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

Mark's Daily Apple

15 Jan

Why Lean Meat?

There’s been a lively discussion going on in the comment board of yesterday’s “Dear Mark: Pondering Protein” post. I want to make myself clear about what I mean when I say “lean meats”. Here is a markus’s great comment and my reply:

can’t see why you seem to think that Paleolithic man ate lean meats (certainly not on purpose anyway)

many anthropologists and ethnobiologists since the turn of the century noted traditional societies actively sought out the fat – Aborigines come to mind. Never mind the Samburu and Masai herdsmen or the North American Indians or Eskimo (the latter did not all eat fish).

Are you influenced by Cordain?

Keep reading…

15 Jan

Vegetable Victory: How to Best Preserve Produce

rottenveggiesYou know you need vegetables and you know you need plenty of ‘em. But what you can’t figure out is how to prevent your fridge full of fresh, healthy produce from turning into a vegetable drawer full of mush!

Here are some tips you can use to preserve your produce:

* When selecting produce, make every attempt to select items that are near ripening, that have no bruises or brown spots and that do not appear wilted. If you must select produce with imperfections, be sure to either eat the damaged items first or, if you intend to store them, remove any damaged parts to prevent the spread of microbes that can speed deterioration.

* Although fruits and vegetables are often lumped under the same “produce” umbrella, the reality is, they don’t really get along that well, especially when it comes to ethylene. Turns out fruits are generally ethylene producers, while vegetables are ethylene sensitive, meaning that being in the company of fruits will make them spoil even quicker. There are, however, a few exceptions to the rule. Asparagus and tomatoes, for example, are two vegetables (well, sort of) that actually produce ethylene, while watermelon is somewhat of a cross-over artist and is one fruit that is actually very ethylene sensitive. The bottom line? To prevent upsetting the applecart (get it?) its best to keep your fruits and vegetables separated at all times.

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15 Jan

Flame Thrower: Top 10 Natural Ways to Reduce Inflammation

firefighterPuffy, bloated, swollen. Sound attractive? Sounds like inflammation.

On the most basic level, inflammation is the way in which the body reacts to a disturbance, be it infection, irritation or other injury. More specifically, however, the inflammatory response – which in addition to swelling can also include redness, warmth and pain – occurs when blood, antibodies and other immune system components rush to the scene of the crime to attempt to repair the damage.

In most areas of the body, the pain associated with inflammation informs you of the damage, the swelling limits injury site mobility and prevents further irritation and the increased heat, redness and occasional itching are all signs that the immune system is doing its job! However, if this inflammation goes undetected – or is ignored – it can build up in the body, causing damage to other surrounding tissues and organs. In cases where inflammation is not adequately controlled, symptoms of chronic inflammation can occur, manifesting as arthritis, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, chronic fatigue, chronic pain, hair loss and dozens of other ailments and conditions.

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14 Jan

Dear Mark: Pondering Protein

proteinDear Mark,

I hear conflicting advice on the percentage of protein in a healthy diet. How much protein should I be getting?

The subject of protein intake is, as you’ve noticed, a contentious issue. It’s gotten a lot of attention (and scrutiny) since the Atkins and derivative diet plans became all the rage several years ago. Let me first say that, while I can tell you my perspective on protein, it’s not a stand-in for your physician’s advice. Individual health history is crucial to determining appropriate protein intake, and your doctor will be able to look at the full picture with you.

That said, I think high protein diets get a bad rap for a number of reasons. Too many people approach a high protein diet as a free pass to eat whatever meats they crave, and that too often means fatty, cured, conventional meat. They also don’t balance their diet appropriately.

Keep reading…

14 Jan

The Almighty Power of the Pill

prescriptionYou can’t watch more than ten minutes of television these days without seeing at least one commercial for some kind of prescription pill that promises relief from any variety of conditions. The ads are cheerful, whimsical, annoying, seductive, and sometimes nauseatingly hokey. But they work.

The ads, that is. And they should, given the price tag. Results from a study released this week at York University showed that the U.S. pharmaceutical industry spends approximately “twice as much on promotion as it does on research and development.” (The industry denies the estimate.) Big Pharma clearly wants us to believe in the power of their products.

Keep reading…

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