Anatomy of the Femur Bone: The Pillar of Support for the Human Skeleton

Femur

Introducing the most Massive and Strongest (in most ways) Bone in the Human Body

There are 62 bones in the legs: 10 trunk/hip bones, 14 ankle bones, and 38 foot bones. The femur (thigh) is the largest and strongest of these bones. Most land mammals capable of jumping also have femur bones, also lizards, frogs, and other tetrapod vertebrates. Its length on average is 26.74% of a person’s height, a ratio found in both men and women and most ethnicities with only restricted variation.

A Few Femur Bone Stats

  1. the Femoral neck sits at a 125 degree angle
  2. Femurs can resist 1,800-2,500 pounds of stress
  3. Vehicular accidents are the primary cause of breakage

The Greater Trochantergreater_trochanter_grays

The Great Trochanter is a large, irregular, quadrilateral eminence on the upper portion of the femur bone. This portion of the bone has several, extremely important muscle insertions for the thigh and hip bones:

The lateral surface, quadrilateral in form, is broad, rough, convex, and marked by a diagonal impression, which extends from the postero-superior to the antero-inferior angle, and serves for the insertion of the tendon of the gluteus medius.

Above the impression is a triangular surface, sometimes rough for part of the human_ape_femurstendon of the same muscle, sometimes smooth for the interposition of a bursa between the tendon and the bone. Below and behind the diagonal impression is a smooth triangular surface, over which the tendon of the gluteus maximus lies, a bursa being interposed.

The medial surface, of much less extent than the lateral, presents at its base a deep depression, the trochanteric fossa (digital fossa), for the insertion of the tendon of the obturator externus, and above and in front of this an impression for the insertion of the obturator internus and superior and inferior gemellus muscles.

Reference: (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greater_trochanter)

The Lesser Trochanter

The Lesser trochanter is on the underside of the femoral head and also has several muscular insertions: The Psoas Major on bottom and the Illiacus on top.

The Femoral HeadFemur_insertion_point

The Femoral Head is the highest part of the femur bone, support by the femoral neck. It inserts as a ball/socket joint into the Hip/Ilium via the structure depicted to the right.

The Femoral Neck

The Femoral neck usually sits at a 120-135 degree angle with some variation. A fracture of this area is known as a hip fracture and happens during aging. This structure supports the head of the femur bone and its insertion into the hip.

femur_pic_grays_2The Femoral Body

The Shaft of the femur is somewhat curved and has a protruding ridge called the linea aspera (rough line). The area of the bone supports the strongest muscle tissue in the body, including the hamstrings, Quadriceps, and thigh musculature. The Vastus Laterallis (outer quadricep) and adductor magnus (inner thigh muscle) connects into the linea aspera.

Lower Portion of the Femur

lower_femur_graysThe Lower portion of the femur bone consists of two condyle (from the Greek word for knuckle), lateral and medial that create the surface for the upper tibia bone and the knee-joint. Coated meniscus tissue layers on top of the bone and provides synovial fluid for frictionless movement within the knee. The medial (inside) condyle is the larger than the lateral due to its increased weight-bearing. 

How the Femur Bone affects your Holistic Health

Femur bone fractures correlate with increased disease in the elderly. It is safe to say that the femur bone is an organ that houses much of the mineral deposits for the body. Therefore, as we age and the bone tissue become more porous, this bone become one of the primary areas of decomposition.

One of the primary aspects of bone health is acquiring enough calcium to maintain bone density. Most calcium is available via leafy green vegetables, notably kale, bok-choy, and broccoli. Sodas and carbonated beverages make it harder for the body to absorb calcium and should be avoided by those with osteoporosis (orthoinfo.com). Vitamin D is an important catalyst for absorbing calcium into the bloodstream.

Phosphorus is another vital nutrient to maintain bone health. Nuts, Sesame Seeds, peanut butter, parsley, crab and prawns are all foods high in phosphorus. Don’t feel like you have to eat meat or drink milk to get these essential nutrients.

References:
  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Femur_neck
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greater_trochanter
  3. https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/staying-healthy/calcium-nutrition-and-bone-health

The Human Body is an Ecosystem (Part 4/5 : Gastro-Intestinal Micro-Organisms)

E.Coli

Part 4: Micro Organisms of the Gut

Please see the other parts of the article; once they are completed the links will be active:

Part 1: anatomy of the human microbiome
Part 2: micro-organisms on the skin
Part 3: micro-organisms in the mouth
Part 5: implications for modern medicine

The increased knowledge of gut bacteria is a an excellent example of a paradigm shift in the health community. The scientific community has obtained an incredible amount of knowledge from this new field of microbiology. The gut flora is sometimes considered an organ because of its importance, this community of micro-organisms is evidenced to protect its host (that’s us) from pathogens and allow us to extract nutrients from our diet.

Your colon contains over 100 trillion micro-organisms most of which are bacteria. It also has the most complex and intricate interactions of the human micro-biome. The flora in the stomach and upper intestine are not as diverse or populous. This “gut” ecosystem is complex with over 400 species (identified genomes) but not quite as numerous as the 1,000 different genomes of skin micro-organisms. This is probably because of the skin’s increased interaction with the environment.

Bacteria populations within the gastrointestinal tract differ greatly depending on the host: geographical location, diet, genetics, even the behaviors of different species are vastly different based on the history of the host. Not surprisingly, diet is probably the largest factor in the populations of bacteria in the gut.

These bacteria have lots of different functions: synthesizing vitamin B and K, nutrient extraction, metabolizing bile acids, sterols, and xenobiotics, defense against pathogens, cell growth stimulation, and response to disease. They are often referred to as the forgotten organ because of the immense role they play in digestion and little attention they have received until more recently.

Gut flora evolve during the course of an individual’s life. These microbiota are non-existent until birth, and mature at the age of 3. Micro-biota are normally associated with nutrient intake, and concentration of communities are indicative of the type of diet of the host. This ecosystem, or microbiome in the gut is essentially your metabolism and what allows your body to breakdown and re-intake nutrients from your food sources. They believe this may be a reason why breastfeeding is important for infants; the nutrients help to form the initial microbiome of the child.

Without these bacterial cells, our bodies wouldn’t be able to breakdown certain nutrients. They also help the gut to maintain efficiency, especially in the colon. The colon has a lower pH level than the rest of the body, preventing harmful bacteria from proliferating and possibly even enhancing the excretion of carcinogens (cancer causing agents).

Gut bacteria have a primary role in nutrient absorption, especially electrolytes, and help the body to control its fat levels. They also help to fight allergens including over-action of the immune system. Some bacteria can even stop inflammation during the digestive process. Some genus’ of bacteria aid cancer growth, while some fight it. There is increasing evidence to suggest that obesity might be caused by bacteria populations and that the two could be intricately related.

The populations of micro-organisms in your gut is not to be under-estimated, we will be learning more about the implications of gut ecology on diet, health, and especially in obesity regulation over the next few decades. This is one of humanity’s primary links to the environment and is essential for optimal immune function. As we learn more about allergies, we will also be learning more about the ecological properties of our own bodies.

The last article in the series should be out soon, stay tuned for the implications this research has on the future of modern medicine. Questions or corrections are always welcome!

Sources:

  1. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11894-009-0045-z#page-1
  2. http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=909284&fileId=S0007114502001782
  3. http://www.sciencemag.org/content/308/5728/1635.short
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1379087/?page=2
  5. http://journals.lww.com/jtrauma/abstract/1987/02000/endotoxin_but_not_malnutrition_promotes_bacterial.12.aspx
  6. http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-94-011-2364-8_4#page-1
  7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK7670/

 

The Human Body is an Ecosystem (Part 1 of 5)

Microbiome_Wikipedia

Part 1: Anatomy of the Human MicroBiome

Please see the other sections of the article; once they are completed the links will be active:

Part 2: micro-organisms on the skin
Part 3: micro-organisms in the mouth
Part 4: micro-organisms in the gut
Part 5: implications for modern medicine

Your ability to think of yourself as one whole being is an incredible phenomenon; especially considering that the human body is made up of 37.2 trillion human cells that can act somewhat independently, which is really a gross estimate at this point. What is really interesting is that the majority of the cells in your body are actually bacteria cells, mostly that reside in the human gut. Modern estimates say the proportion is about 10 to 1 (baceria to human cells). That means there are possibly over 300 trillion bacteria cells in your body. In fact, there is evidence to suggest 90% of our cells are microbes or micro-organisms. (small animals,fungi, bacteria, archaea, algae, and protozoa). Outside of the body, on the skin, there are also a fair amount of micro-animals that are excluded from the human microbiota, or the aggregate of the micro-organism genomes on the skin, in the gastrointestinal tract, in the saliva, oral mucosa, and conjunctiva.

Your body might have a proportion of 10 to 1 micro-organisms to human cells, according to one study, which makes it important to consider your body as an environment. Basically, you have an entire ecosystem in your digestive track and this aspect of your body is what merges you with your environment. The digestive tract, from the mouth to the rectum and anus, is essentially a part of the outside world which is why there is so much bacteria and other micro-organisms living there. This is also the reason behind recent skepticism of the effectiveness of antibiotics for certain illnesses and why there is so much emphasis on probiotic in modern nutrition science.

With our new understanding of the micro-organisms that co-exist within humans, we have also begun to study and catalogue the different genomes, however, scientists have found a nearly infinite variation in how the micro-organisms interact and function. The same bacteria cells might function completely differently within the body of another, making the biome extremely difficult to study. The Human Microbiome Project (HMP) is the organization fueling the majority of this research and they are attempting to catalogue the different bacteria and their functions in the body in a similar way to how the Human Genome Project catalogued the human genome.

What this means is that there are not baseline calculations for micro-biome health because it varies so greatly from person to person. Also, different sites on the body have their own distinctive communities; skin and vaginal sites have a smaller amount of diversity than the mouth and gut. Different bacteria like to inhabit different places in the mouth from person to person and can also have different, specialized functions. Over 500 types of bacteria live in the gut alone, mostly in the large intestine or colon. These bacteria are incredibly useful because they break down food and allow for the absorption of nutrients into the human body, however, in times of lowered immunity they can also act as opportunistic pathogens (meaning they can cause disease). E. Coli is one of the bacteria that exist in the gut, and certain mutated strains of this can also cause disease (as you probably heard in the news). But this is a healthy bacteria that when balanced against a strong immune system provides enormous benefit to the digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Here are the elements that create the chemical balance of your body and their associated proportional mass:

  • Oxygen = 65%
  • Carbon = 18%
  • Hydrogen = 10%
  • Nitrogen = 3%
  • Calcium = 1.4%
  • Phosphorus = 1.1%
  • Potassium = .25% (can be radioactive)
  • Sulfur = .25%
  • Sodium = .15%
  • Chlorine = .15%
  • Magnesium = .05%
  • Iron = .006%
  • Fluorine = .0037% (toxic in large amounts)
  • Zinc = .0032%
  • Silicon = .002%
  • Rubidium = .00046%
  • Strontium = .00046%
  • Bromine = .00029%
  • Lead = .00017% (toxic in high amounts)
  • Copper = .0001%
  • Aluminum = .00000087%
  • Cadmium = .00000072% (toxic in high amounts)
  • Cerium = .00000057%
  • Barium = .00000031% (toxic in high amounts)
  • Tin = .00000024%
  • Iodine = .00000016%
  • Titanium = .00000013%
  • Boron = .00000069%
  • Selenium = .00000019% (toxic in high amounts)
  • Nickel = .00000014%
  • Chromium = .000000024%
  • Manganese = .00000017%
  • Arsenic = .00000026% (toxic in high amounts)
  • Lithium = .000000031% (toxic in high amounts)
  • Mercury = .00000019% (toxic in high amounts)
  • Caesium = .000000021%
  • Molybdenum = .00000013%
  • Cobalt = .000000021%
  • Antimony = .00000011% (toxic in high amounts)
  • Silver = .00000001%
  • Niobium = .0000016%
  • Zirconium = .000006%
  • Lanthanum = .00000137%
  • Tellurium = .00000012%
  • Gold = .000000140%
  • Vanadium = .00000026%
  • Uranium = .0000000013% (toxic in high amounts)
  • Beryllium = .00000000005% (toxic in high amounts)
  • Radium = .0000000000000000001% (toxic in high amounts)

You’ll notice a few very interesting things about some of these elements. The first is that many substances can be toxic in high dosages, and obviously you can be malnourished if you have less of these elements. The second is that there are radioactive elements in your body; yes you are radioactive, just like the Earth. The radioactive elements are particularly interesting: Potassium40 has over 4,000 events per second in the human body; Carbon14 has over 3,000; Rubidium has over 100; and Lead210, Tritium, Uranium238, Radium228, and Radium226 all have under 20 events per second. To me, this emphasizes the need for balance in the human body; not too much and not too little.

It is astonishing to think that there is a hole, a series of tubes really, inside of you that is really a part of the outside environment. But this makes perfect sense to a Taoist, who would say that a human ‘is the same’ as the environment they are in. Two sides of Yin and Yang that are always playing together to continue life. Most research suggests that our gut flora (or the collective bacteria in an ecosystem) is symbiotic and has a direct relationship with the functioning of the body.

The functions of the flora are the following (though it has been found that some people can function without gut bacteria):  fermenting unused energy substrates, training the immune system, preventing growth of harmful species, regulating the development of the gut, producing vitamins, and producing hormones. Extensive modification and imbalances of the gut microbiota and its micro-biome or gene collection are associated with obesity. However, in certain conditions, some species are thought to be capable of causing disease by causing infections or increasing risk for cancer (paraphrased from Wikipedia).

So obesity might be better understood as an imbalance in gut bacteria that leads to slower digestion and less nutrient absorption. It also makes sense that there is a cascade type of effect, where the body has “momentum” to digest with large amounts of built up gut bacteria. So a ‘fast metabolism’ might be summarized as healthy gut flora. Interesting stuff right? In my opinion this is some of the most exciting science being researched today.

This is part of the reason why a balanced diet is key to being healthy. There is a lot more information coming, I’m especially excited to get into the gut flora and their implications for mental and cognitive health. The next article will be about the skin, and all of the micro-organisms that live on you. Stay tuned, hoping to have it out tomorrow.

10 Metabolic Facts to help you Optomize your Nutrition

label_reading

I have been experimenting with nutrition for over 6 years, ever since I had the desire to get the most out of my yoga practice. I believe I have found the best strategies for my own body. These are some tips to manage your body’s metabolism.

The first step is reading labels. Do it with everything at first, then you can do check-ins. You’ll be surprised to notice how often the chemicals in food change. Everything is a chemical, so don’t get too concerned, but be aware of what you are consuming. This means using Google, probably a lot at first to figure out what you are consuming. This is the true key to dieting.

Once you are aware of what you are eating, you can start to cut out certain chemicals, say hydrogenated oils and preservatives. You can start to look for organic ingredients, which typically are higher quality and less toxic. If you can, go organic with most things, the food has more nutrition and less toxins due to having no exposure to pesticides.

Here are 10 things to consider as you eat during the day:

  1. Your metabolic rate is set by your endocrine system, your hormone regulation system. Stay cool, not stressed. Stress releases in your day are essential to keeping things running smoothly underneath the hood, endorphins help the body to handle stress and keep you content.
  2. Your metabolism moves fastest when you wake up in the morning. Ideally, you eat your meals in an upside down pyramid sort of way throughout the day, stopping before 8 at night. Start early, end early. When it gets dark, stop eating, if you can.
  3. Sweating stimulates toxin excretion and your metabolism. Get enough exercise to stimulate your sympathetic nervous system, but there’s no need to become a marathon runner, or king of the elliptical.
  4. You are in control of your metabolic rate. There are people with genetic metabolic disorders, but they are about 1 in 1,400. This means that there is likely no genetic reason for obesity.
  5. Your body has internal clocks and regulators you should know how your body has been programmed to work by your past behavior. Often, people change diets dramatically when trying to lose weight and this, in and of itself, can shock the body into digesting slower. This happens when people decide to “go vegan”. Meet your body where it is, add things slowly to your diet, rather than taking things away at first. The body also seems to really like eating on a schedule, I saw this in France where there are no obesity problems.
  6. Eat a large breakfast because your metabolism can process the food all day and it gives your body momentum to get started in the morning. Eat within an hour of waking up if you can.
  7. Keep your parasympathetic nervous system active while exercising to burn fat and use your bodies stores of energy. Yoga is great for this, so is walking, meditation, breathing exercises, etc. Low energy output tasks that don’t require exertion will target the fat tissues for energy.
  8. There is a protein myth in modern health, that you need more of it than fat and carbohydrates, but in truth you need all three in fairly equal portions for optimal digestion. That means even if you are consuming lots of protein, you need to consume fats and carbs to digest efficiently.
  9. Don’t cut calories, just sugar. The easiest ways for many people to lose weight are simple. Less sugar. potato chips, and meat.
  10. Water keeps everything moving, dehydration can lead to stagnation in the metabolism. Electrolytes are key here because they keep the fluids in the body concentrated with energy. The less toxic the fluid content in the body, the easier energy currents can flow though it.

These are just a few tips that I use personally. Balance your food groups. Find new stuff to eat, not the new flavor of cheetos, try a new kind of fruit, even if its nasty, spit that shit out. Try these guidelines out, see how they affect you before doing anything strict. I have found them to be incredibly useful for myself. They are simple, but HARD to execute. Especially water and hydration. Most americans (~75%) are chronically dehydrated, so water consumption throughout the day is a great place to start. I come back to it almost every day.

Basics of Nutrition

nutrition

Nutrition is the concept of selecting and preparing food to be eaten, which largely contributes to the health of the body. Diet is the selection of foods that the body receives and palpability is the taste or perceived pleasantness of the food. There are four macro-nutrients and a few other types of nutrients that the body requires to function optimally.

The body then uses the received nutrients to grow, repair, or maintain itself. All food contributes to the body’s wellbeing and must be processed or broken down through the gastrointestinal tract and expelled from the body. The quality of the nutrients that you consume are directly related to your health, alongside your genetics and medical history. The body is a vehicle of momentum, so dietary changes normally take anywhere from 30-90 days to begin to show, sometimes longer. Exercise will help to expedite the process. A diet is not something that should be difficult to maintain; challenging, maybe, but it should be rewarding because you are feeling healthy and energized. Eventually breaks happen more and more occasionally as you settle into a healthier lifestyle.

Yes, it is more expensive. But it pays for itself in medical bills over the years, in sick days from work, in focus and energy at work. Health is something that allows you to live life more fully and vibrantly, it is priceless. That is my opinion and I know people that live happily and disagree with it so take it with a grain of salt. Just like everything else you hear from people.

There are four macro-nutrients, or big categories of nutrient: fats, carbohydrates, proteins, and water. Fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals make up the micronutrients. Poor health can be caused by too little of a required nutrient, or too much of a required nutrient. Each requires balance and agility; adjust to the body based upon its response to what you feed it. The four macro-nutrients should be relatively balanced in each meal, as much as possible. Tweak your diet and ratios depending on the sensations and results in your body. Yoga can help you to tune into your internal organic processes. Remember too much water can kill you, just like overloading on anything else; however, its probably not going to happen. Be careful out there.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are things like rice, noodles, bread, grain, and really represents sugar. Monosaccharides, disaccharides, oligosaccharides, and polysaccharides are all hydrates of carbon, meaning water molecules mixed with carbon molecules. Normally monosaccharides and disaccharides are referred to as sugars, which saccharide means in Greek, and very often the two cause words to end in ‘ose’. Monosaccharide glucose is grape sugar, disaccharide sucrose is cane sugar, and disaccharide lactose is milk.

Most people consider polysaccharides to be complex carbohydrates because they are more useful in storing energy and repairing structural components as opposed to sugar molecules. However, the body is shown to digest both at similar rates so there isn’t too much truth to needing to eat complex carbohydrates rather than the ‘lighter’ carbohydrates. A balance of both is good, but consider carbohydrates to be the primary energy source for the body, whereas fats and proteins are needed more for maintenance and repairing the body.

Fats

Fats are long chained organic acids, also known as fatty acids. The longer the chain of acids, the higher the melting point of the fat. Oils, fats, and lipids are often used interchangeably, but there are differences between the three: lipid is a general term used to describe all fats, not necessarily limited to triglycerides.  Oil is usually used to refer to fats that are liquid at room temperature and fat it usually used to refer to fats that are solid at room temperature. Fats serve both metabolic (processing) and structural needs.

There are two essential fatty acids, alpha-linolenic acid and linolenic acid, omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, respectively. Other fats used by the body are synthesized and broken down from these fatty acids. Fats and other lipids are broken down by enzymes called lipases in the pancreas.

Fat is categorized according to the number and bonding of carbon atoms in the aliphatic chain. Saturated fats have no double bonds, while unsaturated fats have one or more double bonded carbon atoms in the chain. Some have more than one double bond and they are called polyunsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats can be divided into cis fats, the most common in nature and trans fats, which are very uncommon in nature. Hydrogenation is the process used to bind hydrogen to the fat and creates saturated fat from unsaturated fats. However, during this processes of hydrogenation (which is used to create vegetable shortening) trans fat is also created as a by-product and trans fat is proven to increase the risk of coronary heart disease. Try to stay away from hydrogenated oils; they make cooking easier but are not processed well by the body or circulatory system.

Fats store energy for the body, mostly for long term survival, as opposed to short bursts gleaned from carbohydrates. This is why slow rates of metabolic activity tend to target fat rather than muscles. Walking is often more effective at reducing body-fat than running due to the way that the body stores fat and uses carbohydrates before fats for energy. Fat is important in every meal, as it allows for a cascade of chemical reactions that the body requires fat to initiate; Vitamins A, D, E, K, are all fat-soluble, meaning fat is required to process them. Fat is also important for body temperature regulation, insulating organs from shock (think hypothermia), maintains the skin and hair, and promotes health cell function (each cell has a fatty cell wall). Fat is also very useful in fighting disease; fat cells can store unwanted substances to keep it from the bloodstream. Fats are essential for the bodies maintenance and a a required part of balancing your diet.

Proteins

Proteins are large molecules consisting of one or more long chains of acids called amino acid residues. The functions of proteins are vast including catalyzing metabolic reactions, replicating DNA, responding to stimuli, and transporting molecules. The primary difference in proteins is their sequence of amino acids, which is dictated by the genes of the protein, more specifically the nucleotide sequence, which results in the three-dimensional folding of the protein for its specific purpose.

Proteins have to be recycled because they are constantly degrading, or depreciating against the bodies usage because they are essential parts of organisms and participate in nearly every cellular process. The average half-life of proteins are 1-2 days, sometimes lasting months and other times used for minutes. Abnormal or malfunctioning proteins are recycled faster.

Proteins participate in some of the most complex processes in the body including: many catalyze metabolic reactions, have structural or mechanical functions in muscle fibers and cells, some are important for cell signaling, others for immune responses, cell adhesion, and are extremely necessary in diet because they give the body amino acids it needs to metabolize other foods. The body needs all 20 of the regular amino acids and a few of them are considered essential because they are required by the body to metabolize:

Essential Nonessential **
Histidine Alanine
Isoleucine Arginine*
Leucine Aspartic acid
Lysine Cysteine*
Methionine Glutamic acid
Phenylalanine Glutamine*
Threonine Glycine*
Tryptophan Proline*
Valine Serine*
Tyrosine*
Asparagine*
Selenocysteine

 

During starvation protein is used to help the body sustain itself, most notably, muscle tissue. Proteins are a necessary element of every meal.

Water is also essential in every meal, but you should also be adding electrolytes in accordance with your physical activity and exertion. Coconut water, bananas, and most fruits are great for replenishing electrolytes.

The micro-nutrients are vitamins, minerals, and fibers. Here are the required Vitamins and Minerals:

Vitamins

Dietary minerals (elements that humans need nutritionally)

Many of these vitamins and minerals are required by the body for functioning and some can only be broken down by complex biological bacteria before the body can use them. Apparently, scientists have only begun to appreciate the role of beneficial bacteria in nutrition somewhat recently. Many of these dietary elements are necessary for the different chemical processes in the body and the amount that the body needs of each can be from kilograms to milligrams.

Too many nutrients can lead to deficiencies and ultimately poison the body. Too little will leave the body malnourished and forced to sustain itself with muscle mass. Balance is the single most important concept in nutrition. Four to six meals a day is optimal, try to drink plenty of water in between each meal. Keep things moving, your body wants to cycle at the rate of the planet. Try to get to sleep at 10 and wake up at 6. Eat heavier at the beginning rather the end of the day because your body uses the time when your awake to process food, and doesn’t metabolize while you are asleep.

 

 

Electrolytes and why they are essential

refuel

Electrolytes are extremely important for the human body and cellular activity in general. Have you ever had a cramp? Ever done exercise until muscle failure? Ran a triathlon or marathon? Then chances are that you have needed electrolytes before and felt a lack of them in your body.

Really, electrolytes are what your body uses to carry electricity from your nervous system to your muscles. The human body is mostly water (blood), so there are certain chemicals that the body uses to spread electrical charge using ions. The major electrolytes are:

  • Sodium – In animals, sodium ions counter potassium ions to build up charges on cell membranes, allowing transmission of nerve impulses when the charge is dissipated.
  • Potassium – the most common radioactive chemical in the human body, this is completely necessary for all cell functionality. Key for nerve transmission, K is also a part of the pump mechanism that each neuron in your body uses (the brain alone has over 20 billion nerves) and is used to close cell membranes
  • Calcium – the most common metal in animals, used for bones and shells and an important signal mechanism for cell cytoplasms
  • Magnesium – This is an extremely important reactant, used by the body for DNA, RNA, and ATP synthesis. Is used to calm excited nerves
  • Chloride – salt, helps regulate firing of nerves by controlling the fluid into and out of cells, found in all bodily fluids

As you can see, all of these chemicals are extremely important conductors and regulators of electricity, which is how the body sends signals. These chemicals are found in almost all life, including plants and animal nervous systems and could be considered basic building blocks of life.

Yoga is something that cultivates life-force, that grows and strengthens nervous connection. Supplementing electrolytes and ensuring that the body has enough fuel is extremely important, especially for yogis that sweat often and heavily with their practice. A proper amount of electrolytes in the bloodstream can really make the difference between a great asana practice and a mediocre one.

This is how drinking too much water can dehydrate you, water is not the only thing your muscles need to function. You need these salt-like chemicals to conduct the electric currents flowing from your brain, through your spinal cord, and down into your muscles through your nerves.

Here are the electrolyte sources that I use to replenish:

  1. bananas
  2. coconut water
  3. sliced mangos
  4. sea salt
  5. spinach
  6. avocado
  7. dark chocolate
  8. olives
  9. almond milk

Magnesium is found mostly in leafy greens and I put sea salt on meals often. Far and away, coconut water and bananas are the most effective foods for me. What do you use to replenish after yoga, or a tough sweat intensive workout?

Kale’s Nutritional Qualities

kale

Kale is fresh and in season because it loves frost and winter’s chill. Cultures around the world use the plant in various dishes and praise it for its versatility. Kale can even make good chips (crisps if you’re british), though I don’t like them.

Some people really don’t like the taste, but I don’t mind it in salads, or cooked with some light oil. Cooking of course alters the nutrient properties, but there is so much awesome stuff in Kale that you are still getting massive amounts of nutrition.

Here are the nutritional properties of the flower-like veggie, they are pretty incredible:

  • Beta Carotine – interesting nutrient, small amounts seem to be really healthy
  • Vitamin K – super good for us, from leafy vegetables (photosynthesis), greases the metabolic passageways
  • Vitamin C – anti-oxidizer, necessary for metabolic reactions and is a powerful enzymatic enabler
  • Calcium – combined with phosphate to form hydroxylapatite is the mineral of our bones. It is also extremely involved in neural functionality, including action potential release in muscles and neurotransmitters. Too much can be bad and it is regulated by vitamin D (sun exposure)
  • Sulforaphane – has possible anti-cancer properties
  • Indole-3-Carbanol – is the subject of on-going Biomedical research into its possible anticarcinogenic,[3] antioxidant, and anti-atherogenic effects. Inverse relationship to prostrate and breast cancer because of increased estrogen regulation.
  • Magnesium – essential nutrient for every cell (allows for photosynthesis in plants)

There are also Phosphorus, Potassium, Maganese, and several other trace minerals, including all the electrolytes and Vitamin B6. Kale is basically your multivitamin’s ingredients in raw form, similar to broccoli. Most could stand to eat more.

Like anything else, moderation is necessary, so find some balance among other food groups and don’t go kale crazy.

Daily consumption might not be a bad idea, especially for heart and artery health due to its digestive and anti-oxidant properties. Green drinks, Kale/almond ice cream, omelets, find a way to make the taste insignificant. It’s always interesting how nutrition inevitably becomes biochemistry.