We all know that plants provide an array of benefits from the nutrients they are composed of. In addition to fiber, vitamins and minerals they can also contain molecules utilized by essential biochemical pathways within the human body. Did you know that plants can provide us with the equipment to increase fat loss, muscle growth and our longevity? I would like to help you with your New Year’s resolution by sharing some knowledge about these effects. I will save you the trouble of reading this whole post by simply listing the three important tidbits of information from this blog-post:
- If you want to burn more vascular fat, you can go into a fasting state in the morning and eat ½ of a grapefruit with your coffee. The grapefruit contains a molecule called naringin, this molecule inhibits the enzyme CYP1A2, which metabolizes caffeine, so caffeine will last longer in your body. Caffeine has shown its ability to metabolize fat in many papers.
- If you want to develop more muscle, eat more tomatoes because they contain a molecule called tomatidine, which inhibits enzymes that stop muscle synthesis.
- Lastly, eat broccoli sprouts for more sulforaphane, this molecule increase expression in over 200 genes in your body which aid in detoxification.
If you want to know more about the science of how these processes work, enjoy the following information and check out the reference links listed below. Learning about the benefits of food and our genes will certainly help you create an optimal nutrition plan so you can achieve your health goals in 2017!
Grapefruit and Naringin
We started research about Grapefruit and its effects with coffee because of two fitness icons Tim Ferris and Jim stoppani referencing this action in both of their fitness programs. Unfortunately we found that the effects may have been exaggerated (but not irrelevant) based on the information we found. Grapefruit juice has been shown to prolong the half life of caffeine molecules in humans (1). This is because the caffeine molecule is metabolized by an enzyme called CYP1A2 (Cytochrome P450 1A2). This enzyme is inhibited by the molecule naringin which is found in relatively large amounts in grapefruit and grapefruit juice (2). The effects of the inhibition increase the half life of caffeine by 31% (3) thus increasing the availability of caffeine for yours cells. The metabolism of caffeine results in a variety of effects within our body. Some beneficial effects from caffeine consumption include an increase in energy, perception and fat metabolism. Multiple studies have shown that caffeine can oxidize fat tissue. Fat oxidation is the process that enables stored body fat to be broken down into smaller fat molecules (triglycerides) which are readily metabolized or used in synthesizing biological molecules (4). The study showed that individuals in a fasted state who consumed an amount of coffee equivalent to 4mg of caffeine per kg of body weight increased their rate of fat metabolism by 12% for up to three hours after consumption (5). The average 8 oz brewed cup of coffee contains 95mg of cafienne according to the USDA.(6) To give an example of how much coffee must be consumed to replicate this experiment, an individual weighing 80kg (176 pounds) must consume nearly three and a half cups of coffee in one sitting. That’s a lot of coffee and we at Healthy Helix do not advocate attempting this! However, the results from this paper are interesting nonetheless and can implemented into your daily routine. Perhaps try combining grapefruit and coffee (if you’re a coffee drinker) at your next breakfast to see for yourself if their is increased benefit!
Tomatoes and Tomatidine
Tomatidine is a molecule found in abundance in the plant it was named after, the tomato. The nutrients within tomatoes proved our bodies with a variety of nutrients that are beneficial to our cells. Tomatidine is a compound found exclusively in tomatoes and its consumption results in increased expression of the TORC1 gene. This gene is responsible for stimulating skeletal muscle cell growth because of its role in protein synthesis and mitochondria production. Tests have been performed on human skeletal muscle cells and mice where TORC1 gene expression was induced which led to benefits including “reduced skeletal muscle atrophy, enhanced recovery from skeletal muscle atrophy, stimulated skeletal muscle hypertrophy, and increased strength and exercise capacity” (7). Another study with similar results has shown that tomatidine reduces the expression of a gene called ATF4. The expression of ATF4 results in some inhabitation of muscle growth, thus eating more tomatoes can possibly promote muscle growth (8).
Brocolli sprouts and Sulforaphane
Sulforaphane is a biological molecule that can be obtained from consuming raw green vegetables such as broccoli sprouts, broccoli, cabbage and kale (9). A variety of studies have shown that sulforaphane has potent antioxidant abilities, aids in detoxification of carcinogens and even improves brain function. The fantastic functions of sulforaphane are highlighted in an amazing video by Dr. Rhonda Patrick (10), who is a pioneer and true legend when it comes to science backed facts about health and wellness. Please check out her website at foundmyfitness.com to see more awesome content. The reason why sulforaphane can do so much is because it stimulates the expression of over 200 genes, including glutathione transferases, NADPH, quinone reductase, epoxide hydrolase, heme oxygenase, UDP- glucuronosyltransferase. These genes are important in inhibiting oxidation and promoting detoxification (11).
Thank you for reading this post, lets continue to learn and truly optimize our health
By: Nathan Cawte
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