Are Omega-3s Good for Your Brain?

There’s a reason fish oil capsules and other omega-3 supplements are so popular. “Omega-3 fatty acids are involved in many different fundamental [brain] processes,” says Simon Dyall, a principal academic and head of nutrition at Bournemouth University in the UK.

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids—namely EPA and DHA—and their metabolites influence gene expression, oxidative stress, cerebral blood flow, levels of neurotransmitters, and other brain-related processes such as the production of new neurons, Dyall explains. DHA in particular is an essential building block of the brain’s cell membranes. So at a molecular level—like a house without bricks or walls—the brain could not exist without omega-3 fatty acids.

There seems to no downside to eating more fish, with omega-3 fatty acids are uniquely high in fish, with a typical portion of salmon providing 2.5 to 3.5g. There is no official daily recommendation, but 250-500 mg is "recommended".

Before relying on supplements, it might be worth considering that something else in fish is also, or in combination [with omega-3’s], having some benefit.

If you want to double down on omega-3 and take a supplement along with your weekly portions of fish, the NIH states that the potential side-effects are mild. Just be sure to keep your supplement intake below 2 grams per day to avoid potential (though unlikely) health complications—including reduced immune function or increased bleeding, the NIH warns. (Ask your doctor first if you’re on prescription meds—especially blood thinners.)

So should you be taking an onega-3 supplement? Maybe, but look at your weekly fish consumption first.

See Time Magazine Article 20 Jun 2018

Top 15 Omega-3 Foods

If you are spending money on expensive omega-3 supplements, consider looking at  adding some of these foods to your diet.

  1. Spinach -Omega-3 Payoff: 352 mg per ½ cup (cooked)
  2. Fontina Cheese -Omega-3 Payoff: 448 mg per 2-ounce serving
  3. Navy Beans -Omega-3 Payoff: 1 cup has 1,190 mg of ALA
  4. Grass-fed Beef -Omega-3 Payoff: 160 mg per 6-ounce steak
  5. Anchovies -Omega-3 Payoff: 597 mg per 1 ounce boneless
  6. Mustard Seed -Omega-3 Payoff: 230 mg per tablespoon
  7. Walnuts -Omega-3 Payoff: 2,500 mg per ¼ cup
  8. Winter Squash -Omega-3 Payoff: 332 mg per cup (baked)
  9. Eggs -Omega-3 Payoff: 225 mg per egg
  10. Purslane -Omega-3 Payoff: 300 mg per ½ cup
  11. Flaxseed Oil -Omega-3 Payoff: 7,300 mg per Tbsp
  12. Wild Rice -Omega-3 Payoff: 240 mg per ½ cup (uncooked)
  13. Chia Seeds -Omega-3 Payoff: 2,500 mg per Tbsp
  14. Red Lentils-Omega-3 Payoff: 480 mg per cup (raw)
  15. Firm Tofu -Omega-3 Payoff: 814 mg per 3-ounce serving
Is It Possible To Eat Too Much Fruit?

So is it bad for your health to eat a lot of fruit? Though a famous study from 1980 argued that based on the evolution of human jaws and teeth, our ancient ancestors used to eat a diet dominated by fruit, there’s not a lot of good evidence for or against fruit-heavy diets for modern humans. “There are some people out there who are fruitarians, and from what we can tell they’re perfectly healthy,” says Dr. Robert Lustig, a neuroendocrinologist and professor emeritus of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. (However, full-blown fruitarianism is so restrictive that it has been linked to nutritional deficiencies in some people, and may be unsafe for children and those with certain medical conditions, like diabetes.)

One critical thing to keep in mind: Drinking fruit juice or fruit-based smoothies is not the same as eating whole fruits, and both of those beverages may pose a number of health risks. Some recent evidence, including one 2013 study from Harvard School of Public Health, has linked fruit juice to an increased risk for diabetes.

See Time Magazine Article 6 Jun 2018

Andrew TomasComment
11 Best Foods For Your Immune System

Vitamin C has a reputation for being a feel-good nutrient, so it will come as no surprise that this list is full of foods with high levels of it. In the body, vitamin C behaves as an antioxidant, which means it protects cells from free-radical damage. Consuming it also helps the body better absorb iron, which is critical for normal immune-system function.

Just in case don't read the article, here are the 11 foods that they mention. But please go to the article as it contains information about each food, how to to eat it and additional health benefits of each.

  1. Jalapeño peppers
  2. Lemons
  3. Apples
  4. Chicken soup
  5. Garlic
  6. Grapefruit
  7. Ginger
  8. Sage
  9. Chamomile tea
  10. Fennel
  11. Cranberries

See Time Magazine Article 19 Jun 2018

10 Foods Filled With Probiotics

One of the most crucial parts of our body when it comes to health is our microbiome—the trillions of bacteria that live in our gut. Scientists are learning that the bacterial communities we live with are linked to everything from body weight to asthma to acne. Having the right balance of bugs may keep us well in the long term. Some bacteria in the gut are good for our health, while other strains raise our risk for disease.

Just in case don't read the article, here are the 10 foods that they mention. But please go to the article as it contains information about each food, how to to eat it and additional health benefits of each.

  1. Cottage cheese
  2. Kimchi
  3. Sauerkraut
  4. Yogurt
  5. Miso
  6. Pickles
  7. Kombucha
  8. Apple-cider vinegar
  9. Tempeh
  10. Parmesan cheese

See Time Magazine Article 12 Apr 2018

Andrew TomasComment
This Is How Heavy Your Weights Should Be If You're Trying to Lose Weight

I don't really like the heading of this article! It should be "This is how heavy your weights should be if you're trying to gain strength and build muscle". 

Strength training is a key part of fitness that shouldn't be ignored, especially when it comes to weight loss. But just because you know you should be doing it doesn't mean you know exactly how to do it yet.

"If you lift too light, your muscle fibers aren't undergoing enough stress to create physiological and metabolic change in your body," Ridge told POPSUGAR. "If you're lifting too heavy (meaning only getting two to three reps in with mediocre form and only working out for six months or less), your muscles have a very high risk of spraining, tearing, and bruising. Also, your tendons and ligaments will suffer from injury due to premature loading."
I might add that performing only two to three reps is likely not to recruit enough muscle fibers ("inroad") and also not lead to enough stress to create physiological and metabolic change to build muscle and increase strength.

The Americal College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) position stand states that 80% of 1-repetition-maximum (the weight that can only be lifted once successfully) is optimum to produce progression of strengthening. This weight needs to be lifted to muscle failure, or the point at which you can no longer lift the weight (with good form), and at 80% of 1-repetition-maximum, this would be in the 8-15 repetition range for most muscle groups.

  • Perform one set of an exercise for each major muscle groups
  • Lift the appropriate weight, with perfect form, to the point of not being able to lift it
  • Repeat this at least once per week

See article in POPSUGAR.Fitness

This Is Exactly What Happens If You Miss a Workout

Did you miss a workout? It's OK. Taking a rest day is actually highly recommended and essential for your recovery and muscle building!

Detraining Timeline

  • 3 days: You probably won't notice any outward effects, but your body will start to make changes internally. "The body recognizes that it needs to mediate the loss of muscle fibers and begins to make changes to preserve the muscle. You won't notice much, and you won't gain fat as long as your diet doesn't drastically change."
  • 10 days: "The muscle physiology changes and the physiological pathways that lead to muscle atrophy begin." Translation: you start to lose tone.
  • 2 weeks: This is the point where you start to lose muscle mass, but don't worry — you won't lose strength. If you're used to using eight- to 10-pound weights at the gym, you should be able to get back in there and resume as if you'd never been gone. "Power athletes [think HIIT, cardio, running] will retain their strength, while strength athletes [think bodybuilders] will see losses at this time." You shouldn't see a major shift in weight, though, as she told us "there are no changes in body mass or body-fat percentage."
  • 3 weeks: Liz described a "significant reduction in anaerobic power performance during activities like sprinting or HIIT."
  • 4 weeks: At this point, you're going to notice that you might be a little out of breath when you get back to the gym. Technically speaking, this includes "up to a 10-percent decrease in max force production of muscle (1RM)" and the beginnings of "a decrease in VO2max (aerobic capacity)."

See article in POPSUGAR.Fitness

How much exercise do you need to slow your heart’s aging process?

New research published this week in the Journal of Physiology pins down the number of days a week a person should exercise to maintain the overall health of their arteries, which stiffen with age and, as they do, increase the risk of heart disease and heart attack. Very few people experience heart attacks before age 45, and the average age is 65. But the new study suggests a way to keep your arteries physiologically “young.”

“A lifelong history of ‘casual exercise’ resulted in more youthful middle-sized arteries, which supply oxygenated blood to the head and neck,” the press release states. “However, people who exercised 4-5 times per week also had more youthful large central arteries, which provide blood to the chest and abdomen, in addition to healthier middle sized ones.”

This work showed exercise training over a long period of time can slow artery damage and the aging of the heart; the researchers say the next step is to study whether it can also reverse damage and aging of the cardiovascular system.

See article in Quartz.com 21 May 2018

Fruits and Vegetables With the Most Pesticides

Strawberries Top the 'Dirty Dozen' List of Fruits and Vegetables With the Most Pesticides

The two types of produce topped the EWG ranking of the 12 fruits and vegetables with the highest concentrations of pesticides—the so-called “Dirty Dozen.” After strawberries and spinach come nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, potatoes and sweet bell peppers. More than 98% of peaches, cherries and apples contained at least one pesticide.

Here is the EWG’s list of the fruits and vegetables lowest in pesticide residue—the so-called Clean 15:

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Cabbage
  5. Onions
  6. Frozen sweet peas
  7. Papayas
  8. Asparagus
  9. Mangoes
  10. Eggplants
  11. Honeydews
  12. Kiwis
  13. Cantaloupes
  14. Cauliflower
  15. Broccoli

See Time Magazine Article 10 Apr 2018

Exercise Fights Heart Disease Among People With Genetic Risk

About one in four deaths in the United States are due to heart disease. But a new study suggests that even if you have a genetic risk for heart disease, there’s a simple way to combat it: Exercise.

In the U.K. Biobank study, researchers looked at data from nearly 500,000 people from England, Scotland and Wales At the start of the trial, the men and women allowed researchers to assess their genetic predispositions for heart disease. They also self-reported their exercise, wore accelerometers to subjectively measure their daily physical activity, wore hand dynamometers to measure their grip strength, and underwent a cycling test to measure their heart fitness.

The researchers looked at people who had a family or genetic history of heart disease but did not have any current heart problems, and found that overall, exercise lowered their risk of having heart problems over about six years. 

The researchers also found that among people with an elevated genetic risk for heart disease, having a strong grip (a measure of physical ability) lowered a person’s risk of coronary heart disease by 36% and their risk for atrial fibrillation (abnormal heartbeat) by 46% compared to men and women with weak grips.

For men and women at a high genetic risk for heart disease, high fitness levels was linked to a 49% lower risk for coronary heart disease and a 60% lower risk for atrial fibrillation.

See Time Magazine article