Archive for October, 2010

Acai Berry Side Effects: Longevity & Better Health

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

Acai Berry Not Just For Weight Loss — It Promises Longevity

Matt Papa
Matt Papa

Today’s guest post was written by Matt Papa, PhD. Having worked in biology labs for more than a decade, Matt devotes much of his time reading and researching the scientific literature pertaining to diets and natural weight loss programs. He blogs about research findings in obesity-treatment and gives away a Medifast discount coupon and a Nutrisystem coupon, two leading portion-controlled meal replacement diet plans.

About Acai Berries – Why Are They so Good for Your Health

Botanical-rich diets have been shown to have numerous health benefits, and acai is one botanical product that is garnering a great deal of attention. The acai berry, fruit of a palm tree indigenous to the Amazon River area of South America, has been praised by experts for its health benefits.

Acai Side Effects

The purple fruit is considered a superfood and is widely consumed as a dietary supplement because of the many therapeutic properties it is believed to possess. Marketed mostly as an effective supplement to induce weight loss, scientific studies are now recognizing other significant health benefits of the acai berry.

Berries, including the acai berry, receive their vibrant red, blue, and purple colors from a phytonutrient known as anthocyanin. In clinical trials, biochemical analysis, and animal and cell-based studies, anthocyanins have been shown to possess several important biomedical functions.

In addition to anti-inflammatory and anti-cardiovascular properties, anthocyanins have been demonstrated to decrease cancer cell growth by more than 50%. They also have significant potential as an anti-aging supplement, as they can reduce the oxidative stress associated with aging, improve neuronal and cognitive brain function, and repair and protect DNA – all of which are associated with aging, especially the accumulation of DNA damage or mutation.

Scientific Study Finds Acai Improves Longevity

Acai Longevity

The free radical theory addresses the issues of DNA mutation accumulation and oxidative stress mentioned above. This theory postulates that free radicals cause oxidative damage, which results in aging. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules responsible for cell damage, including oxidative harm to macromolecules like DNA. As an organism ages, this oxidative stress accumulates in the cell. Based on this theory, treatments that reduce oxidative damage should be effective aging interventions. This has been supported through animal experiments that have shown reducing oxidative damage increases lifespan.

A study recently published in the January 2010 issue of Experimental Gerontology examined acai berry’s potential as an aging intervention. This groundbreaking animal study looked at the anti-aging effect of acai in Drosophila melanogaster, otherwise known as the fruit fly. Acai’s anti-aging effect was evaluated under two different conditions.

Condition 1. Flies fed a high fat diet.
Condition 2. Flies pre-conditioned to experience extreme oxidative stress.

Acai Counteracts High Fat Diet’s Damaging Effect

Conjecturing that acai’s beneficial phytonutrients and its robust anti-oxidant activity would reverse the harmful effects of a diet high in fat, researchers manipulated the diet of fruit flies. All flies in the experiment were placed on a diet high in saturated fat; compared to a standard diet, one high in saturated fat is known to shorten lifespan by 19%. The flies were divided into two groups, one of which had their high fat diet supplemented at 2% with acai pulp.

Acai Ultraberry 160x600

Compared to the flies who did not receive the acai supplement, those in the supplementation group saw a 22% increase in lifespan. In effect, supplementing with acai restored lifespan to a normal length, counteracting the damaging impact of a high fat diet. The researchers’ search for the mechanism responsible for this positive effect on longevity found that the acai diet resulted in increased activity of anti-aging genes.

In addition to a shortened lifespan, high fat diets are associated with a heightened risk for a variety of health problems. One common result of a chronic high fat diet is the development of insulin resistance, which eventually leads to type 2 diabetes. Dr. Sun, the study’s primary investigator, is hopeful “that acai pulp may be effective in prevention and control of type 2 diabetes,” as the findings seem to suggest. Acai pulp has demonstrated promise as a medicinal food that can inhibit a high fat diet’s detrimental health effects.

Acai Found To Reduce Oxidative Damage

The researchers also proposed that the survival of flies in oxidative stress would be improved by the administration of acai pulp. They tested this by using a model of oxidative stress commonly used in the biological study of aging. The model relies on fruit flies which, as a result of genetic modification, contain a dysfunctional Superoxide Dismutase enzyme (SOD). This enzyme is essential to the flies’ ability to reduce the cellular damage done by free radicals as well as to repair cells that do sustain damage. The genetically modified (SOD-mutated) flies live under constant oxidative stress because they do not have the ability to repair oxidative damage.

The SOD-mutated flies were placed in two groups. One group received 2% acai pulp for the duration of their adult life, while the control group received no supplementation. Comparison of the groups showed that flies who had received the acai supplement lived approximately 18% longer than those in the control group, suggesting that acai alleviates oxidative stress and thereby improves survival.

According to the researchers, the anti-aging properties demonstrated by acai may be due to its high level of polyphenolics, which give it the ability to function as a hunter of free radicals. Another polyphenolic compound shown to have similar anti-aging benefits is resveratrol. Supplementation with resveratrol increased longevity in mice fed a diet high in fat.

Final Remarks

This study, the first to examine the effects of acai’s anti-aging properties in an animal population, joins over 20 other peer-reviewed studies that refer to acai berry’s antioxidant properties and potential benefits to human health. In addition to these benefits, acai is currently being tested for its effectiveness as a weight loss tool. Although research in this area is still ongoing, the inclusion of berries and other fruits is known to be an important component of any healthy weight loss diet.

Even though research on the weight loss effect of acai is not complete, anecdotal evidence and reports from real-life experiences suggest that it may help shed unwanted weight. The popular fruit is being recognized as a superfood with health benefits that include increased longevity, possible disease prevention, and the potential to aid in weight loss. Read Steve’s article where he clearly explains how the Acai berry speeds up weight loss.

Useful Literature

 – Açai palm fruit (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) pulp improves survival of flies on a high fat diet. Sun X, Seeberger J, Alberico T, Wang C, Wheeler CT, Schauss AG, Zou S. Exp Gerontol. 2010 Mar;45(3):243-51.

 – What is the açaí berry and are there health benefits? Marcason W. J Am Diet Assoc. 2009 Nov;109(11):1968

Halloween Recipes: Kitty Litter Protein Cake

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

High Protein Kitty Litter Cake Recipe for Halloween

This is one of the more disgusting Halloween recipes I’ve found. It is also not the healthiest recipe on Project Swole, but it is definitely fun for the kids. Just don’t let Fluffy near the final product or you might end up with more ‘Tootsie Rolls’ than you thought.

In an attempt to get as much protein into this recipe as possible, I am literally adding scoops of protein powder to everything and substituting protein bars for candy whenever possible. The recipe might not come out that great if you use every one of my substitutions, but you can pick and choose which substitutions to use based on personal preference.

I’ve also listed several substitutions to the cake recipes. If you use them all, the cake might not be that great, but using applesauce in place of oil never seems to ruin any recipe that I have ever tried.

Kitty Litter Cake Recipe
High Protein, Low Fat (kinda) Kitty Litter Cake Recipe

(more…)

Understanding the American Diet and its Effects on our Health

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010
Matt Paley
Matt Paley

Today’s guest post was written by Matt Paley, the founder and CEO of Share It Fitness, which provides us with a revolutionary new approach to health and fitness. The old model of paying a trainer, or yoga instructor, or golf pro, or you name it, 50, 60, 70 dollars an hour to simply count or re-use a generic workout routine on you isn’t effective nor cost-efficient. What if you could have a dedicated professional with you, not just a few hours a week, but EVERY DAY OF YOUR LIFE. Motivating, guiding, advising, and supporting you in all your fitness needs. The time has come for a change in the way fitness, health, and sport instruction is delivered.

ShareItFitness.com is the answer. The ShareItFitness blog, has a wide range of health and fitness news. The information found on the blog is only going to be the tip of the iceberg in terms of what ShareItFitness will be able to offer. You can also connect with us on Twitter and Facebook for additional fitness tips. Thanks for checking us out and keep on living well.

Breaking Down the American Diet

While not a “diet” in the sense you may be thinking, the American Diet is one that millions of people follow, mostly unaware, for the majority of their lives. The bad part is, this easily followed “diet” isn’t doing us any good. If anything, it’s contribution to the high rates of obesity and mortality that we are experiencing in this country.

The American Diet has large amounts of sodium, sugar, simple carbs, and bad fats, which include the worst offender, trans fat. We consume these by the plateful almost every time we go out to eat. Unfortunately as Americans, we eat out a lot.

These four things are the major barriers that stand between us and a long, healthy life. If we can learn how to eat less of these bad nutrients, and more of the healthy ones, we will unlock the largest component to a healthy lifestyle. This section is going to break down the health consequences of each of the above offenders so you may have a more practical idea of what’ s going on inside your body.
(more…)

A Sugary Fright Fest Done Right

Friday, October 15th, 2010
Josie Maurer
Josie Maurer

Josie Maurer of YumYucky.com writes today’s guest post. Josie is a woman who eats and then talks about it. She and her “Greedy Taste Testers” tell us all about the different kinds of foods they eat in an attempt to find a way of life that balances fitness and a taste for great cuisine.

Josie wants you to ditch the weight loss gimmicks, deprivation of so-called “forbidden foods”, and severe calorie deprivation, in favor of Moderation, Discipline, Portion Control, and Commitment to exercising and eating healthy.

Visit Yum Yucky or Connect with Josie on Twitter.

A Sweet Halloween Extravaganza!

Editor’s Note: if you want to skip down to Josie’s great recipe for No-Bake Raw Oat Bars, click here.

If foods filled with sugary sludge aren’t quite your thing, beware the death grip of Halloween! This one day, in particular, is extra fueled with the kind of zombie power that just might be strong enough to slap the protein bar out of your mouth in favor of a Snickers. Just maybe?

Your co-workers are bringing candy to the office, your kid is getting sweets from the teacher, and the snot nosed neighbor-child expects you to have some candy when they bang on your door in their gorilla costume.

So you see that. The sugary fright fest is all around you. But if you want an escape hatch for Halloween done healthy, try these anti-sugar sludge tips.
(more…)

The Arnold Schwarzenegger Protein Shake

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Arnold Schwarzenegger was a tank. He instinctively knew how to eat and how to train. His philosophy on whole food meals and snacks are accepted today as the best way to construct a weight gain diet, a fat loss diet, or even a regular healthy diet for a non-athlete.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

From the earliest reports on his nutritional theories, Arnold believed that the average person needs a half of a gram of protein per pound of bodyweight per day, and that a bodybuilder needs at least one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight each day. However, he did not recommend drinking 4 glasses of protein powder mixed with water to get all of that protein, and neither do I.

(more…)

The Ultimate Goal: Training Longevity

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010
Josh Hanagarne
Josh Hanagarne

Today’s new Swole Content is a guest post by Josh Hanagarne, the World’s Strongest Librarian. Please visit him on his blog where he talks about books, strength training, his fight with Tourette’s Syndrome, and much more.

How to Train for YOUR Future

We hear about weight training goals all the time.

  • I want more muscle.
  • I want less fat.
  • I want to look good naked.
  • I want to deadlift more.
  • I want to bench press 500 pounds.

What about training goals that will actually matter when you spot your first gray hair or when you buy your first pair of bifocals? Granted fat loss is always a concern as you age, but what can we, as dedicated strength athletes, focus on NOW that will help us stay healthy as the years tick by?

(more…)

Wings of Nature Cranberry Crunch Organic Snack Bar Review

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Wings of Nature Snack Bars – Cranberry Crunch Review

Cranberry Crunch
Cranberry Crunch

At Project Swole I receive all kinds of offers to try free samples and then review them on my blog. Some successful reviews in the past have been for Zola Acai, Sobe Lifewater, and the Venom Energy Drink. There have also been some pretty horrible free samples sent to me; someone once sent me some kind of lemonade ice cube diet product that was totally lame.

Fortunately some free samples work out great! I recently got to experience a free sample delight when the Wings of Nature folks recently sent me their 3 organic snack bars and I must say they are straight yummy.

Wings of Nature has this great new line of certified organic fruit, nut, and coffee bars. They are made using a cold process rather than baking or cooking, which allows them to retain the wholesome taste, texture, and nutritional properties of their all-natural whole food ingredients.

(more…)

Wings of Nature Almond Raisin Organic Snack Bar Review

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

Wings of Nature Snack Bars – Almond Raisin Review

Cranberry Crunch
Breakfast Snack

Often when I review products on Project Swole, it is because I receive an offer to try a free sample in exchange for posting a review online. Incidentally, I NEVER accept money in exchange for positive reviews. Any review you find on Project Swole is legit; I tried it and I liked it.

In the past, some of my positive reviews have been for Acai Roots, Captains of Crush grippers, Sobe Lifewater, and Optimum Nutrition protein powder. I have definitely receive a couple of horrible free samples like a disgusting acai powder and some lemonade ice cube diet, both of which I never bothered to review; and a half-cheesy workout book that pretty much just contained a bunch of still photos.

But as I mentioned, some free samples work out great, including a recent batch of organic snack bars by Wings of Nature. Each of the three snack bars they sent me are simply delicious. Snacking on these bars is definitely a positive health habit.

The Wings of Nature folks have produced a tasty new line of certified organic fruit, nut, and coffee bars. Each bar is made using a cold process rather than baking or cooking, which allows them to retain the wholesome taste, texture, and nutritional properties of their all-natural whole food ingredients.

(more…)

Wings of Nature Espresso Coffee Organic Snack Bar Review

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

Wings of Nature Snack Bars – Almond Raisin Review

Cranberry Crunch
Half Gone

I receive numerous offers to try free samples of food, health, and exercise products in exchange for a review on Project Swole. I have had several successful reviews in the past including Sambazon Acai, Venom Energy Drink, and Sobe Lifewater. There have also been some pretty horrible free samples sent to me; I recently tried some Celsius energy drink powder mix that was straight gaggable (oddly enough, the premixed drink in a can was great).

Just recently got to experience a taste extravaganze when the Wings of Nature folks sent me 3 of their organic snack bars. I have to admit that each bar is pretty fricken tasty. Often my free samples will sit around the house (or get tossed in the trash, in the case of the Celsius drink powders), but these bars were gone is just a few short days.

Wings of Nature has this great new line of certified organic fruit, nut, and coffee bars. They are made using a cold process rather than baking or cooking, which allows them to retain the wholesome taste, texture, and nutritional properties of their all-natural whole food ingredients.

(more…)

Down Syndrome Kid Scores a Touchdown

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

Today’s post can be filed away in the there-is-hope-for-humanity category.

A 17 year old high school student named Ike Ditzenberger has down syndrome. He also plays on the varsity football team.

In late September, the Lake Stevens Vikings were crushing the Snohomish Panthers 35-0 with 10 seconds left in the game. That’s when the Panthers ran their top secret play, The Ike Special.

Ike took the hand off from the Panthers quarterback and proceeded to run 51 yards for a touchdown as the clock expired. Vikings players definitely took the end of that play off, but in this case it mattered way more to everyone on that field for little Ike to score 6 points, than to tackle the poor guy to salvage a shutout.

YouTube Preview Image

The Vikings ended up winning 35-6 and now have a 4-0 record in 2010, but Ike Ditzenberger and his family have a memory they will treasure for the rest of their lives.

And in Pro Football News…

If Ike’s story doesn’t make you feel warm and fuzzy, then I’ll leave you with this:

The New England Patriots defeated the Miami Dolphins 41-14 last night in Miami on prime time Monday Night Football! Special teams rocked the house for the Pats. How sweet it is.