Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Top Ten Ways to Test Your Body


The Top Ten Ways to Test Your Body

As a sports nutritionist, I recommend many of the athletes and clients I advise to undergo basic blood testing for vitamins, hormones, nutrients, and metabolic factors that directly affect health and performance. I personally test my blood four times each year.

After all, if you don’t know what’s going on inside your body, then how do you know you’re not one of those people who are healthy on the outside, but unhealthy on the inside? And if you struggle with anything like brain fog, constipation, bloating, low libido, poor sleep, or slow workout recovery, then you probably fall into the category of people who need to test their body.

As a matter of fact, even if you’re exercising hard and eating healthy, it turns out that what’s actually going on inside your body can be quite disturbing, and include:

  • Low testosterone and high cortisol, manifesting in overtraining symptoms, low libido, lack of motivation, and loss of competitive drive.
  • Low luteinizing hormone, high estrogens, and low progesterone, manifesting in brain fog, appetite cravings, and a seeming inability to shed fat despite lots of training.
  • High thyroid-stimulating hormone and low thyroid hormones, resulting in a constant feeling of being cold, sluggish metabolism, and impaired digestive function, gas, and bloating.
  • Low magnesium and electrolyte levels, which can cause trouble getting to sleep at night, waking up multiple times during the night, or being tired during the day.
  • High inflammation markers, resulting in sore joints, nagging injuries that won’t go away, missing workouts from sickness or having sniffles all the time, and occasional ghost symptoms, like random headaches, heart flutters, or muscle tingling and numbness.
 Read More

Monday, April 28, 2014

Red Light Exposure Enhances Endurance Performance and Sleep Quality


Previously, we have briefly outlined some of the benefits, as well as different forms of red/infrared light therapy. Although it sounds as though red/infrared light therapy can’t be “different”, one may be surprised. Although all forms of this therapy do act on a similar foundational level (cytochrome c oxidase, blood flow, glutathione redox balance, etc), there are subtle differences. For instance, there is transcranial light therapy, as we’ve previously established, as well as incandescent light therapy; you can also use far infrared rays to stimulate toxin removal and blood flow, or you can hop in or create (DIY) an infrared or “full spectrum” (near, “medium”, and far) infrared sauna for massive a metabolic stimulus and rather stellar detoxification effects. Nonetheless, these wavelengths of light have a profound impact on our mitochondrial well-being, as well as our endogenous antioxidant status.

One would be led to imagine that if these wavelengths of light act on such a foundational level, they would undoubtedly enhance athletic performance. That isn’t far fetched, either. This was portrayed in a cohort study in 2012.
Operating on a foundation of knowledge we alluded to above, the authors of this study decided to do an experiment in which 20 female basketball were exposed to primarily red light for 14 consecutive days for 30 minutes under the piece of equipment (while laying in a swimsuit) made by Shanghai Dayou PDT Technology Co shown below. The light had an average wavelength of 658nm, and its strength was 30J per square centimeter. Half of the women were exposed to the red light (Red-light treatment), half were not. Participants were placed in these groups randomly. The women were blindfolded while under the lamps, and they received the treatments at night, before bed.

The red light provoked a marked improvement in the quality of the women’s sleep, as established by their Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (which decreased). Interestingly, the researchers found more melatonin in their blood early in the morning

Before and after the treatment period the researchers had the women do the Cooper test (as many laps as possible on a 400-m outdoor track during the 12-minute test period, though with emphasis on pacing oneself). The figure above shows that the women who had had the red light therapy covered a 12.8% greater distance during the 12 minutes that the test lasted. The women in the placebo group only covered a 5.5% greater distance. The researchers stated, “Based on previous studies, we can infer that red-light treatment contributes to increased melatonin secretion in the pineal gland and muscle regeneration (…) Although more studies involving phototherapy, sleep, and exercise performance need to be performed, red-light treatment is a possible nonpharmacologic and noninvasive therapy to prevent sleep disorders after training.”
How one may replicate this study at home is a different story, though using infrared heat lamps or red LEDs are definitely viable options.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Here are some o interesting functions of our gut bacteria:

They improve our bone mineral density.

They nullify anti-nutrients.

They manufacture vitamins.

They form a large physical barrier against pathogens.

They represent a “second brain.”

Read more:

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Vitamin D Insufficiency: A Surprising Trend In Athletic Adults


Many athletes are deficient in vitamin D, which is important for bone health and metabolism. However, until a recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, a comprehensive assessment of vitamin D status on numerous health and athletic factors in a single population had not occurred.
The chemical the researchers studied is called 25-hydroxyvitamin D, otherwise known as 25OHD. 25OHD is a metabolite of vitamin D, which means that vitamin D can turn into it after being utilized. In this case, the metabolites of vitamin D tell us about how it is being utilized, and analyzing 25OHD levels is the standard method of testing for vitamin D deficiency.
Interestingly, the researchers found that out of the 39 participants, only one person was taking a multivitamin. Even more interesting was the fact that this individual still tested low for 25OHD. The vitamin D content of the multivitamin was not disclosed, but it appears that the user had a vitamin D level of 400 IU, which is two-thirds of the recommended daily value.
The time of year and melanin levels of the participants were also taken into account. Most of the subjects were white, with three Hispanic participants. Lighter skin contains less melanin, which means that less exposure to the sun is required to achieve endogenous (produced naturally in the body) vitamin D. The study was also conducted in the summer time, and the participants were assessed for how often they went outside. Oddly, there was no correlation between sun exposure and vitamin D status, although this could be because of low precision on the collecting of this particular set of data.
The researchers also compared 25OHD status to a host of fitness and health factors. These included body fat, VO2 max, lower body power, and strength. Strength measurements were based on performance on the bench press, upright row, and leg flexion and extension exercises. Amongst these tests, vitamin D levels were significantly associated with two of the factors: VO2 max and BMI. High vitamin D was associated favorably with both, meaning that the higher the 25OHD levels were, the higher the VO2max was and the lower the BMI.
There are a few take-away points to this study. Vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency is more common than you might think. The researchers noted that at least forty percent of athletes may have insufficient levels of vitamin D for optimal health. When insufficiency occurs, it seems to associated with reduced cardiovascular and metabolic health. To prevent this, be sure to consume adequate vitamin D in your diet, and also spend plenty of time outside getting sun.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

How Much Training Do You Need?


Are you a competitor or a recreational athlete? First, we should define the two termsFor the purpose of this article a competitor is anyone who hopes to make a name in Brazilian jiu jitsu. A competitor is someone who trains and competes full time. Everyone else is a recreational athlete. A recreational athlete might jump into a competition to test his or her skills, but the focus is training for fun, stress relief, or simply love of the sport.


A competitor’s focus is on BJJ training. Hard training sessions are unavoidable. Most competitors feel the need to train multiple times a day. To avoid burnout of the central nervous system and reduce inflammation, their training and recovery strategies have little room for error.

Some tips to help the competitor:

  • Hard training sessions must be followed with rest or a light session. For example, train hard Saturday morning, but take Sunday off.
  • I would not recommend two hard training sessions on the same day. For competitors who train twice a day, if one session is going to be intense, then the other session should be recovery work or light drilling. 
  • Remember you do not have to train hard everyday all day. Mix in some easy and medium intensity days.
  • Do not spar hard everyday. The majority of training time should be spent drilling. 
  • One or two sessions of strength and conditioning work per week is all you need. Avoid doing your intense strength and conditioning sessions on the same day as intense BJJ training.
  • The rest of your training time should focus on recovery work.

Recreational Athlete

The focus of a recreational athlete is skill work and drilling. If this is you, spend the majority of your time improving skills. Then, throw in a hard training session no more than two days a week. Next, add in some strength work. Not conditioning! Recreational athletes get more than enough cardiovascular activity from training. Focus on building strength. Most importantly, spend time each day helping your body recover. Recovery work includes everything from nutrition to sleep.

Listening to Your Body
Competitors and recreational athletes can learn a lot from their bodies if they just listened. Despite the repeated efforts of the body screaming to take a break and slow down, we rarely listen. That is, until an injury or illness happens and we are forced to slow down.

Pay attention to the following signals:

  • Mood changes: When the body is getting to the point of overtraining, changes in mood are common. You may feel depressed or just down.Joint pain and stiffness: Too much training causes inflammation.
  • Performance: Keep track of your performance. If there is a drop, instead of an increase in training, it may be time to take a day or two off.


For grapplers to get better, hard work is important. But rest and recovery are just as important. Look at your training volume and intensity and make adjustments based upon performance and mood. We all know the difference between being lazy and being overtrained. There is nothing wrong with taking a day off when it is needed. In the long run, it will help you more than if you trained that day.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Friday, April 18, 2014

Choosing a Better Lunch


Our approach to nutrition at Sparta is very simple.  It is all about giving your body the nutrients that it needs to perform and recover.  Rather than getting bogged down in macronutrient breakdowns and individualized meal plans, we educate our athletes on how to make good choices for themselves.  These choices should always be focused around protein, vegetables, and hydration. By using this simple approach we can increase consistency, which is the most important factor in any nutrition strategy.

Hitting Your Goals – The Problem With Sandwiches

When are athletes are struggling to hit their goals for protein and veggies, the first thing we do is talk through their typical day and look for areas where we can make improvements. One of the common trends that we find is a lack of quality protein and veggies with the lunchtime meal. Many athletes pack a sandwich for lunch or stop by Subway to grab something quick. The common thought is that this is a healthy choice since it is better than stopping to grab a fast food burger and fries.
When it comes to educating our athletes, we use the positive approach of emphasizing their needs as opposed to telling them what not to eat.  If the goal is to eat enough good things, there will not be any room for the bad.
  • 1 gram Protein for every pound of bodyweight
  • 8 servings of vegetables (fist sized serving)
  • .5 oz water for every pound of bodyweight
So, when we look at sandwiches in terms of hitting our protein and veggie goals we realize that they are not a great choice. Sandwiches limit the amount protein and veggies that you can fit into your meal, plus the bread fills you up without providing any positive nutritional value.

The Salad Solution

Most people think of a salad as a light meal that will not fill them up, but that does not have to be the case. Salads are actually a much better choice than sandwiches because you can load them down with a ton of protein and veggies. The only limit is the size of your bowl…

How to Make the Ultimate Salad

  • Start with a base of spinach or mixed greens
  • Add additional veggies – peppers, carrots, celery, chopped broccoli, tomatoes, cucumber, etc.
  • Load with protein – chicken, turkey, beef, pork, etc (leftovers from the night before work great)
  • Top it off with olive oil, vinegar, seasoning, avocado
Simplicity and consistency are the foundation for good nutrition, but preparation is the difference maker for those for achieve their goals and those who do not. Rethink your sandwich, and plan ahead for success.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Vegetable powders

I’ve searched the site, but I didn’t see anything regarding vegetable powders. I work offshore, and the supply of fresh vegetables can be slim. Is there a vegetable powder that you would recommend taking? Are there negative side effects to taking these?

Vegetable powders are a serviceable hold over for situations where fresh produce is scarce.
There is some nutrient loss during dehydration, usually among the vitamins. Minerals and polyphenols are fairly stable, the latter less so if high heat is used (since they’re often there to protect the plant from oxidative insults, like heat). But even slightly-degraded vegetable-based micronutrition is superior to none of it.
They do help people who need the extra dose of micronutrients, though:
Obese people and heavy smokers tend to be under a lot of oxidative stress, so they have a greater need for plant micronutrients, particularly the phytonutrients which often act as antioxidants that counter the stress (or boost our own antioxidant defenses). You’re neither obese nor a heavy smoker (to my knowledge), but you are deprived of plant nutrients.
There are dozens of options out there. I don’t know enough about individual products to elevate any single product over the others. Sure, there may be some proprietary methods that “preserve the maximum antioxidant capacity,” but I suspect they’re all pretty good, as most of the ones I’ve seen use relatively low heat to dehydrate the veggies.
I’ve heard good things about the Amazing Grass line of powders. They include herbs, probiotics, and prebiotics along with the fruits and vegetables.
This looks cool, too: vegetable powders that you buy individually and mix yourself. Want a couple ounces of dried beets? You got it! How about leek flakes? They can do that.
I can’t think of any negative side effects, beyond a false sense of security. When a company claims that a single scoop of their product equals 10 servings of vegetables, but a quick review of the nutrition facts fails to show vitamin, fiber, and mineral levels that even approach 10 servings’ worth, the claim is false and you shouldn’t assume that you’ve just eaten an entire head of broccoli (or whatever vegetable is advertised). These powders are a holdover (when you can’t get any real stuff) or a supplement (when you want to add more to your regular diet). They aren’t magic.
Definitely consider vegetable powders if that’s your only option.

Read more:

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Coffee probably doesn't dehydrate you, after all


We've all heard the warning: Even though coffee is at least 98.5 percent water, that cup of joe you're drinking is a diuretic that will dehydrate you if you don't chase it down with a cup of H20. Well, good news, javaheads — and dedicated tea drinkers, too: Unless you're mainlining the caffeine, coffee and tea are probably about as hydrating for you as an equal amount of water, according to Claudia Hammond at the BBC's Medical Myths blog.
Most of the research underpinning the coffee-as-diuretic idea focuses on the role caffeine plays, and "one of the most frequently mentioned studies was conducted way back in 1928 with a sample of just three people," says Hammond. Here's her theory on why people have believed in diuretic effect for so long:
Although we might notice needing the loo more when we've been drinking coffee, the mistake is basing our observations on a comparison with the time we've drunk nothing, not with a similar amount of water. If you chose a glass of water instead of a cup of tea, you'd probably see the same effect. [BBC]
That doesn't mean you should necessarily drink eight cups of coffee a day (any more than you need to drink eight cups of water), but you probably shouldn't fret too much about that daily pot of coffee dehydrating you, either. --Peter Weber

Monday, April 14, 2014

Are These 3 ‘Limiting Factors’ Keeping You Sick?

by Jordan Reasoner

1) Are hormones your limiting factor?
When we start talking about hormones, we’re talking about sex hormones, stress hormones and thyroid hormones.  But the most common limiting factor we see people struggling with is adrenal fatigue.
If you’re someone who has chronic fatigue, you’re tired all the time, you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, you have a severe afternoon crash, or you have inflammation raging out-of-control, those are huge red flags that your limiting factor could be a hormonal problem like adrenal fatigue.
The other thing that’s a big red flag for is if you’re somebody who has to take prednisone when you get flares, but you have a hard time backing off of it, that’s another red flag for adrenal fatigue.
Hormones are extremely important and are needed for every cell to work.  At a high level they play a critical role in controlling inflammation and modulating the immune system.
Most people are having problems with cortisol, which influences over 2,000 epigenetic switches related to your immune system.  What that means is that cortisol plays an absolutely critical role in how well your immune system works.
It’s also the body’s main anti-inflammatory hormone.  So cortisol helps your body keep inflammation under control.
So if you have any of the red flags we just talked about, hormones could be your limiting factor right now.

2) Is sluggish detox or Toxicity your limiting factor?
What is a sluggish liver anyway?
Imagine your liver has 100 jobs per day and it’s only running at 70%… that means 30 jobs each day aren’t getting done and your body is suffering the consequences.
But there could be problems elsewhere the detoxification system encompasses a lot of things: your skin, GALT, your circulatory system, glutathione status, and your liver
There are 3 common ways you detox: poop, pee and sweat.
In today’s environment, there’s been 50,000 to 80,000 new chemicals released since the 1960s, so how do we know if we’re actually detoxifying them correctly?
Here’s some of the most common red flags sluggish detox could be a limiting factor for you:
  • If you are someone who’s been diagnosed with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity
  • You can’t tolerate supplements that most people can
  • You’re someone who knows that almost everything causes a reaction, like additives in supplements or introducing new foods
  • You struggle with frequent Skin breakouts
  • You have Migraines on a regular basis
  • And chronic constipation
If you have any of the red flags we just talked about, then your detoxification system might be your limiting factor.
3) Are Gut Infections your limiting factor?
If you’re someone who changed your diet and you still have any occasional GI complains, leaky gut, inflammation, brain fog, skin issues or fatigue… then gut infections can be your limiting factor.
There’s two types of infections we commonly see in people that get stuck.
1) Many people struggle with bacterial or parasitic infections.  If you’ve ever done a stool test that’s typically what you’re looking for.
Many of the people we worked with 1-on-1 had parasitic and bacterial infections, sometimes as many as two to three.  The common ones we’ve seen are: H. Pylori, Campylobacter, Pinworms, Giardia, Cryptosporidium, and Blastocystis Hominis.

 Read More

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Recovery for Runners


Q: What tools do you most recommend to aid in recovery?

A: The most effective ways to recover are sleep and nutrition. In terms of sleep, if one has to use an alarm clock to get up in the morning then sleep is insufficient. The solution is to go to bed earlier. Most of us need around 8 hours each night; some need more. As for nutrition, the first order of business following a workout for most athletes is carbohydrate along with some protein. Beyond the initial recovery period (which may last several hours depending on the preceding workout) the most critical nutritional components are micronutrients - vitamins and minerals. In their order of micronutrient density, the best foods are vegetables, seafood and fruit. Again, sleep and nutrition should always be the first considerations when recovery is needed. Other commonly used passive recovery methods are massage, stretching, floating in water, alternating hot- and cold-water immersion, icing, leg elevation, compression stockings, pneumatic compression devices, and others. The benefits of some of these are not well-established by research, but all of these are commonly used by athletes of all abilities.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Recovery for Runners

Q: How important are recovery days for recreational athletes? Is there a difference in recovery for someone training for her first 5k, and someone training for her first marathon?
A: There are two types of recovery - passive and active. Passive means rest with no physical activity. This is generally best for novices. Taking a day off from exercise will allow the novice's body (and mind) to recover and grow stronger. Working out will almost certainly be too fatiguing for the already tired novice athlete.
Active recovery is often better for the experienced and highly fit athlete. This means doing a short, low-intensity workout. The intensity part is easy. That means zone 1, for example, if using a heart rate monitor or GPS pacing device. A "short" workout may vary greatly between athletes. For someone training 12 hours per week "short" may mean 45 minutes. For another athlete who does about 4 hours weekly "short" is more likely something such as 10 minutes. Experienced athletes also need passive recovery days from time to time, just not as frequently as novices.
If in doubt about what to do - passive or active, 45 minutes or 10 minutes - be conservative. It's always better to err on the side of too little rather than too much when it comes to training.

Friday, April 11, 2014

PAP for Improved Sprint Performance: No Barbell Required


Much of the science regarding PAP includes some sort of weight lifting element. For example, PAP works if you add a heavy version of a lift you’re about to do right before you perform the lift at lower weights. Researchers wondered if the effect held true if the performance variable was oriented toward non-weightlifting sports - in this case, a twenty-meter sprint.

The researchers examined the prevailing research to make sure their protocol was unique. They hoped to create a condition in which the potentiating exercise was even more accessible than weight lifting exercises like back squats. It’s not as if a back squat or similar exercise has equipment that is difficult to come by, but it does generally require a power rack, especially at the weights needed for PAP. For athletes out in the field with limited equipment, PAP isn’t always a practical option.

The researchers used depth jumps as the potentiating exercise. Previous research showed depth jumps work well as PAP for subsequent vertical leaps. Since there tends to be a strong correlation between sprinting and vertical leap ability, the researchers theorized that depth jumps might also be applicable for the twenty-meter sprint.

The researchers compared three different warm ups:

  • A five-minute jog
  • A five-minute jog plus dynamic stretches (see table below for detailed list of stretches)
  • A five-minute jog, dynamic stretches, and three depth jumps


All of the warm ups produced progressively better performances on the twenty-meter sprint, but depth jumps won the day. The differences in performance after depth jumps were pretty substantial. For example, between the jogging warm up and the depth jump warm up, performance improved from 3.3 seconds to 3.1 on average. Consistent improvements like that could make or break an athlete’s career.

PAP works in numerous conditions, as this study demonstrated. Although there will be more studies involving various protocols to make things simpler for athletes, I’m mostly curious at this point if the PAP effect persists when applied consistently. If so, it should be a part of every athlete’s routine during every practice and game. Let’s stay tuned for that.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Boston Cheat

By Mark Naymik, Northeast Ohio Media Group The Plain Dealer  

Soon after two bombs exploded at last year's Boston Marathon, Cleveland businessman and runner Kevin Goodman shared with local media outlets his account of the day's events – and the personal record he set.
Goodman, managing partner of Cleveland's BlueBridge Networks, which offers cloud-computing services, reported completing the 26.2-mile race in 3:03.14, a very competitive time for a 50-year-old.

The University Heights resident recalled recovering in his hotel bathtub about an hour later when he heard two homemade bombs detonate on Boylston Street near the finish line, turning a day normally celebrated for athletic achievement into one of tragedy.
He got dressed, called home and hit the streets to help, assisting with "some pretty radical tourniquet scenarios," according to a Sun Newspaper account of his story.

But nearly a year later, the association that manages the Boston Marathon offers a different account, one in which no record exists of Goodman running the race and certainly not in 3:03:14.

Marc Davis, a spokesman for the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) told me this week that Goodman was registered to compete in the marathon but the BAA has no record of Goodman actually starting or finishing. The BAA tracks runners with a small electronic device known as a chip. The device is affixed to their race number and transmits timing information via radio frequency.
Read More

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Coconut oil

1 tablespoon of coconut oil is just as good for joint pain as a popular NSAID medication

Read More

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Prescription 2014: Lowering HbA1C Naturally


Recently, I saw an advertisement in the Los Angeles Times for a popular medication used to lower hemoglobin A1C, a long-term measure of blood sugar. The ad reads, “If you have type 2 diabetes, your A1C number may be going in the wrong direction. To help change it, ask your doctor if adding Tradjenta may be right for you”. Of course, if you read on you’ll also notice warnings about possible side effects, including cough, diarrhea, potentially life threatening inflammation of the pancreas, runny nose and sore throat. Still, lowering high blood sugar is a valuable endeavor for diabetics and pre-diabetics alike. So, what to do? To answer that question, here are a few suggestions by Dr. Richard Bernstein, a pioneering maverick in the field of integrative-diabetes care, and current studies from the medical literature.
According to the American Diabetes Association, if your HbA1C level is 6.5% or under, your blood glucose average is acceptable. However, what is acceptable is rarely optimal. Dr. Richard Bernstein, a type 1 diabetic and diabetes specialist, recommends a much lower HbA1C level for anyone who wants to avoid diabetes, hastened aging and many of the health conditions afflicting modern man. In fact, he suggests striving for an HbA1C level of about 4.5%. This equates to a fasting blood glucose level of 83 mg/dl. He goes on to recommend that virtually everyone, not just diabetics, keep post-meal, blood sugar elevations to no more than 10 mg/dl. While I agree with this as a general goal, in the majority of cases I don’t think medications are needed to achieve it. What’s more, I would rather my clients maintain a slightly higher blood sugar (preferably 90 mg/dl or under) while doing “all the right things” rather than have optimal blood sugar levels that require the use of questionable medications.

Fortunately, there are quite a few natural ways to improve long term (HbA1C) and short term (postprandial) glucose elevations. Topping the list is a nutrient dense, low carbohydrate diet that is high in healthy fat, moderate in protein and low glycemic carbohydrates*. This is a cornerstone for managing high blood sugar. In this regard, a valuable tip is to replace refined carbohydrates and vegetable oils (rich in omega-6 fatty acids) with monounsaturated fats (avocados, olive oil, nuts) and sources of omega-3 fats (flax seeds, sardines, wild salmon). In addition, foods rich in insoluble and soluble fiber (berries, broccoli, chia seeds, pure cocoa powder) and probiotics (kefir, kimchi, yogurt) have likewise been shown to improve blood glucose control. Herbal remedies, including ginger root (3 grams daily) and green tea not only support healthier HbA1C levels, but also reduce other risk factors associated with diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

Last, but hardly least, is staying mentally and physically fit. Activities as diverse as aerobic exercise, laughter therapy and yoga are scientifically documented as reasonable adjuncts and/or alternatives for anyone with high to high-normal blood sugar. Not only do I recommend all of these approaches, but there’s also no need for you to look for “Important Safety Information” that lists all sorts of possible and/or probable side effects.
* For the most part, the diet I advocate is moderate in carbohydrates. It is not a very low or ketogenic eating plan. However, many of the carbohydrates in my preferred diet come in the form of dietary fiber. Most published research indicates that both fiber rich foods and supplements lower post-meal blood sugar.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Boil Cinnamon Sticks to De-Odorize Smelly Rooms

by Mihir Patkar

If a room in your house is stinking, whether from burnt food or anything else, grab two cinnamon sticks from the pantry. Throw them in some water and boil it. You'll soon have your room smelling fresh, says redditor phunterqa.P
As the original poster and several commenters note, this doesn't leave any smell in your house, not even that of the cinnamon. It works to mask odors of cooking different things (like eggs, fish, bacon, etc.), and since it's organic, can be used safely without any harmful side-effects that you might get from other chemical-based solutions

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Tiger Woods will never catch Jack Nicklaus until he comes to terms with his own frailty

This is the day that Tiger Woods got old. How he deals with that indignity, adapts his game and his personality to it, will define how much satisfaction and success he’ll get from the remainder of his golf career. If he keeps fighting the messages that his knees, Achilles’, neck, elbow and now back have sent him for the past six years, he’s more likely to end up with 19 surgeries than 19 majors.

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Will Running Too Much Kill You?

Let me start with a simple truth: there is such a thing as "too much" running. This is just common sense. If your goal is to optimize health, there will come a point where running an extra 5 miles per week doesn't make you healthier in any meaningful way, and eventually there will come a second threshold where running an extra five miles will actually make you less healthy. I don't know anyone, including Runner's World shills like me, who would disagree with this obvious statement.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Beer marinade could reduce levels of potentially harmful substances in grilled meats

The study appears in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry

I.M.P.L.V.O. Ferreira and colleagues explain that past studies have shown an association between consumption of grilled meats and a high incidence of colorectal cancer. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are substances that can form when meats are cooked at very high temperatures, like on a backyard grill. And high levels of PAHs, which are also in cigarette smoke and car exhaust, are associated with cancers in laboratory animals, although it's uncertain if that's true for people. Nevertheless, the European Union Commission Regulation has established the most suitable indicators for the occurrence and carcinogenic potency of PAHs in food and attributed maximum levels for these compounds in foods. Beer, wine or tea marinades can reduce the levels of some potential carcinogens in cooked meat, but little was known about how different marinades affect PAH levels, until now.

The researchers grilled samples of pork marinated for four hours in Pilsner beer, non-alcoholic Pilsner beer or a black beer ale, to well-done on a charcoal grill. Black beer had the strongest effect, reducing the levels of eight major PAHs by more than half compared with unmarinated pork. "Thus, the intake of beer marinated meat can be a suitable mitigation strategy," say the researchers.
More information: "Effect of Beer Marinades on Formation of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Charcoal-Grilled Pork" J. Agric. Food Chem., 2014, 62 (12), pp 2638–2643. DOI: 10.1021/jf404966w

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Eating seven or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day reduces your risk of death by 42 percent


Eating seven or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day reduces your risk of death at any point in time by 42% compared to eating less than one portion, reports a new UCL study.

Researchers used the Health Survey for England to study the eating habits of 65,226 people representative of the English population between 2001 and 2013, and found that the more fruit and vegetables they ate, the less likely they were to die at any age. Eating seven or more portions reduces the specific risks of death by cancer and heart disease by 25% and 31% respectively. The research also showed that vegetables have significantly higher health benefits than fruit.

This is the first study to link fruit and vegetable consumption with all-cause, cancer and heart disease deaths in a nationally-representative population, the first to quantify health benefits per-portion, and the first to identify the types of fruit and vegetable with the most benefit.
Compared to eating less than one portion of fruit and vegetables, the risk of death by any cause is reduced by 14% by eating one to three portions, 29% for three to five portions, 36% for five to seven portions and 42% for seven or more. These figures are adjusted for sex, age, cigarette smoking, social class, Body Mass Index, education, physical activity and alcohol intake, and exclude deaths within a year of the food survey.
The study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, found that fresh vegetables had the strongest protective effect, with each daily portion reducing overall risk of death by 16%. Salad contributed to a 13% risk reduction per portion, and each portion of fresh fruit was associated with a smaller but still significant 4% reduction.

"We all know that eating fruit and vegetables is healthy, but the size of the effect is staggering," says Dr Oyinlola Oyebode of UCL's Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, lead author of the study. "The clear message here is that the more fruit and vegetables you eat, the less likely you are to die at any age. Vegetables have a larger effect than fruit, but fruit still makes a real difference. If you're happy to snack on carrots or other vegetables, then that is a great choice but if you fancy something sweeter, a banana or any fruit will also do you good."
The findings lend support to the Australian government's 'Go for 2 + 5' guidelines, which recommend eating two portions of fruit and five of vegetables. The UK Department of Health recommends '5 a day', while 'Fruit and Veggies -- More Matters' is the key message in the USA.

"Our study shows that people following Australia's 'Go for 2 + 5' advice will reap huge health benefits," says Dr Oyebode. "However, people shouldn't feel daunted by a big target like seven. Whatever your starting point, it is always worth eating more fruit and vegetables. In our study even those eating one to three portions had a significantly lower risk than those eating less than one"The researchers found no evidence of significant benefit from fruit juice, and canned and frozen fruit appeared to increase risk of death by 17% per portion. The survey did not distinguish between canned and frozen fruit so this finding is difficult to interpret. Canned fruit products are almost four times more popular than frozen fruit in Europe*, so it is likely that canned fruit dominated this effect.

"Most canned fruit contains high sugar levels and cheaper varieties are packed in syrup rather than fruit juice," explains Dr Oyebode. "The negative health impacts of the sugar may well outweigh any benefits. Another possibility is that there are confounding factors that we could not control for, such as poor access to fresh groceries among people who have pre-existing health conditions, hectic lifestyles or who live in deprived areas."

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

How Standing Up at Work Affects Blood Sugar

Too much time sitting at a desk is bad for your health, no matter how much you exercise. That's the message researchers have been spreading over the last few years -- but the question is, how do those of us with desk jobs avoid these health risks? How often and for how long do you have to stand up to "reset" your clock? Do you have to move around, or get a treadmill desk? Nobody really knows the answers yet, but scientists are starting to look into it.
Most recently, an Australian study just published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise put 23 overweight office workers through two five-day work weeks. In one of the weeks, they spent eight hours a day sitting at a desk working; in the other, they alternated 30 minutes of sitting with 30 minutes of standing throughout each eight-hour day. Blood samples were analyzed to see if there was any difference in insulin, glucose, or triglyceride levels. The only statistically significant difference was in glucose levels after consuming a test drink, which improved by 11%:

Overall, this seems like good news. You don't have to do jumping jacks or walk on a treadmill to mitigate some of the effects of prolonged sitting. That said, standing up for 30 minutes out of every hour is still a little more than I'd find ideal. While I realize this study was pretty laborious (getting subjects to volunteer to spend two entire weeks in your lab is no easy task!), I hope follow-up studies will explore how the effects change with difference doses of sitting. I could definitely imagine standing for about 15 minutes every hour -- though I guess that depends on what workout I did the day before (or that morning)...