The following fun, weird, gross and little known health facts affect your mind, body and food choices. For better or worse they are good to know.
Did you know that:
1-There is wisdom in the tradition of squeezing lemon into tea. Citrus juice added to green tea boosts 13-fold the amount of anti-oxidants surviving the trip through your digestive tract. Lemon anyone?
2- Here's a health fact you coffee drinkers will like. Drinking two cups of joe right before taking a 20-minute nap helps you wake alert and refreshed. So says a Japanese study. This bio-hack works because caffeine clears your napping brain of a fatigue-causing molecule that builds up while you are awake. Choose fair trade organic coffee for a dose of healthy anti-oxidants (minus all the pesticides) as well.
3-It's no secret that fried food is bad for you. But you may not know that it causes mitochondrial dysfunction and artery damage for up to 24 hours after eating it. Your brain cells, which have 15 thousand mitochondria (compared to hundreds to a few thousand in other cells) have less energy when they do not function optimally. When they are sluggish, you feel sluggish, and get the dreaded brain fog.
This is what mitochondria look like.
4-If you need a gross reason to pass up soda when out and about this is it. A 2010 Journal of Food Microbiology found that 48% of fountain drinks contain fecal matter and 11% contain e-coli.
5-You may want to avoid it at home, too. Soda leaches calcium from your bones. One can a day increases your chance of getting diabetes by 22%. And as you may already know, diet soda makes you eat more and gain weight. Favor these nutritious, yummy drinks instead.
6- You may know that vitamin-D and magnesium deficiencies are common, but did you know that nine out of 10 Americans are potassium deficient? Good sources: bananas, coconut water, watermelon, sweet and white potatoes, black and white beans.
7- Dried fruit may be delicious, but the drying process causes a 30-50% loss of antioxidants and vitamins. It also makes it easy to eat too many. Still, dried fruit is way better for you than pastries and junk food. Some nutrients are better than none. Here are some other junk food alternatives.
Little known health facts are about meat, fish and protein:
8- A small amount of clean, humanely raised meat may be good for you, but too much of a good thing is not. Consume no more than 10-15% of your diet in animal products to limit its pro-inflammatory effects and accelerated biological aging. Your health will thank you and so will the animals.
9- If you eat red meat, grass-fed beef is better than grain-fed beef. Pastured cows contains 3-5x more omega 3 fatty acids. Grain fed beef have an omega 6:3 ratio 5x higher than grass fed cattle. Too much omega 6 ontributes to inflammation and degenerative diseases.
10- Wild-caught fish are healthier than farm-raised, but if commercial fishing continues at its current rate, it is predicted that the entire global fishing industry will fall apart in 2048. There will be very few food fish left and populations are already declining rapidly.
11- A diet rich in plant foods supplies plenty of amino acids (and a load of micro-nutrients not found in animal products). Hemp, chia, quinoa, tempeh, spirulina and rice with beans (or lentils) provides a complete complement of the nine needed amino acids.
12- Rice, almond, coconut, and hemp milk are all the rage, but they often contain little of the actual food and unwanted, potentially cancer-causing ingredients.You can easily make your own in five minutes.
13- Did you know that your cells’ mitochondria originated from bacteria and still behave in a similar fashion? These energy powerhouses are sensitive to light. They consume light as a nutrient, which is why exposing yourself to sunlight and full spectrum light is so important.
Speaking of light...
14- Blue light- the kind put off by computers, smartphones and fluorescent lighting stresses your brain and eyes and can cause macular degeneration. Too much of this lighting also turns off melatonin production, resulting in insomnia and mood disorders in some people.
Wear blue light blocking glasses, like these Uvex Skper Blue Light Blocking Computer glasses (less than $10) when putting in screen time.
Also, use halogen or incandescent light bulbs instead of fluorescent and LED bulbs. Be sure to rest your eyes and blink often.
15- The antioxidant zeaxanthin protects your eyes from the damaging effects of artificial light - find it in leafy greens like kale and spinach and orange fruits and vegetables.
16- Need an incentive to turn off the TV? A University of Queensland study found that people who spent an average of six hours a day sitting in front of the TV died five years sooner than those who don't watch TV.
17-Get up and move. Your life depends on it. A half hour of physical activity 6 days a week lowers your risk of early death by 60%. The exercise doesn't have to be all at the same time. Get easy exercise tips here. Here's a bonus tip: Exercise in the morning on an empty stomach to burn 20% more fat.
18- Here are a few little known health facts about your gut microbiome: up to 500 species of bacteria in your gut. Their total weight is three pounds. They number in the trillions and their collective DNA outnumbers yours 100 to 1. You have about 20 thousand genes, but you are home to more than two million bacterial genes.
intestinal microbes have several important functions in your body. Several of them are vital for keeping you alive and healthy. They will also live on after you die, in order to decompose your body. Gross, I know.
19- That's not all - you have microscopic mites on your skin and eyelash follicles that eat dead skin. Don't try to scrub them off. It won't work or be good for you. We have a symbiotic relationship with the critters that inhabit us, inside and out.
20- Okay, everybody knows you know you should brush your teeth at least once a day, but did you know you should not brush right after a meal? That's because brushing acidified teeth can break down enamel. Wait at least 20 minutes after eating or drinking anything but water to brush.
And make sure your brush is kept in a clean, dry place. Otherwise it might become a cesspool of bacteria and feces. Ditch the communal holder near the sink. Sink and toilet spray travel via air to your brush. Other people with not so clean hands may touch it. Eeeww. Give it a hydrogen peroxide bath once in a while and get a new one every three months.
21- Did you ever wonder what happens to your hotel soap and shampoo leavings? Most of it is thrown away, to the tune of 2.6 million bars a day. What a waste! Thanks to Clean the World, some of this soap is melted down, sterilized and formed into new soap. Then it is sent around the world for people in developing countries who have no soap. Since 2009, over 40 million bars have been donated to 115 countries to prevent disease and save lives.
Did you know that mental well-being helps you live a longer, healthier life? The health of your mind affects the health of your body and your quality of life. The following little known health facts explain how and why:
22- More than 13 million days of work are missed each year because of stress related illnesses. Even your brain suffers from the ravages of stress.
Brain damage often occurs because of drugs and injury. But one of the little known health facts about our brains is that distress can negatively impact brain function long-term. Excess cortisol, caused by long term stress impairs brain function and makes your brain smaller by directly killing brain cells. Yikes!
23- A Yale study found that people who read books live an average of two years longer than non-readers.
24- Giving, helping others, and living a purposeful life reduces mortality by years and increases happiness. People who work past age 65 tend to live longer than those who retire. Retire from your job if you like but not from living a meaningful life of purpose.
25- Even though mental illness is better understood than years ago, 60% of Americans still avoid getting mental health help because of the stigma attached.
26- Recent research suggests that the shape of your mouth can help doctors diagnose schizophrenia. Yes, you read that right. A slightly wider hard palate on the roof of your mouth correlates with schizophrenia. This discovery suggests that this disorder is developmental, with physical and mental symptoms.
27- You have probably heard plenty about the benefits of lowering cholesterol, but did you know that people with very low cholesterol are more likely to be violent and aggressive? These individuals are also more prone to commit suicide. Cholesterol is needed by the brain and that need increases as you get older.
I hope you enjoyed learning about these little-known health facts and find the accompanying tips and related page links useful.
Of course there are lots more interesting tidbits that didn't make it onto this page. If you have favorites, do tell. Share weird, funny, gross or surprising fact about health and wellness in the comments below. Thanks!
Sources of strange and little known health facts: