Daniel Lemire's blog

, 17 min read

Simple techniques to improve your health in 2015

22 thoughts on “Simple techniques to improve your health in 2015”

  1. Brett says:

    > “There does not seem to be any evidence that, in moderation, vitamin D is safe.”

    I think you mean “doesn’t”?

  2. @Brett

    Right. Point being that small regular doses on vitamin D have not been linked with anything bad.

    Taking lots of vitamin D is a problem however… so one should use it with moderation.

  3. Superb post. I just saw a documentary yesterday where they discussed the third brain, ie. the one in the bowels. As it happens there are a huge amount of nerves there (as much as in a dog’s brain). Even more interesting the “bowel brain” has influence on subconsciousness. Saying that you have a gut feeling about something makes so much more sense now.

    Also the concept of enterotypes is fascinating. It was shown that by altering gut fauna of mice you could turn a sedentary one to aggressive and vice versa. It would not surprise me if there was a connection between various diseases and gut fauna as well. What if you could “patch” it to help with certain diseases?

    It seems to me there’s still a lot to know about biology and the way people actually work.

  4. @Juho

    My experience with allergies has been very impacting. I suffered for decades from very severe allergies… some days I could not work. I had to take common medications that have undesirable immediate side-effects. Doctors, including specialists, could not find or propose anything.

    Then I started regularly taking sugar-free yogourt and after a few weeks… my allergies, the same allergies I suffered all my life, were mostly gone. Most telling is that after several years, they have not come back.

    I sometimes have minor allergies, but I take it as a reminder to take yogourt.

    (Note that taking yogourt only occasionally won’t do it for me. I have to be consistent.)

    It seems entirely evident, in retrospect, that my allergies were related to my biome.

    (I am not claiming that yogourt will cure everyone from allergies, of course.)

  5. Sagar says:

    Could you please include some citations of studies supporting your conclusions?

  6. @Sagar

    No. I will not.

    This blog post is an opinion piece. Take it as such. It is “someone’s opinion”.

  7. Dominic Amann says:

    Interesting. I note that there is some research suggesting that rice that has been fried in oil before being steamed causes less weight gain – because the body takes longer in digesting it, and the oil “locks in” some of the carbs taht would normally go to storage.

    That makes Risotto, Pelau and Jambalaya not as fattening as was previously thought – which is good because I love them.

    In general I would add “less processed” starches – brown rice, whole flour etc. would also be good adjustments to make.

  8. @Dominic

    In general I would add “less processed” starches – brown rice, whole flour etc. would also be good adjustments to make.

    I would think so, as far as keeping your weight under control.

    However, not all processing is bad for you in every way. For example, there are indications that whole floor and whole rice might have higher toxicity… You get more of the pesticides…

    I certainly prefer whole flour and whole rice, but it is not at all obvious that you will live longer if you eat whole flour and whole rice. Might be a wash.

    1. K says:

      ”However, not all processing is bad for you in every way. For example, there are indications that whole floor and whole rice might have higher toxicity… You get more of the pesticides…”

      True…I agree not all processing is bad. Whole rice also has more arsenic in it as most of the arsenic is found in the outer layers of a rice grain.

  9. Dominic Amann says:

    True about the pesticides – which would indicate that in that category, organic would have benefits.

  10. @Dominic

    Organic food is also grown with pesticides. Sometimes much more toxic pesticides.

  11. Dominic Amann says:

    That makes no sense. I thought the whole point of organic was to not include pesticides or herbicides?

    Further research indicates to me that it is against the rules to deploy pesticides on organic crops.

    I get that there are rules broken, and that sometimes unintentional use, but overall, I would expect that pesticide use would be lower. The only worrying concern I would have would be arsenic in unpolished rice.

  12. Carlos says:

    Thank you for the post.

    How much yogurt do you eat? One sitting, or do you space it throughout the day?

    Any recipes?

  13. @Dominic

    Further research indicates to me that it is against the rules to deploy pesticides on organic crops.

    I do not know what your reference is, but I can assure you that organic farming involves pesticides.

  14. @Carlos

    I do not find that the quantity of yogourt is important.

    Making yogourt yourself can be easy (just Google it) but what I do precisely is a bit tricky as I use some electronics to monitor the temperature. My recipe is a bit complicated, but I do not think you need something so complicated.

  15. Daniel Żukowski says:

    Thank you for an interesting blog. It is probably beneficial to limit consumption of meat. But as you may already know, there is advice and research saying that vegetarian diet, when planned appropriately to provide all necessary nutrients, is sufficient to maintain good health. I think this opens moral questions regarding production of meat.

  16. In the part of the world I live in use of pesticides in organic farming is strictly prohibited. I have never heard of use of the ones mentioned in the Wikipedia article (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organic_farming), with the exception of elemental sulphur in orchards (see e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sulfur#Fungicide_and_pesticide).

  17. gwern says:

    > I also take small doses of aspirin daily. These have the potential to be harmful in many ways, and may cause haemorrhages… but aspirin lowers your risk of certain cancers and protects your heart. I figure that I would rather die from an haemorrhage than cancer or heart attack.

    If it makes you feel better, the meta-analyses of the low-dose aspirin RCTs consistently turn in an all-cause mortality RR of 0.95; so while you may be at slightly higher risk of some sort of internal bleeding, the mortality risk from that must be outweighed by less risk of death from other problems – apparently mostly cancer reductions when they break out mortality by subgroup.

    (I suppose that the costs of hospitalization and any long-term negative effects might be argued to outweigh the mortality benefit, but I dunno, at 5% causal reduction in mortality, baby aspirin would have to be sending a lot of people to the hospital before I’d want to stop taking it.)

  18. @Peter

    It seems like a law that outrights bans pesticide use in organic farming would have far reaching consequences. For example, you could not import organic produce from international markets.

    The European regulations certainly do not forbid pesticides in organic farming.

    One concern with organic farming is the yield. If the yield is lower, than you need to more land to grow the same food. Typically, if you scale it up and ask how much land would be needed to feed all of us with organic farming, you find out that it is simply not doable. Even in countries where it might be doable, you end up concluding that you will need to take back most land from nature.

    Thus, proponents of organic farming have a choice to make. Either they acknowledge that it is an elitist practice will only ever benefit the richest, at the expense of wild plants and animals… Or else they advocate a reduction of the population (by means that they would need to specify).

    I should point out that I typically eat organic food. But I acknowledge that only the richest can afford this solution.

    1. K says:

      What do you think about algae -based foods like soylent which solves the problems of pesticide consumption without needing more land like organic?

  19. K says:

    I was wondering if 8 years after do you have something similar to an updated version of this post.

    1. I no longer believe that meat is damaging for your health.