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.
It’s a daily struggle for moms and dads everywhere: getting kids to make healthy choices when all they want to do is gobble down fast food and spend hours in front of the television. But the good news is that by teaching them early about the importance of healthy dietary and lifestyle habits, you can give your children the tools they need to become healthier adults. Here are some quick tips to help you get started:
Don’t Forget the Fiber
A high-fiber diet provides countless benefits for growing bodies, including heart health, better digestion, and even healthy weight management. Fiber-rich foods help manage hunger by supporting healthy blood sugar levels, and they typically have a lower energy density (the number of calories in a particular volume of food) than foods with fewer grams of fiber, which means they pack fewer calories per bite. Most experts recommend that kids eat their “age plus 5” in grams of fiber every day, so a natural fiber supplement can help make up for what they don’t get from their diet.
Prepare Healthy Snacks Beforehand
Sure, store-bought snacks are convenient, but are they healthy? For most pre-packaged goodies, the answer is no. Instead, many are heavily processed and contain high amounts of refined sugar but very little nutritional value. Your best bet is to set aside some time each week to prepare healthy snack options—think chopped fruits and veggies, cheese slices or homemade trail mix—them keep them on hand in the fridge or pantry for a quick, wholesome snack anytime.
According to the National Institutes of Health, kids should get at least one hour of physical exercise every day to help build healthy bones and keep muscles and joints strong and flexible. Regular exercise can also help burn calories and promote healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Getting active can also help ease stress, increase mental clarity and boost their self-esteem—not to mention help kids sleep better at night!
Set the Example
When all is said and done, the surest way to teach kids about better habits is to set the example. Make healthy eating and regular exercise a part of your daily life, and be sure to talk to your kids about good nutrition and how it will help their bodies now and in the future. The more they know, the healthier your kids will be, and soon making smart choices will be second nature!