One question I get a lot is “what kind of pot boils water the fastest?” Here’s the answer.
The Atlantic has a fun widget in its article today about how you will die, according to statistics.
The short story is that most people die before age 100, and most of those deaths are related to nutrition to some degree: heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. The link between nutrition and health is so obvious and so potent that we even have an expression for it: “You are what you eat.”
Many New Year’s Resolutions sometimes fail because people (ahem) bite off more than they can chew. What may work better for many people is to make incremental changes that snowball into something greater.
Here are some small steps you can take today to help boost your energy to take on larger steps down the road:
- Cooking for yourself rather than eating out as much (restaurants are notorious for using a lot of salt/fat/sugar to hook you);
- Eating plenty of leafy greens and fruits to keep toxins moving through your body instead of loitering in your gut, and to ensure that your body gets lots of vitamins and minerals;
- Eating less red meat, especially processed meats like deli meats, sausages, corned beef, ham, and smoked meats, which have been linked with cancer.
- If you have to eat meat, try to avoid grilled meat, because high-temperature grilling creates toxins (most obviously the bitter, carcinogenic black bits that most people try to eat around).
- Get enough sleep. Going to bed at regular times helps. So does wearing protective lenses to boost melatonin.
- Change your route to work, whether it’s taking the stairs or parking farther away from the building entrance. You will burn off only a few calories more per day, but it gets you in the habit of exercising more, which can ease your transition into more strenuous or longer activities.
- Drink more water. You don’t need to drink 8 glasses of water per day (that’s a myth), since most foods contain water. But going to the restroom even one more time per day gives your body’s cells another opportunity to get rid of toxins rather than letting them build up.
Whatever you do, remember to reward yourself from time to time. It’s perfectly fine to eat ice cream and chocolate for 5% of your diet, if you eat healthy for the other 95%.
Confused about which cooking oil is best to use? You’re not alone!
If you just want the short answer, scroll down. Else keep reading.
Manufacturers will claim all sorts of things, but when you get right down to it, all cooking oils may be categorized as polyunsaturated (PUFA), monounsaturated (MUFA), and saturated fatty acids (SFA). You can think of a fatty acid as a snake:
Years ago, we traveled through Turkey on a bus from Istanbul to Cappadocia (the Turkish equivalent to Yellowstone National Park).1 Along the way, the bus made lots of stops at the Turkish equivalent of truck stops and 7-11 convenience stores. The bathrooms were often short of warm water and soap and had faucet handles you needed to touch to use. I declined to wash my hands under such conditions and used alcohol wipes instead. Ann did wash her hands–with the dubious faucet handles and all. Later in the trip, she got the worst bout of diarrhea that she had ever experienced. For two days she had to stay within fifteen minutes of a toilet at all times and missed the balloon ride (above).
Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not. But most people don’t wash their hands well enough. Normally, not washing your hands properly might only give you diarrhea or something you’ll probably survive, but occasionally you get stories about how people get tapeworms in the brain or hepatitis or norovirus. In any case, even if you “only” get a stomach virus, that’s more than enough incentive to wash your hands better. And as the U.S. Centers for Diseases Control (CDC) puts it:
Everyone knows that sleep deprivation is costly. You can do worse on school or employment exams, gain weight, become more forgetful, become depressed, prematurely age your body, lose some of your sex drive, or even crash your car if you aren’t getting enough sleep, because drinking under sleep deprivation is like driving drunk.1 In fact, a recent Harvard Medical School study estimates that sleep deprivation costs the U.S. $63.2 billion per year.2
Some causes of sleep deprivation are hard to stop–if you’re an airline pilot that changes time zones a lot, that’s hard to fix, short of a career change. But one big cause of sleep deprivation is easy to stop: blue light.
A Columbia University study is circulating on the internet right now; the study has found a correlation between eating a Mediterranean diet (heavy on vegetables/herbs, fish, legumes, nuts, and olive oil, but relatively low on meat) and staving off brain shrinkage.
This comes fast on the heels of a Scientific American article entitled Mediterranean Eating Habits Prove Good for the Brain: A Mediterranean-style diet may slow memory loss, even if adopted late in life, which also finds some potential brain health benefits to the Mediterranean diet.
Updated October 26, 2015 to add: In other news, WHO states the obvious that processed meats, especially red meats, are linked to cancer. Freshly cooked meat isn’t as bad as processed meats (bacon, sausage, deli meats, smoked meats, etc.), which have chemicals/preservatives added. Also, I’m working on an in-depth article about longevity which will touch on these kinds of topics, but it’s a huge topic with a lot of dubious science to sort through. Nevertheless, we’re starting to get more and more promising research about the relationship between nutrition and aging well.