Rank #1: The 6 Best Foods to Boost NMN and Slow Aging
Mar 25 2018
Rank #2: Harvard Scientists Reveal 5 Life Extending Hacks: Your Best Lifestyle for Longevity
Wouldn't you like to know the real secret to a long and healthy life? Based on the latest longevity study, Harvard researchers found five easy life-extending hacks that could get you to age 93. In this article, I’ll share the very best lifestyle for longevity.
What Does it Take to Get to Age 90?
The human body is genetically programmed to make it to 90. As long as we don't screw it up, 90 is within reach for most people. If you can get a few simple, healthy lifestyle habits down, then the odds are that you will thwart a fatal cancer or heart condition. Indeed, if you can stave off heart disease and cancer then cruising past 90 should be a breeze.
The Latest Longevity Study
In search of life’s Holy Grail, Harvard researchers recently revealed five simple life-extending health hacks. These five hacks are all you need to know to find your best lifestyle for longevity.
As part of this new study, Harvard researchers painstakingly dissected the medical records of 123,219 people. With an average of 34 years of medical records at their disposal, they were able to deconstruct the five secrets to a life free of heart problems, cancer, or a premature death.
When it comes to beating heart disease, these five health hacks will slash your heart disease risk by 72%! If a 72% reduction of death from heart disease isn't compelling enough, these five hacks will also drop your cancer risk by 52%!
As you will likely be free of heart disease and cancer, this study shows that for women you will get 14 bonus years of life allowing you to reach 93. For men, these same five health hacks predict 12 bonus years of life achieving an age of 88.
5 Life-Extending Hacks
Without keeping you in suspense any longer, here are the five longevity hacks to find your best lifestyle for longevity.
1. Breathe Clean Air
Okay, nothing new here. While this study specifically looked at smoking, countless other studies have linked any form of air pollution to heart disease, cancer, and a shortened life. The message is simple. Make clean breathing a must.
In addition to not smoking, you also don't allow anyone to smoke around you. The same goes for electronic cigarettes.
Besides smoking, air pollution can be a huge problem. Indeed, studies show that air pollution may rob you of up to 5.5 years of life! And when it comes to air pollution, indoor air quality is generally much worse than anything you may encounter outside of your home. For indoor air pollution, studies show that even breathing the stench of smoke on the clothes of smokers puts you at risk.
What can you do? Besides banning cigarettes in your home, don't go anywhere near where people are smoking. If air pollution is bad, then don't exercise outside. For your home, invest in many indoor plants and be sure to also buy a HEPA filter. These filters are cheap and can be very effective at scrubbing the indoor air of pollutants.
2. Keep Your BMI Between 19 and 25
I'm guessing that if you are like most people, this will be the most challenging longevity hack. Food manufacturers have scientifically designed their fake foods to get you hooked, steal your money, and make you gain weight.
Not quite sure what your body mass index (BMI) is? Here is the link to find out. If you are like most people, you are probably in shock as to how high your BMI is. The natural inclination is to say the BMI system is wrong, bogus, or a terrible measure of health.
Yes, there are limitations. No system is perfect. For example, it doesn't account for excessive muscle mass. Thus, if you are faithfully doing hardcore strength training, your BMI measurement won't be accurate.
Despite the limitations, BMI is a proven predictor of longevity within a population of people. And when it comes to living a long life, studies show that the BMI sweet spot seems to be 20 to 25.
May 28 2018
Rank #3: Reverse Aging: 4 Scientifically Proven Strategies
Oct 01 2017
Rank #5: How to Bulletproof Your Brain
I want to share a message of hope for those of you with a family history of dementia. According to a new study, one simple habit can cut your risk of dementia by 90%! In this article, I will teach you how to bulletproof your brain.
The Swedish Dementia Study
Researchers from Sweden just published a study that rocked the neurology/dementia world. After following the people in this study for 44 years, researchers found that for those who are in the top 5% of their age group for physical fitness, then the risk of dementia dropped by 90%! And in those incredibly rare cases where a very physically fit person did develop dementia, it didn't happen until after age 90.
No other intervention has ever been shown to have such a profound effect on protecting the brain. Of course, to make it to the top 5% for physical fitness in your age group will also require that you are eating right, optimizing sleep, etc.
How does exercise bulletproof your brain?
Studies show that exercise helps clear the dementia debris that piles up in the brain as we age. Also, physical activity is the most potent stimulator of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which causes the growth and development of brain cells.
Other studies have shown that people cut back on physical activity about ten years before developing dementia. Thus, if you have had no drop off in your daily exercise, then these studies suggest your brain will stay sharp for at least ten more years.
As dementia scares me to death, since reading this study I have significantly bumped up my daily exercise regimen. I'm banking on the fact that because my physical fitness continues to improve that I can bulletproof my brain.
The message here is clear. If you want to bulletproof your brain it is going to require a very high level of physical fitness. Walking around the block just isn't going to cut it according to this study.
In addition to a high level of physical fitness, you also need to cut out the sugar and dramatically boost the veggies. At least seven hours of sleep, embracing stress, and learning new things daily will also help to bulletproof your brain.
Of course, If you haven't done much more than walking, now is the time to work with your physician on finding the right way to increase your stamina. Don't boost your daily exercise without speaking to your physician first.
Mar 26 2018
Rank #6: What Should Your Heart Rate Be?
Jan 01 2018
Rank #7: How to Eat What You Want and Not Have a Heart Attack
Dec 23 2017
Rank #8: 5 Life Secrets That Centenarians Know
Do you want to know the secret of a long and happy life? Ask someone who has lived the longest. Indeed, centenarians can teach us the five simple life secrets.
My 100th Birthday Plans
No one in my family has ever made it to 100. I suspect this is because of the genes that run in our family. Despite not winning the genetic lottery in life, I am determined to ski on my 100th birthday.
Even though I don't have the longevity genes, I know that I can reprogram the genes that I do have to optimize my health in a way to still ski the moguls at age 100. Indeed, studies show that fully 75% of our health and longevity comes from our daily health choices, not our genes!
My Centenarian Patients
Since graduating from Johns Hopkins Medical School in 1995, I have kept close records of the centenarians in my cardiology practice. Interestingly, all seven of these centenarians required a pacemaker.
Even at 100 plus, each of these patients effortlessly breezed through their pacemaker surgeries. Indeed, none of them required any narcotics for pain relief. Each was stoic, and each went home from the hospital in under 24 hours. When compared to pacemaker patients half their age, these centenarians put them to shame.
One of these centenarians, Mike age 102, was very frustrated with me when I told him that he couldn't ride his bicycle for three weeks after his pacemaker surgery. It wasn't that I was trying to be mean I just didn't want him to fall and potentially pull a pacemaker wire out of his heart.
In the end, Mike could only go ten days without riding his bike before he was back at it. Fortunately, he didn't crash, and his pacemaker wires stayed in place.
Each of these seven centenarians is a hero to me. They, along with the centenarians in our book, The Longevity Plan, have taught me that you can still be active and enjoy every day at 100 and beyond if you just take care of your body today. And to help you care for your body today so that you can still hike, bike, or ski at 100, let me share with you the five secrets of life from 100 centenarians.
The Annual US Centenarian Study
Each year United Healthcare randomly surveys 100 US centenarians and asks them a series of questions to better understand the secret of life. As one who wants to learn from those who have lived the longest, I have studied each of these surveys for the last ten years. Below are the top five themes that came up every year from these centenarians.
1. Stay Positive
A Yale University study showed that those who were the most positive about their lives and the aging process lived 7.5 years longer. Indeed, when it comes to staying positive, most centenarians reported that laughing and having a sense of humor was critical.
These centenarians were ahead of their time. Even before apps like Head Space took over, these centenarians had already learned to meditate. Now we know, based on the work of Nobel Prize-winning Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, that meditation may slow cellular aging by 30%!
Contrary to popular belief, most people get happier as they get older. Indeed, a study of 340,847 Americans confirmed that the older you get, the happier you are.
Interestingly, the age at which people start getting happier seems to be about age 50. Perhaps the reason why age increases happiness is that we stop worrying about what might happen and start living.
2. Keep Close to Family and Friends
The centenarians in this study stayed very close to their family and their friends. Indeed, 89% of the centenarians reported that visiting family and friends was the number one thing they enjoyed doing.
Thus, it should come as no surprise that centenarians reported that their best memories came from the time they spent with friends and family, especially family vacations. All centenarians intuitively know that you need social support to thrive.
Recently, while seeing a patient who was suffering from a h...
Dec 03 2017
Rank #9: Do You Have These Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms? 10 Reasons Why You Need More
Studies show that up to 89% of all Americans are magnesium deficient. In fact, you just may be one of these magnesium deficient people and not even know it.
In this podcast, I discuss the common magnesium deficiency symptoms. I also discuss 10 reasons why you need more magnesium.
If you would rather not listen to this podcast to learn more about magnesium deficiency, here is a link to an article I wrote on magnesium deficiency.
Sep 18 2017
Rank #10: Top 6 Methods of Lowering Your Biologic Age
Feb 26 2018
Rank #11: The Best 12 Foods to Reverse Aging with Sulforaphane
Could sulforaphane be the best superfood you have never heard of? If so, that would make broccoli sprouts the healthiest food on this planet. In this article, I'll share the science behind why sulforaphane may be the best way to reverse and prevent almost every medical condition. I'll also reveal the best 12 foods to reverse aging with sulforaphane.
What is Sulforaphane?
Sulforaphane is a sulfur-containing food molecule that reverses aging, stops inflammation, kills cancer, protects the brain, and puts an end to cardiovascular disease. While sulforaphane is found naturally in cruciferous vegetables, these vegetables must be prepared and eaten in the right way to maximize the bioavailability of sulforaphane. And it is this special preparation that explains why broccoli sprouts have so much more sulforaphane than all of the other cruciferous vegetables combined.
The Top 10 Effects of Sulforaphane
1. Slows Aging
Sulforaphane turns on your genes which make Nrf2. Studies show that Nrf2 is the master protein in the body to slow aging by activating whatever longevity genes you may have.
While you have probably never heard of Nrf2, there have now been more than 5,500 scientific studies published on Nrf2. What we do know is that Nrf2 prevents the cells in your body from growing old by protecting them from inflammation, free radicals, and the many other things that wear your cells out over time.
2. Stops Inflammation
Chronic over stimulation of the immune system causes inflammation. Chronic inflammation in turn causes rusting of our bodies.
Inflammation that is never turned off is one of the root causes of premature aging, autoimmune disease, arthritis, cancer, dementia, and heart disease. Through activation of Nrf2, studies show that sulforaphane stops inflammation and recalibrates the immune system to function properly again.
3. Fights Cancer
Cancer is perhaps the most feared of all human conditions. And when it comes to cancer fighting foods, sulforaphane seems to be the best.
People eating the most cruciferous vegetables have long been known to have very low rates of cancer. In studies, sulforaphane is incredibly effective in stopping most forms of cancer in animals.
Based on how effective sulforaphane is in destroying cancer in the laboratory, researchers are now studying it in humans. For example, there are now 12 studies assessing the cancer fighting effects of sulforaphane in humans.
4. Protects Your Brain
No one wants to lose their memories. As I discussed in blog number 81, BDNF or brain derived neurotrophic factor, is the most important protein to have around in your body if you want a sharp brain throughout your life.
Fortunately, studies show that sulforaphane also boosts BDNF. Perhaps this boost in BDNF helps to explain why studies of diabetic rats, who are known to quickly develop dementia, can preserve their memories with sulforaphane.
5. Protects Your Heart
It has often been said that you are only as old as your arteries. Indeed, your biological age is directly linked to how much plaque is in your arteries. If you can keep the plaque out, your body will stay young.
When it comes to staying young and preventing cardiovascular disease, you need more sulforaphane. As with cancer, many studies have reported that those people eating the most sulforaphane from cruciferous vegetables live longer and are much less likely to get heart disease.
Specifically, sulforaphane prevents atherosclerosis or plaque build up. For example, in one interesting study researchers pumped rabbits full of the highest cholesterol containing food they could find. Despite a diet literally off the charts in cholesterol, the rabbits who were also fed sulforaphane foods didn't get hardening of their arteries.
6. Sulforaphane Detoxifies
If you do a quick Google search you will find many ads for ways you can detoxify your body. Sadly, most of these are scams.
Aug 11 2017
Rank #12: Low Carb or Low Fat: Which is Best?
Should you go low carb or low fat for weight loss? I'm guessing you would pick low carbs. However, if I had asked you this same question 20 years ago, the answer would likely have been different. Would you believe me if I told you that it probably doesn't matter based on a big new study from Stanford University?
The Best Low Carb vs. Low Fat Study
In this new study, Stanford researchers recruited 609 adults who were willing to eat either low carb or or low fat for a year based on the "flip of a coin." A year later, the low-fat group lost about 13 pounds and the low-carb group also lost about 13 pounds.
When they looked at glucose and insulin metabolism, they also saw no meaningful difference. Where things really got interesting was when they looked at the genes of everyone in this study. Even if your genes predicted you would do better eating low fat or low carb, the study results showed that it just didn't matter.
The 3 Success Factors to Losing Weight
Interestingly, when these Stanford researchers analyzed those who lost the most weight in the study, they found three factors.
1. Those losing the most weight avoided sugar.
2. Those losing the most weight avoided flour.
3. Those losing the most weigh ate a lot of vegetables.
Number one on this list, avoiding sugar, should come as a surprise to no one. Almost everyone loses weight if they can give up the sugar addiction.
Likewise, number three, eating a lot of vegetables, is another no brainer. If you fill up on vegetables you'll lose weight and feel so much healthier.
Number two, avoiding flour, however may come as a surprise to many. The reason for this is that when a grain is pulverized to a dust-like form, the body absorbs it so fast that it raises blood glucose almost as much as eating straight sugar. Thus, to keep your metabolism in check, if you choose to eat grains only eat intact grains.
What does this study tell us?
Even though it may seem counter intuitive, this study fits nicely with what we know about diets and nutrition. The bottom line is that low carb or low fat can be healthy provided you avoid sugar, including flour, processed foods, and eat a ton of vegetables. Basically, you need to find what works for you and then stick with it.
Mar 26 2018
Rank #13: Should You Eliminate Nightshades from Your Diet?
The Internet and popular health books would have you believe peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, and other nightshades cause inflammation, autoimmune diseases, and gastrointestinal diseases. As I am often asked about nightshades, this article explores the research behind the misinformation and myths about nightshades. And when it comes to health books, it is important to remember the following quote from Mark Twain:
Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.
What are nightshades?
Nightshades are the edible parts of the flowering plants in the Solanaceae family (pronounced sō-lə-ˈnā-sē-ē). In fact, there are thousands of plants in the Solanaceae family. While many are inedible, humans have eaten the edible nightshades like peppers, tomatoes, eggplant and potatoes for thousands of years without any problems.
Why are nightshades called nightshades?
It is unclear why nightshades are called nightshades. While there are many theories, my best guess is that it is because many of these plants prefer to grow in shady areas or they flower at night.
What Are You Giving Up by Avoiding Nightshades?
If you are going to follow the popular Internet and "health" book advice and avoid nightshades, you need to know what you are giving up. If you do choose to give up these foods, you will have to work hard to make sure you pick up these key nutrients and disease fighting abilities from other foods.
Tomatoes are one of the best sources of the powerful anti-oxidant, lycopene. Tomatoes are also high in vitamins A, C, and fiber.
Tomatoes have been shown in medical studies to help prevent heart disease and cancer. These two conditions alone account for approximately 80% of all deaths in the US.
Peppers are another nutritional powerhouse food. If you give up peppers you will need to make up for the lost vitamins A, C and B6 as well as folate and fiber from other food sources.
In addition to giving up these key nutrients, studies show you will also lose the weight loss benefits, metabolism boost, pain reduction, and heart disease protective effects of peppers.
While eggplant may not be as flashy as tomatoes and peppers when it comes to nutritional qualities, they can still hold their own. Eggplant is a high fiber food which is also high in anthocyanin.
Anthocyanin is that same purple color that is in blueberries. Many studies show that anthocyanin improves brain function and protects you from many brain diseases including dementia.
Potatoes have a bad reputation. This is probably because more than 90% of potatoes are eaten as french fries or potato chips in the US. However, if you bake a real potato, and eat it with the skin, you will get a heathy dose of vitamins B6 and C, potassium, and fiber.
For those with diabetes or blood sugar issues, potatoes can be eaten as a resistant starch. Merely the process of baking a potato, putting it in the fridge overnight, and then reheating it the next day changes it into a resistant starch with no significant blood sugar spike for most people. To learn more about resistant starches, please read blog number 164, How to Eat Pasta Without Gaining Weight.
Do Nightshades Cause Autoimmune Diseases
One widely propagated belief on the Internet and in "health" books is that nightshades causes autoimmune diseases. This belief arises from the alkaloids which are in nightshades.
Anecdotally, many people claim that eliminating nightshades helped their autoimmune diseases. And for those people who report an improvement in their autoimmune disease by cutting out nightshades, they should continue to avoid these foods However, despite these anecdotal reports, there are no credible studies in humans linking nightshades to autoimmune diseases.
Personally, I used to suffer from the autoimmune disease ankylosing spondylitis. In my quest to find relief,
Aug 27 2017
Rank #14: 3 Reasons Why You Should Eat Dark Chocolate
May 15 2018
Rank #15: The 30 Minute Rule for Longevity
The 30-minute rule for longevity may be the most critical factor in determining who stays young and who gets old. In this article, I will share with you what the 30-minute rule for longevity is and the latest research backing up this rule.
The 30 Minute Rule for Longevity Study
Dr. Keith M. Diaz from Columbia University in New York City recently published his findings on the 30-minute rule for longevity after studying 7,985 people age 45 or older. Now, he didn't explicitly call this the 30-minute rule for longevity, but that is what he found.
In this study, Dr. Diaz strapped accelerometers to these 7,985 people for one week. He also performed many other health tests for these people. After gathering all of this data, he then sat back and watched to see who was still alive and doing well four years later.
Results of the 30 Minute Rule for Longevity Study
After waiting four years, here is what Dr. Diaz observed in this study.
1. The more you move, the longer you live.
He found that it didn't matter your age or how much you weighed, those who moved the most were the ones alive and well four years later. No surprise here with this finding as many other studies have shown similar results.
2. Going to the gym faithfully every day can't save you from sitting.
Sitting more than 12.5 hours a day, regardless of whether you work out or not, puts you at high risk of an early death. While 12.5 hours of sitting might sound like a lot, it isn't for most people.
Many of my patients are surprised to see how long they are sitting each day once they start tracking it with a smartphone, smartwatch, or Fitbit. For example, eight hours at work on a computer, driving to the gym and your work, and one television show at night could quickly get you to 12.5 hours of sitting.
3. Sitting for more than 30 minutes at any time put you at risk for an early death.
Interestingly, the most fidgety people in this study lived the longest. In other words, those who couldn't sit still lived far longer than those who could sit in their chairs.
This is the basis of the 30-minute rule for longevity. If you want to live a long and healthy life you can't sit for more than 30 minutes at a time.
Is Sitting the New Smoking?
Today, I’ve become convinced that sitting is the new smoking. And by some calculations, in fact, it might be even worse.
By just comparing the life expectancy of smokers with that of non-smokers, then subdividing the difference by the average number of cigarettes a smoker will consume over a lifetime, one study noted that each cigarette reduces one’s lifespan by an average of 11 minutes.
Using similar methods, a different study computed the difference in life expectancy between heavy TV watchers (sitters) and those who watch no TV at all (non-sitters), and concluded that every hour of TV watching after the age of 25 reduces one’s lifespan by 22 minutes!
Yes, according to these estimates, both of which are admittedly crude, an hour of sitting down is as bad for you as two cigarettes! The way I see it, then, if you’re going to sit down, it really should be for a compelling reason.
Even at the cellular level sitting is toxic for your health. Indeed, one study showed that sitting prematurely ages your cells by ten years!
Of course, correlation is not causation and untold other life choices that are shared among those who tend to sit for periods of time longer than 30 minutes. The overwhelming scientific evidence, though, tells us that any sort of prolonged sitting is simply bad for us. Studies show that even cancer rates skyrocket for sitters.
The Benefits of Fidgeting
In the past, fidgeting was a bad thing. Indeed, children who fidget at school are often inappropriately labeled by teachers as having ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).
I want to challenge you to look at fidgeting as a good thing. Perhaps we should all fidget a little more.
Oct 12 2017
Rank #16: Just Thinking You Should Exercise More May Cause an Early Death
Do you ever feel like you should exercise more? If so, you may have just increased your risk of an early death by 71% according to a new Stanford study. In this article, I'll review this latest study and offer practical tips to a more mindful approach to physical activity.
Like most young moms, Kristen had too many things on her plate. Trying to care for small children while at the same time meeting her employer's demands and somehow also finding the time to get to the gym was too much.
She knew she should exercise more. However, there just were not enough hours in the day.
The guilt and shame that came from the feeling that she was slacking off on her exercise worried her. This worry ultimately led to heart palpitations, an emergency room visit, and then to a consultation with me.
Fortunately, all of Kristen's tests came back normal. Knowing that her heart was still strong allowed me to help her develop a more practical and mindful approach to physical activity.
The I Should Exercise More Study
In another brilliant study on the mindfulness component to physical activity, Dr. Alia J. Crum and colleagues from Stanford University tackled the health risks that come from guilt and shame. To address these health risks, Dr. Crum studied 61,141 Americans over the course of 21 years.
In this study, Dr. Crum asked participants how they felt about the amount of exercise they were doing in comparison to others. Interestingly, those who felt that they just weren't exercising enough were 71% more likely to die over the 21 years of the study.
What makes Dr. Crum's study really interesting is that even if you were exercising, eating right, and maintaining a healthy weight, just thinking you were slacking off on your exercise increased your risk of dying prematurely. This study highlights the importance of a mindful approach to exercising. It also raises the possible dangers of a nocebo effect.
The Nocebo Effect
While everyone has heard of the placebo effect, many of you may not be aware of the flip side which is the nocebo effect. With the placebo effect, the mere thought that a food, supplement, medication, or procedure will help you causes it to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
For example, studies show that a "dummy pill" can actually be curative in up to 62% of cases. Studies like these highlight the untapped power of the mind to heal us.
However, their is a flip side to the placebo effect. It is called the nocebo effect. With the nocebo effect, people who believe that a food, supplement, medication, or procedure will harm them also causes it to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I see the nocebo effect everyday in my cardiology practice. People who are convinced that a treatment won't work for them are generally right. Conversely, those people who are convinced that a treatment will work are also generally right.
While the mind can heal us it can also cause disease. This study from Dr. Crum and her team at Stanford University raises the question that the feeling we just don't measure up when it comes to exercise may put our hearts and our lives at risk.
Eliminate the Word Exercise
I wish we could eliminate the word exercise from the English language. The problem is that when many people hear the word they immediately feel guilt and shame from not measuring up.
Too often, when we hear the word exercise we feel like we should be going to the gym more often. While hitting the gym is a great way to exercise, it is also a huge time commitment.
Most busy people that I know don't have one to two extra hours to spend at the gym everyday. Not to mention the fact that many people, myself included, hate going to the gym.
Replace Exercise with Physical Activity
The solution is to replace the word exercise with physical activity. Physical activity doesn't carry all of the guilt and shame that exercise does...
Jul 29 2017
Rank #17: Are Saunas Good for the Heart?
Mar 11 2018
Rank #18: Is Nattokinase the Safest Blood Thinner?
Most of my heart patients are scared to death of blood thinners. No one wants a blood clot, but yet no one wants to bleed to death either. Nattokinase may just be the safest blood thinner you have never heard of. In this article, I'll teach you everything you need to know about this natural blood thinner.
Why I Eat Natto for Breakfast
Since my health turn around nearly seven years ago, natto has been a part of my daily breakfast. This is a practice I described in our best selling book, The Longevity Plan. And if you haven't read it yet, pick up your copy now to find out why this best selling book has consistently maintained a 4.9-star rating on Amazon!
When I first tried natto, I'll admit I was grossed out. Even though it smells like a dead rat what bothers me the most is how slimy and sticky it is.
The reason why it is sticky and slimy is that it is a probiotic. In other words, the helpful bacteria from this probiotic make it slimy and sticky.
While the Japanese eat it every morning over rice with mustard, soy sauce, or other flavorings, I just eat it plain. I scoop up a big tablespoon of the stuff and quickly swallow it down.
It doesn't taste good but knowing how good it is for me makes it tolerable. Of note, my wife and two-year-old son also eat natto with me. My older three children won't go near the stuff.
One Reason Why the Japanese Rarely Get Heart Disease
For decades researchers have tried to figure out why the Japanese rarely get heart disease and why they live so long. Despite high rates of smoking among men, the Japanese are somehow still protected.
One possible explanation may be natto. Natto, or fermented soybeans, is their equivalent for cereal in the morning. Natto contains nattokinase, a natural blood thinner, and is also off the charts in vitamin K2. For those not familiar with vitamin K2, vitamin K2 helps to keep calcium out of your arteries and into your bones where it belongs.
Indeed, studies show that Japanese eating the most natto have the lowest rates of heart disease and strokes. They also live the longest. Interestingly, some studies show that it is only fermented soy that offers any of these benefits.
What is nattokinase?
Nattokinase is a food enzyme found in natto. Natto, in turn, is made from fermenting soybeans with the helpful bacteria called Bacillus natto. Thus, to get nattokinase, you can either get it naturally from eating natto or in a supplement extract form called nattokinase.
Natto vs. Nattokinase: Which is Best?
In choosing between eating natto or taking a nattokinase supplement, I have always gone with natto. The reason for this is really quite simple. Natto is so much better for you than taking a nattokinase supplement. To visualize what natto is doing for you just think of natto as nattokinase plus vitamin K2 in a probiotic form.
When you take a nattokinase supplement, you don't get the probiotics and you don't get vitamin K2 either. And when it comes to vitamin K2, no other food on this planet comes anywhere close to natto. As I described in a previous article, vitamin K2 may be one of the best ways to protect your heart and bones from the aging process.
I also worry about the purity of any supplement. With supplements, you really never know what you are getting. As supplements are totally unregulated, the blood thinning effects you get from bottle to bottle may not be the same.
My philosophy on supplements is that a supplement should be a supplement. In other words, you should only consider a supplement when you can't get it naturally from food. Given that natto can be easily purchased at your local Asian grocery store, or shipped over ice from an online source, most people should have no problem obtaining natto.
How does nattokinase thin the blood?
Whether you get nattokinase from eating natto or from taking a supplement, nattokinase thins your blood many different ways.
Mar 24 2018
Rank #19: Mercury and Alzheimer’s: Does Eating Fish Increase the Risk?
Studies show that eating fish protects the brain. However, studies also show that mercury increases the risk of dementia. So does eating fish, even if there is some mercury in it, increase or decrease your risk of Alzheimer's disease? Be sure to continue reading this article to find out the answer...
The Rush University Mercury, Alzheimer's and Fish Study
Dr. Martha Clare Morris and colleagues from Rush University have been at the forefront of brain research. In fact, Rush University is even home to the MIND Diet which is a way of eating that has been scientifically proven to protect the brain from Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.
In this study, Dr. Morris wanted to understand what mercury from eating fish does to the brain over time. They also wanted to see if omega 3 fatty acids from fish, plants, or supplements protected the brain. To answer this question, she studied the brains of 286 people who had already passed away.
These 286 people not only had donated their brains to Rush University but also had provided them with five years worth of food journals. Armed with this information, Dr. Morris and her team could then connect the dots between Alzheimer's brain changes and mercury from eating fish.
The 5 Findings of the Mercury, Fish, and Alzheimer's Study
To come to their five conclusions, Dr. Morris and coworkers measured the amount of mercury in these donated brains. Also, they carefully dissected each of these brains not only looking for the plaques and tangles, commonly seen with Alzheimer's disease, but any other sign of brain damage as well. Here is what they found:
1. The more fish people reported eating while they were alive, the more mercury researchers saw in their autopsied brains. No surprise here.
2. Eating fish at least once a week correlated with significantly less Alzheimer's changes to the brain in people with the Alzheimer's gene. This finding isn't always consistent with other studies.
For example, some studies show that fish protects everyone's brain whereas other studies show that fish only protects the brains of people without the Alzheimer's gene. Regardless, there are no credible studies showing that fish is bad for your brain!
3. Plant-based omega 3s, from foods like walnuts, flax or chia seeds, protect you from strokes. The finding that plant-based omega 3s may prevent strokes is something that has been backed up by other studies.
4. Fish oil supplements offered no protection to the brain. This Rush University study is just one of many studies now showing that fish oil doesn't help the brain or heart much.
5. Mercury levels in the brain from fish did not correlate with any brain damage. This finding that moderate levels of mercury from eating fish doesn't cause brain damage had to be the most important, and reassuring, discovery of this study.
As blog readers know, I have long been interested in anything that can protect the heart and the brain. Below are my three practical tips based on the findings of this and other studies.
1. Consider eating fish at least once a week.
In my opinion, the scientific data are now robust enough that people should consider eating fish at least once a week. However, despite the reassuring findings of this Rush University study, mercury should be minimized to the greatest extent possible.
Just because mercury levels didn't correlate with brain damage, doesn't mean it isn't causing any harm. To minimize your mercury risk from eating fish, always look for wild, small, or ocean fish.
If wild fish is too expensive for your budget, consider shopping at places like Costco. Given the high price of wild Alaskan salmon, our family buys all of our fish at Costco.
2. Eat plant-based omega 3s every day.
The plant-based omega 3s from foods like walnuts, chia seeds, and flax seeds have taken the back seat to fish-based omega 3s fo...
Sep 23 2017