Need another reason to skip processed foods? Protect your hands!

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When it comes to personal health, the impact of simply adhering to a whole food-based diet over processed foods cannot be understated.

There may be no greater or more necessary choice one can make for health than to shun processed foods in favor of whole foods. All other health choices, such as what type of diet to consume, what supplements to take, etc. all stem from this one.

So it should come as no surprise to learn just how far the health benefits of shunning processed foods can go.

Even all the way to the strength of your hands, as it turns out.

Researchers from Brazil set out to determine what effect the consumption of either high amounts of processed foods or high amounts of unprocessed foods might have on the grip strength of teenagers (18-19 years old).

Their results, published in October 2022 in Nutrition Journal, perhaps surprisingly found an association between higher processed food consumption and lower grip strength as well as an association between higher unprocessed food consumption and greater grip strength in boys.

In girls, they found an association between the lowest hand grip strength and the highest processed food consumption.

Finding a health benefit of whole food consumption over processed food consumption may not be surprising. However, finding a benefit to muscular strength that is not tied to physical training might be.

This research is doubly important because it focuses on a too-rarely discussed element of strength training: grip strength.

While much attention is paid to the larger muscle groups and the ones that show more prominently in terms of aesthetics, grip strength is effectively the engine that makes everything else go.

In practicality, there is no upper body movement, either in training or in daily life, that does not involve the grip.

A stronger grip makes every movement easier, enables you to generate more power, and enables you to use your other muscles longer and with more comfort. From exercising to tasks like pulling weeds in the yard to moving furniture around in the house, a stronger grip allows you to do all tasks with more ease and even succeed at some you might otherwise have not.

In short, it makes you a more capable and useful person.

It is no wonder that I have a number of different grip training elements around the home, from fat grips that you can place on dumbbells and barbells to Captains of Crush-style grippers and more.

Now knowing that eating unprocessed food could contribute to greater strength in grip, we have one more reason to clean up our diets, if that was necessary.

Here’s to your ever-increasing hand strength and your pursuit of great!


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