Exercise is Medicine by ACSM

Megan // Author

Author based archive
27 Nov

BLOG 295 DITCH THESE HABITS

We all have our vices. We all have habits we have hung onto forever that we are well aware need to be given up. Somehow along the way, time has flown by, life took over, and we cycle through the stages of giving up our vices then slipping back into our old ways. You can’t deny, “Old habits die hard”. Maybe understanding the implications of these habits on weight gain will be an eye-opening deterrent. So let’s take a look at how smoking cigarettes, alcohol consumption, and drinking soda, can impact our fitness journeys.

A popular idea is that cigarette smoking helps control body weight. For example, cigarette advertisements from the 1930s suggested that women should, “Reach for a cigarette instead of a sweet” (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3195407/). Furthermore, “Young adults who are trying to lose weight are 40% more likely to smoke cigarettes. Because smoking is often thought of as a way to control appetite and weight, quitting smoking means the absence of this control strategy” (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3195407). Rather than eat, one might have a cigarette. I read, “Tobacco companies modified cigarettes to give them appetite suppressant qualities as late as 1999, revealed a 2010 study by Swiss researchers, published in the European Journal of Public Health” (http://www.livestrong.com/article/515745-cigarettes-weight-loss/). The fear of weight gain after quitting is why most smokers don’t want to stop, regardless of all the other health consequences smoking causes. Nicotine does speed up your metabolic rate, so quitting would affect this. However, from an exercise stand point, nicotine does affect your cardiovascular performance and output. Therefore, you are not able to perform at your best. The “smokers cough” impairs one’s ability to really step out of their comfort zone and challenge their cardio. As a personal trainer who believes in lifestyle changes that last, smoking is a habit that over time most clients like to eliminate as they start to see and feel the changes in their body towards a healthier self. But let’s not forget the other side effects of smoking that could also impact overall health such as lung cancer, heart disease, stroke, and COPD.

Alcohol is a very popular part of our culture and is a social activity many take part in. Alcohol does have an impact on our body composition. Simply put, “Unlike macronutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins and fats, alcohol supplies what nutritionists often refer to as empty calories: calories without nutrition. To make matters worse, it is the first fuel to be used when combined with carbohydrates, fats and proteins, postponing the fat-burning process and contributing to greater fat storage” (http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/drobson194.htm). Alcohol has twice as many calories as carbohydrates and protein. And of course when our state of mind changes from alcohol, our decision making is impaired and well…. now the entire bowl of tortillas chips is gone or as us southern Californians tend to do – stop and get a carne asada burrito since it’s late and we are intoxicated. Other research goes on to say, “ Further, studies show that alcohol temporarily inhibits “lipid oxidation”— in other words, when alcohol is in your system, it’s harder for your body to burn fat that’s already there. Since eating fat is the most metabolically efficient way to put fat on your body—you actually use a small amount of calories when you turn excess carbs and protein into body fat, but excess fat slips right into your saddlebags, no costume change necessary—hypothetically speaking, following a high-fat, high-alcohol diet would be the easiest way to put on weight” (http://www.elle.com/beauty/health-fitness/advice/a2451/alcohol-calories-does-drinking-cause-weight-gain-410239/). Everything in moderation as they say.

Ok, I know an ice cold soda tastes amazing and totally quenches your thirst, but those few moments on the lips aren’t worth the resulting effects on your waistline. A study by the American Geriatrics Society found that, “People who drank diet soda gained almost triple the abdominal fat over nine years as those who didn’t drink diet soda” (http://time.com/3746047/diet-soda-bad-belly-fat/). Extra pounds in the midsection has health consequences: “The kind that pads the abs from the inside, called visceral fat, is associated with increased cardiovascular disease, inflammation and Type 2 diabetes” (http://time.com/3746047/diet-soda-bad-belly-fat/). A lot of people are misled by the low calories these drinks contain, not taking into consideration the artificial sweeteners and chemicals that add taste.

The answer: We have to decide to choose the lesser of two evils. In the long run, the initial weight gain that could occur after quitting smoking, far “outweighs” the long term health consequences. And when one decides to adopt a healthy lifestyle, these pounds will disappear over time with the changes. If we are able to have the self-control and drink on occasion, we are can find a balance with the caloric intake that alcohol adds to our day. Limiting alcohol to weekends is a common tool for this. Finally, I don’t have anything positive to say about soda haha. Just let that one go. SMALL changes ARE changes; so start by cutting back and taking it one day at a time. Better yet, go exercise to distract yourself from wanting to smoke, drink, or have a soda.

19 Nov

BLOG 294 BRUISING

They happen to us all. We bump into something, hit a body part against something, and sometimes we don’t even know we caused one. Bruises occur when trauma occurs to the skin, causing discoloration to appear to the site. Blood surfaces to the skin, and we see black and blue appear on our body. “Contusion” is the medical turn for this occurrence.

A bruise occurs as the result of a tiny tears to blood vessels. Blood is actually leaking from the injured area. As we age, blood vessels become more fragile and that “thin skin” is more prone to bruising due to sensitivity. Certain medications can also thin the blood, causing vessels to become more vulnerable. Medications can affect blood clotting. Clots are our bodies response to injury in order to prevent excessive bleeding. Steroids can increase the likelihood of bruising. Here are medications that should be considered if you are wondering why a bruise occurred: “These drugs include many arthritis medications called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (for example, ibuprofen (Advil, Nuprin) and naproxen (Aleve)) and over-the-counter medications, such as aspirin. Warfarin (Coumadin) is often prescribed by doctors specifically to prevent clotting in patients who have had blood clots in their legs or heart. Warfarin can cause severe bruising, especially if the level of the medication becomes too high. Cortisone medications, such as prednisone, promote bruising by increasing the fragility of the tiny blood vessels in the skin” (https://www.medicinenet.com/bruises/article.htm#why_do_bruises_occur_more_frequently_in_some_people_than_in_others).

That mark can last up to 2 weeks but will eventually go away. Your body will reabsorb the blood and the ugly color will go away. For quicker healing, ice can be applied to the area or elevating the bruise above the heart can help with blood flow.
If you easily and frequently bruise, there could be an underlying problem. There could be an issue with your blood platelets or clotting functioning. Bruises can be more common in persons with leukemia, who have liver disease, or who have a gluten intolerance. Sensitivity to bruising can be impacted by some of the following herbs and supplements:
· fish oil
· garlic
· ginger
· ginkgo
· ginseng
· vitamin E
(https://www.healthline.com/symptom/bruises-easily).

No BODY likes a bruise, but they happen. Just don’t bump your limbs on the weights and machines at the studio 😊 Consult a doctor if you think you abnormally bruise. We always want to be proactive as we care for our bodies on our fitness journeys.

13 Nov

BLOG 293 TOO MUCH CARDIO

One of the most common questions I am asked is, “How much cardio should I be doing??” We are told we need to exercise and cardiovascular activities are the first item we refer to doing. There are a multitude of benefits when doing cardiovascular activity, but sometimes you might be doing more harm than good if you are doing too much. Just because you run ten miles per day doesn’t mean the weight will melt right off (even though one would assume this). So let’s take a look at the cardio overload affect and see what happens to the body when this occurs.

There are a number of indications your body will show as signs that you are doing too much cardio. Every BODY is different. Here is what we are supposed to be doing: “The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the American College of Sports Medicine recommends that adults ages 18 to 64 engage in a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise spread over three to five days a week. Or do 75 minutes of vigorously intense aerobic exercise spread over three days a week. These minimum recommendations outlined in the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans decrease your risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and osteoporosis” (http://www.livestrong.com/article/145445-recommended-amount-of-cardio-exercise/). It’s easy to think that the longer I run on the treadmill, the more calories I’m burning, so the more weight I will lose. Wrong!!!!!

Cardio doesn’t have the same after math effects that strength training has for us. Meaning, “Unfortunately, the positive fat-burning effects of cardio exercise are short-lived. Once you stop exercising, your body’s metabolism quickly returns to its normal state. If cardio is your go-to exercise then you are forced to do more and more in order to see ongoing weight-loss results. This becomes problematic because increased cardio training can lead to decreased muscle mass. If your body loses even the slightest bit of muscle, your resting metabolic rate (i.e. how many calories you burn when you’re NOT exercising) dips even further. Your body will begin to shed fat even more slowly…unless you do even more cardio” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dave-smith2/4-indicators-that-youre-doing-too-much-cardio_b_9321966.html). And cardio is hard on our joints so having to pound the treadmill longer and longer to see results becomes strenuous on both the body and mind. Plus, one can burn through muscle so although we might be getting smaller and seeing the scale drop, we are not re shaping the body appropriately. It’s similar to the effect of not working out after a surgery or injury. The scale might actually go down, due in part to muscle atrophy.

Training smarter, not harder is the appropriate expression here. The cardio myth goes like this, “There is this horrible misperception in our society about fat loss. A lot of people think that if you starve yourself and do two or three hours of cardio each day, the fat is just going to melt off. Actually, performing too much cardio will put your body in a catabolic state and burn hard-earned muscle. The loss of muscle will not only reduce strength, but it will also slow down your metabolism. If your metabolism slows down too much, you’ll have a tough time burning fat” (http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/ask-the-ripped-dude-how-much-cardio-is-too-much.html).
Personally, I can run for hours (literally). But I have learned, especially while training for my competitions, that at some point I’m actually not doing myself any favors. Mentally, I love the clarity of just running and going until I just have to stop. Physically, I don’t want to burn through muscle. There is no science that says how much is too much, but realistically anything over 60 minutes is probably more counterproductive than good. Females love their cardio, but ladies, we have to use strength training to re-shape our bodies and ward off osteoporosis.

When I meet a client and they ask me why they haven’t seen results when they do the Elliptical or jog every day, well, we know that the cardio myth has come into play. It might be breath of fresh air to hear that you don’t have to run for hours on end to see results. Rather, use cardio in combination with strength training to achieve optimal results. Every BODY is different, and we learn on our fitness journeys what methods work best for us. Don’t be fooled I won’t write you a pass for P.E. that says you don’t have to run the mile haha, but I will tell you that don’t have to run 5 miles every day to achieve your fitness goals.

04 Nov

BLOG 292 EFFORT

The skills and wisdom we achieve in life is the result of continued efforts. Most times we are graded or only praised for results, not the efforts it took to reach the goal or accomplish the task. Winston Churchill said, “Continuous effort not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential”. Effort is the act of trying, your level of intensity or work, your focus, and continuous drive to succeed. We are expected to give effort in the roles we play in life including work, sports, relationships, and for our health. Sometimes the attempt is what makes the reward more deserving and feelings of a job accomplished. It is the affirmation that when the result is determined, you did give your best. Hard work is a mindset that requires effort.

Believing in your efforts is motivational. People attribute their successes to natural ability, luck, other people, and EFFORT. Of these four causes, effort is the one that makes the experience purposeful. A handout or gift doesn’t equate to action. The refusal to give up puts you in the driver’s seat to wake up, take action, and apply effort. Your attitude shifts when you know you have to work for what you want. You cherish a possession much more if your efforts earned you the money to pay for it versus having it handed to you. You put effort into your schoolwork when you know your grades influence financial aid or earning your degree versus having someone pay for all your school and you automatically graduate regardless. Effort connects action to reward.

Effort creates a mindset of not settling for less. What you put in, you get out. Don’t expect more when you give less. Equate your effort to your expectations. Effort builds character and makes you stronger whether the task requires mental or physical work. Sometimes the result doesn’t always match what you had desired. Sometimes your effort can feel under-appreciated or devalued when you don’t get what you had hoped for. Regardless of the outcome, there’s a mental fulfillment to knowing you truly tried. Those close to you see and it and know. Reassure yourself that your efforts will pay off in some form. Maybe the grade wasn’t that great on the test, but you still have the final and the effort you gave to study for this test will cut down on the studying for the final to help you focus more on what you need to better understand. Effort is a can do attuite and must for success. It is the key to success and when you keep turning that key, doors continue to open.

28 Oct

BLOG 291 RELATIONSHIPS & YOUR FITNESS JOURNEY

Whatever the goal(s) of your fitness journey, the adventure is mental and emotional. To succeed, certain behaviors, priorities, and choices do change. These new habits also affect our spouse, partner, best friend, siblings, parents, and so on. Our attempt to change means what was done in the past will not continue. With this change in ourselves, we find change in the dynamics of our relationships. We want people on our “good side” as we fight this fight. As we assert ourselves about what we eat, how we spend our time, and with the incorporation of exercise, not everyone is as supportive or understanding as we wish they would be. I’m sure you can relate to one or more the following scenarios.

We want the people in our lives to be cheerleaders, not coaches. If we wanted a trainer or coach, we would hire one. Picking apart what we are doing wrong is not the feedback we want to hear.

We want our network to participate. If we are dining out, let’s go somewhere friendly to healthy eating. Eat a clean dinner with me, don’t make we cook separate every time. It wouldn’t hurt you to hit the gym with me.

We want the person to listen, not judge. This is an emotional challenge to us, so sometimes we need to just hash out a bad decision. We don’t need criticism, advice, or empathy, just acknowledgment that they are aware we are trying and mama said there would be days like this.

We want to do non-food friendly hang outs. We don’t have to meet for lunch or a drink every time we see each other.

We don’t want to be tempted. Please don’t offer bites or nibbles. Please don’t try to convince me it’s okay this one time.

When you see me exercise at home or the gym, I don’t need your input. I don’t need you to laugh or question me.

We do not want them to be the food police. Support is great but this isn’t your role. I will let you know if I need law enforcement to catch me.

Communication is the key. We can’t expect our relationships to know how we are feeling each moment. It’s like when someone asks you if you are okay, you say you are fine, and then you explode at them. We can’t expect more, less, or really anything from someone close to us unless we openly and honestly express the message. This is not to say it will be understood, but when you assert your goals to others, you are also boosting your confidence that this journey is happening and you are doing it. As part of your journey, change the way you communicate to others as well. You will benefit physically and mentally from this.

21 Oct

BLOG 290 ACUPUNCTURE

The 1970s introduced the exotic and interesting field of acupuncture to the world of medicine. Yet, this needle practice has been around for thousands of years in Chinese medicine. I have me a number of clients who use this form of treatment for various reasons, but have never fully understood the pros and cons. The fitness learning fanatic in me had to do some research.

The goal of acupuncture is to heal. And of course this approach is very controversial in terms of scientific backing of its effectiveness. Thus, “The traditional explanation for acupuncture’s effectiveness is that it modifies the flow of energy (known as qi or chi) throughout the body, but there is no scientific consensus that this is actually its mechanism of action” (https://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/balanced-living/wellness-therapies/acupuncture/). But the good news is that it has worked for many, and when researching this blog there aren’t statistics to show results. That debate may lie in Western medicine’s lack of acceptance of acupuncture.

Acupuncture is used for a number of reasons. Here is what I found, “The benefits of acupuncture can extend to a wide variety of conditions, from emotional disorders (anxiety, depression) to digestive complaints (nausea, vomiting, irritable bowel syndrome). It can be beneficial for pain syndromes due to an injury or associated with chronic degenerative diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. It can also be helpful in treating neurological problems like migraines or Parkinson’s disease, or as a rehabilitation strategy for individuals who suffered a stroke. Respiratory conditions, including sinusitis and asthma have been relieved with acupuncture, as have many gynecologic disorders and infertility. Acupuncture has also proved beneficial for reducing fatigue and addictions, and for promoting overall well-being (https://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/balanced-living/wellness-therapies/acupuncture/) .

There aren’t many serious complications from using acupuncture. Bleeding and soreness could occur from the points of insertion and needle manipulation. I can say that I can certainly get a tattoo but have a fear of trying this out. Sometimes traditional methods aren’t getting the job done, so acupuncture can become an option to remedy the problem. We want to be at peak performance on our fitness journeys so do what is best for your body to accomplish this. After all, science doesn’t indicate you FEEL.

14 Oct

BLOG 289 PROCESSED FOODS

We live in a world that has turned fast-paced, favoring convenience and time efficiency into priorities. We have learned to compromise nutrition for what is easier, and have created an entire new realm in grocery stores with an abundance of processed foods. And these products have quite the shelf life once you get home. Not exactly “fresh” by any means, but readily available and assessable for sure. So let’s take a look at how processed foods have bombarded our eating habits.

Let’s always start with the definition. Here it is: “ ‘The term processed food includes any food that has been purposely changed in some way prior to consumption,’ says Torey Armul, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “It includes food that has been cooked, canned, frozen, packaged or changed in nutritional composition with fortifying, preserving or preparing in different ways” (http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/nutrition/nutrition-facts-and-food-labels/avoiding-processed-foods). Think about how much of these types of food are part of your daily regime or have been before. How many frozen pizzas have you had in your lifetime?? For example, I never even considered all the sodium canned corn or kidney beans contain in order to preserve their shelf life. Pretty disgusting and they need to be rinsed off to help. Which then made me think about all the salad bars or restaurants where I have salad and thought I was eating totally clean and making a great choice, when in fact, most of the vegetables probably came out of can. More bang for your buck I get that part on the business side, but our bodies can only take so much of this and the growing obesity rate is a reflection.

Not all are as bad as others and I found a good reference to consider. Here it is:
Processed food falls on a spectrum from minimally to heavily processed:
• Minimally processed foods — such as bagged spinach, cut vegetables and roasted nuts — often are simply pre-prepped for convenience.
• Foods processed at their peak to lock in nutritional quality and freshness include canned tomatoes, frozen fruit and vegetables, and canned tuna.
• Foods with ingredients added for flavor and texture (sweeteners, spices, oils, colors and preservatives) include jarred pasta sauce, salad dressing, yogurt and cake mixes.
• Ready-to-eat foods — such as crackers, granola and deli meat — are more heavily processed.
• The most heavily processed foods often are pre-made meals including frozen pizza and microwaveable dinners.
(http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/nutrition/nutrition-facts-and-food-labels/avoiding-processed-foods)

It seems as though the concept of eating food to nourish our bodies is lost. We have to look out for added sugars and sodium that’s for sure. It is odd that we are eating “altered” food. Food has become industrialized. Bottom line it’s about money: “First, most of the processed food created is not food in its conventional meaning. Food is our source of energy and nutrition, without it we can’t survive. However not all of the modern foods are created for that purpose. They are created to allure you, excite you and addict you to become a consumer of their product. The food companies’ goal, just like any other company, is to make more money” (http://www.myfoodandhappiness.com/processed-food-and-why-is-it-the-main-cause-of-obesity/).

The truth is that it is hard to avoid processed foods at some point in your eating be it beverages or condiments. Looking back, I ate plenty of foods out of a box, especially cereal. The more informed we are, the better choices we can make (purpose of my Blogs). Fresh is best and hey it might take a little time, but treat your body like a temple because you only get one and you have to live in it for the rest of your life.

08 Oct

BLOG 288 OVEREATERS ANONYMOUS

BLOG 288 OVEREATERS ANONYMOUS

Food is a battle many face on their fitness journeys, mainly because we have to eat to live. Unlike other aspects of our lives that we can work to eliminate that could be causing us problems, food is not a factor we can just get rid of. Overeaters Anonymous is a program aimed to help with a number of eating problems including overeating, undereating, anorexia, binge eating, over exercising and bulimia. Let’s explore what OA has to offer and how it can help with the battle of food.

When I scoped out the general website, there were 15 questions one could look at to see if OA might fit a description of what a person is looking for. These questions focused on eating behaviors. From there I was drawn to the Overeaters Anonymous Preamble: “Overeaters Anonymous is a Fellowship of individuals who, through shared experience, strength, and hope, are recovering from compulsive overeating. We welcome everyone who wants to stop eating compulsively. There are no dues or fees for members; we are self-supporting through our own contributions, neither soliciting nor accepting outside donations. OA is not affiliated with any public or private organization, political movement, ideology, or religious doctrine; we take no position on outside issues. Our primary purpose is to abstain from compulsive eating and compulsive food behaviors and to carry the message of recovery through the Twelve Steps of OA to those who still suffer” (https://oa.org/newcomers/how-do-i-start/program-basics/twelve-steps/).

The program follows the 12 Twelve Steps. Sharing stories and empowering one another with tips, tools, and resources creates an anonymous, help seeking, environment. It’s human nature to not want to feel alone during struggling times. It can be reassuring to not feel like an alien about issues with food because those who have not experienced a similar situation may not be able to grasp your state of mind. Success comes in all forms: (https://oa.org/newcomers/for-the-professional/)

01 Oct

BLOG 287 JUICING

Juicing has become a popular craze among fitness and nutrition fanatics. Having a juicer at home is just about as common as having a toaster these days. The power of fruits and vegetables does wonders for our internal health and it is unlikely to consume the recommended daily totals (17 each). The reasons one might start to juice include weight loss, lowering blood pressure, or detoxing. It is no healthier than eating the same content, but a popular trend is a trend and jumping on board happens to the best of us.

Personally, I like the texture and chewing action of eating. I feel satiated longer and feel that I’m getting more bang for my buck. Liquid doesn’t fill me up, at least not for long. So if I were to eat an apple vs. drink an apple you can see my point…. 5 min to chew an apple vs. 2 seconds to drink that sip of apple. And I do have to say from my research for this, there aren’t many claims other than being able to consume more fruits and vegetables per day that justify the benefits of juicing. So why so popular??

Adding to this, I watched a documentary called, “7 Days 2 Guys 1 Juicer”. In this film, Chad and Kenny were two obese middle-aged men, who for 7 days were put in a hotel to complete a 7 day juicing cycle. When they arrived the refrigerator was stocked with nothing but fresh produce. Not one item was in the freezer. From the gate, the men noticed how much work juicing really was with prepping the produce and then cleaning up after. This was quite the lifestyle change for them both, coming from backgrounds of fast food, no activity, and very little motivation to be healthy and make changes. Taken out of their environments, the men were forced to follow the plan precisely. They underwent withdrawal, headaches, and hunger pains.

According to the documentary, juicing dates back to the ancient Greeks who used pomegranate juice as a love potion. In the U.S., juicing was introduced in the 1920s when there was a new popularity to be vegetarian or vegan. In the 1970s, Jack Lalanne sold his famous juicer. Today, people in their 20s and 30s have created a $5billion business out of juicing. There’s a status associated with high end juice bars connected to yoga studios.

In the end, Chad and Kenny lost about 9 pounds each. I really anticipated a higher weight loss considering their past, which goes to show that juicing isn’t entirely weight loss oriented and the weight can be gained right back after stopping. Here’s the concept: “Doing the math, on average, an ounce of ‘mixed juice’ contains about 15 calories. If you need 1,400-1,500 calories daily to achieve weekly weight loss, you could drink a whopping 96 ounces of this juice (about 12 cups) each day and still stay in that calorie range, which should result in weight loss. On this sample juicing diet, you would, however, only be getting 9 grams of fiber (36% of your need) and 25 grams of protein (41% of your need) each day, which is far from ideal. This unbalanced nutrient intake would result in immediate muscle mass loss and an increase in hunger and food cravings. Other nutrients such as fat, vitamins and minerals would also be severely lacking. Successful and safe long-term weight loss would not be achievable on such a plan” (http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=1800).

Obesity causes over 25 diseases, so we do want to make sure proper nutrition is in place, but the type that is sustainable. In a world that praises fat-free and all natural that comes out of a box, something isn’t right with our food. Fresh is always best. Have a juice here and there to compliment your eating. It can be a nice, cold, refreshing, sweet beverage. Take your fitness journey tips, use them to your advantage, and make those changes the best you can, each and every day!!!!!

25 Sep

BLOG 286 TURMERIC

Turmeric is that bright yellow substance you see me put drops in my water and suck down three times per day. Some studies show it is the most effective nutritional substance there is. I have personally felt the benefits of this spice, so let us take a look at how turmeric can be helpful to us.

Beginning with the basics, turmeric is the spice that makes curry look yellow. It also makes mustard look yellow. It is a relative of ginger. Popularity of its use began in Indian cultures, but we now know there are medicinal properties in this spice as well. Curcumin is the component of turmeric which carries its health benefits. It is most well- known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Low level inflammation is extremely important. Some studies have stated that turmeric out performs some pharmaceutical drugs when it comes to its effects on some diseases.

Let’s look at some of the diseases turmeric has been found to help and/or alleviate. I found research done by James A. Duke, Phd., in the October, 2007 issue of Alternative & Complementary Therapies, and summarized in the July, 2008, issue of the, American Botanical Council publication, HerbClip, to be very informative. When it comes to Alzheimer’s disease, “Duke found more than 50 studies on turmeric’s effects in addressing Alzheimer’s disease. The reports indicate that extracts of turmeric contain a number of natural agents that block the formation of beta-amyloid, the substance responsible for the plaques that slowly obstruct cerebral function in Alzheimer’s disease” (http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART03001/Three-Reasons-to-Eat-Turmeric.html). Its benefits when it comes to Arthritis are really amazing: “Turmeric contains more than two dozen anti-inflammatory compounds, including six different COX-2-inhibitors (the COX-2 enzyme promotes pain, swelling and inflammation; inhibitors selectively block that enzyme” (http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART03001/Three-Reasons-to-Eat-Turmeric.html). Cancer also made the list in which turmeric has been found to effective in the, “Prevention and/or treatment of colon cancer, mammary cancer, prostate cancer, murine hepatocarcinogenesis (liver cancer in rats), esophageal cancer, and oral cancer (http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART03001/Three-Reasons-to-Eat-Turmeric.html).

Oh there are more. The list continues: “Early research suggests that taking curcumin, a chemical found in turmeric, 3 days before surgery and continuing for 5 days after surgery can lower the risk of a heart attack following bypass surgery” (https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/662.html) . My diabetic clients might find it interesting to read, “Early research suggests that taking turmeric daily for 9 months can reduce the number of people with prediabetes who develop diabetes (https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/662.html) .

Other ailements it has been known to help include liver problems, ring worm, and even depression. Heart burn and indigestion can also be alleviated. This remedy is also used for headaches, bronchitis, colds, lung infections, fibromyalgia, leprosy, fever, menstrual problems, diarrhea, intestinal gas, stomach bloating, loss of appetite, jaundice, and gallbladder disorders (https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/662.html).

Turmeric can be taken in liquid or capsule form. It is important to understand that a substance such as this is not regulated the same way in which a pharmaceutical drug is by the FDA. Therefore, not all products are created equal. Furthermore, it can interact with other medications you are taking. For example, “Turmeric may slow blood clotting, so people taking drugs with the same effect, like anticoagulants, should be cautious about taking turmeric supplements, according to the National Institutes of Health” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/18/turmeric-health-benefits-curcumin_n_5978482.html). Because it does help reduce blood sugar, diabetics should of course proceed with caution as to not make their blood sugar too low. It can affect fertility in men as well, but anyone with hormone sensitivity should be careful using it. If one has an iron deficiency be careful because it can impact the absorption of iron.

I like using this natural product myself and have felt the positive effects of less swelling in my knee post-surgery as well as my elbows from lifting weights a lot. Some of my clients have started taking it as well. We are all different though when it comes to our bodies. Sharing little tricks are always helpful on our fitness journeys so that we can strive towards feeling our best. After all, we are tearing apart our muscles before we build them back up (hypertrophy). If turmeric sounds like a supplement you might want to try, besides sprinkling a little on your food, always consult your doctor first. I’m not a doctor YET, only the voice of reason and maybe even the drill sergeant on your fitness journey.