A new study has revealed that letting out a powerful sound during exercise may have a beneficial effect in spite of the fact that it may alarm all that surround you. It seems that letting out a grunting noise during explosive movements required while lifting weights, practicing martial arts and even tennis strokes can be traced to our historic ancestors and the noises they made as they heaved giant stones as projectiles. To test the theory researchers gathered 20 martial arts men and women to test their power on a kicking bag. The bag contained a device to measure force. When the kick was accompanied by a grunt or a yell the force of the kick was 10% greater which proved that it can be a useful competitive tool.
Although the standard advice for weight loss has always been to cut back on calories, a new study published in JAMA has shown just the opposite. Concentrating on consuming nutrient dense whole grains, vegetables and fruits without thinking about calories may be a better way. Research showed that insulin resistance, DNA makeup or genetics were not as important as quality not quantity of food consumed. It was an extremely large study of 600 people at the cost of $8 million dollars conducted by The Stanford Prevention Research Center. The study did not set restrictions on carbohydrate, fat or calorie intake. It focused on eating “real foods” and as much as they wanted so they would not feel hungry. Some of the participants did gain weight while others lost as much as 50 lbs. over the course of a year. Average weight loss was 12 lbs. Along with changing the quality of the food they were consuming, some of the subjects said that since they were no longer eating fast food they were no longer eating in cars or in front of the television. DNA samples were taken of all the members and the differences in their genetic makeup showed no difference in the results. It is not that calories do not matter in weight loss, it is that by consuming nutrient dense foods they were able to satisfy their hunger for longer periods of time and in so doing unconsciously consume less calories.
The Axoloti Mexicana (aka walking fish) is an amphibian that is capable of amazing regeneration. Once a food staple of the Incas it is now an endangered species. Scientists have managed to breed and study this salamander in a lab for about 150 years. It is an unusual species because it spends most of its life in a laval stage much like a tadpole but never evolving further. Studies have shown that it has the ability to regrow limbs, bones, muscles, nerves and organs. It can heal cuts without leaving a scar. In fact it is the only animal that can actually regrow a spinal cord after it has been damaged. In studying this amphibian scientists have been able to identify the genes involved in regeneration. The possibilities of how it would benefit humans would be astounding.
It seems many college students are challenged when trying to make healthy food choices. Researchers watched nearly 28,000 college students for 46 days to see how they selected certain vegetables. “Zesty ginger-turmeric sweet potatoes” had greater appeal then either “wholesome sweet potato superfood” or “cholesterol free sweet potatoes”. “Sweet sizzlin’ green beans and shallots” had more appeal then “health energy-boosting green beans and shallots”. It seems that labeling a food healthy or nutritious is a turn off as opposed to a more delectable description. Another successful dish was “rich buttery roasted sweet corn” as opposed to just ”vitamin-rich corn. All these foods were prepared exactly the same but psychologically they seemed more appealing to the students’ taste buds.
The supermarket chain Ekoplaza in the Netherlands opened the first eco-friendly plastic free aisle. All items whether they be groceries, snacks or sundries are all packaged in biodegradable materials or in glass, metal and cardboard. There are 700 items that cover everything from sauces, cereals, yogurt and chocolate. This is one of the first steps in the European drive to counteract the damage being done by drinking straws, plastic bottles, coffee cups and lids. These measures are being adopted by most of the Western European nations as part of a 25 year transition plan. Hopefully this will have an impact on the 6.3 billion metric tons of plastic that have been discarded since the 1950’s and of which only 9% have been recycled. Ekoplaza plans these plastic free aisles in its 74 stores. The philosophy being why put something so perishable as food into something so indestructible as plastic.
A new device similar to a pacemaker has been devised that may help patients suffering from dementia and traumatic brain injuries. It sends messages to the brain when it is struggling to remember but is quiet when it feels the brain is functioning well. Devices such as this have been used in the past but only for people suffering from seizures and Parkinson’s disease. The research is funded by the Department of Defense at the cost of $70 million dollars in the hope of relieving the stress of brain injuries suffered by soldiers. Impulses sent to a portion of the brain helped in a 15% improvement of word recall. Hope is that Alzheimer’s, as well depression and anxiety may be helped by targeting different areas of the brain with electrical impulses. Test subjects who showed greater recall said that they actually felt nothing physically when the brain was stimulated by these impulses.
Researchers have discovered that the shape of a person’s ear may alter how they are able to perceive whether a sound is emanating from above, below, sideways or behind. This may be the reason why we cup our ear in hopes of hearing something more clearly. By placing pieces of silicone in different parts of the ear, it was noted that perception changed dramatically. After a period of time the brain did adjust and so did the ability to pinpoint direction. Although the inner ear does most of the work of transporting signals to the brain, these outer appendages (pinnae) are what act as huge funnels to collect and amplify sound. They enable us to focus in on a particular sound while eliminating background noise. Maybe it is time to remove the headphones and take advantage of our unique gift of hearing.
– 3 Cloves of garlic chopped
– 1 Red Pepper diced
– 2 Tablespoons of Avocado oil
– 2 Carrots
– 4 Medium heads of bok choy
– 1 Box porcine mushrooms
– 5 Leaves of Basil
– 4 Swigs of parsley
– 1/2 Teaspoon of both salt and pepper
– 1/2 Cup of vegetable broth
– Saute’ red pepper in avocado oil for 3 minutes, then add garlic and saute’ for 1 more minute
– Add vegetable broth, parsley, basil, salt and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes
– Add sliced mushrooms and chopped bok choy, cover, low heat and cook for about 15 minutes
– In a separate steamer- steam thinly sliced carrots until you are able to pierce them
– Add carrots to cooked bok choy
( serves 4)
Studies show that as we age normal weight gain is one to two pounds a year. Along with this gain is a loss of muscle mass and a gain in fat tissue which is metabolically less active. An ideal weight loss program should include a weight training regimen. For every pound of weight we lose a majority of it is lost in muscle. The benefit of working with weights is to enable a person to hold on to much of the muscle which otherwise would be lost. A study was conducted at Forest University of Winston-Salem, N.C.. There were 249 participants all from different ethnic backgrounds. All of the participants diets were reduced by 300 calories a day. Group 1 dieted but did not exercise. Group 2 added a walking routine and group 3 added weight training. At the end of 18 months the group who trained with weights retained more muscle mass and an increase in overall strength. The researchers concluded that weight training might be the best way to supplement walking while reducing calorie intake.
Our auditory range is very limited as opposed to many animals. We are only able to distinguish between 300,000 to 400,000 tones and variations. However, we seldom take the time to stop and listen to what is actually going on around us. We are constantly assaulted by outside sounds and in turn choose to silence “the noise” with earplugs. Sometimes not even taking a moment to actually listen to what the other person in a conversation is saying. Taking the time to know someone is not only seeing what they look like it is also hearing their voice, and interestingly enough, listening to their footsteps which can even relay what mood a person is in. Why is it that certain people can enter a crowded room and are immediately able to pick up on the general mood of the assembled crowd? Is it that they have developed the use of all their senses? Sound is what warns us of impending danger. Why is it a mother wakes so quickly when she hears her baby cry? If it is such an important sense why has modern man tried to completely turn it off? Even the simplest sounds of a bird can be so soothing. Or even no sound at all. I recently went to a dance recital in which three women danced for one hour with no music. The silence was mesmerizing. Are we capable of cultivating our hearing so as to be able to close our eyes and decipher what surrounds us? If blind people can, why can’t we? There is an old saying “there is wisdom in hearing”. Instead of eliminating the sound of what is going on around us, it may be better to actually try to cultivate the art of listening.