Walnuts are a dietary paradox – or at least they appear that way. As you probably know, walnuts are very calorically dense, mainly because of their fat content. Just one ounce of walnuts – that is about 12-14 halves – contains 185 calories. If you’ve ever tracked your food intake, you know that sort of thing can add up very quickly, especially if you’re just grabbing handfuls and not measuring.
But if we take a look at the literature, we plainly see that people who eat nuts are actually less likely to gain weight, and long term consumption of nuts is associated with reduced risk of obesity.
So why are nuts such an outlier?
Some have pointed to inefficient energy absorption. But other studies of nuts suggest another mechanism may be at play. Research suggests that when people eat nuts, they wind up compensating for most of the calories by eating less of other foods – without even trying.
Researchers affiliated with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center decided to look inside the brain to figure out what exactly was going on here. They compared people who ate a walnut-based smoothie to counterparts consuming a placebo smoothie, and the results are revealing. Check out the blog to find out what they discovered!
It was traditionally thought that total brain blood flow was not changed during physical activity. Research in the last 10 years, however, changed this perspective. We now understand that the increased neuronal and metabolic activity of the brain during exercise drive increases in blood flow to it. We have also learned that exercise that is too intense will reduce blood flow and oxygen delivery causing fatigue. So, what is the ideal intensity to stimulate blood flow to the brain, and perhaps, augment your mental abilities in the moment?
When we think of foods that improve athletic performance, chocolate is maybe not one of the first options that comes to mind.
We’ve known for a while that certain molecules found in chocolate, known as flavonols, are associated with health benefits to the heart and the brain. Epicatechin, in particular, has exhibited widespread effects throughout the body.
But some emerging evidence suggests that chocolate may also aid in exercise performance – weird as it may sound.
Here’s what the research says so far, and how it seems to work.
Around this time of year, much of the world is advancing their clocks by one hour to make efficient use of seasonal daylight. Americans switched to Daylight Savings Time last week, and this week Europeans will revert to Summer Time.
When this happens, we all “lose” an hour of sleep, because we have to get up and get things done an hour earlier than we have been. This is in relation not just to the light and dark cycles of the day, but also to our body clocks.
One hour sounds like a small change, but it can make a big difference in how we function, at least in the short term. For example, data from the past two decades shows that there is a statistically significant spike in the number of car wrecks on the Monday immediately following the shift to Daylight Savings Time in the US.
As we all adjust to the time change, it’s worthwhile to consider how other aspects of our lives can sway our circadian rhythms. Circadian clocks govern the rhythms of sleep and activity in virtually all animals and are responsive to a variety of stimuli like light and stress. Research is starting to suggest that our eating patterns – specifically when we eat – can also have a pervasive impact.
We do not enter into the world with infinite knowledge of ourselves and our surroundings. We don’t have knowledge or skill to survive, to dance, or to do martial arts with grace and efficiency. We don’t know enough about ourselves or know how to interact best with different types of people we encounter. We don’t know how to accelerate our ability to get better at something. We are born, however, with the capacity to learn and to remember, and by virtue of this skill, we have an incredible potential to do great things.
Professor Marcos FrankToday, important stuff happened to you. Tonight, when you sleep, your brain will extend the process of turning that stimulation – the sites, sounds, thoughts, emotions, facts, etc. – into memories that you can access at a moments notice in the future. It’s amazing when you think about it: experiences, facts, skills, and even thought patterns become a part of who we are. How much do you know now that you didn’t know 1o to 15 years ago, or even last week, last month, or yesterday? The process of accumulating information, and accessing when needed, is so routine it’s easy to forget that something is going to make it possible. As it turns out, sleep plays a vital role in the formation of certain types of memories. In this interview, I speak with someone who has made, and continues to make, significant contributions to help the world better understand how all this magic works. My guest is Marcos Frank, Ph.D., who is the Interim Chair of the Department of Biomedical Sciences in the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine at Washington State University. I hope you enjoy this discussion as much as I did.