Snapshot Science – Nitric Oxide to stave off disease

Communication is between the gut and brain is quickly becoming an important topic in the health world and with trillions of bacteria in the gut what we’re discovering now is only the tip of the iceberg.
Researchers from Harvard Medical School have shown Nitric oxide produced by bacteria in the gut has the ability to alter gene expression. This is further proof that bacteria within us can communicate and give instructions to our body.
Disruptions in the Nitric oxide mechanism in this study has long been associated with diseases such as diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s.
Although there is no known sweet spot for Nitric oxide levels in the body, this research suggests that a diet lacking in Nitric oxide may play a role in the development of such diseases.

Snapshot Science – Broccoli Sprouts to Aid Schizophrenia

John Hopkins Medicine have shared studies describing how a chemical found in abundance in broccoli sprouts can potentially assist in restoring imbalanced brain chemistry associated with Schizophrenia.

The chemical, sulforaphane, has been known to have many health benefits. It is found in several cruciferous vegetables however it is destroyed by heat so must be eaten raw.

This can be combated by mixing the cooked cruciferous vegetables with mustard seed powder, which helps restore the sulforaphane.

 

Source

Snapshot Science – Replacing Red Meat to Improve Cardiovascular Health

A new study out of Purdue University and published in the scientific journal “Circulation” has shown that swapping out the red meat in your diet with plant-based protein sources such as beans or nuts.

This was a meta-analysis encompassing over 1800 participants which showed lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol in diets which were high in plant proteins.

If you’ve read the Blue Zones book you would already know that beans and nuts with small amounts of meat seem to be the key though!

 

Source

Snapshot Science – Elderberries for Influenza

It has long been known that elderberries can assist with flu symptoms and now researchers at the University of Sydney may have made a breakthrough in understanding why.

Phytochemicals contained within the elderberry juices were able to stop the virus infecting cells and even help prevent further infection when cells have already been infected.

These can be consumed in jams, pies, or even wine!

Recipes coming soon.

Source

 

 

The Blue Zones – Book Reflection

The blue zones have become somewhat legendary in the health world. These settlements, full of centenarians,  are the epitome of longevity, where everyone has lifestyles that I know we’re all slightly jealous of.

Beuttner has spent an incredible amount of time and effort collating information from around the world, and then distilling it into simple lessons we can all learn from.

These lessons, which he calls “Power Habits” are as follows:

  1. Move Naturally. This doesn’t mean marathon length running races, or bodybuilding in the gym. These have never been on the minds of the oldest people in the world. Instead, incorporate movement into your day. Walk to work. Tend to your garden.

  2. Have Purpose. Almost everyone in the blue zones have a reason to wake up in the morning. What this is seems to be irrelevant. As long as you have a reason to get out of bed.

  3. Downshift. Research is beginning to show the incredible benefits of stress reduction, and Beuttner has many people who with anecdotal evidence. Common methods are meditation, mindfulness, and prayer.

  4. 80% Rule. This one is simple. Only eat until you are 80% full. Don’t overload your body.

  5. Plant Slant. I must say I’m not shocked that the majority of their diets consist of local, homegrown plants, with only small amounts of meat eaten throughout the month. Beans feature heavily and are prepared correctly, to increase nutrient density.

  6.  Wine. My favourite rule on the list! One to two glasses of wine are consumed throughout the day, and sometimes even at breakfast! There is always friendship or food included with the wine, and never binge drinking.

  7. Right Tribe. There has recently been mention in the news of loneliness being the next big killer, which would tie in perfectly with the research in the book. Communities in the blue zones are designed to promote healthiness and reduce loneliness. Communal meals play a central role, and each member plays an important part in the community.
    Sadly, most of us barely know our neighbors!


  8.  Faith. Most people interviewed belong to a faith.

  9. Loved Ones First. 
    1. Look after your elders.
    2. Commit to your partner.
    3. Invest in your children

 

Reading through these rules I couldn’t help but realise how different this is my life. Embarrassingly I didn’t actually follow a single one of these when I began the book.

I think this goes deeper than just following rules though. It has made me stop and think about the society I’m living in. The society almost all of us are living in.

I can’t help but think that we’re surrounded by technology and work environments set up for the complete opposite. I wake up in the morning and drive my car to work. Where I spend 8 hours hunched over in my chair, staring at a computer screen. Except for the 30 minute rushed lunch break! I then grab a few ingredients from the super market on my way home if I’m feeling healthy (otherwise it’s probably a takeaway). Purchase these through the self service terminals though, nothing say’s community engagement like talking to a robot checkout assistant! To then go home and maybe spend the little time I have left socialising.

Am I following any of these rules at all?

Are any of us following these rules?!

This was one of the only low points I felt reading this book. Everything else was inspiring.

Although, maybe realising this is what made the book so inspiring. These communities live frugally, with meaning and surrounded by people who value them.

There is a lot to be learned by the utter simplicity of it all.

 

The Ethical Carnivore – Book Reflection

“If you had to kill it yourself, if you had to look it in the eye . . . would you eat it?”

It’s undeniable that there has been a growing percentage of the population showing concern over the food they eat. Whether this is folk jumping on the vegan bandwagon to fit in with the latest Instagram trends or abstaining from meat for more meaningful reasons is somewhat irrelevant.

The important thing is that people are thinking, and the omnivores are facing a tricky one!

Gray approaches the meat eating debate with a fresh outlook that I am slightly envious of: to only eat meat if she has killed it herself.

We are taken on a journey through almost every meat sourcing avenue you can imagine. From oyster shucking and hunting wild game to as far as collecting her own road kill, the ethics of the whole thing are dealt with tastefully and arguments presented from both sides equally.

Unfortunately for the more empathetic omnivores out there it’s bad news for your factory farmed animals, although I can’t say it was much of a surprise. These animals aren’t treated well and, personally, I’ve decided I don’t want to be a part of this moving forward.

The main surprise for me however was the state of our oceans. If you are anything like me then you probably never thought about where the fish we eat comes from. They look super weird and we only really care about the fluffy ones, right?

What Gray uncovers is disturbing.

Our fish consumption is not only destroying the fish populations, but is also devastating to our environment and local fishing industries. Well worth reading just for this reason, and I definitely plan to look into this further.

Gray has done a fantastic job to not only expose us to the truth behind the meat industries but also providing ethical changes we can implement.

A solid book that should be on the bookshelf of anybody questioning the ethics of eating animals.