BAT or brown adipose tissue is one of the two types of fat found in humans. It is abundant in newborns and contains many smaller droplets of lipids with a lot of mitochondria with iron hence the brown color. As infants grow up, this tissue becomes similar in appearance to white fat but there have been many articles and research that relate BAT to skeletal muscle.
Functionally, BAT has a primary function – to generate body heat by burning fat. That explains why BAT is present in hibernating mammals and also animals that do not shiver. Based on reading research articles, BAT is a fat burning fat cell so it maybe good for us. BAT growth maybe stimulated by cold and therapies like hydrotherapy as well as books like the “The 4 hour body” by Tim Ferriss talk about the benefits of cold water and showers. Refer to article here.
Therefore, BAT maybe a good fat and stimulating its growth could be a valuable aid in burning fat. IMHO, cold showers in the morning, encouraged by yoga and other eastern philosophies did have BAT research behind it !
– Gary Saggu
How important are cold showers for health? Cold water therapy and hydrotherapy (super popular in the 1800s) cite a number of benefits of cold water showers. Benefits include improved blood circulation, mood, good for skin and hair and even a boost to testosterone levels.
I just also read that James Bond’s character in the books by Ian Fleming started the shower warm and towards the end turned it to cold for a few minutes. James Bond knows something!
As per yoga, cold showers have a huge anti-aging effect, mood uplifters and a bolstering of the immunity system of the body. Bond must have been a yogi too!!?
What about drinking ice water? Drinking cold water has been encouraged by the 4 hour body by Tim Ferriss. Well, I think if ice cold water is drank by us, the body must have to heat it up to 37C(unless you are an extremely cold blooded reptile). That must consume some calories and slowly it all adds up.
My take on this is that I will start making an effort to take colder showers gradually. It is tough to do when it is sub-zero outside but the benefits sound logical enough for me to give it a try. Drinking cold water is easy if there is an ice maker handy around you during the day, so I am game with that as well. For who does not want to waste a few extra calories just by drinking ice cold water?
Long overdue but here is the blog post I have promised for a while on the benefits of red palm oil.
What is it?
Red palm oil has a rich, dark red color when it is unprocessed. It is derived from the pulp or the mesocarp of the fruit of the palm oil tree which also has the deep red color. The palm oil tree is the African oil palm, Elaeis guineensis. Red palm oil should not be confused by palm kernel oil which is derived from the seed of the palm tree. (This article is about the benefits of unprocessed red palm oil and not the palm oil extracted from the kernel or the seed). It is used in cooking especially in Asia and Africa.
How is it extracted?
It is cold pressed and best in an unprocessed organic state. Indonesia and Malaysia have been the top producers of this variety.
Nutrients in red palm oil?
Red palm oil is full of lycopene (also found in tomatoes) as well as alpha-carotene and beta-carotene(found in carrots) and these 2 nutrients give it its exotic red color. Red palm oil is also very rich in Vitamin E in the form of tocotreinols. A popular brand from Malaysia was available from Whole Foods – the bottle states no preservates or colors. Also, 1 tbsp (~14g) has 14g of fat out of which 6.5g are Monounsaturates, 5.6g are saturates and 1.9g polyunsaturates. It also contained 11.2mg of natural Vitamin E along with Natural Co-Enzyme Q10. Impressive but watch out for high saturates.
What are its benefits?
- It may help lowering cholestrol and prevent heart ailments
- Nutritional benefit (see above)
- Promotes skin health
- May aid in weight loss
- Anti-oxidant and enables elimination of free radicals from body
There is some talk of the massive deforestation in Indonesia and Malaysia to accomodate for the high demand for palm oil worldwide. Also, species like the “pygmy elephant” are becoming high risk due to this.
I wonder what cooking with this almost exotically bizzare looking oil will be like. I cannot wait to try…this weekend!
– Gary Saggu
Part 1 of this series – Olive Oil
Part 2 of this series – Macadamia Oil
My tech blog
This is my second post on the healthy oil series – Read the previous post on Olive oil here. I have been reading about the benefits of Macadamia nut oil a lot recently. I had given up on the Macadamia nut after an article I read about a year and half ago that called the nut with not many nutrients and full of fats. It was rated as the least useful of the 6 or 7 nuts profiles in this category. I put it in my list of decadent nuts until I read about Macadamia nut oil and it benefits. It made sense to me as nothing from nature has absolutely no benefit.
What is it?
It is oil extracted from the nut meat of the Macadamia tree. This nut (and tree) natively grows in Australia as well as Brazil, Hawaii and other places. The Macadamia nut trees, Macadamia integrifolia, prefer volcanic soil in more of a tropical climate. The nut has a number of nutrients and the extracted oil has a number of anti-oxidants and is rich in monounsaturated fats. The oil itself is clear, with a light yellow color and a distinctive nutty odor. It is tasty, IMHO!
What are its benefits?
- Heart and Head friendly:Since the oil is rich in monounsaturated fats(including Omega 3, 6), it helps in the lowering of the LDL cholesterol (bad) and helps in the maintenance of HDL (good) cholesterol. This oil may reduce the risk of heart problems and stroke.
- As a beauty oil: Since the oil does not oxidise easily and has a rich, buttery feel on the skin it is used in creams and sunblocks. Full of anti-oxidants and the high fat content, it may help keep the skin supple and soft. Also, loaded with Vitamin E, It may be the youth tonic I was searching for :). Btw, it is supposed to be also good for the hair and nails, although I have not tried it yet.
- As a cooking oil: Since the oil can withstand high temperatures(smoke point at about 425 F) and has a great flavor, it is a good choice for cooking especially frying or sautéing. This oil also has a high shell life of almost 2 years.
I use it in my morning omelets almost every other day and am trying to integrate it in my diet. While it is more expensive than other alternatives, it has become a regular in my kitchen.
Next post on healthy oils will be on Red palm oil – Happy Saturday!
– Gary Saggu
(My tech blog)
I was eating breakfast this morning and decided to indulge in a little salt. As I was about to open the packet of salt, I decided to look at the ingredients. I was quite surprised to see the list – Salt, Sodium Silicoaluminate, Dextrose and Potassium Iodide.
Salt – as expected Sodium Chloride (NaCl). Essential to human life but harmful to us in excess.
Sodium Silicoaluminate – an anti-caking agent used to prevent lumping in table salt. I did some research on this and realized that there is speculation around it being linked to the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. This is also known as E554 and there is no way I can believe that it is good for the body. My take is that anything with this synthetic of Silicon and Aluminium should be avoided. IMHO, all E-ingredients should be avoided.
Dextrose – another mystery! According to the dictionary it is “The dextrorotatory form of glucose found naturally in animal and plant tissue and derived synthetically from starch.“. Personally, I do not want any form of sugar in my food especially in a sneaky way. It is claimed by the salt makers that Dextrose keeps the Potassium Iodide stable (preventing its oxidation) but I am sure there are other ways to get iodine – naturally. Also, definitely not good if you are on the slow carb diet (SCD)!
Potassium Iodide – (KI) This ingredient has a purpose – Iodine is a micro-nurient that enables proper functioning of the thyroid gland and used to prevent Goiter (swelling of the thyroid). Some people argue the need of this in table salt as we need only a little bit of Iodine and it is present in sea vegetables, cranberries and strawberries (all organic I hope!).
I have attached the photo for reference for all :-)!
My take on this is to start eating natural unrefined sea salts from pure sources – like Celtic sea salt. I will check in my local Whole foods and update this list.
– Gary Saggu
(My tech blog)