showed the chicken on a healthier diet produced eggs higher in the heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Studies are under way to produce what are dubbed "designer eggs," eggs in which the fatty acid profile of the egg yolk has been modified by altering the hen's diet. In an interesting experiment, giving hens feed rich in flax seed and fish oil (with their omega 3 fatty acids) increased the amount of omega 3 fatty acids in their eggs, producing "omega eggs." So, even when it comes to chickens, "you are what you eat." Egg consumers are not used to asking their market managers how the hens were fed that laid their eggs. Yet, if enough consumers start asking the question egg buyers would start putting feed information on the labels. The egg of the future will only be as healthy as the consumer demands.

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Wild Alaskan Salmon

The Fit Fish with Heart Health Benefits

It would be hard to think of another food that has as many proven health benefits as Wild Alaska Salmon. When considering the cost of Wild Alaska Salmon vs. the Farmed Atlantic Salmon that you can get in your local grocery store, keep in mind the true value of what you're buying. Given the sky-rocketing cost of health care and pharmaceutical drugs, what is the value of optimum health? How much would you pay for improved heart, brain, eye and immune system health for you and your children? Wild Pacific Salmon products contain:

* NO added chemicals
* No artificial coloring
* No preservatives
* No pesticides
* No growth hormones
* No antibiotics
* No GMOs

There's no question that salmon is one of the healthiest foods you can, and should, eat. It contains two critical omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, that your heart and brain need for optimal health.

EPA fats are a "near miracle" for your health. They promote normal cholesterol and triglyceride levels and improve blood flow. They also promote healthy skin and enhance immune function.

The other important fat in Wild Alaska Salmon is DHA, which plays an essential role in brain function. More than half of your brain consists of fat, and DHA is the most abundant. DHA levels play a critical role in your cognitive functioning throughout your life--and normal levels are needed for optimal memory and brain function.

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94% + Lean Ground Beef

New USDA data shows 95% lean ground beef is leaner than you think. In fact, it meets the government guidelines for lean. Like all beef, a 3 oz. serving also provides high percentages of the Daily Value* of these essential nutrients. By comparison, 95% lean ground beef provides low percentages of your daily calories, saturated fat and total fat. You might be surprised at what more you can learn about lean beef's nutrients and fat content.

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Almonds ' The Heart Healthy Nut

Throughout history, almonds have been enjoyed not only for their delicate, versatile flavor and great crunch, but also their legendary healthful properties. The Almond Board of California's nutrition research program has helped quantify almonds' nutritious profile and health benefits. For example:

' Almonds are nutritionally dense ' a quality emphasized in the government's Dietary Guidelines. Independent analyses show that almonds are the most nutritionally dense nut, whether compared calorie per calorie or ounce per ounce. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 encourage Americans to choose nutritionally dense foods ' that is, to get the most nutrition possible out of the calories you eat. A one-ounce, 160-calorie serving of almonds, or about a handful, is an excellent source of vitamin E and magnesium, and a good source of fiber. It also offers heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, protein, potassium, calcium, phosphorous and iron.

' Eating a daily handful of almonds a day may lower LDL, or 'bad' cholesterol. In a clinical trial published in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation, men and women who ate one daily ounce of almonds for a month lowered their LDL cholesterol by 4.4 percent. Those who ate two daily ounces of almonds lowered their LDL cholesterol even more ' by 9.4 percent ' and maintained their weight.

' Eating almonds may help maintain or even lose weight. A 2003 study in the International Journal of Obesity found that adding a daily ration of almonds to a low-calorie diet enhanced weight loss, as well as significantly improved risk factors associated with heart disease, when compared to a low-fat, low-calorie diet. Researchers cited almonds' heart-healthy monounsaturated fat as being very satiating, helping satisfy the appetite and prevent patients from overeating.

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Pure Filtered Water

Incredible as it may seem, water is quite possibly the single most important catalyst in losing weight and keeping it off. Although most of us take for granted, water may be the only true "magic potion" for permanent weight loss.

Water supresses the appetite naturally and helps the body metabolize stored fat. Studies have shown that a decrease in water intake will cause fat deposits to increase, while an increase in water intake can actually reduce fat deposits.

Here's why: The kidneys can't function properly without enough water. When they don't work to capacity, some of their load is dumped onto the liver. One of the liver's primary functions is to metabolize stored fat into usable energy for the body. But if the liver has to do some of the kidney's work it can't operate at full throttle. As a result, it metabolizes less fat more fat remains stored in the body and weight loss stops.

Drinking enough water is the best treatment for fluid retention. When the body gets less water,it perceives this as a threat to survival and begins to hold on to every drop. Water is stored in extracellular spaces (outside the cell). This shows up as swollen feet, legs and hands.

Diuretics offer a temporary solution at best. They force out stored water along with some essential nutrients. Again, the body perceives a treat and will replace the lost water at the first opportunity. Thus, the condition quickly returns.

The best way to overcome the problem of water retention is to give your body what it needs -- plenty of water. Only then will stored water be released.

If you have a constant problem with water retention, excess salt may be to blame. Your body will tolerate sodium only in a certain concentration. The more salt you eat the more water your system retains to dilute it.

But getting rid of unneeded salt is easy -- just drink more water. As it's forced through the kidneys it takes away excess sodium.

The overweight person needs more water than a thin one. Larger people have larger metabolic loads. Since we know that water is the key to fat metabolism, it follows that the over weight person needs more water.

Water helps to maintain proper muscle tone by giving muscles their natural ability to contract and by preventing dehydration. It also helps to prevent the sagging skin that usually follows weigh loss -- shrinking cells are buoyed by water which plumps the skin and leaves it clear, healthy and resilient.

Water helps rid the body of waste. During weight loss, the body has a lot more waste to get rid of -- all that metabolized fat must be shed. Again, adequate water helps flush out the waste.

Water can help relieve constipation. When the body gets too little water, it siphons what it needs from internal sources. The colon is one primary source. Result? Constipation. But when a person drinks enough water, normal bowel function usually returns.

So far, we've discovered some remarkable truths about water and weight loss:

* The body will not function properly without enough water and can't metabolize stored fat efficiently.

* Retained water shows up as excess weight.

* To get rid of excess water you must drink more water.

* Drinking water is essential to weight loss.

How much water is enough? On the average, a person should drink 8-ounce glasses every day. That's about 2 quarts. However, the overweight person needs one additional glass for every 25 pounds of excess weight. The amount you drink also should be increased if you exercise briskly or if the weather is hot and dry.

Water should preferably be cold. It's absorbed into the system more quickly than warm water. And some evidence suggests that drinking cold water can actually help burn calories. To utilize water most efficiently during weight loss, follow this schedule:

Morning: 1 quart consumed over a 30-minute period.

Noon: 1 quart consumed over a 30-minute period.

Evening: 1 quart consumed between five and six o'clock.

When the body gets the water it needs to function optimally, it's fluids are perfectly balanced. When this happens, you have reached the "breakthrough point." What does this mean?

* Endocrine-gland function improves.

* Fluid retention is alleviated as stored water is lost.

* More fat is used as fuel because the liver is free to metabolize stored fat.

* Natural thirst returns.

* There is a loss of hunger almost over night.

If you stop drinking enough water, your body fluids will be thrown out of balance again, and you may experience fluid retention, unexplained weight gain and loss of thirst. To remedy the situation you'll have to go back and force another "breakthrough."

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Green Tea - An Awesome Anti-Oxidant

Is any other food or drink reported to have as many health benefits as green tea? The Chinese have known about the medicinal benefits of green tea since ancient times, using it to treat everything from headaches to depression. In her book Green Tea: The Natural Secret for a Healthier Life, Nadine Taylor states that green tea has been used as a medicine in China for at least 4,000 years.

Today, scientific research in both Asia and the west is providing hard evidence for the health benefits long associated with drinking green tea. For example, in 1994 the Journal of the National Cancer Institute published the results of an epidemiological study indicating that drinking green tea reduced the risk of esophageal cancer in Chinese men and women by nearly sixty percent. University of Purdue researchers recently concluded that a compound in green tea inhibits the growth of cancer cells. There is also research indicating that drinking green tea lowers total cholesterol levels, as well as improving the ratio of good (HDL) cholesterol to bad (LDL) cholesterol.

To sum up, here are just a few medical conditions in which drinking green tea is reputed to be helpful:

Rheumatoid Arthritis
High cholesterol levels
Cariovascular disease
Impaired immune function

What makes green tea so special?

The secret of green tea lies in the fact it is rich in catechin polyphenols, particularly epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG is a powerful anti-oxidant: besides inhibiting the growth of cancer cells, it kills cancer cells without harming healthy tissue. It has also been effective in lowering LDL cholesterol levels, and inhibiting the abnormal formation of blood clots. The latter takes on added importance when you consider that thrombosis (the formation of abnormal blood clots) is the leading cause of heart attacks and stroke.

Links are being made between the effects of drinking green tea and the "French Paradox." For years, researchers were puzzled by the fact that, despite consuming a diet rich in fat, the French have a lower incidence of heart disease than Americans. The answer was found to lie in red wine, which contains resveratrol, a polyphenol that limits the negative effects of smoking and a fatty diet. In a 1997 study, researchers from the University of Kansas determined that EGCG is twice as powerful as resveratrol, which may explain why the rate of heart disease among Japanese men is quite low, even though approximately seventy-five percent are smokers.

Why don't other Chinese teas have similar health-giving properties? Green, oolong, and black teas all come from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. What sets green tea apart is the way it is processed. Green tea leaves are steamed, which prevents the EGCG compound from being oxidized. By contrast, black and oolong tea leaves are made from fermented leaves, which results in the EGCG being converted into other compounds that are not nearly as effective in preventing and fighting various diseases.

Other Benefits

New evidence is emerging that green tea can even help dieters. In November, 1999, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published the results of a study at the University of Geneva in Switzerland. Researchers found that men who were given a combination of caffeine and green tea extract burned more calories than those given only caffeine or a placebo.

Green tea can even help prevent tooth decay! Just as its bacteria-destroying abilities can help prevent food poisoning, it can also kill the bacteria that causes dental plaque. Meanwhile, skin preparations containing green tea - from deodorants to creams - are starting to appear on the market.

Harmful Effects?

To date, the only negative side effect reported from drinking green tea is insomnia due to the fact that it contains caffeine. However, green tea contains less caffeine than coffee: there are approximately thirty to sixty mg. of caffeine in six - eight ounces of tea, compared to over one-hundred mg. in eight ounces of coffee.

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Flax - A Nutrient Rich Seed

Flax oil and flax seeds are being rediscovered as true health foods. They definitely merit being included on any top-ten list of foods that are good for you. Flax is not a new food. It is actually one of the older and, perhaps, one of the original "health foods," treasured because of its healing properties throughout the Roman empire.

Flax was one of the original "medicines" used by Hippocrates. Flax could be dubbed the "forgotten oil." It has fallen out of favor because oil manufacturers have found nutritious oils to be less profitable. The very nutrients that give flax its nutritional benefits - essential fatty acids - also give it a short shelf life, making it more expensive to produce, transport, and store. Yet, those who are nutritionally in the know continue to rank flax high on the list of "must have" foods. Because of the flurry of scientific studies validating the health benefits of omega 3 fatty acids, flax oil has graduated from the refrigerator of "health food nuts" to a status of scientific respectability.

I seldom leave home in the morning without having my daily tablespoon of flax oil or 2 tablespoons of flaxseed meal. Besides being the best source of omega 3's, flax oil is a good source of omega 6, or linoleic acid (LA). Sunflower, safflower, and sesame oil are greater sources of omega 6 fatty acids but they don't contain any omega-3 fatty acids. Flax oil is 45 to 60 percent the omega-3 fatty acid alphalinolenic acid (ALA).

In addition to nutritious fats, flax seeds contain other nutrients which make eating the whole seed superior to consuming just the extracted oil:

Flax seeds contain a high quality protein.

Flax seeds are rich in soluble fiber. The combination of the oil and the fiber makes flaxseeds an ideal laxative.

Flax seeds contain vitamins B-1, B-2, C, E, and carotene. These seeds also contain iron, zinc, and trace amounts of potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, and vitamin E and carotene, two nutrients which aid the metabolism of the oil.

Flax seeds contain over a hundred times more of a phytonutrient, known as lignin, than any of its closest competitors, such as wheat bran, buckwheat, rye, millet, oats, and soybeans. Lignins have received a lot of attention lately because of possible anti-cancer properties, especially in relation to breast and colon cancer. Lignins seem to flush excess estrogen out of the body, thereby reducing the incidence of estrogen-linked cancers, such as breast cancer. Besides anti-tumor properties, lignins also seem to have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties.

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Protein Supplementation

Protein Powders Vs. Protein Foods

Many aspiring bodybuilders are hoping that this is the year that their bodies will transform into the bodies of their dreams. Unfortunately, bodybuilders love for protein puts them at the mercy of protein manufacturers and vulnerable to protein manufacturers marketing ploys. Fledgling bodybuilders may not know as much as veteran bodybuilders but they inevitably know that protein plays a role in their future bodybuilding success. Where should this protein come from? To answer this question, we will look at the role of protein in foods versus protein supplementation.

Protein Manufacturers

Pick up any publication devoted to health and fitness and you will be inundated with articles on protein. Protein manufacturers are notorious for throwing around words like cross flow microfiltration, oligopeptides, ion exchange, protein efficiency ratio, biological value, nitrogen retention and glycomacropeptides as a way to convince potential buyers. It sure sounds convincing, especially when scores of scientific references are cited. Like most aspects of bodybuilding (and the supplement industry in general), marketing hype rather than physiological reality drives the issue of protein.

Many nutrition "experts" (people who sell supplements), state that there are distinct advantages of protein supplements: powders and amino acid tablets over whole foods. There are many different methods of determining protein quality, including biological value (BV), Protein efficiency ration (PER), Net Protein Utilization (NPU), and protein digestibility corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS).

Protein Quality

BV is one of the most commonly used and is arguably, the best measure of a protein's quality. BV is based on how much of the protein consumed is actually absorbed and utilized in the body. The higher the amount of protein (nitrogen) that is actually retained, the greater the BV. If a protein has a BV of 100, it means that all of the protein absorbed has been utilized with none lost. Whole eggs score the highest of all foods with a BV of 100, while beans have a BV of only 49.

Protein quality is certainly an important issue, but it is one that has been enormously overstated and even distorted for marketing purposes. Whey protein is truly an excellent protein with a biological value at or near 100. Many advertisements will have you believe that their whey is between 104 -157 on the BV scale. In "Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism", BV is defined as "a measure of nitrogen retained for growth and/or maintenance that is expressed as a percentage of nitrogen absorbed." When a protein supplement is listed as having a BV over 100, the company has intentionally manipulated the number for marketing purposes.

The companies are usually making reference to the chemical score of the protein. Chemical score is a comparison of the amino acid pattern in an ideal reference protein to a test protein and therefore the number can exceed 100.

Most bodybuilders and strength athletes already consume more than enough protein, so the importance of BV to these athletes who are already consuming enough protein has been overplayed. Even though whey has a higher BV than chicken breast, fish, or milk protein, if the total quantity of protein you consume is sufficient, then it is not likely that substituting whey for food proteins will result in any additional muscle.

For the purposes of developing muscle, the only guidelines for protein that you must follow are:

(1) Consume a source of complete protein with every meal
(2) Eat at frequent intervals approximately three hours apart
(3) Consume a minimum of 0.8 grams to 1 gram per pound of bodyweight.

Whey Powder

Because whey protein does have a high BV, it probably offers the most benefits when you are dieting on very low calories. When your energy intake and correspondingly, protein intake is reduced, whey protein could help you get greater utilization of the smaller amount of protein that you are taking in. Whey protein also provides a way to get high quality protein without the fat. It has been suggested that whey may have other advantages besides high protein quality. These benefits include enhanced immunity, increased antioxidant activity and quick absorption.

Several studies in "Clinical and Investigative Science" by Dr. Gerard Bounous of Montreal have shown that whey protein provides anti carcinogenic properties, protection from infections, and other enhanced immune responses. Whey has also been shown to raise levels of Glutathione, an important antioxidant that can offer protection from free radical oxidative damage. While such findings are very promising, all these studies were done on mice, so it is unclear how well the results extrapolate to humans.

Protein Absorption

Another acknowledged benefit of whey protein is its fast absorption rate. Although their is not any evidence that protein supplements digest more efficiently than whole foods. They are definitely digested faster. This is most important after a training session when the rates of protein synthesis and glycogen re-synthesis are increased. Even in considering post workout nutrition, there is still little proof that a liquid protein-carb complex will actually produce better muscular growth than whole foods, as long as complete whole foods are consumed immediately after the training session and every three waking hours for a period of 24 hours thereafter.

Amino Acids

What about amino acid pills? Amino acids are simply predigested protein. Proponents of amino acid supplementation claim that because the amino acids are predigested, the body will absorb them better, leading to greater improvements in strength and muscle mass. It sounds logical, but this is a gross underestimation of the body's capacities and actually the reverse is true. The human digestive system was designed to efficiently process whole foods; it was not designed to digest pills and powders all day long.

Amino acids are absorbed more rapidly in the intestine when they are in the more complex di and tri-peptide molecules. Your body gets better use of the aminos as protein foods are broken down and the amino's are absorbed at just the right rate for your body's needs. In "Exercise Physiology; Energy Nutrition and Human Performance," authors Katch and McArdle state that "amino acid supplementation in any form has not been shown by adequate experimental design and methodology increase muscle mass or significantly improve muscular strength, power, or endurance." Furthermore, consuming predigested protein when you are seeking fat loss is not necessarily advantageous because it shortchanges you of the thermic effect of real food.

Whole foods have a major advantage over protein supplements; they stimulate the metabolism more. This is known as the "thermic effect". Protein has the highest thermic effect of any food. Including a while protein food with every meal can speed up your metabolic rate as much as 30% because of the energy necessary to digest, process, and absorb it. This means that out of 100 calories of a protein food such as chicken breast, the net amount of calories left over after processing it is 70. In this respect, the fact that protein foods digest slower than amino acid tablets is actually an advantage.

Value Of Source

A final argument against amino acid supplements is the cost. Amino acids are simply not cost effective. One popular brand of "free form and peptide bonded amino acids," contains 150 1000mg. Tablets per bottle and costs $19.95. One thousand mg. of amino acids is equal to 1 gram of protein. This would mean that the entire bottle contained 150 grams of protein. Dividing the price of the bottle by the total grams we get the price per gram, which is 13.3 cents. Now lets compare that to a chicken breast. At the local supermarket I can buy a pound of chicken breast for $2.99. According to Corinne Netzer's "Complete Book of Food Counts," there are 8.8 grams of protein in each ounce of chicken, so one pound of chicken (16 oz) has about 140 grams of protein. That would be $2.99 divided by 140 grams which would come out to 2.1 cents per gram. The amino acids cost six times more than the chicken.

The Bottom Line

The biggest advantage of protein supplements is not that they can build more muscle than chicken or egg whites or any other whole food protein, the biggest advantage is convenience. It is easier to drink a protein shake than it is to buy, prepare, and cook whole foods. Consuming small frequent meals is the optimal way to eat, regardless if your goal is muscle gain or fat loss. To keep your body constantly in positive nitrogen balance, you should consume a complete protein every three hours. For many people, eating this often is nearly impossible. That is when a high quality protein supplement is the most helpful.

Aside from the convenience, the truth about protein supplements is that they offer few advantages over protein foods. There is no scientific evidence that you cannot meet all of your protein needs for muscle growth through food. As long as you eat every three hours and you eat a complete protein such as eggs, lean meat or dairy products with every meal, it is not necessary to consume any protein supplements to get outstanding results. Whey protein does have some interesting and useful properties and supplementing with a couple of scoops a day is not a bad idea, especially if you are on a low calorie diet for fat loss. Aside from that, focus on real food and do not believe all the hype you read. Good luck on your training for the New Year


1. Groff, James, et al, Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism, West Publishing company, 1995.
2. Fruhbeck, Gema. Slow and fast dietary proteins. Nature, 391: 843-844
3. Boirie, Y. et al. Slow and fast dietary proteins differently modulate postprandial protein accretion. Proc National Acad Sci, 94: 14930-14935, 1997
4. Lemon, Peter, Protein and Exercise: update, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Vol 19, No. 5, S179-S190, 1987
5. Carraro, F., et al, Effect of exercise and recovery on muscle protein synthesis in human subjects. Amer Journal of physiology, 259: E470, 1990
6. Bounous, G., et al, The immunoenhancing property of dietary whey protein concentrate. Clinical and Investigational Medicine, 11: 271-278. 1988
7. Sadler, R., The benefits of dietary whey protein concentrate on the immune response and health. S Afr. J Dairy Sci, 24: No 24, 1992
8. Netzer, Corinnine. The Complete Book of Food Counts. Dell Publishing, 1997
9. Katch, Katch & McArdle, Exercise Physiology; Energy, Nutrition and Human Performance, Williams and Wilkins, 1996

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Fish Oil Supplements

The Omega 3 Fit Supplement

Fish oil has been shown in epidemiological and clinical trials to reduce the incidence of heart disease by lowering cholesterol. Large-scale epidemiological studies suggest that individuals at risk for coronary heart disease benefit from the consumption of fish oil as it is high in omega 3 fatty acids.

Fish oil (high DHA type) combined with exercise can reduce abdominal fatness

A study by Alison Hill, PhD student from the University of South Australia (abstract published in Asia pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition) showed that 6g (or 6x1g capsules) of fish oil (high DHA content) daily for 3 months reduced body fat by 5% especially from the abdominal (visceral) region, only when combined with moderate aerobic exercise for 45 minutes 3 times a week. The groups that were placed on fish oil alone or exercise alone did not lose abdominal fat.

It is known that omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil increase the expression of fat burning enzymes, but until now the implications of this in humans was not entirely clear. This study suggests that although fish oil increases the expression of fat burning enzymes taking it alone will not have a significant effect but that it needs a driver - exercise - to increase metabolic rate and lower body fat.

This is an interesting study because the subjects were not on calorie restricted diets and yet the fish oil when combined with exercise facilitated abdominal fat loss and yet the other groups did not lose body fat. The fish oil groups also reduced their blood fats (decreased triglycerides and raised HDL "good" cholesterol) and improved blood vessel elasticity.

It would be interesting to know if you can get similar results by combining exercise with fatty fish (e.g tuna) daily or by combining exercise with lower doses of fish oil (say 1-2g/day) of the standard variety (EPA/DHA).

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