Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.

Archive for December, 2008

31 Dec

Reflect, Regroup, Resolve

2207496710 4010e0cde0New Year’s Eve: parties (whether they be grand galas, small social gatherings, cozy dinners with partners/friends, or living room camp-outs with the kids), champagne, evening appetizers, brunch buffets, noisemakers, balloons and glittery hats, kisses at midnight or perhaps turning in early. Each of us will be doing something different this evening, but somehow the occasion sparks a similar sentiment in everyone. Reflection, contemplation – a mental review of good times during the year and perhaps regret of a few unfortunate moments. We think about not just what happened, per se, but how we view the pattern or progression along the way. What has the year meant for us? How far have we come? What were the highlights, and where were the low points? In our professional lives? In our personal lives? In our families and social circles? And, of course, in our health?

30 Dec

Aflatoxins, or Another Reason to Shun Peanuts

353624248 10baeb8d90We already tend to steer clear of peanuts for some obvious (to our readers) reasons: the fact that they’re legumes, rather than actual nuts; the potentially dangerous, “anti-nutrient” lectins found in them; and their prominent spot in the upper echelons of the “Most Common Food Allergens” list. But there’s another reason to steer clear of peanuts, something we’ve touched on briefly in the past but never expounded upon. Peanuts, along with a couple other crops we tend to avoid, like corn and cereals, are especially susceptible to a mold that produces a mycotoxin called aflatoxin.

Aflatoxin is a carcinogen that has been shown to cause liver cancer in rats (and, presumably, in humans). The amounts given to the rats in the study were highly concentrated, of course, with the express intent to study the effects of acute aflatoxicosis. You won’t be getting a couple grams of aflatoxin with every bag of peanuts or anything, so acute aflatoxicosis isn’t a big issue for people – at least in the US.

29 Dec

Dear Mark: Sunglasses and Sunlamps

344196890 b25a127fefDear Mark,

We’re heading into the winter months (it’s chilly even here in Atlanta!) and the days are getting shorter. As “Lights out: sleep, sugar, survival” taught us, we’re wired to handle seasonal patterns of sunlight exposure. What are your thoughts on maintaining a tan year round? Would you be better off letting your tan wane in the winter and switching from regular fish oil to cod liver oil to compensate for the vitamin D? To maintain a tan in the winter months would probably require a tanning booth, and I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on using those, even very occasionally. I’d love to see an article discussing this topic if you can get around to it. If you’ve already written one, could you point me in the direction of it?

28 Dec

Weekend Link Love

weekend link love

With the holidays behind us (well, there is still New Year’s to go) most big temptations are behind us, but 60 in 3′s 6 way to avoid temptations can always come in handy.

Conditioning Research published the results of another recent study that suggests a low carb diet is “effective for improving and reversing type 2 diabetes.”

Dr. John Briffa echoes a sentiment I made recently; if you must take antiobiotics be sure to take some probiotics to protect your gut.

27 Dec

Your Heart is Telling You to Sleep

371257935 de5f31428bA study in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that sleep is an integral ingredient for heart health.

For the study, researchers from the University of Chicago outfitted 495 healthy, middle-aged volunteers with actigraphs, a device worn on the wrist to measure movement and rest.

Accounting for some degree of movement during sleep time – hey, we’ve all been there with the tossing and turning! – the researchers determined that the study participants slept an average of 6 hours per night but spent about seven hours in bed, presumably waiting to fall asleep.

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