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

Mark's Daily Apple

21 Dec

The Sisson Spoof

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20 Dec

Wednesday’s Mix: Tastier Than Mesclun

WORKER BEES’ DAILY BITES

Almost Deserves a Sherlock Award…

The New England Journal of Medicine has announced that Vitamin D is so good for you, it might even help prevent multiple sclerosis, a tragic and degenerative disease of the nervous system that affects about 350,000 people. Actually, the study is really worth checking out, although we’re a little annoyed (hey, we’re bees). Science has long shown Vitamin D to be a crucial nutrient for all sorts of health issues, from nerves, tissues and teeth to eyes and bones. In fact, a lot of people don’t realize Vitamin D is just as necessary for bones as calcium. But we bet you know that.

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Gut Bugs – Yum!

The news that digestive germs play a role in making you fat is already causing a big hot mess in the health world. One doctor in the article is quite the contrarian, saying flatly, “I think it’s totally wrong.” The article didn’t go on to explain if he had reasons for his belief, but we’re going to recommend you read it for yourself and also be sure to see Mark’s related gut-bug post. Hmm…gut bugs. What a term! Suddenly, we’re just not hungry…

Check out the germ clickativity.

20 Dec

Are Germs Making You Fat?

A fascinating article in New Scientist discusses the impact that germs have on your weight.

In short, our digestive tracts are host to millions of microbes that aid in fermenting and digesting food. There are germs that help break down carbohydrates, germs that help digest fats, and so on. What’s fascinating is the new finding that obese people have more of a particular type of microbe that not only digests “better” but digests carbohydrates “better”.

However, in this situation, “better” is not better at all. In times when food was scarce (certainly not a problem now), being able to maximize every bit of nutritional value from each bite was a benefit. That’s not such a good thing now, particularly for carbohydrate digestion. What this means is that being overweight makes you more likely to become even more overweight.

This is really big news, Apples.

It’s a self-perpetuating system. The more carbohydrates are taken in – because the body is becoming better and better at digesting them – the more those carbohydrates are stored as fat. The body literally is set on a “get fat” course because the digestive tract becomes “efficient” at turning food into stored fat. All thanks to germs.

These digestive microbial bacteria are developed early in life – within the first few years. You can see how a childhood spent eating bad foods sets people up for a lifetime of obesity. And because of the self-perpetuating nature, the more fat you get, the more fat you get.

There’s good news, however. When study participants were put on a reduced-carbohydrate diet, the carbohydrate-friendly microbes began to die, coming closer to levels found in thin people. And, of course, the individuals lost weight. Eventually, the body can be retrained, and the digestive microbes we want – the ones that don’t extract quite as much from the food we eat – increase. All it takes is the first step, and the body can be retrained.

More on this in coming posts, Apples.

Aside from the carbohydrate and weight issues, there’s a further issue to consider: should we be supplementing with beneficial bacteria? And if so, which kind?

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20 Dec

Living Long and Strong

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The average life expectancy for American males and females born after the year 2000 hovers between 75 and 80 years old, respectively. Which side of the average you may fall on has a lot to do with things you can control. These include maintaining a well-rounded nutrient-rich diet, getting enough sleep and water, managing your stress levels, and making sure you get adequate amounts of exercise. To get an idea of how healthy your lifestyle is try this fun and interactive game that helps put things in perspective- The Longevity Game.

This game will you ask you a number of questions that relate to your medical history, exercise regime, and diet habits, synthesize that info, and then provide you with an estimate of your life expectancy. If you would like a more extensive questionnaire try the one provided by MSN Money. While no life expectancy quiz or game can tell the future, it can help us realize the places in our lives that may need a little more attention. Don’t forget: awareness is the first step in achieving results!

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20 Dec

The Buckler Brief

EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT: Choline

Choline is a B vitamin. It is essential to the body’s functions and it is found in every cell. Choline can be produced in the body, but not in adequate amounts. Choline works in concert with other vitamins, particularly Folic Acid and B12.

WHAT IT DOES: Choline assists in brain function, liver function, and cardiovascular function. This supplement is a precursor to acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter.

Choline also plays a role in lipid metabolism and storage in the body. Choline is particularly vital for the regulation of fat in the liver, possibly playing a role in triglyceride regulation and fat storage.

STUDIES SHOW: Pregnant women who take choline can help the brain development of the fetus. Choline supplements have been proven to increase blood choline levels. And high-performance athletes have benefited from choline supplementation because it can help boost endurance.

WHY WE LIKE IT: Choline was determined to be an essential vitamin by the U.S. government in 1998, but many people are unaware of its importance to good health. Choline may assist in memory, brain development and function, cardiovascular health, fat metabolism, liver health and energy levels. As an essential component of the B-vitamin family, choline can help to support your optimal health.

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