ben greenfield

Why You Should Eat Your Carbs At Night, Ben’s Top Recovery Tactics, Can You Do Cold Therapy If You’re Sick & Much More! – Ben Greenfield Fitness

Check out the Ben Greenfield Fitness Episode Page & Show Notes

Key Takeaways

  • Grounding (AKA earthing) is the process of charging the body with negative ions
    • Why do it? – Exposure to Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and electromagnetic fields shoves the electromagnetic gradient across our cells in a positive direction
    • Another benefit – it decreases inflammation
  • To minimize the adverse effects of carbohydrate consumption, consume them later in the day and preferentially after a workout
  • Blue light from screens and fluorescent lighting causes permanent damage to the mitochondria in your retina
  • People respond differently in terms of how exposure to blue light inhibits melatonin exposure
  • The amount to which the body upregulates heat shock protein (HSP) production when exposed to extreme temperatures is genetic
    • The less HSP production is upregulated, the more you would benefit more from prioritizing frequent sauna exposure
  • The best recovery and injury prevention tactic: setting aside 15 minutes/day for mobility/self-inflicted deep tissue work
  • Eat more anti-inflammatory foods – ginger, pineapples, blue/red/purple fruits and vegetables, garlic, salmon, avocados, and apple cider vinegar
  • Over time, cold exposure strengthens the immune system

Products Mentioned

  • Grounded Sleep Mat (for grounding yourself at night)
  • Use Iris Tech on your computer (it’s superior to f.lux)
  • Ben has noticed that if he’s not wearing blue light blocking glasses (use the code “PodcastNotes10” for 10% off at checkout on a pair of True Dark glasses. PodcastNotes has tested 3 brands and these are the best–both for comfort, quality, and efficacy. We like the Twilights.), his sleep score plummets (measured with an Oura Ring
  • Two of the most critical items for mobility work: a foam roller and lacrosse ball
  • Ben wears compression gear quite frequently for enhanced recovery
  • Specifically placed strips of kinesio tape (RockTapeKT Tape, and SpiderTech are well-known brands) can help reduce inflammation and facilitate recovery
  • The best supplements for speeding up the rate at which an injury heals or keeping your joints healthy:

Books Mentioned


  • This is a solo episode with Ben Greenfield (@bengreenfield) where he delves into the latest biohacking, science, fitness, & health research and answers listener questions

The Benefits of Grounding & Earthing

  • After a recent episode with Clint Ober, Ben has taken a keen interest in earthing and grounding
    • Check out his documentary – The Earthing Movie
    • “It was one of my favorite podcasts that I’ve recorded over the past few months. It really got me super into this concept of using grounding mats, using earthing mats, using earthing shoes, and going outside barefoot, especially when I travel and have been on airplanes.” – Ben Greenfield
  • What is grounding?
    • The process of charging the body with negative ions 
  • Why do it?
    • Our entire body, both inside and outside the cells, operates on an electrochemical gradient
    • Exposure to Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, appliances, etc. shoves this gradient in a positive direction
  • How can you ground yourself?
    • Either by walking around outside barefoot or with something like a grounding mat

ETRF (Early Time-restricted Feeding)

  • This form of time-restricted eating involves consuming all of your calories by the mid-afternoon to early evening
    • An example eating window: 8 AM – 2 PM
  • ETRF has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, reduce blood pressure, reduce oxidative stress, and stabilize appetite
  • But there are also downsides…
    • ETRF has been shown to increase resting heart rate and triglyceride levels… not to mention the social impact
  • But Ben sets the facts straight:
    • “As long as you have a compressed feeding window, it doesn’t matter that much whether it’s 8 AM – 2 PM or 10 AM – 6 PM”
  • Ben’s feeding window is ~10 AM – 8 PM

When’s the best time of day to consume your carbohydrates?

  • Ben eats most of his later in the day… why?
    • Doing so keeps his body in a state of fatty acid oxidation throughout the majority of the day (a moderate state of ketosis – AKA cyclical ketosis)
      • The more active you are, the more you’ll experience these benefits
    • A workout in the late afternoon/early evening increases your insulin sensitivity (which is favorable for carb consumption)
      • Related – the late afternoon is an excellent time to work out (this is the time of day when your body temperature, grip strength, and testosterone is highest)
      • Yes, we’re most sensitive in the morning (compared to the evening), but a workout largely mimics this
  • One study took police offers and compared two groups: those who consumed their carbohydrates at dinner vs. those who ate them ad libitum throughout the day
    • The dinner group had lower hunger scores, more weight loss, smaller abdominal circumferences, and more significant body mass reductions at the end of the study
      • They also had lower LDL-C (LDL cholesterol), higher HDL-C, lower CRP (c-reactive protein), lower levels of tumor necrosis factor, and lower levels of an inflammatory compound called IL-6 (interleukin-6)
  • In summary:
    • Be active
    • Save most of your carbohydrates for the end of the day
    • Eat healthy carbs with dinner (yams, rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes, purple potatoes, amaranth, millet, etc.)

Blue Light is Damaging the Mitochondria in Your Retina

  • Check out the Podcast Notes from Ben’s chat with Matt Maruca for more on the health benefits of sunlight and the unhealthy effects of artificial light
  • Study #1
    • Short wavelength, high-energy blue light (the kind of light found in white LEDs – in screens, monitors, grocery stores, etc.), when exposed to our retina, causes severe photochemical damage and programmed cell death to increase drastically
      • This results in high levels of oxidative stress and the accumulation of reactive oxygen species 
      • This ultimately leads to irreversible cell death
    • How can you mitigate this?
      • Use Iris tech on your computer – it naturally adjusts the blue light coming off your computer based on when the sun sets and rises (Ben says it’s way better than f.lux in terms of the functionality)
      • Set your iPhone to shift to dark mode at night
  • Study #2
    • People respond differently to how blue light disrupts the body’s natural circadian rhythm
      • This study found a 5-fold difference in sensitivity to bright light across individuals
        • This is why some people can stare at their phones before bed and experience zero adverse side effects (like Ben’s wife)
          • Ben, on the other hand, has noticed that if he’s not wearing blue light blocking glasses (use the code “PodcastNotes10” for 10% off at checkout for a pair of True Dark glasses) at night, his sleep score plummets (measured with an Oura Ring)
      • Why is this the case?
        • There are genetic variables in terms of the amount of melatonin that gets suppressed in response to blue light
        • (This is similar to how certain people are more sensitive to EMFs than others)

The Amount to Which the Body Upregulates Heat Shock Protein Production When Exposed to Heat is Genetic (Study)

  • Ben uses an infrared sauna 4-5x a week for ~30 minutes at a time
    • In the sauna, he’ll either do yoga or breathwork
  • When the body is exposed to extreme heat temperatures, it upregulates heat shock protein (HSP) production
    • The amount to which an individual increases their HSP production is genetic – the study indicates which DNA SNPs (pronounced “snips”) govern this
      • The less HSP production is upregulated, the more you would benefit more from prioritizing frequent sauna exposure
  • What do HSPs do?
    • They protect biomolecules from damage – they basically repair misfolded proteins
    • Also, they protect against muscle wasting
      • Because of this, if you can’t exercise, for whatever reason, using the sauna is a great way to maintain muscle
  • You can also active HSP production with calorie restriction (fasting), exercise, by consuming wild plants/spices (i.e., turmeric and ginger), and through the consumption of dietary probiotics and prebiotics
    • Small amounts of alcohol also raise your HSP levels
    • Cold temperatures can also increase the release of HSPs
  • What reduces HSP production?
    • Insulin resistance brought on by high amounts of starch and sugar consumption
    • A diet skewed towards more saturated fats (i.e., butter, lard, coconut oil)

Is grounding & earthing dangerous?

  • Many people claim that powering earthing/grounding mats with a wall outlet causes a specific power surge that focuses high levels of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) on the body while using the mat
    • In simple terms: Grounding turns you into an “antenna” and draws EMFs into your body (electricity flows through the grounding mat into your body)
  • Ben sets the record straight:
    • “Frankly, none of this is actually the case” 
    • When you’re grounded, you essentially become a Faraday cage (this prevents EMFs generated by electric wires in your home from penetrating your body)
      • A Faraday cage is a metal enclosure used to block EMFs
    • There’s no voltage that gets into your body when you’re grounded – it’s the exact opposite, EMFs get reflected away from you
      • Grounding yourself drops your body’s voltage to near zero
        • Ben recalls a study which showed that people who were grounded had body voltages that were decreased by an average of 58-fold
          • This same study also measured the AC current generated through each grounded participant’s body while standing next to a computer monitor, desk lamp, scanner, and phone – every single person showed a measurement 2,000x lower than the minimal perceptible current (and 50-fold lower compared to when they weren’t grounded)
            • Therefore – the currents from home devices do NOT pass through your body when you’re grounded
    • In summary: “Not only is grounding not dangerous in the presence of EMFs that are floating around you, they’re highly protective.” – Ben Greenfield
  • Ben adds – “I realize that for some people grounding or earthing is a totally foreign concept, but I’m enormously into it. I consider it just as important as water, minerals, light, heat, cold, movement, and good nutrition.”

Recovery and Injury Prevention Tactics

  • Grounding is incredibly useful for decreasing inflammation
    • A 2018 study showed athletes recover quicker from delayed onset muscle soreness when they walk around barefoot outside or use a grounding/earthing mat
  • Ben encourages all his clients to set aside 15 minutes/day to do mobility/self-inflicted deep tissue work
  • Non-autologous stem cell + exosome injections into a joint or injured tissue 
    • Non-autologous (AKA placental or umbilical stem cells) = stem cells not originated from fat cells or bone marrow 
    • Exosomes cause the stem cells to travel where they’re needed in the body most effectively
    • To find someone who can treat you, look up a “regenerative medicine physician”
      • Other options include: platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections (the injection of growth factors) or prolozone injections (the infusion of ozone into the tissue)
  • Ben wears compression gear quite frequently for enhanced recovery
    • One of his favorite items? – NormaTec boots
    • Compression socks are also useful, especially while on long flights
    • How does compression aid recovery?
      • It facilitates the transport of lymph fluid and inflammatory byproducts out of the limbs 
  • Precisely placed strips of kinesio tape (RockTapeKT Tape, and SpiderTech are well-known brands) can also help
    • How does it work? – It lifts the skin off the underlying tissue ever so slightly to improve blood flow and lymph drainage
  • Low-level electrical stimulation can enhance blood flow to a specific area as well as reduce the formation of inflammatory byproducts
    • Ben’s favorite simulator: the Marc Pro
  • Photobiomodulation (red/infrared light therapy) can also help
    • For this, use a Joovv
      • An infrared sauna can also give you some of the benefits
    • How does it work? – Cytochrome c-oxidase, a mitochondrial enzyme, in the injured tissue accepts photons of energy in the form of light to enhance mitochondrial function
  • Ben is a massive fan of pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy
    • He prefers the Pulse Centers PEMF Unit
      • The device produces a series of high-intensity magnetic pulses that travel through injured tissue, causing the upregulation of heat shock proteins, and an increase in the uptake of oxygen/nutrients into tissue
    • Other recommendations:

The Best Diet for Recovery & Injury Prevention

  • Intermittent fasting can reduce inflammation (for females: 10-12 hours daily, for men: 12-16 hours daily)
    • It can also upregulate stem cell production and cause some cellular autophagy (the self-eating process by which a cell recycles its damaged components)
  • Eat more anti-inflammatory foods – ginger, pineapples, blue/red/purple fruits and vegetables, garlic, salmon, avocados, and apple cider vinegar
  • Avoid inflammatory foods – excess red meat, grains, caffeine, and dairy
  • The best supplements for speeding up the rate at which an injury heals or keeping your joints healthy:

Is cold therapy okay when you’re sick or have adrenal fatigue? (yes!)

  • Cold exposure causes an acute, steep rise in sympathetic nervous system activity
    • This means heart rate variability (HRV) decreases, heart rate increase, and vasoconstriction increases
    • With cold exposure, levels of cortisol, epinephrine (AKA adrenaline), and norepinephrine (AKA noradrenaline) kick into overdrive
  • Over time, cold exposure causes an overall stabilization of nervous system activity, a rise in HRV, and a drop in norepinephrine + cortisol
    • For these reasons, cold exposure is very similar to an exercise session (which temporarily increases heart rate, activates the sympathetic nervous system, and causes a temporary increase in cortisol and epinephrine. But after a brief rest period, all of those parameters reverse to an even more stabilized state.)
  • Animal and human studies have shown there’s an increase in corticosteroid and catecholamine production in response to cold
    • With someone with adrenal issues, this could be beneficial
  • In rodent studies, epinephrine (adrenaline) deficiencies can be treated through exposure to fluctuations in temperature
    • How so? – The body goes into overdrive to maintain a normal temperature and kicks the adrenals back into proper function
  • Cold therapy & the immune system:
    • Cold therapy appears to turn on many of the genes responsible for regulating T-cell production
    • Over time, cold therapy strengthens the immune system – resulting in a decrease of cytokines, leukocytes, and an increase in overall immune system function
    • There’s been studies showing decreased rates of infectious disease in people who take a cold shower/plunge frequently
      • Why? – As mentioned, cold therapy increases your immune system’s ability to modulate properly
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