Our Better Health

Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


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Flax and chia seeds: both high in Omega 3s, good fats and fibre

Once resigned to birdfeeders, seeds are now touted as the missing link to best health. Flax and chia, it seems, have been dueling for the latest title of superfood. But do these two tiny varieties live up to the hype?

Flax and chia have been dueling for the latest title of superfood.

By: Michele Henry Staff reporter, Published on Tue Aug 20 2013

Flax

Pros

Flaxseed, whether light in colour or a deep honey-brown, is an excellent source of plant-based Omega 3 fatty acids. These good fats, also known as alpha linoleic acid (ALAs), have an anti-inflammatory effect and are linked with a lowered risk of heart disease. 

Flax’s fibre, like’s chia’s, has a gummy consistency, which binds to LDLs, the bad cholesterol, and helps lower its levels in the body.

Flaxseeds are nature’s most concentrated form of lignans, says registered dietitian Nanci Guest. These specialized phytoestrogens are associated with bone health, a reduced risk of menopausal symptoms and the prevention of breast and prostate cancers.

Like the phytochemicals in tofu, lignans block the body’s estrogen receptors, fighting hormone-fuelled tumour growth. 

Research shows that combining tofu and flax provides “a double dose of breast cancer prevention,” says registered dietitian Shauna Lindzon.

One tablespoon of ground flax — or chia, in fact, — provides the recommended daily dose of ALA for men and women, says Guest.

Grown in Canada’s prairies, flax is non-GMO, says Kelly Fitzpatrick, nutritionist with The Flax Council of Canada.

Ground flax works well in baking.

Eggs, from flax-fed hens, are a good source of Omega 3s because chickens, more efficiently than humans, convert the plant-based ALAs into EPA and DHA, the unsaturated fatty acids our brains require for nerve transmissions, which are most potently found in fish oils.

Cons:

Unless ground or chewed vigorously, Flax is entirely insoluble fibre which comes out of the body in pretty much the same form as it went in. If flax’s hard outer husk remains in tact, we don’t get the benefit of its heart healthy Omega 3s or lignans.

It’s long been thought our bodies don’t adequately convert plant ALA to DHA and EPA. Turns out, that may not be entirely true. New, as yet unpublished research from the University of Toronto’s Department of Nutritional Sciences suggests, vegans are quite good at the conversion. “If we weren’t that good at synthesizing ALA we would have consequences,” says University of Toronto professor Richard Bazinet. “But vegans don’t seem to have those consequences. Somehow the body adapts.”

Flax oil may be the most concentrated source of plant Omega 3s, but it doesn’t contain the lignans, protein or fibre. And it can’t be used in cooking. The oil’s low smoke point produces toxic by-products when heated.

Chia

Pros:

Compared to flax, chia seed has 20 per cent more fibre per serving, Guest says, which expands in our digestive tracts, helping us feel full.

A source of soluble fibre, Chia, like flax, is linked with a lowered risk of Type 2 Diabetes because it slows the absorption of glucose and helps regulate blood sugar levels.

About two tablespoons of chia — or flax — sprinkled onto cereal, say, can meet about 25 per cent of our daily fibre requirement. 

Chia, like flax, is also rich in ALAs, and both are a source of magnesium, which is essential for cell functions and catalyzing chemical reactions in the body.

When it comes to calcium, which is essential for bone health, Chia has a bit more than flax and doesn’t need to be broken down for our bodies to harvest its benefits. Lindzon says, ground chia may be an even better source of calcium.

Like flax, chia seed contains magnesium, a calming mineral that also helps lower blood pressure and aids in sleep.

Cons:

Chia may have a bit of an edge over flax in some areas, but it’s higher in calories (about 70 calories per tablespoon compared with flax’s 50 calories per tablespoon).

And chia does not have lignans, the powerful phytoestrogens with bone-building, cancer-fighting properties.

Like flax, chia must be stored in the fridge because it will go rancid after long periods at room temperature.

Possibly because it must travel from where it’s grown in Latin America and Mexico, chia is more expensive than flax.

The Bottom Line:

Eat both.

“A person who wants to eat well and stay healthy eats both,” says Guest. “The more colours, the more nutrients, the more textures, the more variety you’re getting the better. There’s no reason to limit yourself to just one.”

Flax and chia are high calorie in high doses, so a little goes a long way. Sprinkle a tablespoon onto anything from cereals to salads, smoothies to yogurt. They’re a convenient, flavour neutral way to pack a punch of phytochemicals into your diet.

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Tricks for enjoying Halloween treats in a healthy way

Katie Cavuto MS, RD, For Philly.com/Health     Monday, October 28, 2013

The real trick to Halloween is indulging in your favorite sweet treats without succumbing to the inevitable upset stomach or dealing with an off-the-wall kid on a sugar high.

When I was a kid, I was an uber-competitive, self-proclaimed professional trick-or-treater. You know, the kid with the pillowcase sprinting from house to house collecting as much sugary loot as my hands and sack could hold? That was me!

These days, as a dietitian and mom to two-and-a-half year old, chocolate loving Hudson, I see things a little differently. Now I believe you can enjoy the holiday and indulge in your favorite sweets, but easily prevent over doing it.

Here are my tricks for enjoying Halloween treats in a healthy, moderate way:

Fuel up:  Make sure the whole family has a healthy meal prior to trick-or-treating. The more satisfied you are the less likely you will be to over-indulge on the sweet stuff. Be sure to include lots of veggies, whole grains and lean protein for lasting fullness.

Start Small:  Head out with a smaller sized Halloween Bag/Pumpkin — definitely avoid the urge to use a pillow case, ha! — and when it’s full, it’s full. Simple as that!

Take one:  Many houses offer the generous option of taking several pieces of candy — or if kids are lucky, even a handful! Allow your kids to choose one piece per stop to prevent excess.

Pick favorites:  Nothing beats the moment when you get home, dump your loot, and eye it up with pride. This is a great time to have you kids make a “favorites pile” (adults can join in the fun, too).

iStockphoto
Mindfully munch:  The excitement of Halloween night can lead to mindless eating for both kids and adults. Set limits when it comes to how many pieces of candy are “ok” for consumption. You can even attach a number of pieces to the piles like “we all get to pick our favorite 20 pieces” — kids first of course!

Snack Packs:  Take the “favorites pile” and separate it into snack size bags (think 1-2 pieces) for daily consumption and decide how many snack bags your kids can consume each day. Don’t forget to be a role model and stick with the rules you give you children.

Healthy pairings:  Encourage your kids to pair their “snack pack” with a healthy option like a glass of milk, peanut butter on crackers, a piece of fruit or some raw veggies with hummus. You’ll want to have them eat the healthy snack first which will help to fill them up and prevent them from overindulging in the sweet treat.

Treats for Toys:  Adopt the idea of a “pumpkin fairy” and allow your kids to trade treats for toys. You can really get creative with this and offer different sized gifts based on the amount of candy returned. This can be as simple as stickers and bubbles, or as elaborate as legos and barbies, or even a cash exchange. You choose what works best for your child.
Katie Cavuto MS, RD is a registered dietitian and trained chef. She is the president of Healthy Bites, a company offering local and national culinary nutrition services. Katie is also the consulting dietitian for the Philadelphia Phillies, and a regular contributor on local and national TV and radio as an expert in her field.

source: www.philly.com

 


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Yes, Organic Can Cost More. Here Are 10 Reasons Why It’s Worth It

Maria Rodale   CEO and Chairman of Rodale, Inc.   10/21/2013  

What if you knew the government and certain businesses were messing with your brain? Well, they are. As Ellen Ruppel Shell writes in her book Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture, governments and some big businesses know that most people get the same buzz from a good discount as they get from gambling. But as with gambling, the “house” always wins.

For every big-win story, there are thousands more who’ve lost. This discount technique comes into play in our food as well, as no government subsidies or handouts are given to organic farmers, putting the cost of paying for pricey certifications, inspections and high insurance plans solely on them. This is why the things you buy the most – such as milk and eggs – are dirt-cheap compared to their organic counterparts. Zap! That good deal just gave you a buzz that encourages you to resist organic.

So, allow me to attempt to rewire your brain a bit – or perhaps free it – with 10 reasons that organic is worth it!

Organic farmers get no government subsidies or handouts. Whether you are liberal or conservative, that’s a good thing. Although, it does mean that your tax dollars are paying for all that cheap food.

You will automatically become an environmentalist without having to make a donation or show up for a protest. Here’s a short list of things organic farmers help keep totally out of our soil, water, air and bodies: toxic fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, sewage sludge, antibiotics and growth hormones. All of these are known to cause grave physical damage in people as well as bees, bats, frogs, and fish.

You will be healthier. You can pay more now or pay later (in health care costs). Agricultural chemicals are known to cause diabetes, obesity, cancer, allergies, asthma, infertility, miscarriage, birth defects, ADHD and perhaps even autism. And we’ve only scratched the surface in understanding what damage these toxins are doing to our health.

You can feel good about your contribution to a better world. It’s kind of like making a charitable donation, but instead of it filtering through a middleman, your money directly helps an entire chain of good people, families, and the environment they affect. Your health, too.

 

You are supporting families and businesses that are making the world better. I have seen this with my own eyes over and over again. Farm families that thought they would lose their farms because of the fluctuations of commodity milk prices switch to organic and not only save their farms, but also find that they are all healthier and happier as a result. And the companies that help them transition, like Organic Valley, are truly wonderful companies that do great things for their farmers, their customers, their employees, and the whole community.

You will be helping to prevent climate change. Seriously! Organic soil holds much more carbon, uses much less fossil fuel resources – which aren’t just used in tractors but are in the toxic chemicals that are made from fossil fuels used in nonorganic farming practices – and sustains habitats for all the creatures that help keep our planet healthy.

You will be helping to prevent droughts and floods. Research at the Rodale Institute and many other institutions have shown that organic soil is much more absorbent than chemically farmed soil. That means it holds more water during droughts and floods. Plants grown organically also have a much bigger and more resilient root system, so they can last longer in extreme weather.

You will be doing your part to leave the world a better place than you found it. Really, what is the price of that? And all you have to do is go food shopping and eat yummy stuff and perhaps buy organic cotton clothing for your body and home (cotton is one of the most toxic crops on the planet).

Karma Points: When you pay more for good things, other people can afford to pay you more. This is where the true economic brain rewiring happens. It might not seem like a direct link from one thing to another, but as Ellen Ruppell Shell shows in her book, everything is connected economically. Our obsession with cheap stuff actually shrinks all of our economies and pocketbooks and makes it much harder for employers to increase wages and spending. Try it. You’ll see it works. And at the very least, you will eat better in the process.

And lastly, it just tastes better. You are getting better-quality food that nine times out of 10 does taste better. Just ask my kids. Here’s what my seven-year-old said when she was eating a salad out at a restaurant in Manhattan: “This doesn’t taste good — it doesn’t taste organic; organic is better!”


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3 Ways We Sabotage Ourselves + How To Stop

BY ALLY HAMILTON   SEPTEMBER 19, 2013 

Most of us feel stuck at one time or another. Life isn’t looking like the picture we had in our head, things aren’t flowing, and frustration and despair set in.

Of course, this only compounds the problem, because when you’re feeling listless, discouraged and depressed, it’s very hard to get motivated. Feeling paralyzed is awful, and doubting your ability to live a life that feels good can be a very isolating experience.

Here are three ways people tend to block themselves, along with three ways to drop-kick those blocks across your path so you can get moving again.

1. We compare ourselves to others.

Many people look around and feel “less than.” They see a peer who somehow seems to be living a life where things come easily, and they wonder why they aren’t getting the breaks. Or they elevate other people and think, I could never do that because I’m not as outgoing, or attractive, or [fill-in-the-blank].

We live in interesting times where much of our interaction takes place over the internet. It’s easy to feel like everyone else has this glossy, perfect life when you base it on status updates, pithy tweets or hazy Instagram pictures. Everyone suffers and everyone struggles. Most people just don’t post about it. I’m questioning my ability to have an impact on the world around me. or I’m wondering what I’m doing here. or I feel alone in a world that doesn’t make sense to me.

Most people are not going to post that.

The more we focus on what other people are doing or having or being, the less energy we have to shine. And I’m not suggesting you should feel better because everyone else feels confused, too. I’m saying life is so much about what we do with what we’re given. Your power lies in your response. And you can respond with fear and tell yourself you don’t measure up, or you can respond with love and direct your energy toward uncovering and sharing your own particular gifts.

If you’re having a rough day, that isn’t the time to troll Facebook, because you’ll probably end up feeling worse. Think about what you’re feeding yourself, and I don’t just mean your body. Think about what you’re feeding your mind and your heart, too. Everything we take in is food, it’s fuel, it’s energy. Feed yourself the stuff that strengthens you.


2. We live with a harsh inner dialogue.

I know many people who quit before they try. They ask themselves, Who am I to…? But the real question is, Who are you NOT to…?

It’s important to remember there are roughly seven billion people on the planet at this point, and only one YOU. You’re made up of about 100 trillion cells that have never come together in exactly the same way before, and won’t again. You have a particular song to sing, and if you don’t belt it out, that’s a song the world never gets to hear.

If you’re doubting whether or not you have something meaningful to offer, consider that no one but you has had your experiences, your memories, your ideas, your fears or your dreams. You have a unique perspective, although the themes of your life are likely to be universal. You never know how you might shine a light for someone else simply by sharing what’s in your heart. And the joy in this life comes through connection, through giving and opening and accepting. Feed a loving voice. Feed a voice you want to hang out with, and starve the voice that asks you “who you are” to do anything.

3. We procrastinate.

Many people have dreams and ideas and the pull to follow their hearts, but the effort to follow through on this can feel so daunting. The idea that things will have to change can also create a lot of fear. If you’re trying to make a huge shift in your life, small steps get the job done. If you look at the whole task, you’re likely to feel defeated before you begin.

You have an inner “yes” that you can trust. If that yes is pulling on you, it’s pointless to resist, because what you’re opposing is a life that’s going to feel good to you. Just do one small thing, take one positive step.

And keep putting one foot in front of the other. You don’t have to make it all happen today. But try to make something happen. That’s how you start to trust yourself and build the confidence required to make those big changes when you must. You watch yourself following that inner GPS, and you realize you can act on your own behalf, and that it feels right and good.

“Stand up to your obstacles and do something about them. 
You will find that they haven’t half the strength you think they have.”
 ~Norman Vincent Peale



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How Desire Fools Us: The Benefits and Dangers of The Chase

Desire brings us joy. Learn to harness its benefits while avoiding its dangers.

by Emma M. Seppala, Ph.D. in Feeling It           August 13, 2013

Why do we love to chase? What is so intriguingly attractive about hard-to-get partners, Black Friday sales, and the very latest iPhone? Whether it’s for a trophy, a promotion, a slice at a popular pizza parlor, or Twitter followers, desire simply gets us all fired up.

Anticipatory Joy

A cat will chase a toy mouse because a good chase activates its brain’s reward system. The same is true for us. We experience anticipatory joy. In other words, anticipation of a desired outcome makes us feel good. Research by Stanford University’s Brian Knutson shows that just looking at the object of our desire activates neural signals associated with the release of dopamine (a neurotransmitter released during reward signaling) in the brain. Knutson’s research suggests that we don’t just derive happiness from attaining, receiving, or consuming the object of our desires, we also do so from anticipating it i.e. it’s not just eating the cake that makes us happy but also staring at it through the storefront. Think of anticipating a fantastic vacation, or a reunion with a friend you haven’t seen in a long time, or a meal at your favorite restaurant. This may be the reason why people go window-shopping, gamble, test-drive ferarris or go to strip clubs. Although they can’t possess the object of their desire, they experience the titillating state of anticipatory joy.

Loving The Chase Helps us Survive & Thrive

In his book Authentic Happiness, psychologist Martin Seligman describes a telling story of a pet iguana who refused to eat and was slowly starving to death until, one day, he saw his owner eating a sandwich. That’s when the iguana pounced on the plate with the sandwich. The iguana would rather starve to death than not experience the pleasure of chasing, hunting and capturing the food. This anticipatory joy—prevalent in both animals and humans—probably helped us survive (pursuit of food sources) and ensured our reproduction as a species (pursuit of sexual partners). Anticipatory joy also helps us complete more complex and challenging goals by providing us with the determination, excitement, and grit needed to complete marathons, college or graduate school degrees, or fluency in a foreign language. We enjoy chasing our dreams and also value things more if we have worked for them.

However, our love of a good chase carries with it some dangers to be aware of. Can we avoid the pitfalls of chasing while still harnessing the benefits of anticipatory joy? You bet! Here’s how:

HOW TO AVOID THE DANGERS

1) Runnin’ for Nothin’

Oftentimes, the things we chase don’t bring us what we want. Dan Gilbert at Harvard has shown that we are terrible at predicting what will or will not make us happy and we often overestimate the amount of happiness something will bring us. Just like a cat who will chase its toy but lose interest as soon as it catches the toy, we sometimes do too.When we finally get what we want—whether it’s winning the lottery, receiving the promotion, or finding the perfect job—we often find that we are not as happy as we thought we would be. Some people love to seduce but as soon as their romantic partner is smitten, they lose interest; others purchase a dream car, and shortly thereafter want to trade it in or regret not having chosen a different model. Our anticipatory joy itself deceives us. We falling prey to habituation or the negativity bias.


2) Risking Health and Happiness

When we don’t find the joy we were expecting, we move on to the next chase…sometimes ad infinitum. Many will go from relationship to relationship, car to car, apartment to apartment and job to job. The chase is like that of a dehydrated man running after a fata morgana – the mirage of an oasis in the desert. In some cases, the chase runs our lives. Research by Michael Treadway has shown that people who are more motivated to work hard also release greater amounts of dopamine in reward areas of the brain. Many overachieving Ivy Leaguers and CEO’s are on the treadmill of workaholism which is just another chase in disguise. Granted, this kind of chase may pay off and result in external rewards such as validation, fame, power or money. However, it also often comes at a high cost: exhaustion, divorce, and health problems. Others succumb retail therapy or get addicted to gambling. Consumed with the chase, they miss out on our life, on being in the present moment with loved ones, on savoring what they already have.

3) Being Taken for a Ride

Marketers play on our anticipatory joy by telling us that we will be happier if we buy or consume certain products. Sales, discounts and special offers are nothing but a play on anticipatory joy. So are casinos and horse-races. Driven by anticipatory joy (that can turn into addiction), recreational drug users often describe their addiction as a constant chase after that elusive first high.

HOW TO HARNESS THE BENEFITS

Chasing has its benefits that we can harness with awareness. For example, it can also help us achieve our professional and personal goals. Positive Psychologists agree that there are benefits to having goals, especially when it comes to goals with meaning. A life of meaning is a life well lived. So how can we work with the positive effects of loving a good chase (the willingness to work hard, for example), without falling prey to its possible dangers?

1. Use Anticipatory Joy as a Tool

Be aware of your brain’s love of a chase, and use it as a tool to foster the enthusiasm and energy you need to complete your goals. Rev up your anticipatory joy by looking forward to your end result, whether it is recognition or payment or even the satisfaction of crossing it off of your to-do list. Whatever the source of your anticipatory joy, use it as a motivator but also remember to stay realistic about the fact that the end goal may not bring you the unbounded pleasure you imagine.

2. Maintain Balance and Keep it Real

Learn to maintain a balance. If your anticipatory gets you over-excited, learn to calm yourself down (try breathing exercises, like the ones I describe in this post or meditation whose impact I describe in this post), write in your diary and reason with yourself as you would with a friend, or speak to others who have gone through the experiences you are about to have and can help you realistically assess the amount of joy you will derive from them.

3. Remember What the Research Says about True Happiness

Remember that happiness researchers agree that the key to happiness—after having adequate food and shelter—lies in personal relationships and social connection. Most importantly, recent research shows that some of the deepest feelings of fulfillment don’t actually come from buying, purchasing, acquiring or succeeding at all, but that they actually come from giving.

Many philosophies entertain the intriguing idea that the secret to happiness lies with in us. If you remember anything from this post, take this last question with you: If you yourself are activating your brain’s own reward circuits by thinking of or seeing your desired object (before you even have a chance to possess it), then where is the real source of joy? Is the key to reward or happiness really in that object, or is it in fact inside of you?


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Spices and Herbs With a Huge Impact

Medicinal herbs and spices have been used with great effectiveness from ancient times.

Find out how these seven spices & herbs can make a huge impact on your daily health.

Cloves – Found to have the highes
t antioxidant content of all spices an be used as a painkiller and has been used for centuries to treat tooth aches and gum pain. Eases cold and allergies, and oil of clo
ves is useful as antiseptic in mouthwash.

Oregano – 1/2 tsp has the same amount of antioxidants as a quarter cup of almonds and four times the antioxidant activity of blueberries…Go greek make a greek salad and sprinkle on the oregano Oregano is rich in Vitamin K, iron, maganese, and kills e.coli, salmonella, and virtually all food-borne pathogens.

Ginger – Over 50 antioxidants have been found in ginger. It helps increase circulation, calms digestive problems. Ginger has also been used to treat food poisoning, shown to lower cholesterol, treat arthritis, reduce inflammation, and can be used to help increase insulin sensivity in diabetics.


Cinnamon – Plays an important role in regulating blood sugar in people with diabetes. Clinical studies have shown a consistent intake of cinnamon daily help reduce glucose, triglyceride, and LDL cholestrol with type II diabetics.

Tumeric – The bright neon yellow color comes from the phytochemical Curcumin and can eliminate cancer cells, help reduce obesity, and metabolic diseases. Scientists have found by creating a new molecule from curcumin, called CNB-001, this molecule triggers the mechanisms that safeguard and restore brain cells after a stroke.

Rosemary – Blocks HCAs or carcinogenic compounds found your favorite grilled meats. Rosemary oil can improve cognitive performance and fight off free radical’s that cause Alzheimer’s, stroke, and dementia.

Mustard – The compound AITC compound found in mustard seed is known to be an anti-cancer compound – this plant compound is also found in wasabi & horseradish. Studies show that AITC, stopped the growth of bladder cancer by 33%.

source: www.foodlve.com


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10 Things You Might Not Know About Love

By Barbara Fredrickson, Special to CNN       Thu January 24, 2013

Editor’s note: Barbara Fredrickson is the Kenan Distinguished Professor of Psychology and director of the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Laboratory at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is the author of a new book on love.

(CNN) – In writing the book “Love 2.0: How Our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything We Feel, Think, Do, and Become,” here are 10 lessons I have learned:

1. It can be hard to talk about love in scientific terms because people have strong pre-existing ideas about it.

The vision of love that emerges from the latest science requires a radical shift. I learned that I need to ask people to step back from their current views of love long enough to consider it from a different perspective: their body’s perspective. Love is not romance. It’s not sexual desire. It’s not even that special bond you feel with family or significant others.

And perhaps most challenging of all, love is neither lasting nor unconditional. The radical shift we need to make is this: Love, as your body experiences it, is a micro-moment of connection shared with another.

Barbara Fredrickson studies positive psychology.

2. Love is not exclusive.

We tend to think of love in the same breath as loved ones. When you take these to be only your innermost circle of family and friends, you inadvertently and severely constrain your opportunities for health, growth and well-being.

In reality, you can experience micro-moments of connection with anyone — whether your soul mate or a stranger. So long as you feel safe and can forge the right kind of connection, the conditions for experiencing the emotion of love are in place.

3. Love doesn’t belong to one person.

We tend to think of emotions as private events, confined to one person’s mind and skin. Upgrading our view of love defies this logic. Evidence suggests that when you really “click” with someone else, a discernible yet momentary synchrony emerges between the two of you, as your gestures and biochemistries, even your respective neural firings, come to mirror one another in a pattern I call positivity resonance. Love is a biological wave of good feeling and mutual care that rolls through two or more brains and bodies at once.

4. Making eye contact is a key gateway for love.

Your body has the built-in ability to “catch” the emotions of those around you, making your prospects for love – defined as micro-moments of positivity resonance — nearly limitless. As hopeful as this sounds, I also learned that you can thwart this natural ability if you don’t make eye contact with the other person. Meeting eyes is a key gatekeeper to neural synchrony.

5. Love fortifies the connection between your brain and your heart, making you healthier.

Decades of research show that people who are more socially connected live longer and healthier lives. Yet precisely how social ties affect health has remained one of the great mysteries of science.

My research team and I recently learned that when we randomly assign one group of people to learn ways to create more micro-moments of love in daily live, we lastingly improve the function of the vagus nerve, a key conduit that connects your brain to your heart. This discovery provides a new window into how micro-moments of love serve as nutrients for your health.


6. Your immune cells reflect your past experiences of love.

Too often, you get the message that your future prospects hinge on your DNA. Yet the ways that your genes get expressed at the cellular level depends mightily on many factors, including whether you consider yourself to be socially connected or chronically lonely.

My team is now investigating the cellular effects of love, testing whether people who build more micro-moments of love in daily life also build healthier immune cells.

7. Small emotional moments can have disproportionately large biological effects.

It can seem surprising that an experience that lasts just a micro-moment can have any lasting effect on your health and longevity. Yet I learned that there’s an important feedback loop at work here, an upward spiral between your social and your physical well-being.

That is, your micro-moments of love not only make you healthier, but being healthier builds your capacity for love. Little by little, love begets love by improving your health. And health begets health by improving your capacity for love.

8. Don’t take a loving marriage for granted.

Writing this book has profoundly changed my personal view of love. I used to uphold love as that constant, steady force that all but defines my marriage. While that constant, steady force still exists, I now see our bond as a product of the many micro-moments of positivity resonance that my husband and I have shared over the years. This shakes me out of any complacency that tempts me to take our love for granted. Love is something we should re-cultivate every single day.

9. Love and compassion can be one and the same.

If we reimagine love as micro-moments of shared positivity, it can seem like love requires that you always feel happy. I learned that this isn’t true. You can experience a micro-moment of love even as you or the person with whom you connect suffers.

Love doesn’t require that you ignore or suppress negativity. It simply requires that some element of kindness, empathy or appreciation be added to the mix. Compassion is the form love takes when suffering occurs.

10. Simply upgrading your view of love changes your capacity for it.

The latest science offers new lenses through which to see your every interaction. The people I interviewed for the book shared incredibly moving stories about how they used micro-moments of connection to make dramatic turnarounds in their personal and work lives.

One of the most hopeful things I learned is that when people take just a minute or so each day to think about whether they felt connected and attuned to others, they initiate a cascade of benefits. And this is something you could start doing today, having learned even just this much more about how love works.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Barbara Fredrickson.

 source: CNN