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

Mark's Daily Apple

3 Jan

The Buckler Brief

EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT: Arabinogalactans

NUTRIENT: 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.

2 Jan

Vitamins Good for Kids, Too

Here’s a great little study on the important role supplementing plays in child development.

Clickativity!

2 Jan

Is There One for Better Hair, Too?

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?

The latest 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?

Borba

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2 Jan

Tuesday’s Thought Fuss

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites

1) Calm Cows

It’s all over the news: Scientists have invented a cow that may be immune to mad cow disease. Yes, that’s right – a whole cow. Not a drug, or a food, or a shot, but an actual breed of cow that is immune to getting a disease caused by…oh yeah: irresponsible, filthy factory food production. Of course, since our government still insists there is absolutely no cause to worry about killer burgers, we suppose this techie fix is just for kicks – you know, just in case. Hey, it’s always good to have an extra species of bovine on the shelf for those rainy day public health disasters. Why mop the slimy slaughterhouse floor when you can just make a new cow that won’t be affected by said slime? Hooray, technology!

If you’re interested in the dark underbelly of the mad cow conspiracy (we’re staying neutral for now…but boy, are they persuasive), visit our favorite little conspiracy site maintained by a gaggle of rogue journalists who probably eat tofu and have really messy hair. If you’re interested in the government’s take, visit the FDA. If you haven’t seen the news piece, here’s the clickativity. And we promise, no more cow pictures for a while.

Beneath the calm exterior…

calmcow

2) Yeah, yeah, have a drink…

Yet another study reveals that one or two drinks a day may not be so bad for the heart – and now, it appears, for the old blood pressure. This is a debate that will probably never go away, and the fact that this large-scale (11,000: pretty good) survey (kind of lame by scientific standards) found a glass or two of Grandpa’s cough syrup is good for middle-aged men isn’t the worst news on earth, now is it? Of course, women should stick to one drink (in general).

However, keep in mind that:

a) A little sip is good, a little more is bad. Anything more than one or two drinks and you’re in the boiling-point blood pressure range, and,

b) while beer may – mayhelp raise good cholesterol a bump or two, so will a good multivitamin, a few weekly servings of lean fish, and daily use of olive oil or Smart Butter. We’re just sayin’.

Although, this does look good…

beer
2 Jan

Negative Calorie Soft Drink

The crafty folks at Coke have invented yet another canned liquid. We’re a little disappointed that it doesn’t come in lime, vanilla, cherry, cherry vanilla, cherry lime vanilla, or even blue. Oh, well.

The soft drink, Enviga, does play into the new craze for “healthy” soda alternatives full of energizing ingredients and enough caffeine to deplete the Costa Rican coffee fields for the next decade. Calorie Lab has a hilarious and thought-provoking analysis of this new drink. (That sounds a lot like a natural enhancement drug. Ahem.)

Calorie Lab is right: if Coke really cares about our health by offering a supposedly negative calorie beverage, why continue to sell regular old Coke in all its candy-machine varieties at all?

Here’s why: by offering (snicker) Enviga, Coke is admitting they’re aware of the terrible health consequences of drinking Coke. They’re worried and they’re scrambling to offer an alternative for all the customers they know they’re going to lose in 2007. Sugar is going to be the health issue this year. In fact, you can check out Mark’s excellent article on sugar over at model/volleyball pro Gabrielle Reece’s site. Here’s the clickativity.

We’ll be the first to say it: sugar is the new trans fat.

envigathis

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