This article was originally published in The MuscleTalker November 2009 edition
Beta-glucan is a type of soluble fibre found in foods. Not only does it help gut health, but it can also help to reduce blood cholesterol levels. It is found in a range of fruits and pulses but is available in particularly high amounts from oats. FOS, or fructo-oligosaccharides, are types of prebiotic fibre which our gut flora can feed on, thus improving digestion and helping to strengthen the immune system.
Note, prebiotics are different to probiotics: Probiotics are live strains of 'friendly' bacteria which help our digestive system work efficiently, and we can obtain them from certain live yoghurts or supplements and examples include bifidus and acidophilus. Prebiotics are certain nutrients and constituents of food which our gut flora feed on, thus increasing their numbers. Click here for more about probiotics and prebiotics.
The benefits of beta-glucan and FOS on gut health, the immune system and in reducing severity of food allergies and the effects from food poisoning have been reported for a number of years. However, more recently, it has been suggested that their intake may also have a role in promoting satiety and reducing food intake, in turn possibly helping weight loss (Peters et al 2009).
Prebiotics, along with probiotics, are proving very popular. This is because, unlike many nutrition trends, the evidence that they promote good health is strong (Gibson 2003). Not only do they help us digest our food, but users report that formulas also help improve general well-being and they may help improve performance in sport due to improved digestion of food and therefore increased availability of nutrients. Also improved immunity to disease and reduction in illness means fewer interruptions to our training.Reference:Gibson (2003). Functional Nutr. 2 (2): 11-13Peters, et al (2009). Am J Clin Nutr. 89: 58-63Leave a comment
This article was originally published in The MuscleTalker October 2009 edition
Tilapia is also known as 'St Peter's Fish' from the Bible story of Peter catching a fish that carried a coin in its mouth. The type of fish was not named but one tilapia species is found in the Sea of Galilee where Peter was said to have caught the fish.
Tilapia, native to tropical climates is farmed largely in China. It is increasing in popularity due to the ease at which it can be farmed. Tilapia are omnivores, they survive on vegetables, seaweed and cereal grains. Combined with a rapid growth rate and short lifespan, they contain very low levels of mercury unlike some other large, oily fish. It has a mild flavour, light texture and is white in colour and is said to be the 'fish of the future', overtaking salmon as the number one farmed fish in the world.
This high protein fish is also low in carbohydrates and fat (2g of fat per 3.5 ounces as per the US Department of Agriculture). It is low in sodium and is rich in selenium and vitamin B12, essential for healthy cell function. The mild flavour of tilapia makes it versatile for cooking. Season or marinade the white fish then grill or bake and you have another healthy, high protein, low carb option to add to your meal plan!
Try our Whole baked Tilapia with Parsley and Garlic
recipe!Leave a comment
This article was written by Big Les & was originally published in The MuscleTalker September 2009 edition
The hazelnut, also known as the cobnut, is produced by the hazel or cob tree. Hazelnuts are best known for their use in syrups to flavour coffee and in praline chocolate. Hazelnuts also find themselves made into a butter which is promoted as a healthier alternative to the perennial favourite peanut butter.
For the health conscious, the question is, what is a hazelnut good for, are hazelnuts the healthy nutritious snack they are made out to be and why should I choose them?
Luckily, so far, hazelnuts have not been given the honour of the ability to cure cancer or reverse the credit crunch, which means they can be forgotten. However, nutritionally the hazelnut is one of the heavy nutritional hitters, rich in: calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, copper, selenium, iodine, vitamin E, thiamine and vitamin B6. Not only this, hazelnuts are rich in the antioxidant proanthocyanidin; antioxidants have been linked to reduced risk of a number of diseases and for the athlete help reduce the cell damage caused by intense exercise.
Like all nuts, the hazelnut is a good source of fats, with over 90% being monounsaturated. It also manages 15g of protein per 100g and even a little fibre. If you want to give hazelnuts a try then you are probably wondering what to do with them apart from eating them raw. You could make home-made 'Nutella', or you could try out my hazelnut coleslaw
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This article was originally published in The MuscleTalker Novermber 2009 edition
The chest is one body part which, when you've got some mass on it through compound movements, will benefit from some volume training to stimulate all the types of muscle fibres, working the whole chest. This means lots of sets and lots of reps with a range of different exercises. Some modern gyms are fortunate enough to be equipped with loads of great machines, each designed to hit the chest at different angles, and this means knocking out 20-odd sets is easy. However, most gyms we use aren't huge and don't have loads of apparatus; just free weights and a few of the more fundamental machines.
With this in mind, here is a good basic volume routine for chest made up of six exercises:
- 5 mins low intensity cardio to warm up
- Stretch the pecs, tris, lats and delts
- Dumbbell press (flat) - 4 sets of 12-15 reps
- Seated machine press - 3 sets of 12 reps + 1 x 25 reps
- Lying dumbbell flyes - 4 sets of 12-15 reps
- Seated machine flyes (or pec-dec) - 4 sets of 15 reps
- Dumbbell pull-overs - 4 sets of 10-12 reps
- Cable cross-overs - 7 sets of 15 reps with just 30 secs rest in between each set. Vary the sets with two movements: slightly bet over downward movement and upright outward in front movement
- 10 mins low intensity cardio to warm down
The whole workout of 27 sets should be done quickly with minimal rest, and, can be performed within one hour including the cardio and stretching. Make sure you are getting plenty of rest between workouts and, of course, a suitable diet, as this workout is very intense and tiring. However, as it's done quickly, there is a cardiovascular element to it, so it will help fitness. Why not try it for 6 weeks?2 comments