Antioxidants are substances or nutrients in our foods which can prevent or slow the oxidative damage to our body. When our body cells use oxygen, they naturally produce free radicals (by-products) which can cause damage. Antioxidants act as “free radical scavengers” and prevent and repair the damage done by these free radicals.
Health problems such as heart disease, macular degeneration, diabetes, cancer etc are all contributed by oxidative damage. A recent study conducted by researchers from London found that 5 servings of fruits and vegetables reduce the risk of stroke by 25 percent. Antioxidants may also enhance immune defense and therefore lower the risk of cancer and infection.
Although the benefits to PA have been well documented over time, the possibility of negative effects remains controversial. Potentially negative effects occur because elevated aerobic exercise metabolism increases the production of free radicals. Free radical production in humans and subsequent tissue damage are not directly measured, but this increase could possibly overwhelm the body’s natural defenses and pose a health risk from an elevated oxidative stress level. Free radicals also play a role in muscle injury from exercise, particularly eccentric muscle actions and unaccustomed exercise. Damage of this type releases enzymes and initiates inflammation, causing pain and dysfunction.
Damage from free radicals has been shown to be irreversible in some cases but the newest research indicates that in well-nourished subjects, the body’s natural defenses are sufficient at controlling damage and present a healthy response to elevated levels of free radicals.
Supplementing with antioxidants is another matter. There is debate currently as to whether or not antioxidants consumed help in the process of recovery and buffering free radicals, as well as whether or not supplementation will prevent the muscle tissue damage following an acute exercise bout.
Nutrition Coaching is a structured process of interactions and learning activities geared at helping your client to improve their eating patterns and to fuel them properly for sports, training or any PA. It will involve both your knowledge and your skills as a coach. Having knowledge of vitamins and minerals is just one of the many foundations required for success in the health, wellness and fitness industries.
Minerals, in the dietary sense, are the chemical elements essential to a living organism. Minerals are required as ‘constituents’ to enzymes, hormones, and vitamins, in addition to the other four elements – carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen present in common all organic molecules. Examples of minerals include calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, zinc, and iodine.
Minerals are leached into cooked food from cookware. Anemics and those with iron deficiencies may benefit from this effect, though those with excess iron issues (for example, people with hemochromatosis) may suffer negative effects.
The minerals essential to life include seven major minerals (required in amounts >100 mg/daily) and 14 minor or trace (required in amounts <100 mg daily). Trace minerals account for less than 15 g (approximately 0.5 ox) or 0.02% of the total body mass (1).
As is the case with over-consumption of vitamins, minerals can produce toxic effects if over consumed. It is important to know the basic values from the tables provided (DRI’s) before entering into discussions with the client. To know what the client is currently consuming, a Food Log analysis is required.
Dietary Reference Intakes
Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA): the average daily nutrient intake level sufficient to meet the nutrient requirement of nearly all (97 or 98 percent) healthy individuals in a particular life stage and gender group.
Adequate Intake (AI): the recommended average daily intake level based on observed or experimentally determined approximations or estimates of nutrient intake by a group (or groups) of apparently healthy people that are assumed to be adequate – used when an RDA cannot be determined.
Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL): the highest average daily nutrient intake level that is likely to pose no risk of adverse health effects to almost all individuals in the general population. As intake increases above the UL, the potential risk of adverse effects may increase.
Estimated Average Requirement (EAR): the average daily nutrient intake level estimated to meet the requirement of half the healthy individuals in a particular life stage and gender group.
How You Can Help
You can become a Certified Personal Fitness Chef and expand your current personal chef business, or add a new profit center for your fitness or wellness business. Many personal chefs cook and coach people in groups to help more people and earn more money per hour. Some chefs provide weekly meal prep service for health-minded customers and athletes.
Spencer Institute certification programs are open to anyone with a desire to learn and help others. There are no prerequisites.
That’s it for now.