I trust you're safe, fit and well.
All strength to Ukraine 🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦
We know older adults who are physically active are less likely to develop dementia.
A new study of Extra virgin olive oil (EVVO) reports that it improves our gut biome and the quality of our gut lining. This means less inflammation, a strong immune system, and better brain health - see item #2.
Statins. I am providing a warning on statins this week in relation the onset of Type 2 diabetes, following a heads-up from an alert reader - see item #1.
⭑ The jury is out on statins. They may be linked to onset of Type 2 diabetes ✔
⭑ Extra virgin olive oil keeps on giving ✔ especially as we age
⭑ It's time to start checking your food labels for harmful stabilisers ✔
⭑ Regular rowing will help you stand taller and stronger - try these variations ✔
01 Correction: Statins as a Supplement (Last Week's Newsletter)
Last week, I wrote about the potential benefits of using supplements intended for other conditions to prevent multiple age-related diseases. I discussed research that investigated the positive effects of aspirin, metformin, and statins in preventing a wider range of conditions than their intended purpose.
Reader Olga wrote to me to suggest that the case for statin should be treated cautiously and provided some links to research. This research, as a whole concludes that there is a small but significant increase in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in people who take statins.
⇒ Please check with your doctor, as I recommended last week, before using any of these medications.
The causal relationship between statin use and the risk of developing diabetes is not yet fully understood. Some of the potential mechanisms include:
- Statins may reduce the production of insulin by the pancreas.
- Statins may increase the resistance of cells to the effects of insulin.
- Statins may increase inflammation, which can contribute to the development of diabetes.
What this boils down to is that more research is needed to confirm the link between statins and type 2 diabetes. However, the available evidence suggests that statins may increase the risk of diabetes in some people. Some studies suggest that lower doses of statins may be associated with a lower risk of diabetes.
What this means for you: It is important to note that statins are still a safe and effective treatment for high cholesterol. However, people who are taking statins should be aware of the potential risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
If you are taking statins and you are concerned about your risk of diabetes, talk to your doctor.
02 Unique Benefits of a Spoonful of Olive Oil A Day
I don't eat a strict Mediterranean Diet, however I do include Extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) in many things I eat during the day, every day, including shakes, and breakfast.
EVVO has long been a staple of the Mediterranean diet due to its monounsaturated fatty acids and bioactive phenolic compounds. The monounsaturated fatty acids, such as oleic acid, have been linked to lower levels of LDL cholesterol and reduced risk of heart disease.
Additionally, the bioactive phenolic compounds, such as hydroxytyrosol and oleuropein, exhibit strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help protect against chronic diseases and promote overall well-being.
Furthermore, EVVO has been associated with improved brain health and cognitive function, potentially reducing the risk of neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer's disease.
Phew! What doesn't it do? Well... apparently, quite a lot more...
⇒ Recent research suggests that EVOO may also promote gut microbiota and intestinal health!
You've no doubt realised by now that I am a bit of a fanboy of gut microbiota (I devoted this entire recent Newsletter to their benefits).
Our gut microbiota and intestinal environment are crucial elements in the development of obesity, metabolic diseases, and neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s disease through their influence on the gut-brain axis.
Studies have shown that EVOO causes changes in the composition of gut microbiota and the activity of mucosal immune systems, potentially leading to favourable outcomes for our cardiovascular, metabolic, and cognitive health.
In a paper published in 2022, researchers found that EVOO positively impacts the health of our gut lining by reducing inflammation, and protecting against oxidative damage via the powerful antioxidant properties found in its phenolic extracts.
This is very important as get older as typically inflammation increases, our immune system weakens, our ability to absorb nutrients from our food degrades, and an unhealthy gut lining is associated with increased occurrence of cancers.
What it means for you: Although there is no official recommendation, mixing 2-3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil into your daily diet is widely recommended.
When choosing EVOO, look for a product that is cold-pressed and has a high oleic acid content, i.e. oleic acid will typically have a percentage listed on the label, such as “high in monounsaturated fat” or “80% oleic acid.”
- Why is EVOO better than regular olive oil? Answer: Extra virgin olive oil is the olives’ first cold pressing. This process yields a higher-quality oil with a higher nutritional value because it contains more monounsaturated fats and antioxidants that promote heart health, reduce inflammation, and combat free radicals.
- Is it OK to have extra virgin olive oil everyday? Answer: Yes, it is generally considered safe to consume every day, as per the recommendation above.
- Is extra virgin olive oil good for IBS? Answer: Studies indicate that EVOO can reduce inflammation in the gut, improve digestion, and relieve symptoms of IBS like bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. Nevertheless, consult your healthcare professional before altering your diet for IBS.
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03 Emulsifiers Damage Our Gut Bacteria
Article #2 provides a perfect segue into this one.
In recent years, there has been growing concern regarding the potential adverse effects that dietary emulsifiers may have on our health.
Processed food manufacturers use emulsifiers to enhance the texture, stability, and shelf life of their products. Emulsifiers are substances that aid in mixing and stabilising two immiscible substances, such as oil and water, by enabling them to remain uniformly mixed.
Emulsifiers are commonly used to reduce fat content in foods marketed as “low-fat”. By stabilising fat droplets within water-based systems, emulsifiers can create the illusion of a higher fat content, allowing manufacturers to lower the overall fat content while retaining the desired sensory experience.
⇒ Epidemiological evidence and animal studies suggest that certain emulsifiers may contribute to the increased prevalence of diseases associated with intestinal inflammation, such as inflammatory bowel diseases and metabolic syndrome.
As previously mentioned, conditions like intestinal inflammation can lead to a weakened immune system and a cascade of metabolic diseases as we age.
Among all the emulsifiers, carboxymethylcellulose and polysorbate 80 appear to have particularly profound impacts on our gut microbiota composition, promoting gut inflammation and related disease states.
On the other hand, natural emulsifiers such as lecithin are generally considered safe for consumption because they are derived from natural sources and have a long history of culinary and industrial use.
What this means for you: Identifying emulsifiers like carboxymethylcellulose and polysorbate 80 in food products can be difficult.
Review the ingredient list on food labels - emulsifiers are usually listed towards the end of the ingredients and may have complicated names. However, "Carboxymethylcellulose" and "Polysorbate 80" are commonly found in processed foods.
To minimize your exposure to these emulsifiers, it is best to consume whole foods rather than highly processed ones. You can also opt for products labeled as "emulsifier-free" or "no emulsifiers added".
04 Rowing - One Of The Best Low-Impact High-Health Exercises
Our exercise of the week is...rowing.
Although squats are better for leg strength, and clean and press are better for shoulders and the posterior chain and balance, and push-ups are better for core, rowing is a great all round exercise which you can do 2 or 3 or 7 times a week.
I row daily.
It is a low-impact exercise that targets multiple muscle groups, enhances cardiovascular health, flexibility and reduces the risk of joint impact. This makes it suitable if you have joint issues or mobility limitations.
If you don’t have access to a rower you can buy an indoor one online relatively cheaply. And some fold to take up less space. Mine folds, although I rarely do so.
What this means for you: I like the feeling of rowing and I don’t get bored doing it daily, even with less variety. For best results it is best to mix up your sessions.
The idea is simple: you can do 20-minute low-tension rows for endurance, 6 minutes at a moderate tension for strength and endurance, 2 minute intervals for stamina, and 30 second bursts for strength and power.
- Endurance: Row at a steady pace for 20 minutes, aiming to cover a certain distance or maintain a specific stroke rate - 1 rep per session.
- Endurance and Strength: 6 minutes reach a target distance, say 1.5km or 1 mile - 1 rep per session.
- Stamina: 2 minutes of moderate rowing, followed immediately by 1 minute of light rowing - 3 to 5 reps per session.
- Strength and Power: Row 1 minute then high intensity for 30 seconds with 1 minute active recovery, meaning keep the same intensity as your endurance rowing - 4 reps per session.
Each time you row, choose one of these variations, but avoid doing #3 more than once every two weeks and #4 more than once a month.
After 6 months you'll be amazed how much better you feel.
- Maintain Proper Posture: Sit tall on the rowing machine and engage your core muscles to support your back. Keep a straight back with a slight lean at the finish of the stroke. Avoid slouching or rounding your shoulders forward.
- Focus on Technique and Smooth Movements: Drive with your legs, then lean back, and finally pull the handle smoothly toward your body using arms and back muscles. Don't make jerky or abrupt movements.
- Set the Resistance Appropriately: Adjust the resistance according to your fitness level to avoid overexertion or strain. You don't need to set a high resistance to get the benefits.
Related - this of mine explains how to row properly: Hate Stretching After Workouts? Reduce Your Muscle Aches With This Smooth 5-minute Alternative
Thanks for reading!
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>> My Latest Blog Post: Energise Your Golden Years: Boosting Your Desire to Exercise with Gut-Healthy Foods
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