Cross Your Fingers to Momentarily Dull Pain

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When you have an accident or find yourself in any sort of pain, researchers found that simply crossing one’s fingers confuses the brain in such a way that it eases pain.  The study, published by Current Biology, concluded that increasing the input into the brain can help to ease pain.

Recommendations for Easing Pain

  1. Cross Your Fingers: The study used illusory pain to test the hypothesis, but since the brain creates the “feeling” of pain regardless of whether it is real or not, it is safe to say that it could help to dull real pain.  At least it can’t hurt.
  2. Swear: Researchers at Keele University found that using 4-letter words when in pain allows people to endure pain 50% longer than those using regular words such as table.

 

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Make Rice Healthy by Cooking it Properly

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At the National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society, an undergraduate named Sudhair James presented a new method for cooking rice that dramatically cuts down on the starchy calorie content in rice, and even makes it ferment in the stomach like dietary fibers.  The new technique is extremely simple, and besides slight proceduaral changes, only requires that the rice be cooked ahead of time.

How to Cook Rice

  1. Boil Water: Begin the process in the same way one would traditionally cook rice; a 1:2 ration of rice to water.
  2. Add Coconut Oil: This is the first major difference.  You need to add about 3% of the weight of rice, which is equal to about a teaspoon per half cup of rice.  This is the first step in altering the composition of starches within the rice to what are known as “resistant starches” that escape digestion and ferment.
  3. Cook Normally: From here, let the rice cook as you normally would, letting the water be absorbed and the rice softening to your preferred texture.
  4. Cool Immediately:  The next step in altering your rice is to allow the rice to cool for about 12 hours immediately after cooling.  This part of the process can be applied to some other starches, such as pasta, to increase resistant starches.  Simply microwave the rice to heat it back up, or add it cold to already hot food, and you have a much healthier alternative to traditionally cooked rice without sacrificing the flavor and tenderness of one of the worlds favorite foods.

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Increase Fiber intake to Feed Gut Microbiota

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A recent study in Cell Metabolism suggests that the best way to increase gut bacteria is to feed the already existing bacteria with “microbiota accessible carbohydrates,” specifically fiber.  The study indicates that western culture starves its microbiota by depriving it of food high in fiber.

Recommendations for Increasing Fiber Intake

  1. Eat Whole GrainProducts: As You Made Me Think has previously reported, whole grain breads and other whole grain products contain many carbohydrates that escape metabolism in the gut and feed the fermentation process.  This is because whole grain foods contain much higher quantities of fiber than their processed counterparts.
  2. Eat Nuts, Legumes, and Seeds: Eating a Handful of Nuts a Day has already been shown to have systemic health benefits, one reason for which is the amount of fiber in them.  Increasing the intake of beans (legumes), specifically split peas, lentils, black beans, and lima beans will greatly increase fiber intake.  (Mayo Clinic)
  3. Eat Certain Vegetables: Veggies like Artichokes and green peas have the highest fiber quantity.  (Mayo Clinic)

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Avoid Drinking Water with Fluoride

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According to an observational study published in The Journal Epidemiol Community Health conducted in England’s West Midlands, drinking fluoridated water leads to a significant increase in the instances of hypothyroidism.

Recommendations for Avoiding Fluoride

  1. Check Your City’s Website: Large portions of the United States and, according to the study, 10% of England, fluoridate their drinking water.  Your city’s utility website will let you know if your tap water is fluoridated.  For the United States, see the CDC’s website for more information.
  2. Purchase and Appropriate Water Filter: The most reliable way to remove fluoride is through filtration.  However, standard carbon filters will not remove chloride.  Make sure to purchase either a reverse osmosis filter, a deionizer, or an activated alumina filter.
  3. Purchase Pre-Filtered Water at Health Food Stores: In order to avoid bottled water, most health food stores have reverse osmosis or deionizing filters that dispense fluoride free water into your own container.

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Avoid Monsanto’s Roundup Weed Killer

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Both the World Health Organization and the United Nations have released statements stating that a key ingredient in Monsanto’s widely used weed killer Roundup is “probably” carcinogenic. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) met in Lyon, France, and determined that while many of the chemicals used commonly in weed killers were metabolized harmlessly, there is evidence that glyphosate has an adverse effect on both mammalian and human cells in vitro, specifically aiding in the development of Hodgkins-lymphoma.

How to Avoid Glyphosate

  1. Avoid Chemical Weed Killers: While Monsanto’s Roundup is the most widely used industrial weedkiller to use glyphosate, the IARC stated that over 750 different herbicides use the chemical.
  2. Eat Organic Food: Roundup is widely used in industrial farming in the united states, and has been a cause of concern in the food supply for years.  By eating organic foods, it is possible, although not definitive, that the chemical can be avoided.

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Increase Folic Acid Intake to Decrease Risk of Stroke

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A new Chinese Study has concluded that adults with hypertension see significant reduction of cardiovascular mortality when increased amounts of Folic Acid are consumed.

Results of Folic Acid Intake

  1. Reduction of Stroke Risk: Over 4.5 years, volunteers who increased their folic acid intake saw a significant reduction in stroke risk.
  2. Reduction of over-all Cardiovascular Mortality

Sources of Folic Acid

  1. Dark Leafy Greens: Greens such as spinach, collard, turnip, and mustard Greens, as well as non leafy greens such as asparagus and Broccoli.
  2. Citrus: Of all fruits, citrus fruits contain the most folic acid.
  3. Vegetables: Although you should already be eating a healthy dosage of vegetables, veggies such as okra, brussel sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, beats and corn all have loads of folic acid.
  4. Beans and Lentils: Pinto beans, lima beans, green peas, black-eyed peas and kidney beans are especially high in folic acid.

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Consume Fermented Dairy Products to Prevent Dementia and Alzheimer’s

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Studies released over the last few years have been showing positive correlation between intake of fermented dairy products and reduction of risk for Alzheimer’s disease.  Multiple strains of fermented dairy have been tested over the years, but Lactobacillus helveticus and Penicillium candidum, two common microbes used to make cheeses, were the subject of recent studies designed to isolate the mechanisms behind the correlation.

What to Eat

  1. Lactobacillus helveticus Cheeses: Cheese is the primary focus of the studies into fermented dairy, and in moderation can be extremely healthy.  Read the label of store bought cheeses before purchasing! Many cheeses in the United States can’t even be legally labeled “cheese.”  Beware of “Cheese Product.”  These unnaturally cured cheeses use artificial means of fermentation and aging, and shredded cheese may even contain wood pulp.  Lactobacillus helveticus is a very common bacterial strain for cheese making, and can be found in American made Swiss, Emmental, Cheddar, Romano, Parmesan, provolone, and mozzarella cheeses.  
  2. Penicillium candidum Cheeses: Camembert, Brie, Coulommiers and Cambozola cheeses all use the Penicillium candidum bacteria for fermentation.  It forms a hard, natural crust on the outside of the cheese.

Fermented Dairy and Alzheimer’s

  • Reduces Amyloid Precursor Protein: In both studies, rats that were given the respective bacterium saw significant decrease in APP in serum.  Build-up of APP in the brain is currently believed to be the cause of dementia and Alzheimers, as well as general memory loss.  The studies show that metabolism of the protein is increased with cheese consumption in rats.

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Be Socially Connected to Increase Longevity

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Photo Credit: Wikipedia: Loneliness by Hans Thoma

Researchers from Brigham Young University have established a connection between social isolation and overall mortality.  Depending on certain factors, social isolation increases mortality rate by 26-32%.

Findings on Loneliness

  1. Loneliness Can Be Both Subjective and Objective: Researchers marked a clear difference between perception of loneliness and actual social isolation, and in both cases, mortality rates increased.  Some people have many social interaction, yet still feel isolated, while some experience very little social connectivity but are contended to be alone.  In both cases, subjective and objective, risk of early death is increased.
  2. Direct and Indirect Results on Health: Both types of loneliness have direct physical side effects, such as high blood pressure, lipid profiles, and poorer immune functions, as well as behaviorally induced side effects, such as smoking, physical inactivity, and poor sleep.
  3. Living Alone Causes Obesity: The study showed that living alone and social isolation have direct results on physical health, including vastly increased inactivity and over consumption of calories, leading directly to obesity.

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Do Not Use Homeopathy

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A new meta study conducted by the Australian Government’s National Health and Medical Research Council of 255 “usable” studies into homeopathy has concluded that there is no benefit at all from using homeopathic remedies.  “Like to cure like” is a false premise and the minute quantities of actual substance in diluted homeopathic remedies is of such little impact that it might as well not even be present.  The study reviewed over 1300 papers, but concluded that only 255 of them contained real science that could be used as data, indicating that the majority of studies in favor of homeopathy are falsified.

Findings of the NHMRC

  1. Treating Serious Illness with Homeopathy is Life Threatening:  The NHMRC has concluded that the treatment of any serious illness, or illness that could become serious, with homeopathy is extremely dangerous and equivalent to doing absolutely nothing.
  2. Homeopathy is No More Effective than Placebo:  Participants in most of the reviewed studies saw equal results when using a placebo as those participants using homeopathic remedies.  Studies that showed otherwise were limited in their science, sample size, and reliability.
  3.  Other Treatments are Always More Reliable: Only one study reported that homeopathy was more effective than other treatments, and that study was determined to be poorly designed with too few participants.

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Moderate Your Vitamin D Intake

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A large  study conducted in Denmark and published by The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism tested the blood of 247,574 people over 3 years and determined that too little or too much Vitamin D is responsible for increased mortality rate.  This is the first study to directly connect overconsumption of Vitamin D and an increase in overall mortality.

How to Regulate Intake

  1. Do Not Take Supplements: As we have reported on before, Vitamin Supplements are at least superfluous, and at worst a detriment to your health.
  2. Eat a Balanced, Nutritious Diet: By making sure to eat a variety of healthy foods, you can easily ensure that you are meeting the minimum requirement of Vitamin D.
  3. Do Not Sun Tan: If the implications regarding cancer are not enough to deter you from tanning in the sun, Vitamin D is produced en masse by skin cells, and large daily doses of direct sunlight will produce an over abundance.  This not to say that outdoor activity and sun exposure are necessarily unhealthy, but spending hours unmoving in direct sunlight is never recommended, Vitamin D aside.

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Beware of Consumer Products labeled “All-Natural,” “Green,” or “Organic,”

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A study published in Air Quality, Atmosphere, and Health tested 37 common household products, including as air fresheners, laundry detergents, cleaning products, and personal care products, and determined that there is no significant difference in toxic and carcinogenic ingredients between standard products and those labeled as “certified organic” or “green.”  Furthermore, these toxic ingredients are not mentioned on the label or product description.

Study Findings

  1. Avoid Fragrance Products: In the U.S. and Australia, there is no law that forces companies to disclose the ingredients of chemical mixtures labeled simply as “fragrance.”  All fragranced products tested contained terpenes, which react to molecules in the air to create additional pollutants, some of which, like formaldehyde, are toxic to humans.
  2. Don’t Trust Labels: Of the 37 products tested, regardless of labeling, every single product contained at least one toxic or carcinogenic substance, with an average of 15 per product.  More 550 volatile substances were emitted from the tested products, and only 3% were disclosed in the ingredients list.

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Expose Children to Peanuts Early

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Researchers from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) have concluded that children who ingest peanuts regularly from an early age are less likely to develop life threatening peanut allergies.

Reasons to Expose your Children

  1. Rising Allergy Rates: In 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that parents avoid feeding children peanuts until they reach 3 years of age.  Since this recommendation, peanut allergies have skyrocketed in the U.S. from .4% in 1997 to over 2% in 2010.  (NIAID)
  2. Greatly Increased Antibodies: Five Hundred children were separated into 2 groups, half of whom avoided peanuts until age 5 while the other half regularly consumed peanuts or peanut butter.  The group who were exposed to peanuts had only a 3.2% rate of allergies, whereas those who avoided peanuts had an immense 17.2% allergy rate.  (NIAID)

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Avoid Carboxymethycellulose and Polysorbate-80

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A lab trial published in Nature has determined that two common emulsifiers negatively impact the health of gut microbiota in mice.  According to the study, it has long been hypothesized that food additives such as emulsifiers cause to inflammatory disease, such as colitis and IBS, and this is the first study to test for such.  The study concluded that exposure to Carboxymethycellulose (CMC) and Polysorbate-80 (P-80).

What to Avoid

  1. Artificially Emulsified Foods: While further clinical trials in humans are necessary, it is safe to avoid any artificially emulsified foods, such as Mayo.  Emulsification is a means of binding molecules together that do not normally bind.  While processes do exist to bind goods such as mayo, it is cheaper and easier to use artificial means.
  2. Cellulose Gum:  Carboxymethylcellulose is more commonly cited on ingredient lists as cellulose gum.  It is common in ice cream, diet pills, and toothpastes.
  3. Reduced Fat Foods: In order to maintain the structural integrity of artificially reduced fat foods, CMC is used as a thickening agent.
  4. Be Wary of Gluten Free: While many gluten free foods use other methods, there is extensive use of CMC to replace gluten as a binding agent in baked goods.

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Eat Whole Grains

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Whole Grain and Whole Wheat products are not only more nutritionally sound, but also support longer life and better quality of living.  Multiple studies are finding that the systemic benefits of whole grains go far beyond greater nutrient density, effecting over all mortality, cholesterol levels, and even positive gut bacteria.

Why Whole Grains

  1. Inverse Relationship with Onset of Diabetes:  According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, whole grain foods increase the body’s sensitivity to insulin, meaning that it breaks down sugars more efficiently and staves off diabetes.
  2. Improves Positive Gut Bacteria:  Certain carbohydrates from whole grain avoid digestion.  This not only spares the body from unnecessary carbs, but more importantly causes them to ferment in the gut, allowing the body to naturally produce its own probiotics.  (Proceedings of the Nutrition Society)
  3. Contains Anti-oxidants: Not found in refined grains, these anti-oxidants are key to disease prevention.  (PNS)
  4. Nutrient Dense: The difference between whole grain foods and refined grains is the inclusion of angiosperms and other reproductive parts of the plant in the grinding.  Refining the grain removes almost all the nutrients besides carbohydrates.  Fibers, vitamins, and minerals are in much richer abundance in whole grain food.

Multigrain is Not Whole Grain

It is important to understand that multigrain does not necessarily equal whole grain.  A product labeled multigrain only means that multiple types of grain were used in the production process, but does not mean that the entire plant was used.

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Avoid High-Fructose Corn Syrup at all Costs

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Multiple studies are showing that the negative health impact caused by the consumption of high-fructose corn syrup cannot be mitigated through exercise and dietary measure.  The effects are systemic, causing problems from obesity to mental decline.  Consumption of products containing high-fructose corn syrup, in any quantity, is extremely detrimental to health, and it should be entirely removed from any health conscious diet.

Tips for Avoiding High Fructose Corn Syrup

  1. Stop Drinking Soda: Sodas contain the equivalent 17 teaspoons of sugar per can.  The average American gets 10.7% of his or her calories from HFCS, mostly from drinking soda.
  2. Avoid Processed Foods: Surprisingly, many non-liquid food products contain HFCS due to corn subsidies, such as crackers and cookies.  Read the label of anything sweet that you buy and look for alternatives.
  3. Simply Cut Back on Sweets: Sugar in any form can be detrimental to your health, so merely consuming fewer sweets not only improves over-all health, but lowers the risk that whatever sweet you are eating contians HFCS.

Why to Avoid

  1. Accelerates Obesity: Although high-fructose corn syrup advocates suggest that the substance is processed by the body identically to sugar, studies are showing more and more that HFCS is absorbed much more rapidly due to a lack of chemical bonding.
  2. Destroys the Liver:  The rapid absorption of fructose into the lover causes lipogenesis, causing a form of liver disease known as “fatty liver.”
  3. Contains Mercury:  According to a study published in Environmental Health, 11 out of the 20 samples tested contained mercury.  While not universal, it does seem that some manufacturers use mercury laden materials when manufacturing HFCS.
  4. Reduced Brain Function: High Fructose Corn syrup has been shown, in rats, to lower the synaptic plasticity, cognition, and spatial memory.  Further human studies are still needed.

Contradictory Evidence

The corn industry strongly maintains the stance that high fructose corn syrup is processed identically to sugar and is exactly as detrimental to health as sucrose, glucose, and fructose.  There are studies that back up this assertion as well, however they were short term studies examining one aspect of sugar metabolism.  More studies are needed for either side of the argument.

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Have an Orgasm per Day to Prevent Prostate Cancer

A study released by the Journal of the American Medical Association concludes that sexual activity shows little impact on cutting prostate cancer risk unless it is in quantities of 21 orgasms a month or more.  By achieving 21 orgasms or more per month, the rate of prostate cancer can be lowered by as much as 30%.

Suggestions for Prostate Cancer Prevention

  1. An Orgasm a Day: While this may be an impossible goal for some, the purpose to try and get to 21 times per month.  It does not matter how the orgasm is achieved, so long as it occurs.
  2. Drink Coffee: The mechanisms of coffee’s aid in prostate cancer prevention are as of yet unknown, however there is a link between drinking regular or decaf coffee and lower incidents of the cancer.
  3. Exercise: Regualr exercise not only prevents prostate cancer, but also skyrockets survival rates amongst those already diagnosed.
  4. Cut out Carbs:  LDL cholesterol levels, associated with carbohydrate intake, are correlated to prostate cancer development.
  5. Eat Cooked Tomatoes:  Cooking tomatoes activates lycopene, which gives tomatoes their color.  Eat two servings per week.
  6. Eat Fish: Omega-3 Fatty Acids are one of the best preventatives of prostate cancer and are abundant in animals that eat plankton, such as fish.

Eat Fewer Calories than “Recommended”

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For years, health organizations have asserted that 2,000 calories are needed per day in order to maintain health.  However, new studies are showing that cutting that caloric intake by 25%-40% is not only possible, but beneficial to more than just weight loss.  Eating fewer calories helps to slow down the aging process.

Benefits of Eating Less

  1. Increased Cellular Recycling: When fewer nutrients are available to the body, our cells adapt to the scarcity by reusing nutrients and recycling unnecessary cells.  Essentially, old redundant cells are given over to the formation of newer cells, which seems to increase over all cellular health, staving off cancer and signs of aging.
  2. Reversal of Diabetes: While the mechanisms are not yet fully understood, lab tests show that restricting calories not only prevents the onset of diabetes, but can also reverse early stages of the disease.
  3. Prevents Dementia: Calorie restriction causes an increase in the bodies ability to regulate its cells, which in turn allows the brain to better regulate itself, staving off dementia.
  4. Extended Life Span: By conditioning our bodies to use nutrients and recycle cells more efficiently, it is possible to reduce over all mortality risk.  Fewer calories helps to reduce the amount of unnecessary and harmful nutrients than increase body fat and blood pressure, leading to an over all healthier and longer life.

Warnings and Side Effects

It is important to note that cutting down on calories must be done carefully.  Not eating enough food can lead to negative side effects that must be carefully watched.  If you experience any of the noticeable side effects listed below, adjust your calorie intake accordingly.

  1. Memory Loss
  2. Decreased Bone Density
  3. Dizziness
  4. Depression 

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Cook Using Health Friendly Oils

The oils used to cook food have a large impact on the nutritional value of the finished product.  Studies show that using oils that are low in saturated fats and high in unsaturated fats greatly reduce the risk of heart problems.

Oils to Consider

  1. Olive Oil: It is common knowledge by now that olive oil is an extremely healthy alternative to coin oil and butter.  Olive oil is extremely high in unsaturated fats, and has an extremely pleasant taste.  However, olive oil cannot be used in all situations due to its relatively low smoke point, or the point at which the oil begins to burn and risk fire.  Unless using expensive, high end extra virgin olive oil, it is better to use alternative oils for any cooking over 325° Fahrenheit.
  2. Canola Oil: While this oil is considered labeled as a vegetable oil, the term is very broad, and canola oil does not behave the same as its cousins such as corn oil.  Canola oil contains high levels of unsaturated fats, and is only about 6% saturated fat.  Combined with a more realistic smoke point, Canola Oil is recommended by the FDA as a preventative measure against heart disease.  If you intend to sear meat or cook using a wok, Canola Oil is perfect.
  3. Sunflower Oil: This lesser known yet extremely healthy oil is actually healthier for you than Canola Oil and has a smoke point closer to the high end extra virgin olive oils.  Rich in monounsaturated fats, sunflower oil has an extremely pleasant taste for cooking.
  4. Peanut Oil: If you intend on deep-frying, and don’t have an allergy, peanut oil is perhaps the best choice.  Its extremely high smoke point and delicious taste make it the oil of choice, however it does contain a higher level of saturated fats.  That being said, its unsaturated fat content is also very high and you shouldn’t be deep frying food every day if you want to maintain a healthy heart.
  5. High Oleic Oils: With all the oils on this list, as well as almost anything listed on this site, there are varieties  of lower and higher quality which impact the healthful benefits of the foodstuff.  Oils of any variety that are labeled as “high oleic” are richer in unsaturated fats and healthier for the heart.  This essentially means that the oils are not hydrogenated for shelf life and weight.  (Hydrogenation is the process of flushing the food with hydrogen atoms that bond with the oils, thereby adding saturated fat to the product.)  The process of hydrogenating oils is falling out of practice due to an increase in health concerns, however it is important enough to always check that the oil you are buying is high oleic.

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Avoid Sitting

A new study published by the Annals of Internal Medicine has brought to light just how negative a sedentary lifestyle is to your health.  Sitting or lying down for long periods of time, regardless of the exercise done in between, has been shown to greatly increase late-life disability and increase mortality.

Suggestions for Avoiding Sedentary Health Problems

  1. Keep Track: Try and time how much in one day you find yourself sitting.  By simply keeping track of your habits, it is possible to adjust and intersperse mild exercise into your lifestyle.  If you find that you sit for 8 hours a day at work, then consider spending the rest of your time on your feet, even if it leisurely activity.  The study found that 12 hours a day sitting greatly increases mortality, so try to keep it well under than number.
  2. Intersperse Time on Your Feet: During long stretches of the day where you are forced to sit, try and stand for a few minutes every half our or so.  It is also helpful to replace a 3 minute walk with a quick cardio exercise, such as Burpees.
  3. Stand at the Computer:  If you have a standing-height counter, consider doing your internet browsing and computer work from there, instead of at a computer desk.  Simply standing without any movement is extremely beneficial to health when compared to sitting for the same period.

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Assume a Squatting Position to Poop

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Photo Credit: SquattyPotty.com

According to research conducted by multiple organizations, the Western method of bowel evacuation does not fully clear the colon of fecal matter, leading to multiple possible health complications.  Instead, researchers suggest “squatting” while pooping by raising the feet with a platform, thereby putting the torso and legs at a 35° angle to one another.  (See Above Image)

Benefits of Squatting

  1. Easier Defecation:  Squatting while pooping is the natural way in which humans are supposed to poop.  As such, the bowels are designed to line up in such a way that makes pooping faster and easier when squatting.
  2. Prevents Colon Cancer: Western pooping positions leave waste behind in the colon that, when stagnant, can damage cells and lead to colon cancer and other complications.
  3. Prevents Backflow: Protects the small intestine from feces returning from the colon.
  4. Promotes Healthy Urination and Sexual Performance: Proper pooping protects the pelvis floor from unnecessary strain and damage, thereby helping with proper urinary and sexual function.

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