Our Better Health

Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


Leave a comment

Sleeping-In On Weekends Linked To Lower Body Weight

Catching up on lost sleep over weekends may help people keep their weight down, according to a study in South Korea.

Not getting enough sleep can disrupt hormones and metabolism and is known to increase the risk of obesity, researchers write in the journal Sleep.

“Short sleep, usually causing sleep debt, is common and inevitable in many cases, and is a risk factor for obesity, hypertension, coronary heart disease, as well as mortality,” lead author Dr. Chang-Ho Yun of the Seoul National University Budang Hospital told Reuters Health by email.

Sleeping in may be better than napping, as the sleep may be deeper and follows the body’s sleep-wake rhythms more closely, Yun said.

To determine how weekend sleep is related to body weight, the researchers used data from a nationwide survey of more than 2,000 people who ranged in age from 19 to 82 years old.

In face-to-face interviews, researchers asked participants about their height and weight, weekday and weekend sleep habits, mood and medical conditions.

The study team used this information to determine body mass index (BMI), a measure of weight relative to height, and whether participants engaged in catch-up sleep on weekends.

Weekend catch-up sleep was defined as sleeping more hours on weekend nights compared to weekday nights.

On average, the participants slept 7.3 hours per night and had BMIs of 23, which falls in the healthy range.

About 43 percent of people slept longer on weekends by nearly two hours than they did on weekdays.

 

People who slept-in on weekends tended to sleep shorter hours during weekdays, but slept more hours overall across the week.

The researchers’ analysis found that those who slept-in on weekends had average BMIs of 22.8 while those who didn’t engage in catch-up sleep averaged 23.1, which was a small but statistically meaningful difference.

In addition, the more catch up sleep a person got, the lower their BMI tended to be, with each additional hour linked to a 0.12 decrease in BMI.

“Short sleepers tend to eat more meals per day, snack more, engage in more screen time and may be less likely to move due to increased sensations of fatigue when not rested,” said Jean-Philippe Chaput of the University of Ottawa in Canada, who wasn’t involved in the study.

Chaput noted that getting 30 minutes of heart-pumping exercise per day can help improve sleep.

“Sleep experts say that if people need an alarm clock to wake up it is a sign that they don’t sleep enough,” Chaput said by email.
“The more good behaviors we can have every day (and sustain for the rest of our lives) the better it is for the prevention of chronic diseases and optimizing health. Sleep should be one of these priorities,” he said.
“If you cannot sleep sufficiently on workdays because of work or social obligations, try to sleep as much as possible on the weekend. It might alleviate the risk for obesity.”
“Weekend sleep extension could be a quick fix to compensate sleep loss over the week but is not an ultimate solution for chronic sleep loss,” Yun cautioned.
“If average sleep duration over the week is far below the optimal amount even with weekend sleep extension, the benefits would likely dissipate,” Yun said.

Fri Jun 16, 2017    By Madeline Kennedy    Reuters Health
SOURCE: bit.ly/2sFK7lK    Sleep, online May 19, 2017      www.reuters.com


Leave a comment

Fun Fact Friday

  • Scientists say the brain purposely forgets certain memories in order to avoid information overload, and emotional hangovers.

  • The only sense that doesn’t fully rest when we are sleeping is our hearing.

Scientists say the brain purposely forgets certain memories in order to avoid information overload, and emotional hangovers.
  • In the Netherlands, workers can be absent for up to two years while receiving 70% of their salary as sick pay.

  • A study found that the heaviest social media users had twice the risk of disturbed sleep compared with the lightest users.

 

Happy Friday!
 source:   factualfacts.com   https://twitter.com/Fact   @Fact


Leave a comment

This Cure For Social Anxiety Works For 85% of People

The most common anxiety disorder is social anxiety disorder.

Cognitive therapy on its own is the best treatment for social anxiety disorder, new research finds.

It is better than just taking drugs and better than taking drugs as well as having therapy.

Cognitive therapy resulted in either a cure or significant improvement in 85% of patients.

Professor Hans M. Nordahl, who led the study, said:

“We’ve set a new world record in effectively treating social anxiety disorders.
This is one of the best studies on social anxiety disorders ever.
It’s taken ten years to carry out and has been challenging both academically and in terms of logistics, but the result is really encouraging.”

Being anxious in some social situations is normal, but those with social anxiety disorders find it hard to live a normal life.

They may experience dizziness, flushing and other acute anxiety symptoms in social situations.

It is common for medications to be prescribed for social anxiety.

Professor Nordahl said:

“Patients often rely more on the medication and don’t place as much importance on therapy.
They think it’s the drugs that will make them healthier, and they become dependent on something external rather than learning to regulate themselves.
So the medication camouflages a very important patient discovery: that by learning effective techniques, they have the ability to handle their anxiety themselves.”

Cognitive therapy works by encouraging people to accept their feelings.

At the same time people try to focus on what they want to say and do in challenging social situations.

Professor Nordahl said:

“We’re using what’s called metacognitive therapy, meaning that we work with patients’ thoughts and their reactions and beliefs about those thoughts.
We address their rumination and worry about how they function in social situations.
Learning to regulate their attention processes and training with mental tasks are new therapeutic elements with enormous potential for this group of patients.”

The study followed over 100 people for a year.

Cognitive therapy was easily the best treatment, said Professor Nordahl:

“This is the most effective treatment ever for this patient group.
Treatment of mental illness often isn’t as effective as treating a bone fracture, but here we’ve shown that treatment of psychiatric disorders can be equally effective.”

The study was published in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics (Nordahl et al., 2016).

source: PsyBlog


Leave a comment

A Birthday Introspection

One of the best things I like about birthdays is the opportunity to reflect. For better or for worse, I tend to do this often enough, but especially at this time even more so.

I love me. It’s been quite a journey to get to a place where I can say that. There have been many, many days where my self esteem has been very poor (and there are still days where insecurities temporarily win battles) … but I now am at a place in my life where I can say that I am proud of who I strive to be and some of the twists and turns that have brought me here.

It’s a funny thing … you have to love yourself to be successful, yet you have to also try not to be too self centered. Self love, empathy, gratitude, focussing on the positive aspects of life, being able to forgive yourself , trying to be humble – yet confident… all these aspects of trying to strike a balance to be a thriving, healthy, successful individual. It’s hard to be objective about yourself … I hope I am close to that sweet spot somewhere in that healthy middle ground … all I can do is try my best.

Who am I? How did I get here? How’s life?

There are many things I love about who and where I am today … I am healthy, debt free, active and proud of many things. I am far from perfect, but I hope that my intentions lead me to positive places more often than not..

One of the things I struggle with at times these days is that inside I still feel like I`m in my late 20`s … but physically, I am quite a bit older. I`m sure that`s a common thing … I feel younger than I am, and in many ways that`s good. They say “you’re as young as you feel”  🙂

I try to continue grow, improve, and learn. I aim to be open, to be aware and empathetic. I look for win – win opportunities and strive to make the world a better place in little ways here and there.

I have had a fun and interesting journey …
I’ve been a wolf cub, a roadie, an extra, a delivery driver, and actor, a Dee Jay, a cab driver, a husband, a waiter, a salesman, a draftsman, a stage manager, a step father … I am an educator, a traveler, a web designer, a blogger, a cyclist, a volleyball player… and the journey continues 🙂

Of course there have been struggles … those challenges have helped make me who I am. There are good days and not so good days … just like most of us. Some days I feel invisible … some days I feel happy, present and successful. My struggles pale in comparison to many others. I am grateful for my struggles – they have brought me resilience, confidence and character. I have learned to take care of myself. I have learned that there is no better advocate for my own well being than me. I have learned that I have the strength to overcome challenges that life has brought my way … nothing is permanent, and I have what it takes to succeed.

I am so grateful … there’s food in the fridge, gas in the tank (of my Camaro) , I have air conditioning, a dishwasher and in suite laundry in my apartment, I am debt free, I have jobs I love, I am healthy and active …  My life is filled with travel, live sporting events and concerts … I am so blessed – thank you universe 🙂

I have learned much in my journey so far, and know there is much more to learn as well. I am proud of who I am and continue to look forward to further adventures, good times and making new happy memories. In this huge machine we call mankind, I know I am just a small cog … I have a good heart, strive to live a life of meaning and have faith that even better things are on the horizon 🙂

You have to love yourself. 
If you don’t, you owe it to yourself and those that love you
to find out why you might not, and work on it.

THE BASIC PRINCIPLES OF SELF-LOVE

“Who we are is more important than what we do.”

“We are valuable. Nothing can change that.”

ABOUT MISTAKES

  • Self-loving people know that they often make mistakes.
  • Since they live their lives for the joy they can find, they do a lot of experimenting and try many new things.
  • Since they aren’t dumb (or self-destructive), these experiments work out well most of the time- but sometimes they do go wrong.
  • When this happens, self-loving people are not surprised!
  • They simply apologize if necessary, fix anything that can be fixed, and move on…..
  • Self-loving people are responsible, not guilty.
  • Self-loving people don’t make many excuses especially to themselves.

IN RELATIONSHIPS

  • Since self-loving people tend to treat themselves well…
  • They see fun and enjoyment as a primary goal most of the time (even when it is hard to attain).
  • They do not tolerate mistreatment by others.
  • They are caring toward others. (It feels better to be that way.)
  • They never put anyone else first. (Even those they love are “a close second.”)

I hope to continue to evolve, grow and improve … ( and share much of things I learn with you) … I know that I make mistakes, and that’s OK. I am human. Mistakes have taught me much over the years 🙂  I try to learn from missteps when I can …
There are lots of days when I struggle (like many others) … but  Today, I celebrate ME.

━═★ [̲̅̅H̲̅][̲̅̅A̲̅][̲̅̅P̲̅][̲̅̅P̲̅][̲̅̅Y̲̅]  [̲̅̅B̲̅][̲̅̅I̲̅][̲̅̅R̲̅][̲̅̅T̲̅][̲̅̅H̲̅][̲̅̅D̲̅][̲̅̅A̲̅][̲̅̅Y̲̅] ★═━ 

 


1 Comment

Eating Fried Potatoes Linked to Higher Risk of Death, Study Says

How your spuds are cooked is key to your health. People who eat fried potatoes two or more times a week double their risk of an early death compared to those who avoid them, a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found.

Eating potatoes that have not been fried was not linked to a similar early mortality risk, the researchers noted.

“Fried potatoes consumption is increasing worldwide,” warned Dr. Nicola Veronese, lead author of the study and a scientist at the National Research Council in Padova, Italy.

In 2014, Americans consumed 112.1 pounds of potatoes per person, according to the National Potato Council. Of that total, 33.5 pounds were fresh potatoes, the remaining 78.5 pounds were processed. According to the US Department of Agriculture, the majority of processed potatoes North Americans eat are French fries.

Trans fats in fried potatoes

Veronese and his colleagues have been tracking 4,440 people aged 45 to 79 over a period of eight years to study osteoarthritis. This research team decided to momentarily set aside the main issue of osteoarthritis and look at participants’ consumption of potatoes.

Even though most of us may have assumed that fried potatoes could be unhealthy for us, there is “very limited” scientific data on this issue, Veronese explained in an email.

So the researchers divided study participants into subgroups based on how frequently they ate potatoes each week. Over the eight years, a total of 236 of the participants died. Analyzing the data for each group, Veronese and his team found that those who ate fried potatoes two to three times each week doubled their chance of dying early compared to those who ate no fried potatoes.

French fries, potato chips, hash browns – and any other preparation requiring a fryer – are all included under the umbrella of “fried potatoes,” Veronese explained.

Age or sex of participants did not influence the result, but the data showed men were more likely than women and younger participants were more likely than older participants to enjoy the fried food.

The study is observational, meaning the researchers simply tracked the behavior of a group of people and found an association between one behavior – eating fried potatoes – and another factor – early death. Because it is an observational study, Veronese and his co-authors note it cannot be said that eating fried potatoes directly causes an early mortality – it would require more research to draw such a firm conclusion.

“Even if it is an observational study, we believe that the cooking oil, rich in trans-fat, is an important factor in explaining mortality in those eating more potatoes,” said Veronese. Trans fat has been shown to raise the “bad,” or LDL, cholesterol in the blood, which can lead to cardiovascular disease.

 

Yet, he also added that “other important factors,” including obesity, a sedentary lifestyle and use of high quantities of salt might also play a role in the early death of those eating two or more portions of fried potatoes each week.

National Potato Council CEO John Keeling said the “study isn’t relevant to the general population” since the data was collected for an osteoarthritis study and includes only patients with arthritis. “Potatoes are inherently a very healthy vegetable,” said Keeling in an email. He said a medium-sized potato is 110 calories, has no fat, no sodium, no cholesterol, and provides nearly a third of the daily vitamin C requirement with more potassium than a banana.

“How the potato is prepared will impact the calorie, fat and sodium content,” said Keeling, however the basic nutrients remain “no matter how it is prepared.”

Based on the data in the study, Keeling said, “it is very much a stretch to brand fried potatoes, or any other form of potato, as unhealthy.”

Susanna Larsson, an associate professor at the Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, noted that the new study provides “no evidence” that potato consumption in and of itself may increase the risk of an early death. Larsson was not involved in the new study. Instead, it may be the “other factors” suggested by Veronese himself.

“Fried potato consumption may be an indicator of a less healthy (Western) dietary pattern which is associated with increased mortality,” said Larsson, who also conducted a study of potato consumption. Her study did not find an increased risk of cardiovascular disease linked to eating potatoes.

Understanding acrylamide

The potential danger when eating fried starchy foods, such as French fries, is acrylamide, said Stephanie Schiff, a registered dietitian at Northwell Health’s Huntington Hospital in Huntington, New York. Schiff was not involved in the study.

Acrylamide is “a chemical produced when starchy foods such as potatoes are fried, roasted or baked at a high temperature,” explained Schiff in an email. The browning process is actually a reaction that produces this chemical one shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals and considered toxic to humans, said Schiff. Acrylamide is also a potential cause of cancer, she said.

“You can reduce your intake of acrylamide by boiling or steaming starchy foods, rather than frying them,” said Schiff. “If you do fry foods, do it quickly.”

She also suggested you “go lighter” since “the darker the food, the more acrylamide it may contain.”

Finally, Schiff said that potatoes should not be stored in the refrigerator because this could lead to producing more acrylamide when the potatoes are later cooked.

“Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables for a healthier alternative,” said Schiff.

Veronese said he hopes his new study will suggest to everyone that consuming fried potatoes “could be an important risk factor for mortality. Thus, their consumption should be strongly limited.”

By Susan Scutti, CNN    Thu June 15, 2017
source: CNN


Leave a comment

3 Tasty Foods That Protect The Brain From Ageing

Some foods can keep your brain young.

Blackberries, blueberries and strawberries all reduce cognitive decline related to age, research finds.

All three fruits contain high levels of flavonoids.

Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants that can also help reduce inflammation in the brain and body.

The research was carried out on data from 121,700 women, who were followed up over decades.

Dr Elizabeth Devore, the study’s first author, said:

“As the U.S. population ages, understanding the health issues facing this group becomes increasingly important.
Our study examined whether greater intake of berries could slow rates of cognitive decline.”

The results showed that high berry intake was linked to a delay in cognitive ageing equivalent to 2.5 years.

In other words: berries made their brains work as though they were 2.5 years younger.

Dr Devore said:

“We provide the first epidemiologic evidence that berries may slow progression of cognitive decline in elderly women.
Our findings have significant public health implications as increasing berry intake is a fairly simple dietary modification to test cognition protection in older adults.”

Berries are also one of the central components in the ‘MIND’ diet, which is linked to a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Blueberries in particular seem to have a powerful effect on the brain.

One recent study looked at the effects of concentrated blueberry juice:

“Concentrated blueberry juice improves cognitive function in older people, new research finds.
Those who drank the juice also had better blood flow and activation in their brains as well as improvements to working memory.
The boost to brain power is likely down to the flavonoids in blueberries.”

Strawberries also have other research backing up their protective effects, as do walnuts.

The study was published in the journal Annals of Neurology (Devore et al., 2012).

source: PsyBlog


Leave a comment

Why We All Need Green In Our Lives

(CNN) It’s the color of the Emerald Isle, the hue of sickness and envy, and a shade associated with grotesque monsters. And its most universal interpretation conjures imagery of nature, a vibrant symbol of the environmental movement and healthy living.

Green, the mixture of blue and yellow, can be seen everywhere and in countless shades. In fact, the human eye sees green better than any color in the spectrum.

This, along with many other facts about this earthly color, makes it an essential part of our everyday lives.

But why is that?

Helping you see

We see green with ease because of how light reaches our eyes; the human eye translates waves of light into color.

When we see a green frog, the color that we see is the light reflected off of the surface of the frog’s skin, perceived by our eyes as green.

When we see these colors, the cones in our eyes are able to process the wavelengths and tell the brain what color is being observed.

Humans are trichromats, meaning we perceive three primary colors: blue, green and red. The retina in a human eye can detect light between wavelengths of 400 and 700 nanometers, a range known as the visible spectrum.

Each primary color corresponds to a different wavelength, starting with blue at the lowest (400 nanometers) and red at the highest (700 nanometers).

In the middle of the spectrum resides the color green, at around 555 nanometers. This wavelength is where our perception is at its best. Because of its position in the center of the spectrum, both blue and red light waves are enhanced and better perceived with the help of green waves.

Knowing your environment

Green space sweeps the planet. Before skyscrapers and suburbs popped up, our ancestors resided in forested regions full of greenery.

As they scavenged for food, the ability to differentiate between colored berries against the backdrop of green foliage was critical for survival.

The evolution of eyesight and the increasing ability to detect color with fine detail gave our primate ancestors an evolutionary advantage over other mammals who could not discern such differences as well.

Color changes in leaves, fruits and vegetables can indicate age or ripeness and even offer a warning that something may be poisonous or rotten.

Today, we continue to use this ancestral instinct at a farmers market or grocery store.

Sourcing your food

Bananas, though widely considered to be a yellow fruit, start off as green due to the presence of chlorophyll. Just as grass and leaves have chlorophyll to give them color, so do fruits.
Located in the cells of plants, chlorophyll plays a crucial role in photosynthesis, allowing plants to harvest energy from sunlight and convert it into energy that the plant can use to grow.

The molecule absorbs blue and red light well while reflecting the green light that we see.

The peels of bananas are bright green in color until the chlorophyll inside the peel begins to break down. As the fruit ripens, the molecule in the peel breaks down and we observe a color change from green to bright yellow – and we prefer to eat yellow bananas because they are sweeter.

While the chlorophyll in the banana breaks down, the starch in the peel is converted into sugar, so more yellow means more sugar – until it begins to rot.

Because of their high starch content, greener bananas are sometimes favored as a cure for upset stomachs.

This change in color also applies when glancing over an aisle of bright bell peppers. Our eyes help us find our favored ripeness and sweetness. Green peppers, with more chlorophyll, are less sweet. As they turn yellow and red, the peppers become sweeter.

When we’re enjoying a salad, a brown piece of wilted lettuce or kale is almost always discarded. And our eyes tell us the lawn is overdue for some maintenance when the color darkens.

So although we may not reside in the forests anymore, our keen perception of green continues to play a significant role in keeping us healthy.

Keeping you calm

Some scientists and researchers also believe that because our eyes are at the peak of their perception to detect the wavelengths corresponding with the color green, the shade may calm us down.

With less strain to perceive the colors, our nervous system can relax when perceiving the tone.

This sedative quality of green may explain why there is so much of it in hospitals, schools and work environments. Historically, actors and actresses would recess to green rooms after so much time looking into bright lights on stage, though modern “green rooms” are rarely painted green.

Helping you live longer

Natural environments, full of green vegetation, might help you live longer.

A 2016 study found that living in or near green areas can was linked with longer life expectancy and improved mental health in female participants. Researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital compared risk of death with the amount of plant life and vegetation near the homes of more than 100,000 women.

After the eight-year study was completed, the data revealed that participants who lived in the greenest areas had a 12% lower death rate than women living in the least green areas.

With more green space, study authors said, came more opportunity to socialize outdoors.

Additionally, the natural settings – compared with residential regions where plants and greenery were sparse – proved to be beneficial to mental health.

“We were surprised at the magnitude of the mental health pathway,” said Peter James, study author and research associate at the Harvard Chan School’s Department of Epidemiology.

Of those who did not live in greener areas, respiratory issues were the second highest cause of death. The study indicated that less exposure to polluted air may have been one of several reasons for increased life expectancy among for those who lived in green areas.

Our ancestors lived their entire lives outdoors. The benefits we stand to gain from adopting an outdoor mindset, James says, could have a positive impact. “We know already that vegetation can help mitigate the effect of climate change. Our study suggests the potential co-benefit for health.”

Article by Robert Jimison, CNN        Mon June 5, 2017
source: www.cnn.com