[Transcript] – 63 Cups Of Coffee A Day & More: Five Simple Things You Can Do to Live a Longer, Healthier Life.

Affiliate Disclosure


Podcast from: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2016/06/live-a-longer-healthier-life-podcast-with-dr-sanjiv-chopra/

[0:27] MarcPro

[1:59] Blue Apron

[2:53] Onnit

[4:28] Introduction

[6:01] The book entitled “The Big 5”

[7:24] About Dr. Sanjiv Chopra

[9:50] Voltaire and his coffee

[11:27] Actual research on coffee to be beneficial

[17:54] Does it matter if coffee is caffeinated or decaffeinated?

[19:37] What does research say about what caffeine or multiple cups of coffee a day could do with blood pressure and heart rate

{22:21] Is coffee safe for pregnant women to drink?

[23:49] Do men and women respond differently to coffee?

[31:42] Mighty Mouse

[36:05] The world’s most expensive coffee

[37:53] Dr. Chopra’s thoughts on coffee enemas

[42:17] Vitamin D

[45:32] Nuts

[54:20] Meditation and Your Telomere Length

[58:26] Meditation versus Mindfulness

[1:03:57] Boomeritis and Getting Back in Shape

[1:09:20]” True to Form” Book

[1:11:18] End of Podcast

Ben:  Hey, what’s up it’s Ben Greenfield.  Today’s podcast discussion is pretty cool.  We get into Elephant Poop coffee, a Mighty Mouse that they engineered to live and exercise forever basically, and a ton of other really interesting information.  I’ll interview a Harvard medical researcher.  I wanted to tell you about a couple of things though before we jump in to today’s interview.

First of all MarcPro.  So there is this device, this is an electrical muscle stimulation device.  Not the one that you see on the magazines that’s supposed to give you a 6-pack.  That’s not what this thing is designed for.  It is designed to move inflammation out of muscle tissue and specifically to recruit muscle fibers in a way that’s very therapeutic.  And that much, much different than like nerve stimulation.  Much different than like intense electrical muscle stimulation.  This is something that was designed to heal muscles and it’s used by everybody from Tour de France cyclist to a ton of different professional sports teams and it’s called the MarcPro.  M-a-r-c Pro.

So what it does is it works the pain and the soreness out of the muscle after workout but also if you’re injured, and this is what I do; I’ll take the 4 electrodes, surround the injured area and turn it on.  And it’s very, very simple to use.  You do not have to be an anatomist or a physician and you can’t kill yourself with this thing either.   It’s not painful electrical muscle stimulation.  You just take it out of the box, you put the electrodes on your muscle and you turn it on, that’s it.

So you get a 5% discount on the MarcPro which is pretty significant, I think that knocks like fifty bucks off it or so.  You use code Ben, B-e-n at marcpro.com.  That’s code Ben at marcpro.com and you can grab one of these EMS units.  I highly recommend that you add it to your protocol if you exercise or if you get injured or if you have a body.

This podcast is also brought to you by something I’ve been eating now twice a week.  So I get 2 meals a week delivered to my house and my kids and I get to cook these meals together because they send you all the ingredients, but then they send you this step by step recipe card and everything is something that can be made in forty minutes or less.  So it’s called Blue Apron.  They use things like Japanese Ramen noodles and wild caught Alaskan Salmon and heirloom tomatoes so it’s like healthy really good gold standard stuff.  But it’s less than ten bucks a meal and you can cook it together as a family or cook it yourself, or I don’t know have somebody cook it for you.  Either way its super convenient and really healthy and you can get free shipping and 2 meals completely free if you just want to try it out.  You go to blueapron.com/ben.  That’s blueapron.com/ben.

This podcast is also brought to you by a company that makes one of my favorite workout tools on the face of the planet.  So, I’ve a big tire out in my driveway, this is probably next to hitting a heavy bag.  One of the best catharsis type of work outs that I do.  Not that I endorse just hitting things if you’re angry, but if I’ve had a rough day and I just need to blow off some steam, I get this Steel Mace, I take it out to the tire and I do like a wood chopping motion just slamming the mace into the tire over and over again.  First over the right shoulder then over the left shoulder.  It’s like doing burpees or battle rope or hitting the heavy bag.  Same type of metabolic effect.  Awesome way to do high intensity interval training.  All you need is a tire and a mace.

There are dozens of other exercises that you can do with these steel maces but as far as shoulder mobility, a cool way to exercise, core this is actually something that was used by ancient warriors these steel maces, they were used by Persian elite warriors for real world combat and for wrestling.  So Onnit is where you can get this and much more.  They have a ton of fitness equipment, some really cool supplements, really cool foods and you get 10% off on all their supplements and foods.  You get 5% off of that mace that I was just talking about.  Just go to onnit.com/bengreenfield.  That’s onnit.com O-n-n-i-t dot com slash Ben Greenfield.  Check it out.

And now on to todays’ show about how you can live basically forever.

In this episode of the Ben Greenfield fitness show:

“For centuries people have meditated and found subjectively that their happier, they feel experience more bliss, they’re more creative, they have better interpersonal relationships.  Now the science is catching up what else does it do?  These are all subjective, what about the objective things?”  “Coffee protects against 5 cancers.  Primary cancer of the liver, which is now the third leading cause of cancer mortality in the world; endometrial cancer, prostrate cancer, colon cancer and skin cancer including the deadly melanoma.”

He’s an expert in human performance and nutrition, voted America’s top personal trainer and one of the globe’s most influential people in health and fitness.  His show provides you with everything you need to optimize physical and mental performance.  He is Ben Greenfield.  “Power, speed, mobility, balance – whatever it is for you that’s the natural movement, get out there! When you look at all the studies done… studies that have shown the greatest efficacy…”  All the information you need in one place, right here, right now, on the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast.

Ben:  Hey folks, it’s Ben Greenfield and I actually received plenty of puzzled comments and inquiries from you guys the listeners when a few episodes ago I mentioned that you can get a big number of surprising health and longevity and disease preventing benefits by drinking not 1, not 2, not 3, but up to 4 – 6 cups of coffee a day.  And what I said in that episode is actually based on a book I recently read.

This is a book written by a Harvard medical researcher named Dr. Chopra.  And the book is called The Big 5 and it goes in these 5 things you can do to live a longer, healthier life.  And typically I don’t learn a lot from books like this but this one actually had quite a bit of interesting information about coffee and Vitamin D and nuts and beyond.  And a ton of like tests and trials and studies all over in it which I always like.  I like it when there’s research to back stuff up.

And anyways, Dr. Chopra says that if you practice the 5 things in this book, that you can live a longer and healthier life without needing expensive supplements or fad diets or jazzy exercise programs or state of the art gym equipment.  And since I’m all about natural living and anti-aging and longevity, I decided that I had to get him on the show.

So, like I mentioned, Dr. Chopra is a professor of medicine. He teaches at Harvard Medical School, he has a ton of awards under his name.  I’ll put his comprehensive bio in the show notes so you can access the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/big5.  That’s bengreenfieldfitness.com/big, the number 5.  And today we’re gonna delve into coffee and beyond.  So Dr. Chopra, welcome to the show, man.

Dr. Chopra:  Ben, I’m delighted to be on your show, and I’m sipping my third cup of coffee as we speak.

Ben:  I only had 1 cup of coffee but my wife tells me that my 1 cup of coffee counts as 3.

Dr. Chopra:  (laughs)

Ben:  I have a lucky mug with a big tiger face on it that I won.

Dr. Chopra:  Aha! 

Ben:  At a triathlon a few years ago.  I believe it’s probably close to about 18 ounces, maybe more.  So it’s a decent size cup. 

Dr. Chopra:  Yeah, but you’ll get a big call it 3 cups, yeah. 

Ben:  Yeah.  I’m actually, I wanna ask you about that in a second.  Actually there’s a section in your book that you start with what I think is fascinating that I wanted to ask you about.  But then I’m curious also what counts as a serving of coffee, so perhaps we can delve into that later.

But early on in the book, you talked about a question that you asked an audience when you’re giving a lecture on liver disorders.  Can you go into that ‘coz I think it’s pretty fascinating?

Dr. Chopra:  Yeah, so you know I’m privileged to give medical talks and non-medical talks to about 30-40 thousand clinicians and non-clinicians each year throughout the country and also abroad.  And my specialty is liver disease, so I give a lot of talks on different liver disorders.  And then in the middle of the talk I suddenly stop and I look at the audience and the audience could be 400 people.  In Anaheim could be 6,000 clinicians and I say, “how many of you drink coffee?” and you know about 80-90 percent of the hands go up.  And I said, “how many of you drink more than 2 cups of coffee?” and that’s about 60 percent.  I said “how many of you drink more than 4 cups of coffee?” and now there are like hundred nervous people slowly raising their hand.  And then I say, “how many of you drink more than 6 cups?” about a dozen, and they’re looking very sheepish, they’re looking around and nervous and then I say, “it’s good for you, and then I’m gonna show you all the research on the benefits of coffee.”

But then the next slide I show is a beautiful portrait of the French philosopher Voltaire and he lived from 1694-1778.  He died at the age of 83 years and I say, “Who is this?” and some of the people in the audience get it.  And I say, “How old was he when he died?” nobody gets it.  So I clicked it, shows 83 years.  And then I say, “Guess how many cups of coffee a day he had?” and people because I’m asking will say “10, 20?”  And the correct answer is 50-72 cups of coffee a day.   

Ben:  50-72 cups of coffee a day? 

Dr. Chopra:  Coffee a day.  And people, then some people say, “What size?”

Ben:  How could you even do that?

Dr. Chopra:  Yeah, they say, “What size?”  I said how does it matter?  If it’s half an inch, 72 adds up to a lot.

Ben:  Yeah.  That’s still, that’s a crack ton of coffee.

Dr. Chopra:  That’s a ton of coffee.

Ben:  Alright, so I have to ask you is there actual evidence of that?  Like who does this fact come from?

Dr. Chopra:  So this is yeah, you’re right, I mean how can we be sure about the veracity, but if you goggle it there are multiple sites where they refer.

Ben:  Interesting.  Either way he drank a ton of coffee.

Dr. Chopra:  Yeah.  He drank a ton and also Jefferson who also lived to 83 also drank a ton of coffee.

Ben:  What is the serving of coffee considered in like the research that people do on coffee?

Dr. Chopra:  You know usually 6-8 ounces.     

Ben:  Okay, so really like my morning mug actually would be like 3 servings of coffee technically.

Dr. Chopra:  Yeah.  Your morning cup, you’ve already ahead of the curve. 

Ben:  Yeah.  Interesting, so besides Voltaire though is there actual research to back up this claim that 4-6 plus cups of coffee could be beneficial because I know we like some people will say, oh you look at the blue zones, a lot of them drink a lot of coffee or tannic substances like tea, therefore that’s what’s making them live longer.  But in terms of actual clinical research has that actually been investigated?

Dr. Chopra:  Right.  That’s a very good question.  And you know if somebody listening to this show goes tomorrow or next week to see their primary care and they say I heard this guy, and he said coffee’s good for you, he or she understand know the entire literature medical literature published and he reviewed everything in moderation.  These studies come and go, that’s the usual refrain.  So for decades, we as a medical community were mystified how come there were some people drinking a pint of whisky a day or a liter of wine a day, and at the end of 20 years only 20% of them at most 25% became cirrhotic?  What happened to the other people?  And we said, aha, maybe its genes, maybe it’s the enzyme called alcoholic dehydrogenase.  Maybe it’s different in these people.

And then Art Klatsky from Kaiser Permanente published a study some years ago looked at 120,000 patients.  And if you drank that much whisky or that much wine, and had 1 cup of coffee a day, it lowered your risk of alcoholic cirrhosis by 20%, 2 cups by 40%, 3 cups by 60%, 4 cups by 80%.  So those dependent effect.

Ben:  Holy cow!  I don’t remember if I saw that one in the book.  Do you have that one in the book about coffee being protective from huge amounts of alcohol?

Dr. Chopra:  You know, I don’t know.  I hope it is but if not I can think of the reference.

Ben:  It’s crazy, yeah.  Send me the link if you have that one.  I’ll put it in the show notes for people if they wanna check it out.

Dr. Chopra:  Okay I will look for it, yeah.  And then you know, I attend on the liver transplant of the Hepatologist Service at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.  I did it for years 4 weeks in the year.  And I love to teach and I taught the house staff and the medical students and the fellows, interns and residents that every patient admitted to our liver service; ask them about tea and coffee.  And I would go at one o’clock to make rounds and sometimes round ‘til 7, 8, 9, and we had would have 20-24 the sickest patients with liver disease in Boston and from elsewhere.  And every time I sat down they’d look at me and say, “Dr. Chopra we have 5 admissions, we have 22 people on our service, nobody drinks coffee”, all of these people with severe liver disease.

And one day I go sit down for rounds and one of them looks at me, the resident presenting the case and he said, “We finally have a patient, Dr. Chopra, and he drinks coffee.”  And we asked him how many cups and he told us 4 cups.  We asked about the size, he pointed to a paper cup and we also asked him “Is it regular or decaf?” and he said  “Ha, if you’re gonna drink this stuff you might as well drink regular” ‘coz you’ve told us that for cirrhosis, not for the other conditions but for cirrhosis it should be regular coffee.  So I said you know, these epidemiological studies there are some mechanistic explanations but I will take my own history.

So we go for rounds, we arrive at his bed.  I sit down, I take a detailed history and I turned to him and at the end I said, “So tell me about tea and coffee.”  He says, “Doc I don’t drink tea, I love coffee.”  I said, “What do you drink?”  He says, “Regular”, “How many cups?” “4 cups”, I said, “What size?” He again points to a paper cup at his table.  I asked one more question.  I said, “How long have you been drinking coffee?”  He turned to me he says, “Since my liver transplant.”  (chuckles)

Ben:  My gosh!   

Dr. Chopra:  And the house staff fell over.  And he said, “Doc, I never liked coffee.  I got my transplant and I craved for coffee.  Should I stop it?”  I said, “Keep drinking.”  He was in for cellulitis, you know, not for any liver related problem and because these people are mere suppressed, we jump on it, we treat them with antibiotics, we do the blood cultures.  So I have yet to come across a patient with end stage or severe cirrhosis of the liver who drank you know, a lot of coffee.

Ben:  Yeah, so but there’s more than like the liver protective properties, like we talked about, there is one study in like 50,000 guys who if they drink 6 or more cups of coffee a day that their prostate cancer went down by like 60% or their prostate cancer went down like 60%.  Yeah and then a, I think…

Dr. Chopra:  Yeah, isn’t that incredible?  Yeah.  If it’s a bad prostate cancer’s the metastatic not the one that violent and you die with not die of.  This is metastatic prostate cancer, and then there’s a very recent study just came out I think earlier this week.  And The British Journal of Cancer that if you eat nuts that there is a 34% reduction in dying from prostate cancer.

Ben:  Nuts.

Dr. Chopra:  Yeah.

Ben:  That makes sense.

Dr. Chopra:  Coffee protects against 5 cancers, primary cancer of the liver, that is cancer rising in the liver which is now the third leading cause of cancer mortality in the world.  Endometrial cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer and skin cancer including the deadly melanoma.  Then it protects against cirrhosis, type 2 diabetes, Parkinsonism, cognitive decline which is dementia.  

Ben:  Right.

Dr. Chopra:  And then finally, a study came out of the New England General Medicine the premier medical journal in the world about two and a half years ago, and it said coffee-drinkers men and women have lowered total and cause specific mortality.  And I got about a hundred and three emails that day saying,”Sanjiv you’ve been telling us about coffee and its health benefits, did you see this study in the New England Journal?  You’re vindicated.”  Amazing!

Ben:  Yeah.  I mean the list of studies in the book is enormous.  I think folks should read the book to check it out.  But one question I wanted to ask you that wasn’t quite clear to me.  Does it matter if it’s caffeinated versus decaffeinated coffee?

Dr. Chopra:  So all the health benefits are seen with both caffeinated and decaffeinated except cirrhosis of the liver.  For some reason it has to be regular coffee.  And we know it’s not the caffeine.  Something about the process of making a decaffeinated.

Ben:  Right.

Dr. Chopra:  Right, because tea has no benefit.  Tea has no benefit and coca cola has no benefit.

Ben:  So you said that tea has no benefit and coca cola has no benefit, but that either caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee has benefit and caffeinated coffee especially for the liver.

Dr. Chopra:  Right, especially for the liver.  And you know, it turns out it has a thousand constituents amongst them there’s something called chlorogenic acid which is one of the richest antioxidants.  There’s something called kahweol and cafestol, and you can take an animal in the land and produce toxic liver injury, give it to horrific chemical producing (inaudible).  And now you repeat the experiment and you pretreat the animal with kahweol and cafestol, and it significantly abrogates the liver injury.

Ben:  Now, if the method with which you make the coffee is important with that, like I don’t use paper filters because it filters out a lot of the kahweol and cafestol.  I use like a stainless steel aeropress or a French press or a stainless steel pour over because you can actually filter out a lot of those positive cholesterols and chlorogenic acids.

Dr. Chopra:  Yeah that makes perfect sense.

Ben:  Yeah.  Okay, so caffeinated versus decaffeinated doesn’t matter unless you’re really focusing on liver health.

Dr. Chopra:  Cirrhosis liver disease.

Ben:  I know some people are gonna ask this because there’s people concerned about the effects of caffeine on the central nervous system specifically blood pressure and heart rate.  What does research say about what caffeine or multiple cups of coffee a day could do, let’s start with blood pressure.  What are the issues with blood pressure?

Dr. Chopra:  Absolutely.  Very good question.  So you know 1 or 2 cups of regular coffee will increase your blood pressure by 2 or 3 millimeters of mercury.  And it can increase the heart rate.  However, you know the benefits so far exceed what we’re talking about you know, trivial effects on blood pressure and heart rate.  There’s a very common form of a heart arrhythmia called atrial fibrillation.  And these people, they tend to form clots on the heart, they can, clot can leave the heart go into the brain, get strokes.  So we, it’s a very, it can be a significant and serious condition.  And for decades cardiologists have been telling their patients, you know avoid coffee, avoid caffeine.  And now the studies have come out.  And I, when they come out I send them to all my cardiology colleagues at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Brigham Rivers Hospital.  And I said, did you see this study?  And it says that there is no increase of atrial fibrillation with the coffee or caffeine containing beverages.  In fact…

Ben:  Now that would be like a rapid kinda like fluttering of the heart?

Dr. Chopra:  No.  Absolutely.  No increase.  In fact it may be protective against atrial fibrillation.

Ben:  What about blood pressure?

Dr. Chopra:  So blood pressure can go up 2 or 3 millimeters.  You know.

Ben:  Okay.

Dr. Chopra:  But if we do the other things we talked about in the book like exercise and meditation, then you can forget this negative effect of coffee.

Ben:  Okay.

Dr. Chopra:  And the other negative effect is there are people who have irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea predominant.  The coffee may cause them to have more diarrhea.  If people have bad reflux, gastroesophageal reflux disease, heartburn it’s a very, very common condition both regular and decaf coffee can make it.     

Ben:  I have some clients who get that and they drink cold brew instead to reduce the acidity of the coffee, they drink cold brew coffee.

Dr. Chopra:  And that seems to protect?

Ben:  They don’t get the heart burn when they drink cold brew versus conventional brew methods.  Yeah.

Dr. Chopra:  Yeah.  That’s interesting.  Yeah. 

Ben:  Yeah.  It’s lower in acidity.  That’s interesting.  So only a slight increase in blood pressure and no effect in terms of deleterious like fibrillation or atrial fibrillation of the heart.

Dr. Chopra:  Right.  Yeah.

Ben:  Okay gotcha.  What about for pregnant women?  I think you have a section in your book that actually, I raised my eyebrow.  It seemed interesting.

Dr. Chopra:  Yeah, you know, so we used to advice our patients you know, probably 1 cup of regular coffee is safe and don’t drink more than that.  And then the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology said a few years ago, said there is no data to back that and we think coffee in moderate consumption.  And I really don’t like that when people use terms like that.  They totally never listen well.  What does moderate consumption mean?  So I tell my patients and I’ve talked to obstetricians at Harvard Medical School and they say, “We tell our patients not to have more than 2 cups of regular coffee a day.”

Ben:  You mean pregnant patients?

Dr. Chopra:  Oh sorry.  Pregnant patients.  Yeah.

Ben:  So there is no risk for the baby in terms of like caffeine crossing the barrier to the placenta, not affecting like a grown infant?

Dr. Chopra:  Correct.  Yeah.  No deleterious effect in terms of pre-maturities, stillbirth, caffeine withdrawal when the newborn is born.  Not seem.

Ben:  There’s gonna be a lot of pregnant women listening in who are gonna be fist pumping now that they can actually return to Starbucks.

Dr. Chopra:  Yeah. (giggling)

Ben:  Interesting.  So pregnant women can use caffeine and they haven’t shown that up to 2 cups or 2 cups at least a day is not gonna have any issues in terms of birth defects or anything like that miscarriage, preterm births?

Dr. Chopra:  Correct.  Yeah, that is correct. 

Ben:  Okay.  Gotcha.  Gotcha.  Now speaking of women, do men and women respond differently to coffee?  Like is there a different dosage effect for men versus women?

Dr. Chopra:  I don’t know the answer to that.  But what has been discovered, and this is a study from the Harvard School of Public Health and also from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital is that there are at least 6 genetic variants.  And they affect caffeine metabolism, they affect some of the reward system we feel from coffee, and that it’s possible in the future that we could tell people, “You know for you, Jack, 2 cups is good you don’t need to drink more, and for you Henry, you probably need to drink 4 cups of coffee a day”.

Ben:  Yeah, so this genetic testing, are you referring to the testing that shows whether you’re fast coffee oxidizer versus slow coffee oxidizer?

Dr. Chopra:  Yeah.  Absolutely.  Right.  Absolutely.  And I’ve heard this speaker from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital at a coffee symposium where I was speaking and he followed me.  And it’s fascinating data but I don’t think we’re there yet.  I think our body tells us you know, you’ve had enough coffee or shouldn’t drink coffee after 5pm.  I mean, I drink 4 cups of regular coffee a day but if I go out for dinner and I’m at a restaurant, and my companions are ordering double espresso, I’m either ordering decaf if I trust the waiter or I’m just skipping it.  ‘Coz I will be up ‘til 4 in the morning.  And the odd thing is…

Ben:  So you would probably be as slow..

Dr. Chopra:  I don’t think that’s genetic because I could tolerate that 20 years ago, but now I can’t.  Yeah.

Ben:  Interesting.  See I think there’s some interesting research about fast coffee oxidizing versus slow.  You know, I’m immersed in exercise research primarily and there was a study I believe it was a couple of weeks ago that showed that when it comes to the ergogenic effects of caffeine which actually I wanna ask you about later on.  When it comes to the ergogenic effects of caffeine like the sports performance enhancing effects of caffeine, fast coffee oxidizers who carry the genetic sniff for being a fast coffee oxidizer…

Dr. Chopra:  Right.

Ben:  They actually display an increase in performance and decreased rating of perceived exertion, and better overall athletic performance whereas the slow coffee oxidizers they actually didn’t experience the same ergogenic effect from caffeine, and so you know, athletes who are for example loading with caffeine prior to competition, some of them may not even be getting any benefit from that from like ergogenic standpoint.

Dr. Chopra:  Yeah, I think this is a very ripe field for research because the heart rate could go up.  You know, you could become a little unsteady, you could have a little bit of a tremor.  What kind of sports are you taking part in?  Is it archery, is it playing tennis, is it running the marathon?  What is the timing of when you should drink that coffee?  How does it compare to 5-Hour Energy which is a 6 billion dollar drink now in the country?  Citing all these questions need to be answered.

But clearly some people drink coffee in between sets of tennis and during while playing golf.  I’m an avid golfer and when I get to 9th hole at The Shack, I drink coffee and I feel that I have more energy at the back 9.  And I’ve a friend who drinks Gatorade and then he uses a pull cart and the 16th hole is up a hole, he’s just like 1 over, he’s a great golfer leftie and he’s like 1 over and then 16th, 17th and 18th he double bogeys.  And I tell him, “Oh Harley you’re tired and you’re going up the hill with a pull cart and you’ll lose your focus”, and you can’t do that in golf, you will lose the energy to golf.

Ben:  I shoot the bow and I’m actually careful before my competitions with coffee.  If I do a cup of coffee which I actually like in the morning for everything from like initiating a bowel movement to, I just like the taste of a cup of coffee in the morning but I‘ll use Theanine sometimes like a Theanine supplement or coffee.  There’s one brand I drink called Kimera that actually has Theanine in it.  And I’ll drink coffee with Theanine because Theanine kinda balances out some of the almost some of like the jitter affects you can get from coffee for something that’s as fine motor skill requiring as say shooting the bow or golfing.

Dr. Chopra:  Wonderful.  Wonderful.  I also think that first cup of coffee is the most amazing cup of coffee in the morning.

Ben:  It is.

Dr. Chopra:  And you know, I’d think logically, I’ve not had coffee now since 5pm and I meet at the Starbucks every morning with two other friends.  We sit down and around 6:15, and we get a tall Americano or whatever drink we’d like.  And then we solve the world’s problems for fifteen minutes just to come back the next day and find nothing had changed.  And everyone who had come at the same time about twelve years ago they would all serve, nod and smile I said, “Listen we should introduce ourselves,” not everyone knows everyone, we know the baristas, I travel to many, many countries my only souvenir is to get a coffee mug and I have a whole collection, and one time my wife was dropping me to Logan Airport early in the morning and she says, “Sanjiv, I’ll get your drink” and she walks in with my mug.  And the head barista, Barbara looks and say, “This is Sanjiv’s mug, are you his wife?”  And she says, “Yes.”  And she said, “Nelly, Whitney, come meet Sanjiv’s wife.”  So I’m known by the mugs on my face.  I’m known by my collection of other coffee mugs.

Ben:  You’re known for the mug.  I like it.  I like it.  Hey, one last question about women,  are identical hormone replacement therapy.  Like I’ve heard that hormone replacement drugs like in post-menopausal women might affect their response to caffeine.  Are you familiar with that at all?   

Dr. Chopra:  Yeah, actually.  Not at all.  Not at all.

Ben:  Okay.  Interesting, yeah.  I’ve just heard, that I read somewhere about these hormone replacement drugs being something might make a woman less responsive to caffeine.

Okay.  I have another question for you in the realm of coffee and there are a couple of other things you talked about in the book besides coffee that I wanna delve into.  But ergogenic effects, you know, I think a lot of people are aware like I mentioned that coffee can increase forced performance by decreasing the rating of perceived exertion or by making you feel more alert and more energetic.  But as far as the actual muscle fibers themselves or the signals to the muscles not the nervous system.  Is there any effects do you know in on the muscular skeletal system or on muscles?

Dr. Chopra:  Ah, it’s all speculation you know, it’s all speculation.  What is the caffeine doing?  Does it stimulate the brain and the nervous system to do things differently?  Is it signaling to us if we’ve taken coffee that you know, you’re not really fatigued, keep going.  Or is it actually recruiting extra units of muscle for very good athletic performance?

I’ve parenthetically given a talk called The Top Stories in Medicine in the Last Century and then I predict what’s gonna happen in the next 50 years.  And for that part I sent an email to all my division of medicine colleagues, heads of the different divisions like endocrine, and rheumatology and GI.

Ben:  Right.

Dr. Chopra:  Cardiology and so on.  And the Chief of Endocrine, Barbara Kahn, a brilliant woman, she’s won many awards, brilliant scientist said, “Sanjiv in the future there’ll be a pill that will simulate exercise and combat obesity and the metabolic syndrome.”  I wrote back I said, “Barbara, come on.”  I said, “Do you have any references?”  So she sent me 3 references and an editorial that she had written.  And in one of the references there’s a mouse whom you can create a genetic mutation and this mouse can pretty much exercise forever without getting tired.  And it’s called the Mighty Mouse.

Ben:  The Mighty Mouse?

Dr. Chopra:  The Mighty Mouse.

Ben:  Interesting.  I’ll keep a research to this or link to this resource in the show notes.  This is fascinating.  They somehow knock out a gene in this mouse that allows it to just exercise and exercise? 

Dr. Chopra:  Yeah.

Ben:  Holy cow!

Dr. Chopra:  Isn’t that amazing?  And when I mentioned this to the clinicians in the audience, they cheer because most people don’t like to exercise or they find it very tedious and boring, and we have to make it fun for them.  And one of the things we do which I learned from a colleague working at Spalding Rehab and it’s based on some research is that you turn to your patient and say, “Okay, you don’t like to exercise.” “Yeah, doc I just don’t like to exercise.”  “Well what could you do in terms of exercise?”  “I could walk, I could swim.”  “Alright, could you swim you know, 30-45 minutes, 4 days a week?”  “Absolutely.”  So you take a prescription pad and you put his name and then you put swimming, 45 minutes each time, 4 times a week.  Number of refills; infinite.  You sign it and you give it to the patient.  And it turns out they’re more likely to then do it.

Ben:  Yeah, that’s interesting that they need a prescription for it.  I wanna delve back into this mouse thing real quick.  I can’t leave that behind, we can’t just skim over that one.  Genetically engineered Mighty Mouse can run 6 kilometers without stopping.  I’m looking at this headline.

Dr. Chopra:  (laughing)

Ben:  And it says that they caused this mice to over express the gene for this enzyme called phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase PEPCK.  And it looks like it acts on skeletal muscle on the skeletal muscle act in, or were you saying that there’s some mechanism by which coffee may also upregulate that enzyme or were you just saying that we don’t know?

Dr. Chopra:  Untold speculation.  Total we have no idea what coffee does to those enzymes or does it create any.

Ben:  Oh man, this is fascinating.  I actually was not familiar with this study.

Dr. Chopra:  Isn’t it fascinating though?  Yeah, I never heard of it ‘til Barbara Kahn mentioned it.

Ben:  They say the mice are metabolically similar to Lance Armstrong biking up the Pyrenees they utilize mainly fatty acids for energy and produce very little lactic acid.  I’ve never seen this study.  This is amazing.  I wonder if they’ve done, if they’re planning on doing follow up studies on how you could activate this enzyme, this PEPCK enzyme?  Super interesting.

Dr. Chopra:  Yeah, I bet they’re doing it.  I bet they’re doing it and I bet they’re going to, you need to know and study it you know from mice into mammals.

Ben:  Yeah. 

Dr. Chopra:  That’ll be the next step.

Ben:  Yeah.  I’ll put that link in the notes so people, you know I do know by the way, there is one study that shows that caffeine affects what’s called the self-sustained firing of motor units, of human motor units.  There is a study that they did with coffee versus a placebo.  And they found in men’s muscles in their legs that coffee actually did increase motor unit recruitments.  So there’s something going on in terms of you actually being able to grab more muscle fibers not just like a decreased rating of perceived exertion or not just an increase in blood flow or awakeness or alertness.  It appears that and perhaps this is why high amounts of coffee are, they’re actually banned by the World Anti-Doping Association.  If you have too much caffeine in your system perhaps that’s one of the effects.  Interesting stuff.

Dr. Chopra:  Fascinating.  Yeah.

Ben:  In your book you talk about the world’s most expensive coffee.  Can you tell the audience about that?

Dr. Chopra:  Yeah.  So there are these different kinds of coffee that you know, sell for $70 a cup or sometimes even $160 a pound.  There are these elephants that eat these Arabica beans, but these elephants don’t digest these beans.  So after several days they pass through the elephant’s GI tract the digestive system, during which time they are fermenting, and then they’re finally excreted and collected, and apparently they are sold at 5 star hotels for like $70 a cup.

Ben:  Have you ever had it?

Dr. Chopra:  No, I’m afraid to have it.

Ben:  Wow!  So is there something…

Dr. Chopra:  I’m happy with my $2.30 tall Americano.

Ben:  Is there something that’s going on when they’re actually eating these beans like, so like an animal eats a bean and it goes through its digestive tract?  Do you know if it alters the flavor somehow?

Dr. Chopra:  I don’t know, I mean it would be interesting to do a blind study, right?

Ben:  Interesting.

Dr. Chopra:  But it will have to be placebo control then you’d have to get informed consent that you’re basically consuming something that came out in the poop of the elephant.

Ben:  So it’s called Black Ivory Coffee.

Dr. Chopra:  Yeah. (chuckles)

Ben:  I wonder if you can order it online.  I’m gonna do a search and I’ll link in the show notes if I can hunt down some Black Ivory Coffee online for folks to try but that’s interesting.  That makes me want to actually taste and see what happens.  I would imagine maybe there’s some kind of like a fermentation that occurs in the digestive tract as the beans go through. 

Dr. Chopra:  Yeah.  As the beans go through. 

Ben:  Yeah.  Maybe it’s like a probiotic. 

Dr. Chopra:  Yeah.  The other question that sometimes gets asked is, what about coffee enemas?  And I have not seen any good research.  But I know a lot of people including some celebrities, I’m not gonna name them who it is a daily ritual for their use of the enema. 

Ben:  Well, it can and this is just pure subjective experience, and I haven’t talked to you about this at all before the show but I do a coffee enema twice a month.    

Dr. Chopra:  Yeah. 

Ben:  And I retain it you know, after bowel movement in the morning I’ll do a coffee enema, I’ll retain it for about 20 minutes while lying on my side.  And what I found is that since I started doing it about 2 years ago, I actually have an article about the whole procedure on my website if anybody wants to go read it I’ll put it on the show notes.

Dr. Chopra:  I will read it.  Yeah.

Ben:  I found that my digestion has improved.  And I’ve also found that my bowel movements are much more regular, and you know not loose, but like formed the correct way on the Bristol Stool Scale, and I think there’s some stuff going on that medical research perhaps hasn’t yet looked at but all I can say is I feel like a million bucks when I do it.

Dr. Chopra:  Wow!  That’s great to hear.  So you know one possibility and I think this is the hottest topic in medicine right now, it’s called microbiome, right.  The fillings of bacteria that live in our GI tract.  And in aggregate they weigh about 3 pounds.  It’s been called the second human genome, the inner bacterial rainforest.  And it has implications in obesity, in diabetes, in arthritis, in asthma, in encephalitis potentially autism.  How we are born C section versus vaginal delivery.  Whether we’re born in rural Iowa or in New York City, whether we get antibiotics in the first six months of life or the first year or not, whether we take stuff like Nexium proton pumping inhibitors to shut off acid secretion in the stomach, whether we travel a lot and experience jet lag, all these things affect the microbiome.  So I’m wondering if the coffee enemas changes the microbiome in some way and it changes it to suit you so that you now have the good bacteria more of them and less of the bad bacteria.

Probiotics is a $21.5 billion industry.  And in the scientific literature probiotics help with only a few things.  Antibiotic associated diarrhea, a condition called pouchitis which occurs in people with ulcerated colitis, and the surgeon creates a pouch and the pouch gets inflamed, hepatic encephalopathy which is a very serious condition so people with bad cirrhosis can be comatosed or be very confused.  And there’s a study from [0:40:50.2] ______ [0:40:51.5] ______ in Gastroenterology saying that a particular probiotic given they had marked improvement.  Marked improvement compared to placebo.

Ben:  Interesting…

Dr. Chopra:  I think what’s gonna in the future in the next 5-10 years of us have heard in many of the audience who’d have heard of precision medicine, personalized medicine,  I think what will happen is we’ll go get a simple stool test done, it will analyze our microbiome and it will say, “Ben, for you, you should really take Phillips Colon Health and this other probiotic.  Sanjiv, you should take you know, probiotic VSL and probiotic this and also have a cup of you’re good every day.”  I don’t think we’re that far away from that amazing time.  

Ben:  Yeah.  I’ve actually already sent all my skin microbiome, my mouth microbiome and my gut microbiome over to the Human Gut Project, and right now they’re only analyzing stool but yeah, they’re actually in the process of doing that and then, there’s another company that I’m currently investigating.  I’ll talk about that in the podcast at some point but they’re actually doing kits that they send to your house that do not just blood and saliva and urine but also stool, mouth, skin microbiome.  It’s gonna be I agree the next frontier in terms of personalized medicine. 

I wanted to ask you few other questions about things aside from coffee in your book.  For example, you have an entire section of Vitamin D that’s number two.  That’s one of the things that you highly recommend for longevity in addition to doing 4-6 cups of coffee a day.  And we’ve talked about Vitamin D quite a bit on the show before, so I don’t think we’ll spend too much time on that one, but I did wanna ask you in terms of getting the most out of Vitamin D supplementation or Vitamin D exposure outside.  What would be your one biggest tip for the audience when it comes to getting more Vitamin D naturally?

Dr. Chopra:  Yeah, so my first biggest tip would be that you know, we really don’t know what our Vitamin D3 level is until we get it tested. 

Ben:  Now, for someone who’s out in the sun trying to get Vitamin D, what would be the best way to actually expose the skin to Vitamin D like, does it matter if it’s your arms, your legs, your face.  I mean have they done any research on which parts of the body actually absorb most Vitamin D?

Dr. Chopra:  Not to my knowledge.  What I heard is that the most skin that’s exposed and it’s a beautiful day, cloudless day and a good nice sun then the more Vitamin D your skin will make.  And then the skin makes Vitamin D1, it goes to the liver, it makes it into D2 and then it goes to the kidney, and it makes a D3 and that’s the one we want.  And there are certain conditions which are rare but there’s a condition called hyperparathyroidism another condition called pseudoptosis, which isn’t, isn’t that rare.  And then you have to be careful about taking supplemental Vitamin D. 

Ben:  Okay, interesting.  So as far as the amount of Vitamin D that you can get from the sun without taking actual supplements, is there any research in the amount of Vitamin D you can actually get from just pure sunlight on the skin? 

Dr. Chopra:  Yeah, I think it depends again on your, where you are.  Are you in a Scandinavian country?  Are you at the equator?  How tall are you?  What is your skin surface?  Are there clouds by day?  But you can make a lot of Vitamin D in 1 or 2 hours.  You know, several thousand units. 

Ben:  Several thousand actually you know what, I think in your book somewhere, what did you say?  I think you said twenty five thousand?  Twenty five thousand international units in about the time it takes your skin to turn light pink.   

Dr. Chopra:  Yeah. 

Ben:  So basically for a fair-skinned person… 

Dr. Chopra:  That’s a lot.  But of course you can’t do that every day right, then you’ll get skin cancer.

Ben:  Well yeah, if you burn you’d get skin cancer.  But obviously that’s all been blown out of proportion in terms of you know, the amount of people who have Vitamin D deficits versus the amount of people who are getting skin cancer from the sun.  I think it’s blown way out of proportion.

By the way, for those of you listening in, I have found the elephant poop coffee and I’ve also found the weasel poop coffee.

Dr. Chopra:  (laughing)

Ben:  And I will put links to both of those in the show notes along with the coffee enema article.  You can go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/big5 to check those out.

Okay, so we’ve got Vitamin D, you also talked about nuts, and you recommend them highly but I’ve got kind of an eyebrow raised about that because I think some people will eat too many nuts and get too many Omega 6 fatty acids, and also will grab nuts from bulk food section of the grocery store that have been roasted to high temperatures or are rancid or for example have canola oil on them.  Do you care about sourcing of the nuts or do these studies that in which you talked about nuts increasing longevity, do they differentiate between the type of the nut and how it’s prepared?

Dr. Chopra:  Very good question.  So you know, nuts were considered food for the gods in Ancient Rome and Greek times.  And growing up and even in medical school and early in my career, everybody would say, be careful about nuts there are lots of calories in nuts and you know, not that healthy.  I remember growing up in India my grandparents always gave me almonds.  And said this is good for you, this is good for your health and they ate almonds every day and they lived back then to the ripe old age of, in the nineties.

So then the research started emerging and it said if you eat nuts you have a low risk of couple of cancers, coronary artery disease.  One pistachio has only 4 calories, so if you have 25 of them and you eat them slowly you’ll consume a hundred calories.  A can of coca cola is 140, a slice of bread is about a hundred calories.  And if you eat it before a major meal, let’s say you’re gonna eat lunch at 1pm, around 12:30 eat a few nuts.  You’ll actually feel satiated and you’ll probably consume less calories at lunch.

The study in the New England Journal of Medicine again a couple of years ago said people who eat nuts and it included pine nuts, cashew nuts, almonds, walnuts and also peanuts, even and I hate to tell this to patients, but I’m gonna say because it was in the paper.  It said even if they don’t exercise and are overweight, live long.      

Ben:  Really?  Well with no confounding variables like are these food reporting questionnaires, were they’re looking at people who eat nuts but maybe are also eating other things or were these actually looking at just nut consumption versus no nut consumption?     

Dr. Chopra:  Yeah basically, it’s a scale survey asking a hundred of questions but the one thing that stood out is whether you eat nuts or you don’t eat nuts, New England Journal of Medicine.  You know, so I find that fascinating, it turns out that then people say okay, peanuts, come on we call that the lowly nut. 

Ben:  Yeah, it’s not even a nut it’s like, it’s a legume. 

Dr. Chopra:  You know it’s not even a nut, it’s a legume.  And so now couple of articles have come out of the last 2 years and I think one came out of the British Medical Journal where they specifically looked at peanuts.  And they confirm the same benefits and people live longer.

So in terms of whether they should be roasted, raw you know, when you take peanuts and heat them and put some onions around and commonly done in India.  Does that affect it?  These studies don’t address that.

Ben:  Now, when it comes to peanuts what about issues and this is something for example there’s a guy in the Bullet Proof Executive, Dave Asprey he talks about how coffee can have mold and fungi and how peanuts also can have mold and fungi issues and potential cause you know, allergenic reactions and people things along those lines.  Do you have any thoughts on that in terms of sourcing or in terms of what they looked at in these research? 

Dr. Chopra:  So the mold, the mold on these things is obvious.  It’s not subtle and that you won’t even notice it or won’t affect the taste.

Ben:  What do you mean?

Dr. Chopra:  The fungus will be obvious.  You’ll be able to see it. 

Ben:  You can actually see.  Is it like a white fungus?  

Dr. Chopra:  So obviously you and I.  Yeah, you don’t close your eyes when you eat the peanuts, right?  You buy them and if you open something and it looks funny and it’s smelly or it’s got a mold on it, you either go back to the grocery store or Whole Foods and say, “What are you selling?” or you just dump it. 

Ben:  So it’s like fish oil.  If you smell it and it smells rancid or it smells fishy even if it’s a good fish oil. 

Dr. Chopra:  Yeah.  Absolutely.  Yeah.  So there is a mold that grows on peanuts and it’s called aflatoxin, and it is one of the most potent, but it’s not only peanuts its other food as well especially in Africa and it is one of the most potent, hepatic carcinogens.  So people have hepatitis B, their risk for liver cancer, if they’ve hepatitis B and they consume some of these foods with aflatoxin their risk shoots up.

Ben:  Or you can just drink a bunch of coffee with your peanuts, right? 

Dr. Chopra:  (laughs) Yeah, that’s the key.

Ben:  You know, what I understand is that there are certain peanuts that are grown in dry arid climates like Maranatha Peanut Butter or Arrowhead Mills Peanut Butter which are actually aflatoxin-free because their grown on this dry arid areas.  

Dr. Chopra:  Yeah.  

Ben:  And that’s generally what I look for.  I don’t do as much I try to do more raw almond butter or raw walnut butter than I do peanut butter.  But when I do peanut butter I’ll look for a brand like the Maranatha or the Arrowhead Mills to ensure I’m not getting peanuts that have mold or fungus on them.  But that’s interesting that these two research studies. 

Dr. Chopra:  But by the way, peanut butter is not being shown to have health benefits. 

Ben:  Peanut butter compared to peanuts has been shown to not have the same health benefits? 

Dr. Chopra:  Compared to peanuts.  Yes.  

Ben:  Why is that?

Dr. Chopra:  Not to my knowledge.  I don’t know.

Ben:  What about peanut butter that’s made from just peanuts? 

Dr. Chopra:  I don’t know from study.  Last time I looked at it it’s said no, it’s similar to you know, if you have fruits it lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes, if you’ll drink a lot of fruit juices it increases the risk.  Now probably that’s because it’s not your fruit juice, it’s not that you and I took that mango or that orange and crushed it and used the pulp and put it in the glass.  They’re putting preservatives, they’re putting sugar, they’re putting other stuff in there.

Ben:  Yeah, I mean I could totally understand if the peanut butter has hydrogenate oils and sugar and stuff added to it, but I mean if it’s peanut butter with just peanuts, I guess the only thing I could think of is it’s very, very easy to over consume and perhaps reach a law of diminishing returns with any type of nut butter.  And I tell people, think of nuts the same way you’d eat nuts in the wild if you’d have to shell them.  You know, anybody who’s gotten a bunch of nuts in the shell and you keep those on your kitchen counter on Christmas time?  It’s a pain in the butt to have to eat nuts and so when I eat almonds I think, okay, how many of these almonds would I eat if I had to shell them?  And honestly it’s not much more than like a small handful and I think that that’s a kinda more natural way to consume nuts just you don’t over eat. You know.   

Dr. Chopra:  I happen to like pistachios and you know you have to crack the shell.  I carry it in my car I’m a little hungry I’m going to a meeting.  They may serve lunch at the meeting.  They’ll probably gonna serve an unhealthy lunch.  You know what, I’ll have 10-15 of those pistachios. 

Ben:  Which are great for the microbiome by the way, pistachios. 

Dr. Chopra:  Yeah.  And the other thing that I think it’s worth the listeners to know is that please don’t drink diet drinks. 

Ben:  You mean diet drinks with artificial sweeteners and stuff like that?

Dr. Chopra:  Yeah.  You don’t have a coke?  Have a coke.  Have half a coke.  Okay you can get 60-70 calories.

Ben:  Is that because of the effect of artificial sweeteners on the microbiome? 

Dr. Chopra:  It does yeah.  It affects the microbiome and actually glucose intolerance is worst with artificial sweeteners. 

Ben:  Yeah.  Yeah.  I’ve seen the same thing aside from Stevia.  Stevia appears to be relatively safe in most studies.  Unless it’s the Truvia version of it produced I believe by the Coca Cola Company.  There’s a lot of other additives in that form of Stevia like good raw organic Stevia seems to be somewhat safe.

So you also, so you talk about coffee.  You talk about Vitamin D.  You talk about nuts.  You also talk about meditation, and I specifically think it’s fascinating with the effect of meditation is on anti-aging in telomere length.  Can you get into what exactly happens to ourselves when we meditate?  

Dr. Chopra:  Yeah.  So you know, for centuries people have meditated and found subjectively that their happier, they feel experienced more bliss, they’re more creative, they’re better interpersonal relationships.  Now the science is catching up what else does it do?  These are all subjective, what about objective things?

Elizabeth Blacburn, brilliant Australian scientist working in California got a Nobel Prize in medicinal physiology with two other colleagues about 6 years ago.  And she discovered and described what are called telomeres and the enzyme called telomerase.  So at the end of my shoelace there’s a piece of plastic.  At the end of our chromosomes there are these pieces they call telomeres.  And it turns out that the length of the telomeres correlates with cellular aging.     

Ben:  Yeah. 

Dr. Chopra:  And it’s easy to imagine who would have low cellular aging.  So it turns out these are victims of horrific trauma, mothers of chronically disabled children and caregivers of people with dementia.  Right?  The person with dementia is clueless, and they may innocently ask the question the person the loved one taking care of them is dying.  I heard a story about President Ronald Reagan, he had left the White House and somebody had given him a replica of the White House, and one day he’s sitting in the parlor and he’s looking at it and he turns to Mrs. Raegan, to Nancy Raegan he says, “What is this?  I think it has some meaning for me.  What is this structure?”  He did not recognize the White House but he’s just saying it.  And meanwhile she’s dying.  She was sobbing.

So these three categories of people have shortened telomeres, and it may relate to as much as 10 years in life span.  This is speculation.  Who has longer telomeres?  People who exercise, people possibly on the Mediterranean diet.  And again, we don’t know what component of the Mediterranean diet is it the olive oil, is it the nuts, is it the fish?  And then people who meditate, and within 4-6 weeks of meditating you start to see increase in telomere length and telomerase. 

Ben:  What kind of meditation did they use in these studies that show that meditation affects your telomere length?

Dr. Chopra:  You do not have to go back and look at the study but I think it was transcendental meditation. 

Ben:  TM?  Interesting.  Yeah, we did a podcast with a guy on transcendental meditation a few weeks ago.  And that I mean, it seems in terms of research that it’s kinda like kundalini yoga, like that’s a form of yoga that seems to give a ton of benefits compared to other forms of yoga.  It seems from what I’ve seen ‘coz I’ve looked a lot in the meditation that TM appears to be the one that gives the most benefits which is why you know, if I meditate, I do TM, if I do yoga I do kundalini.  But that’s interesting in terms of telomeres.

Dr. Chopra:  Yeah.  So I wake up every morning at 4-4:30 and I meditate for 30 minutes.  And then I’m at my coffee place having my coffee at 6:15.

Ben:  Now what about the effect of meditation on the gut?

Dr. Chopra:  Ah, I don’t know.  That could be another thing, like what happens to the gut microbiome?  What happens to gastric acid secretion, you know?  What happens to GI motility?  There’s some studies that we have ruled irritable bowel syndrome benefit from TM.  I think there’s a lot of confusion.

Meditation is very different than mindfulness and TM I think is one of the easiest.  You know, you’re taught a mantra by a certified teacher.  You get thoughts.  How do you come back to the mantra?  And just do it twice a day, and even though we experience a lot of bliss and happiness, the real reason is to accrue the benefits and activity, which is why I do it first thing in the morning and then if you have time do it at 4, 4:35 even if you do it for 10 minutes.  And I have a saying you should meditate once a day and if you don’t have time to do that, you should meditate twice a day.

Ben:  Specifically when it comes to meditation versus mindfulness, I think in the book you have a section where you talk about mindfulness and how it can affect things like constipation and irritable bowel.  What exactly is that and what would be an example of mindfulness and how will it affect the gut? 

Dr. Chopra:  So mindfulness is to be to sort of live in the moment and to be aware of what’s going on.  Mindfulness means that whenever you sit down for lunch, you look at the food, you’re mindful of what you’re going to consume, you’re gonna be mindful of how you’re going to chew it, you’re gonna be mindful of whether you’re gonna have coffee after that.  But there’s an effort involved in mindfulness and it’s become very, very popular but my personal feeling is meditation is far much easier.  It’s like taking the right angle to dive at the deep end of the swimming pool from the springboard, and boom you go into the water there’s no splash.  You have this wonderful dive and then you emerge refreshed.

Ben:  So basically what it comes down to is transcendental meditation or something like that for decreasing the rate at which telomere shorten and then mindfulness being aware, taking lots of bites,  chewing your food, looking at the texture, the color etcetera to reduce the potential for irritable bowel or constipation or something like that from a meal.  Okay.  Got it. 

So a few other quick kinda rapid fire questions for you here.  Ah, first of all in terms of coffee.  Do you have a favorite coffee that you drink like a favorite source, favorite method of preparation?

Dr. Chopra: I happen to like tall Americano.  That’s the size I get.  

Ben:  Tall Americano. 

Dr. Chopra:  Yeah.  And now as I even before I walk in to the particular shop I go, they’re already making it for me.  They could see me parking the car (chuckling).

Ben:  You do add cream or sugar or you just do tall Americano black?

Dr. Chopra:  No, I have it black.  I simplify it.  You know, I want cream then I have to worry about calories.  I want whole milk then I want them to steam it because I don’t want them to lower the temperature of my coffee. 

Ben:  Man after my own heart.  That’s exactly except that I’m black. 

Dr. Chopra:  Yeah.  I just make it simple right? 

Ben:  Yeah, exactly.  I just do black coffee and then typically most coffee shops don’t have decaf brewed so I’ll order decaf Americano or decaf pour over. 

Okay, what about your favorite source of Vitamin D? 

Dr. Chopra:  So I actually don’t rely on the foods, and there is a website called Vitamin D3 World and you can go and order a ton of Vitamin D.  And they’re very, very tiny, and they can come in different concentrations, 2,000, 4,000, 5,000 and it’s very inexpensive so the last time I ordered it was maybe 6 months ago.  And I got 2 or 3 of those bottles. 

Ben:  And you said it’s a Vitamin D drop? 

Dr. Chopra:  A Vitamin D3 World.  No, they are very tiny capsules. 

Ben:  Okay, Vitamin D3 capsules.  Do you take Vitamin K along with it to prevent the calcification effect of excess Vitamin D? 

Dr. Chopra:  No, no that’s a very good question but I don’t.

Ben:  Okay yeah.  I take liquid Vitamin D, or isn’t it in the winter I take it, I don’t take it all in summer.  But I take liquid Vitamin D, but it’s got Vitamin K too in it.  I use this stuff from a company called Thorne because I actually if I get a multivitamin and I look at the label of the multivitamin and it’s got very, very low amounts of Vitamin D, I will assume it’s not a good multivitamin.

You know, if it’s got like 200 international units of Vitamin D they obviously haven’t done their research on Vitamin D.  But I also will not use that multivitamin if they also haven’t included Vitamin K because again it becomes obvious to me that whoever’s manufacturing that multivitamin doesn’t understand the importance of packaging Vitamin K with Vitamin D.  So I use like the droplets like that or I’ll look for multivitamin that actually has Vitamin D3 plus Vitamin K too.

Dr. Chopra:  You know surprisingly Ben, I’ve talked to a bunch of my hematology colleagues and they know very little about Vitamin K too. 

Ben:  That’s crazy.  That’s like dark ages.

Dr. Chopra:  The medical profession needs to be educated about this.

Ben:  Yeah.  Absolutely.  I agree.

Dr. Chopra:  So I’m glad you mentioned it.

Ben:  Yeah.  Okay.  Two other questions because we’ve got coffee, we’ve got Vitamin D.  We talked about meditation but also exercise is one of the things you talk about in your book.  So favorite workout.  What’s your go to workout?

Dr. Chopra:  My fave, you know so I happen to have been, I’ve coined a medical term and the medical term I’ve coined is boomeritis.

Ben: Boomeritis? 

Dr. Chopra:  Yeah, boomeritis baby boomers coming of age and creating a huge income for the orthopedic surgeons.  So I’m sixty-five years of age, when I was young I ran marathons, I did pole vault, I played cricket.  When I came to this country I used to play tennis in India, I became a tall tennis nut.  I’ve a tennis court at home with a ball machine and I would play 6 hours, 8 hours of singles and doubles on a weekend.  Both days.  And now I’m the recipient of 2 titanium hips, both left and right (chuckles).  Five weeks ago, I had a double laminectomy on my back.  It doesn’t stop me, I still play golf and I travel.   I’ve been to 106 countries and I give 100 to 150 talks a year but the back pain had become so severe, unrelenting that I finally went in and saw this amazing neurosurgeon.

And in one hour and forty minutes, he did a double laminectomy, he didn’t do a [1:05:27.8] ______.  So my leg muscles have atrophied.  It’s amazing what happens in 2 weeks.  And I’m now, I’ve a FitBit, of course and I’m doing about four thousand steps each day, and I’m slowly increasing it.  I’m going on a 10-day vacation plus giving 2 talks at Oxford next Thursday.  And when I come back I’m getting a personal trainer and I’m going to learn how to walk properly ‘coz I’m a little hunched trouble with the back pain and I have to flair my shoulders, stand more erect.  I’ll probably do some hydrotherapy in the swimming pool.  You know all those things. 

Ben:  Yeah.  Probably the biggest tip I can give you is you need to read this book called “True To Form” 

Dr. Chopra:  Okay good. 

Ben:  It’s by a physician or a chiropractic doctor actually named Dr. Eric Goodman, and it is the program that I give to any of my clients who have low back pain.  I’ve now converted my entire morning routine to do the exact exercises in this book.  It essentially turns on your gluts, decompresses your spine, and I’ll have people follow it for 4 weeks and their back pain just disappears but the cool thing is that it’s really good for athletes too because it activates your gluts.  So it’s called “True to Form”.  I’m gonna do an article about it soon on bengreenfieldfitness.com.      

Dr. Chopra:  Yeah, I’ll goggle it right away and order it.  “True to Form”. 

Ben:  “True to Form”.  Alright, last question about your habits.  Your favorite nut.  What did you say your favorite nut was pistachios?

Dr. Chopra:  Pretty much pistachios.  But I’ll also have peanuts you know, and the old Indian style is sometimes my wife will roast half of them and add a little bit of lime and some onions.

Ben:  Oh that’s awesome. 

Dr. Chopra:  It’s a wonderful snack. 

Ben:  Roasted peanuts with lime and onions. 

Dr. Chopra:  Yeah, just before the single malt scotch. (chuckles) 

Ben:  Nice, I like it. (chuckles)  I like it.  You’re the man after my heart.  Okay, so one last thing.

Dr. Chopra:  I wanna meet you, Ben.  Where are you based?

Ben:  Yeah.  I’m way out of Washington State, other side of the country.  But I’ll make it out to Harvard soon. 

Dr. Chopra:  Okay, one of these days I’ll come over. 

Ben:  I’ll actually be out at Princeton in October speaking at an endurance symposium over there. 

Dr. Chopra:  Wonderful. 

Ben:  Maybe I’ll swing over to Harvard on my Ivy League tour.

You have a lot of stuff in here in terms of these 5 things that people can do.  If people just need a simple way to remember all these do you have any tips?

Dr. Chopra:  Yeah, I think here’s a good easy way to remember.  On a wonderful good sunny day, go for a brisk walk or a short run to your favorite coffee shop, java shop.  Don’t put sunblock.  Now you’ve got the benefit of the exercise, the Vitamin D and the coffee.  Don’t go nuts remembering this.  And before you go for that run, meditate.  Now you got all 5.

Ben:  Don’t go nuts remembering this.  I see what you did there.  Nice! 

Dr. Chopra:  (chuckles)  And before you go, meditate. 

Ben:  That’s a morning routine I could do.  I like it.  We’re cool.  We’re done.  Dr. Chopra this is fascinating, and if anybody’s listening in I took notes on everything from the Mighty Mouse research to the elephant and weasel poop, coffee and beyond if you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/big5.  That’s bengreenfieldfitness.com/big the number five.

I’ll put a link to Dr. Chopra’s book in there as well.  So check that out.  I highly recommend giving it a read especially if you wanna delve into the nitty gritty research behind some of the stuff that we talked about ‘coz there is a staggering number of studies.  We’re not just pulling this stuff out of our butts.  And oh by the way, speaking of which I’ll link to the coffee enemas, too.  Ah okay.  So Dr. Chopra. 

Dr. Chopra:  Yeah.  Ben, sorry one second.  Quickly.

Ben:  Oh, go ahead.

Dr. Chopra:  Tell me the name of that book again. 

Ben:  It’s called, I’ll link to it in the show notes as well for people, but it’s called “True to Form”.  True to Form.  Yeah.

Dr. Chopra:  True to Form.  Okay. 

Ben:  Definitely worth the read.  Super simple.  It’s got a lot of photos in there.  You do one thing, Monday Wednesday, Friday.  Another thing Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday.  And it takes like ten minutes in the morning.  Really easy. 

Dr. Chopra:  Awesome.  Awesome. 

Ben:  Alright.  We’re cool.  Well, thanks for coming on the show Dr. Chopra and I really appreciate your time. 

Dr. Chopra:  My pleasure.  Yeah.  Hey, you know a ton of stuff.  I’m so impressed and I learned a lot on the show over the conversations.  

Ben:  Uhm, I’m an idiot savant.  I know a ton about fitness and nutrition but, so go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/big5.  Check out the show notes.  Until next time.  This is Ben Greenfield with Dr. Chopra signing out.  Have a healthy week.

You've been listening to the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast.  Go to bengreenfieldfitness.com for even more cutting-edge fitness and performance advice.



I received plenty of puzzled comments and inquiries from podcast listeners when, several episodes ago, I mentioned that one could gain a large number of surprising health, longevity and disease preventing benefits by drinking up to 4-6 cups of coffee a day.

What I said in that episode was based on a book I recently read –  a book by a Harvard medical researcher named Dr. Sanjiv Chopra. The book, entitled “The Big Five”, delves into five simple things you can do to live a longer, healthier life and I actually learned quite a bit about everything from coffee to Vitamin D to nuts and beyond in it. Each of the recommendations outlined in this book has been proven by an overwhelming number of tests, trials, and studies to increase health and lifespan.

Dr. Chopra promises that if you adapt the five simple, virtually-free suggestions in his book, you will live a longer and healthier life, guaranteed – without needing the latest expensive supplements, fad diets, jazzy exercise programs, and state-of-the-art gym equipment. Since I’m all about natural living, anti-aging and longevity, I decided I had to get this guy on the show.

Sanjiv Chopra, MD, is Professor of Medicine and served as Faculty Dean for Continuing Medical Education at Harvard Medical School for 12 years. He is the James Tullis Firm Chief, Department of Medicine, at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Dr. Chopra has more than 150 publications and seven books to his credit.

Dr. Chopra is Editor-in-Chief of the Hepatology Section of UpToDate, the most widely used electronic textbook in the world subscribed to by more than 850,000 physicians in 149 countries. He is a sought after motivational speaker across the United States and abroad, addressing diverse audiences on topics related to medicine, leadership, happiness, and living with purpose. Awards bestowed upon Dr. Chopra include….

  • The George W. Thorn Award – 1985
  • Received the highest accolade from the graduating class of Harvard Medical School, the Excellence in Teaching Award – 1991
  • The Robert S. Stone Award – 1995
  • American Gastroenterological Association’s Distinguished Educator Award – 2003
  • Elected as a Master of the American College of Physicians, a singular honor bestowed to only a select few individuals for being ͞citizen physicians, educational innovators, scientific thinkers and humanists who inspire those around him or her and sets the standards for quality in medicine – 2009
  • Recipient of Ellis Island Medal of Honor for “Exemplifying outstanding qualities in both one’s personal and professional lives while continuing to preserve the richness of one’s particular heritage.”–2012

On May 10, 2016, Dr. Chopra released his 8th book titled, The Big Five: Five Simple Things You Can Do to Live a Longer, Healthier Life, and during our discussion about the book, you’ll discover:

-The shocking answer to the question Dr. Chopra asks when he’s giving a lecture on liver disorders…

-The famous philosopher who drank 60-70 cups of coffee per day…

-Whether it matters if the coffee is caffeinated or decaffeinated…

-The one organ in your body that highly benefits from caffeinated versions of coffee… 

-The surprising myth about coffee, blood pressure and heart rate…

-How many cups of coffee you can actually drink per day if you are a pregnant woman…

-How men and women respond differently to coffee, and why…

-Fast caffeine oxidizers vs. slow caffeine oxidizers, and which does not respond to caffeine’s effects on exercise…

-Dr. Chopra’s thoughts on coffee enemas…

-The effect of coffee on muscle motor units…

-The “world’s most expensive coffee” from elephant dung and weasel poop…

-The trick to know if you are getting enough Vitamin D from natural sunlight…

-Why mold in peanuts and coffee may not be as big an issue as you think…

-How meditation affects your telomeres, your cells and your gut…

-And much more…

Resources from this episode:

Weasel poop coffee (Wild Kopi Luwak, the World’s Most Exclusive Coffee, Sustainably Sourced From Sumatra, Indonesia)

Black Ivory coffee

Genetically Engineered ‘Mighty Mouse’ Can Run 6 Kilometers Without Stopping

Coffee Enema 101 article

Maranatha peanut butter

Arrowhead Mills peanut butter

Vitamin D3 + Vitamin K2 droplets

-The book “True To Form

Do you have questions, comments or feedback for Dr. Chopra or me? Leave your thoughts below and one of us will reply! And be sure to check out Dr. Chopra’s book: The Big Five.

Read more Bengreenfieldfitness.com/big5


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5 thoughts on “[Transcript] – 63 Cups Of Coffee A Day & More: Five Simple Things You Can Do to Live a Longer, Healthier Life.

  1. Chase says:

    What episode # is this?

  2. Margaret says:

    Dr. Chopra has some keen points that I can get behind… but really, I’m an avid coffee drinker myself and I stand by the health benefits that come with regular consumption. I think you could find some really extensive research on coffee and its effects on the length of living. You just have to know your limits and not overdo it.

  3. jung70 says:

    I don’t agree. Look at:
    Sincerely, Jung

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