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Three Reasons To Eat More Blueberries

blueberries improve insulin levels, blood sugar and cognition

You know I hate the term “superfood”; but occasionally, some foods come close to living up to the hype and blueberries have to top the list.

Multiple studies have shown that making blueberries a regular part of your diet reduces your risk of 

  • cardiovascular disease
  • various cancers
  • type two diabetes

New Study On The Benefits of Blueberries

recent study lends even more strength to the case that we should all be eating more of them.

This study is especially compelling because it’s a randomized, controlled crossover study. Randomized control trials are always the gold standard in evidence, and a cross over design even more so because we see the effect repeated in both groups at different times.

Both groups were essentially fed a standard IHOP style breakfast that included a drink with the equivalent of 1 cup of blueberries, or a placebo that tasted similar and had similar calories. the researchers then tested postprandial insulin and blood sugar levels, as well as asking participants to complete a cognitive task.

Both groups showed better insulin and glucose response after the real blueberry drink as well as performing better on the cognitive task.

Some Caveats About This Study

Despite the overall strength of this study, I think there are a few caveats worth considering;  mainly the shitty breakfast. Would the study participants have seen as much benefit from the blueberry drink if they hadn’t eaten a meal so high in processed carbs to begin with? It might be tempting to assume that they would have seen even better results, but other research seems to indicate that while some of these so-called “superfoods” can help do damage control, the benefits are much less pronounced when the overall diet quality is already high.

One cup of fresh blueberries is about 18g of effective carbohydrates, so if you’re on a very low carbohydrate diet, you may have to avoid them.

The evidence is already becoming well established that cognition (and conversely cognitive decline) is intimately intertwined with metabolic health.  Many researchers and neurologists like Dr. David Perlmutter already refer to Alzheimer’s disease as “type three diabetes” or “diabetes of the brain”.

With this in mind, I’d love to see this study repeated with a meal that kept postprandial blood glucose levels in a more ideal range to begin with so we could see if the boost in cognitive performance was really a boost at all, or if the IHOP style breakfast caused more of a decline due to an excessive blood sugar, and insulin spike which the blueberry drink helped to balance out.

Metabolic Health Matters

In the “Age of Krona” metabolic health is more important than ever. High fasting blood sugar is one of the strongest predictors of negative outcomes at the time of admission, and likely plays a key role (along with blood pressure, blood lipids, vitamin D, zinc, and selenium status) in whether we even become symptomatic to begin with.

Considering all the benefits they have to offer: potent antioxidant activity that protects against both cancer and cardiovascular disease, improved blood sugar and insulin levels, swapping out your usual carbohydrate for a stiff serving of blueberries seems like a smart investment.

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Does Drinking Beer Help Prevent Dementia?

Are you a beer drinker? Tired of your uppity wine drinking friends hogging all the glory? Well, there’s some good news for those of us who love beer!

A new review paper, called “The Nutritional Components of Beer and Its Relationship with Neurodegeneration and Alzheimer’s Disease” published in the journal “Nutrients”, looked at the potential role moderate levels of beer drinking plays in preventing cognitive decline in our later years. (Moderate means ~1-2 drinks per day)

It’s been known for some time that light to moderate drinkers tend to have better brain health and function in their older years, compared to those who drink heavily or not at all.

Beer is full of antioxidants which seem to help in several ways. Here are just a few:

Heineken 0.0 beer

Reduces Plaque

Drinking beer helps to prevent the accumulation of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain. Autopsies performed on 125 men who all died of sudden causes, showed that those who were moderate drinkers of beer had less plaque in their brain. While some recent research seems to show that beta-amyloid plaques don’t play the role scientists have previously thought, most

Alcohol!

The alcohol itself seems to help with preserving the brain’s memory centers. Moderate drinkers had a bigger hippocampus, while light drinkers had improved episodic memory.

Hops

Hops contain many plant-based chemicals called polyphenols which suppress inflammation in the brain and improve cognition. Hops are also a source of resveratrol! Resveratrol can help increase insulin sensitivity, protect against heart disease and can help increase testosterone and control estrogen in men.

Silicon

Whole grains like barley and wheat are high in silicon, which also acts as an antioxidant in the brain, perhaps most interestingly by blocking the action of aluminum in the brain. Aluminum is a highly toxic substance. The silicic and orthosilicic acids in beer reduce the bioavailability of aluminum (meaning we absorb less) and increase the amounts of aluminum excreted from our bodies. Win/win!

Melatonin

While most people know melatonin as the hormone that helps you sleep, it also acts as an antioxidant, and you guessed it; beer is a great source of melatonin as well.

If you’re on a low carb diet, or maybe you’re pregnant and can’t drink regular beer, there’s still great news for us! The researchers looked at non-alcoholic beer as well and found that NA beer was also effective!

When it comes to non-alcoholic beers, I’m a HUGE fan of the new Heineken 0.0!

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Two Hours Per Week Is Key Dose of Nature For Health & Wellbeing

While the Japanese martial arts are better known for their dojos, Chinese martial arts, like the one I practice, are more known for being practiced outdoors in local parks or secluded in nature.

Spending time outdoors has been known for a long time to improve overall health and wellbeing, and that’s one of the reasons I prefer to run all my classes outdoors in the local parks, but until now, there was no clear idea of what the minimum effective dose was.

paddle boarding in OR
Enjoying the outdoors paddleboarding at Applegate Lake in OR

A researcher from the UK looked at the issue recently and found that 120 minutes outdoors every week was the minimum needed to see improvements in health and wellness.

The good news is it doesn’t matter whether you get all 120 minutes in one shot, or broken up into a short walk in the local park several days a week, as long as your weekly total adds up to 120 minutes or more every week.

What can you do today to spend just a little more time outside?

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Can drinking coffee help us burn more body fat?

New research has shown that drinking coffee can help us burn body fat.  A recent study by researchers at the University of Nottingham showed that coffee helps increase metabolism by activating brown fat, aka brown adipose tissue or “BAT”.

When babies are born, they don’t have much muscle mass, and they can’t shiver to generate heat, so in order to stay warm, they’re born with thick layers of brown fat instead.

“Normal” fat (like belly fat) is yellow-white, but brown fat has a beige or muddy tint to it due to the presence of mitochondria, the little power houses in our cells that make ATP, our basic unit of cellular energy. As a result, brown fat is metabolically active, whereas white fat is not. In other words, brown fat burns calories!

What Is Brown Fat?

As babies grow, the amount of brown fat steadily decreases until adulthood, where you find some mostly around the upper back and neck.

Scientists thought BAT didn’t play much role in adult health and metabolism until recently, where newer research has shown that exposure to cold, like Wim Hof method, can help increase the activity of brown fat, or even help to “beige” white fat as does a low carb, ketogenic diet.


Wim Hof demonstrates his technique for becoming super human, which has been shown to moderately increase the activity of brown fat.


The researchers are now going to look into whether or not caffeine supplements can get the same results, but I suspect they will find that caffeine by itself is less effective, or not effective at all without the other compounds, like polyphenols, found in coffee as a whole package.

Coffee: A Silver Bullet?

If coffee can  help us burn more fat, does this mean you can get the body of your dreams by drinking more coffee?

Doubtful.

Although drinking coffee has been shown to reduce risk of diabetes, probably due at least in part to this increase in metabolic activity of BAT, it’s a “1% strategy” in terms of body composition.

You’re not going to significantly shift your body composition just by drinking coffee without making more basic adjustments in your diet like cutting calories, and eating more protein and whole foods, especially when that “coffee” is double caramel macchiato with an extra shot of chocolate syrup and whip cream. For instance, according to Starbucks website, their Chocolate Cookie Crumble Crème Frappuccino® weighs in at a heft 425 calories! That’s almost 25% of the calorie needs of your average woman for the day.  No matter what some people will tell you, you can’t eat more calories than you’re burning and be able to lose weight.  You can’t escape the first law of thermodynamics.  Although not all calories are equal, at some point, it’s all going to come back to energy balance. You must consistently eat less than you’re burning over weeks and months to lose fat.

Are you ready?

Tired of going it alone and not seeing the results you really want? Are you ready to get lean, strong and healthy for life? If you’d like to find out more about how we can work together, no matter where you are in the world, drop us a message below and we’ll get back to you ASAP!

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𝗜𝗦 𝗦𝗢𝗗𝗔 𝗧𝗔𝗞𝗜𝗡𝗚 𝗬𝗘𝗔𝗥𝗦 𝗢𝗙𝗙 𝗬𝗢𝗨𝗥 𝗟𝗜𝗙𝗘?

I used to be a hardcore Coca-cola drinker. I LOVED the stuff (I still do if I’m being honest), even though I knew it wasn’t good for me. I had a HARD time kicking the habit, until I went keto. I still occasionally indulge in a Coke Zero on a hot day…

If you’re a regular soda drinker, here’s some info you might want to consider: recent research by Dr. Elissa Epel has shown that drinking just 12 oz of sugar sweetened sodas per day (that’s just one can) shortens your telomeres.

Telomeres are like little genetic candles at the end of your DNA, and once the candle burns all the way down, it’s lights out…

Dr. Epel’s research showed that regular soda drinking shortened your telomeres by the equivalent of aging almost five years!

Excerpt from Dr. Epel's research on soda drinking and aging.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that diet sodas didn’t seem to impact telomere length, so if you drink a lot of sugary soda’s now, you can do just little bit better by switching to diet versions.

There’s also some natural, zero calories soda’s on the market these days like @zevia and @drinkvirgils, that are sweetened with stevia or erithritol, so you don’t have to give up drinking soda completely if you don’t want to, and still protect the health of your DNA (and your waistline if we’re being honest).

It’s an example of how you don’t have to approach these kinds of changes with and “all or nothing” mindset.

Are you Ready?

Tired of going it alone and not seeing the results you really want? Are you ready to get lean, strong and healthy for life? If you’d like to find out more about how we can work together, no matter where you are in the world, drop us a message below and we’ll get back to you ASAP!