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Tips

The Ultimate Guide to Efficient Meal Prepping for a Healthy Week

The Ultimate Guide to Efficient Meal Prepping for a Healthy Week
Meal Prepping
Meal Prepping

Introduction

Are you tired of the daily hassle of deciding what to cook or resorting to unhealthy fast food? Meal prepping is your solution! This guide will walk you through the process of preparing your meals for the week in a few hours, ensuring you eat healthily and save time.

What is Meal Prepping?

Meal prepping is the practice of planning, cooking, and storing your meals in advance. It typically involves dedicating a few hours during the weekend to prepare and portion out all your meals for the coming week.

Benefits of Meal Prepping

  • Saves Time: No daily cooking or decision-making.

  • Healthier Eating: Controls portions and ingredients.

  • Reduces Stress: Eliminates the daily worry of meal planning.

  • Saves Money: Lessens the temptation to eat out.

Step-by-Step Guide to Meal Prepping

1. Plan Your Menu:

Start by planning a simple menu for the week. Include a variety of meals to keep things interesting.

2. Grocery Shopping:

Make a list based on your menu and shop accordingly. Focus on whole, unprocessed foods for healthier options.

3. Prep and Cook:

Wash and chop your ingredients. Cook your meals, focusing on one-pot dishes or baked options for efficiency.

4. Portion and Store:

Divide the meals into individual portions and store them in the fridge or freezer, depending on when you plan to eat them.

Here’s one of our favorite recipes to get you started:

This recipe is tailored for our subscribers who have one or more of the following conditions:

  • Chronic Kidney Disease

  • Diabetes

  • Gout

  • Heart Disease

  • High Cholesterol

  • Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

  • Chronic Kidney Disease

  • Diabetes

  • Gout

  • Heart Disease

  • High Cholesterol

  • Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

Conclusion

Meal prepping is a game-changer for anyone looking to eat healthier, save time, and reduce food-related stress. Start simple, be consistent, and enjoy the journey to a healthier lifestyle!

Exercise Tips

Best Exercises To Do When You Have Crohn’s Disease

Best Exercises To Do When You Have Crohn’s Disease

What is Crohn’s Disease?

Crohn’s disease is a health condition that is categorized as one of the inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs). It causes your bowels (large and small intestines) to become inflamed and irritated, resulting in severe pain and discomfort.

Crohn’s disease is a lifelong condition. Therefore, to enjoy a normal and limitless life, this article is here to guide you on the best exercise you can do when you are diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. 

You are not alone! According to the NIH, it is a relatively common condition, affecting over half a million people in the United States alone.

The effect of this disease can be highly debilitating for those who suffer from it. If you have Crohn’s disease, you may also experience dangerous complications. Complications such as abdominal abscesses, blood clots, and colon cancer are possible, so proper management is critical.

Before we get into the exercises you can do with Crohn’s disease, let’s take a quick look at its diagnosis and symptoms.

Diagnosis and Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease

Diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease:

Only a doctor can provide a confirmatory diagnosis for this condition. To do this, you will be made to go through a series of tests. The most common way to do this is by taking a biopsy of the intestinal wall during a colonoscopy procedure. 

Nevertheless, if you think you may have the condition, let’s move to the next section to see the symptoms of Crohn’s disease.

Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease

The symptoms of this condition can be very unpleasant. The symptoms of Crohn’s disease include the following:

  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Malnutrition
  • Loss of appetite
  • Anemia
  • Weight loss
  • Slow growth (in children)

Is It Safe to Exercise When You Have Crohn’s Disease?

You may wonder if exercising is safe if you have Crohn’s disease because of the severity of the symptoms. It is safe to exercise with Crohn’s disease. 

Even though it is safe to exercise, not every exercise is ideal. This article is here to guide you, so you don’t make a mistake.

Please note that exercises are only recommended during times when you feel better and not when your symptoms are severe. Read on to learn about the exercises you can do even if you have Crohn’s disease.

It is always important to check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program, so even though we are discussing some options here, you should see your doctor before attempting any change in your exercise routine.

Precautions to Take When Exercising

Here are some precautions you should take when exercising if you have Crohn’s disease.

Drink Lots of Water

This will not only help you avoid dehydration, but it will also help you maintain energy and motivation. Also, staying hydrated is a smart way to avoid fatigue.

Avoid Caffeinated Beverages and Alcoholic Drinks

With Crohn’s disease, caffeine is not advisable. It aggravates the symptoms of the condition, causing diarrhea and discomfort.

Diarrhea Means No Exercise

Any day you have diarrhea, you shouldn’t exercise. This will help you avoid dehydration and quicken your recovery.

Hot Weather

Exercise should be avoided in extremely hot weather. You might get heat exhaustion or heat stroke, which, in addition to making you feel awful, can be fatal.

Fatigue

The moment you notice you are becoming fatigued, you should call it a day during exercise. It doesn’t matter how much time you’ve spent. A little exercise is always better than overdoing it.

Locate a Restroom

Since Crohn’s disease affects your gut, it is best to find a place to exercise where restrooms are available and close, just in case you need to use it.

Don’t Eat Immediately After

Yes! It is best you give yourself about two hours after exercising before eating. This will give your body, especially your gut, just enough time to get balanced.

The Benefits of Exercise for People with Crohn’s Disease

Physical activity benefits everyone. Sometimes, it is even more beneficial to those who are diagnosed with life-long conditions. This is because it improves general health and assists the organs of the body in managing the condition better.

Surveys given to people with Crohn’s disease have indicated that exercise is an essential way to manage the condition.

Benefits of Exercise to People with Crohn’s Disease

It Provides Stress Relief

It is very easy to get stressed with Crohn’s disease. Whenever this happens, be reminded that exercise is one of the most significant ways to rescue. Crohn’s disease symptoms can easily worsen when you are stressed, but exercise will help restore calm and make you feel good.

Exercise also influences the release of endorphins. Endorphins are certain chemicals that are produced in the brain that cause you to feel happy, calm, and motivated. These chemicals are capable of reducing stress and depression.

It Will Boost Your Immune System

A stable and working immune system is expedient for good health. Another advantage of exercising for those with Crohn’s disease is that it helps the immune system to function properly. This is a great advantage because a poor immune system is the father of bad health.

In fact, scientists have found that when muscles contract during physical exercise, they produce some chemicals called myokines. These myokines have an anti-inflammatory effect on your body. Do you still remember that Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory disease? This implies that exercise will help you manage the condition better.

It Prevents Bone Loss

The loss of bone mass is called osteoporosis. It is a major concern for individuals who have Crohn’s disease. It happens mainly because of poor absorption of calcium from food and vitamin D deficiency. Exercise is a great way to strengthen the bones. Also, if you exercise in the morning sun, you will absorb more vitamin D, and it will also help your body to produce more calcium. 

Exercises for People with Crohn’s Disease

When it comes to choosing your exercise activity, you should select activities that you like and enjoy. This is because choosing activities that don’t interest you will likely get you bored and tired.

It is also a smart move to select more than one type of exercise to avoid boredom due to monotonicity. If you have not exercised before, it is a good idea to begin slowly and gradually increase how much you do in time if you feel better.

Remember, it is always wise to check with your doctor before any drastic change in your exercise routine.

Why Low-Impact Exercise is Best

Low-impact exercises are best for Crohn’s disease. They provide so many benefits to the body without exposing it to stress. For people with Crohn’s disease, it is best to avoid high-intensity workouts as these may worsen the pain and inflammatory reactions in some people.

Another reason low-impact activities are the best for most people with Crohn’s is that they are not as physically draining as high-impact exercises. They are unlikely to flare up your condition. Rather, they will actually improve your general health and quality of life. The following exercises are recommended for people with Crohn’s disease. 

Low-Impact Aerobic Exercises

Aerobic exercises are also called cardio. They are activities that help to condition the cardiovascular system. They increase the heart rate and the body’s use of oxygen. 

Exercises under this category will keep your heart and blood vessels healthy. For a better experience, it is advisable that you begin slowly and then increase your pace and duration as you adapt better.

It is crucial that you do not overdo any physical exercise but rather slowly, increasing with time; your body will develop stronger endurance and tolerance. If you are, however, uncertain, feel free to ask your doctor for advice.

Examples of Low-Impact Aerobic Exercises

Low-Impact Aerobic Exercises

This is a good type of exercise, to begin with. You can start slowly and walk around your neighborhood. You can spice things up by walking through a natural reserve. You can increase your pace over time. Walking will keep you healthy, energized, and motivated. Bear in mind that there may not be restrooms in nature reserves.

Swimming

You can join a gym or a swimming club if you do not have access to a swimming pool where you live. Never swim alone, even if you are a good swimmer! Also, check if there are lifeguards on duty before you start swimming. This will make swimming safer for you.

Bike Riding

You can use a stationary bike or a regular bicycle to exercise; a stationary bike is more convenient because it enables you to exercise indoors or during bad weather. However, the disadvantage of a stationary bike is that you may quickly get bored. To avoid this, you can get a regular bicycle and ride in clear and cool weather.

Water Aerobics

Water aerobics is great for Crohn’s disease. The easiest way to learn how to do these types of exercises is to join a water aerobics class. Amongst other things, it can also be a fun way to socialize and help reduce stress.

Resistance Exercises

Resistance exercises are those activities that help to increase muscle and bone strength. Joining a gym is usually the best strategy for people who don’t own the right exercise equipment. A trainer can give you further advice on how to exercise safely.

Always remember not to overdo any exercise.

Examples of Resistance Exercises for People with Crohn’s Disease

Pulling Elastic Bands

This is an excellent way to increase your level of resistance. It involves you pulling elastic bands apart. This particular exercise can exercise many muscles of the body at a time.

Lifting Weights

This does not only help to build muscle, but it also helps reduce inflammation in the body.

Squats

Squats work the gluteal muscles and hamstrings at the back of your leg.

Push-Ups

This is a good way to increase the strength of your upper body, including your chest muscles, shoulders, and arms.

Back Extensions

These exercises are a great way to improve your posture while strengthening your back muscles at the same time.

Abdominal Crunches

The abdominal area muscles, including the obliques and rectus abdominis muscles, are strengthened with abdominal crunches.

Meditative Exercises

Stress is the number one drainer of energy. It has a negative effect on the body and is often related to flare-ups of symptoms in people with Crohn’s disease. 

Meditative exercises will help you relax and stay motivated in life. This is why choosing meditative exercises may be very useful and beneficial. Examples of meditative exercises for Crohn’s disease are:

Tai Chi

This is frequently regarded as a good exercise for people of all fitness levels; it entails specific movements and deep breathing.

Yoga

Yoga is one of the most beneficial meditative exercises for people with Crohn’s disease. It will relax the body and train the mind to manage the pain better. 

Some Beneficial Physical Activities That Are Not Really Exercises

Even if you do not wish to begin a specific type of exercise, there are some activities that can help you become more active. Gardening, housework, and dancing are a few examples. Gardening is a fun hobby that gets you outside while also working on your muscles. These simple everyday activities can be combined with the types of exercises mentioned above for better health.

The Importance of Sleep Along With Exercise

Good quality sleep is as essential as exercising for those living with Crohn’s disease. Sleep enhances brain performance, mood, and overall health. Not getting enough quality sleep on a regular basis increases the risk of a variety of diseases and disorders.

Getting enough sleep is critical for people with Crohn’s disease because it relaxes the body and reduces stress. It is especially important to get enough rest if you are experiencing a flare-up and are not feeling well. Remember to include sleep and regular exercise as part of your Crohn’s disease management strategy.

Medical and Dietary Treatment for Crohn’s Disease

In addition to the exercises mentioned above, you should also try your best to follow the medical advice of your doctor. Here are some important dietary and medical tips worth knowing:

Immune System Regulating Medicines

The mainstay of treatment now is the use of immunomodulators and biologics. Steroids are only used as rescue therapy. Seek the advice of your doctor before taking any drug that has an effect on your immune system.

Bowel Control Medicines

Anti-diarrheal and anti-spasmodic medicine are sometimes required to help the intestines when you experience diarrhea and cramps.

Antimicrobials

Bacterial infections can worsen the symptoms of Chron’s disease. There may be a need to take antibiotics when there are indications of an infection.

Surgery

There are cases where surgical intervention is needed, and the person may need an ileostomy or colostomy. Discuss with your doctor to learn more.

Diet Changes

Changes in what you eat may be necessary when they begin to worsen your symptoms. What changes you make may vary depending on the nature of your Crohn’s disease. Check with your doctor for more information on diet suggestions.

Conclusion

After consulting with their doctor, people with Crohn’s disease can exercise when they feel well enough. Low-impact aerobic, resistance, and meditative exercises are the most beneficial. Remember that getting enough sleep is just as important as exercising.

References

NIH

<h2 style="color: #3f3b36; font-family: Merriweather, serif; font-size: 26px; font-weight: 400; font-style: italic;">DR. RAE OSBORN</h2>

DR. RAE OSBORN

Dr. Rae Osborn was educated in South Africa and the United States. She holds Honors Bachelor of Science degrees in Zoology and Entomology, and Masters of Science in Entomology from the University of Natal in South Africa. She has received a PhD in Quantitative Biology from the University of Texas at Arlington as well as an AAS Degree in Information Network Specialist and an AAS in Computer Information Systems from Bossier Parish Community College in Louisiana.
She was a tenured Associate Professor of Biology in the United States. She has published in peer-reviewed journals and has taught college-level courses. Currently she works as a freelance writer and editor in the areas of medicine, health, biology, and computer science.

<h2 style="color: #3f3b36; font-family: Merriweather, serif; font-size: 24px; font-weight: 400; font-style: italic;">DR. RAE OSBORN</h2>

DR. RAE OSBORN

Dr. Rae Osborn was educated in South Africa and the United States. She holds Honors Bachelor of Science degrees in Zoology and Entomology, and Masters of Science in Entomology from the University of Natal in South Africa. She has received a PhD in Quantitative Biology from the University of Texas at Arlington as well as an AAS Degree in Information Network Specialist and an AAS in Computer Information Systems from Bossier Parish Community College in Louisiana.
She was a tenured Associate Professor of Biology in the United States. She has published in peer-reviewed journals and has taught college-level courses. Currently she works as a freelance writer and editor in the areas of medicine, health, biology, and computer science.

Tips

Eating for Energy

Eating for Energy

A healthy diet can help us feel energized, alert, and ready for the day. In this article we’ll cover what types of food to eat, what to avoid, and how to plan your meals for optimized energy levels.

The Energy Nutrients

Everything your body does requires energy. We get this energy from the 3 main nutrients: carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Carbohydrates are our main source of energy. During digestion, carbohydrates are broken down into a sugar molecule called glucose which powers the cells in our muscles, nerves, and brain. Fats are the second most important source of energy in our diet. When fats are digested, they become fatty acids which are used by cells to create energy. Proteins are the last main nutrient in our diet. During digestion, proteins are broken down into their amino acid building blocks which our body uses to make new proteins like the ones in our muscles. Because carbohydrates, proteins, and fats power our body functions they are called energy nutrients. Choosing the right type of energy nutrient can have a massive impact on our energy levels. 

  • Approximately 8.3 million Americans suffer from gout, with males bearing the brunt of the disease due to a higher heritability rate.
  • In 90% of gout sufferers, the kidneys cannot excrete enough uric acid; in 10%, excess uric acid is produced.
  • Roughly 90% of gout flare-ups begin in a single joint. The big toe’s “bunion joint” usually becomes swollen and painful.

These facts show that gout is a common condition. Despite high levels of disability and pain, there is still hope. As such, you must take steps to manage your gout well to avoid complications, such as kidney failure, joint damage, or bone loss. Now let’s dive into the real reason you are here…the remedies.

Carbs- Complex or Simple?

The glucose we get from carbohydrates is the most efficient way to boost your energy, but before you reach for a cookie – consider the type of carbohydrate you are eating. Carbohydrates are chains of glucose molecules. Longer glucose chains are called complex carbohydrates, and shorter chains are called simple carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are quickly broken down into glucose molecules, causing a glucose spike followed by a crash. The energy we get from simple carbohydrates is intense and short-lasting – not great for a busy day!

Simple carbohydrates are found in lots of foods, but to avoid a glucose crash try to limit things like candy, table sugar, and sweet processed foods such as cereal and cookies. Should you cut out carbs? No! To avoid an energy slump reach for complex carbohydrates instead. Complex carbohydrates take longer to digest and provide glucose slowly over several hours, helping you feel energized without any spikes and crashes. Complex carbohydrates are found in legumes, vegetables, and nuts as well as wholegrains like brown rice and oats.

Brain Food

Feeling energized starts in the brain. The brain can’t store its own energy, so needs a constant supply of glucose from the carbohydrates we eat. If the brain runs out of energy, we begin to feel tired and lethargic. Choosing carbohydrates that slowly release their glucose will feed your brain and keep you energized throughout the day.

Everyday Energy

Snack Smart

Avoid the afternoon slump by adding some snack options to your meal plan. A few nuts or a piece of fruit can give you an energy boost when you need it most.

Smaller Meals

Smaller and more frequent meals take less effort to digest and help keep your blood glucose steady.

Hydrate

Blood transports energy to cells, and blood is made mostly of water. Even mild dehydration can cause fatigue – so drink up!

Caffeine and Alcohol

Alcohol and caffeine reduce sleep quality and cause dehydration – both of which drain us of energy. Avoid caffeine later in the day, limit your alcohol intake, and drink lots of water.

Try these tips and see how your energy levels improve and tell us about it in the comment section.

References

<h2 style="color: #3f3b36; font-family: Merriweather, serif; font-size: 26px; font-weight: 400; font-style: italic;">Abigail Walker Msc, ANutr</h2>

Abigail Walker Msc, ANutr

Abigail's academic background includes biological sciences and human health and behaviour (Neuroscience, BSc; Brain Sciences, MSc; Nutrition and Behaviour, MSc). From this, she has excellent skills in research, data presentation, idea communication and technical and academic writing. In addition to her science credentials, she is an avid reader and an award winning creative writer whose original work has been published in online magazines.

<h2 style="color: #3f3b36; font-family: Merriweather, serif; font-size: 24px; font-weight: 400; font-style: italic;">Abigail Walker Msc, ANutr</h2>

Abigail Walker Msc, ANutr

Abigail's academic background includes biological sciences and human health and behaviour (Neuroscience, BSc; Brain Sciences, MSc; Nutrition and Behaviour, MSc). From this, she has excellent skills in research, data presentation, idea communication and technical and academic writing. In addition to her science credentials, she is an avid reader and an award winning creative writer whose original work has been published in online magazines.

Tips

Food and Mood: Different Ways Your Diet Effects How You Feel

Food and Mood: Different Ways Your Diet Effects How You Feel

What determines your mood? What makes you feel irritable, sulky, or upbeat? Is it the events in your life? When someone says something mean to you or when you can’t find your keys. Is it the neurotransmitters in your brain? Your genes? Or perhaps the food in your gut? 

The human body can be likened to a computer system. Just as a computer system requires several components to function correctly, so also does the human body. Several organs and chemicals work together to keep our body functioning in optimum health. 

Our mental health is affected by numerous factors. These factors include our genetic makeup, social and psychological stresses, neurotransmitter abnormalities, and dietary patterns. 

The food we eat plays a significant role in our mental health. As a matter of fact, some foods can keep us happy, sad or angry. This is so because when food is digested, certain chemicals are produced that influences the way the body functions (Ottley, 2000). 

In this article, I will discuss the best food to eat, which food to avoid, and what happens from not eating. 

Foods That Can Affect Your Mood

Benjamin

I awaken in a dark bedroom to the sound of my alarm clock. After staring at the dusty ceiling for a few seconds, I drag my hand across the bed and slam it into the alarm. Outside, I can hear the birds singing. A shabby table across the room has my ringing phone; I know it’s my dictator manager. I roll into a ball and close my eyes. When things that typically get me enthusiastic lose their “oomph,” I have to drag myself out of bed. 

We have all experienced a lack of enthusiasm. Those days that feel as if the will to push forward has been drained out of us, yet we usually recover within a few hours or the next day. There are, however, some people, like Benjamin, who have to deal with such lack of drive and motivation daily. Why is it so for Benjamin? What makes his case different? To answer you, there are two crucial brain chemicals I must first tell you about.

1. DOPAMINE

When you achieve a goal, do you feel excited about it? Dopamine is the neurotransmitter responsible for this feeling of pleasure and satisfaction you get. It is also released when we fantasize about things (anticipating rewards). E.g., food, a friendly visit, or a movie (Watson, 2021). Dopamine improves our mood and motivates us to get out of bed and onto the treadmill. Just the thought of an improved physique triggers a release of dopamine. 

Some people naturally produce less dopamine. Such persons may find it challenging to be excited or motivated daily. They tend to experience the ‘meh’ moments we all feel much more frequently. If you are one of those people, a change in diet may be all you need. You should consider a diet rich in food capable of increasing your dopamine.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter synthesized from the amino acid L-tyrosine. Eating food rich in the amino acids tryptophan and L-tyrosine can increase the amount of dopamine available in our bodies. Good sources of L-tyrosine and tryptophan are protein-rich foods such as

During the day, protein-rich food will improve your mood and keep you motivated. 

During the day, protein-rich food will improve your mood and keep you motivated. 

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter synthesized from the amino acid L-tyrosine. Eating food rich in the amino acids tryptophan and L-tyrosine can increase the amount of dopamine available in our bodies. Good sources of L-tyrosine and tryptophan are protein-rich foods such as

During the day, protein-rich food will improve your mood and keep you motivated. 

2. SEROTONIN

Sally

I do not suffer from a lack of desire and motivation. There is always something I am excited to do. I rarely have to drag myself out of bed. However, I often experience anxiety when I am overwhelmed with work and when I overthink a text I send. I don’t feel lethargy, but I do feel pressure. 

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that brings about happiness and optimism. When available in sufficient quantity, it calms you and makes you more comfortable and focused. Low levels of serotonin, on the other hand, are associated with depression, anxiety, and insomnia (Vandergriendt, 2020).

This, therefore, makes serotonin a vital chemical in managing depression. Most antidepressants, including Prozac, work primarily by manipulating the level and efficiency of serotonin. Though beneficial to some extent, terrible side effects are associated with this kind of intervention.

When you stop taking such medications

Low moods can manifest in two ways

  1. Lethargy and fatigue
  2. Anxiety and frustration

In the last section, we explained that lack of energy (lethargy), motivation, or enthusiasm can be improved by maintaining a food diet capable of increasing our dopamine levels. However, while an increase in dopamine levels may favor mood, a dopamine system imbalance can intensify bad moods and induce depression (Sherrell, 2022). 

Unless you are clinically depressed, it is not really necessary to start taking antidepressants. Instead, you should adjust your diets to incorporate foods that are capable of increasing serotonin levels. 

Naturally, foods rich in carbohydrates tend to release more serotonin than those low in carbohydrates. That is why you may have noticed you feel a little groggy when you are full. Personally, I eat a protein-rich, low-fat, zero-carb meal at lunch to stay alert because dopamine production is increased by protein-rich meals. At supper, I eat a complex carb, low protein meal because high carbohydrate levels promote serotonin release, making me feel sated and sleepy. Do you see how I am able to manipulate my diet to maintain stable mental health?

Fish Containing Omega-3 Fatty Acid

I believe you must have heard of Omega 3 fatty acids. Some years ago, everyone went crazy for this fish oil when a report revealed that Eskimos who ate cold-water fish had lower instances of heart disease. This prompted several research, which in the end, confirmed the report to be true. It was discovered that a regular intake of Omega 3 actually lowered the likelihood that you will drop dead because of a heart attack.

Later, research found a link between depression and low blood levels of Omega-3. Macnamara and Strawn (2013) did a study that confirmed lower levels of Omega-3 in patients diagnosed with major depression and bipolar disorders. 

Depression is less common in countries where people eat a lot of fish. Many observational studies report that people who eat fish two or more times a week are less likely to suffer from depression, heart attacks, and strokes than those who eat fish infrequently or not at all. Omega-3 not only has a significant effect on depression, but it also increases the effectiveness of antidepressant medication. 

Since we are talking about diet here, I will try to convince you to eat more fish than to go for the shiny capsules. Some studies have reported no benefit of fish oil capsules on heart disease and depression; instead, they report that people who eat fish avail the benefits. As a matter of fact, this high protein will boost your dopamine levels, while the Omega-3 will boost your serotonin levels. It is a win-win.

The question is whether the observed benefits often found among fish eaters are due solely to the oils in fish or to some other characteristics of seafood. This suggests we might well be better off eating fish instead of swallowing capsules. 

Probiotics Promoting Healthy Gut-Microbiome

Imagine the streets of New York or Istanbul on a weekday. The roads and sidewalks filled with cars and people going about their work, people of different races and ethnicities, classes, and stature. Now imagine this at a microscopic level, and you have an idea of what a gut microbiome looks like.

This tiny world is bustling with bacteria, viruses, and fungi coexisting peacefully with our bodies, helping us with certain chores. The gut microbiome has a substantially larger number of genes than its human host, allowing it to perform many metabolic functions that humans are incapable of. 

The gut microbiome can produce all essential and non-essential amino acids, various vitamins, and a plethora of neurotransmitters. Folks who like to get a little tipsy should thank their microbiome because it also helps break down alcoholic beverages decreasing their toxicity. Their breakdown of nondigestible carbohydrates is a significant source of energy.

Many intestinal bacteria, which are part of our microbiome, compete with harmful pathogens for space and resources in our gut. It is essentially like a war between weird-looking microscopic people. This is known as a competitive-exclusion effect. The irony of this entire system is that your gut microbiome doesn’t care about your well-being. It does what it does to survive. The health benefits are simply a side effect. Yes, you are simply a footnote in a bacteria’s life story. (Funny!)

The gut microbiome also affects our minds. Their activities secrete a series of neurotransmitters, including noradrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine. In animal science, researchers have found that tweaking an animal’s gut microbiome can make them bolder or more anxious. Such findings have created a buzz around probiotics, food, and supplements that contain healthy microbes. 

It is better to take probiotics through food than supplements for maximum benefits. Fermented foods such as yogurt, kombucha, and kimchi are great sources of probiotics.

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting adds to our health. While in college, I would try to eat as frequently as possible. My rationale was that the body needs fuel. Within a year or two, my weight increased considerably; considering I have always had difficulty putting on weight, I welcomed the changes.

A few years ago, I heard about intermittent fasting online from George St. Pierre, one of the most outstanding Mixed Martial Artists of all time.

In an interview with GQ, George stated, 

“The fact that I’m fasting—my inflammation goes down, my water retention goes down, I sleep better. I don’t have those colitis symptoms, these cramps that I used to have. I feel so much better, and I’m much leaner. If I would have done the fasting program when I was younger, it would have been amazing. I just regret that—I wish I would have known that at the time. But I believe that if someone would have talked to me about fasting at the time, I would have never listened to them because I was in that culture of consuming products.” 

At the onset, I was skeptical. The lack of a good breakfast restaurant and my desire to conserve money were two reasons that aided my intermittent fasting adventure. After dinner at 9 p.m., I would miss breakfast and have lunch at about 1 p.m. the next day, nearly 16 hours later. After that, I was free to eat whenever I pleased until supper.

Initially, I felt hungry in the morning, which was distracting and negatively impacted my productivity. However, after a few weeks, I no longer felt hungry. I didn’t have any mental fog. My energy levels remained stable throughout the day. I felt fantastic. My weight had dropped dramatically a year later. I didn’t enjoy it, but I couldn’t quit fasting since I felt so light and concentrated.

Obesity is associated with depression and since fasting favors weight loss, it may be effective in improving depressive symptoms. Studies also suggest that intermittent fasting may switch glucose metabolism to ketone metabolism, inducing anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative and stress resistance effects.

FOODS THAT AFFECT YOUR MOOD NEGATIVELY

An interesting fact about mathematicians is that when they cannot solve a problem forward, they try to do it backward. Thinking about a problem from a different angle tends to reveal a novel solution. Similarly, while looking at the foods that can make us happy, it is essential to identify those that have the capability of making us sad and terrible. What not to eat is just as important as what to eat. For example, No matter how many salads, beans, and fish you eat, if you eat cheeseburgers, donuts, and croissants every day, you may still feel like crap. 

Pathology of Prediabetes

When stressed or depressed, trashy food is exactly what we crave, often labeled comfort food. We crave sugary and fatty foods such as donuts, pizza, and fried chicken, and they end up making us feel terrible. 

Junk foods high in sugar cause our insulin to spike, leading to a quick fall in blood sugar levels, making us feel tired and cranky. Apply the suggestions below for improved mood:

  • Eat protein-rich meals that stimulate dopamine synthesis during the day.
  • Eat carbohydrate-rich foods that promote serotonin release at night.
  • Eat omega-3-rich seafood such as salmon, sardines, and cod three to four times weekly.
  • Consume two servings of probiotics, such as yogurt, daily.
  • Avoid eating fast food and foods high in sugar and fat.
  • Consume a variety of seafood, lean poultry, and less red meat.
  • Consume a variety of fruits and green leafy vegetables.
  • Eat adequate fiber and include whole grains and legumes in your diet.
  • Eat natural meals instead of processed ones.
  • Eat less often, preferably only twice a day.

The truth of the matter is there is no single thing that can make you happy. To be happy, you need a constellation of things such as adequate sleep, proper nutrition, good genes, psychological tools, and social connection. Although it may seem complicated, the result is evident.

References

<h2 style="color: #3f3b36; font-family: Merriweather, serif; font-size: 26px; font-weight: 400; font-style: italic;">ASIF KHAN</h2>

ASIF KHAN

Asif Khan is a professional writer with a degree in pharmacy. He has written on a variety of topics including crypto, scientific self-help, and medicine.

<h2 style="color: #3f3b36; font-family: Merriweather, serif; font-size: 24px; font-weight: 400; font-style: italic;">ASIF KHAN</h2>

ASIF KHAN

Asif Khan is a professional writer with a degree in pharmacy. He has written on a variety of topics including crypto, scientific self-help, and medicine.