March 13 2019

Did You Know?

Magnetic resonance image (MRI) of the brain (sagittal view)
https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/medical/your-“forgetfulness”-could-be-a-sign-of-a-another-problem—and-its-not-alzheimers/ar-BBTYBSn?ocid=spartanntp

Memory loss and confusion are among the most frightening aspects of aging: Is it a sign of dementia? Alzheimer’s disease? A new study from the University of Toronto suggests that at least some forgetfulness may be due to hearing troubles.

The research, published in the Canadian Journal on Aging, analyzed cognitive screens in a group of elderly people who were complaining about forgetfulness and other mental processing issues that suggest dementia. The researchers found that while most of the patients’ brains were functioning fine—it was their hearing that was suspect. Yet only 20 percent were wearing a hearing aid. The researchers point out that you can’t remember something you never heard. Plus, following directions is tough if you can’t hear them. Look out for the 5 signs of hearing loss many people ignore.

The Canadian research builds on previous studies linking hearing loss to dementia. If you feel like your memory is giving you trouble, talk to your doctor about a hearing screen. According to a report on the study, people that have untreated hearing loss could eventually lead to dementia. People who have trouble communicating are at risk for social isolation and loneliness—conditions that can contribute to dementia. Only a fraction of the people who need hearing aids wear them—it’s a national healthcare crisis.

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February 21 2019

31 Weird Science Facts


  1. The moon is moving away from the Earth at a tiny, although measurable, rate every year. 85 million years ago it was orbiting the Earth about 35 feet from the planet’s surface.The star Antares is 60,000 times larger than our sun. If our sun were the size of a softball, the star Antares would be as large as a house. In Calamba, a town in the Atacama Desert of Chile, it has never rained. At any given time, there are 1,800 thunderstorms in progress over the earth’s atmosphere. Erosion at the base of Niagara Falls has caused the falls to recede approximately seven miles over the past 10,000 years.
  2. A ten-year-old mattress weighs double what it did when it was new due to debris that it absorbs over time. That debris includes dust mites (their droppings and decaying bodies), mold, millions of dead skin cells, dandruff, animal and human hair, secretions, excretions, lint, pollen, dust, soil, sand, and a lot of perspiration, which the average person loses at a rate of a quart a day. Good night!
  3. Every year 16 million gallons of oil runs off pavement into streams, rivers, and eventually, oceans in the United States. This is more oil than was spilled by the Exxon Valdez.
  4. In space, astronauts cannot cry because there is no gravity and tears can’t flow.
  5. Most lipstick contains fish scales.
  6. A “jiffy” is an actual unit of time: 1/100th of a second.
  7. If you have three quarters, four dimes, and four pennies you have $1.19. you also have the largest possible amount of money in coins without being able to make change for a dollar.
  8. Leonardo Da Vinci invented scissors.
  9. Recycling one glass jar saves enough energy to operate a television for three hours.
  10. The cigarette lighter was invented before the match.
  11. The main library at Indiana University sinks over an inch a year. When it was designed engineers failed to take into account the weight of all the books that would occupy the building.
  12. A category three hurricane releases more energy in ten minutes that all the world’s nuclear weapons combined.
  13. There is enough fuel in full jumbo jet tank to drive an average car four times around the world.
  14. An average of 100 people choke to death on ballpoint pens every year.
  15. Antarctica is the only continent without reptiles or snakes.
  16. The cruise liner Queen Elizabeth 2 moves only six inches for each gallon of fuel it burns.
  17. San Francisco cable cars are the only National Monuments that can move.
  18. February 1865 is the only month in recorded history not to have a full moon.
  19. Nutmeg is extremely poisonous if injected intravenously.
  20. A rainbow can be seen only in the morning or late afternoon. It can occur only when the sun is 40 degrees or less above the horizon.
  21. Lightning strikes the Earth 100 times every second.
  22. La Paz, Bolivia has an average annual temperature below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. However, it has never recorded a zero-degree temperature. Same for Stanley, the Falkland Islands, and Punta Arenas, Chile.
  23. There are over 87,000 Americans on waiting lists for organ transplants.
  24. Catsup leaves the bottle at a rate of 25 miles per year.
  25. Toxic house plants poison more children than household chemicals do.
  26. You are more likely to be infected by flesh-eating bacteria than you are to be struck by lightning.
  27. According to Genesis 1:20-22, the chicken came before the egg.

https://owlcation.com/misc/Over-200-Odd-Facts-Did-You-Know-Them

February 2 2019

Fasting

Is it a good idea to “starve” yourself just a little bit each day, or a couple of days a week? Mounting evidence indicates that yes, intermittent fasting (IF) could have a very beneficial impact on your health and longevity.

I believe it’s one of the most powerful interventions out there if you’re struggling with your weight and related health issues. One of the primary reasons for this is because it helps shift your body from burning sugar/carbs to burning fat as its primary fuel.

As discussed in the featured article,1 intermittent fasting is not about binge eating followed by starvation, or any other extreme form of dieting. Rather what we’re talking about here involves timing your meals to allow for regular periods of fasting.

I prefer daily intermittent fasting, but you could also fast a couple of days a week if you prefer, or every other day. There are many different variations.

To be effective, in the case of daily intermittent fasting, the length of your fast must be at least 16 hours. This means eating only between the hours of 11am until 7pm, as an example. Essentially, this equates to simply skipping breakfast, and making lunch your first meal of the day instead.

You can restrict it even further — down to six, four, or even two hours if you want, but you can still reap many of these rewards by limiting your eating to an eight-hour window each day.

This is because it takes about six to eight hours for your body to metabolize your glycogen stores; after that you start to shift to burning fat. However, if you are replenishing your glycogen by eating every eight hours (or sooner), you make it far more difficult for your body to use your fat stores as fuel.

Intermittent Fasting — More a Lifestyle Than a Diet

I have been experimenting with different types of scheduled eating for the past two years and currently restrict my eating to a 6- to 7-hour window each day. While you’re not required to restrict the amount of food you eat when on this type of daily scheduled eating plan, I would caution against versions of intermittent fasting that gives you free reign to eat all the junk food you want when not fasting, as this seems awfully counterproductive.

Also, according to research published in 2010, 2 intermittent fasting with compensatory overeating did not improve survival rates nor delay prostate tumor growth in mice. Essentially, by gorging on non-fasting days, the health benefits of fasting can easily be lost. If so, then what’s the point?

I view intermittent fasting as a lifestyle, not a diet, and that includes making healthy food choices whenever you do eat. Also, proper nutrition becomes even more important when fasting, so you really want to address your food choices before you try fasting.

This includes minimizing carbs and replacing them with healthful fats, like coconut oil, olive oil, olives, butter, eggs, avocados, and nuts. It typically takes several weeks to shift to fat burning mode, but once you do, your cravings for unhealthy foods and carbs will automatically disappear. This is because you’re now actually able to burn your stored fat and don’t have to rely on new fast-burning carbs for fuel. Unfortunately, despite mounting evidence, many health practitioners are still reluctant to prescribe fasting to their patients. According to Brad Pilon, author ofEat Stop Eat: 3

“Health care practitioners across the board are so afraid to recommend eating less because of the stigma involved in that recommendation, but we are more than happy to recommend that someone start going to the gym. If all I said was you need to get to the gym and start eating healthier, no one would have a problem with it. When the message is not only should you eat less, you could probably go without eating for 24 hours once or twice a week, suddenly it’s heresy.”

The Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

Aside from removing your cravings for sugar and snack foods and turning you into an efficient fat-burning machine, thereby making it far easier to maintain a healthy body weight, modern science has confirmed there are many other good reasons to fast intermittently. For example, research presented at the 2011 annual scientific sessions of the American College of Cardiology in New Orleans 4 showed that fasting triggered a 1,300 percent rise of human growth hormone (HGH) in women, and an astounding 2,000 percent in men. HGH, human growth hormone, commonly referred to as “the fitness hormone,” plays an important role in maintaining health, fitness and longevity, including promotion of muscle growth, and boosting fat loss by revving up your metabolism. The fact that it helps build muscle while simultaneously promoting fat loss explains why HGH helps you lose weight without sacrificing muscle mass, and why even athletes can benefit from the practice (as long as they don’t overtrain and are careful about their nutrition). The only other thing that can compete in terms of dramatically boosting HGH levels is high-intensity interval training. Other health benefits of intermittent fasting include:

-Improving biomarkers of disease What is intermittent fasting and is it right for you?
-Reducing inflammation and lessening free radical damage
-Preserving memory functioning and learning
-Normalizing your insulin and leptin sensitivity, which is key for optimal health
-Normalizing ghrelin levels, also known as “the hunger hormone”
-Lowering triglyceride levels

 

Intermittent Fasting Is as Good or Better Than Continuous Calorie Restriction

According to Dr. Stephen Freedland, associate professor of urology and pathology at the Duke University Medical Center, “undernutrition without malnutrition” is the only experimental approach that consistently improves survival in animals with cancer, as well as extends lifespan overall by as much as 30 percent. 5 Interestingly enough, intermittent fasting appears to provide nearly identical health benefits without being as difficult to implement and maintain. It’s easier for most people to simply restrict their eating to a narrow window of time each day, opposed to dramatically decreasing their overall daily calorie intake. Mark Mattson, senior investigator for the National Institute on Aging, which is part of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), has researched the health benefits of intermittent fasting, as well as the benefits of calorie restriction. According to Mattson, 6 there are several theories to explain why fasting works: “The one that we’ve studied a lot, and designed experiments to test, is the hypothesis that during the fasting period, cells are under a mild stress, and they respond to the stress adaptively by enhancing their ability to cope with stress and, maybe, to resist disease… There is considerable similarity between how cells respond to the stress of exercise and how cells respond to intermittent fasting.” In one of his studies, 7 overweight adults with moderate asthma lost eight percent of their body weight by cutting their calorie intake by 80 percent on alternate days for eight weeks. Markers of oxidative stress and inflammation also decreased, and asthma-related symptoms improved, along with several quality-of-life indicators. More recently, Mattson and colleagues compared the effectiveness of intermittent fasting against continuous calorie restriction for weight loss, insulin sensitivity and other metabolic disease risk markers. The study, published in the International Journal of Obesity in 2011, 8 found that intermittent fasting was as effective as continuous calorie restriction for improving all of these issues, and slightly better for reducing insulin resistance. According to the authors: “Both groups experienced comparable reductions in leptin, free androgen index, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, total and LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure and increases in sex hormone binding globulin, IGF binding proteins 1 and 2. Reductions in fasting insulin and insulin resistance were modest in both groups, but greater with IER [intermittent fasting] than with CER [continuous energy restriction].”

How Intermittent Fasting Benefits Your Brain

Your brain can also benefit from intermittent fasting. As reported in the featured article: “Mattson has also researched the protective benefits of fasting to neurons. If you don’t eat for 10–16 hours, your body will go to its fat stores for energy, and fatty acids called ketones will be released into the bloodstream. This has been shown to protect memory and learning functionality, says Mattson, as well as slow disease processes in the brain.” Besides releasing ketones as a byproduct of burning fat, intermittent fasting also affects brain function by boosting production of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Mattson’s research suggests that fasting every other day (restricting your meal on fasting days to about 600 calories), tends to boost BDNF by anywhere from 50 to 400 percent,9 depending on the brain region. BDNF activates brain stem cells to convert into new neurons, and triggers numerous other chemicals that promote neural health. This protein also protects your brain cells from changes associated with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. BDNF also expresses itself in the neuro-muscular system where it protects neuro-motors from degradation. (The neuromotor is the most critical element in your muscle. Without the neuromotor, your muscle is like an engine without ignition. Neuro-motor degradation is part of the process that explains age-related muscle atrophy.) So BDNF is actively involved in both your musclesand your brain, and this cross-connection, if you will, appears to be a major part of the explanation for why a physical workout can have such a beneficial impact on your brain tissue — and why the combination of intermittent fasting with high intensity exercise appears to be a particularly potent combination.

Give Intermittent Fasting a Try

If you’re ready to give intermittent fasting a try, consider skipping breakfast, make sure you stop eating and drinking anything but water three hours before you go to sleep, and restrict your eating to an 8-hour (or less) time frame every day. In the 6-8 hours that you do eat, have healthy protein, minimize your carbs like pasta, bread, and potatoes and exchange them for healthful fats like butter, eggs, avocado, coconut oil, olive oil and nuts — essentially the very fats the media and “experts” tell you to avoid. This will help shift you from carb burning to fat burning mode. Once your body has made this shift, it is nothing short of magical as your cravings for sweets, and food in general, rapidly normalizes and your desire for sweets and junk food radically decreases if not disappears entirely. Remember it takes a few weeks, and you have to do it gradually, but once you succeed and switch to fat burning mode, you’ll be easily able to fast for 18 hours and not feel hungry. The “hunger” most people feel is actually cravings for sugar, and these will disappear, as if by magic, once you successfully shift over to burning fat instead. Another phenomenal side effect/benefit that occurs is that you will radically improve the beneficial bacteria in your gut. Supporting healthy gut bacteria, which actually outnumber your cells 10 to one, is one of the most important things you can do to improve your immune system so you won’t get sick, or get coughs, colds and flus. You will sleep better, have more energy, have increased mental clarity and concentrate better. Essentially every aspect of your health will improve as your gut flora becomes balanced. Based on my own phenomenal experience with intermittent fasting, I believe it’s one of the most powerful ways to shift your body into fat burning mode and improve a wide variety of biomarkers for disease. The effects can be further magnified by exercising while in a fasted state.

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January 31 2019

Did You Know/Health Tip

Here are some great brain healthy foods that really pack the power:

1. Walnuts

Good for both your heart and your brain, all nuts in general are good sources of healthy fats. Walnuts specifically are high in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a type of the famous Omega-3 fatty acid. In fact, a study completed in 2015 linked increased walnut consumption with improved cognitive testing scores.[1]

2. Salmon

Fatty fishes such as salmon have gotten so much great attention related to their healthy fat content. Well here is another benefit to add to the list:

Because salmon is such an abundant source of Omega-3 fatty acids, they are a good source of decreasing blood levels of beta-amyloid. Beta-amyloid is the protein that forms the dangerous clumps in your brain leading to Alzheimer’s disease.[2]

3. Turmeric

It is now known that the neurons in our brains can continue to form new connections throughout adulthood which was once believed to be impossible. One of the main drivers in the process of building these new pathways is called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).

The great news is that it is likely that turmeric can increase BDNF levels leading to improved brain function and decreased risk of degenerative brain processes.[3]

4. Blueberries

The anti-oxidative properties of berries are powerful! It has been shown that consuming at least two servings of berries each week can improve memory and prevent memory decline.

5. Tomatoes

With the composition of your brain being mostly fat, 60% to be exact, the fat soluble nutrients in tomatoes act as a powerful safeguard. Specifically known as carotenoids, these nutrients are great antioxidants that help to neutralize free radicals. This is an important process to keep your brain functioning at its highest level.[4]

6. Chia Seeds

Another great source of healthy fats, the Omega-3 fatty acids found in chia seeds are a powerful brain enhancer.[5]

Here’re the amazing benefits of chia seeds (and some refreshing recipes).

7. Broccoli

Research suggests that consuming dark green vegetables regularly slows cognitive decline. This is likely due to these veggies being rich in brain healthy nutrients such as Vitamin A, K, folate, lutein, and fiber.

8. Apples

Studies from 2006 showed that a common compound in apples, quercetin, may protect the neurons in our brain against oxidation. It is believed that the quercetin reduces cellular death in the brain related to oxidation and inflammation of the neurons. This process may play an important role in reducing neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s.[6]

9. Spinach

Again! Those leafy greens! Leafy greens are a powerhouse of brain protective nutrients and antioxidants.

10. Onions

Onions are a good natural source of folate. Folate has been shown to improve the blood flow to the brain by decreasing homocysteine levels in the body. This also may have beneficial effects for those suffering with depression.[7]

11. Flax Seeds

Another rich source of Omega 3 and ALA! Flax seeds can help reduce blood pressure and therefor improve blood flow to the brain. This reduction of blood pressure also helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and strokes. It’s a win, win!

12. Coffee

The caffeine in your daily cup of Joe may be doing more than wake you up. A 2014 study showed that those with higher caffeine consumption had improved test scores on mental function and had better memory recall.[8]

13. Tea

The combination of caffeine and the amino acid L-Theanine found in tea, has been shown to have powerful effects on brain function. In a 2017 study, green tea was shown to improve cognition, memory power, and reduce anxiety.[9]

The Bottom Line

There are many foods that have been shown to benefit the brain! What is most important to keep in mind is to focus on whole, real foods.

In summary and in looking at the above list, you can see that nature has powerful benefits. Eating what nature is providing us is the fastest way to feeding your brain.

Featured photo credit: Lars Blankers via unsplash.com

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