Some useful ideas here if you are looking to eat healthy.
Please check out my Page – What’s wrong with soft drinks? for more on them.
Our Better Health
A lifelong friend of mine suffered from debilitating anxiety for years. It was hard to watch her have panic attacks, knowing that people did not understand her behavior. Although anxiety disorders are the most common mental health illness in the United States, only about one-third of affected individuals receive some form of treatment.
From a young age, I read books every chance I got. Taking a particular interest in the human brain, it was only natural that I would go on to study psychology and neuroscience at a university. Focusing on both mental health and nutrition, I quickly realized how one’s diet influenced brain health and overall well-being — my attention shifted and this connection has been the focal point of my research ever since.
Anxiety and food — what’s the connection?
Anxiety disorders are complex and although various factors play a role, chemical imbalances within the brain cannot be…
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The Mayo Clinic Health Letter asks if something as simple as getting out of your chair can improve your health? Surprisingly, it can.
It’s based on the concept of nonexercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). NEAT is all of the calories (energy) you burn simply by living, rather than through exercise. This includes carrying in groceries, playing charades or sitting less. NEAT activities can lead to reduced body fat, improved cholesterol levels, a healthier heart and reduced risk of common weight-related conditions. (my emphasis)
Consider working at a standing desk …
The movements you make throughout the day may not provide the benefits of regular exercise. But if you struggle to fit exercise into your day or if you have a sedentary lifestyle, increasing your daily NEAT can provide a boost in your physical activity.
To include more NEAT in your day:
• Stand while on the phone
• Walk around the house during TV commercials
• Park in the farthest spot in a parking lot
• Dance around the house while cooking and cleaning
• Tackle yard work — water plants, pull weeds, clear rocks and sticks
• Tend a garden
• Invest in a movement-based video game system such as a Wii
• Wash your car by hand
• Organize your closets
• Use a standing desk
• Take up a new craft
• Volunteer — set up or take down an event, greet at the door, serve a meal
Want more useful health information? Visit the store now to see the latest products from Mayo Clinic doctors, specialists and editorial staff.
Must confess that while I never heard if the term NEAT, I love the principle. This fits right in with eat less; move more; live longer – the mantra of this blog.
I would just like to add that my Page Do you know the dangers of too much sitting? fits right in here.
I feel strongly about the benefits of exercise in keeping our bodies and brains strong as we age. There is an entire Page – Important facts about your brain – (and exercise benefits) that you can check out. However, it is nice to know that we also have mental methods to preserve our aging brains.
Since 1970, life expectancy around the world has risen dramatically, with people living more than 10 years longer. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that starting when people are in their mid-to-late-20s, the brain begins to wither — its volume and weight begin to decrease. As this occurs, the brain can begin to lose some of its functional abilities.
So although people might be living longer, the years they gain often come with increased risks for mental illness and neurodegenerative disease. Fortunately, a new study shows meditation could be one way to minimize those risks.
Brain scans of meditators and non-meditators. Areas of the brain affected by aging (in red) are fewer and less widespread in people who meditate.
Building on their earlier work that suggested people who meditate have less age-related atrophy in the brain’s white matter, a new study by UCLA researchers found that meditation appeared to help preserve the brain’s gray matter, the tissue that contains neurons. Continue reading
Dr. Jonathan does a great job here on giving us chapter and verse on a fascinating pair of potatoes. I know I learned a lot. Hope you do too.
All About Healthy Choices
For all those insomniacs never realizing the cause of their sleep deprivation, I give you the answer to the long awaited question: White Potato vs. Sweet Potato: WHO WINS?
First, I will start by saying BOTH forms of potato (especially in organic form) are naturally HEALTHY products that provide good sources of nutrition. Interestingly, there are distinct differences between these vegetables coming from two different botanical families. White potatoes come from the Solanaceae family and Sweet potatoes come from the Convolvulaceae family. Although there are thousands of varieties, I will keep this simple by focusing on the white potato vs. the sweet potato. The following graph provides some nutrition facts; white potato on the left, sweet potato on the right:
Reference Source: Cleveland Clinic
This chart shows that white potatoes have greater amounts of protein, potassium, magnesium and iron as well as CALORIES and CARBOHYDRATES. Sweet potatoes have greater…
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Eating healthy takes a lot of information. Here are some very useful looking tips.
Our Better Health
Nutrition is full of misinformation.
Everyone seems to “know” what is right, most often based on zero evidence.
Here are the top 11 most common nutrition mistakes that people keep repeating.
1. Drinking Fruit Juice
Fruit juice isn’t always what it seems to be.
It is often little more than water mixed with sugar and some kind of fruit concentrate.
In many cases, there isn’t any actual fruit in there, just chemicals that taste like fruit.
But even IF you’re drinking real, 100% fruit juice, it is still a bad idea.
That’s because fruit juices like orange juice have just about the same amount of sugar as Coca Cola and Pepsi!
Fruit juice is like fruit, except with all the good stuff removed.
There is no fiber, no chewing resistance and nothing to stop you from downing massive amounts of sugar.
While whole fruits take a long time to eat…
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I first encountered the idea of music therapy in 1977 when I was living in London. I heard a music therapist interviewed on the radio. Remember, this was 1977, before the internet. I was on a one year posting and had no TV or phone. As a music lover seemingly since birth, the idea of using music to treat people blew my mind. I actually looked up the man and visited him in his home outside of London. We had some great conversations and he pointed me to some books for further reading on the subject.
While I still listen to music religiously, I hadn’t thought much about music therapy until I ran across this study from Drexel University.
A systematic review published by the Cochrane Library found that there is significant evidence that music interventions help alleviate symptoms of anxiety, pain and fatigue in cancer patients, while also boosting their quality of life. Continue reading
Just thought I would share some of these with you.
Maybe they will inspire you to get out there and pedal some. It couldn’t hurt.
Yes, I went for a ride after I posted this.
This is a nice little roundup of foods that benefit the brain and those that don’t. I was pleasantly surprised to see pumpkin seeds on the list and good for it as I love them and snack on them regularly. Check out my post Are pumpkin seeds good for you? for more, or you can type pumpkin seeds into the search box at the right. I think I have posted on them about five times.
Regular readers know I am a big fan of brain lore in general. Please check out my Page – Important facts about your brain (and exercise benefits) to read further on this critical organ.
I am still convinced that portion control is a key concept in controlling your weight. If you stick with these you can’t go far wrong.
I am guessing that everyone who reads this blog subscribes to the idea of living past 100. Well, if/when we succeed, things will be changing.
Population aging is likely to boost medicine, nanotechnology and robotics, but increase political risks, according to the National Research University Higher School of Economics.
The UN estimates that the number of people aged 65 and older will have reached almost a billion by 2030. The proportion of those aged over 80 will grow at particularly high rates, and their numbers are expected to reach 200 million by 2030 and triple that forty years later.
Due to a combination of an aging population and declining birthrates, the demographic structure of most countries will change towards lower proportions of children and young people. As a result, the global division will no longer be between first- and third-world nations, but between old and young ones. Continue reading
More good step by step info on living a healthy and happy life.
To read more on the value of exercise, check out my Page – Important facts about your brain (and exercise benefits)
For more on how good sleep is for the body, check out – How important is a good night’s sleep?
Our Better Health
When asked the question: “Do you take care of yourself?” most of us will answer yes — we’d even think, “What kind of question is this? Of course I care about myself.”
When asked, “In what ways do you take care of yourself?” — well, that’s where the tricky part begins.
What is self-care?
Self-care is any activity that we deliberately do in order to take care of our mental, emotional and physical health. Although it’s a simple idea in theory, it’s something we very often overlook. Good self-care is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety. It’s also keep to a good relationship with oneself and others.
What isn’t self-care?
Knowing what self-care is not might be even more important. It is not something that we force ourselves to do, or something we don’t enjoy doing. As Agnes Wainman defined, self-care is “something that refuels us, rather than takes…
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In December 2013 I posted for the first time on the dangers of sitting too long. “I must confess I was amazed to learn that simply sitting for long periods could be as the headline says, “Hazardous to Your Health and Longevity.” So, it’s not enough to exercise regularly, you also need to make sure that you don’t sit immobile for long periods….” That was the first sentence in the post Too much sitting can be hazardous to your health and longevity.
Now comes the American Heart Association saying, “Being sedentary is not just a lack of exercise, it is a potentially independent risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
“Regardless of how much physical activity someone gets, prolonged sedentary time could negatively impact the health of your heart and blood vessels,” said Deborah Rohm Young, Ph.D., director of behavioral research at Kaiser Permanente Southern California in Pasadena and chair of the new scientific statement published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.
“According to the statement, sedentary behavior may be associated with an increased risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, impaired insulin sensitivity (linked to diabetes) and an overall higher risk of death from any cause. (my emphasis)
I remember a short story in high school about a man who happened upon a medical encyclopedia. Reading it, he decided that he was suffering from every malady except housemaid’s knee.
As the ‘one regular guy’ producing this blog, I read a lot on various aspects of living a healthy life. I confess to a temptation to wander into hypochondria.
I recently ran across the term ‘sarcopenia.’ Ever heard of that? It was a new one to me.
Here’s what the Mayo Clinic blog had to say, “It is a simple fact. As we age we lose muscle and strength. There’s even a medical term for this — sarcopenia. It’s derived from the Greek words “sarcos” (flesh) and “penia” (lack of).
“Estimates of how much muscle is lost with age vary from 8 percent to about 50 percent of our muscles. Men seem to lose muscle faster than women. Strength is lost more rapidly than muscle.”
WebMD says, “Physically inactive people can lose as much as 3% to 5% of their muscle mass each decade after age 30. Even if you are active, you’ll still have some muscle loss. Continue reading
Here is another super infographic where one picture is worth a thousand words.
NaturalNews says that avocados boost health in at least five ways:
1. Protein “Avocados provide all 18 essential amino acids necessary for the body to form a complete protein. Unlike the protein in steak, which is difficult for most people to digest, avocado protein is readily absorbed by the body because avocados also contain fiber. If you are trying to cut down on animal sources of protein in your diet, or if you are a vegetarian, vegan or raw foodist seeking more protein, avocados are a great nutritional ally to include not merely as an occasional treat, but as a regular part of your diet.”
To read more on good fats, check my post: Are Avocados Good for You?
For further info on junk food: A Love Letter to Hostess Ho Ho’s – NOT.
This is absolutely worth reading. It is good thinking and meets all my biases regarding living a healthy life.
All About Healthy Choices
Webster’s dictionary defines MEDICATION as, “a SUBSTANCE used for medical treatment, especially a medicine or drug.“
Webster’s dictionary defines FOOD as, “any nutritious SUBSTANCE that people or animals eat or drink, or that plants absorb, in order to MAINTAIN LIFE AND GROWTH.“
We have a tendency to separate the two words MEDICINE and FOOD believing they are INDEPENDENT of each other. Hippocrates (the founding FATHER OF MEDICINE) quoted, “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” Hippocrates understood that food provided the body an ESSENTIAL COMPONENT necessary to maintain healthy FUNCTION. He understood the body was under constant “attack” by environmental, emotional and physical factors and needed FOOD (as Webster’s dictionary states) “to MAINTAIN LIFEAND GROWTH.” He recognized that GOOD HEALTH was the body’s NATURAL STATE of EXISTENCE. Hippocrates understood that DISEASE only manifested when the body was unable to…
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I am a great believer in the benefits of exercise to raise the quality of our daily lives, but this BMJ study takes exercise benefits to an entirely new level.
Exercise therapy is as effective as surgery for middle-aged patients with a common type of knee injury known as meniscal tear (damage to the rubbery discs that cushion the knee joint, according to a study in the BMJ.
The researchers suggest that supervised exercise therapy should be considered as a treatment option for middle aged patients with this type of knee damage.
Every year, an estimated two million people worldwide undergo knee arthroscopy (keyhole surgery to relieve pain and improve movement) at a cost of several billion U.S. dollars. Yet, current evidence suggests that arthroscopic knee surgery offers little benefit to most patients. (my emphasis) Continue reading