Today’s article was inspired by a recent article from food writer TC Luoma. I have taken parts of his article and added in my own thoughts and points. These tips are all backed by strong scientific evidence, so they are all worthy of exploring.
1 – Use vinegar to get lean and build muscle.
Take 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before you go to bed. It’ll lower your fasting blood sugar the next morning by 4 to 6 percent. Continued use – at bedtime and even during the day, mixing it into foods when possible – will lead to an average weight loss of 2 pounds in 4 weeks.
BG: I am a strong supporter of using ACV. I have been using it for a while and while I haven’t had any blood tests lately to “prove” its effect on me, I believe this is effective, given all the studies confirming it.
2 – Eat white rice instead of brown.
Brown rice contains phytic acid, and phytic acid “grabs onto” or chelates minerals (making them unavailable), in addition to inhibiting enzymes we need to digest food. That’s why white rice is often a superior food. It’s fortified with vitamins, isn’t associated with bloating or food allergies, and when you mix it with protein (e.g., meat), it ameliorates its otherwise high glycemic index.
BG: I used to think brown rice was better and advocated, but no longer do so. Over the past 2 years, there have been several good studies supporting the data above, and as such, I am now firmly in the “white rice” camp. My personal favorite is Jasmine Rice.
3 – Drink 3 to 4 cups of coffee a day.
A 2012 study of mortality in 400,000 people found that coffee drinkers had between 6 and 16 percent fewer deaths. Another found a 24% decrease in deaths over a 19-year period. And the more you drink, the better, although 3 to 4 cups seems to be the sweet spot. However, one study found that 6 cups a day resulted in a 33% decrease in diabetes diagnoses.
BG: The evidence is abundant. This one is a no-brainer. Drink coffee folks. You’ll live longer.
4 – Eat cauliflower and broccoli to grow more muscle.
Eating some cooked cauliflower and broccoli every day inhibits a protein called myostatin, thus allowing muscles to grow beyond their normal genetic limitations.
BG: The studies on muscle-building seem legit to me, but the best reason to eat cruciferous veggies is for their cancer-fighting properties. Don’t be like George Bush. Eat your broccoli.
5 – Eat a small amount of carrots every day to thwart prostate cancer.
Scientists have found that for every 10 grams of carrots consumed each day, men reduced their risk of developing prostate cancer by 5%. That means that if a man ate at least 50 grams of carrots a day, his chances of developing prostate cancer could be cut in half.
The average carrot weighs about 72 grams, and a cup of chopped carrots weighs around 122 grams, so it’s not like you have to eat a Bugs Bunny bushel-full of carrots to get to your 50-gram goal. Just one carrot a day should give you some protection against the most frightening of male maladies.
BG: I love carrots and eat them often. Thwarting prostate cancer is a good reason to consume carrots, but they contain fiber, beta-carotene and vitamin A.
6 – Make your coffee work better by mixing in some cocoa.
Adding 5 grams of “non-Dutched” cocoa to your coffee lessens its anxiety-producing effects while enhancing its cognitive boosting effects. Cocoa is also rich repository of phytonutrients. It contains scads of polyphenols including flavonoids and flavanols, alkaloids like theobromine, and a whole alphabet soup of bioactive compounds.
Together, these substances give cocoa the ability to reduce the incidence of heart arrhythmias and heart disease in general by lowering blood pressure and improving endothelial function. It’s also thought to improve insulin sensitivity, fight cancer, and act as a neuro-protectant. Adding cocoa to your coffee is an easy way to take full advantage of these properties.
BG: This was a fascinating study, and I have tried it and didn’t really care for it. I like my coffee without added flavors. Nonetheless, give it a try. It’s sort of like non-sweetened mocha.
7 – Cook rice this way to avoid getting fat.
If you boil rice in water mixed with coconut oil, you change the architecture of the rice, turning it into a “resistant starch.” It becomes even more resistant if you then refrigerate it for 12 hours and reheat it before eating. By doing so, you actually reduce the available calories in it by anywhere from 10 to 50%, depending on the variety of rice.
BG: This is fairly recent data and I have not tried it yet, but I would imagine that the coconut oil will bestow an awesome flavor to the rice. So, I’m totally cool with this. Give it a try and let me know what you think!
8 – Eat sourdough bread. It’s the doughy version of sauerkraut.
Sourdough bread is made by mixing flour and water and allowing the mixture to ferment. Millions of yeasts and billions of lactobacilli then go to work on the dough. The result is an incredibly complex bread that contains a ton of nutrients including B1-B6, B-12, vitamin E, selenium, manganese, calcium, etc., in addition to complex proteins and fatty acids.
Furthermore, sourdough pretty much shoots down any reason people might have for not eating bread; its gluten has been broken down by the bacteria, it has a low glycemic index, and it has little nutrient-robbing phytic acid.
BG: I eat very little bread, not because I don’t like it, but because it’s not particularly nutrient dense. And I love sauerkraut, so why bother with bread? However, given the studies behind sourdough bread, I think this is a good strategy. And sourdough is clearly a better choice than other breads.
9 – Eat some olives every day for a month and replace over two pounds of fat with over two pounds of muscle.
Researchers at the University of Palermo recruited 23 people between the ages of 18 and 65 to eat a dozen green olives a day for 30 days. Amazingly, the participants lost about a kilogram (2.2 pounds) and replaced it with roughly the same amount of muscle, without any changes in diet or exercise.
BG: Much like #6 above, this was a fascinating study. I eat olives quite often, though not this much. I think I will increase my intake.
10 – Take curcumin for whatever ails you.
Curcumin started off as an effective pain reliever and anti-inflammatory, but then we found out it also fights cancer, blocks estrogen, boosts testosterone, improves heart health, dissolves arterial plaques, reduces the risk of diabetes, and even helps prevent mosquito-born malaria.
Now there’s even evidence that small amounts can improve strength and endurance in pathways unrelated to reduced estrogen and increased testosterone.
BG: The scientific evidence for curcumin (turmeric) is pretty overwhelming. I am a huge fan of this stuff and take it almost every day. I highly recommend it.