Apples, as you know, this is a pro-fat health site – pro-fat meaning we recommend eating beneficial fats, of course, not getting fat. There are a lot of issues to consider when it comes to fat – heart disease, inflammation, arthritis, obesity and prevention, to name a few – and I’m going to weigh in (I know, I know) on some of the latest findings.
Increasingly, the medical community is focusing on the interrelatedness of health conditions like obesity, diabetes, arthritis and heart disease. These prevalent health problems have a common component – inflammation – and mounting evidence suggests that a wide range of lifestyle habits aimed at preventing inflammation is clearly the better avenue for public health. Soaring health care costs, unequal distribution of nutritious food, Americans’ sedentary lifestyle, grievous drug side effects, and inaccurate food and health information are all factors in a health crisis that I believe has hit critical mass – it’s time for a smarter solution.
Case in point: arthritis costs alone are over $120 billion dollars every year and growing. Just a few years ago, we were spending about $80 billion. By 2010, about 50 million people will suffer from arthritis. In my opinion, this is utterly unacceptable. Arthritis can occur for many reasons – I myself manage osteoarthritis from years of professional sports competition. Excessive levels of stress like hardcore athletic training or lack of any physical exercise are common culprits. Though there is a genetic predisposition to arthritis in some folks, the majority of people suffer from arthritis to a much greater extent than they need to, given the availability of easy prevention options (that are a lot cheaper and less painful than drugs, surgery and daily suffering). Personally, I’m rarely bothered by my arthritis because I maintain a good exercise routine, I don’t eat junk, and I am ruthless about preventing inflammation.
How to prevent inflammation:
- Douse yourself in antioxidants
- Consume “good” fats with reckless abandon
- Limit both physical and emotional stress
- Absolutely avoid anything that contributes to oxidation: smoking, excessive drinking, lack of activity, processed and prepared food, trans fat, and sugar
Add Another Test to the List
There have been several new heart disease markers identified this month (and a few thrown out as doctors realize basic prevention is worth a lot more). A Japanese study found interesting results for a specific set of women with particular heart conditions; and this study will help doctors determine how people who already have heart disease can avoid a second incident. In the same vein (there I go again), a few studies released this month are too fraught with questions and conflicts of interest to be of much insight (though no doubt Big Pharma will still bandy them about).
Look, heart disease is the biggest killer of men and women. And it goes beyond that – those suffering from heart problems also tend to suffer from other big health problems like diabetes, obesity, and arthritis. These health problems are often complicit because they are either caused or exacerbated by your old enemy, inflammation. That’s why I think it’s critical that the health community shift the focus from statins, surgeries and stents to prevention, prevention, prevention. There are so many reasons why: soaring costs, debt, quality of life, current inequalities in care along socioeconomic and racial lines, and simply, common sense. Our government may be indebted to Big Pharma and the lobbyists; no matter. We can solve our health problems ourselves – Uncle Sam will get the message. Which brings me to:
The National Healthcare Quality Report finds that, based upon 40-odd “core quality measures”, health care has improved by 3.1%. All right – I guess that’s supposed to be impressive. But here’s what caught my eye:
“However, the use of proven prevention strategies is lagging behind other gains…”
2/3 of Americans are overweight or obese, putting them at risk for diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Health care is in crisis, and until it gets straightened out (and I applaud the recent efforts of politicians and states to fix the mess), how do we get prevention information to hit home? Information isn’t in short supply; some of it (a lot of it) is inaccurate, but sites like yours truly here and some of the great folks linked at right want to help. How do we spread the news that prevention is easier, and safer, and better than you think?
I’m not quite sure why the Navy thinks a goat is a compelling image when it comes to avoiding desserts, but it’s better than Labelman.
Smart Fuel, Just in Time for the Weekend…
Want skin that Cindy Crawford would be jealous of? Eat fat. That’s right – fat! Many of us, especially women, tend to avoid fat because we’ve been told it’s bad for us. Mark will be posting later today on the fat debate (would you expect anything less than ornery here at Mark’s Daily Apple?), but for now, here’s our suggestion: fat is your friend!
Keep in mind the type of fat you eat is very important. Fried foods and processed items tend to be high in “bad” fats – the kind that clog arteries, release free radicals in your body, and stimulate inflammation. But good fats – heaven be praised – can prevent disease, help you lose weight, and make your skin positively glow. Sound too good to be true? Nope. Good fats really can help with all those health goals.
Here are some “good” fats you can eat to feel great starting this weekend:
Animal fats top the list: think tallow, lard, fish oil.
Other great fats:
Other good fats:
Organic yogurt and cottage cheese. These dairy products are typically easier to digest than cheese or milk. Be sure to get the sugar-free varieties of yogurt. Although dairy isn’t rich in Omega-3 fatty acids like fish or nuts, there are other valuable fats. And science reveals that the proportions of various fats in the diet are more important than any single fat. Fats work better together than alone.
Now, admittedly, we’ve been on a bit of an Omega-3 tear this week, but that’s because we see people missing out on these fantastic fats. Fat’s not bad. Far from it – so enjoy! You’ll sleep better, your skin will be radiant, your organs will love you, and your waistline might even shrink a bit. Magical things happen when Omega-3 fats come to town: headaches run in fright, bad moods slink away, and spare tires get rolling.
5 Tips to Feel Great Today:
1 – Eat something green at every meal. And by green we mean a vegetable. Limeade and green apple Jolly Ranchers do not count. Veggies fight cancer, help you lose weight, boost your brain, and just generally mean business.
2 – Eat something red, like a tomato. Tomatoes contain lycopene. This is great for your eyes, which are fresh now but often get blurry by day’s end, right? We humans may be endlessly fascinated by the latest office memo (sure), but fortunately, our eyes seem to know when to call it quits. Give them a little lycopene and lutein love, would ya? (Psst…cooked tomatoes are actually richer in lycopene than fresh tomatoes.)
3 – Jam out to some really sappy music you loved in high school. Not that anyone here ever does that, but we hear it’s great for stimulating endorphins and other feel-good brain compounds.
4 – Call a friend. See a movie. Take a walk around the block. Anything that gives you a little respite from a long work week. Remember that caring for your emotional health is a major part of beating stress and staying fit!
5 – Get some good fatty acids in that body! Pick from Smart Butter (yum!), avocados, nuts, fish, grass-fed meat, olive oil, or organic peanut butter.
Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:
A lot of good stuff is buzzing about in the health world today, Apples. Here’s the best of the batch:
1) But my crumpet won’t be the same!
A new study finds that adding milk or cream to your tea diminishes the nutritional value. (The nutritional value of tea is off the charts: “tea exerts antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and vasodilating effects, ‘thereby rendering protection against cardiovascular diseases’ the researchers said.”)
Guess what? The study examined 16 whole people. And only women. Who were post-menopausal. In other words, hardly conclusive, yet it made a splash all over the media. (Science Daily got pretty darn dramatic: “Research published online in the European Heart Journal has found that the protective effect that tea has on the cardiovascular system is totally wiped out by adding milk.” And then bemoaned the plight of the British, who enjoy a bit of milk in their tea.)
Despite drinking gallons of tea, the Brits do have high rates of heart disease (although, if you recall from our news item last week, they’ve managed to slash their national heart disease rate by almost 40% in just a few years). While this study may turn out to be accurate, it pays to take a look at just how reasonable major new health claims actually are. In this case, a milk protein called casein may blunt the antioxidants in tea (known as catechins). Or maybe not: while it’s a good theory, it needs more testing.
The moral of the story? Being really dramatic about relatively small news is fun for the media (sorry guys and gals), so always consider the source and expect significant results.
We spend about 2 trillion dollars a year on health care. That’s not including food, or diets, or diet books, or exercise machines, or gym memberships. That’s just health care. TWO. TRILLION. DOLLARS.
By comparison, we spend about 9 billion on nutritional supplements.
2 trillion dollars is also more money than the entire national GDP of every single country in the world except the US, Japan, Germany, the UK, and France. That means our health care tab alone is more than the national economic value of 179 whole nations. Whew.
Now, with 17% of our national funds going to health care, what do we have to show for it?
When it comes to obesity, life expectancy, heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, depression, drug reactions, and preventable death, that old adage “We’re #1″ is, unfortunately, all too true.
The news is both sobering and encouraging. Here we are, the richest nation on earth, suffering ill health at rates far beyond most other industrialized nations. The good news (yes, there is good news!) is that nearly every major health problem we face can be prevented in most cases through lifestyle changes. All of the above listed health conditions and diseases are almost entirely preventable with a better diet, a little exercise, and a little TLC. We could spend money on health care until the cows come home, but the fact remains: an ounce of prevention…
Yet another excellent piece on the interesting link between migraines, depression, and anxiety in women. Women tend to suffer far more from these health issues than do men. Scientists postulate a few possible reasons: hormonal differences, social and cultural pressures related to gender, and the fact that women tend to attend to the health of their children or mates before addressing their own health problems. There’s no clear-cut answer, and men don’t have an easy time, either: men are prone to heart attacks earlier in life, higher blood pressure, and also tend to ignore serious health issues such as ED, cancer and depression because of the social stigma.
However, whether you’re a pretty pink or a big blue, you can do a lot to ease things like depression, anxiety, and even headaches by getting sufficient Omega-3 fats. Studies overwhelmingly point to the brain and heart benefits of these vital fats.
Get good fats in your body by cutting out trans-fat (found in margarine, processed foods and fried fare), eating more fish, olive oil, nuts and avocados, and taking a fish oil supplement.
The Top 10 Tips for: fighting the free radicals that destroy the body
10. Take the world’s most potent antioxidant supplement.
9. Avoid exposure to cigarette smoke (and stop smoking!).
8. Don’t eat deep-fried anything. Fried is not your friend.
7. Drink alcohol in moderation.
6. Meditate, journal or pray for a few minutes every day. This helps your body regulate its stress hormones better, which keeps everything running smoothly, including your immune system and the body’s inflammatory response.
5. Exercise several times a week. This stimulates feel-good hormones, the immune system, and the metabolism. Exercise also helps reduce hormonal stress, inflammation, stress to your liver, and yes…oxidation.
4. Eat clean: Try to eat organic meat and dairy products. Wash produce thoroughly.
3. Consume good fats with reckless abandon. (Things like grass-fed meat, wild fish, DHA-enhanced eggs, nuts, avocados, Smart Butter, and olive oil.)
2. Eat foods containing antioxidants every day: vegetables, fruits, berries, nuts…yum!
1. And the number one way to reduce inflammation and oxidation (and thereby prevent or reduce most health problems and diseases)? Lay off the sugar! Just say no to processed, refined, empty calories from things like soda, white bread, white pasta, sugary cereals, pastries and other starchy snacks. Yes, these foods are pretty…pretty evil.
This post was brought to you by the Damage Control Master Formula, independently proven as the most comprehensive high-potency antioxidant multivitamin available anywhere. With the highest antioxidant per dollar value and a complete anti-aging, stress, and cognition profile, the Master Formula is truly the only multivitamin supplement you will ever need. Toss out the drawers full of dozens of different supplements with questionable potency and efficacy and experience the proven Damage Control difference!
© 2013 Mark's Daily Apple | Design By The Blog Studio