If you caught last month’s article on warding off seasonal depression (“My 3-step, pill-free plan to banish the ‘winter blahs’ for good”), then you might recall the research I shared showing that hot baths can be an even more powerful antidepressant than exercise.
I know comparing the benefits of a relaxing soak in the tub to those of a quality workout sounds too good to be true.
But in this case, it’s anything but. In fact, as the latest science shows, hot baths boost a lot more than just your mood…
Reap the same health benefits—without stepping foot in the gym
For example, a recent study of overweight, sedentary men found that “hot water immersion”—or, in simpler terms, hot baths—deliver some pretty remarkable benefits.
Over a two-week intervention period, subjects soaked in ten, hot, 102° F baths for one hour each. Blood markers were measured before and after the intervention and compared against a control group of 8 BMI-matched men.
As compared to the control group, the subjects who enjoyed a hot, relaxing soak were shown to have improved levels of fasting glucose and insulin—two major health benefits also associated with exercise.
Plus, it was found that just one single hot bath spiked interleukin, a group of proteins responsible for growing disease-fighting cells and regulating your inflammatory response. A hot bath also triggered the release of nitric oxide (NO), which is responsible for relaxing and dilating arteries and lowering blood pressure.
This had the longer-term effect of lowering inflammation markers and glucose levels over time—once again, in much the same way that exercise does.3
Another potential player behind these bathtime benefits
Given the measurable effect on nitric oxide release, blood pressure, glucose levels, and inflammation levels, it’s no wonder hot baths carry benefits to your heart. But there’s another likely secret behind these cardiovascular benefits that the researchers didn’t address.
I’m talking about heat shock proteins, or HSPs. A number of factors can trigger the release of these molecules, including excess heat and free radicals. That’s because they’re designed by nature to come to your body’s rescue, serving as a protector and repairman for damaged proteins.
Like I’m always reminding you, proteins are your body’s basic building blocks. (This concept served as the basis for my latest book, The A-List Diet, which you can find on www.AListDietBook.com.) And HSPs are what allow these proteins to stay functional in the face of assaults that occur during normal, everyday living.
However, your supply isn’t exactly limitless. In fact, HSP release declines with age. So any strategy that triggers the release of more heat shock proteins—like spending time in a hot bath, as I wrote in the March 2017 issue (“The revolutionary sleep secret that sharpens your memory too”)—is going to do your body some pretty big favors.
But the good news is, you don’t need to spend all day soaking in a Jacuzzi or sweating in a sauna. (And it’s a good thing too, because as nice as it would be, I don’t know anyone who has that kind of time.)
Reap “spa in a bottle” benefits on your busiest days
I first introduced you to ETAS back in the June 2016 issue (“How to ‘shock’ your body into a better night’s sleep… and the unlikely secret that makes it possible”). And this cutting-edge, enzyme-treated asparagus stem extract continues to be one of the most exciting ingredients I’ve come across in recent years!
This extract is rich in a class of compounds called hydroxymethylfurfural derivatives—and a molecule called asfural in particular. All of these compounds trigger the release of a powerful, protective heat shock protein called HSP70. But asfural happens to be particularly good at it.
In other words, asfural-rich ETAS extract delivers a heat shock protein windfall directly to your body—along with all the heart-protective benefits those HSPs deliver (as well as the other benefits I’ve told you about in previous articles).
Think of it as a spa in a bottle—one that allows you to fit hours of healing and relaxation into even the busiest days.
- Laukkanen T, et al. J Hum Hypertens. 2018 Feb;32(2):129-138.
- Lee E, et al. Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2018 Jan;25(2):130-138.
- Hoekstra SP, et al. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2018 Oct 18.