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Part II: What are you eating, Becca? Looking at the Research

Updated: May 12, 2023

Looking at the research, I've concluded that we need to be advocating for ourselves to ourselves by eating nutritious foods and exercising- particularly resistance training.


Every year after 30, we lose a percentage of our bone density (about 1% every year- but it varies- it also increases as we age- specifically for women). After 30 we also start to experience muscle loss as well (possibly 3-8% per decade). It's a big deal for the general population as we continue to grow in obesity overall. This phenomenon is called sarcopenia, and it can lead to a decrease in strength and mobility, as well as an increase in the risk of falls and fractures. (National Institute of Healt, CDC, and other scientific journals)


While creating clinical training modules for nurses and staff here at the hospital, I had the pleasure of working with 3 West Bariatrics. Here is a list of obesity related diseases: pulmonary diseases (abnormal function, obstructive sleep apnea, hypoventilation syndrome), Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (steatosis, steatohepatitis, cirrhosis), Gynecologic abnormalities (abnormal menses, infertility, polycystic ovarian syndrome), Cancer (breast, uterine, cervical, colon, esophageal, pancreas, kidney, prostate), Phlebitis (venous stasis), idiopathic intracranial hypertension, stroke, cataracts, severe pancreatitis, gall bladder disease, osteoarthritis, diabetes, and gout.


These conditions can be reversed. Bone density and muscle loss can be reduced!


Nutrition and exercise will be your method to reduce bone breakages, metabolic issues, muscle injuries, and so much more.


Where to start.... (1) Walk (2) Learn how to lift weights. (3) Change your diet. Aim for .8- 1 g of protein per kg of body weight. (Example- a person weighing 59kg may aim for 59 grams of protein) (4) Monitor your diet in the quantity and quality of foods you consume.

Eat to move and thrive!

Your body can't rebuild or build muscle without building blocks, so having adequate protein can prevent muscle waste. The many types of protein are still being researched but animal proteins are the "most complete"- which is a fancy way of saying they have more types of proteins your body uses. Two hard boiled eggs and 1 cup of Greek yogurt have about 24 grams of protein. For that 59 kg person, they are well on their way for having a day complete with recommended amounts of protein.


Protein is key. What about other stuff?


Iron, found in foods like chili, red meats, beans, and green vegetables is the material that helps carry oxygen in your red blood cells throughout your body. Pay attention to iron as a deficit can cause fatigue. Iron is an important mineral that plays a crucial role in the body's ability to produce hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body. Iron also has an impact on muscle function and health. Here are some ways in which iron affects muscle:

  1. Energy production: Iron is necessary for the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is the main source of energy for muscle cells.

  2. Oxygen transport: Iron is essential for the transport of oxygen to the muscles. Without adequate iron, the muscles may not receive enough oxygen, which can lead to fatigue and weakness.

  3. Muscle contraction: Iron is involved in the process of muscle contraction. Adequate iron levels help to ensure that the muscles can contract properly.


Calcium, found in dairy products, is the mineral to build bones but not only that! Calcium is imperative in the function of muscle movement and neuro transmission. It is fat soluble, so enjoy a little fat with this vitamin like whole milk yogurt or cheese.

Calcium is an essential mineral for the development and maintenance of strong bones. Calcium helps to build and maintain bone density, which is the amount of bone tissue in a certain volume of bone. Here are some ways in which calcium impacts bone density:

  1. Bone mineralization: Calcium is necessary for bone mineralization, which is the process by which calcium and other minerals are deposited in the bones to make them strong and dense.

  2. Bone growth: Calcium is essential for bone growth, particularly during childhood and adolescence when bones are still developing. Adequate calcium intake during these years can help to ensure that bones grow to their full potential.

  3. Bone remodeling: Throughout life, bones are constantly being broken down and rebuilt in a process called remodeling. Calcium is necessary for this process to occur properly, as it helps to ensure that the new bone tissue is strong and dense.

  4. Bone strength: Calcium is essential for bone strength and resistance to fracture. Bones with higher bone density are less likely to fracture under stress.

  5. Prevention of osteoporosis: Adequate calcium intake throughout life can help to prevent osteoporosis, a condition in which bones become weak and brittle and are at increased risk for fracture.


Vitamin C is used to help aid in the creation of collagen for skin, blood vessels, tendons, and ligaments. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that is essential for overall health and well-being. It is also known for its benefits in muscle recovery after exercise. Here are some ways in which Vitamin C benefits muscle recovery:

  1. Collagen synthesis: Vitamin C is necessary for the production of collagen, a protein that provides structure and support to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Collagen synthesis is essential for repairing muscle tissue after exercise.

  2. Antioxidant properties: Vitamin C has antioxidant properties that help to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress caused by exercise. This can help to speed up recovery time and reduce muscle soreness.

  3. Immune system support: Exercise can temporarily weaken the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to infections and illnesses. Vitamin C can help to support the immune system, reducing the risk of illness and supporting overall recovery.

  4. Iron absorption: Vitamin C helps the body to absorb iron, which is necessary for the production of hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to the muscles. Adequate iron levels help to ensure that the muscles have enough oxygen to function properly and recover after exercise.

  5. Muscle growth: Vitamin C is necessary for the production of carnitine, a compound that is essential for energy production and muscle growth.


B Vitamins typically come from animal products. They help transport oxygen and break down amino acids and help carbohydrates release energy when they are broken down. B vitamins are a group of water-soluble vitamins that play a crucial role in many processes in the body, including energy metabolism, muscle and nerve function, and cell growth and development. Here are some ways in which B vitamins are important for physical training:

  1. Energy production: B vitamins are necessary for the production of energy from carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. During physical training, the body requires more energy to power the muscles and sustain exercise intensity. Adequate intake of B vitamins is therefore essential to ensure sufficient energy production.

  2. Muscle function: B vitamins play a role in muscle function and help to maintain muscle tone and strength. Vitamin B6, in particular, is involved in the synthesis of neurotransmitters that play a role in muscle contractions.

  3. Red blood cell formation: Vitamin B12 and folate are essential for the formation of red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the muscles. During physical training, the muscles require more oxygen, and adequate red blood cell production is crucial to ensure that the muscles are getting enough oxygen to function properly.

  4. Recovery and repair: B vitamins are involved in the repair and maintenance of muscle tissue. Adequate intake of B vitamins can help to support muscle recovery after exercise and reduce the risk of muscle damage.

  5. Immune system support: Physical training can temporarily weaken the immune system, increasing the risk of infections and illnesses. B vitamins, particularly vitamin B6, play a role in supporting the immune system and reducing the risk of infections.


Calories.


Calories is a way we measure energy. We need certain levels of calories to thrive. Living in an extreme caloric deficit can cause more harm than good. For weight loss, it is recommended to be in no more than 200 cal less per day of a deficit. It is important to talk with a professional about a caloric deficit that is appropriate for you.


There is no way this little blog can talk about all aspects of nutrition. What I want you to take away from this is 1) The importance of protein -especially if you are in a caloric deficit 2) The importance of a well-rounded diet.


Contact me for more information about my sources. (NIH)





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