Fish Oil: Nature’s Miracle Ingredient

Fish Oil
For a number of years now, I’ve been telling our members that the simplest way to improve their diets is to take fish oil for its omega-3 content. I’m happy to announce that we’ve developed a fish oil supplement that’s up to Beachbody’s strict standards. Let’s take a brief look at what fish oil is and how it will improve your diet and your health, and why you will benefit from Beachbody’s all-new fish oil supplement, Core Omega-3™.

Fish oil is made up of two long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. These are hard to find in the modern American diet and, thus, our bodies tend to lack necessary omega-3 levels, leading to myriad poor health conditions. Though our diets may not satisfy our omega-3 needs, fish oil supplementation can prove helpful and has been linked to multiple benefits, including:
• Heart health and normal cholesterol levels
• Immune system health, improved mood and memory, joint health, blood sugar health, and stress relief
• Increased energy levels and greater cognitive function
• Nutritional support for pregnant women
• Regular cell growth and division
• Skeletal system strength
• Healthy inflammatory response

Why fish oil?
To reiterate, fish contains two omega-3 fatty acids. They are DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), which are hard to find elsewhere and support healthy cardiovascular and immune health. ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), another omega-3 fatty acid, can be found more readily, but ALA is not easily converted into EPA and DHA. Flaxseed is an example of a good omega-3 source that is all ALA. While flaxseed is healthy, fish oil is a far more efficient way to get your omega-3.

While you could just eat fish for your omega-3 needs, there is a downside—mercury contamination. Doctors now recommend limiting the number of servings of fish you have in a week. A good fish oil supplement puts you at no risk for mercury poisoning. For this reason, care should be taken when choosing a good fish oil supplement.

Health benefits of fish oil
The benefits of the omega-3 oils found in fish oil are still being studied. These benefits seem to begin at conception and increase throughout one’s life—including contributing to a reduction in Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have hinted at advantages like increased intelligence levels, fewer headaches, reduced incidences of and pain from arthritis, heart disease protection, fewer occurrences of depression and bipolar disorder, and even protection from breast cancer and prostate cancer.

In Europe, patients who survive heart attacks are typically given a prescription for purified fish oil, which has significantly improved the survival rate. One study of 11,000 patients showed a 20 percent reduction in deaths and a 40 percent reduction in sudden deaths for those who took fish oil. Studies done in 2003 at Harvard Medical showed that taking fish oil on a daily basis can help protect the heart from damage and disease. Recent human trials have proven that when using fish oil that includes EPA and DHA, you can expect a decrease in the incidence of and the pain associated with inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, colitis, and cystitis.

Further studies suggest that fish oil intake during pregnancy can contribute to healthy pregnancies, and omega-3 supplementation, along with the restriction of omega-6, helps support brain function and mood both during pregnancy and post-partum. Infant formulas are beginning to include DHA as studies suggest improved cognitive function in adults who were breast-fed up to nine months while the mother was supplementing with fish oils. After conception, the new baby’s brain calls on the mother’s store of omega-3 fatty acids to develop a healthy brain. Fish has always been rumored as a “brain food.” What’s interesting is that recent research has shown that nearly 70 percent of a baby’s brain and more than 60 percent of an adult brain are made up of the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, like DHA, that come from fish.

Fat as a supplement
Fat as a supplement is a tough pill for many to swallow (pun intended) because our most basic sense of aesthetics tends to confuse dietary fat with body fat percentage. As we’ve stated many times, these two things are not the same. Your calories come from proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. And these are needed in the proper ratio to maximize your body’s functional capabilities. But all carbs, proteins, and fats are not created equal; and it’s probably more variable in the fat category than the others. The types of fats we tend to consume on a daily basis don’t give us the nutrients we need to fulfill our bodies’ potentials. Therefore, like with any nutrient we’re lacking, supplementing is a good option.

The skinny on fat
We need dietary fat to be healthy. But our diets don’t often provide us with good dietary fat and, thus, our diets lack balance. We should maintain close to a 1:1 ratio between our omega-3 and our omega-6 consumption; however, it’s estimated that the typical American diet is somewhere between 1:20 and 1:50! When you look at the list of benefits above and the things preventing this harmonious ratio (and leading to out-of-balance diets), it’s no wonder we have so many health problems related to improper fat consumption.

How much do I need?
It’s estimated that nearly 20 percent of Americans have such low levels of DHA and EPA that test methods are unable to detect any in their blood. Recommended intakes of DHA and EPA have not been established by the FDA. The American Heart Association recommends two servings of fish per week to support cardiovascular health. The American College of Cardiology recommends that heart patients increase their intake of omega-3 fatty acids to 1 gram a day. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends that adults consume at least 1,000 mg (1 gram) a day of pure omega-3 fish oil and 1,200 mg for pregnant and nursing mothers.

How do I make sure it’s safe?
International fish oil standards are increasingly being regulated, but it’s important, at this stage, to ensure that you chose a brand committed to the highest quality and the strictest purity guidelines. The two most important criteria are that your brand is free of mercury, PCBs, and other contaminants and that the fish are exposed to low oxidation levels during processing. Since there is no regulatory agency doing this on a broad scale, it’s important to spend a little time researching your brand of choice.

As far as our supplements go, quality is our most important criteria, and this is true of Core Omega-3. According to Beachbody Nutritionals Director of Product Development, Aaron Lowe, “It’s safe to say that the oil is protected from oxygen during processing and tested for impurities during the entire process. There is a certain baseline it has to meet before it even undergoes processing, and if it does not meet this spec, it’s not accepted for production.” To further drive this point home, Lowe adds, “Who are you going to trust with your health? Beachbody has built a reputation of providing excellent products and our nutritional supplements are no exception. Our customers can trust our products for their friends and families because we trust our products for our friends and families too.”

Top 5 Superfoods for Sex and Healing

Top 5 Superfoods for Sex and HealingSuperfoods are the most potent, nutrient-rich foods on the planet. They are great for improving overall health, boosting immunity, enhancing sexuality, lowering inflammation, alkalizing the body, and more.

1. Cacao (raw chocolate) [In Shakeology]

Cacao is the highest antioxidant food on the planet! It’s very nutrient dense, loaded with magnesium, iron, and anandamide (also known as the “bliss chemical”). It can be used in a powder form for smoothies, or the bean (cacao nib) can be sprinkled atop your favorite ingredients. Raw chocolate improves cardiovascular health, is a natural aphrodisiac, lifts mood, decreases depression and increases overall wellbeing.

2. Goji Berries (Wolfberries)

The Goji berry is the top Chinese medicine and has been used for over 5,000 years. (Why are we not eating Goji berries instead of processed raisins?!) Goji berries contain 18 amino acids, including all eight essential amino acids. They are also very nutrient dense with up to 21 trace minerals and high amounts of antioxidants. They are best purchased moist and certified organic.

3. Maca [In Shakeology]

Maca increases energy, endurance, strength and libido, and also helps with fatigue, infertility, symptoms of menopause, and sexual dysfunction. It is typically taken as a pill or a liquid extract or a powdered root.

4. Camu Camu Berry [In Shakeology]

The camu camu berry provides 50 times more Vitamin-C than an orange. It’s also one of the most nutrient-dense berries and is great for building immunity, rebuilding tissues, purifying the blood, and increasing energy. With Flu Season right around the corner, consuming Camu-Camu should be part of your daily ritual.

5. Medicinal Mushrooms (Reishi, Chaga, Shiitake, etc.)

These are typically tree mushrooms and are some of the best superfoods on the planet! In particular, the reishi mushroom has some amazing benefits: it can boost the immune system, decrease blood pressure, decrease cholesterol, decrease chronic fatigue and help with chronic lung conditions such as asthma. They are great for many people, and even good for babies.

What is P90X Results and Recovery Formula

P90X Results and Recovery FormulaWhat’s a good workout without some muscle fatigue to back it up, right.? If there is a routine like no other to get you soar from head to toe, its P90X! But, with a workout system as advanced and intense as P90X, you should be giving your body everything it needs to succeed and be in top condition 100% of the time. This means nutritious food, lots of water and a post workout drink like no other. While the P90X Results and Recovery Drink is not required to see great results, my experience has shown the drink does give you an edge and propels results even faster. It also means your body recovers faster, allowing you to feel great during workouts by keeping your soarness in check.

Here are the top 5 reasons I believe in a Post Workout drink, and why the P90X Results and Recovery formula is a perfect choice.

1. Energy Recovery – If you’re doing P90X right, you should be toasted after a good workout. The R&R drink replenishes your energy so you can feel great for the rest of the day. Complex carbohydrates are optimum for this and also help reduce muscle soreness.

2. Muscle Repair – A great protein blend in the drink allows your muscles to start repairing FAST! The breakdown, rebuild process is what really makes P90X successful in its various stages. This R&R drink aids in helping this repair happen faster.

3. Vitamin Replenishment – A healthy way to get much needed vitamins back to your system. These vitamins will now help you to feel better and keep you from getting drained. Keeping things like Vitamin C and other nutrient at high levels will ensure your immune system resistance stays high.

4. Performance Boost – A small amount of creatine really adds a much needed muscle boost to the R&R drink. You’ll see a difference it what you can deliver in each workout as well as adding edge to muscle fullness and strength. A great final touch to an amazing Recovery Drink.

Don’t get me wrong, P90X R&R drink is not required, but it sure helps in getting faster, better results for those looking to get the most out of the program. I’ve been using the drink on and off for 2 years as I go through different cycle of P90X and P90X2. I definitely say, I can tell the difference when I do and don’t use it and it taste pretty darn good too.

Pass The Butter … Please

Pass The Butter ... PleaseMargarine was originally manufactured to fatten turkeys. When it killed the turkeys, the people who had put all the money into the research wanted a payback so they put their heads together to figure out what to do with this product to get their money back.

It was a white substance with no food appeal so they added the yellow colouring and sold it to people to use in place of butter. How do you like it? They have come out with some clever new flavourings….

DO YOU KNOW.. The difference between margarine and butter?

Read on to the end…gets very interesting!

Both have the same amount of calories.
Butter is slightly higher in saturated fats at 8 grams; compared to 5 grams for margarine.

Eating margarine can increase heart disease in women by 53% over eating the same amount of butter, according to a recent Harvard Medical Study.

Eating butter increases the absorption of many other nutrients in other foods.
Butter has many nutritional benefits where margarine has a few and only because they are added!

Butter tastes much better than margarine and it can enhance the flavours of other foods.

Butter has been around for centuries where margarine has been around for less than 100 years .

And now, for Margarine..

Very High in Trans fatty acids.

Triples risk of coronary heart disease …

Increases total cholesterol and LDL (this is the bad cholesterol) and lowers HDL cholesterol, (the good cholesterol)

Increases the risk of cancers up to five times..

Lowers quality of breast milk

Decreases immune response.

Decreases insulin response.

And here’s the most disturbing fact… HERE IS THE PART THAT IS VERY INTERESTING!

Margarine is but ONE MOLECULE away from being PLASTIC… and shares 27 ingredients with PAINT.

These facts alone were enough to have me avoiding margarine for life and anything else that is hydrogenated (this means hydrogen is added, changing the molecular structure of the substance).

Open a tub of margarine and leave it open in your garage or shaded area. Within a couple of days you will notice a couple of things:

  •  no flies, not even those pesky fruit flies will go near it (that should tell you something)
  •  it does not rot or smell differently because it has no nutritional value ; nothing will grow on it. Even those teeny weeny microorganisms will not a find a home to grow.

Why? Because it is nearly plastic . Would you melt your Tupperware and spread that on your toast?

Share This With Your Friends…..(If you want to butter them up’)!

Chinese Proverb:
When someone shares something of value with you and you benefit from it, you have a moral obligation to share it with others.

Pass the BUTTER PLEASE!

6 Sleep Tips For Weightlifters

6 Sleep Tips For WeightliftersSleep is essential for muscle repair and mass gain. Try these 6 sleep tips for bodybuilders to get a better night’s rest.

Nearly half of the adults polled in a 2011 National Sleep Foundation survey admitted to rarely, if ever, getting a good night’s rest. That could explain why handfuls of people you run into at the gym are so cranky, as well as why those sleep-deprived zombies might have trouble powering through and recovering from hellish training sessions.

“You give your body the chance to repair, recharge, and regrow during sleep,” says wellness expert Dr. Felecia Stoler, DCN, MS, RD, RACSM. “It’s the ideal time to replenish nutrients, and, since your body isn’t moving, it allows the muscles to repair themselves.”

Along with inhibiting the production of growth hormone (GH), which increases during deep stages of sleep, sleep deficiency can curb energy levels, diminish alertness, weaken the immune system, and cause you to be more … uh … forgetful.

So how much sack time should you be getting? There’s no hard-and-fast rule; aim for seven to eight hours per night. And despite certain sleep issues like sleep apnea requiring a polysomnogram to detect—polysomnogram is the fancy word for sleep study—others can be corrected with simple tweaks like these

1. Don’t Exercise Too Close to Bedtime
Yes, exercise can help you fall asleep and achieve better sleep quality. But hitting the weights too close to bedtime can elevate your body temperature and leave your mind too wired to drift off. We know you’re busy and have to squeeze in workouts whenever you have time, but look to end your exercise sessions about three to four hours before you turn in for the night if insomnia has become a problem. That should give your body temperature adequate time to cool down.

2. Cut Out the PM Booze
Your overall beer and booze intake is (hopefully) already limited because you know alcohol hinders muscle growth and lowers testosterone. Thing is, a nightcap can also disrupt sleep cycles. “Alcohol can mess with your circadian rhythm [our preprogrammed sleep/wake cycle] and dehydrate you,” Stoler says. And as your body metabolizes the alcohol, it might wake you more during the night and cause you to feel less rested in the morning.

3. Turn Electronic Devices Off
An Ohio State University study using hamsters found that four weeks of exposure to artificial light—the kind that stems from smartphones, laptops, tablets, and television screens—left the furballs more lethargic and depressed than hamsters* that slept in total darkness. One reason could be that the light exposure suppresses the natural release of melatonin, a hormone that helps the body maintain its circadian rhythm. Shut down light-emitting devices about 30 minutes before bed. Our recommendation: Read. We know an excellent fitness magazine you can sift through.

(*No need to worry about the depressed hamsters; they went back to their giddy selves shortly after the artificial lights were removed.)

4. Regulate Caffeine Intake
Caffeine does numerous beneficial things for you, including giving your metabolic rate a boost and improving alertness and energy. But if you’re consuming it too late in evening and you feel jittery when it’s time for bed, cut out the caffeine about mid-afternoon.

5. Choose The Right Sleep Meds
Ambien, Lunesta, and other doctor-prescribed remedies are highly effective sleep inducers, but they can also be habit-forming. Unisom and other OTC meds containing the sedating antihistamine doxylamine can help in the short-term, but can also cause you to feel groggy when you wake up. Taking 0.3-1 mg of melatonin 60 to 90 minutes before bed can help induce sleep if the conditions are optimal — meaning, the room is dark and quiet; don’t expect to take it and have it knock you like something that’s prescription strength. Another option: Suntheanine. “[Suntheanine] is an amino acid that’ll help you sleep but won’t cause you to feel drowsy,” Stoler advises. “You’ll feel alert, but relaxed.”

6. Get Out of Bed
If you’re tossing and turning, get out of bed for a bit. It sounds counterintuitive, but all the pressure and concentration you’re exerting trying to drift off may actually be keeping you awake.

10 Foods You Should Eat

Superfoods
We’ve all heard about superfoods—consumables with mystical powers to cure whatever it is that ails you and that will help you live forever. This list will be different. Today we’ll look at some common items that should be on your menu, even though you probably haven’t heard them touted as the next great miracle cure. In fact, some of these you probably thought were bad for you. I begin this list with a caveat; we’re all different. One person’s superfood is another’s trip to the emergency room (soy comes to mind here). There are some nutritional factors we all share, such as the need to eat a certain amount of calories that come from fats, proteins, and carbohydrates to keep our bodies functioning as they should. Beyond this, our exact dietary needs begin to diverge.

There are some obvious reasons for this. Lifestyle and activity level are pretty easy to understand. That someone who is pregnant or training for an Ironman needs more calories than a computer programmer who sits for 14 hours a day isn’t difficult to fathom. Neither is the fact that a 90-pound ballerina uses less fuel than a 350-pound lineman. That we all eat a different number of calories and a different percentage of fats, proteins, and especially carbs is obvious, or at least should be, since the bigger you are and the harder you work the more fuel your body needs to recharge itself.

What’s more subtle are body type differences. These can be difficult to understand, and many people never figure them out. Blood type, heredity, and other factors come into play and make each of us unique individuals. When it comes to eating, most of us spend a fair portion of our lives figuring out just what we should be eating to maximize our life experience (which doesn’t necessarily mean we choose the healthiest options). For this reason, there is no true “superfood.” There are, however, helpful foods that are specific to each of us. By experimenting with our diets, we will all find a course of eating that makes us feel better than anything else.

To help you begin your self-experiment, here’s a list of common foods that you’ll want to try. Most of these are very healthy for almost everyone, even though some have been vilified by society. This doesn’t mean that they’ll transform you into an epitome of health, but they’re certainly worth a try.

1. Peanut butter
I’m leading with this because I’m fairly certain peanut butter single-handedly kept me from getting chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) during the no-fat 90s. In the early 90s, the average amount of fat in our daily diets plummeted while the incidence of CFS* (the colloquial veil for debilitating disorders marked by chronic mental and physical exhaustion) skyrocketed. This was particularly true among the otherwise healthy endurance sports sect. In the early 90s, my body fat was once recorded at 2 percent. Sure, I was ripped. Healthy? Not so much. I’m pretty sure that only my adherence to peanut butter as a healthy fat source kept my athletic obsession intact.

A bevy of modern studies now vindicates my opinion with science. Peanuts are high in both fat and calories but their fat has been associated with decreased total cholesterol and lower LDL and triglyceride levels. It’s also high on the satiation meter, meaning that a little can fill you up.

2. Cabbage
Every Asian culture, as well as European, eats more cabbage than we do and it’s time we thought about it more often than when we happen to splurge on P.F. Chang’s. Cabbage is absurdly low in calories and very high in nutrients. Among these is sulforaphane, which a Stanford University study showed as boosting cancer-fighting enzymes more than any other plant chemical.

3. Quinoa
This “grain” isn’t technically a grain at all. It just tastes like one. It’s actually a relative of spinach, beets, and Swiss chard. All of these are extremely healthy from a nutrient point of view, but quinoa is the only one that can fool you into thinking you’re eating a starch. It’s high in protein, minerals, vitamins, and fiber.

4. Spelt
This one is actually a grain but its origin is slightly mysterious. Some claim it comes from wheat while others say it’s a different species. Regardless, it has a high nutritional profile and can be eaten by many people with gluten intolerance, making it a good alternative to wheat products. Spelt can be found in many products, but as it’s still considered a “health food,” it’s off the major processing radar. Unlike wheat, if spelt is on the ingredients list, it’s probably good for you.

5. Walnuts
All nuts, really, but walnuts seem to be the king of the nut family. Used in Chinese medicine for centuries, walnuts are becoming more associated with Western health than ever before. A 2006 study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that eating walnuts after a meal high in bad fat could reduce the damaging effects of the meal.

6. Avocado
Another villain in the old no-fat movement, avocados are now thought to be one of the healthiest fat sources available. Beyond this, they have very high amounts of cancer-fighting antioxidants, and recent research seems to indicate that avocados’ phytonutrients may also help with the absorption of nutrients from other sources.

7. Mushrooms
The more we learn about phytonutrients—those that come in a small enough quantity to be missed on a food label (this is a layman’s definition only)—the more we should admire ancient cultures. These culinary delights have been feuded over for decades until, for some reason, we’d decided they were pretty much empty calories. The study of phytonutrients has taught us that warring over fungi may have held some rationale after all. Mushrooms are loaded with antioxidants and are thought to boost the immune system, help ward off some cancers, and have high amounts of potassium. Furthermore, researchers at Penn State University have found that mushrooms may be the only food to contain an antioxidant called L-ergothioneine.

8. Tea
Despite a ton of positive press over the last, oh, century, tea and coffee are still the devil’s brew in some circles. Perhaps even worse is how many coffee and tea restaurants have bastardized these natural brews into sugar- and fat-filled dessert items. Both tea and coffee, in their basic states, have no calories and many healthy benefits. Between the two, coffee is arguably more popular, most likely due to its higher caffeine content. But tea is probably healthier. Both have a high amount of antioxidants but stats on tea are almost off the charts. A recent study on calcium supplementation in elderly women, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, showed that bone mineral density at the hip was 2.8 percent greater in tea drinkers than in non-tea drinkers.

9. Cinnamon
Maybe the novel Dune was more prescient than we’ve given it credit for. After all, the plot revolves around an entire solar system at war over a cinnamon-like spice. Nowadays, we think of this as little but the flavoring in a 1,100-calorie gut bomb we find at the mall. But Frank Herbert knew a thing or two about history and cinnamon has long been the prized possession of the spice world. It has a host of benefits, but perhaps none more important than this one: USDA researchers recently found that people with type 2 diabetes who consumed one gram of cinnamon a day for six weeks significantly reduced their blood sugar, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol. “He who controls the spice controls the universe!”

10. Natto
This is on the list because, for one, it’s one of the few foods I’ve eaten that I truly don’t like. But mainly, it’s here because we’ve really messed up the way we eat soy. Natto is fermented soybeans and very popular in Japan, which is where I had it. It’s becoming more popular here and this is most likely due to its health benefits. Nearly all the soy options we’re offered in the U.S. are non-fermented. The list of health benefits of fermented soy is a mile long. It’s associated with reducing the risk of cancer, minimizing the likelihood of blood clotting, aiding digestion, increasing blood circulation, an improved immune system, improving bone density, lessening the likelihood of heart attacks, more vibrant skin, and reducing the chance of balding. And it also has strong antibiotic properties, among other things. So you might want to ditch the soy crisps, soy ice cream, and your iced soy mochas and add some natto to your diet.