DIETARY CHANGES TO CONSIDER WHILE YOU'RE YOUNG “15 Easy Ways to Speed Up Your Metabolism” by Men’s Health for ACTIVE.com is a slideshow article that may help to increase your metabolic rate but at the same time points the way toward including a variety of nutritious foods into an eating plan. Most have read about or seen similar recommendations, so it’s not a breaking news item.
However, it can be helpful to be reminded, every so often, of what changes might lead to a healthier lifestyle especially if the change isn't likely to result in increased body fat mass.
Over the years I have been resistant to several of these dietary adjustments for various reasons, mostly with the thought of saving calories to lose weight. I skipped breakfast, did not drink milk, skimped on protein, constantly dieted ineffectively, and cheated myself of sleep. I wasn't paying attention to preserving lean muscle or maintaining bone strength.
I picked up these misconceptions while practicing as a dietitian! It wasn’t the fault of my training. The problem began with the belief that because I was educated in the field of nutrition I knew better than the ‘experts’. It seemed like every year there was a reversal in what experts considered to be “good for you”, so it seemed reasonable to believe I was smarter when it came to managing my own health.
As I become an older runner I also become more concerned about muscle and bone health. Frailty is a major contributor to morbidity (illness, disability) and mortality (death) in the elderly. I researched this area and found that providing adequate amounts of the nutrient building blocks regularly throughout the day and before sleep may assist in maintaining or increasing the strength of these tissues. After all, I plan to run into old age and easily perform everyday living activities. Strength training and exercise are also required.
As a result, this year I added more high protein meals, mostly from dairy sources. None of the changes contributed to significant body fat gain (my personal, not scientific, assessment), even though calories were added, more meals were eaten, and fat content was slightly increased. Some of the research information I read was featured in a SCIENCE FRIDAY post.
I also added more sleep hours, the time during which tissue building/repair occurs, and items rich in the amino acid citrulline - an arginine precursor that is not broken down by the body after ingestion, as is arginine - found in high amounts in watermelon. The word ‘citrulline’ comes from the Latin term for watermelon. Some of these nutritional changes were made when I was not able to run for exercise, due to minor injuries, which made me think more about health in old age!
Not being perfect, I still must work on eating breakfast earlier, drinking water with ice, consuming more types of organic fresh produce, and standing while working on the computer.
Check out the slideshow. Pay attention to the recommendations that pertain to muscle and bone health (not ‘dieting’ by eating less, sleeping more, taking in more protein, eating at regular intervals starting with breakfast, consuming foods high in vitamin D and calcium).
Perhaps there are a few changes to make in your diet to become stronger for healthier running and living into the future. Although much of the nutrition hype today is about being heart-healthy, don’t forget about maintaining strong muscle and bone too.
Protein intake in elderly women (Frailty)
BLOG POST science-friday-preserving-muscle
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EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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