Tag Archives: stress

Indulging in Treats and Napping Just May be Your Key to a Healthy Holiday Season

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The holiday season is full of celebrations. From office parties to family events, everyone gathers to spread a little extra cheer. While people may be wary of what all of the holiday treats will mean for their health, avoiding all of the revelry could cause more harm than good.  Creating a balance between restraint and indulgence will help sustain physical, mental and emotional well-being. Come out of the holiday season feeling just as good as you did when you went in with these easy tips.

Choose wisely.

During the holidays there are tempting treats everywhere you turn. From cookies at the office to fondue at the holiday party, your favorites can be hard to resist. But if you choose your treats wisely, you can guiltlessly enjoy every bite.

Browse the buffet line for healthy options like veggies or fruit, shrimp cocktails or chicken skewers so you won’t have to skip dessert. You can always share a sweet treat with someone else to keep you accountable. And if you’re worried about not having the will power, it’s a good idea to eat 1.5 ounces of healthy protein before an event to keep you feeling satiated.

Don’t deny yourself.

Food is connected to family, culture, tradition and celebration, and it should be a source of enjoyment. Avoid creating a list of items you cannot have. “When it comes to tempting foods, forbidding them only makes you want them even more,” says Debbie Swanson, registered dietician, and nutrition and healthy-cooking tips instructor at The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Colorado. She suggests eating smaller portions of your favorites, such as a bite of pie instead of the whole piece. “My friend makes the best apple pie. I always have two bites,” Swanson says.

Work it off.

The best way to prevent the extra pounds from sneaking up on you is to engage in a regular exercise routine. Doing something as simple as parking farther away from the office or taking the stairs instead of the elevator can help increase the number of steps you take each day.

Individuals typically gain around two pounds during the holidays, according to the Mayo Clinic. “The problem is that we don’t lose the weight,” Swanson says. Rather than adding weight that you have to work off later, maintain a workout regimen or find other ways to burn the calories you consume throughout the busy day.

Make “me” time.

Research over the past two decades has begun to demonstrate the strong connection between mental health and the strength of the immune system, which affects overall physical well-being, according to Jim Wasner, dean for the American School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University | Schaumburg. Wasner says that the strength and resilience of everyone’s overall immune system, feeling depressed or overly anxious, often correlates with poorer physical health and vulnerability to illnesses. “Relax and schedule time for yourself,” he says.” Go easy on the alcohol and sugar. Catch up on your sleep.” Maintaining this overall balance will keep you physically and mentally healthy during the holiday season.

Allow yourself to enjoy the celebrations, just maintain the balance between health-conscious and indulgent decisions so the holidays don’t get the best of you.

Seriously though, be more like this otter images (omg this little guy is so cute and really just wanted a reason to put this somewhere lol) and just chillout a little. The effects of stress and stressing out about a pound or two or and inch or two :p will do you more harm than the laughter and enjoyment you will experience from the little bit of indulgence with good friends and family 😉

When Your Belly Fat Grows and Your Mind Blows, Who You Gonna Call? Stress Busters!

I don’t know about you but stress sucks. Wait, too much stress sucks. From creating sleep disturbances to overeating or just not utilizing food properly, poor workouts and recovery, depression, memory loss and fatigue, chronic stress is a killer.

Even if you are following a healthy eating plan and regularly exercising, too much stress can still damage your mind and body. There are many lifestyle factors (saying no, mindfulness or movement meditation, laughter, sex, lighter workouts, nutritious foods etc.) to reduce this killer in your life and those should be addressed first, but what if there were some other things to help you along?

Everything starts and ends with your brain and your nervous system. Physical stress or breakdown is nothing in comparison to mental burnout. Couple these two and you are in serious trouble. The thing is, if you prioritize the mind, the physical will follow. It may take years if you let it get too far so let’s nip things in the bud and call upon these additional stress busters.

Citicoline. This seems to be a promising supplement that may offer cognitive enhancing effects like memory retention, reduction of depressive symptoms and oxidative damage to the brain (1,2). Adding this to your lifestyle overhaul just might be worth trying.

L-Theanine. This is a no-brainer (lol pun intended) as this is not really a new discovery. L-theanine is an amino acid found in green tea and has both calming effects on your body as well as protective effects on the brain (3,4).

Fruit and Veggie Supplements. There are many “greens” products out there and some really can make a difference. Yes, absolutely you want to eat a ton of produce but supplemental extracts just may be of benefit after all (5).

PUFA’S. This will be of no shock to you maybe but PUFA’s (polyunsaturated fatty acids) like those found in fish oil, have great benefits to your brain and body’s responses to stress (6,7).

Summary

Every body is different and will respond differently to the above but if you are under chronic stress and want to try something additional to lifestyle modifications, you just might want to call on these stress busters.

PLEASE watch this:

 

References:

  1. Xiaonan, Y., Qiyi, M., & Nengrong, P. (2007). A control study of citicoline in the treatemnt of dysmnesia due to MECT [J]. Journal of Clinical Psychosomatic Diseases, 4, 009.
  2. Hatcher, J. F., & Dempsey, R. J. (2002). Citicoline: neuroprotective mechanisms in cerebral ischemia. Journal of neurochemistry, 80(1), 12-23.
  3. Juneja, L. R., Chu, D. C., Okubo, T., Nagato, Y., & Yokogoshi, H. (1999). L-theanine—a unique amino acid of green tea and its relaxation effect in humans. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 10(6), 199-204.
  4. Kimura, K., Ozeki, M., Juneja, L. R., & Ohira, H. (2007). L-Theanine reduces psychological and physiological stress responses. Biological psychology, 74(1), 39-45.
  5. Joseph, J. A., Shukitt-Hale, B., Denisova, N. A., Bielinski, D., Martin, A., McEwen, J. J., & Bickford, P. C. (1999). Reversals of age-related declines in neuronal signal transduction, cognitive, and motor behavioral deficits with blueberry, spinach, or strawberry dietary supplementation. The Journal of Neuroscience, 19(18), 8114-8121.
  6. Ferraz, A. C., Delattre, A. M., Almendra, R. G., Sonagli, M., Borges, C., Araujo, P., … & Lima, M. (2011). Chronic ω-3 fatty acids supplementation promotes beneficial effects on anxiety, cognitive and depressive-like behaviors in rats subjected to a restraint stress protocol. Behavioural brain research, 219(1), 116-122.
  7. Ochoa, J. J., Quiles, J. L., Huertas, J. R., & Mataix, J. (2005). Coenzyme Q10 protects from aging-related oxidative stress and improves mitochondrial function in heart of rats fed a polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA)-rich diet. The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 60(8), 970-975

Music is SO good for your health

I apologize that this isn’t an “MMT original write up” but here is a great tid bit from CBC News Health on how music is medicine. It is not really “my blog style” of a write up (too serious and official-like lol) but read, enjoy, than crank up your tunes and rock on with your bad self for better health 😀

Music as medicine has huge potential, study suggests

McGill University researchers sought patterns in 400 published researcher papers

CBC News

Posted: Apr  1, 2013   9:41 PM ET

Last Updated:  Apr  1, 2013   9:39 PM ET

Music boosts the body’s immune system and is more effective than prescription drugs in reducing anxiety before a surgery, a research review from two psychologists at Montreal’s McGill University suggests.

“I think the promise of music as medicine is that it’s natural and it’s cheap and it doesn’t have the unwanted side effects that many pharmaceutical products do,” said Daniel Levitin, who co-authored the review recently published in the journal Trends in Cognitive Science.

Levitin and post-doctoral researcher Mona Lisa Chanda reviewed 400 published scientific papers, trying to find patterns among the results.

They found that music had documented effects on brain chemistry and associated mental and physical health benefits in four areas:

  • Management of mood.
  • Stress reduction.
  • Boosting immunity.
  • As an aid to social bonding.

The review found 15 studies showing that people’s levels of a stress hormone called cortisol dropped after they listened to relaxing music, indicating a reduction in stress. One paper even compared patients at a hospital before surgery who were randomly assigned to either listen to music or take an anti-anxiety drug such as Valium.

“People who received the music had lower anxiety levels than people who had the drugs and without side effects,” Levitin said.

Drumming reverses effects of aging

Another group of studies found that older adults can boost their immune function, reversing age-related declines, by making music as participants in drumming circles, Levitin said.

'I think the promise of music as medicine is that it's natural and it's cheap and it doesn't have the unwanted side effects that many pharmaceutical products do,' said McGill University researcher Daniel Levitin. ‘I think the promise of music as medicine is that it’s natural and it’s cheap and it doesn’t have the unwanted side effects that many pharmaceutical products do,’ said McGill University researcher Daniel Levitin. (CBC)

The positive effects of music seem to be linked to the fact that music causes neurons in the brain stem, a primitive part of the brain, to be activated in sync with the beat, Levitin added. That has a cascade of chemical effects on the nervous system, typically evoking relaxation if the beat is slow and improving focus and alertness if the beat is faster.

So far, much of the evidence that the health impacts of music are caused by neurochemical changes is indirect, but taken together it does provide “preliminary support” for that claim, the authors wrote.

Nevertheless, Levitin said the idea that music has positive health effects is no longer controversial.

“I think this has gradually become accepted in the medical community,” he said.

Calming dental patients

Dentist Janet Tamo is among those who have already been putting the medical use of music into practice for some time.

Fifteen studies showing that people's levels of a stress hormone called cortisol dropped after they listened to relaxing music, indicating a reduction in stress.Fifteen studies showing that people’s levels of a stress hormone called cortisol dropped after they listened to relaxing music, indicating a reduction in stress. (Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters)

“We have been using music in the office for years to calm people down,” she said. “It actually calms people better than a sedative. It distracts them from what we are doing.”

Her patient Harris Casper confirms that.

“I think it gives me something to put my mind to aside from having people screw around in my mouth,” Casper said during a recent visit. “It is definitely relaxing.”

He added that being immersed in the music of U.S. R&B artist Usher has another positive side effect — it drowns out the sound of the drill.

Patient control important

Studies showed that slower music tends to be more relaxing than faster music, but familiar music is more relaxing, regardless of the type and tempo.

That brings up an important point about the use of music in a medical setting, Levitin said.

“Rather than the doctor saying, ‘Oh, you’ve got depression — take two Joni Mitchells and call me in the morning,’ I think what we need to have is recognition that people need to have control over what they are listening to.”

The study was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada.