Category Archives for SCIENCE

Nitric Oxide Minutes

August 23, 2017

I have been sharing #nitricoxideminutes on instagram @dr.louisignarro as I try to make #nitricoxideahouseholdword. It has come to my attention that many who follow me on twitter, Facebook, or my webpage have missed these posts. I am sorry you have missed these fun posts, and I will resend them before we continue the adventure. Here’s […]

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A New Adventure

April 11, 2017

Please join me on my new adventure. I spent 40 grueling years doing basic scientific research. Yes, it was hard, but I enjoyed every minute of it.   It was both intellectually and professionally challenging. Now I want to share my work, not only with scientists, but with the entire world.  As those of you who […]

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Soy Protein – Your Essential Guide to Soy and Tofu


Soy protein is one of the highest quality
plant proteins.

Are you a fan of soy protein? With so many variations, soy can be a delicious extra in many recipes or even the main focus for a nutrient-packed healthy meal. Today, I’m writing about soy and sharing one of my favorite tofu recipes, because soybeans and soy foods provide high quality protein but are often overlooked in the grocery store.

What is soy?

Soybeans—actually, beans in general—are not much of a dietary staple in the western world. But traditional soy foods—like tofu, miso and tempeh—have formed the basis of the diet in East Asia for centuries, where they’re valued not only for their versatility, but also for the healthy nutrition they offer.

Soy is nutrient-packed

While all beans provide protein, soybeans top the list when it comes to protein quality. Proteins are made up of small building blocks called amino acids. Some amino acids are termed essential, which means that we have to get them from foods because our bodies can’t make them. A protein that contains all the essential amino acids is termed ‘complete’—and soy is one of the few complete proteins in the plant world.

Soybeans are also low in saturated fat and, like all plant foods, are naturally cholesterol-free. Soybeans also offer up calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and B-vitamins, along with omega-3 fats.

If you’re trying to work more plant protein into your diet, you might want to give soy a try. With so many soy products to choose from, it’s easier than ever. Here are some of the most popular forms of soy.

Soy options

  • Edamame are fresh green soybeans. You can often find these in your grocer’s freezer, either in the pod or already shelled. After briefly cooking in salted water, they can be eaten as a snack or added to soups and salads.
  • Tempeh is made from soybeans that are partially cooked, allowed to ferment and then formed into a firm block. Since tempeh is fermented, it’s a source of “good bacteria,” or probiotics. Tempeh has a meaty flavor and firm texture that holds its shape, so it’s great for salads and stir-fry dishes.
  • Miso is a paste made from fermented soybeans, which means it also contains probiotics. It’s used as base for soup as well as an ingredient in sauces, salad dressings and marinades. There are different varieties, and the color can range from light yellow to very deep brown. In general, light miso is less salty and milder in flavor than dark miso.
  • Soy milk is made from dried soybeans which are soaked in water until they’re rehydrated, then ground with water. The resulting milk is sold as a beverage or made into yogurt. Soy milk and soy yogurt each have about 7 grams of protein per 8 ounce (250 ml) serving. You can use soy milk as a beverage on its own, or you can substitute it for regular milk in most recipes or in protein shakes.
  • Soy nuts are roasted whole soybeans. They make a nice snack on their own, and they’re also good in salads, in trail mix and on cereal. Soy nuts (and soy nut butter, which is made from ground soy nuts) have a bit more protein and a bit less fat than peanuts (or peanut butter).
  • Soy protein powders and meat substitutes are made from soybean flour that’s had most of the fat removed. The powders can be added to shakes or stirred into oatmeal, and the soy meat substitutes can be used in all sorts of recipes in place of meat or poultry.
  • Tofu is essentially a cheese that’s made from soy milk. It ranges in texture from extra firm to extra soft and has a very mild flavor – which means it mixes well with anything from spicy sauces to naturally sweet fruits. The firmer type of tofu is good for grilling or stir-frying, while the softer, creamier style is good in shakes or sweetened and topped with fruit as a dessert.

Your quick guide to tofu

There are so many types of tofu that it can seem confusing. And I’m afraid many westerners dismiss tofu but it can taste great, and with so many benefits it’s worth finding a few favorite types of tofu.

Silken Tofu has the most moisture of all types of tofu. It has a soft, very smooth, custard-like texture and tends to fall apart easily. It also comes in different degrees of firmness, so don’t assume that all silken tofu is soft. Silken tofu is the best tofu for whipping up in the blender or food processor. Once it’s blended, silken tofu adds a smooth texture and nice protein boost to shakes, soups and sauce. Silken tofu can be turned into a healthy dessert when it’s blended with fruit, a dab of honey and a dash of cinnamon. Or you can blend it with garlic and herbs and use as a tasty dip for raw veggies.

Soft or Medium Tofu holds its shape a bit better than silken tofu, and it’s often mashed with a fork into a soft crumbly texture that makes a nice meat substitute in foods like pasta sauce. It’s also often used to make an ‘eggless’ egg salad by mashing with a bit of mustard and low-fat mayonnaise or with some avocado.

Firm or Extra Firm Tofu has the meatiest texture of any tofu, which means it holds up to stir-frying, roasting or grilling. To make it even chewier and more ‘meat-like,’ some people slice it up and freeze it (which will change the color, but not affect the taste) before using in recipes.

The best roasted tofu recipe

Still not sure about soy and tofu? Try my recipe for roasted tofu. It’s great right out of the oven, with some stir-fried veggies, and it’s good cold, too. I like to put my roasted tofu spears on top of a salad for lunch, or have a few pieces with some cucumber slices for a quick snack.


– 1 package firm tofu (typically, 14 oz, 425 g)

For the marinade
– 3 tbsp light soy sauce
– 3 tbsp rice vinegar
– 1 tsp sugar or honey
– 1 tsp sesame oil
– dash ground ginger
– dash garlic powder
– dash white pepper
– Olive oil (to lightly grease the baking sheet)


– Whisk together the ingredients for the marinade in a shallow baking pan and set aside.
– Remove the tofu from the package and drain off all the water.
– Wrap the tofu block in a few paper towels or a regular clean kitchen towel, and gently press out any additional moisture.
– Cut the tofu into triangles, or ‘spears,’ and arrange in a single layer in the pan with the marinade, turning the pieces over to coat all sides.
– Cover with plastic wrap, and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. (I love this recipe because you can leave the tofu to marinate for up to 48 hours.)

When you are ready to cook the tofu:
– Preheat the oven to 350 F / 180 C / Gas Mark 4
– Coat a large baking sheet with a bit of olive oil to prevent the tofu from sticking. (You can cover with pan spray instead, or line your baking sheet with parchment paper.)
– Arrange the tofu pieces in a single layer on the baking sheet and pour any remaining marinade over the tofu pieces.
– Roast in the oven for about 45 minutes, turning occasionally (and gently).
– The pieces should be firm and have a nice brown glaze.
– If you aren’t going to eat these delicious tofu spears right away, you can store in the refrigerator. This roasted tofu is delicious hot or cold!

Written by Susan Bowerman. Susan is Director of Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training at Herbalife. Susan is a Registered Dietitian and a board-certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.


Eat to Compete: Endurance Athletes Need Fuel 24/7


Eat plenty of healthy carbs before a race.

As an endurance athlete, you have special nutrition needs that must be met in order for you to perform at your best. Here are some tips on eating to compete from Dr. John Heiss of Herbalife that I’d like to share with you.

1. Fuel up in the morning. Since your stored fuel reserves will have dropped during an overnight fast, this is important. Training and racing take a toll on the body, and starting the day with a healthy meal balanced with carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals provides a solid nutritional foundation for your performance.

2. Hydration is essential. Because hydration directly impacts your athletic performance, it’s even more important for you to keep fluid levels topped off. Electrolytes (important body salts) are also essential–they support proper muscle function and help regulate body temperature. It’s important to hydrate during the event, but also important to sip fluid throughout the day in order to stay hydrated, and to be fully rehydrated before the next stage of your competition. Sports drinks provide not only necessary fluid, but also electrolytes that have been lost through perspiration. They also contribute carbohydrates, too, to help fuel working muscles during the event.

3. Carbohydrates are the primary fuel during exercise and they’re essential to keep your body running. In an endurance race, calories are king and getting enough is essential for performance. Make sure to get plenty of carbohydrates both before and during the race. Getting proper nutrition while competing also helps shorten recovery time, which is very important in a multi-day event. In addition to carbohydrates, a small amount of protein during exercise can help speed recovery.
4. After a race, your body needs the right ratios of carbohydrates and protein to begin recovering. Recovery is two-fold, and requires carbohydrate for replacing glycogen stores, as well as protein for rebuilding damaged muscle.

5. During a race, your nutrition needs are so extreme that it may be difficult to meet them with diet alone. But that being said, it is important to keep in mind that supplementation is just that–a supplement to a regular healthy diet. As an athlete, you should get the majority of your calories and nutrients from whole foods, primarily healthy sources of “good” carbohydrates–whole grains, fruits and vegetables–and protein from lean meats, poultry, fish, low fat dairy products and plant sources such as soy.

Written by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD. Susan is a paid consultant for Herbalife.


Who should take dietary supplements that increase nitric oxide?








Who should take dietary supplements that increase nitric oxide?   Let me attempt to make the case that everyone should take dietary supplements that boost nitric oxide (also known as NO). Life itself is an aging process. That is, you begin aging at birth. Your nitric oxide levels are highest at birth and then start […]

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Turn Brittle Hair Into Strong Hair


Trimming hair prevents split ends.

If you want to have soft, shiny and healthy hair, first your hair needs to be strong.

When it comes to our hair, we all want it to look shiny, soft, smooth and healthy. What we don’t want to see is a lot of breakage, split ends, color fading and damaged hair. Our hair needs to be resilient, elastic and resistant to breakage. In other words, our hair needs to be strong! How can you tell how strong your hair actually is? Well, strength all comes down to porosity and elasticity.

Hair Test

Test the porosity of your hair to measure its ability to absorb and retain water. The next time you wash and towel-dry your hair, feel it with your hands. If it feels quite wet, then chances are it’s more porous. When hair is porous it becomes dry and prone to damage. In other words, porous hair is weak hair. On the other hand, if your hair feels quite dry after towel-drying, then it’s less porous and therefore healthier. If you are feeling adventurous, you can also do a quick test by dropping a few clean, dry hair strands into a bowl of water. After a few minutes if your hair sinks, it has high porosity because it absorbed the water quickly and sank. If your hair is still floating, then it has low porosity and is stronger.

To test the elasticity of your hair, you need to stretch a strand while it’s wet. The farther you can stretch your hair the more elastic and healthy it is. Healthy hair, when it’s wet, will stretch up to 50% of its original length and return to its normal shape and size without breaking. Unhealthy (dry) hair only stretches to about 20% of its original length. But remember, it’s never a good idea to brush your hair while it’s wet. You don’t want to stretch your hair out to the point of breakage so be careful.

Here are a few simple ways to keep your hair strong:

Good nutrition builds strong hair.

A healthy diet is the key to the health of your hair. Protein is essential, as your hair is made up of a tough protein called keratin, which helps form the strength of your hair, skin and nails. But, you also need to focus on trace minerals like copper, iron, magnesium and selenium, as well as Vitamins E, D and C. These nutrients are important in the production of keratin. Antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies are a great vitamin source, as are healthy fats. Fish is also a great choice because omega-3 fatty acids encourage hair growth.  

All shampoos are not created equal.

Choose a shampoo specifically for your hair type that helps strengthen your hair. Select a gentle shampoo and conditioner to help repair hair and bring it back to a strong and healthy state. Choose products that are sulfate-free and clinically tested to improve hair strength. Try to avoid chemical-based products, as they can be damaging. Look for more gentle ingredients like Aloe vera, shea butter and plant-derived micro proteins to help soften and strengthen hair.

Condition more often.

Even on the days when you might not be shampooing, if your hair is wet, apply some conditioner. This will help lock in much needed moisture. When water evaporates, unfortunately, it draws moisture out from the inside of the hair shaft, ultimately causing it to dry out and weaken. Consider a weekly deep conditioning treatment, including DIY ones like this: 4 tbsp. of coconut oil and 2 tbsp. of pure honey mixed, warmed and applied to your freshly washed, towel dried hair. Put on a shower cap and leave for approximately 20 minutes before rinsing. It’s a great alternative to a store bought conditioning treatment.

Tip: When conditioning hair, squeeze out excess water before applying. If your hair is saturated with water, it can’t absorb your conditioner.

Get a trim.

As your hair ages the ends will tend to split more. And if your hair is damaged, you should cut off the damaged areas. Regular trimmings will give your hair a much healthier appearance and will also help to prevent split ends from traveling up the length of your hair.

Cut out the heat.

We all use dryers and irons to achieve a specific look, but if healthy, strong hair is what you’re striving for then cut back on the heat as this can burn and damage your hair quickly. Use heat protectant spray and clean your styling tools with alcohol to help remove product residue, which can damage your hair over time.

There are several other things to keep in mind as you are working to strengthen your hair:

  • Avoid tight ponytails as they can encourage breakage.
  • Protect hair with UV protection when going into the sun. As the sun fades your hair, it causes it to become dry and brittle. Consider wearing a hat when spending time in the sun.
  • Protect hair when you swim. Chlorine weakens hair, so wet your hair before you take a dip. Apply some product, or even conditioner, to keep it protected. If all else fails you can always opt for a swim cap.

When it comes to hair, nails, skin, it’s all about strength. So, implement some daily practices to look and feel your absolute best.

Written by beauty expert Jacquie Carter. Jacquie is Director of Outer Nutrition at Herbalife





The word protein originates from the idea that proteins are central to life and the first nutrient. Vitamins – vita meaning life and amin meaning protein – got their name from the misconception that amino acids, the building blocks of protein, were the essential components for maintaining life.

Proteins are found in animals and plants, but the mixture of amino acids – the building blocks of the protein found from different sources – varies. As a result, there are 21 common amino acids consisting of 12 nonessential and nine essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are those that cannot be synthesized from other amino acids, but must be consumed in the diet. The usual way that nonessential amino acids are formed is by metabolism of other amino acids. All amino acids have a basic structure of an alpha-amino nitrogen and carboxylic acid.

Maintaining the amounts of protein in muscles and organs is essential to life and is the main objective of the adaptation to starvation. In fact, loss of more than 50 percent of body protein is incompatible with life. The protein is stored in organs and there is no labile compartment.

The Importance of Protein
There is evidence that modestly increasing the proportion of protein in the diet, while controlling total calorie intake, may:

  • Improve body composition.
  • Facilitate fat loss.
  • Improve body weight maintenance after weight loss.

Fat Retention
Mankind is very well adapted to malnutrition and starvation, and this adaptation is reflected both in the way the body stores energy and how it uses these stores of energy when food intake is reduced or eliminated altogether. In the average 70 kg (154 lbs) man:

  • The largest store of calories is in the form of fat in adipose tissue with approximately 135,000 calories* stored in 13.5 kg (30 lbs) of adipose tissue.

*A dietary calorie is 1,000 calories or a kcal, but for simplicity will simply be noted as calories. You may also see dietary calories capitalized as “Calories.”

This storage compartment can be greatly expanded with long-term overnutrition in obese individuals.

There are approximately 54,000 calories stored as protein both in muscle and organs, such as the heart and liver. Only half of these calories can be mobilized for energy, since depletion below 50 percent of total protein stores is incompatible with life. In addition to being an energy source, protein plays a functional role in many organs, including the liver, and depletion is associated with impaired immunity to infection. In fact, the most common cause of death in an epidemic of starvation is typically simple bacterial pneumonia. Conservation of protein is an adaptation tightly linked to survival during acute starvation.

Meal Replacement Shakes and Weight Maintenance
Studies show that meal replacement shakes are a viable way to maintain weight, as recognized by the European Food Safety Authority, and that increasing the protein to about 30 percent of resting metabolic rate, as estimated by bioelectrical impedance, leads to greater loss of fat with retention of lean body mass.