Supplement Focus: Magnesium

Up to 80% of Americans are magnesium(Mg) deficient. It’s not easy to get the recommended amount of Mg (about 400mg for men and 300mg for women) just from food, so supplementing Mg is vital. On to the benefits!

Health

Magnesium (Mg) has been shown to improve memory and learning and the inverse has been observed. Emotional health is also impacted by Mg. Low levels of Mg have been associated with increased occurrence of externalising behaviors (depression, anxiety and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) in adolescents. Again the opposite was also observed. Low levels of Mg are associated with higher occurrence of depression. AND proper levels of Mg have been shown to aid in stress management. Studies show that Mg can reduce the risk of heart disease (10%), stroke (12%), and type-2 diabetes (26%). Even 100mg more per day of Mg reduces the risk of stroke by and type-2 diabetes.

Gut health is improved, as Mg is essential to nutrient absorption. Mg reduces hunger cravings and helps to prevent constipation and colitis. Risk of colorectal cancer is lowered by about 13% for every 100mg of Mg. Detoxification is aided by Mg, and glutathione, the most important antioxidant in the body requires Mg. Aging is slowed by Mg, by reversing age-related changes in the brain. All cause mortality is lower for with higher levels of Mg.

Performance

Mg calms the nervous system, allowing better quality of sleep. Low levels of Mg have been associated with nervousness before bed and restless legs syndrome. Chronic fatigue is associated with low Mg, due to hundreds (about 350) of enzymatic functions being compromised. Fat loss is greatly aided by Mg as it improves insulin sensitivity, with the opposite being true. The production of ATP (energy) and anabolic hormones requires Mg. As well as IGF-1 (growth hormone), though to a lesser extent. Protein synthesis requires Mg to promote growth of lean muscle tissue. Mg also helps the body to reduce lactic acid buildup, reducing fatigue during workouts.

For help finding the right magnesium supplement for you, check out:

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Slow It Down

Your carbs I mean. One easy way to lose fat and positively change body composition is by using the slow-carb diet. I have mentioned the ketogenic diet before, which is basically a no-carb diet. The slow-carb diet (SCD) is pretty easy to do and stick to for a few reasons.

The SCD is a great diet for people that don’t want their food options to be too restrictive but still want to look, be, and feel healthier. The only food that is restricted on the SCD is high-glycemic carbs. So your white: rice, potatoes, pasta, etc. Manipulation of your blood sugar levels is a great way to lose fat and promote long-term health. Basically, carbs, especially high-glycemic carbs cause a spike in blood sugar levels, which prompts a release of insulin. Eating those foods constantly causes the body to start to develop resistances, which lead to a whole mess of health issues (diabetes, cardiovascular disease, weight/fat gain). The main staple of the SCD is incorporating low-glycemic foods throughout the day, for every meal.

The makeup of your meals on the SCD will be up to you really, but out of these basic foods: eggs, protein (beef, chicken, pork, fish, beans), vegetables (green leafy veggies are best, so think broccoli, spinach, collard greens, etc.), basically all types of legumes (beans), and pretty much all kinds of nuts. I recommend making your own pool of meals that you can use as go-to meals. Through tinkering and figuring out what works best for your tastes, schedule, and cooking prowess, you should have 3-4 go-to breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. Planning ahead this way may seem boring, but knowing more or less what you’re going to be eating will remove a lot of stress from your day.

Some tips for getting the most out of the SCD are:

-Within 30 minutes of waking up, ingest 20-30 grams of protein. Have a protein shake or a smoothie with a scoop of protein powder. Proteins have a high thermogenic effect, which means your body burns more calories digesting protein than either carbs or fat. Protein also helps with satiety.

-Eat slowly. Don’t scarf down your meals. While you don’t really have to count your calories on the SCD, you don’t want to overeat. So eat slowly and let your body tell you when you’ve had enough.

-Have a cheat day every week or so. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, if a ‘cheat day’ is helping you with your nutrition/fitness goals, it’s not really cheating. To get the most out of your cheat day, keep a list of foods you craved during the week.

Remember for any ‘diet’ to really work, give it time and make it a lifestyle rather than just a diet

https://www.fitnessmagazine.com/weight-loss/plans/diets/the-slow-carb-diet/

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Chew Your Food!

You’ve heard it before. Chew your food, don’t just swallow it whole. Chewing definitely affects digestion and absorption. But adequate chewing can also affect caloric intake, improve mood and focus, and improve gut hormones.

Digestion and absorption definitely benefit from chewing more. The more you chew food and break it down into smaller pieces the more easily it is broken down and absorbed. This also leads to feeling satiated (full) sooner and with less food. This can lead to a caloric reduction, or at the very least reduce overeating. Chewing more also allows you to taste more of your food which increases satiety and overall meal satisfaction.

A study on chewing found that an increased number of “chews per bite” resulted in an increase in beneficial gut hormones. The same study also found that the increased level of chewing reduced hunger for prolonged periods after a meal. Chewing is known to help with maintaining focus, as it’s often used in learning situations, driving long hours, to prevent sleepiness, etc. Study participants scored higher on intelligence and alertness tests with increased chewing. Stress was also reported to be lower in this study. While the mechanism is not totally understood, it is thought to be a combination of factors including “increases of cerebral blood flow and brain activity, cerebral blood flow, cardiovascular system, ascending reticular activating system, glucose delivery, and flavors.”

One simple way to chew more without even thinking about it is to eat away from screens. No tv, no phones. Eat with another person. Or looking outside or even at a piece of art you like. Having your meals away from screens will slow the pace of your meal and your chewing allowing for all of these benefits.

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