Tag Archives: nutrition

Scientifically Proven Healthy Habits- Get Back On Track!

Scientifically proven healthy habits: Stress, anxiety, and general unhappiness are all caused by an imbalance in our lives. In other words, a balanced life is a happy life. What are the healthy habits that you want to carry into the future? Love, friends, work, and family are the basic pillars of happiness, but there are other areas that play an important role as well. Exercising, eating well, spirituality, nature, altruism, and down-time are all important “secondary” areas that need to be full and thriving in order to feel the “happiness” that we all strive for. What are the 7 keys to happiness?

Healthy habits

In modern societies, our daily habits are directly related to the four most common causes of death- cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity, and cancer. The WHO (2008) warned about a global epidemic of obesity throughout the world and the costs that would come with it. Correcting just one behavior -drinking, smoking, physical exercise, or diet- ensures that you live a longer and better life. Do you feel trapped in your bad habits? Do you have a hard time finding happiness outside of drinking, going out, eating, and other potentially dangerous habits? It might not seem like it, but healthy doesn’t always mean boring, and not everything good is unhealthy!

Changing your daily habits can have countless benefits on your physical and mental health. Unlike medication and therapy, there is no extra cost, no doctors appointments, and no stigma attached to making lifestyle changes. Healthy habits can also be “neuroprotectors” and help reduce the possibility of cognitive deterioration caused by aging.

Therapy, however, is a great option for many people, especially if it seems like the problems they’re having are more serious than lifestyle changes can help. If you’re thinking about going to therapy, it’s important to know if you should see a psychologist or a psychiatrist, as they have different specialties. Due to financial and institutional pressure, it’s become more common to have “express therapy” sessions, where the psychiatrist will prescribe more medication and spend less time treating the possible psychological symptoms that the patient is suffering from. Before seeing a psychotherapist, try to make some healthy habit changes and see where it takes you.

6 Healthy habits that improve well being

1. Exercise

This healthy habit can help reduce the risk of a number of diseases and is therapeutic for a number of physical alterations from prostate cancer to diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

A number of studies have shown how exercise can help reduce the risk of depression and some neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Anxiety, eating disorders, and depression have also been shown to be reduced through exercise, as well as chronic pain and some symptoms of schizophrenia.

Both aerobic and anaerobic exercise are effective, and it seems that sessions of 30 minutes or more of high intensity workouts are most beneficial.

This healthy habit provides benefits due to its varied effects, like the release of serotonin, which improves sleep, and endorphins. The psychological effects of exercise include improved self-esteem, self perception, interruption of negative thoughts, and relaxation.

2. Diet

There is scientific evidence that proves that a healthy, balanced diet can improve well-being. The ideal diet would be made up of the following:

A diet with a mix of multicolored fruits and vegetables
Fish like salmon has omega-3 acids. Avoid fish with high mercury levels like shark, tuna, etc.
Reduce caloric intake

There are some foods like fish, vegetables, fruit, and a variety of reduced animal fats that are neuroprotectors. There are currently studies being done to test how Vitamin D, folic acid, S-Adenosyl methionine, and fish fat supplements.

healthy habits-Eating

3. Nature

For thousands of years, people knew how to use nature as a source of health and wisdom. Shamans searched for places with abundant nature, yogis delved into the jungle, and Native Americans had their visions in nature. There have been studies conducted about how being in nature can improve subjective, cognitive, emotional attention, and spiritual well-being.

Nature also offers us silence that cities and highly populated areas can’t. The constant movement of human presence has cognitive, emotional, and psychosomatic consequences, which can produce chronic stress, attentional difficulties, and sleep and cardiovascular difficulties. Nature provides with the peace to find ourselves.

4. Social Relationships

Social relationships are a healthy habits that is central to physical and mental well-being. Rich relationships have been shown to reduce health risks from the flu to stroke, death, and multiple other pathologies. Good social habits are associated with happiness, higher quality of life, resilience, cognitive capacity, and even knowledge and wisdom.

These conclusions are based in the field of social neuroscience, which shows that we are independent creatures, made to relate and empathize with others, and equipped with brain systems like mirror neurons.

This healthy habit of maintaining healthy social relationships is very important, and our society today makes us more isolated than every. For example, Americans spend less time with their family and friends, fewer intimate relationships, and are less involved in groups and communities.

5. Recreational activities

Participating in activities just for fun is a healthy habits that helps improve well-being. From a behavioral point of view, people with mood disorders don’t show interest in recreational activities, and participating in these activities has been shown to raise interest. So, the lower you feel, the more important it is to do something you enjoy!

These activities can be anything, from playing games to seeing friends. It also helps improve social relationships and maturation in children. Better sense of humor, reduced stress, and improved mood and immune system are all consequences of taking part in activities that you enjoy.

6. Relaxation and stress management

While stress is universal and often impossible to avoid, there are ways to manage it. Activities like Tai Chi and Qui Gong are becoming more and more popular in modern societies, and have been associated with physical and psychological benefits related to depression and anxiety. Some western stress management techniques are self-hypnosis, visualization, and progressive muscle relaxation. Other competitive techniques like yoga and meditation are practices by hundreds of thousands of people around the world, showing a variety of therapeutic effects.

Tips to promote healthy habits

  1. Do some kind of exercise and get some rest. You don’t have to go out an run a marathon, but getting moving for a few minutes each day will help you make it into a daily habit. And, who knows, maybe you’ll even start to like it!
  2. Reflect on your habits. Do you do anything too much (eating, drinking, etc.)? How do you feel after binging? Balance is key, and there’s time for everything.
  3. Slow down! Stress is the biggest cause of anxiety. If you’re starting to feel stressed, take a break and practice some stress relief techniques.
  4. Do something you life. Our passions are what keep us going, and your life can’t get in the way of having some time just for you.
  5. Spend time with family and friends.

Any questions? Feel free to leave me a comment below 🙂

References

Clark, C., & Stansfeld, S. A. (2007). The effect of transportation noise on health and cognitive development: A review of recent evidence. International Journal of Comparative Psychology, 20, 145–158

Deslandes, A., Moraes, H., Ferreira, C., Veiga, H., Silveria, H., Mouta, R., . . . Laks, J. (2009). Exercise and mental health: Many reasons to move. Neuropsychobiology, 59, 191–198

Gu, Y., Nieves, J. W., Stern, Y., Luchsinger, J. A., & Scarmeas, N. (2010). Food combination and Alzheimer disease risk: A protective diet. Archives of Neurology, 67, 699 –706

Hamer, M., & Chida, Y. (2009). Physical activity and risk of neurodegenerative disease: A systematic review of prospective evidence. Psychological Medicine, 39, 3–11

Jetten, J., Haslam, C., Haslam, S. A., & Branscombe, N. R. (2009). The social cure. Scientific American Mind, 20, 26 –33

Pryor, A., Townsend, M., Maller, C., & Field, K. (2006). Health and well-being naturally: ‘Contact with nature’ in health promotion for targeted individuals, communities and populations. Health Promotion Journal of Australia, 17, 114 –123

Stathopoulou, G., Powers, M., Berry, A., Smits, J., & Otto, M. (2006). Exercise interventions for mental health: A quantitative and qualitative review. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 13, 179 –193

Sui, X., Laditka, J., Church, T., Hardin, J., Chase, N., Davis, K., & Blair, S. (2009). Prospective study of cardiorespiratory fitness and depressive symptoms in women and men. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 43, 546 –552

Walsh, R., & Shapiro, S. (2006). The meeting of meditative disciplines and Western psychology: A mutually enriching dialogue. American Psychologist, 61, 227–239

This article was originally written in Spanish by Xabi Ansorena

Challenge Your Child’s Brain: How To Raise Smart Kids

A child’s brain development is very closely related to experience and external stimuli that they receive from birth. The different senses stimulate the connections that exist between neurons, which helps create new connections. The more connections we have, the more intelligent we believe the child to be, which is why it is important to keep their brain stimulated and challenged during their development. We’ll give you some tips on how to challenge your child’s brain so they’ll be more intelligent.

How to raise smart kids

How to raise smart kids: tips and ideas

-Interact with your kid: Children that don’t play and don’t receive enough affection when they are young have more problems when their brain is developing. Interacting and playing with your kids will show them social skills and affection, and help them develop their intelligence.

-Talk to your child: Even though they can’t express themselves well, talk and listen to them. Doing this will motivate them to develop their communication and language skills. It will also help the child express themselves through writing, which will further develop their intelligence.

-Get them used to exercising: Physical activity and exercise don’t only help the child physically, but they also improve blood flow to the brain, which helps create new brain cells.

-Encourage them to listen to music: Music can have positive effects on the brain. It improves memory, concentration, and learning ability. It can also help combat stress, which damages healthy brain cells. Learning to play an instrument can also be very helpful for brain development.

-Be a good example for your child: If they see you reading and being creative, they will also want to read and be creative. Children learn by imitating their parents…for better or for worse.

-Give your child educational games: There are a ton of games to help your child improve their memory and brain abilities. There are also letter, math, spelling, etc. games. Playing these games can help the child stimulate their brain and keep them entertained.

-Make sure they eat well: Giving your child healthy food will help their brain and body develop. Proteins help improve attention, while carbohydrates found in whole-wheat foods and fruit will give their brain energy. Try to avoid processed foods, which can actually reduce attention and brain activity.

-Bring your child to do things outside: Go on trips to see museums, parks, or anything else they may be interested in. Going out and being exposed to new and educative places can be both fun and useful for their development!

Keeping Your Brain Healthy And Young

Did you know the Milky Way has about 100 billion stars? That sounds like a lot, right? Well, in our brain alone, we have as many nerve cells as the Milky Way has stars. In other words, a lot. With time, these cells start disappearing, but there are ways to keep them young and keep them from aging prematurely. Let me tell you how to keep your brain healthy and young.

keep your brain healthy

Healthy habits to keep your brain healthy

-Eating nutritious foods: Try to avoid processed foods, and eat foods that are high in proteins, carbohydrates, and fats so that your brain has enough energy to make it through the day.

To make sure you’re getting enough healthy fats, try cooking with olive or coconut oil. You can also try to eat more omega 3, which you can find in fish and nuts.

You should also make sure to eat enough foods rich in vitamins B and E, like leafy greens and lean meats. Eating enough fruits and vegetables is also important for your brain health. Try to get a variety of bananas, kiwi, and plums, as they contain antioxidants and help prevent cellular damage.

Lastly, drink more water! Your brain is made up of 85% water, which is why it’s so important to stay hydrated.

-Exercise: Our health starts declining when we’re 25. Yes, twenty-five. Exercising is a great way to stay young and oxygenate our brain. It improves blood blow and helps our body make new branches of neurons.

-Keep good sleep habits: Resting is so important to keep our bodies from aging prematurely. Try to go to bed around the same time every night and get about 7 or 8 ours of sleep a night. It’ll help keep your brain refreshed and ready to take on the next day.

Brain exercises to keep your brain healthy

-Some past times may be good brain exercises, like Sudoku, word searches, or crossword puzzles.

-Memorize letter sequences, images, or numbers. Memory exercises will also help keep your brain young.

-Solve brain teasers and math problems. There are a ton of brain teasers and brain training games on the Internet. Take a look for yourself!

-Read a good book: Reading is a great way to keep your brain alert and exercise it with new ideas and points of view.

-Learn new skills: If you’re constantly learning new things, your brain will adapt and work better.

-Be social! I know it’s nice to stay in and watch TV sometimes, but make sure you get out and interact with other people, whether you get coffee with friends or join a class at the gym. Being with other people and keeping a steady conversation seems easy, but your brain is working to think and come up with an answer, it has to organize your thoughts, and works to imagine new perspectives and different ways to see things.

If you’re able to follow all of these tips, you’ll probably have a healthy brain for many years. It’s important to constantly challenge your brain. Learn something new, go to a place you’ve always wanted to go, learn a new language, play chess, complete a crossword, play brain games online… there are a ton of fun ways to challenge your brain and keep it young and healthy!

Eat More curry for a brain boost?

Eat More curry for a brain boost?

Looking to spice up your cooking with a serious brain booster? While many spices and herbs that flavor foods offer brain health benefits, few hold the promise of the active ingredient most curries – turmeric, the source of a special polyphenol called curcumin.

Used for thousands of years in traditional South Asian cooking and traditional medicine, turmeric is a basic ingredient in curries. Also known as Indian Saffron, the spice gives these dishes their amber coloring and rich, earthy aroma…and provides you with a brain-boosting dose of curcumin.

While used in India and China for centuries in various traditional remedies, it’s been garnering attention in the scientific and medical communities for its impact on mental health, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. In fact, over 4000 scientific publications have focused on curcumin in the last decade. One study of 1,010 participants found that even small amounts of dietary turmeric are clearly linked to lower rates of dementia.