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

Mark's Daily Apple

18 Nov

A Case Against Cardio, Part 27

marathon runner legs running on city streetI’m mostly joking with the title. Though, considering how much I’ve written on this topic since starting this blog way back in 2006, it’s probably not too far off. And it’s not just me. Endurance training has been getting the snot beaten out of it in recent years. A variety of media outlets, TED talks, other blogs, observational research and clinical trials have all sounded the alarm about the dangers of excessive chronic cardio.

A new string of studies has found evidence of higher arterial plaque levels in the most active endurance athletes. This is becoming a trend. While endurance athletes tend to have more of the calcified kind of plaque, which is more stable and theoretically less prone to dangerous ruptures than less-calcified plaque, it remains worrying. I’ve spoken in the past about the proclivity toward heart problems found in endurance athletes. I know many former peers with atherosclerosis, cardiac arrhythmias, and other heart troubles.

Keep reading…

17 Nov

Should You Reduce Your Iron Intake?

Beef steakIron has an unequivocally positive reputation among the general public. After all, pregnant women use it to construct tiny humans, tiny humans use it to become slightly larger, more functional humans, and our cells require it to grow. And in many developing countries, iron deficiency is a real issue. Too little iron can have disastrous effects on cognition, growth, and overall physical robustness. Even adult women who aren’t building tiny humans inside their wombs may run low on iron due to menstrual cycle blood loss. Ask the average person and you’ll hear “the more iron, the better.” Consequently, many countries mandate iron fortification of wheat flour; in the US, we fortify pretty much everything with the stuff because it’s just so, so good for us. Is it true, though?

Not necessarily.

Keep reading…

16 Nov

Dear Mark: Baby Sleep/Feed Schedule and Walking Through a Sedentary Society

Baby sleep in a baby bed.For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering two reader questions. The first comes from reader Larisa. She is about to give birth, has been hearing the “wake your newborn every 2 hours to feed” recommendation, and wonders how realistic, evolutionarily-congruent, and healthy that will be for new parents desperate for sleep. I offer a few loose recommendations that hopefully make her feel better about what’s about to descend upon her life. Second, is there such a thing as too much low-level activity? Mariel walks 10+ miles a day, strength trains, and stands when she gets tired of walking. Her coworkers think she’s crazy. What do I think? Find out below.

Let’s go:

Keep reading…

15 Nov

Weekend Link Love – Edition 374

Weekend Link Love

Research of the Week

Leg strength at baseline was the best predictor of cognitive function over ten years in older women. Aware of the huge possibility for confounds, the researchers even used twins to eliminate genetic explanations.

Cooking with vegetable oils is indeed really, really bad for you. I swear I’ve heard that somewhere before.

Exercising before, but not after breakfast increases 24-hour fat oxidation.

Keep reading…

14 Nov

Waffle Iron Sweet Potato Hash Browns

Hash Browns2Sweet potatoes have a lot going for them as a breakfast potato of choice. Shredded into hash browns, they make a bigger flavor statement than regular old potato hash browns, and the sweetness is a perfect contrast with salty bacon and eggs.

Sweet potatoes are also strong sources of beta-carotene, manganese, and copper and safe sources of starch.

Sure, sweet potato hash browns can be cooked in a skillet. But if you have a waffle iron in the back of the cupboard that’s not being used for waffles any more, then pull it out. A waffle iron quickly and easily turns shredded sweet potatoes (and regular potatoes) into hash browns. The strings of sweet potato are both tender and crispy, with sweet, buttery flavor. Pile them high on plate and they’ll fly off the breakfast table (and the dinner table, too).

Keep reading…

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