Worker Bees’ Daily Bites
1) Wash Those Hands, Honey!
Bird flu and mad cow may be glamorously scary, but what should be making more headlines is the newest, ugliest superbug crawling around gyms, daycares and door handles. Fortunately, it’s easy to stop if you wash your hands after hanging around public places. Clickativity.
2) What’s that? You Frolicked in Acid?
Speak up, would ya! Folic acid is good for your ears. We’re impressed with this nice little study, which was long-term, placebo-controlled, and looked at both men and women. Very well done, Annals, very well done. And well done is actually quite…rare. (Come on, you know you’re smiling.)
Check out a great way to get folic acid here.
3) Harvard Doesn’t Like Uncle Sam’s Food Pyramid, Either
Harvard has released an alternative food pyramid and nutrition guide. It’s a really great way to spend 16 bucks because, although the US pyramid is both free and pretty, the Harvard version flat-out rocks. Harvard oh-so-politely counters the so-called “balanced diet” approach as being totally meaningless (which it is). Seriously, are things like “try to eat more whole grains” and “avoid fat” the best recommendations our government can come up with? Evidently so. (Although the FDA does have that nifty new Labelman tutorial online to help you understand nutrition labels and feel like a five-year-old simultaneously.)
Instead, with the Harvard guide, specific foods are recommended. How cool is that? Things like good fats (because they lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol), veggies rich in antioxidants (because they may prevent cancer and they fight inflammation and stress), and lots of lean protein. Yum!
In fact, Harvard makes a very convincing case that a high-protein diet is not only safe for the cardiovascular-concerned crowd, but that sensible high-protein diets (no baconfests, people) are actually better for the heart than bran muffins and bread machines. Which is what Mark has been espousing all along – pretty interesting stuff!
We really recommend purchasing the guide if you can. Kudos to Harvard for having the gumption to address real nutrition with real science and real recommendations. Although, colorful stripes are fun. We’re very impressed with the FDA for staying inside the lines so well.
EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT: Arabinogalactans
WHAT IT IS: Arabinogalactans are found in many foods and plant fibers, including garlic, leeks, carrots, radishes, pears, tomatoes, wheat, red wine, coconut, curcumin (found in curry seasoning), echinacea, and some tree barks. The best source for arabinogalactans is the larch tree. Of course, the Master Formula contains plenty of this beneficial extract, so you won’t have to visit your local forest for a larch bark snack.
WHAT IT DOES: We’ve all heard how echinacea, certain vegetables, garlic and onions can help fight infections and improve the strength of the immune system. Here’s why: arabinogalactans. All of these foods and herbs contain this potent little group of polysaccharides, and researchers think this is why such foods and herbs as garlic and echinacea are famous for boosting the immune system.
STUDIES SHOW: Arabinogalactans, scientifically speaking, are polysaccharides. They are gum sugars found in plant cell walls. But there’s nothing sweet about them: these powerful compounds can stimulate killer cells, interleukins, and tumer necrosis factor. These factors are involved in maintaining the health of the immune system. Scientists have found that arabinogalactans can help reduce length and severity of colds and infections. Arabinogalactans may also be helpful in fighting parasites.
WHY WE LIKE IT: In addition to offering immune system support, arabinogalactins appear to promote healthy gut bacteria. This is critical for maintaining a strong immune system and reducing those fattening gut bugs we like to talk about here on the MDA.
It’s been quite a day for the beverage industry here at the MDA. Is an Annoying Drink Award in the works? Who can say?
scam trend is Borba, the alleged wrinkle-preventing, skin-clarifying, change-your-life drink. Aside from the fact that I’m not about to drink something that’s actually pastel in color, the science is really questionable.
The better bet for good skin is a daily moisturizer, a good supplement routine, nutritious foods high in good fats, and judicious sun exposure. Of course, cigarettes, excessive drinking, high levels of stress and junk food are obvious things to avoid.
Borba may be really pretty, but there must be a reason I keep calling it Bogus by mistake. You can read up on the questionable science here.
Borba comes in pastel blue and pink, too. What, no mauve?
EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT: Milk Thistle
WHAT IT IS: Milk Thistle, or silybum marianum
Milk thistle is a hardy, prickly plant of the thistle family. It grows easily around the world. It is edible and its leaves are often eaten in a manner similar to artichokes. It can also be made into a potent beverage not unlike coffee. Used for more than 2,000 years, milk thistle was once thought to activate lactation (hence the name).
Milk thistle contains a substance, silymarin, which is a uniquely powerful antioxidant. It stores itself in the liver and can prevent and even reverse damage from toxins like alcohol and painkillers.
STUDIES SHOW: Milk thistle is one of the most thoroughly documented nutrients. Numerous studies support the claim that milk thistle can combat toxic damage in the liver from metals, poisons, alcohol, painkillers, pollution and other contaminants. Importantly, milk thistle has been shown to fight free radical damage – in fact, it appears that milk thistle may actually reverse some signs of oxidation in the liver.
Additionally, dozens of studies show that milk thistle can reduce cholesterol as well as inflammation in the liver. Milk thistle has the ability to fight lipid peroxidation, the process which creates cholesterol in the liver.
WHY WE LIKE IT: We like milk thistle because of its unique potential for benefitting the liver. Though known for being susceptible to damage from excess alcohol, the liver is also easily stressed by today’s diet and lifestyle trends (high in sugar, trans fats, free radicals and drugs). Maintaining liver health is crucial for cholesterol production and metabolism, the body’s inflammatory response, and overall health.
Milk thistle can help to reduce cholesterol and fight free radicals in the liver. This humble leaf also offers broad health benefits: helping to heal tissues, protect against further oxidation, and diminish inflammation.
Because we are inundated with free radicals – as Mark says, it’s a free radical minefield out there – it’s vital to supplement the liver with protective nutrients. And milk thistle is among the best sources for supporting liver health.
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