Coffee Improves Liver Function
If you’ve been searching for a reason to upgrade to the monstrous 30oz Trenti size the next time you head to Starbucks, science may finally have provided that extra push you needed to send your adrenals into overdrive. Researchers from the National Caner Institute have published a new study in the journal Hepatology that has identified a liver protective effect from the world’s second most popular drink. For the study researchers collected survey data and took blood samples from 27,000 participants in order to determine their liver health. After examining the data researchers found that those who drank three cups of coffee per day or more had lower levels of the four key enzymes used to assess liver health. The results were the same for individuals who consumed both regular or decaf coffee, and the data points to something other than caffeine being responsible for the improvement in overall liver health. So, when it comes to coffee, the old bodybuilding adage rings true once again – up the dosage.
Cold Exposure Increases Fat Burning Fat
To quote Game of Thrones “Winter is coming”, and for most physique athletes that means it’s time to trade in their tank tops for hoodies and pack on some winter size. But, if you’re looking to avoid turning into a full-fledged slop jockey this winter, you might want to consider spending some extra time outdoors. According to new research from the Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism cold exposure turns white adipose tissue into beige adipose tissue – a form of what’s commonly referred to as fat burning fat. For the study researchers biopsied fat tissue from the stomach of participants during the winter and summer months to determine if increased cold exposure had the ability to lead to the “browning” of white adipose tissue. Researchers also asked another group of participants to place ice packs on their thighs for thirty minutes before they took tissue biopsies. Researchers found that in both instances genetic markers of brown fat increased, and the results compound on previous research that found brown adipose tissue appeared to be activated by cold exposure. So, when you’re drudging away on the step mill in sweat pants and a hoodie during your next contest prep trying to “sweat it out”, it might be more effective to ditch the cardio and the clothes in lieu of a few regular ice baths to ramp up your body’s natural fat burning mechanisms.
Grapefruit Juice Lowers Blood Glucose Levels
Grapefruit juice has long been rumored to have mystical fat burning and weight loss properties, but there hasn’t been much scientific data to support its use, and empirical evidence has been sketchy at best. However, new research published in the online journal Plos One has discovered that the hype surrounding grapefruit juice may have been more fact than fiction after all. For the study researchers split mice into two groups and fed them high fat diets. Group one received a daily mixture of grapefruit juice and zero calorie sweeteners while group two received water with glucose added to offset the caloric difference between the groups. At the conclusion of the study researchers found that the group that consumed the grapefruit juice had a 17% decrease in blood glucose levels and a threefold decrease in blood insulin levels. As most physique athletes are well aware, controlling blood glucose and blood insulin levels one of the keys the driving the fat loss engine. And perhaps adding grapefruit to your offseason or contest diet might be a good idea to help shuttle glucose from the blood and into muscle cells more quickly, and potentially help reduce or rid yourself of excess body fat.
Exercise During Pregnancy Has Unexpected Benefits
For decades the common medical prescription for women during pregnancy was to avoid exercise or other strenuous activities, stay off of their feet as much as possible, and be sure to eat plenty because, after all, they were eating for two. However, as the science of exercise, nutrition, and pregnancy have advanced the puzzle surrounding proper nutrition and exercise protocols during pregnancy has begun to take shape. A new study published in the journal BMC Medicine detailed the findings of the first study of its kind that tracked the health of both women and their babies during pregnancy after placing them on dietary and exercise protocols. The study found that by encouraging pregnant women to take 15-20 minute brisk walks and increase their uptake of fruits and vegetables reduced the amount of respiratory infections suffered by babies during birth, reduced the length of hospital stay, resulted in healthier birth weights, all while maintaining normal pregnancy weights for the mothers during gestation. In addition to the new clinical data, there’s a great deal of empirical evidence to support the physical and mental benefits of exercise for women both during and after pregnancy. And unless women have been advised otherwise by the doctors, regular moderate exercise can be a very beneficial experience for both mom and baby.
No Link Between Physical Activity and Depression in Teens
The teenage years are trying times. High school life is filled with the pressures of fitting in, dating, acne, and a general – woe is me the world is ending – sort of malaise that seems to float like fog over LA during our formative years. Often times teens and adolescents can develop severe depressive symptoms due to chronic stress from their surroundings. Numerous studies have found that exercise, and other forms of physical activity, offer calming benefits that can help ease the severity of depression symptoms. But according to a new study in JAMA Pediatrics has found that physical activity doesn’t appear to have any impact on depression in teens. The study tracked nearly 800 participants and assessed a number of variables including mood and activity level. After the initial test the participants were then again tested three years later, and the data found that exercise appeared to have little to no effect of the depressive symptoms in teens. The study uncovered clinical data to backup what millions of frustrated teens have known for decades – high school can suck, and there’s no escaping it.