Category Archives: Health

More Proof That Coffee is a Good Habit

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Coffee – I like coffee and because of that I am always on the lookout for serious, science-based articles promoting coffee as being beneficial to your health. Today I came upon “Another giant study confirms that your coffee habit is probably good for you” an article that fills that criteria.

The study that article refers to is “Association of Coffee Drinking With Mortality by Genetic Variation in Caffeine Metabolism” just published in the August JAMA Intern Medicine. This study included 502,641 participants of both genders ranging in age from 38 to 73 years old. The gist of the study showed that the more coffee consumed the less likely the participant was to die (The difference wasn’t a lot, but was statistically significant).

Don’t let this “more coffee” is better for you get out of hand. Remember that the Mayo Clinic recommends limiting yourself to about 400 milligrams of caffeine a day.  Consuming too much caffeine can certainly affect your sleep, not to mention causing headaches, irritability, restlessness, a fast heartbeat, and muscle tremors. To put that in some perspective, a Starbuck’s Venti (20oz) Pike Place brewed coffee contains 410 milligrams of caffeine. For those who brew their own coffee at home, an 8oz cup contains an average of 95 milligrams of caffeine so you can drink up to four cups while staying under the suggested limit.

 

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Do You Need Or Even Want Protein in Your Coffee?

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Coffee – I drink my coffee for . . . well, the coffee. Others though seem to want to combine their coffee drinking with packing in the protein. At least that is what the article “10 easy ways to add protein to your coffee” leads you to believe.

So what might you choose to add to your coffee? Here is their list:

  1. butter
  2. raw egg
  3. whey protein
  4. collagen powder
  5. high-protein creamers
  6. soy milk
  7. peanut butter
  8. nut butter and non-dairy milk
  9. dried mushrooms
  10. spirulina algae

Hmmm . . . I am not sure about this list myself. I have heard of “bulletproof” coffee made with butter, but never tried it. The rest of that list, other than the peanut butter, I think I will pass on.

Would you want these additives in your coffee? Personally I like mine black with no additives.

Optimizing Your Coffee Consumption

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Coffee – I came across the article “How to optimize caffeine (and improve your productivity)” today which I thought had many good suggestions about how to drink our coffee for optimum effectiveness. Since coffee and the caffeine it contains gives us a boost by blocking adenosine molecules which make us feel sleepy, it is important to drink coffee before we start to feel groggy. By then the adenosine molecules have already bonded and the caffeine will have far less effect.

In general, the article has these suggestions we should follow for optimum caffeine stimulation:

  1. WAKE UP BEFORE YOU CAFFEINATE – delay coffee until 0930
  2. CAFFEINATE BEFORE YOU CRASH – drink coffee before the adenosine molecules bind
  3. TAKE A CAFFEINE NAP – drink coffee then take a 15-minute nap when feeling tired
  4. MAINTAIN ALTITUDE WITH GREEN TEA – swap high dosage coffee for lower dosage tea over a longer period
  5. BE STRATEGIC – drink coffee just before a boost of energy is needed for an important task
  6. LEARN YOUR LAST CALL FOR CAFFEINE – the half-life of caffeine is 5-6 hours, don’t drink it too late in the day

I think these are all very good suggestions, though I am not generally waiting until 0930 for my first cup. I am up between 0630 and 0730. I like my coffee earlier. While the caffeine nap sounds like a good idea, I doubt that many can actually do that while working.

Overall I do think that most would be better off if they think about their coffee and caffeine consumption instead of just sipping away blindly.

Are You Ready for the Moxi Robot During Your Next Hospital Stay?

Robots – I came across the article “Moxi Prototype from Diligent Robotics Starts Helping Out in Hospitals” this morning. The Moxi is a robot from Diligent Robotics. Moxi is being piloted it right now. As they say about Moxi on the company website:

Moxi is a friendly AI healthcare robot that serves as a vital supporting member of healthcare professional teams by conducting the team’s non-patient facing logistical tasks, so the staff has more time to focus on patient care. 

We were inspired to create Moxi to help support clinical staff members in hospitals with their fast paced and demanding roles. Clinical staff balance patient care with massive loads of manual logistical responsibilities, such as fetching and restocking supplies or setting up patient rooms for new admissions. With an extra hand from Moxi, who autonomously completes those manual logistical tasks end-to-end without assistance, clinical staff focus on what they want to do and what they, as caring human beings, are best at: direct patient care.

So don’t look for Moxi to perform your next operation. It is there to help bring items from storage to patient rooms. Those non-medical, logistical tasks.

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This is Diligent Robotics second iteration of the product, they previously had Poli. I have to say that part of what caught my eye with this article was 1) the fact that the CEO and co-founder Andrea Thomaz is also a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. I am an EE alumnus of UT Austin. And 2) that the company is based in Austin, TX, where my home is.

Part of what impressed me about this robot was how many off-the-shelf component parts they have used to assemble the new Moxi. That says to me that the robotics industry is beginning mature, and more robots will be appearing soon among us. Certainly having robots freeing people from the mundane logistics tasks will allow more focus on patient care.

On the other side of this advancement in tech is the potential displacement of staff that such robots will cause. However, with the costs of health care constantly increasing, finding ways of reducing costs is inevitable.

I will be very curious to hear how the pilots of Moxi go.

Coffee is Good for You!

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Coffee – As I sit at my desk drinking my second cup of coffee of the day, I remember seeing the article “Is Coffee Good For You? This New Report Says It Is, So Drink Up” a few weeks ago and wanted to share it. What this article refers to is the study “Association of Coffee Drinking With Mortality by Genetic Variation in Caffeine Metabolism” published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The findings (taken from the published report):

This large prospective cohort study of a half million people found inverse associations for coffee drinking with mortality, including among participants drinking 1 up to 8 or more cups per day. No differences were observed in analyses that were stratified by genetic polymorphisms affecting caffeine metabolism.

So what does that say in plain English? Those that drink coffee may live a little longer than those who do not. This is true whether the consumer has just one or two, or even up to eight, cups of coffee each day. Coffee consumption can be part of a healthy diet. The health improvement seems to come from the ingredients other than the caffeine in the coffee beans.

This study is not so radically new. I posted in August of 2017 “Drink Coffee, Prolong Your Life” and “Evidence that Drinking Coffee May Slow Aging” in January of 2017. The evidence keeps piling up on the benefits of drinking coffee. So buy some freshly roasted beans, then grind away each morning to brew yourself a few cups of healthy goodness.

macOS New App Release – Breath Ball 2.1.2

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Product Announcements – Independent development team, Fun Driven of Buers, Vorarlberg has released Breath Ball 2.1.2, their breathing guidance app for Mac OS X. The app helps users to relax by guiding their breathing rhythm. Breath Ball was originally developed for use by patients at the Neurological Therapy Center Gmundnerberg in Austria who suffer from severe brain damage caused by cancer, stroke, accidents and other issues.

Users of the app simply follow along by watching the on-screen ball. Folks are encouraged to find a comfortable place to sit, start the app, and then breathe in as the ball grows in size, exhaling as the ball shrinks. The breathing rate can be set to whatever is most comfortable for the user, they are then encouraged to slowly lower the rate until they reach the optimum relaxation rate of 6 breaths-per-minute.

“Breath Ball was originally designed for use by the patients at NTC Gmundnerberg, who suffer from severe brain damage caused by accidents, strokes, cancer and other medical incidents or conditions. The doctors there needed a mindful breathing app that would be easy to use by even the most challenged of patients,” shares Michael Holl, the founder of Fun Driven. “We created the app, and have continually worked to make it as easy as possible to use by anyone who needs to relax from stress.”

Breath Ball makes it easy for anyone to relax by regulating their breathing rhythms. The app’s “Simple” mode defaults to 6 breathing cycles per minute, but the cycles can be adjusted from 4 per minute to as fast as 15. The default rhythm of 6 cycles per minute has been found to help patients under severe stress to relax.

The app’s “Advanced” mode was created in response to requests from Breath Ball users. Advanced allows the configuration of the entire breathing cycle. Users can set the time in seconds for the length of time to breathe in, how long to hold a breath, the length of time to breathe out, and also how long to wait before once again breathing in.

The Advanced mode is especially helpful for users who would like to configure custom breathing patterns, such as Dr. Andrew Weil’s well known 4-7-8 breathing pattern. The exercise is designed to help users fall asleep quickly by inhaling for 4 counts, holding the breath in for 7 counts, and exhaling to an 8 count. Dr. Weil believes the exercise can cause a user to fall asleep in as little as 60 seconds.

While the app is simple to use, any of its options can be easily customized by the user. All display colors can be adjusted, just in case the default blue/white color scheme isn’t to their liking. In addition there is a “hide controls after 5 seconds” option that hides anything that might distract the user. An “Audio Guide” option allows users to use the app with their eyes closed, by playing a sound effect to indicate when it’s time to breathe in, hold the breath, and then breathe out.

“Breath Ball has been a philanthropic project from the beginning, and it will continue to be just that, with no charge for its use. In addition, we are committed to responding to feedback from our users,” continued Michael. “Users are invited to use the app’s ‘Send Feedback’ function to share their feedback, along with any thoughts on how we can improve the app. Every feature we added since Breath Ball’s initial release has originated from user feedback. We hope everyone uses the app in good health.”

System Requirements:

  • Mac OSX 10.9
  • 19.7 MB

Breath Ball 2.1.2 is free and is available worldwide exclusively through the Mac App Store in the Medical category. The app is also available in iOS, Windows and Android versions.

Coffee Flour?

Coffee – I had never heard about Coffee Flour until I read “What Is Coffee Flour? Here’s the Deal With the New “Superfood”” today. Just as the name implies, Coffee Flour is a flour made by either grinding up green coffee beans roasted at a lower temperature than what we drink or from a by-product of the normal coffee production process. You include it mixed with conventional flour in any recipe flour would be used in. The recommendation is to mix about 15-25% Coffee Flour with conventional flour. It will make baked goods a little darker in color and add a bit of flavor of flavor of dried figs per some who have tried it.

So why do you want to use Coffee Flour”? It does retain the caffeine that many of us enjoy a jolt of in the morning. It does not carry the bitter caramel aroma and coffee flavor that we expect with our morning cup. There are significant health benefits of using Coffee Flour (per vendor Coffee Flour):

  • More fiber per gram than whole grain wheat flour
  • More iron  per gram than fresh spinach
  • Less fat and more fiber per gram than coconut flour
  • More antioxidants per gram than a pomegranate
  • More protein per gram than fresh kale
  • More potassium per gram than a banana

 

Coffee Flour can be found at:

  • the ever popular Trader Joes
  • It can also be ordered on-line at Nuts.com ($8.99 per pound)
  • It can be ordered on-line from MarxFoods ($18 per pound)

This is something I will have to try .

13 Health Boosts of Chocolate

Chocolate – Behind coffee, chocolate is my next food vice. I found this list of the benefits of dark chocolate interesting and i wanted to share it.

Agatha Chocolats

If you’re a chocoholic, I’m sure you’ve heard some sweet buzz lately. That’s because more and more studies are finding the health secrets of chocolate consumption.

Unfortunately, there’s a catch. It doesn’t fall under the more you eat, the more healthier youll be category. And some forms of chocolate possess more benefits than others. But heck, we’re learning that eating chocolate is actually good for us. How can we not be happy about that?

So, what kind of chocolate are we talking about here? Generally, the darker the chocolate, the higher the benefits. better. This is because dark chocolate contains more cocoa solids, thus more of the “good stuff”, and additionally has less sugar. A good number to shoot for is over 66%.

If you’re typically not a fan of dark chocolate, start with a lower percent first, and gradually work your way up. Chances are you will start…

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Drink Coffee, Prolong Your Life

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Coffee – While I just like the taste of coffee in the morning, I came across the article “Study Says 4 Coffees Daily Lowers Your Chance Of Death, So Starbucks Here We Come” that gave me added incentive to have my morning cup (or two or three or . . . ).

The European Society of Cardiology Congress recently published a report that relates increased coffee consumption to a lower risk of death. The study was conducted at Hospital de Navarra and included 20,000 participants over a 10 year period. The results:

Those who drank at least four cups of coffee per day had a 64% lower rate of death than the participants who either never drank coffee or rarely did. Meanwhile, those who were 45 years old and up and drank two additional cups of coffee a day had a 30% lower rate of death.

So sit back and sip a few cups of coffee each morning and enjoy this world of ours a little longer.

Coffee Nap?

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Coffee – I am not much in the way of taking naps. I always seem to feel worse afterwards. I did come across “Scientists agree: Coffee naps are better than coffee or naps alone” recently, though the article is from two years ago.

So what is a ‘coffee nap”? Drink a cup of coffee, then take a quick nap. 

You would think that the coffee would keep you from sleeping, but if to lay your head down immediately after drinking the coffee, you have a window before the coffee takes affect. Nap then for 20 minutes and you will wake up not only benefiting from the nap, but also from the caffeine that has finally hit your system.

Studies cited in the article indicate that a coffee nap is more beneficial than either coffee or a nap in reviving you.