Every one of the 50 known essential nutrients (with possibly the exception of vitamin D), plays some role in promoting mental health. Your brain uses about 20% of all your energy comsumption....where does your braind get it's nourishment? From your diet. When you eat unhealthy, you think poorly period.
Here are some of the most potent brain nutrients:
1. B-vitamins: There are 8 B vitmins and they affect how we think and feel. Because they are water soluble, they easily pass through our bodies so we need regular, frequent intake throughout the day. Deficiency can effect concentration (thiamine), anxiety and depression (folic acid) or memory (B-12). The best sources are whole grains, nuts, seeds and green leafy veggies.
2. Omega-3: Omega-3 fatty acids are an essential part of the brain. Fats mae-up a large portion of our brain and they ensure the proper (fluid) signaling communication between cells and nerves. The best sources of omega-3 comes from fish, walnuts, flax seeds and chia seeds.
3. Zinc: Zinc is the most commonly deficient mineral and some would say is the most crucial for mental health. Zinc deficiency is implicated in a wide range of mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, anorexia, hyperactivity. Low zinc levels effect motivation and concentration too. Zinc is found in oysters, nuts and seeds.
4. Magnesium and Calcium: Calcium and magnesium help relax nerve and muscle cells. While a lack of magnesium can cause muscle cramps, it can also make you more irritable, nervous and aggressive. It also has been shown to help you sleep. Magnesium is found in green leafy veggies and nuts.
5. Vitamin C: Vitamin C helps to balance neurotransmitters in the brain. A number of studies have shown that people diagnosed with mental illness have a greater need for vitamin C. In one study, some participants only started excreting vitamin C when they consumed almost 10 times the RDA. It shows how unique we all are - some people demand 10 times more vitamin C than others. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Monday, February 14, 2011
There is a lot of chatter about energy drinks ink the news recently, largely due to a new study funded by the National Institute of Health mentioning negative health impacts of energy drinks on children. By all means, energy drinks deserve some news, as they are the fastest growing beverage market in the US with expected sales of $9 billion for the US in 2011. It seems that money and time have always been tight, but now more than anything, we lack the energy to do what we need to do. Anyway, if we are drinking so many energy drinks, we should know something about them.
Top energy drink facts:
- Energy drinks are sold to provide increased energy levels to help keep you active and alert
- The main active ingredient in energy drinks is caffeine
- Energy drinks contain high or even unregulated amounts of caffeine
- Some ingredients, like Guarana contain caffeine that is not claimed on the label
- Guarana can provide a slow release of caffeine over time due to other plant botanicals
- Many energy drinks also contain large amounts of sugar
- Energy drinks also contain other herbal stimulants
- It is not just the US, energy drinks are sold in over 140 countries
Caffeine amount (mg) in select beverages
- 35 mg - 12 oz Coca Cola
- 54 mg - 8 oz brewed tea
- 55 mg - 12 oz Mountain Dew
- 69 mg - 12 oz Diet Pepsi Max
- 80 mg - Can of Red Bull
- 100 mg - 8 oz cup of brewed coffee
- 140 mg - Can or Rock Star Juiced
- 160 mg - 5 Hour Energy
- About 50% of energy drinks are consumed by adolescents or young adults
- 46% of the over 5,000+ caffeine overdoses in the US in 2007 occurred in those 19 years of age or younger.
- There is no need for children to consume energy drinks
- Any children with medical or taking medications should never consumer energy drinks
Top healthy ways to boost your energy naturally
- Get enough sleep
- Control stress in your life to healthy levels
- Don't spike your blood sugar (eat low glycemic index foods), rather than foods with processed sugars
- Eat small meals frequently (don't get starved, don't get stuffed)
- Take a power nap (not a good idea while you are on the job)
- Exercise regularly
- Take a quick walk outside to get some fresh air and get the blood circulating
- Yawning and laughing are great ways to increase oxygen levels
- Stay hydrated (drink plenty of water, drink a glass of water between sodas)
- Live a purposeful life