Tuesday, August 30, 2011

You Have 2 Brains


We talk so much about the nervous system’s role in athletic performance, particularly the central nervous system; the brain and spinal cord (see Sparta Point 11/24/10). But there is another nervous system with even more neurons (nerve cells), often referred to as our “the second brain.” It is called the enteric nervous system.

The enteric nervous system consists of some 100 million neurons lining the walls of our gut. According to Michael Gershon and his book, “The Second Brain”, these neurons regulate the breakdown of food, absorption of nutrients, and expelling of waste. These processes are critical for body composition; losing fat and gaining muscle.

However, more recent research by Gershon and others have also pointed to the importance of the gut to the body's immune response. After all, at least 70 percent of our immune system is aimed at the gut to expel and kill foreign invaders.

One of the most crucial aspects of gut health is keeping those intestinal muscles strong. Thankfully, there is an easy way to provide exercise to your gut. Fiber, which is defined as the indigestible portion of plant foods, gives the intestines something solid to clamp on during digestion. Without this fiber, your intestinal muscles get weak and flabby, just like other muscles without exercise. Gershon explains how this weakness then compromises the immune system because of the intestines inability to expel its contents.

As far as fiber, vegetables are the most nutrient dense food available to us, providing more vitamins, minerals, and fiber per calorie. While our athletes do not count calories, this density is important because you can more of it, meaning more quantity of nutrients at a sitting. For example, you can eat more than double the amount of broccoli to equal the calories of just one piece of multi grain bread (see Sparta Point 6/24/09).

So when you do your regen check (see Sparta Point 1/20/10), go for those 8 servings of vegetables a day, 2 fistfuls at every meal. You may not think it helps that much, but your second brain knows it will keep your immune system stronger and improve body composition.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hidden Story Behind Baby Carrots

Dr. Mercola

Baby carrots are not actually young carrots, or even carrots that are grown specifically to be small. In fact, the concept of the baby carrot was born 21 years ago by a California farmer wanting to sell more of his carrots that he was throwing away due to imperfections -- they were too knobby, twisted or broken.

After cutting the less-than-perfect carrots down to a uniformly smaller size, they were fed through an industrial potato peeler to smooth the edges and remove the skin. This marked the birth of the "baby" carrot market.

The success of baby carrots may be a reflection of the desire for food that is uniform in appearance and taste, and for food that is sterile, prewashed, and prepackaged.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

“Squatting” isn’t hurting your knees…. YOUR technique is!!

by Dr. Andreo Spina

I recently had a doc send me a question regarding squatting and knee injury:

It seems like there are lots of ideas out there about squats but I”m not sure if there’s any “best” or “safest” way to do them. Maybe people with knee pain should find a different exercise to strengthen their quads?

Answer: From observations, I would say that 1% of people in any particular gym actually have the flexibility, coordination, balance, and most importantly KNOWLEDGE to actually perform a proper squat exercise. For these few, the full squat is considered the preferred lower body exercise for safety as well as athletic strength. The squat, when performed correctly, is probably one of the safest exercise for the knees and the best to build knee stability (as well as many, many other befits). The problem of course is when one of the 99% of the ‘others’ attempts to perform it and end up in your clinic. This is not a fault of the exercise…rather a fault of the individuals technique.

Regarding the knees….. A full squat is where the hips drop below level with the top of the patella. Any squat that is not deep, the ‘partial’ squats, stress the knee and the quads without stressing the glutes, the adductors, and the hamstrings. The hamstrings and adductors, when under the tension required for proper form exert a posterior tension on the tibia by way of their distal attachments, and the net effect of the anterior quadriceps tendon insertion is an anterior force against the tibial plateau. With sufficient depth (and with the correct form as described in the video – where hamstring/adductor tension is maintained during the lift), anterior and posterior forces on the knee are balanced. Thus the total shear force on the knee is nil. In partial squats, the anterior shear is allowed to occur without being ‘checked’ by the posterior pull of the hamstrings. It is the shearing forces that cause most of the problems that put the blame on “squats.” As described in the video below, when the knees translate forward, the distal hamstring insertion approximates the proximal insertion thus reducing total tension of the hamstrings and adductors (mainly magnus).

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Why You Should Cook Your Food

Good stuff from a friend of mine..

By Diana Rodgers

I hear and read about lots of people making kale smoothies, consuming raw nuts, and munching salads consisting of raw broccoli. So, I decided to take a look at some research to see what the nutritional costs were to eating raw foods. The truth is, it’s better for your body to consume primarily cooked or lacto-fermented vegetables. Breaking down the cellular structure of vegetables through these methods greatly increases the digestibility and nutrient absorption of nutrients in vegetables. Much of the research I’ve found suggests several reasons why cooking might increase the energy available from meat. These include increasing food intake through positive effects on palatability related to texture and flavor, rendering proteins more digestible through denaturation, lowering the cost of digestion through food softening, and reducing immune upregulation by eliminating foodborne pathogens. Given that textural changes are at least partially responsible for the proposed positive effects of cooking on intake, digestibility, and the cost of digestion, non-thermal processing methods that manipulate texture, such as pounding, may likewise be effective in improving the net energy value of meat.

Foods have been heat-treated for many centuries, since our ancestors learned, by trial and error, to master fire for cooking purposes approx. 700,000 years ago, to modify the taste and preserve nutritional properties of foods. The invention and continuous development of food treatment has had a substantial, if not major impact on the intellectual, societal and economic development of mankind. The health benefits of fermentation have been known for centuries. In 76 A.D., the Roman historian Plinio advocated the use of fermented milks for treating gastrointestinal infections.READ MORE

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Amino acids preferable to antibiotics

Natural amino acids preferable to antibiotics for treating infections, says study

Jonathan Benson, staff writer

As most NaturalNews readers probably already know, there is a rapidly-growing resistance to antibiotics that has given way to antibiotic-resistant "superbugs" like Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae (CRKP), and even the strongest antibiotic drugs available have all but lost their ability to treat even the most common infections that afflict people today.

However, a research scientist from the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology IZI in Leipzig, Germany, has discovered that simple, natural amino acids work better than antibiotics at treating infections, and they do not cause harm to healthy cells in the body.

For their study, Dr. Andreas Schubert and his colleagues from Fraunhofer tested the effects of amino acids in vitro and found that they broke through bacterial membranes and penetrated them quicker and with less of a required concentration than antibiotic drugs. And the best part of all was that the amino acids caused no cell damage, unlike antibiotics which kill off beneficial bacteria in the system as well as harmful bacteria.

"Antibiotic peptides (from amino acids) unlock their microbicidal effect within a few minutes. They also work at a concentration of less than 1 microliter, compared with conventional antibiotics which require a concentration of 10 microliters," said Schubert as part of his test results. "The spectrum of efficacy of the tested peptides includes not only bacteria and molds but also lipid-enveloped viruses. Another key factor is that the peptides identified in our tests do not harm healthy body cells."

The findings are revolutionary, because they show that amino acids work on virtually every infection, including even MRSA and CRKP. And because amino acids occur naturally in various foods like nuts, grass-fed meats and dairy products, beans, seafood, eating more of these foods regularly can help boost levels of these vital nutrients without the need for drugs. Amino acids supplements are also a great way to boost amino acid levels to optimal levels in order to prevent or treat infections.

"We have already identified 20 of these short chains of amino acids which kill numerous microbes, including enterococci, yeasts and molds, as well as human pathogenic bacteria such as Streptococcus mutans, which is found in the human oral cavity and causes tooth decay," said Dr. Andreas Schubert, group manager of Fraunhofer. "Even the multi-resistant hospital bug Staphylococcus aureus is not immune, and in our tests its growth was considerably inhibited."

Sources for this story include:


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Top 10 Biggest Food Chains

10. Sonic Drive-in: $3.6 Billion

9. Kentucky Fried Chicken: $4.7 Billion

8. Pizza Hut: $5.4 Billion

7. Dunkin Donuts: $6 Billion

6. Taco-Bell: $6.9 Billion

5. Starbucks: $7.6 Billion

4. Wendy’s: $8.1 Billion

3. Burger King: $8.6 Billion

2. Subway: $10 Billion

1. McDonald’s: $32.4 Billion

In total: $93.3 Billion in revenue for just these top 10 fast food corporations.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Q. What’s with the turkey recall? A. Same old, same old

Food Politics
by Marion Nestle

Cargill is a huge company with, as Bill Marler counts them, a long history of food safety problems. Did Cargill not bother to test for pathogens? As I explain in my book Safe Food: The Politics of Food Safety, no meat company wants to test for pathogens. If they found pathogens, they would have to recall the products.

And where was the USDA in all of this? Best not to ask.

The USDA was testing. The testing found Salmonella. The USDA did nothing.

According to the Wall Street Journal,

Federal officials said they turned up a dangerous form of salmonella at a Cargill Inc. turkey plant last year, and then four times this year at stores selling the Cargill turkey, but didn’t move for a recall until an outbreak killed one person and sickened 77 others.

How come?

Food-safety specialists said the delay reflected a gap in federal rules that don’t treat salmonella as a poisonous contaminant, even if inspectors find antibiotic-resistant forms such as the Heidelberg strain implicated in the latest outbreak.

But CDC investigations show that turkey-related illnesses have been reported for months. Despite the reports, the USDA took its own sweet time insisting on a recall.

The rationale for the delay is—get this—the USDA believes it does not have the authority to order recalls for any contaminant except E. coli O157:H7. It has no authority to recall meat contaminated with Salmonella or other toxic forms of E. coli.

Or at least that’s how USDA interprets the legal situation (for the history of all this, see Bill Marler’s summary.

One reason for the USDA’s foot-dragging must surely be pressure from the meat industry which wants as little testing as possible and preferably none. The meat industry would rather leave it up to you to cook your food safely.

According to a report by Elizabeth Weise in USA Today,

The reasons these bugs aren’t currently regulated are a mix of politics, money and plain biology — the bacteria are constantly evolving and turning up in new and nastier forms, making writing rules about them a bit of a nightmare. For example, the German E. coli variant that sickened more than 4,075 in Europe and killed 50…wasn’t known before this spring.

The meat industry takes advantage of this situation and argues:

“We don’t have a true baseline determining the prevalence of these organisms in the beef supply,” says Betsy Booren of the American Meat Institute (AMI) Foundation, the research arm of AMI. Without knowing how common they are, it’s impossible to say whether they should be considered adulterants, she says.

What they seem to be saying is that meat always has bacteria on it. And just because these particular bacteria can kill people doesn’t mean the industry is responsible if anyone gets sick. But shouldn’t the industry be doing a better job?

In Food Safety News, Michele Simon has a terrific analysis of the safety loopholes that allow this absurd situation to continue:

How did the meat industry get so powerful that it can keep USDA from doing its job? Now, instead of preventing illnesses from occurring by requiring testing with teeth, we have USDA regulations that are so lax they allow almost half the samples tested at ground turkey plants to be contaminated with Salmonella — a pretty easy standard to meet. And one that allowed this outbreak to occur.

I keep asking: how much worse does it have to get before Congress does something about ensuring safe food. Cargill’s inability to protect the public from unsafe meat is reason alone to create a single food safety system that unites the functions of USDA and FDA.

If Congress isn’t ready to take that step, it could at least give USDA the power to act and the FDA the funding it needs to do its job.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Eight Natural Remedies to Speed Bruise Healing

Dr. Mercola

When you get a bruise, in addition to applying a cold compress (like an icepack or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel) to the area for about 20 minutes to reduce the swelling, you can also use natural remedies to help speed up the healing.

Bear in mind that these are all for external use, so don't drink or swallow these mixtures.

Aloe Vera: Use the fresh juice from the fleshy inner part of the leaf and apply. Aloe has many healing properties, such as preventing infection, so you can apply it to minor skin irritations and small wounds to speed up healing.

Cabbage: For facial bruises, take the large outer leaves of white cabbage, break the ridges of the leaves and dip them into very hot water. Then apply to the bruise (but make sure they're not scalding hot as you put them on your face).

Calendula: To make a salve, boil one ounce of dried calendula flowers or leaves (or 1/4 teaspoon of fresh juice from the herb) with one ounce of lard. Once the mixture has cooled, apply it to the bruise. This mixture is also good for sprains, pulled muscles, sores and boils.

Fenugreek: To make a poultice, put 1/2 ounce of crushed fenugreek seeds in a small cloth bag and boil it in water for a few minutes. Remove the bag and apply the "tea water" to the area. Make it as hot as you can stand it (but make sure it's not scalding the skin).

Garden Thyme: Put the green plant parts in water and boil them for three to four minutes. Cover the pot and leave it for another two to three minutes. Strain the mixture, and add the decoction to your bath water. Soak in it as you would normally.

Onion: Apply it raw, directly to the bruise.

St. John's Wort: Put 10 to 15 drops of St. John's Wort Oil in water and apply the mixture to the area.

Apple Cider Vinegar: Apply a hot or cold poultice of apple cider vinegar to your bruises.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Are Almonds Really All That?

from Nell Stephenson

Not so much, it turns out.

Yes, they're better than peanuts (remember, peanuts are NOT nuts- they're legumes so NOT Paleo), and almond butter is a better option than peanut butter BUT that doesn't mean one should eat them ad nauseum.


Because they are actually quite high in inflammatory Omega 6 fatty acids and have virtually NO healthy, anti inflammatory Omega 3s.

Nuts in general are far higher in the 6s than oils, so don't opt for nuts, even the raw ones, as your primary source of fats. Think of them as a once in a while, a little bit here and there, type of food.

DON'T keep a huge bowl of roasted, salted mixed nuts on your desk in the office, snack on them all day long and then ponder why you're not getting closer to your lean weight, even though you're "Paleo".

(Calories in/calories out DOES matter in the end if you were a bit heavier than you wanted to be when you began eating Paleo!)

However, remember that it's the ratio of Omega 3:6 fatty acids that is the important factor to look at.

So, you can eat almonds, but be sure to balance out your fats with a great source of Omega 3's, like fish oil.

I use organic raw almond butter in my pre workout smoothies, but I alternate with other fats like virgin coconut oil or fresh avocado.

Remember BALANCE and big picture and you'll be sure to get all your proper paleo fats!

Monday, August 15, 2011

10 Energy Drinks Not Worth The Sugar Rush

Grace Nasri

Countless studies have exposed the dangers associated with the regular consumption of energy drinks.

According to a recent report by the Associated Press, potential harms may include: irritability, high blood pressure, heart palpitations, seizures and strokes.

Late last year, the American Association of Poison Control Centers began tracking energy drink overdoses and side effects. Since the study began late last year, more than 1,000 such cases have been reported.

But Americans aren't about to stop consuming these popular, performance enhancing drinks. In fact, energy drinks are the fastest growing product on the U.S. beverage market, with 2011 sales expected to pass $9 billion.

While studies have focused on the effects of ingredients like caffeine, taurine and guarana (which contains roughly twice the caffeine found in coffee beans), they fail to highlight another important ingredient: sugar.

Many energy drinks come packed with more sugar than popular decadent dessert items -- from glazed donuts and chewy cookies to buttery croissants and crunchy chocolate bars.

The slideshow below showcases 10 popular energy drinks and their sugar equivalents.
10 popular energy drinks and their sugar equivalents.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

What it takes to live to 95

fron sweat science

I’m a big fan of studies (like this one from a few months ago) that paint exercise as a fountain of youth that will stave off aging. I’m less fond of studies like the one just published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, that suggest that longevity is in your genes, and nothing you do makes much difference (abstract here, press release here). But what you can you do? Data is what is (or “are what they are,” if you prefer — Audrey!).

The study: researchers interviewed 477 people between the ages of 95 and 112 to find out about their lifestyles way back when they were 70 (which was considered loosely representative of their adult habits): weight, alcohol consumption, smoking, exercise, whether they ate a low-calorie, low-fat or low-salt diet, etc. This data was compared to similar data collected back in the 1970s from several thousand people born around the same time, representing the general population. The punchline:

Overall, people with exceptional longevity did not have healthier habits than the comparison group in terms of BMI, smoking, physical activity, or diet.

Doh! On the other hand, the same research group has found distinct genetic patterns among people who live to be 100, such as one that gives them abnormally high levels of “good” cholesterol. So does this mean our longevity is written in our DNA and we might as well not worry about silly things like exercise and nutrition?

Well, there was one statistically significant difference between the super-agers and the general population: obesity. Being overweight (BMI 25-30) didn’t seem to make a difference, but fewer of the old folks were obese (BMI over 30): 4.5% versus 12.1% in the men, and 9.6% versus 16.% in the women. Still that’s a relatively minor difference.

The more important thing to remember is that this is a study of extreme outliers. So, if the results hold up and are confirmed by other studies, it may tell us that all the broccoli and chin-ups in the world won’t make you live to 100. You need the genes to make it that far. But if you don’t have the genes, then you do need the lifestyle factors to make it as far as possible — after all, there’s no question that factors like exercise and not smoking are linked to longer lifespans. They may not get you to 100, but there’s still a big difference between, say, 65 and 85!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


From Mark's Daily Apple

What do you know about cumin?

Cumin’s anti-glycation properties proved useful in another study, in which diabetic rats were able to stave off cataracts after oral dosing with cumin powder.
Another study found that cumin extract reduced total cholesterol, triglycerides, and pancreatic inflammatory markers in diabetic rats. It also prevented excessive weight loss. Again, it beat out glibenclamide.
Oral doses (25, 50, 100, 200 mg/kg) of cumin on consecutive days improved the immune response of mice with compromised immune systems due to restraint-induced stress. These effects were marked by a reduction in elevated cortisol and adrenal gland size, an increase in the weight of the thymus and spleen, and replenishment of depleted T cells. There was a dose dependent response, but all doses had beneficial effects.
An extract of cumin had anti-osteoporotic effects on rats, similar to estradiol, but without the associated weight gain. Cumin-dosed (orally, 1 mg/kg) osteoporotic rats had increased bone density and improved bone microarchitecture.
Cumin protected the livers of rats from ethanol- and rancid sunflower oil-induced toxicity.
One study even seems to suggest a role for cumin in weaning addicts off of opiates - here – by reducing tolerance (yeah, it could increase the subjective high, but it would mean less product was required) and dependence.
Antioxidant content of commonly available commercial cumin in Pakistan was found to be “potent.” It’s unclear whether the same holds true for cumin in other countries, but I imagine it probably is. Go with whole seeds and grind as needed, if possible, as ground cumin (and anything, really) will be more exposed to the air and thus more liable to degrade. If you’ve got ground cumin, store it in the fridge in an airtight, sealed container. It also helps to heat the seeds before grinding to really release the flavor. I usually toast them on a cast iron skillet over low heat for a couple minutes (just wait for the smell and don’t let them burn; you’ll know it when you smell it, because it’s somewhat reminiscent of a fine body odor), but one study found that microwaving whole cumin seeds actually preserved the aromatic and antioxidant compounds better than traditional oven roasting. Go figure.

Monday, August 8, 2011

How tight should your compression tights be?

from sweatscience.com

As the various brands of compression gear compete to distinguish themselves, one of the claims you hear a lot (I’m looking at you, CEP) is that you need “medical grade” compression to achieve true performance benefits. Seems reasonable. So let’s test it…

Australian researchers just published a new study in the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, looking at the effect of wearing Skins tights on endurance running performance. The twist: their subjects (11 well-trained distance runners) did three sets of testing, once in loose shorts, once in the “right” size of Skins leggings, and once in a set a Skins leggings one size too small (to get extra compression). The correct size produced an average of 19.2 mmHg pressure gradient across the calf, while the smaller size produced 21.7 mmHg. For comparison, CEP’s socks promise a max of 22-24 mmHg at the ankle, with 18-20 mmHg on the calf.

The researchers tested pretty much every parameter they could think of, and then some. The performance parameters were simple: a progressive VO2max test, and a time-to-exhaustion test at 90% of VO2max. The physiology measures included heart rate, blood lactate, expired gases, and near-infrared spectroscopy of the leg muscles to measure how much oxygen-carrying hemoglobin and non-oxygen-carrying hemoglobin was passing by in the blood.

The results: in a nutshell, actual running performance was unchanged in any way. Compression tights didn’t make the runners run faster, and there was no difference between the two levels of compression. Repeat:

No improvement in endurance running performance was observed in either compression condition.

But… they measured all these lovely physiological parameters. And sure enough, after sifting through all of them, it turns out that they weren’t all identical. At low speeds, compression garments seemed to increase muscle blood flow; at high speeds they increased non-oxygen-carrying hemoglobin in the vastus medialis; etc. etc. The picture is pretty messy, but the message is still clear:

However, the magnitude of this improved venous flow through peripheral muscles appears trivial for athletes and coaches, as it did not improve [time-to-exhaustion] performance. This would suggest that any improvement in the clearance of waste products is insufficient to negate the development of fatigue.

But all is not lost for compression fans:

However, the data presented may have helped to identify and support the responsible mechanisms that relate to the postexercise recovery improvements associated with wearing [lower-body compression garments].

Note that this study didn’t actually find anything involving improved recovery. It just found that if you squeeze a limb, blood flow through that limb changes. That might result in improved recovery (and indeed some other studies do suggest that’s the case), or it might not. But the idea that compression will help you run faster is seeming less and less plausible.

Friday, August 5, 2011

OTC and dangerous side effects..


When Johnson & Johnson announced plans last week to lower the maximum dose for Extra Strength Tylenol, the news made some people rethink how often they take the drug and other over-the-counter medicines.
In an effort to reduce the risk of liver damage resulting from overuse of acetaminophen — the active ingredient in Tylenol — the drugmaker's McNeil division will soon cap the product's daily dose recommendation at 3,000 milligrams (a total of six 500-milligram pills a day) instead of the current 4,000 (eight pills a day.

Acetaminophen (Extra Strength Tylenol). For headaches, joint and muscle pain, fever.
Overuse risks: Liver damage or failure. May cause liver problems at lower doses in alcohol users, or in those who take other drugs containing acetaminophen.

Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Reduces pain and swelling related to arthritis. Relieves headache, fever, menstrual cramps.
Overuse risks: Gastrointestinal pain, bleeding. Kidney damage.

Diphenhydramine (Benadryl), antihistamine used to prevent, reduce hayfever and other allergy symptoms.
Overuse risks: Memory loss and disorientation, especially in elderly. Drowsiness, dryness.

Loratadine (Claritin), antihistimine used to relieve hayfever, other allergy symptoms.
Overuse risks: Sleepiness, fast heart rate. May lose effectiveness over time. Claritin-D includes an additional active ingredient, pseudoephedrine sulfate, which may cause insomnia or restlessness. Pseudoephedrine should not to be taken with certain medications for Parkinsons, depression, psychiatric or other emotional conditions.

Dextromethorphan, a cough suppressant, and Doxylamine succinate, an antihistamine (NyQuil Cough).
Overuse risks: Can cause drowsiness, especially when mixed with sleeping medications and alcohol. Not to be taken with certain medications for Parkinsons, depression, psychiatric or other emotional conditions.

Ranitidine (Zantac), an acid reducer, treats ulcers and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Overuse risks: May lose effectiveness over time. Long-term acid suppressor use could lead to poor absorption of some forms of calcium.

Sources: Brian Strom, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania; Winston Parris, Duke University Medical Center; Lisa McDevitt, Tufts Medical Center; Sarah Anderson, University of Colorado School of Pharmacy; Ausim Azizi, Temple University School of Medicine.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Normal Heart Rate

Really? The Claim: A Normal Heart Rate Is 60 to 100 Beats a Minute
Christoph Niemann


The normal resting heart rate for an adult ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute. But some researchers believe it may be time to re-examine what’s considered normal.

Researchers have found that a resting pulse at the upper end of “normal” may indicate a higher risk of stroke and heart disease. Some have linked it to a greater risk of diabetes and obesity. Instead of drawing the line at 100 beats per minute, some say, anything above 90 — and perhaps even 80 — may be considered cause for concern.

In one study published in The Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, scientists followed 50,000 healthy men and women over two decades, looking at whether a resting heart rate at the upper end of normal increased the risk of dying of a heart attack. Just more than 4,000 of the subjects died of heart disease, and the authors found that resting heart rate was a good predictor: For each rising increment of 10 heart beats per minute, the risk of dying of a heart attack increased 18 percent among women and about 10 percent in men.

Another study, published in The American Journal of Hypertension, found that a large group of adults who started out with resting heart rates above 80 beats a minute were more likely to become obese and develop diabetes after two decades.

To lower the heart rate, try stepping up your cardio exercise, particularly with interval training, which is known to increase the amount of blood the heart pumps with each beat.


A resting heart rate above 80 beats a minute may be a red flag.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

"Fat Blocker"?

from Train with Nellie

Is Coconut Oil a "Fat Blocker"?

Sounds like a total gimmick, doesn't it? Being a HUGE fan of coconut oil, when I came across this headline in a sports magazine yesterday, I had to read it straight away.

Apparently, a 2008 study published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Nutrition revealed "long term consumption of medium - chain triglycerides, the type found only in virgin coconut oil, resulted in less body fat accumulation in humans when compared to consumption of other fats."

With coconut products gaining more and more popularity in the US, largely via coconut water, people are, thankfully, beginning to get the message that this is a healthy product, NOT a villain to be avoided as many may previsouly have thought.

Lauric acid, also found in coconut, is a fatty acid that has natural anti microbial properties and also increases cells' insulin senstivity (which discourages fat storage) and increase the good, HDL cholesterol.

Finally, it doesn't require the digestive enzymes that other fats do, so transit time from stomach to liver is far less compared to other healthy fats like avocado or olive oil.

Enjoy this tropical treasure in its purest form- buy it fresh and reap all the benefits to boot!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Dirty Little Secret

Dr. Mercola

If you buy orange juice at the store, you may lean towards the kind that advertises itself as “100 percent juice” and “not made from concentrate”. But have you ever wondered why every glass of it tastes exactly the same? That’s because the flavor of store-bought orange juice has more to do with chemistry than nature.

For industrially-produced orange juice, after the oranges are squeezed, the juice is stored in giant holding tanks and the oxygen is removed from them, which allows the liquid to keep for up to a year without spoiling. It also makes the juice completely flavorless. So the industry uses “flavor packs” to re-flavor the juice.

According to Food Rebel:

“Juice companies therefore hire flavor and fragrance companies ... to engineer flavor packs to add back to the juice to make it taste fresh. Flavor packs aren’t listed as an ingredient on the label because technically they are derived from orange essence and oil. Yet those in the industry will tell you that the flavor packs, whether made for reconstituted or pasteurized orange juice, resemble nothing found in nature.”

Monday, August 1, 2011

Should You Breath Through Your Nose, Mouth, or Both While Running and Exercising?

By David Csonka

Anaerobic Oxygen Deficit

Anaerobic exercise is exercise intense enough to trigger anaerobic metabolism, where insufficent oxygen is available for oxidation, and the body switches over to the creatine pathway or glycolysis. As long as enough oxygen is available one can stay aerobic, the domain of more moderate or lower-intensity activities. If one is well trained though, they might be able to run at a good pace while staying in that oxygenated aerobic zone.

High intensity activities of more than a few seconds will drive up the demand for oxygen tremendously however, and if activity like this continues for several minutes (like with a CrossFit WOD or sports) then the body will dip into an oxygen deficit. In recovery, oxygen is used in the processes that restore the body to a resting state and adapt it to the exercise just performed. Scientifically speaking, the process is called “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption”, but in layman’s terms it is simply referred to as “sucking wind”.

Your body needs oxygen badly, and in general the least resistant and highest volume throughput entryway for oxygen into your body is your mouth. I always thought I was mentally weak for not holding my mouth shut through a workout, but it seems that my preference for high intensity training put me in a position where nose-breathing was inadequate for my oxygen needs.

If you recall Lieberman’s comments above, the turbulence and resistance created by our nose is incredibly useful, but this benefit diminishes when there is a corresponding need for higher-intensity work output. Ultimately, you’ll have to decide what is more important to you.

The Compromise

There are definitely advantages to breathing through one’s nose. It humidifies the air better, maintains a more constant air temperature, conserves moisture upon expiration, produces nitric oxide for use by the body, and helps protect against foreign pathogens.

For people who suffer from exercise-induced asthma, nose breathing can be a remarkable cure. The underlying cause of this type of asthma appears to be the large volume of cool, dry air inhaled during strenuous exercise. For many, it seems to improve when the air inhaled is more fully humidified and closer to body temperature, something accomplished by the nose.

Unfortunately, it seems that many people may have been inadvertently steered towards predominant orinasal breathing due to poorly developed facial and nasal structures. Even if staying inside the aerobic zone, the volume of air that could be pushed through our narrow noses might never be sufficient for our muscular needs. Further, my preference for high intensity training makes it even less likely that my nose will do me much good.

While aerobic training might be popular for many runners, high intensity interval training systems like Crossfit, and high impact sports like football aren’t going anywhere. People will need to accept that there isn’t one exalted breathing technique that is appropriate for all occasions. If you can sustain your activity level with your mouth kept shut, that’s great, and will probably provide some respiratory health benefits. But if you find you can’t keep pace, or tire quickly from a feeling of labored breathing, relying solely on your nose just to satisfy a romantic ideal of prehistoric runners is folly.

No matter how stoic you might be, the suffocating feeling you get is actually your body telling you that you’re suffocating. Do yourself a favor and take a deep breath – with your mouth open if need be. It doesn’t mean you’re weak, or less of an athlete. It just means you need air.