The Definitive Guide to Cholesterol

Contrary to what we’ve been told, cholesterol didn’t evolve to give us heart disease. It’s not here to kill us. The actual roles of cholesterol in the body include insulating neurons, building and maintaining cellular membranes, participating in the immune response, metabolizing fat soluble vitamins, synthesizing vitamin D, producing bile, and kick-starting the body’s synthesis of many hormones, including the sex hormones. Without cholesterol, it’s true that we wouldn’t have heart disease, but we also wouldn’t be alive.

Given all the work cholesterol has to do, the liver is careful to ensure the body always has enough, producing some 1000-1400 milligrams of it each day. Dietary cholesterol is a relative drop in the bucket. And besides, the liver has sensitive feedback mechanisms that regulate cholesterol production in response to how much you get from your diet. Eat more cholesterol, make less in the liver. Eat less, make more in liver.

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Ask a Health Coach: Sleep, Weight Loss Stalls, and Skipping the Gym

How bad is working and eating late at night? Wondering why you’re not losing weight? And what if you don’t want to go back to the gym? In this week’s edition of Ask a Health Coach, Erin is back to answer more of your questions. Keep them coming in the comments below or over in our Mark’s Daily Apple Facebook Group.
Jacob asked:

“My nighttime habits are the worst. I stay up too late working, then I’m hungry and go looking for a snack at 1 or 2 am. I don’t think I should be working and eating that late, but how bad is it really?”
Your intuition is spot on here, Jacob. The late-night artificial light. The late-night insulin spike. The stress of a disrupted sleep cycle. It all comes down to your circadian rhythm, which as reiterated in this study, can lead to a myriad of metabolic ramifications. For those not familiar with circadian rhythm, it’s basically your internal, 24-hour cycle of biochemical, physiological, and behavioral processes.

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What Is Monk Fruit Sweetener, and Is It Keto?

When you give up sugar, that doesn’t mean you have to give up sweet treats. You can find natural ways to satisfy your sweet tooth without spiking your blood sugar, and that doesn’t mean you have to resort to dangerous artificial sweeteners. Monk fruit is a keto community favorite ingredient to sweeten recipes, but what exactly is it, and where does it come from? Is there any research behind monk fruit? And how do we compare the various formulations next to each other in the supermarket aisle? Let’s break this down. What Is Monk Fruit? We’ve covered stevia, yacon syrup, allulose, and Swerve, but what about another popular choice in the growing selection of natural sweeteners — monk fruit? Known as Luo Han Guo in its native southern China, monk fruit (Siraitia grosvenorii) first found acclaim in the records of 13th century Luo Han Buddhist monks. The monks valued the natural sweetness of the fruit and made it their mission to cultivate the vines through the centuries. Today, most monk fruit cultivation still occurs in the misty mountains of China’s Guangxi province and a few surrounding areas, where the conditions are just right to grow and harvest the small, orange-sized fruits. Monk fruit belongs to the cucurbit family alongside squash, cucumber, and watermelon. Fresh off the vine, the mini melons have a bitter outer rind encasing a sweet edible pulp and seeds. But unless you know someone who’s managed to cultivate monk fruit in their garden, you’re unlikely to eat a fresh monk fruit. The flesh degrades quickly, meaning most manufacturers dry monk fruit or process it so that it will make it to market. Most monk fruit finds its way to American shelves as a concentrated natural sweetener. As always, the nature of that sweetener can vary markedly depending on how it was processed. Instantly download your Keto Reset Diet Recipe Sampler Is Monk Fruit Keto? An average serving of pure monk fruit extract contains virtually no carbs, calories or sugars, which makes it a great choice to sweeten keto desserts and drinks. It derives almost all of its sweetness from a group of antioxidants called mogrosides, with mogroside V having a sweetness 250 times that of table sugar. To put that sweetness in perspective, most people consider just 1/64 of a teaspoon of monk fruit extract to taste as sweet as a full teaspoon of table sugar. But to get this natural “zero calorie” sweetener, much of the natural compounds in the fruit are lost. Most producers treat “pure” monk fruit sweeteners  to remove off-flavors, then they dry it to remove other sulfurous volatiles. Finally, it gets homogenized and pasteurized. The resulting extract is very different from its original state, slightly undermining its purported status as a natural sweetener. Other less processed natural monk fruit sweeteners provide a more wholesome version of the original fruit, but with the arguable downside of containing a small amount of glucose and fructose. More carbs also tend to mean fewer mogrosides, and … Continue reading “What Is Monk Fruit Sweetener, and Is It Keto?”

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The Health Benefits of Turmeric, and How to Get More of It

It may not share cinnamon’s popularity, but turmeric is another spice with powerful culinary and medicinal qualities that deserves our attention. Turmeric, known officially as curcuma longa and historically as Indian saffron, is a rhizome (root) of the ginger family. Its horizontal root system is dug up, baked, and ground into a bright orange powder, which then goes into any number of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Southeast Asian dishes. Pretty much every curry you come across anywhere, for example, includes a generous portion of turmeric. Common yellow mustard also includes turmeric, mostly as a food colorant. Recently, the health benefits of turmeric have come to light, and people are looking for more ways to get more turmeric into their diets.

Turmeric imparts a unique flavor: slightly bitter and a bit spicy, with a mustard-like scent. Upon tasting a dab of turmeric powder by itself for the first time, one is reminded of curries and other Asian stews. It’s a bit of an “Aha!” moment – when you taste it, you can finally put your finger on the earthy flavor that’s so common in your favorite dishes from around the world. Turmeric itself is actually fairly mild and unassuming, so using it as a solitary spice won’t turn every dish into a curry bonanza – in case you were worried.

In this article, I’ll cover the health benefits of turmeric, the science behind it, and how to get more of it.

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How to Cook and Eat an Artichoke

Artichokes are a mysterious vegetable, and a lot of people are intimidated by them. How do you cook an artichoke? How do you cut into it? What parts do you eat? And how does it taste? You may have had marinated artichoke hearts that come in a jar, or you’ve noticed little strips of artichoke in your spinach dip. But eating a whole artichoke is a lot different than having prepared hearts. In this article, I’m going to show you how to prepare and eat an artichoke, along with my favorite dipping sauces. Are Artichokes Good For You? Coming in at 6g of net carbs per whole artichoke, it’s something you’ll want to add to the rotation if you’re keto. Artichokes are also an antioxidant powerhouse, and they have lots of gut-happy resistant starch. How to Buy Artichokes If you’ve never bought whole artichokes before, you might wonder how to choose good ones. Here’s what to look for: Tight leaves. Your artichoke should look like a giant flower bud. Leaves should not be curling out like a blooming flower. Heft. Pick up a few, and feel their weight. Heavier artichokes are fresher, and lighter ones are older and perhaps dried out. Brown streaks on the outside, or not. A little browning on the outside is nothing to be concerned about. Some people say that the ones with brown streaks are sweeter because the frost that caused them brings out the natural sugars. Once your artichokes are cleaned and steamed properly, the leaves and heart are excellent vehicles for dips. How to Cook an Artichoke (Steam Method) Serves: 2-4 Time in the kitchen: 45 minutes, including 35 minutes steaming time Ingredients 2 artichokes Primal Kitchen® Mayo with Avocado Oil, or Rosemary and Garlic Vegan Mayo if you cannot tolerate eggs 1 lemon Fresh cracked black pepper Directions To prepare an artichoke, first cut off most of the stem on top, leaving about ¼” of the stem left intact. Cut off the tough bottom of the artichoke, about 1” worth. Use kitchen scissors to trim the tough prickly ends of the artichoke leaves. Cut a lemon in half and rub the cut side all of the cut end of the artichoke. Set up a steamer by filling a pot with some water and a squeeze of lemon. Once the water is boiling, set the heat so the water is at a steady simmer. Set up the steamer basket inside and place the artichokes in the basket cut side down. Place the lid on and allow the artichokes to steam for around 30 minutes, 35 minutes if they’re quite large. You know they’re finished when you can put a knife through the center of the stem with little resistance. Allow the artichokes to cool. Combine your favorite Primal Kitchen Mayo with a squeeze of lemon and fresh cracked pepper. How to Eat an Artichoke This part is easy. Once your artichoke is cooled, peel the leaves off of one by one, dip in … Continue reading “How to Cook and Eat an Artichoke”

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Weekly Link Love — Edition 86

Research of the Week
Ancient Irish elite were largely incestuous.

In a recent study, coronavirus shows up on tons of hospital surfaces but with very low viral loads. Present but not transmissible.

Having a younger blood donor is linked to shorter hospital stays.

“Conservation areas” don’t actually conserve anything.

Losing body fat probably improves cancer resistance.

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