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

Mark's Daily Apple

17 Apr

Smart Fuel: Spinach

Perhaps Popeye had it right. He pounded spinach for super-human strength and loved olive oil (although granted, it was a girl, not the healthy fat Rachel Ray is always harping on about!). But is spinach really good for your muscles and can it give you the boost you need to take on ol’ Bluto?

Let’s start with the most basic stuff: Calorie for calorie, spinach is perhaps one of the most nutrient dense vegetables out there (and it’s no slouch in the flavonoid department, but we’ll talk about that in a minute). In the vitamin department, it logs literally off-the-charts levels of vitamin K and vitamin A, providing 1110% and 234%, respectively, per 1 cup serving of boiled spinach (or 6 cups of raw spinach). Why would this be important? Well, vitamin K is important for bone health (especially when combined with calcium and magnesium, spinach’s other bone-building nutrients) and vitamin A is important for reducing the amount of free-radicals in the body as well as preventing cholesterol from oxidation – which is the process whereby cholesterol can cause damage to arteries. This effect is further amplified when the vitamin A is combined with vitamin C – which spinach also has in spades – a combination that is also thought to reduce inflammation, particularly among patients suffering from asthma, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Keep reading…

16 Apr

We Like Drugs – Fair and Balanced

Were those gasps we just heard? Maybe a few people falling out of their chairs? (Sorry about that, by the way.) No, the sky hasn’t fallen, and (as far as we know) hell hasn’t frozen over.

As many of you know, we offer the occasional critique of Big Pharma – its business model, advertising practices, ethics, etc. (No, really?) Although this post doesn’t negate our previous points, we want to present a side of the MDA philosophy that, admittedly, doesn’t get as much blog time.

Keep reading…

15 Apr

10 True Old Wives’ Tales: Take 2

Turns out, we have a lot of wannabe detectives in our midst! Our last post on which old wives’ tales were in fact true got such a great response we figured we’d give you 10 more to add to your repertoire!

Keep reading…

15 Apr

The Benefits of Short Breaks

It’s a long afternoon in the office, and your focus is waning. After staring out the window for a few half-conscious minutes, you tell yourself, “Maybe I’ll just get up and take a lap. I’ll get some water or see what my buddy is doing down the hall.”

It turns out your break is more than just a cubicle “coping mechanism” or even a recharge for a distracted mind. New research out of Australia shows that frequent breaks with even a modest amount of movement (like standing and stretching) have significant physical benefit. The study measured the impact of “light activity” on a number of health markers in 168 healthy adults.

Keep reading…

14 Apr

Dear Mark: Beans/Legumes

Dear Mark,

I’m a former vegetarian who still enjoys cooking with all kinds of beans. I don’t see them in any of the MDA recipes. What’s your take on them?

Legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas, split peas, etc.) aren’t, by any means, the worst thing you can eat, but they don’t make the ideal meal either. In my estimation, legumes fall into the “O.K.” category with wine, chocolate, cheese and other dairy, etc.

On the upside, legumes offer protein, and they tend to be good sources of several minerals like potassium and magnesium. On the downside, they offer only a moderate at best amount of protein (generally 4-9 grams per ½ cup serving). As the How to Eat Enough Protein post showed, legumes’ protein content is dwarfed by the 28 grams you’d get from a cup of cottage cheese or the 50+ grams you’d get from six ounces of several meats. And this relatively small amount of protein comes with a hefty carb content: as high as 28 grams for that same ½ cup serving!

Keep reading…

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