Which of these uncomplicated activities to you do most days?
Do these most days and it will help protect your mental health.
1. Dwell on the positive
Positive memories could be used as a way to help boost mental well-being, research finds.
People in the study were asked to focus on positive social memories.
Participants focused on their own positive feelings from that memory as well as on the positive feelings of the other person.
The results showed that people felt socially safer and more positive and relaxed after the exercise.
At the same time feelings of guilt and fear were reduced.
2. Drink some tea
Tea is both calming and can make you feel more alert.
It improves cognitive performance in the short-term and may help fight Alzheimer’s in the long-term.
Finally, it is linked to better mental health.
I’ll raise a cup to that!
3. Be calm about minor irritations
Dealing with the minor stresses and strains of everyday life in a positive way is key to long-term health, a study finds.
The research found that people who remained calm or cheerful in the face of irritations had a lower risk of inflammation.
4. Don’t watch the news
Viewing violent news events on social media can cause symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
A recent study has found that almost one-quarter of individuals had PTSD-like symptoms from following events like 9/11 and suicide bombings on social media.
The more people viewed the events, researchers found, the greater the subsequent trauma they experienced.
5. Get your micronutrients
Despite consuming more calories than ever, many people do not get their recommended intake of brain-essential nutrients, a study reports.
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.”
6. Look out the window
People who live with a water view have better mental health, research finds.
Don’t live near water? Any sort of green space or even a grassy rooftop will do just as well.
7. A little activity
Compared with inactivity, even ‘mild’ levels of physical activity are linked to 50 percent better mental health, a study finds.
The more exercise people performed, the more protected they were against mental disorders, the research also found.
But both low and high levels of exercise were also linked to more than 50 percent reductions in the risk of suffering mental illness compared with being inactive.
8. Brush your teeth
Brushing your teeth regularly could reduce the risk of dementia by more than one-quarter, research finds.
People with fewer than 20 teeth are 26 percent more likely to develop cognitive problems that could lead to Alzheimer’s.
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 meal timings that increase weight loss, lower blood sugar and fight diabetes.
Starting the day with an energy-boosting breakfast, having a medium-sized lunch and ending with a humble dinner might be the answer to weight loss, research finds.
The study shows that a high-energy breakfast, when added to the meal schedules of obese and type 2 diabetes patients, improves blood glucose levels, and boosts weight loss.
The results revealed that people who ate a high-energy breakfast lost 5 kg (11 pounds) but those in a comparison group put on 1.4 kg (3.1 pounds).
Professor Daniela Jakubowicz, the study’s first author, said:
“The hour of the day — when you eat and how frequently you eat — is more important than what you eat and how many calories you eat.
Our body metabolism changes throughout the day.
A slice of bread consumed at breakfast leads to a lower glucose response and is less fattening than an identical slice of bread consumed in the evening.”
Professor Jakubowicz and colleagues recruited a group of obese and diabetic patients who were on insulin therapy.
The participants were divided randomly into two groups to take the same number of daily calories but with two different diets.
The meal schedule for the first group was a large breakfast, an average lunch, and a light dinner for three months.
The total amount of daily calories was 1,600, in which breakfast made up 50 percent of this number, lunch 33 percent, and dinner 17 percent.
The other group had six meals designed for diabetes and weight loss, consisting of six meals which were distributed evenly during the day.
This group also consumed 1,600 kcal a day, but breakfast made up 20 percent of the proportion, lunch 25 percent, dinner 25 percent — plus they had three snacks, which each counted for 10 percent of total daily calories.
The study compared the impact of each diet plan on appetite, insulin level, weight loss, and concentration of glucose in the blood (overall glycemia) of participants.
After three months, the high-energy breakfast group lost 5 kg (11 pounds) but those who were in the the six-meal group put on 1.4 kg (3.1 pounds) more weight.
Overall, glucose levels in the first high-energy breakfast group decreased by 38 mg/dl but this was 17 mg/dl for the six-meal group.
The insulin dosage in the high-energy breakfast group reduced by 20.5 units per day, but the other group required 2.2 units per day more insulin.
Moreover, the hunger and cravings for carbs reduced a lot in the high-energy breakfast group, while it was the opposite for the other group.
Professor Jakubowicz, said:
“This study shows that, in obese insulin-treated type 2 diabetes patients, a diet with three meals per day, consisting of a big breakfast, average lunch and small dinner, had many rapid and positive effects compared to the traditional diet with six small meals evenly distributed throughout the day: better weight loss, less hunger and better diabetes control while using less insulin.”
The other improvement was a large decrease in overall glycemia within 2 weeks for the high-energy breakfast group.
This was only due to changes in meal timings, suggesting a correct meal schedule itself can positively affect blood sugar levels.
The study was presented at the Endocrine Society Annual Meeting 2018 in Chicago.
About the author
Mina Dean is a Nutritionist and Food Scientist. She holds a BSc in Human Nutrition and an MSc in Food Science.
The diet helps people control their blood sugar more effectively.
Going on a vegan diet accelerates weight loss and reduces harmful belly fat, new research suggests.
People following a plant-based, vegan diet for 16 weeks lost an average of over 12 pounds, including almost 9 pounds of fat mass and belly fat.
More fibre is the most critical element of the diet, researchers think.
Plant-based diets contain plenty of fibre which helps to boost healthy bacteria in the gut.
The study included 147 overweight people who were randomised to a vegan diet or no change for 16 weeks.
The results revealed that a vegan diet reduced weight significantly.
A vegan diet also helped people control their blood sugar more effectively.
The study’s authors write:
“A 16-week low-fat vegan dietary intervention induced changes in gut microbiota that were related to changes in weight, body composition and insulin sensitivity in overweight adults.”
The diet also increased the health of the gut.
People with a greater abundance of critical healthy bacteria in the gut lost more weight.
Bacteria that a vegan diet boosts include Faecalibacterium prausnitzii and Bacteroides fragilis.
The authors conclude:
“A plant-based diet has been shown to be effective in weight management, and in diabetes prevention and treatment.
We have demonstrated that a plant-based diet elicited changes in gut microbiome that were associated with weight loss, reduction in fat mass and visceral fat volume, and increase in insulin sensitivity.”
Fibre is the key to weight loss and a healthy gut, the authors write:
“The main shift in the gut microbiome composition was due to an increased relative content of short-chain fatty acid producing bacteria that feed on fibre.
Therefore, high dietary fibre content seems to be essential for the changes observed in our study.”
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. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) .
The study was presented at the Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) in Barcelona, Spain (Kahleova et al., 2019).
People might change to a plant-based diet because of concerns about animal welfare, the environment or their own health.
But can you be truly healthy on a diet that excludes both meat and dairy?
The answer is a definite yes — but it takes some effort.
Dr Karl: G’day, Dr Karl here.
Way back in 1925, Donald Watson was just 14 years old and living with his family on a farm in Great Britain. One day, he saw a pig being slaughtered.
The pig was terrified and screaming.
This moved Donald so much that he stopped eating meat, and then eventually avoided dairy as well. A few decades later, in 1944 he invented the word “vegan” — by joining together the first and last syllables of the word “vegetarian”.
People sometimes wonder if you can be truly healthy on a diet that excludes both meat and dairy. The answer is definitely yes — but you have to understand your food much more deeply than the person living on meat-and-three-veg.
There are many reasons for changing to a plant-based diet. Some include concerns about animal suffering and cruelty, or about health, while other reasons relate to the environment.
From a health point-of-view, plant-based diets have been linked to lower risks of obesity and many chronic diseases, such as type II diabetes, heart disease, inflammation and cancer. And the evidence does link colorectal cancer with red and processed meats.
But these benefits don’t come without risk.
Clare Collins, Professor in Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Newcastle, says there are four essential nutrients that have to be especially considered if you choose to go vegan. They are vitamin B12, iron, calcium and iodine. If you’re not eating meat or dairy products, you’ll struggle to get a decent supply of them.
Let’s start with vitamin B-12. It’s essential for making DNA, fatty acids, red blood cells and some neurotransmitters in the brain.
A deficiency of B12 can cause a fast heart rate, palpitations, bleeding gums, bowel or bladder changes, tiredness, weakness, and light-headedness — which doesn’t make for a healthy lifestyle.
Vitamin B12 is easily found in animal foods such as meat, milk and dairy products.
But vegans can get only traces of vitamin B12 in some algae and plants that have been exposed to bacteria contaminated by soil or insects, and in some mushrooms or fermented soybeans. So vegans really need to consume foods with vitamin B12 specifically added, like fortified non-dairy milks.
The second micronutrient, calcium, is essential for good bone health – as well as for proper function of the heart, muscles and nerves.
Calcium is abundant in milk and milk-based foods. Vegans can get calcium from tofu, some non-dairy milks with added calcium, as well as nuts, legumes, seeds and some breakfast cereals.
But both vegans and vegetarians usually need a higher calcium intake than meat eaters. That’s because vegetarians and vegans usually eat more plant foods containing chemicals that reduce the absorption of calcium into your body.
These chemicals include oxalic acid (found in spinach and beans) and phytic acid (found in soy, grains, nuts and some raw beans).
Surprisingly, vegans can also be deficient in iodine – which is essential for making thyroid hormones, and the developing central nervous system.
Vegans don’t eat the usual sources of iodine – seafood, dairy products and eggs — but they do eat seaweed, and foods that have added iodine such as salt, some breads, and some non-dairy milks.
So why would vegans be prone to iodine deficiency? Well swallowing iodine is only half the battle — like with calcium, some other foods can reduce your absorption of iodine. If you love your Brassicas – things like cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts — you’re also getting a dose of chemicals in these vegetables that can interfere with the production of the thyroid hormones.
And finally, we come to iron. Most people know that iron can be a problem on a vegetarian or vegan diet. Iron is essential to make the haemoglobin in your red blood cells, which carry oxygen around your body.
It is easy to get enough iron if you eat wholegrain cereals, meats, chicken and fish. And there is iron in some plants — but your body can’t absorb this type of iron as well as it absorbs iron from meat.
You can boost your absorption of plant iron (or ‘non-haem’ iron) by eating vegetables and fruit that are rich in vitamin C. Just don’t have a cuppa at the same time — tea contains chemicals that can reduce your absorption of plant iron even more!
I did say vegans need to understand food much more deeply than meat-eaters!
And if you’ve been a vegan for long time, the list of nutrients you need to keep an eye on gets longer. You also need to watch your vitamin D, omega-3 fats and protein intake.
Finally, vegans have to take even more care with their diet plans if they are pregnant or breastfeeding, or bringing up the children as vegans. In this case, it’s very worthwhile to get the advice of a professional dietician.
So it does take a bit of effort to get all your nutrients from a vegan diet. But take a look around – it’s not like eating meat and animal products is a sure-fire guarantee of healthy eating!
Presenter Dr Karl Kruszelnicki Producer Bernie Hobbs