Nearly every day, you hear about some miracle potion, powder or pill that will “cure all your ills”, or magically “make you strong and healthy”. Tempting though it may be to hear, we know that anything that sounds too good to be true probably is just that – too good to be true. However, there are some very reliable ways to maintain and gain muscle strength, toned physiques and beautiful skin and hair. Nature gives us the optimal ingredients!
“Muscle is the absolute center piece for being healthy, vital and independent as we grow older,” says Miriam Nelson, director of the John Hancock Research Center on Physical Activity, Nutrition and Obesity Prevention at Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy in Boston. Furthermore, she asserts, “what makes us look older, more than anything else, is losing muscle and gaining body fat as we age”. Clearly, we all need to build up muscle and stem muscle loss. What’s the best way to do it? Combining strength and resistance training, and consuming adequate lean proteins, favorable carbohydrates and healthy fat in the right amount and at the right time of day.
Strength training will help preserve muscle power, maintain and/or improve bone mineral density, and may help control blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. Resistance training can also help improve muscle power, enabling your muscles to produce speed and force needed to do a wide range of simple tasks.
Of all macronutrients, protein helps build muscle most. One of the newest areas of scientific research today is in whey proteins. Whey proteins are a source of energy during prolonged exercise. Whey is especially rich in the branched chain amino acids isoleucine, leucine and valine, which have stimulatory roles in protein synthesis. And researchers have discovered that as we age, we need more protein that’s rich in the amino acid leucine, than do younger people. The best time to consume a whey protein-based snack – just after you finish your workout. Consider trying NutriFit’s newest snack – the Mighty Muscle Mix. The Mighty Muscle joins the Mighty Mix family of snacks that are sold online at (individually or by the dozen). They contain specially formulated whey protein crisps, along with dried cherries, dates and almonds.
But what about looking great? What you eat can make a definite difference in that way you feel, and the way you look. Here are some suggestions for looking your best on the outside, while you’re building strength on the inside!
Extra virgin olive oil provides a great source of good fats to help absorb nutrients from fruits and vegetables, and carry those nutrients throughout the body. It will also help keep your skin glowing and our arteries clear.
Wild salmon and other cold water fish (like sardines, herring, trout, tuna and mackerel) are great sources of protein (we know that helps repair and maintain the body), including the skin on a cellular level. The omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA may shield cell walls from free-radical damage caused by UV rays. EPA helps preserve collagen helps keep skin supple (it’s an anti-inflammatory). Walnuts are also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and also contain vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant.
Green, red and yellow leafy vegetables (think dark leafy greens, strawberries, tomatoes, oranges, blueberries, kiwi, papaya and sweet potatoes) all help repair skin cells, detoxify the body and keep skin clear. Beans and other legumes are also anti-inflammatory foods, which are key in preventing sagging skin.