Author: admin

Growing up in New York City, I would always feel my spirits drop come the fall. The impending winter months of long, dark days with little sun exposure gave rise to a kind of depression known as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. Also known as winter depression, SAD affects an estimated ten million people in the United States—and while the majority of those affected are women, everybody is at risk. When I was seventeen, I learned that the skin made vitamin D from exposure to the sun, and I realized that my lack of sun exposure during those dark months…

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Have you seen a baby lately? I’m talking about a newborn, fresh out of the womb. They’re fat. And cute. But mostly fat. Packed with stored energy prior to birth in the third trimester, the fatness of human babies is unprecedented in the mammal world. While the newborns of most mammal species average 2 to 3 percent of birth weight as body fat, humans are born with a body fat percentage of nearly 15, surpassing the fatness of even newborn seals. Why is this so? Because humans are born half-baked. When a healthy human baby emerges from the womb, she…

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Bacteria In industrialized countries, and based on reports from those that have carried out comprehensive assessments of the number of illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths from contaminated foods, the most common causes of foodborne illness are norovirus, Salmonella enterica, Campylobacter spp., Clostridium perfringens and Staphylococcus aureus, (Scallan et al. 2011a, 2013; Adak et al. 2002; Hall and Kirk 2005). Due to its high case fatality rate, L. monocytogenes has also become a much noted cause for concern. Scallan et al. (2011a) reported that norovirus was responsible for most (58%) foodborne illness in the US, while non-typhoidal Salmonella was the leading cause of hospitalizations and…

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Our brains are massive oxygen consumers. Twenty-five percent of every breath you take is going directly to support the ravenous metabolic needs of your brain, and ensuring that your blood lipids are healthy is one way of keeping your cognitive power supply free of interruption. Thankfully, there are some other ways of increasing healthy blood flow to the brain: Eat dark chocolate. Compounds in dark chocolate (called polyphenols) have been shown to boost brain perfusion, or blood flow to the brain. As we learned with Genius Food #4, stick to 80% or higher for the cocoa content (ideally 85% or…

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Once you are fat adapted, periodic high-carb meals can be a potent way of promoting healthy leptin dynamics. This is because carbohydrate consumption and the insulin secreted as a result are powerful leptin boosters. 14 The corresponding leptin surge messages the hypothalamus to ramp up the body’s metabolic engines. This system becomes dysregulated if there is chronic high-carbohydrate consumption, which can promote leptin resistance. But when combined with exercise, a weekly higher-carb “refeed” can increase energy expenditure, recalibrate mood, and accelerate fat loss, especially for those who’ve seen their weight loss stall. A refeed of 100 to 150 grams of…

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Ready for a paradigm shift? Some very interesting studies have emerged recently highlighting the value that probiotics–foods or supplements rich in live bacteria–may hold for those of us suffering from depression, anxiety, and even dementia. In a small study from Holland’s Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition, women who took a probiotic supplement designed to enhance gut bacterial diversity experienced less reactivity to sad thoughts than those who took a placebo. Resilience to sad thoughts is a sign of strong mental health. For example, in depressed people, a sad stimulus can turn an otherwise spotless sky into an overcast day,…

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A common problem with dopamine is that we can become tolerant to its effects when stimulated. This is clearly observed by the phenomenon of hedonic adaptation. Think of a former life goal that you’ve already achieved. Perhaps it was buying a car you’d always wanted, or getting that promotion, or moving into a new house. Certainly, these are incredible and exciting life milestones, but as sure as you are human, your level of happiness regressed to baseline after the initial buzz wore off. This “tolerance” to dopamine, especially when achieved by any short-circuiting of the stimulus/reward pathways in the brain,…

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Like serotonin, dopamine is considered a “feel-good” neurotransmitter. It is most famously associated with motivation and reward, and it gets released when we do things like have sex, listen to our favorite music, eat, or watch our favorite sports team succeed. It also spikes when a new work opportunity or promotion presents itself, when we spot someone from across the bar that we find attractive, or when we get a notification of “likes” on social media posts. When goals are set and met, our dopamine system lights up, helping to motivate us to do things that evolution has deemed good…

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In the sea of overhyped marketing claims that support a billion-dollar-per-year supplement industry, creatine holds court as one of the few markedly effective tools with both a strong evidence record and safety profile. It’s a natural substance produced in the body and found in red meat and fish (one pound of raw beef contains 2.5 grams of creatine), and supplementing with it leads to substantially increased muscle performance. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is the energy currency of cells, used during muscle contraction. Once ATP gets used by a cell during intense exercise, creatine acts like an energy reserve, recycling it to…

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Microbiological criteria for foods in international trade are addressed in the joint Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations/World Health Organization (FAO/WHO) food standards program, as implemented by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC 1997, 2013). The program, established in 1962 (the same year as the establishment of the ICMSF), was the direct result of conflict between national food legislation and the general requirements of the main food markets of the world. Serious non-tariff obstacles to trade were caused by differing national food legislation. At that time, the Commission’s objectives were to develop international food standards, codes of practice and…

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