Health and Wellness

At Heritage, we care about you -- your life, your family, but also your health. That's why we started a health and wellness ministry, led by Scott Siewert. Check back periodically for new and updated articles regarding wellness. 


weights and protein are key to increasing strength: new York times article

A review of several different studies showed the importance of protein in building muscle, particularly in those order than 40 years old. People who would like to become stronger should start with weight training and add protein to their diets, according to a comprehensive scientific review of research.

The review finds that eating more protein, well past the amounts currently recommended, can significantly increase the effects of lifting weights, especially for people over 40 years old.

Any form of protein is likely to be effective, the review concludes, not merely high protein shakes and supplements. Beef, chicken, yogurt, even protein from peas and various rices could help us build larger and stronger muscles.

It makes sense that protein in our diets should aid in bulking up muscles, since muscles consist mostly of protein. When we lift weights, we stress the muscles and cause minute damage to muscle tissue, which then makes new proteins to heal. But muscles will readily turn to and slurp up any bonus proteins floating around in the bloodstream.

Knowing this, bodybuilders have long swallowed large amounts of gloopy, protein rich shakes after workouts in expectation of adding greater bulk to their muscles than lifting alone.

But the advantages of added dietary protein for the rest of us have been less clear. Past studies have indicated that, in general, people will gain more strength and muscle mass while weight training if they increase their protein intake. But many of those studies have been relatively small or short term and often focused on only one kind of person, such as young men or older adults, or one kind of protein such as whey shakes or soy.

Whether everyone benefits similarly from consuming added protein while weight training and just how much protein is ideal, as well what that protein should consist of and when it should be eaten, are all open questions.

So for the review, which was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers from McMasters University in Hamilton, Ont. and other institutions decided to aggregate the results from the best past studies of weight training and protein. Using databases of published research, they looked for experiments that had lasted at least six weeks, included a control group, and carefully tracked participants' protein intake as well as the eventual impacts on their muscle size and strength.

They wound up with 49 high-quality past experiments that had studied a total of 1863 people, including men and women, young and old, experienced weight trainers as well as novices. The sources of the protein in the studies had varied, as had the amounts and times of day when people had downed them.

To answer the question of wheher taking in more protein during weight training led to larger increases in muscle size and strength, the researchers combined the results. And the answer was a resounding yes. Men and women who ate more protein while weight training did develop larger, and stronger muscles.

Now not every older adult wants to develop larger and more bulky muscles but it is a sure more advantage result than the larger and more bulky bellies that seem to be taking the country by storm. That added strength will certainly help to prevent falls which is an added problem with aging adults.

The impacts of this extra protein were not enormous. Almost everyone who started or continued weight training became stronger in these studies, whether they ate more protein or not. But those who did ramp up their protein gained an extra 10 percent or so in strength and about 25 per cent in muscle mass.

The researchers also looked for the sweet spot for protein intake, which turned out to be 1.6 grams of per kilogram of body weight per day. In practical terms, that would amount to about 130 grams of protein a day for a 175 pound man. (A chicken breast has about 45 grams of protein.) Beyond that point, more protein did not result in more muscles benefits.

The sweet spot is considerably higher than the protein levels called for in the current federal recommendations, which suggest about 56 grams of protein a day for men and 46 grams of protein per day for women.

That advice holds especially true for middle aged and older weight trainers. Almost none of the older study participants were getting the ideal amount of protein in these studies and tended to show much smaller gains in strength and muscle size than younger people.


by Charles billingsley

"Don't you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body." 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Worshipping God with our bodies is quite differing from worshipping the body itself. We live in a culture that is obsessed with the body. And it's big business, too, reaching an average revenue of 31.4 billion a year. 

There's certainly nothing wrong with living a healthy lifestyle and eating properly. In fact, we should do that, as our bodies are a temple of the Lord and we need to treat them as such. However, worshipping God with our bodies as "a living sacrifice," as Paul puts it in Romans 12, means we present all we are as an offering to God. Worship isn't just something we think about. It's something we do--with our hands, feet, ears and eyes. It means we glorify God wherever we are and with whatever we are doing. 

Remember, worship is you and me loving the Lord in all aspects of life. So jump in and worship God, with your whole heart and your body!

sugary drinks linked to aging of the brain: article original source, Toledo Blade

Drinking sugary beverages is associated with markers of accelerated aging and early signs of Alzheimer's Disease, a new study reports. Researchers used data on more than 4,000 people older than 30, examining their brains with MRI and measuring memory with psychological tests. All completed well validated food questionnaires. 

Sugary beverage intake is an indirect measure of how much sugar we get in our diets, which is difficult to measure. The study, in Alzheimer's and Dementia, found that on average, the more sugary drinks consumed, the lower the total brain volume and the lower the scores on memory tests. Brain shrinkage is tied to an increased risk of Alzheimer's Disease. 

Compared with those who drank no sugary drinks, those who drank one or two a day had a reduced brain volume equivalent to 1.6 years of aging, and lower memory scores equivalent to years of aging. Those who drank more than two had decreased brain volume equivalent to two years of normal aging and lower memory scores by the equivalent of 11 years. The researchers took into consideration diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking, and many other health behavioral characteristics. 



sushi: a healthy addition to one's diet
by lisa drayer, cnn

A little different angle to discuss rather than all the different supplements, methods of exercise, and what not to eat or drink: how about the food, sushi? Whether you eat sushi from a Japanese restaurant or from a local supermarket, there's no doubt that it's become a mainstream meal--and that's good news.

Sushi can be a very healthy addition to your diet, especially when it's filled with vegetables, omega 3-rich seafood like salmon and tuna, and small amounts of heart healthy avocado. The healthfulness of sushi can rapidly decline, though, depending on how your roll is prepared. Sushi saboteurs include tempura batter and condiments such as mayo and cream cheese, which boost unhealthy fat and calories. 

Sodium rich soy sauce can also be a concern; just one small tablespoon contributes about 900 mg of sodium, or about 40% of the daily recommended sodium limit. If you are watching your sodium, ask for a low sodium version or eliminate all together. Ask for brown rice instead of white rice. Although it still may contain sugar to boost sweetness, it's rich in whole grains and offers a fiber boost. Bottom line? When eating sushi, keep it seafood rich and simple.