Our Better Health

Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


Leave a comment

How Your Gut Bacteria Controls Your Mood

Your intestines has about 39 trillion microorganisms in it. And yes I said trillion. We call this collection of organisms the microbiome and it consists of mostly bacteria, but also viruses and fungi. Collectively it weighs about 3 pounds which is about the same weight as your brain.

We feed these organisms and they produce chemicals that we need. They send messages to the brain through the vagus nerve.

Several factors determine whether or not your have good vs. bad bacteria:

  • Diet
  • Medications
  • Age
  • Sleep
  • Activity level

Download a guide on gut health here: https://MarksPsychiatry.com/gut-health

source: Dr. Tracey Marks

gut-brain

 Gut Bacteria Is Key Factor in Childhood Obesity

Summary:

Scientists suggest that gut bacteria and its interactions with immune cells and metabolic organs, including fat tissue, play a key role in childhood obesity.

New information published by scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Health suggests that gut bacteria and its interactions with immune cells and metabolic organs, including fat tissue, play a key role in childhood obesity.

“The medical community used to think that obesity was a result of consuming too many calories. However, a series of studies over the past decade has confirmed that the microbes living in our gut are not only associated with obesity but also are one of the causes,” said Hariom Yadav, Ph.D., lead author of the review and assistant professor of molecular medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine, part of Wake Forest Baptist.

In the United States, the percentage of children and adolescents affected by obesity has more than tripled since the 1970s, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Obesity is increasing at 2.3% rate each year among school-aged children, which is unacceptably high and indicates worrisome prospects for the next generation’s health, the article states.

Yadav’s manuscript, published in the current issue of the journal Obesity Reviews, reviewed existing studies (animal and human) on how the interaction between gut microbiome and immune cells can be passed from mother to baby as early as gestation and can contribute to childhood obesity.

The review also described how a mother’s health, diet, exercise level, antibiotic use, birth method (natural or cesarean), and feeding method (formula or breast milk) can affect the risk of obesity in her children.

“This compilation of current research should be very useful for doctors, nutritionists and dietitians to discuss with their patients because so many of these factors can be changed if people have enough good information,” Yadav said. “We also wanted to identify gaps in the science for future research.”

In addition, having a better understanding of the role of the gut microbiome and obesity in both mothers and their children hopefully will help scientists design more successful preventive and therapeutic strategies to check the rise of obesity in children, he said.

Story Source:

Materials provided by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

Halle J. Kincaid, Ravinder Nagpal, Hariom Yadav. Microbiome‐immune‐metabolic axis in the epidemic of childhood obesity: Evidence and opportunities. Obesity Reviews, 2019; DOI: 10.1111/obr.12963

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center         ScienceDaily, 30 October 2019 source:  www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191030132704.htm

Brain-Food

The Best Diet For Good Mental Health

People eating the right diet experience better mental health and a stronger sense of wellbeing.

Diet can have a very real effect on mental health, according to the latest review of the research.

People eating the right diet experience better mental health and a stronger sense of wellbeing.

For example, there is good evidence that the Mediterranean diet can improve depression and anxiety.

Here are ten typical ingredients of the Mediterranean diet:

  • Green leafy vegetables,
  • other vegetables,
  • nuts,
  • berries,
  • beans,
  • whole grains,
  • fish,
  • poultry,
  • olive oil,
  • and wine.

The Mediterranean diet is anti-inflammatory as it includes more vitamins, fibre and unsaturated fats.

Vitamin B12 has also been shown to help with depression, poor memory and fatigue.

For those with epilepsy, a ketogenic diet, which is high in fat and low in carbohydrates, can be helpful.

However, in other areas the effects of diet on mental health are less strong.

For example, the evidence that vitamin D supplements are beneficial for mental health is relatively weak.

Professor Suzanne Dickson, study co-author, said:

“We have found that there is increasing evidence of a link between a poor diet and the worsening of mood disorders, including anxiety and depression.
However, many common beliefs about the health effects of certain foods are not supported by solid evidence.”

The conclusions come from a review of the research in nutritional psychiatry.

For some conditions, the evidence was comparatively thin, said Professor Dickson:

“With individual conditions, we often found very mixed evidence.
With ADHD for example, we can see an increase in the quantity of refined sugar in the diet seems to increase ADHD and hyperactivity, whereas eating more fresh fruit and vegetables seems to protect against these conditions.
But there are comparatively few studies, and many of them don’t last long enough to show long-term effects.”

Nutrition during pregnancy is very important and can significantly affect brain function, the researchers found.

However, the effect of many diets on mental health is small, said Professor Dickson:

“In healthy adults dietary effects on mental health are fairly small, and that makes detecting these effects difficult: it may be that dietary supplementation only works if there are deficiencies due to a poor diet.
We also need to consider genetics: subtle differences in metabolism may mean that some people respond better to changes in diet that others.
There are also practical difficulties which need to be overcome in testing diets.
A food is not a drug, so it needs to be tested differently to a drug.
We can give someone a dummy pill to see if there is an improvement due to the placebo effect, but you can’t easily give people dummy food.
Nutritional psychiatry is a new field.
The message of this paper is that the effects of diet on mental health are real, but that we need to be careful about jumping to conclusions on the base of provisional evidence.
We need more studies on the long-term effects of everyday diets.”

About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004.

The study was published in the journal European Neuropsychopharmacology (Adan et al., 2019).

source: PsyBlog


1 Comment

 ‘A Life of Choice’: Routine, Ritual or Habit?

Grabbing a mask on the way out the door and a thorough hand-wash upon returning home, or perhaps more commonly staying home and meeting virtually for work and fun are just a few of the new habits picked up during the pandemic, and experts say some might stick around even after restrictions lift.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced many people to change their habits, something that is usually very difficult for people to do.

“If you want to adopt a new habit, it’s like climbing up a mountain, and I imagine so many people would respond to the pandemic as a habit imposed on them,” Sam Maglio, professor of marketing and psychology at the University of Toronto, told CTVNews.ca in a phone interview on June 16.

Having rules and regulations in place has made it a lot easier for people to adopt the new rules, such as mask-wearing and physical distancing.

“When we talk about habits sticking, people often look to individual factors such as willpower, motivation, and decision. But “friction” in our environment also makes a difference – friction involves factors that make behaviours we want to do easier and behaviours we do not want to do harder,” clinical psychologist and board director with Anxiety Canada Melanie Badali told CTVNews.ca in an email.

WHY HABITS STICK

Determining if these habits will persist post-pandemic gets a bit hazy for Maglio, because while we can see each other’s behaviour, we never really know the “why” behind it.

“It is kind of a black box, you don’t really know why or what need is being satisfied by that behaviour. So, I would imagine that the answer, the peek inside that black box, might be very different for the different habits that people are expecting to stick around after the pandemic.”

And some habits that people want to maintain, such as remote work, virtual cocktails and at-home workouts, come with benefits. They can eliminate lengthy commutes, for example, or save money by making DIY cocktails and skipping the gym membership.

“A consistent theme through all of that, is people are doing it because they are, at least they think they are, getting some sort of benefit from this new pattern of behaviour that the pandemic forced them to adopt,” said Maglio.

It’s evidence people can find the silver lining in a situation, even one as challenging as the pandemic has been.

“One of the silver linings that comes out of this might be an 18-month hard reset on kind of just going along with the day-to-day and approach to how we’ve always done stuff,” said Maglio.

mask girl

ROUTINE, RITUAL OR HABIT?

And some of the habits picked up along the way, such as wearing a mask, and washing hands upon returning home have become ritualized.

“Rituals can make your life better by giving a sense of consistency,” he said.

A daily ritual such as making the bed each morning can set the tone for the entire day, he added.

Already, putting masks on has become such a part of our daily lives that when those restrictions begin to lift, some might feel naked without them.

“That ‘where’s my mask?’ might be the phantom phone ring of 2021, where it’s something that you think is there, but you don’t need to be there,” said Maglio.

Some of our new habits or rituals may make returning to normal life a bit awkward as we readjust to eased restrictions. For Maglio, because his mask hid his smile, he began laughing out loud while checking out at the grocery store, and he’s not sure that it’s a voluntary response anymore.

“It’s become automatic to make a sound, because for a while, the visual cue hasn’t been there,” he said.

The automatic behaviour is what he believes will carry on after restrictions are lifted, whether they are good behaviours or bad.

“Having an automaticity, for better or worse, is likely to stick around for a while until we learn that some stuff that we picked up isn’t needed or is destructive, and maybe the silver lining is that some stuff is helpful,” he added.

But for some people, wearing a mask and following physical distancing guidelines and other pandemic related restrictions has been more difficult. Badali says that this behaviour is to be expected.

“For some people, putting on a mask before they leave their home may be a routine (they have to think about putting on their mask) rather than a habit (they automatically grab their mask after their keys and put it on),” she said.

Some routines, she added, can turn into habits, especially if there’s a reward involved, such as a midnight snack. So some habits might come on faster than others, and some may be hard to break.

“In general, the habit memory system learns slowly over time and is resistant to change. Habits are like “autopilot mode” – we have to consciously switch out of it but it will remain the default setting for a while as your brain learns a new habit. The good news is that habits are more conducive to change when people are experiencing disruption in routines,” said Badali.

It will be important to pay attention to context as restrictions ease and lift across the country as it may no longer benefit to continue a habit.

“Habit loops may cease to be rewarded or reinforced when public health recommendations change,” she said.

We may also find ourselves quickly and easily returning to old, pre-pandemic habits, because as the saying goes: Old habits die hard.

“In areas where we return to pre-pandemic-like environments, we may find that we shift easily to old habits because habit memories are there to be activated. As the world opens up, we may fall back into old routines and habits mindlessly. There is an opportunity for us to be mindful about routines and habits in a way that enables us to choose what still fits for us and what we want to change,” said Badali.

WHEN FEAR INFORMS HABIT

Some people may be more anxious than others about losing the mask and getting up close with strangers on the bus or subway. For those who look upon those days with a sense of dread, Badali recommends using cognitive behavioural therapy techniques to help with the fear and anxiety.

“It is possible that mask-wearing, hand sanitizer use and other behaviours, could transition from beneficial behaviours that are worth doing to unhelpful behaviours that don’t really offer much benefit in terms of actual safety and, in fact, start to become problems because they fuel our anxiety,” she said. “The solution becomes the problem. In cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) for anxiety, we often look for “safety behaviours” that are used in an attempt to prevent harm and to feel more comfortable in anxiety-provoking situations.”

For Badali, it’s important to keep up to date with the science and pandemic guidelines.

“My advice would be, live a life of choice. Follow the science rather than letting emotions boss you around. Don’t get stuck. Take small steps if you need to do so.”

Brooke Taylor   CTVNews.ca Writer     @newsmanbrooke      TORONTO    Wednesday, June 23, 2021

source: CTV News


Leave a comment

What The Western Diet Does To The Immune System

Diets rich in two nutrients harm immune cells in the gut, putting people at high risk of intestinal infections.

A diet rich in fat and sugar damages particular immune cells named Paneth cells that produce antimicrobial molecules keeping inflammation and microbes under control.

Highly specialised Paneth cells are located in the small intestine where nutrients from food are absorbed and sent to the bloodstream.

Western diets are high in processed foods and fat and sugar, which cause Paneth cells to not work properly.

Paneth cell dysfunction cause abnormalities in the gut immune system which in turn leads to infections (disease-causing microbes) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a study has found.

Dr Ta-Chiang Liu, the study’s first author, said:

“Inflammatory bowel disease has historically been a problem primarily in Western countries such as the U.S., but it’s becoming more common globally as more and more people adopt Western lifestyles.

Our research showed that long-term consumption of a Western-style diet high in fat and sugar impairs the function of immune cells in the gut in ways that could promote inflammatory bowel disease or increase the risk of intestinal infections.”

IBD patients often have defective Paneth cells, which are responsible for setting off inflammation in the small intestine.

For instance, Paneth cells can no longer function in patients with Crohn’s disease, which is a type of IBD and marked by fatigue, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and anaemia.

The research team examined Paneth cells of 400 adults and found that the higher the body mass index (BMI) the worse these cells looked.

Frequent consumption of foods high in sugar and fat causes weight gain and has many health consequences.

These two macronutrients generally make up more than 40 percent of the calories of a typical Western diet.

The scientists fed mice a high sugar, high fat diet and in two months they became obese and had abnormal Paneth cells.

Dr Liu said:

“Eating too much of a healthy diet didn’t affect the Paneth cells.

It was the high-fat, high-sugar diet that was the problem.”

When a healthy diet replaced the Western diet, within four weeks, the Paneth cells were restored to normal.

Dr Liu said:

“This was a short-term experiment, just eight weeks.

In people, obesity doesn’t occur overnight or even in eight weeks.

It’s possible that if you have Western diet for so long, you cross a point of no return and your Paneth cells don’t recover even if you change your diet.

We’d need to do more research before we can say whether this process is reversible in people.”

In addition, deoxycholic acid (a secondary bile acid produce by bacteria in the gut) is involved in carbohydrate and fat metabolism.

Bile acid plays a key role regarding Paneth cell abnormality since it increases the activity of the farnesoid X receptor (involved in sugar and fat metabolism) and type 1 interferon (part of the immune system active in the antiviral responses) thus hindersing Paneth cell from working properly.

The study was published in the Cell Host & Microbe (Liu et al., 2021).

June 11, 2021        source:  Psyblog

fruits-veggies

Is a Plant-Centered Diet Better for Your Heart?

More evidence suggests the long-standing belief that eating low amounts of saturated fats to ward off heart disease may not be entirely correct.

A new study that followed more than 4,800 people over 32 years shows that a plant-centered diet was more likely to be associated with a lower risk of future coronary heart disease and stroke, compared with focusing on fewer saturated fats alone.

“It’s true that low-saturated fat actually lowers LDL [or bad] cholesterol, but it cannot predict cardiovascular disease,” says lead study author Yuni Choi, PhD, postdoctoral researcher in the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health at the University of Minnesota. “Our research strongly supports the fact that plant-based diet patterns are good for cardiovascular health.”

To assess diet patterns of study participants, the researchers conducted three detailed diet history interviews over the follow-up period and then calculated scores for each using the A Priori Diet Quality Score (APDQS). Higher APDQS scores were associated with higher intake of nutritionally rich plant foods and less high-fat meats. While those who consumed less saturated fats and plant-centered diets had lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels, or lower levels of “bad” cholesterol, only the latter diet was also associated with a lower risk of heart disease and stroke over the long term.

Choi said targeting just single nutrients such as total or saturated fat doesn’t consider those fats found in healthy plant-based foods with cardioprotective properties, such as avocado, extra virgin olive oil, walnuts, and dark chocolate. Based on study results, she recommends those conscious of heart health fill their plates with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, legumes and even a little coffee and tea, which were associated with a low risk of cardiovascular disease.

“More than 80% should be plant-sourced foods and then nonfried fish, poultry, and low-fat dairy in moderation,” she says.

“I think in focusing just on nutrients, we oversimplify the heart [health] diet hypothesis and miss the very important plant component,” says research team leader David Jacobs, PhD, professor, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health at the University of Minnesota. “If you tend to eat a plant-centered diet you will tend to eat less saturated fats because that’s just the way the plant kingdom works.”

Following a plant-centered diet is consistent with the American Heart Association’s (AHA) existing recommendations to minimize saturated fats and emphasize fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, says Linda Van Horn, PhD, professor, and chief of the Department of Preventive Medicine’s Nutrition Division at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and a member of the AHA’s Nutrition Committee.

“There is no question that current intakes of plant-based carbohydrate, protein and fat are below what is recommended and moving in that direction would be a nutritious improvement,” she says, noting, however, that this doesn’t necessarily mean everyone needs to be on a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Given that plant-centered diets have been associated with lowering the risk of other diseases, the researchers are now looking to better understand how APDQS scores impact chronic conditions such obesity, diabetes, and kidney disease. They’ll also be researching how diet affects gut bacteria as they expect eating plant-based foods provides more fiber and promotes healthy microbiomes.

“I think that diet patterns provide a really solid base for the public and policy makers to think about what a healthy diet really is,” Jacobs says.

SOURCES

Nutrition 2021: “Which Predicts Incident Cardiovascular Disease Better: A Plant-Centered Diet or a Low-Saturated Fat Diet? The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study.”

Yuni Choi, PhD, postdoctoral researcher, Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Minnesota.

Linda Van Horn, PhD, professor, chief of the Department of Preventive Medicine’s Nutrition Division, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago.

David Jacobs, PhD, professor of epidemiology and community health, University of Minnesota.7

By Rosalind Stefanac           June 10, 2021         source:   Medscape Medical News    WebMD


2 Comments

5 Happiness Hacks That Take 5 Minutes Or Less

Feeling stressed or down? These science-backed tips will boost your mood quickly.

So often, the habits that experts recommend to increase happiness aren’t compatible with actual daily life. Who has time to sit down for an extended meditation session when you’re juggling 1,000 different things?

Fortunately, there is plenty you can do to boost your well-being throughout the day in just a few minutes. Here are five research-backed happiness “hacks” that take five minutes or less, but pay dividends all day long.

1. Tackle your hardest task.

Loretta Graziano Breuning, founder of Inner Mammal Institute and author of “Habits of a Happy Brain,” believes that humans can essentially rewire their brains. How so? By understanding that we have certain “happy chemicals” that were inherited from earlier mammals — and using that knowledge to develop habits that turn those chemicals on.

One of those chemicals is dopamine, which Breuning describes as “a sense of accomplishment,” and you can stimulate dopamine by going straight at your most difficult task of the day — ideally pretty early on. Have an email you’ve been putting off? A particularly challenging stretch of child care? A deadline you need to hit, or a difficult conversation you’ve been putting off? Tackle it first.

(If the task you’re taking on isn’t something you can complete in five minutes or less, break it into smaller chunks. Then start with one.)

Ultimately, the goal is to “focus on a specific target,” Breuning said, and to celebrate yourself when you’re done. It might feel counterintuitive to tackle a hard task when you’re looking for a feeling of happiness, but stimulating dopamine in your brain can help keep you humming along (and feeling proud of yourself!) all day long.

2. Take 10 deep breaths.

In a December study led by a team of researchers with the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Healthy Minds, experts broke down the four pillars they believe are essential to cultivating mental well-being: awareness, connection, insight and purpose. All these sound pretty lofty, but the pillars can be broken down into small daily habits that, over time, train the brain.

When it comes to awareness, for example, one of the simplest exercises to try is just breathing. Close your eyes and focus on the act of taking 10 breaths, the researchers suggested. That’s it! (Or consider 4-7-8 breathing. Or roll breathing. Or any of the hundreds of other types of focused breathing. Just find one or two methods that feel good to you so you’ll actually stick to it.)

Ultimately, research really does show how powerful mindfulness meditation can help to lessen feelings of anxiety and stress both in the moment and in the longer term. But the good news is that you don’t need to spend a huge chunk of your day doing it.

3. Listen to a happy song. (Bonus points for dancing!)

When you’re exhausted or dragging, press play on an upbeat song. Research shows hearing happy music is on par with mindfulness meditation.

For example, in a 2016 study of older adults with Alzheimer’s, listening to music improved their sense of well-being and mood and lowered their feelings of stress. On the other end of the spectrum, studies have shown that singing to babies in the NICU helps to keep them “quietly alert” and reduced parental stress.

Bonus points for dancing or moving your body along with the music, which can help increase your energy levels even further while zapping stress.

4. For a few minutes, focus on the people who’ve got your back.

According to Breuning, another key “happy chemical” is oxytocin, which people tend to think of as the love hormone, though she thinks of it as more closely tied to feelings of trust. To stimulate oxytocin quickly, she recommended thinking about the people you trust. Ask yourself: “If I need support, who will be there?” Breuning said.

You might go ahead and connect with that person by sending them a quick text or giving them a call, (or if you’re together at home, giving them a quick hug). And those simple moments of social connection with someone you love and admire are a big-time happiness booster.

But just thinking about who is in your “herd” can be enough, Breuning said. It stimulates your brain’s oxytocin, which helps you feel safe and secure.

5. Do something kind for someone. (Or just think kind thoughts!)

Research shows that daily acts of kindness are a simple way to boost happiness and they don’t have to be big. What matters is that you’re deliberate about it.

“Intentionally set a goal to be kinder to others,” experts at the Mayo Clinic suggest . “Express sincerely felt kindness to a co-worker. Make a special effort to extend kind words to a neighbor. Hold the elevator for someone or take time to help a loved one.”

Experts also now understand that it can be equally powerful (at least from a happiness-boosting perspective) to simply spend some time cultivating a sense of kindness toward someone in your own head — whether or not that person even knows it.

The Center for Healthy Minds recommended thinking about things you admire about that person. Then “recall situations where they expressed these qualities and then imagine expressing your appreciation,” the group noted. “You can then extend this to people you don’t know very well and eventually even to people you find challenging.”

By spending some time sending happy thoughts someone else’s way, you’ll bring a bit of joy into your own life.

By Catherine Pearson   05/12/2021 

source: HuffPost Life


3 Comments

Canada Becomes Second Nation in the World to Legalize Marijuana

(CNN) Recreational marijuana use will soon be legal in Canada after the Senate passed a “historic” bill on Tuesday with a vote of 52-29.

Canada is only the second country in the world – and the first G7 nation – to implement legislation to permit a nationwide marijuana market. In the neighboring US, nine states and the District of Columbia now allow for recreational marijuana use, and 30 allow for medical use.

Bill C-45, otherwise known as the Cannabis Act, stems from a campaign pledge of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to keep marijuana away from underage users and reduce related crime.

The act to legalize the recreational use of weed was first introduced on April 13, 2017, and was later passed at the House of Commons in November. The Senate passage of the bill was the final hurdle in the process.

Uruguay was the first country to legalize marijuana’s production, sale and consumption in December 2013.

Although the Canadian government had initially stated its intent to implement by July 2018, provinces and territories, who will be responsible for drafting their own rules for marijuana sales, have advised that they would need eight to 12 weeks after the Senate approval to transition to the new framework.

The government is expected to choose a date in early or mid September.

Study Finds Alcohol Makes You Aggressive; Pot, Pretty Much the Opposite

On Twitter, Trudeau praised the bill and focused on Canada’s youth.

@JustinTrudeau
It’s been too easy for our kids to get marijuana – and for criminals to reap the profits. Today, we change that. Our plan to legalize & regulate marijuana just passed the Senate. #PromiseKept

“It’s been too easy for our kids to get marijuana – and for criminals to reap the profits. Today, we change that. Our plan to legalize & regulate marijuana just passed the Senate,” he tweeted.

The justice minister, Jody Wilson-Raybould, also applauded the vote.

“This is an historic milestone for progressive policy in Canada,” she tweeted. “This legislation will help protect our youth from the risks of cannabis while keeping profits out of the hands of criminals and organized crime.”

cannabis-infographic

What’s legal and what’s not

Once the bill is formally approved, adults will be able to carry and share up to 30 grams of legal marijuana in public. They also will be allowed to cultivate up to four plants in their households and prepare products such as edibles for personal use.

However, stringent rules will still govern the purchase and use of marijuana.

Consumers are expected to purchase marijuana from retailers regulated by provinces, territories or — when neither of those options are available – federally licensed producers. Marijuana will also not be sold in the same location as alcohol or tobacco.

The Canadian government has also implemented changes to their impaired driving laws, to address repercussions for driving under the influence of cannabis.

The bill set a floor on the minimum age of the consumer at 18 years, and makes the production, distribution, or sale of cannabis products an offense for minors.

While provinces can increase the minimum age, the intent is to continue to discourage Canadian youth from pot use, by establishing many of the same restrictions that exist for cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Canada Plans to Use Its Marijuana Revenue in the Best Possible Way

Market boom

C-45 is also expected to spark a billion-dollar industry, given total spending on marijuana could surge as high as 58%, especially as users are expected to be willing to pay a premium for legal access to the drug.

In the United States, BDS Analytics estimated that the pot industry took in nearly $9 billion in sales in 2017. The revenue from the sales is equivalent to the entire snack bar industry.

As a result, the attempts to legalize cannibas for recreational use have caused Canadian marijuana companies like Canopy Growth Corp., Aphria Inc., and Aurora Cannabis Inc. to become the center of investor frenzy.

As provinces decide local rules of implementation, marijuana availability will vary across the country. In Alberta, recreational weed will be widely available at more than 200 private retailers across the province. On the opposite end of the spectrum, marijuana availability will only be provided in 40 state-run shops in Ontario. In Newfoundland and Labrador, it will be available in Loblaws grocery stores.

By Bani Sapra, CNN          Wed June 20, 2018
 
CNN’s Mary McDougall and Madison Park contributed to this report.
source: cnn.com

 


Leave a comment

Fun Fact Friday

  • Girls who have more ‘guy friends’ than ‘girl friends’ go through less depression and anxiety.
  • Napping actually improves stamina, boosts your creativity, boosts your sex life and reduces stress.
  • Blowing out candles on birthday cakes results in roughly 3000 bacteria capable of forming colonies on the cake.
  • Blood donors in Sweden are sent a text message every time their blood is used to save a life.
  • The most used drug worldwide is caffeine.
  • If two people are having a dispute, the angrier one is usually wrong. This is because anger clouds judgement.
  • When feeling depressed, do some cleaning. Straightening out the physical aspects of your life can also bring clarity to the mental one.

 

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


Leave a comment

Is Social Media Good For You?

Using social media can have benefits for your mental health, but only if you use it in the right way

Whether I’m standing on the tram, sitting in a café, or walking down the street, I’m struck by the sight of so many people looking down at their phones, scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or a myriad of other social media platforms.

I immediately ask myself, in this increasingly technological age, what is the impact of constant social media use on our mental health?

On one hand, it allows us to stay up-to-date and connected. I can find out what friends in America and around the world are doing at any time of day or night.

On the other, it’s hard to carry on a normal conversation without someone compulsively checking their feed, rendered paranoid by FOMO (fear of missing out). A person might have thousands of “friends”, but feel completely alone.

So is social media good or bad for us? In a new study published in the Journal of Mental Health, PhD student Elizabeth Seabrook, Dr Nikki Rickard from Monash University and myself found that it is not as clear-cut as you might think.

We reviewed 70 studies that have examined how social network use relates to depression, anxiety, and subjective well being. Results were mixed. Some studies found social media users were happier and more connected with other people.

But other studies found that social media users had more signs of depression or anxiety. So we also looked at various factors that had an impact on when it is beneficial or harmful.

socialmedia-mentalhealth

Studies were conducted between 2005 and 2016, mostly with adolescents and young adults. Most focused on Facebook, with a few studies centred around the use of Twitter, MySpace, or social media in general.

These studies examined a variety of themes, including how much time people spent on social media, the number of friends they had, and whether or not they liked and felt accepted by their friends.

Also examined were the words they used, how much personal information they shared, whether they compared themselves with others, and how much they felt addicted to social media.

social_media_health
Someone can have thousands of online ‘friends’ but still feel alone.

Across the studies, it appears that it’s not so much that social media causes anxiety and depression, but that people have different ways of using social media, which may be more or less helpful.

For example, Chris, who reported high levels of wellbeing, liked to use Facebook to catch up on the latest gossip and share with others fun things that happened during the day.

Meanwhile, Carey, who suffers from depression, spent hours browsing the newsfeed, and bemoaning how nice everyone else’s life seems.

For many, social media appears to have a range of benefits. It provides a way for many of us to connect with others. We can support other people and feel supported by them. It may even be a useful way for those with social anxiety and those who have a hard time with face-to-face interactions to connect with others.

But for those with depression or anxiety, it could make their symptoms worse. Indeed people who often compared themselves to their friends, ruminated about life, or had negative interactions with others, were at greater risk of depression and anxiety.

Notably, the number of hours that people spent on social media didn’t make a clear difference – it was more the feeling of being addicted to it. It seems like what a person writes about is more indicative of their state of mental health than the number of hours spent online.

Those with symptoms of depression were more likely to be jealous of their friends, compare themselves to others, and use negative language when using social media. This is similar to what I’ve seen in some of my other research, which points to the power of the words that we use.

A growing number of studies suggest that we might be able to use data from social media use to identify people suffering from depression or anxiety, thereby providing the possibility for offering support and resources for those who might not otherwise get the help they need.

social_media_health

So what can we take away from the study? We each have unique patterns in how we use social media, in terms of the language we use and how we behave when we are using it.

Do you keep your friends updated on your activities? Post pictures of your family? Complain about work or other people? Passively browse news feeds without commenting? Do you feel like it helps you connect with others, or do you feel addicted and controlled by it?

As a whole, our review suggests that it is valuable to pause and consider what our behavioural patterns are. By understanding them better, we potentially can make better choices about how to best use social media, as well as use it to promote good mental health.

By Dr Peggy Kern, University of Melbourne


Leave a comment

So You Want to Wear a Safety Pin

THIS.

What a Witch

rainbow-safety-pin

Great. This is a necessary behavior in the face of the election of the most overtly racist, sexist, xenophobic, anti- gender and sexual minority candidate in the history of the modern United States. You know the rhetoric of his campaign was wrong. It was the very worst thing about America and you want to do what you can to combat the result. Good. Do that.

But don’t do it without a plan. Because the very last thing a tense situation needs is someone full of good intentions but with no knowledge of de-escalation tactics or self-defense. Your intentions are not a tangible shield. If you don’t make a plan, you will get yourself or the person you are trying to defend very killed.

Let’s avoid that.

So make a plan.

Some of you can stop reading now. You have, or know how to make a plan and you don’t need…

View original post 1,105 more words


Leave a comment

We Get by With a Little Health Help From Our Friends

Friendship might be even more golden than we think. A study finds that having good relationships with friends and family boosts not just your mental health, but physical one as well.

Researchers combined data from four large studies that have been following, for decades, the physical and mental well-being of thousands of Americans between the ages of 12 and 91. They focused on social ties that participants reported, such as number of friends and amount of family support, and markers of physical health, including obesity, blood pressure and inflammation, over subsequent years.

The researchers found that the more socially connected a person was, the lower their blood pressure down the road. For adolescents, being popular also seemed to protect against becoming overweight and, specifically, from gaining weight in the mid-section.

“These findings add support for the theory that social integration buffers the daily stresses that we all experience [by] having people to talk to, share experiences and the hassles of everyday life with,” said Kathleen Mullan Harris, professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina. Harris led the new research, which was published on January 4 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

When we are socially isolated and don’t have this buffer, we may have higher levels of stress hormones in the body such as adrenaline that “breaks down the body and biological systems,” Harris said.

“We hope our research will bring attention within the biomedical field to the importance of social factors and that doctors seeing their patients even in an annual visit will not just see what risks they have like diabetes but ask them about their social activities,” Harris said. Doctors could encourage patients to develop their social connections and engage in more activities, she said.

Why social connections boost health

Research has piled up over the years suggesting that loneliness can kill. Social isolation has been linked with 30% higher risk of early death. It has also been associated with higher risk of diseases “across the board,” such as heart disease, stroke and cancer, Harris said.

The current study is a big stride forward because it supports the idea that social connections could be directly influencing health rather than the other way around, said Julianne Holt-Lunstad, associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Young University.

There have been questions over whether health outcomes such as obesity could actually be causing people to become more socially isolated, said Holt-Lunstad, who was not involved in the current study but has conducted research on the social relationships and risk of death. However, because the current study followed participants over time, it could tell that people were already socially isolated before they became overweight or developed high-blood pressure.

Friends, family and spouses could be having beneficial effects on stress levels and other physiological markers, Holt-Lunstad said. But there could also be a slew of additional ways that these relationships boost our health.

“It can be everything from the time we’re little we have our parents encouraging us to eat our vegetables … to a spouse or romantic partner encouraging us to get more sleep,” Holt-Lunstad said. Friends and family can make us more likely to adhere with medical treatments and make doctor’s appointments, she added.

However, friends can also have negative effects on your health. If you have close relationships with smokers, you are more likely to smoke, for example, Holt-Lunstad said.

friendship

 

It depends on how old you are

The kinds of health benefits that we stand to gain through better social relationships probably depends on what age we are, Harris said.

For adolescents, social connections have a similar effect on weight as exercise. The young people in this study could be especially at risk of becoming overweight because they belong to a cohort from the late 1990s when the obesity epidemic really took off, said Harris, who is director of the adolescent cohort Add Health.

Among the older adults in this study, social isolation was about as big a risk factor for developing high-blood pressure as having diabetes. These connections could be especially important later in life because that is when people are really at risk of high-blood pressure later, Harris said.

Unlike with the young and older age groups, social integration did not seem to influence measures such as weight and blood pressure for middle-aged adults. However, while the quantity of relationships did not seem to matter, the quality did. Participants in this age group who reported having the most relationship strain had higher levels of BMI and C-reactive protein than those reporting the least strain.

“It makes perfect sense from a life course perspective — in middle age you are naturally embedded in so many networks [with children, parents, your community], it’s almost involuntary that you’re in all these networks,” Harris said. Instead, “it was more what those connections give you.”

You have to have the right friends

One of the strengths of this study is that it found a dose effect of social relationships, meaning the more relationships you have, the greater the health benefits, Holt-Lunstad said.

“Many people assume there’s a threshold effect – if you’re lonely or isolated you’re at risk, but as long as you’ve got someone in your life you’re OK,” Holt-Lunstad said.

Having a mix of different relationships also could be beneficial.

“Different people in your life potentially influence you in different ways … by having these different relationships we may be tapping into additional (biological) pathways that combine to a stronger effect,” Holt-Lunstad said.
“We can all benefit from taking our relationships just as seriously for our health as we do other lifestyle factors,” she said.

 

By Carina Storrs, special to CNN     Fri January 15, 2016
 
source: cnn.com


1 Comment

Fun Fact Friday

  • Lonely is not a feeling when you are alone. Lonely is a feeling when no one cares…
  • Singing helps to reduce depression and anxiety, increases the oxygen flow to your lungs and helps you have better posture.
  • Women speak about 7,000 words a day – Men average just over 2,000.  
  • White noise is the mixture of every frequency detectable by the human ear,
    just like white light is the sum of every color in the rainbow.
  • Only humans cry because of feelings
    Strawberries
  • Strawberries can whiten teeth
  • Ironically, the word “verb” is a noun.
  • Having a large amount of hair on your body is linked to having higher intelligence 
  • Because the English language is so complex, every day the average person will create a sentence that has never been said before.
  • Drinking alcohol is 100 times more dangerous than using marijuana, according to a study.
  • Studies show that the walking through a doorway causes memory lapses,
    which is why we walk into another room, only to forget why we did.
  • The most powerful way to win an argument is by asking questions.
    It can make people see the flaws in their logic.
  • Women reach full emotional maturity around age 32,
    while men finish maturing around age 43.
  • Research shows that reminding yourself that a good moment will end
    and that you need to enjoy it while it lasts actually makes you happier.

Happy Friday  🙂

source:       factualfacts.com       https://twitter.com/Fact       @Fact