dental

What’s On The Menu – More Than Just The Freshmaker

How did mint become the go-to car air freshener scent? Was it good marketing? Did people like how that green leaf looked hanging from their rear view mirror?

It’s visual appeal could be a possible reason but I think it has more to do with how the scent affects our biology. A study performed in the early 2000s found that the smell of peppermint actually affected the amount of anxiety, fatigue and physical demand experienced by drivers on prolonged trips in the car. The study suggested that “periodic administration of (peppermint) odors over long-term driving may prove beneficial in maintaining alertness and decreasing highway accidents and fatalities” (source). Cognitive benefits are just the start to the positive health benefits of this refreshing herb.

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I constantly tell you about the high antioxidant content of certain fruits and vegetables, but I don’t seem to give as much recognition to herbs. Shame on me because mint, which is a broad term for 15-20 different species, contains one of the highest antioxidant capacity of any food. One particular antioxidant contained in mint, rosmarinic acid, has been shown to be an effective natural treatment for seasonal allergies. Also, if you already have the sniffles due to the common cold, menthol contained within mint plants has been long regarded as a natural decongestant because of its ability to break up phlegm and mucus (source).

The benefits of mint not only alleviate cold like symptoms, they can also help prevent you from getting a cold or some other type of infection. Peppermint oil has been shown to stop the growth of certain types of fungus and bacteria including the nasty MRSA. It’s also a good source of vitamin C, which can help improve the performance of our immune system (source). Speaking of performance, mint may be the PED all athletes can use without fear of getting busted.

I already mentioned one study that demonstrated how peppermint enhanced the performance of drivers, but can it do the same for athletes? A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Medicine in 2013 discovered that individuals that ingested a minute amount of peppermint essential oil displayed improvements in exercise performance, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and several other related categories. The researchers believe that these improvements were due to the herb’s ability to relax bronchial smooth muscles, increase ventilation & brain oxygen concentrations and decrease blood lactate levels (source). That means that if you can run and chew gum at the same time, you may have a leg up on your competition.

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I always try to chew gum while working out, except for disciplines that require me to wear a mouthpiece (e.g. kickboxing, grappling, etc.). I’m sure it helps me concentrate but I use it mainly to prevent dry mouth. I use the crappy sugar-free stuff you get at the grocery store, which is peppermint flavored but I doubt has any real peppermint in it. Maybe I’ll perform a little experiment on yours truly to see if ingesting peppermint essential oil has a beneficial effect on my workout performance. Stay tuned for that!

In the meantime, I’d love to hear how you like to incorporate mint into your diet. I enjoy throwing a handful of mint leaves into a tall glass of club soda with lime, essentially making a non-alcoholic mojito. Please feel free to share your minty fresh recipes with us on our social media (FacebookInstagram or Twitter) or email them to elementaltampa@gmail.com.

You can also take advantage of the free fitness consultations I’m currently offering by emailing me.

Last but not least, we’d really appreciate it if you vote for Addicted to Fitness for the “best local podcast” in the Creative Loafing Best of the Bay contest. Click the following link to cast your vote. Thanks!

 

Addicted to Fitness Show Notes – Charcoal: Health Solution or Trendy Gimmick

This week’s episode Show Notes brought to you by Shannon.

A couple quick announcements…

First, if you haven’t already taken Nick and ETT up on the amazing opportunity, send Nick an email today at elementaltampa@gmail.com to schedule a free fitness consultation (online, phone or Skype – you don’t have to be local!). Because who doesn’t need a little motivation and inspiration on their health and fitness journey?

Second, we’re thrilled to be able to announce the voting for Creative Loafing’s Best of the Bay 2017 has officially opened! Simply visit cltampabay.com/botb2017, log in and you’ll find ATF at the top of the list for Best Local Podcast in the “People, Places, Politics” category. You can vote every day if you want, so feel free to show your support!

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Now, let’s get into it.

Training for Nick and I this past week included Nick returning to jiu jitsu classes and also kicking off training with Spanish from 102.5 The Bone for the Mike Calta’s Punchout – a local radio show event that Nick’s been involved with for the past few years as a trainer for on-air personalities. We’re both cheering on Spanish, who has already been putting in some great training time.

I meanwhile have been just trying to stay active whenever I can (we all have those weeks, right?). We quickly touch on how being pregnant has made even some of my go-to exercises, like my beloved peloton rides, a bit more challenging, but I’m keeping after it!

As for today’s title topic, we’re getting into that health trend that has appeared across numerous industries – skincare, food, supplements, even dental care – and that appears on more and more peoples’ Instagram feeds, charcoal. Specifically, we talk about activated charcoal, which is what the charcoal products we’re discussing include.

Now, don’t worry. This isn’t the briquettes you use in your grill or what you may possibly used in high school art class, this is a bit different. A wonderfully simple description of activated charcoal was included in this nice overview article in Real Simple magazine, which summarized as a byproduct of burning coconut shells, wood, or other plant materials. It’s considered “activated” due to its negative charge, which gives it the capability to bond with positively charged ions (like chemicals).

You’ve likely seen or heard at least one of the following claims that activated charcoal is supposed to do, but Nick and I take a closer look to see whether these claims are real solutions or just marketable ploy.

  • Skin Care Claim – Removes Impurities:
    • Does it really pull all the gunk out of your skin though? Don’t be suckered in by some products that promise miracle results. Though charcoal masks with activated charcoal can provide a lovely facial, they’re not an instantaneous win for skin. Be smart about what you purchase and beware that there are a lot of gimmicky goods to sift through. Nick asked my personal opinion, as I’ve tried a number of these skin care items, and I recommend the Origins Charcoal MaskIMG_8513
  • Dental Claim – Whitens Teeth:
    • Does black charcoal paste produce pearly whites? Well, as it turns out, no. One dental expert in a recent Guardian article pointed out the complete lack of evidence that activated charcoal whites teeth. Plus, the expert points out that charcoal is abrasive, which could remove the enamel on your teeth if used too frequently. Eek!
  • Diet Claim – Detoxifies:
    • The science proves that activated charcoal does bind to certain substances in the stomach when you ingest it. However, activated charcoal shouldn’t be taken in large amounts because it doesn’t discriminate against what it attaches to and carries out of the body through the digestive tract. It will remove good things like calcium, potassium, iron, zinc and even some medications. Plus, it can attach to water molecules and cause dehydration, leaving some with a bad case of constipation (oh no!).
    • One recent article by The Refinery went into a further look at the risks involved with consuming too much activated charcoal.
  • The Hangover Claim – Will Cure Your Hangover:
    • This is just a flat out myth, but even Nick admitted to having heard this before. Sadly, there’s not much truth at all to it. Activated charcoal doesn’t bond with alcohol, so even in larger amounts (which you should only get at the hospital), it can’t help. Plus, it only helps to limit absorption in the stomach, and alcohol gets absorbed into your bloodstream long before the onset of a hangover. Perhaps some people use activated charcoal to purify their booze, but it’s not going to help shake the headache and stomach aches that follow a night/day of alcohol overindulgence.
  • Poisoning Cure Claim – Prevents Poisons From Being Absorbed
    • This is a scary topic regardless, and one of the oldest actual medical uses for activated charcoal. There are written records going back to Ancient Greece, that describe charcoal being used to decrease the impacts of some poisons. Even the Mayo Clinic lists activated charcoal as a type of treatment for certain types of poisons, but only in emergencies situations. However, they mention that it does nothing for poisons like corrosive agents or strong acids. Large doses can be used for specific cases, but activated charcoal should not be taken that way normally.

We finish off this week’s episode with a new segment – Straight from the Headlines – where we reference a timely health/fitness article that deserves a callout.

You likely remember our recent podcast on Coconut Oil and an especially damning article that USA Today published citing the American Heart Association (AHA) and its recent “presidential advisory” which basically vilified all saturated fats, including coconut oil. It created quite the buzz as we’ve been told in the recent past that not all saturated fats are created equal, and scientific studies had been disproving what the AHA had been pushing for years.

Well, Nick dug into it during that recent episode of ours, and is now backed up by an op-ed written by an excellent investigatory journalist, Nina Teicholz (article link). The piece details how Teicholz examined all the data and sources that were cited in the aforementioned article and deduced that it was primarily driven by “long-standing bias and commercial interests” more than sound science.  Afterall, the AHA needs to reaffirm the “heart healthy” advice it’s been saying for nearly 70 years, all the while being conveniently funded by some commercial companies whose interests don’t lie with saturated fats in almost any form. As I summarized so nicely – it’s mostly PR fluff from the AHA. Very well-placed fluff, but still.

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That’s really it for this week’s episode! Thank you for listening and please give us a rating and review if you haven’t already – it means so much to us.

Hopefully, you’ll vote for us in CL’s Best of the Bay, and if you already have or are about to we deeply thank you!

Until next week, please stay in touch via email or on social media (FacebookInstagram or Twitter). We love hearing from you!

Links to this week’s episode

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/charcoal-health-solution-or-trendy-gimmick/id1121420986?i=1000390482279&mt=2

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/nick-burch-702220833/charcoal-health-solution-or

Website: http://addictedtofitness.libsyn.com/charcoal-health-solution-or-trendy-gimmick

 

 

What’s on the Menu – Almost everyone uses PEDs

Hi, my name is Nicholas Burch, and I’m a coffee addict.

It’s true. I really can’t live without the stuff. When I wake up every morning I look forward to the fact that I’ll soon be drinking coffee. I enjoy the ritualistic aspects it includes. I actually have fond memories of times with relatives no longer living that are based around having coffee with them. I’m sure my body looks forward to the energetic boost (more on that later) it can provide, but I truly look forward to the act of making & drinking coffee.

Thankfully, my coffee loving vice is healthy. In fact, with the scientific research I’ve gathered, I’m willing to say that coffee is the healthiest beverage on the planet. Shannon and I actually debated this very statement in a past episode of the Addicted to Fitness podcast (click here to listen). Below is several potential positive and negative impacts of coffee consumption. Take a gander and decide whether you’d put coffee in the friend or foe category.

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Coffee & protein – how I start everyday

Pros

  • Contains the powerful antioxidant chlorogenic acid, which can reduce free radicals that damage cells (source)
  • Two or more cups of coffee could prevent alcohol induced cirrhosis by up to 66% (source)
  • Studies have shown that drinking coffee can result in a significant reduction in prostate cancer (source)
  • Studies have shown that the caffeine in coffee can improve performance in endurance events (source) FUN FACT: caffeine was considered a performance enhancing drug by the Olympic drug testing agency until 2004
  • Studies have linked coffee consumption to the reduction in the development of both Alzheimer’s disease and dementia (source

Cons

  • Regular coffee consumption can have a negative affect on dental hygiene (e.g. stained teeth, bad breath)
  • Coffee consumption close to bedtime can disrupt regular sleep patterns (source)
  • Excess coffee intake has been linked to hand tremors in a small percentage of individuals (source)
  • Coffee consumption does cause an acute increase in blood pressure (source)
  • Sudden elimination or reduction in caffienated coffee consumption can induce withdrawal-like symptoms (source)

Besides water & tea, coffee provides the widest array of health benefits of any beverage. As you can see, caffienated coffee can cause problems for individuals that suffer from essential tremors or hypertension, but even the consumption of decaf coffee has favorable aspects. It is important to note that the pros & cons listed above are based on BLACK COFFEE. Once you start adding sugar, dairy or dairy substitutes to the coffee, you can seriously affect its merit.

I could go on and on about coffee, but I would rather get your feedback. Love it or hate it, please let me know what you think of. We would really love it if you sent us a pic of your favorite cup of joe on social media (FacebookInstagram or Twitter).

In addition to your coffee feedback, you can also contact us at elementaltampa@gmail.com to take advantage of the complimentary fitness consultations we’re currently offering. Whether you need advice on nutrition or just want workout tips, I’d be happy to set up an appointment with you to discuss how you can improve your fitness.