Ah, yes. Another mishmash of random yet relevant contemporary science news updates is upon us. This week’s offering includes news that engaging in sports (or even just being a fan) can improve one’s mental faculties; that though a diet rich in oily fish is supremely beneficial to your overall health, just a once-a-week fishy fix can protect your eyesight in old age; and that a link between gum disease and heart disease has been established. Interesting enough, but how do these studies relate to - or even support - the Primal Blueprint? Read on to find out.
Sports Make Grok Smarter!
Future Linguistics Research Team?
It seems that sports aren’t just for dumb jocks anymore. A new study by a team of University of Chicago scientists reveals that playing, or simply watching, sports can stimulate areas of the brain, normally used for physical action, to engage in language building. The region of the brain normally used for controlling and planning action (like, say, in the midst of a heated basketball game) is activated when fans and athletes listen to discussions about their favorite sport. They could be sitting on the couch drinking beer and watching the game, without any intention to exert themselves physically, but their brain’s action centers would still be activated and firing off. Scientists say this could be key to understanding how the brain’s various areas learn about language.
Playing sports improves our language skills? No argument here. Why, we can remember learning a whole slew of four-letter words in our first year playing ball with the older kids. Back then, we never gave it much thought, but it’s obvious we were just expanding our minds’ ability to deal with language through sport. Quite seriously though, it’s important to note that the brain’s action centers are related to understanding language. Mind and matter being inextricably linked is a big part of the Primal philosophy, and this is just more confirmation.
Seeing is Believing (In Eating Oily Fish)
We Primalists sure do love our oily fish. Packed with protein, healthy fats, and great taste, fish pretty much covers all the important bases. A new study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that weekly consumption of oily fish can prevent the vision loss incurred by wet AMD, a major cause of blindness in elderly adults the world over. Their findings show that people who eat oily fish - as opposed to non-oily white fish, which had no effect - at least once a week had a 50% lower rate of wet AMD incidence than those who rarely ate it. Furthermore, people who consumed at least 300 mg of EPA and DHA fatty acids derived from fish were 70% less likely to have wet AMD.
Although there was no word on whether fish oil supplements have the same effect, they certainly can’t hurt. We don’t think you guys need any more reason to eat lots and lots of oily fish, but it’s always nice to have even more ammunition to defend your lifestyle from skeptics and fast-food enthusiasts who wrinkle their noses at your sardines and herring.
Brush Your Teeth, Kids, Or Suffer Debilitating Heart Disease (no, really!)
A new study has implicated gum disease as a possible precipitator of heart disease. Wait, what? So failing to brush your teeth can lead to plaque buildup which can lead to gum disease which can… lead to atherosclerosis (heart disease)? You see, oral infections lead to the production of heat shock proteins. These proteins are produced both by infections (like in gum disease) and by our bodies. Unfortunately, our immune system doesn’t seem to be able to differentiate between invading heat shock proteins and heat shock proteins produced by our bodies, so they both get the same reaction: white blood cells gathering in the artery tissues, resulting in atherosclerosis. Scientists say this means a new focus on oral hygiene is absolutely essential to fighting heart disease, and that people should (duh) brush their teeth and floss regularly.
But what about taking an extra step to promote oral hygiene? Like, say, eliminating from our diet the foods that cause most of the plaque buildup on our teeth. According to the Web MD, carbohydrates - starches, sugars, and sodas - are the primary culprits in tooth decay and gum disease. Starches and sugar get stuck in your teeth and promote the development of bacteria, and soda destroys enamel and leaves your teeth vulnerable to attack. Brushing and flossing are crucial, but don’t you find it interesting that the very foods the Primal Blueprint decries play a key role in destroying your dental health? We sure do. Grok certainly didn’t have an electric toothbrush and Colgate toothpaste, but he got along just fine.