Posts Tagged ‘metabolism’

In my post titled “Cross Training, Health and Fat Loss“, I mentioned that cardio training will help you in both your fat loss and strength training programs. Your heart is made up of a group of muscles that work together to pump blood throughout your body. These muscles benefit from exercise in much the same way your arm and leg muscles benefit when they are exercised.

Cardio Training is designed to exercise your heart muscles, increase your lung capacity and reduce the causes of stress within your body.

Heart attacks often happen when arteries to the heart are either blocked or have restricted blood flow. Numerous studies have shown that cardio interval training helps the body create new blood vessels to the heart. These smaller blood vessels supply extra blood when you are exercising and your heart muscles need more blood flow and they can supply blood to your heart if your primary blood vessels become partially blocked. These extra blood vessels are effective in reducing your risk of a heart attack simply by being present as an alternative route for the blood to reach the heart if needed.

The best way to prevent a heart attack is to eat healthy and avoid other risk factors such as smoking but adding cardio training to your routine sure helps create a little extra insurance.

Some recent studies have shown that aggressive strength training can help your muscles stay young at the cellular level. I haven’t seen any studies that have shown that a good strong cardio training program will keep your heart young but I’m willing to bet it helps.

Cardio training is also a great way to reduce stress. Swimming, jogging, yoga and walking are just a few of the different types of exercises that give your cardiovascular system a workout.

Why wouldn’t you want to add cardio training to your healthy diet and strength training when stronger heart muscles, increased lung capacity, increased metabolism, increased blood flow and reduced body stress are possible benefits?

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Iron is probably more important than you were taught and you probably weren’t taught that too much iron can be toxic and cause you problems. Iron deficiencies may manifest itself as anemia, fatigue, constipation, brittle nails, menstrual problems or restless leg syndrome in adults.

Children are usually born with enough iron in their tissues to sustain growth for 6-12 months so they don’t need additional iron in their diet. Breast milk is almost completely devoid of iron yet many baby formulas are fortified with iron which often leads to babies that are very uncomfortable because of bloating and gas discomfort otherwise known as colic. A baby is born with stomach bacteria designed to digest breast milk and not artificial formulas that contain ingredients not normally found in breast milk. Given this information, it’s easy to understand why so many infants are fussy and crying when their poor mothers are on the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Program because the infant formula obtainable through this U.S. government program is iron fortified.

Iron is a key element in the metabolism of humans and almost every other living organism. This element is vital to hundreds of proteins and enzymes in the human body.

Your blood is partially made up of hemoglobin and myglobin proteins. These two proteins make up about 2/3rd’s of your body’s iron supply. Hemoglobin’s role is to transport oxygen from your lungs to the tissues and organs that need it throughout your body. Myglobin is a protein that supplies oxygen to your muscle cells and helps with proper oxygenation of your muscles when they are active.

Other enzymes and proteins that contain iron perform the following functions:

  • energy metabolism
  • electron transport
  • antioxidant functions
  • beneficial pro-oxidant functions
  • oxygen storage
  • DNA Synthesis
  • regulation of intercellular iron

As with many other vitamins and minerals your body utilizes there is an interaction between iron and other nutrients.

  • Zinc, when acquired from supplements, may have lower absorption rates when combined with iron supplements on an empty stomach.
  • Consuming foods that contain calcium and iron in the same meal may reduce the amount of iron the body absorbs.
  • A deficiency in vitamin A will make a deficiency of iron even worse.
  • An adequate level of copper is needed for normal red cell formation and iron metabolism.

The amount of iron you need will vary according to your sex, age, lifestyle and activity level. For example, menstruating women lose iron as a normal part of the menstrual cycle so more iron is needed during this period. Pregnant women lose iron to their developing fetus and placenta so additional iron is needed during pregnancy and people regularly engaging in strenuous exercise or activity may need more iron than someone with a less active lifestyle.

Iron can be obtained naturally in a variety of foods in two different types. Heme and nonheme iron are in different foods. Heme iron is more readily absorbed and used by your body and its absorption is less influenced by the rest of your dietary intake. Nonheme iron is absorbed using a different mechanism than heme iron so your dietary intake and iron levels play a larger role in the amount you absorb.

The sources of heme iron are the hemoglobin and myglobin in the meat, poultry and fish you eat and sources of nonheme iron are iron supplements, iron salts, meat, dairy products, bananas, black molasses, prunes, raisins, whole rye, walnuts, kelp and lentils.

Since vegetarians receive nonheme iron in their diets and many factors can inhibit the absorption of iron, it is recommended that vegetarians take special care to increase the iron in the diet.

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