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Blood Flow Restriction Training. What Is It, and Is It Safe?

I’ll admit, the first time I heard about blood flow restriction (BFR) training, it sounded like a hack to me. BFR training promises that you can do relatively easy workouts and get the same results as if you crushed a hard workout at the gym. Too good to be true, right?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about less is more: Spend 30 minutes in the gym instead of an hour and a half. Go for a long walk instead of a long, grueling run in the black hole. Simplify your diet. However, I’ve seen fitness trends come and go, so I’m inherently skeptical until I see the evidence for myself.

Once I started to dig into the research, though, it became clear that BFR isn’t just a “get swole quick” gimmick. It’s a well-researched, validated training method used by physical therapists, rehabilitation specialists, and personal trainers to help patients and clients gain strength with minimal musculoskeletal stress. In some situations, it might be the best—or only—option to help someone maintain or gain muscle safely.

BFR was formalized as a training method in the 1970s and 80s by scientist Yoshiaki Sato, who called his technique KAATSU (“ka”=additional, “atsu”=pressure). Research interest has really picked up in the past decade, with a significant spike in the number of publications in the past three years.

I’m pretty sold on the potential benefits, but since you are restricting blood flow, you obviously want to be smart about trying it for yourself.

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Why You Should Eat Brightly Colored Fruits and Vegetables

You know how those deep red beets sliced in half to show off the insides, those taut blueberries, those purple and violet mottled, oddly-shaped heirloom tomatoes lightly dusted with soil, and those glistening blackberries sitting in your periphery pop out and draw your gaze as you make your way through the farmers’ market? That’s not just clever product placement. It’s actually because of the pretty colors. This is your body telling you, these are packed with polyphenols like anthocyanins, flavanoids, carotenoids, and betalains. Bring these home for your family.  

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A Chicken Liver Paté Recipe That Will Turn You Into a Liver Lover

Paté sounds intimidating on so many levels. Chances are, you didn’t grow up making or eating it. You have to use a French accent when you pronounce the é at the end as “ay.” Then there’s the part where it’s made of liver, and the concept of organ meats may make you think twice. We put together a chicken liver paté recipe that’s easy to make and softens the gamey flavor of liver with aromatic onion, garlic, and herbs. We also use dijon mustard and balsamic vinegar to add a bright backdrop to what will become your new favorite dip.

The rich, creamy spread pairs best with some crunch, so we’re serving them with sliced fresh vegetables. You could also try them with your favorite almond flour crackers.

Here’s how it’s done.

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Ask a Health Coach: Giving Resolutions a Second Thought

Hey everyone! 2021 is on the horizon. And with that, many of you are ready for a change in your health, in your fitness, and in your relationships. But before you get too far down the New Year’s resolution path, check out these strategies from health coach veteran, Erin Power. Got more questions? Head over to the Mark’s Daily Apple Facebook group or post them in the comments below.
Marcy asked:

I’m struggling to get my husband to go paleo with me in January. I know it would benefit him since he’s always complaining about his aches and pains. Plus, we each have about 10-20 pounds to lose. What can I say that will convince him he needs to clean up his diet?
I applaud you for wanting to pay attention to how food — specifically standard American junk food, impacts your body. As you already know, all those sugars, refined carbohydrates, and highly processed junk can affect everything from your mood to your energy to the way your joints feel.

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11 Questions to Ask Yourself at the Start of a New Year

One thing I like to do at the end of every year is look back on how I spent the last 12 months. This past year was like no other. There were a lot of surprises. A lot of reasons goals were more difficult to achieve. A lot of forces in play.

It’s possibly more important to reflect on this year than any other year. My reflection practice follows loosely the same structure every year. I’ll go through my usual practice of asking myself tough questions about my successes and failures — and to be brutally honest with my replies. But this year, there’s another layer.

The overtone is, what did I overcome? 

Now, this exercise must be done with some dedicated effort. A passing read through the questions while nodding only to forget about them in twenty minutes won’t get the job done. Discuss them with a friend, spouse, or loved one to make them real. Write them down on a piece of paper, or type your answers out. However you pay special attention to this exercise, give careful, thoughtful answers. This is about resolutions, but even more than that, this is about dialogue. Open, honest dialogue between your multiple selves, between the person that should be doing this or would rather be accomplishing that, and the person who does neither but desperately wants to. The resolutions will come, but expect it to take a little work. Let’s get to it…

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Pros and Cons of Different Forms of Magnesium

When it comes to essential nutrients, it doesn’t get much more essential than magnesium. At the most basic level, mitochondria can’t make ATP—the body’s energy currency—without magnesium. No ATP, no life. Magnesium regulates the electrical activity of the heart, helps maintain healthy vitamin D levels, and allows nerves to fire and muscles to contract. Low magnesium is associated with everything from PCOS to type 2 diabetes, depression, migraines, and cataracts, to name just a few.

This is just a snippet of magnesium’s impressive resume, which is why it’s such a popular supplement. Foods like leafy greens, nuts and seeds, and dark chocolate all contain magnesium, and drinking water actually provides magnesium, too. However, large epidemiological studies suggest that the majority of adults don’t hit the recommended daily intake of 310 to 320 mg for females and 400 to 420 mg for males. Heavy alcohol use and certain pharmaceuticals (notably diuretics and proton pump inhibitors like Nexium and Prevacid) also increase the risk of magnesium deficiency. So do gastrointestinal disorders like Chron’s and celiac disease, which interfere with nutrient absorption.

Magnesium supplements can be safe and effective for closing the gaps. Perusing the magnesium section of your local health food store is intimidating, though, to say the least. So many different types and formulations. How do you pick?

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