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As parents, when it comes to teaching our children healthy eating habits, it’s important to look at our own eating habits first. The old adage, “Do as I say not as I do,” doesn’t quite add up when we’re teaching our children what to eat. A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition backs this up. The lead researcher, Sharon Hoerr, MSU professor of food science and human nutrition, stated that restricting certain foods from children, and then eating those same foods in front of the children, can lead to unhealthy eating habits.

“Mothers should stop forcing or restricting their kids’ eating. They’d be better off providing a healthy food environment, adopting balanced eating habits themselves, and covertly controlling their children’s diet quality by not bringing less healthy foods into the house.”

To help encourage healthy eating habits, take your children grocery shopping and ask them to help you find healthy foods. Plant a vegetable garden with them if you can. Let them help you cook healthy meals as a way to connect them to the foods they eat. Talk about what nutrients are found in the foods and how those nutrients help our body’s function well. Plant these seeds early in the hopes that they will develop strong roots as your children grow up to make choices on their own.

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Fish Oil for Muscles

When omega-3 fish oil comes to mind, heart health is usually the first benefit attributed to it. Brain health and joint health are a close second and third. Did you know that omega-3s may also be helpful for your muscles?

According to a recent study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, regular fish oil consumption, in conjunction with strength training, improved muscle force and function in elderly women. The study involved 45 women about 64-years-old, all assigned to a strength training program. Fifteen women received a standard fish oil supplement containing 400 milligrams EPA and 300 milligrams DHA during the 90 days of strength training, and 15 women received the fish oil for 60 days before strength training as well as throughout the strength training. Fifteen of the women strength trained but did not take fish oil supplements.

All women experienced improvements in muscle force and function, but the women taking omega-3 fish oil saw even greater effects than the women not taking it. The results of this study may be particularly important for aging women. Not only does strength training help build bone, but muscular strength is also important for stability as we age. The researchers stated, “The use of fish oil supplementation in addition to strength training potentiates the neuromuscular system, enhancing the muscle strength and the functional capacity in elderly women. Thus, fish oil may be an attractive supplement for the elderly to maximize their neuromuscular responses to strength training, which is important to life quality.”

If you are not taking fish oil already for its array of health benefits, consider it. Improved muscle function is one small benefit in addition to many others you may gain from this amazing nutrient.

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