This is how to take a ‘life challenge’ and turn it into a positive!
So, I was doing some background research for me next blog post, and came across an interesting article comparing the spice, black ginger to Viagra.
I decided to read on…
(Let me say up front…I do NOT tend to write about anything that is not supported by scientific research. To that end, I have included all the studies at the bottom of this page.)
On the other hand, when you see an article comparing some random spice to a potent ED drug like Viagra, an eyebrow tends to be raised.
Here is a summary of what this article said:
Black ginger was being studied because of its long-standing reputation for its effects on male sexuality, endurance, sexual prowess, and increasing libido.
The studies proved that the spice works when using a similar mechanism as Viagra and Cialis, but on a much less potent scale. The upside was that there were none of the known side effect from those commercial products such as dizziness and headaches…so I’m told.
What I found really interesting was the spice’s effect on the brain.
“Black ginger also acts on the dopaminergic system, boosting levels of this neurotransmitter that plays an important role in normal sexual function in addition to its PDE-5 inhibiting effects. Individuals who exhibit reduced dopamine sensitivity, or low levels of dopamine, commonly experience sexual dysfunctions, and it will not be fixed with mere use of vasodilators.”
In short, it boosts dopamine in the brain. A good thing when it comes to sexual function. Viagra and Cialis do not possess this trait.
One other ‘claim’ made by black ginger enthusiasts.
“Black ginger extract also possesses other beneficial functions such as: decreasing time taken to become erect again…(and is)…said to increase length and girth of penis”
This all sounds wonderful…
But as with anything that dilates blood vessels, anyone with heart arrhythmia, clearly in poor physical condition, or has any other cardio-vascular issue should NOT touch black ginger.
So there you go…an article geared for the guys…mostly.
A final note, when I used to own my own fitness facility, I had a strict policy that I would never promote a meal plan or special workout, not having first tried it on myself. As such, I have ordered black ginger (I had honestly never heard of it before).
However, there will not be a follow up to this article, at this juncture…:)
Have a great week everyone.
- Efficacy Assessment of Kaempferia parviflora for the Management of Erectile Dysfunction[OnLine Journal of Biological Sciences, 2012].
- Kaempferia parviflora rhizome extract and Myristica fragrans volatile oil increase the levels of monoamine neurotransmitters and impact the proteomic profiles in the rat hippocampus: Mechanistic insights into their neuroprotective effects[Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine.2017].
- Standardized Kaempferia parviflora Extract Inhibits Intrinsic Aging Process in Human Dermal Fibroblasts and Hairless Mice by Inhibiting Cellular Senescence and Mitochondrial Dysfunction[Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2017] PubMed-NCBI.
- Suppression of benign prostate hyperplasia by Kaempferia parviflora rhizome[Pharmacognosy Res. 2013] PubMed-NCBI.
- Kaempferia parviflora extract increases energy consumption through activation of BAT in mice[Food Sci Nutr. 2014] PubMed-NCBI.
Nothing like a conversation about menstrual cycles and menopause to start your day…but I think you’ll find this one interesting.
There are a LOT of factors that go into determining when a woman starts menopause. Genetics play a large role, as does ethnicity, environment and number of pregnancies, etc.
However, most women don’t believe they have any direct, day-to-day influence on the onset of menopause.
This study may change one’s thinking on that.
However, those who follow a diet high in carbohydrates and processed foods might hasten the onset of menopause by 18 months.
That is a 4.5 year swing!
More than a little significant, I’d say.
Now, given that menopause is something most women dread, having a clear path to putting off this inevitable change is definitely worth a closer look. The onset of menopause has a significant impact on a woman’s overall health.
And this was no small study…
Investigators from the United Kingdom analyzed data culled from more than 14,150 British women. This data was comprised of dietary information, as well as the women’s reproductive health and histories. The study’s volunteers then received follow-up questions four years later.
However, this is not the first time diet has been linked to the timing of menopause. A study released in 2017 at UMass Amherst (Go Minutemen!) showed that women who consumed a reasonable amout of vegetable protein, such as soy and tofu, were also more likely to prevent early onset menopause.
The action step here?
Avoid the “white foods”: bread, rice, cereal, pasta, and crackers and go for the fatty fish and veggies!
This may be easier said than done for many women who consume these popular foods daily.
But awareness is power!
Use this information as a starting point.
Many of you who know me have heard me rattle off this list of unhealthy dietary choices, ad nauseam, over the years. These happen to be the same foods associated with the slow, steady weight gain many of us see past age 40.
These foods have little redeeming value beyond tasting good! And when it comes to taste, there are plenty of other options that don’t have the powerful negative side effects listed here.
It has definitely been a while since my last blog post…
Actually, I know exactly how long it’s been. Just about 9 months!
In my defense, I ran into what you could call a setback or two over the past year…
But that was then…this is now! 🙂
You see, ever though I have been flying under the radar…I have maintained my status as a ‘health nerd’.
(In fact, I have a sneak peek for you at what I have been working on for the past year, below)
I’m still reading studies; cutting and pasting things I think you might be interested in.
Heck, my mom even cuts stuff out of the Boston Globe for me, because she knows I read all that stuff.
I always check out the Health section on my favorite web sites to see what fact or fiction they are throwing out there…Let me tell you, I’ve seen some great stuff and some completely bogus garbage!
And so…essentially nothing has changed in that regard over the last year.
Confusion and shoddy science still reigns.
That’s not to say there weren’t some good things coming out.
In fact, here’s an “icebreaker tidbit” for you to use at your next social gathering…should the conversation drift towards working out and such.
A new study came out with a clearer explanation as to why we lose muscle mass as we age. Of course, if you sit around and don’t do anything…that’s a good way to speed up the process, but that’s not what I’m talking about.
This new study shows that the nerves that actually supply the muscles simply die off!
I’ll admit, I was not super excited to read about this process.
As we age, it is natural part of the aging process for the nerves that supply the muscles of the legs, for example, to simply stop firing. And once they do, they are NOT turning back on again.
So where’s the ray of hope within this cheery bit of news?
It turns out there is a way to stop this “inevitable” process.
Are you ready?
Resistance training. Lifting weights.
Yup, the study showed that the only truly effective way to keep the nerve(S) firing was to lift weights.
Do we REALLY need another reason?
Please. Lift. Weights.
I’ve got another good study for you…but this email is getting long and I have one more thing to tell you.
As I mentioned, I have been VERY busy over the last year putting something together I think you’ll like.
So, I have only one question:
If you are still interested in working with me in any capacity to address your health, weight management, nutrition, mindset/lifestyle changes or simply your general fitness, AND you happen to be over age 45, just hit ‘Reply’ to this email and I’ll send along the details of my evil plot to save humanity…
OK, it’s not quite that dramatic…but it kinda is.
Maybe I’m watching too many Avenger movies…
That’s it for today, but please keep an eye out for my weekly emails.
I’ll make a point to be consistent, informative and relevant to your world.
See you at the gym,
Art “The Avenger” McDermott
P.S. I have NO intention of bothering people who don’t feel like reading my little science nerd stuff.
So, if you would rather not hear from me…that’s OK. Just say so and I’ll remove you from my contacts.
If you’re reading this through my newsletter, there’s an “Unsubscribe” link at the bottom you can use as well.
If you would like to keep getting my info, that’s great.
If you want more details on my evil plot…just hit “Reply” and I’ll be happy to send along the super-secret details. 🙂
NOTE: Today’s blog is a “blow by blow” description of my recent injury. It is a bit longer than my usual posts, but it’s a good story. One that may actually help you one day…
We had lived in the same house for almost exactly 21 years. A long time by most any standard. Isn’t it amazing what you can accumulate over time? We were all astounded by exactly how much there was to move, sell, throw away, disperse to family, etc.
It was a huge job that had to be done.
I was fortunate since the new home I was renting in North Andover was available early so I could start moving things in ahead of my actual lease date. This was proving to be a life-saver. I had moving, carrying, stacking and restacking things for weeks on end.
In the days and weeks leading up to “the event”, I had carried nearly every piece of furniture you can imagine, twisted my body in clearly unhealthy ways and generally pushed myself more than usual.
Again, this stuff just needed to get done.
To say that what happened next caught me off guard is an understatement. Big time.
It was Sunday, July 9th at about 6:45pm. I had been up since early that morning moving and packing since we had sold our home and the closing date was now only days away.
I actually felt pretty good about where we were in the process compared to how much time remained. I figured we would be fine.
It was the end of a long day. I was extremely fatigued and dehydrated…and moving slowly. I will admit.
“One more trip with the recycling and I’ll be done for the day”, I thought to myself. I was spent.
So I gathered up the big blue recycling bins, one atop the other and headed down the short set of stairs into the garage.
This was a trip I had made – literally – hundreds of times. But today was going to be different.
Walking down stairs in not an activity we consciously pay attention to. As I alternated my steps, I reached my right foot down to the bottom step, just above the landing. But…I got sloppy and missed calculated by an inch or two.
My heel grazed the bottom step and instead planted all the way down to the bottom landing, missing the last step entirely.
It was awkward landing. And then – in the blink of an eye – something strange happened. Instead of stopping, my body just kept going. There was no hesitation or resistance. My body just kept dropping.
I don’t remember hearing a distinct snap, I just knew something was wrong…
With my right leg giving way, all my body weight and the weight of the recycling in my arms, shifted over my left leg – the one still trapped two steps back up the staircase.
Not good. I continued straight down.
The next thing I knew, I was on the floor; not knowing what hit me or just how bad things were.
Correction. One thing was VERY clear.
PAIN. Lots and lots of PAIN.
Let’s just say I was screaming things I would not normally bring up in conversation…Loudly. After a few moments of this I tried to regain some composure.
“Hold on Art. Regroup here. Time to take inventory.”
I felt both upper legs. No broken bones there. I ran my hands down each shin and wiggled my toes. Everything seemed OK there. I checked for blood or head injuries. Nothing.
I retrospect, I will admit one thing. I pretty much knew what had happened. Like when you remember a dream you had in the middle of the next day for no apparent reason.
I had one of those “moments of clarity” as I was about half-way through the fall.
“My knees are gone.”
Sure enough. When I looked at my right kneecap at first I thought I had displaced it; maybe knocked it off to the side. It’s a nasty injury to be sure, but as it turns out, a much better scenario than what I ended up with.
My kneecap seemed to stick out…way out. The problem was, it really wasn’t sticking out. It only looked that way because I had completely ruptured the very large quadriceps tendon that normally sits just above it. With that gone, there was nothing but a bizarre empty space above my kneecap where a once-powerful tendon used to be…
My initial “diagnosis”, which I within about 30 seconds of hitting the floor?
Complete rupture of both quadriceps tendons.
And I knew I was right.
But wait, there’s more…
So, there I am laying on the floor of my garage…
One of the first emotions to hit me was anger. I had blown out my left knee with a similar level of trauma 30 years earlier (almost to the week in fact). And I will NEVER forget the pain I experienced once I woke up from surgery.
Now, three decades later, I would have to face it again – times two. The pain. The recovery process. All of it. This time I would be in my fifties. It was going to be a whole different ball game.
Then I got realistic. I needed to get to a hospital and get this whole process rolling. The only other person in earshot was my daughter, but she was asleep in her room, with headphones on.
How did I know no one else was around? Because my language outburst from a few minutes earlier definitely would have evoked some type of complaint – had it been heard by anyone.
In a seated position, I would shimmy along the garage floor backwards on my butt, out the garage door and around to the front of the house and somehow get my daughter’s attention.
My quads were now pretty much in shock and, as strange as it seems, not causing me too much actual pain any more. This meant that once I got in position, it was just a matter of steady arm work.
Here is where I caught a break, if you can call it that. On my way out the garage door, I came across the four-wheel dolly I had been using to move the larger items. So I positioned my butt on the dolly which sped up the entire process.
Once I made it to the front stairs and after a few yells didn’t do the job, it was time to throw random household items at here window.
To my credit, I went 3 for 3 hitting her window frame and she came down the stairs. Now the party could really get started.
That’s part one of the story and as you might imagine, I learned lesson or two. And I hope at least one of them will resonate with you.
Lesson #1: No matter what plans you have. No matter how busy you think life is. Your health will dictate exactly what you will and will not do.
Neglect this and you invite disaster. You quickly learn that everything else is secondary. Everything.
Lesson #2: I keep myself in pretty good shape. I stay lean and eat well. I work out regularly and as a general rule, make very good choices about my health.
No matter. If you let yourself get too run down, too dehydrated, too stressed, etc. you open the door for accidents. That split second action, loss of focus or misstep that changes everything.
Had I had the focus to plant my foot squarely on the correct step, NONE OF THIS HAPPENS!
It’s a “non-story” and I simply go about my day.
One second can change your world. Listen to your body. Stop when you should. Rest when you need to. It will all get done.
Talk to you next time, as I move onto Phase II…
Wish me luck.
No, that is not a typo. It is spelled HIIT.
If you exercise and have NOT heard this term, it’s time you started keeping up on current events a bit more!
HIIT or High-intensity Interval Training is all the rage these days…now this is not new. It has actually been around for a long time, but science is now proving the enormous benefits of this training approach.
HIIT training is generally a short period of intense exercise – usually 30 seconds for example – followed by a less intense ‘recovery’ period. This pairing is repeated for anywhere from 20-36 minutes.
Think “boot camp” style…
**BTW, as a general rule, if you can go longer than 40 minutes doing this approach, you likely were NOT going hard enough! That is my experienced opinion.**
New research is showing that if you are in your 40’s and 50’s and are concerned about Type II diabetes, the FASTEST way to get your blood sugar under control is to do HIIT training!
It’s that simple.
HIIT training can be done on the road, on a treadmill, on a bike, in the gym with weights, just body weight, you name it. The key is the variation in intensity which requires you to work very hard and then recover somewhat as your heart rate comes down. Then you crank it up again to a high level.
Here is a typical Interval style training program you can do anywhere – no equipment needed:
Work period: 30 seconds
Rest period: 30 seconds (20 seconds if you find this too easy)
(NOTE: you can manipulate these numbers to suite your fitness level. Don’t go too crazy when you start, always stop if you need to and PLEASE see a physician prior to starting HIIT training if you have been sedentary for a long period.)
Exercise #1: Push-ups (regular or from the knees)
Exercise #2: Dynamic Lunge (Step forward with the back knee just above the ground and then return to a starting position)
Exercise #3: Lateral Shuffle (5 yards each direction, going back and forth quickly)
Exercise #4: Bicycle (lying on your back on a matt or rug, hands behind your head. Reach your elbow across for the opposite knee and alternate sides that way with your legs going in a bicycle motion.)
Exercise #5: Burpies (you can modify these by lowering your hands to a step 6-8” high if you need to)
Repeat all 5 movements 4 times through with a one minute break in between. Done.
Finally, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE stop running on the treadmill for 45 minutes straight at the same pace if you are trying to lose weight! There are FAR better things you can be doing with your time!