Our Better Health

Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


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The Most Overlooked Factor in Depression Recovery

Only relatively small changes are needed to see benefits to depressive symptoms.

A healthy diet is one of the most overlooked factors in recovering from depression, recent research claims.

The Mediterranean diet in particular provides the vitamins and minerals the body and brain need.

Dr Vicent Balanzá, one of the study’s authors, explained that the brain…

“…needs an adequate intake of key nutrients, such as polyunsaturated fatty acids Omega-3, essential amino acids, B-group vitamins (B12 and folate), vitamin D and minerals like zinc, magnesium and iron.
A balanced and high-quality diet, such as the Mediterranean, provides all of these, but in cases of deficiencies, nutritional supplements are advisable.”

The Mediterranean diet is good for both the brain and the body, Dr Balanzá said:

“At the population level, we had scientific evidence that Mediterranean diet is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cognitive impairment.
Now we also know that it reduces the risk of depression.
These are strong arguments to preserve a cultural -and wholesome- treasure that has been transmitted over time,”

The study explains the best way of getting the required nutrients:

“A traditional whole-food diet, consisting of higher intakes of foods such as vegetables, fruits, seafood, whole grains, lean meat, nuts, and legumes, with avoidance of processed foods, is more likely to provide the nutrients that afford resiliency against the pathogenesis of mental disorders.”

This is far from the first study to highlight the importance of diet in treating depression.

A recent study of 15,093 people who were followed over 10 years, found…

“A Mediterranean diet including fruits, vegetables and legumes can prevent depression, a large new study finds.
People only had to make relatively small changes to see the benefits.
The scientist think that depression could be partly down to a lack of essential nutrients.
People who reported eating more nuts, fruits and vegetables were considered to be following the Mediterranean diet more closely.
Those who ate more meats and sweets were considered to be moving away from the healthy diet.
The benefits of the diet are likely related to higher levels of omega 3 and other essential nutrients.”

The study was published in the journal The Lancet Psychiatry (Sarris et al., 2015).

source: PsyBlog


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Depression: This Tiny Change to Diet Has Protective Effect

This small change to your diet could be enough to reduce the risk of depression.

A Mediterranean diet including fruits, vegetables and legumes can prevent depression, a large new study finds.

People only had to make relatively small changes to see the benefits.

The scientist think that depression could be partly down to a lack of essential nutrients.

The study included 15,093 people who were followed over 10 years.

People who reported eating more nuts, fruits and vegetables were considered to be following the Mediterranean diet more closely.

Those who ate more meats and sweets were considered to be moving away from the healthy diet.

The benefits of the diet are likely related to higher levels of omega 3 and other essential nutrients.

Dr Almudena Sanchez-Villegas, who led the research, said:

“We wanted to understand what role nutrition plays in mental health, as we believe certain dietary patterns could protect our minds.
These diets are all associated with physical health benefits and now we find that they could have a positive effect on our mental health.
The protective role is ascribed to their nutritional properties, where nuts, legumes, fruits and vegetables (sources of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals) could reduce the risk of depression.”

Relatively small dietary changes were enough to reduce depression risk, Dr Sanchez-Villegas explained:

“A threshold effect may exist.
The noticeable difference occurs when participants start to follow a healthier diet.
Even a moderate adherence to these healthy dietary patterns was associated with an important reduction in the risk of developing depression.
However, we saw no extra benefit when participants showed high or very high adherence to the diets.
So, once the threshold is achieved, the reduced risk plateaus even if participants were stricter with their diets and eating more healthily.
This dose-response pattern is compatible with the hypothesis that suboptimal intake of some nutrients (mainly located in low adherence levels) may represent a risk factor for future depression.”

The research was published in the journal BMC Medicine (Sánchez-Villegas et al., 2015).
source: PsyBlog


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Natural Ways to Boost Testosterone

Add Zing to Your Meals

Onions and garlic are your allies in the kitchen and in the bedroom. They help you make more and better sperm. Both raise levels of a hormone that triggers your body to make testosterone. And both have high levels of natural plant chemical called flavonoids, which safeguard your li’l swimmers against damage.

Pile on the Protein

Lean beef, chicken, fish, and eggs are some of your options. Tofu, nuts, and seeds have protein, too. Try to get about 5 to 6 ounces per day, although the ideal amount for you depends on your age, sex, and how active you are. When you don’t eat enough of these foods, your body makes more of a substance that binds with testosterone, leaving you with less T available to do its job.

Go Fish

Fatty kinds like salmon, tuna, and mackerel are rich with vitamin D. It’s a natural testosterone booster because it plays a crucial role in hormone production.

More Magnesium

This mineral blocks a protein from binding with testosterone. The result? More of the usable man-stuff floating around in your blood. Spinach is packed with magnesium. Almonds, cashews, and peanuts are good sources, too.

Order Oysters

There’s a reason why these mollusks are known for being great for fertility. They have almost five times your recommended daily dose of zinc. This mineral helps your body make testosterone. You can also get it in beef and beans. And it’s often added to breakfast cereal.

Bonus: Zinc boosts your immune system.

pomegranate-juice

 

Pick Pomegranate

Start your day with a glass of this ancient seedy fruit’s juice instead of OJ. It lowers levels of stress hormones, such as cortisol, which helps raise levels of sex hormones including testosterone. And it can lower your blood pressure and put you in a better mood!

Diet Down

A Mediterranean-style diet can help keep your weight in check and protect you from insulin resistance, which is related to lower T levels. And when your testosterone is low, your fat levels go up, which can lead to your body not using insulin well. You can break this cycle.

Trade saturated fats for healthier ones such as olive oil, avocado, and nuts. Choose lean meats and whole grains. Eat lots of veggies and fruits.

Back Off the Beer

It takes only 5 days of regular drinking for your testosterone level to drop. Alcohol may throw off many parts of your body’s hormone system. Heavy drinkers can have shrunken testes, thin chest and beard hair, and higher levels of the female hormone estrogen.

Use Glass, Not Plastic

Be careful about what you store your leftovers in. Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a chemical found in some plastics, cans, and other food packaging. It can mess with your hormone-making process. After 6 months, men who worked around BPA every day had lower testosterone levels than men who didn’t.

Build Your Strength

Focus your workouts on your muscles. Hit the weight room at the gym, or get a trainer to help you with a routine on the exercise machines. Cardio has its benefits, but it doesn’t boost your testosterone like strength training can.

Be careful to not overdo it. Too much exercise can take your T level in the other direction.

Get Enough ZZZs

Your body turns up the testosterone when you fall asleep. The levels peak when you start dreaming and stay there until you wake up. But daytime testosterone levels can drop up to 15% when you get only 5 hours of sleep. Aim for 7 or 8 hours every night, even if it means a shift in your schedule or a limit to your late-night plans.

source: www.webmd.com


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5 Health Lessons We Can Learn From The Greeks

BY MARIA BENARDIS   NOVEMBER 12, 2013

The word “diet” comes from the ancient Greek “diaita,” which means “the way of life.” In Ancient Greece, a diet was about good health, not radical weight loss or getting into a certain outfit.

My book, Cooking & Eating Wisdom for Better Health, empowers people with the tools of how to cook intuitively using healing ingredients that harmonize your body and mind. Cooking and eating will become a time to celebrate, a time to deeply connect with yourself, a time to awaken to new experiences and to heal. I encourage people to explore and rediscover how to use nature for personal healing instead of solely relying on medicine.

Below are five health tips culled from the wisdom of the ancient Greeks:

1. Adopt a Mediterranean diet.

As was inscribed on the temple of Apollo at Delphi, “Nothing in excess.” The Mediterranean diet is based on eating everything in moderation and to “let food be thy medicine and medicine thy food,” as Hippocrates said. The Mediterranean diet is high in fruit and vegetables, legumes, unrefined cereals, dairy products (mainly cheese, such as goat’s and sheep’s cheeses, and yogurt), and olive oil is the principal oil. Fish and poultry are consumed in low to moderate quantities, and meat is eaten only occasionally. This diet focuses on a high healthy fat intake (olive oil, nuts and seeds) and a low intake of unhealthy fats (animal fats). Their intake of high energy food such as fruit and vegetables is greater than the intake of low energy foods such as meat, fish and poultry. Honey and grape must are the key sweeteners, and are preferred to white sugar.

2. Cook with wholesome ingredients.

Use ingredients that come from a place of “agapi” (Greek word for unconditional love). For me, this means local, certified organic and sustainable produce that’s in season. Use good oils for your dishes. Some good sources of oils include extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, walnut oil, and coconut oil. Avoid restaurants that use vegetable oils, canola oil/corn oil/cotton seed oil (these are usually genetically modified), peanut oil, hydrogenated oil and palm oil.

Opt not to use ingredients riddled with chemicals and pesticides, or GMOs. The kind of energy emitted by chemicals and pesticides diminishes our spiritual energy and our ability to connect with ourselves. Chemicals, GMOs and pesticides alter the harmonious balance of the food and when consumed alter our inner balance and make us ill, both physically and emotionally.

You should also consume probiotic foods such as Greek yogurt and fermented vegetables to ensure good gut health; they’re called “probiotic” because they are “for life.”

salad

3. Adopt healthy and happy thoughts.

Those who approached the Oracle at Delphi were encouraged to have “good thoughts”. An excess of unhappy thoughts can cause an imbalance in the body and lead to many illnesses. Inner balance and agapi cannot coexist with worry, stress, anger, frustration, fear, anxiety and competitiveness. These feelings or experiences do not create good feelings or good energy when cooking, eating or for our health. Ultimately, we are responsible for our health and well-being, so it’s important to substitute fear with faith.

4. Moderate exercise.

According to Hippocrates, “If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health.” Incorporate at least half an hour exercise each day for good health and vitality. Exercise is also a great way to reduce stress and to lower blood pressure.

5. Eat with peace and calm.

Another important eating practice for good health and longevity is to eat with peace, calm and joy. It is important not to rush meal times. In Greece, people leave their work for lunch to go home and to enjoy the meal with their families and friends. When we rush our eating time it interrupts the harmony, the flow of energy and the time needed to enjoy a meal that in the end will nourish and heal our body and soul.

To ensure a long, healthy life we all need to eat mindfully and to become aware of the food w eat. We also need to take note of how the food we are eating affects the way we feel. Eat for the purpose of nourishing, and eat clean ingredients free of chemicals and pesticides — just like they did in ancient Greece. Do things in life that make you happy to ensure a healthy, happy mind and thoughts; and, of course, get some moderate exercise daily.