Category Archives: Eating Healthy

Exercise is Good for the Brain

Directions: Read these first
1.  Read the directions for this assignment
2.  Take 10 notes on this reading.  You will give a very short 1 minute speech on this reading with a group.
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WebMD.com Feature

Anyone with a brain exercises these days, but did you know exercise can return the favor and train your brain? Not only is exercise smart for your heart and weight, but it can make you smarter and better at what you do.

“I like to say that exercise is like taking a little Prozac or a little Ritalin at just the right moment,” says John J. Ratey, MD, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and author of A User’s Guide to the Brain. “Exercise is really for the brain, not the body. It affects mood, vitality, alertness, and feelings of well-being.”

Stephen C. Putnam, MEd, took up canoeing in a serious way to combat the symptoms of adult ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). Then he wrote a book, titled Nature’s Ritalin for the Marathon Mind, about the benefits of exercise on troublesome brain disorders such as ADHD, a neurological/behavioral condition resulting in hyperactivity and the inability to focus on tasks.

Putnam cites studies of children who ran around for 15 to 45 minutes before class and cut their ants-in-the-pants behavior by half when they got to class. As with most exercise, the effects were relatively lasting — smoothing out behavior two to four hours after the exercise.

Putnam also points to some preliminary animal research that suggests that exercise can cause new stem cells to grow, refreshing the brain and other body parts. According to Ratey, exercise also stimulates nerve growth factors. “I call it Miracle-Gro for the brain,” he says.

 How Exercise Trains the Brain

Christin Anderson, MS, wellness and fitness coordinator of the University of San Francisco, explains that exercise affects many sites within the nervous system and sets off pleasure chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine that make us feel calm, happy, and euphoric.

In other words, if you don’t want to wait for those good feelings to come by accident (if they do), you can bring them on by exercising.

“When one exercises,” Anderson says, “you can think more clearly, perform better, and your morale is better. This is pure science — stimulate your nervous system and function at a higher level.”

Effects of Exercise on Depression

Almost everyone has heard of the “fog of war,” but the “fog of living” is depression. “Depression affects memory and effectiveness (not to mention the ability to get up, get dressed, and function),” Anderson says. “If you can control your physiology, you can relax, focus, and remember.”

In a study reported in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness in 2001, 80 young male and female volunteers were tested for mood and then did aerobics for an hour. Of the 80, 52 were depressed before the exercise. That group was the most likely to benefit, reporting a reduction in anger, fatigue, and tension. They also felt more vigorous after the workout.

Effects of Exercise on Depression continued…

A well-known study was done at Duke University involving 150 people 50 or older who had been diagnosed with depression. They were divided into three groups and given either exercise as a treatment for four months, the antidepressant drug Zoloft, or a combination of the two.

At the end of the four months, all three groups felt better. But the researchers didn’t leave it there. They checked again in six months, and the exercise group had relapsed at significantly lower rates than the Zoloft or combination groups. In fact, the scientists felt that giving the Zoloft along with the exercise undermined the effects of the exercise, saying the combination group might have preferred to feel they had worked for their improvement rather than having to take a pill.

This doesn’t mean, the researcher said, that exercise is a cureall for every case of depression. Seeking out the study showed motivation, and motivation can be hard to come by when you’re depressed.

Bipolar disorder also does not seem to respond as well to exercise. On the other hand, anxiety disorders sometimes respond even more quickly.

 If You Want to Try Exercise as a Brain Trainer

Single bouts of exercise can reduce anxiety for several hours afterward, although there may be a lag time before the good feeling sets in if exercise is too intense (good news for those who find fanatical, prolonged, “check your pulse” exercise unappealing).

Therefore, low to moderate forms of exercise are recommended for brain training. Ratey recommends 8 to 12 minutes a day of sweating and breathing-hard exercise (60% of maximum heart rate) for brain training.

Anderson says a minimum would be 30 minutes of moderate exercise, walking, hiking, or swimming, three times a week. Half an hour to an hour, four to five times a week would be even better. For those who want to be REALLY on the ball, 90 minutes five to six times a week would not be out of line, she says.

Anderson recommends two sessions a day for this purpose, rather than one big heaving workout. “Swim for 20 minutes in the morning, then walk at night,” she advises. “Right after hard, intense exercise, you may not be as acute. Overtraining can set off enzymes that can lead to fatigue, which is the enemy of alertness.”

Anderson also says the type of exercise you select depends on your personality. It may be the opposite of what you’d expect. “If you’re a 32-year-old male, work 70 hours a week, play ball twice on the weekend and jog daily,” she says, “you may need to do some yoga to improve your mental acuity.” Some coaches, she points, out actually have to get people to relax to find their “edge.” Meditation can also be a great complement to exercise, she adds. Then: “Do what you enjoy. That’s important.” (If you are reading this within 5 minutes of when we began this assignment, please come to my desk right now, quietly, for extra credit!  Do not tell anyone around you that you’re reading this or you will loose your extra credit.  If you come up to my desk right now, congratulations!). 

“You want to ready your brain for learning,” Ratey says. For that to happen, all the chemicals must “jog” into place.

Star Lawrence is a medical journalist based in the Phoenix area.

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Web Building

WebBuild2_big11. Today you are going to build a website using Wix.com

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3.  Here are a couple examples from people I know and websites they’ve built using wix.com

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5.  Answer this question: what does Healthy Living mean to you?

6.  Now, go to this link for the Flickr Creative Commons to find photos to download that you can use on your new website to sell your ideas to the public!  Click link here

 

 

 

Eating for Longevity

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Foods to keep your heart, brain, and bones healthy.

By
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Is there such a thing as a longevity diet? Increasingly, studies suggest the answer is yes.

Around the world, certain groups of people enjoy exceptionally long lives. Consider the lucky people of Okinawa. These Pacific Islanders have an average life expectancy of more than 81 years, compared to 78 in the United States and a worldwide average of just 67. Closer to home, members of the Seventh Day Adventists, who typically eat vegetarian diets, outlive their neighbors by four to seven years on average.

 Recommended Related to Healthy Seniors
Patients often have trouble talking to their doctors. It can be hard to get the words out when the topic is emotionally charged or one you’d never bring up in polite conversation. And for various reasons, sometimes including their own embarrassment, doctors may find it hard to bring up certain topics — and that can compromise the care their patients receive. “Communication is an inexact science,” says Bob Arnold, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and…

The residents of the San Blas islands off the coast of Panama very rarely suffer from high blood pressure and heart disease. Indeed, research shows that their rate of heart disease is only nine per 100,000 people, compared to 83 per 100,000 among nearby Panamanians on the mainland.

What makes these groups so fortunate? A growing body of evidence suggests that diet is one of the important contributors to longevity and healthy living. Here’s what’s on the menu of people who enjoy long and healthy lives.

Foods for a Healthy Heart

Most of us know to go easy on saturated fat, the kind found in meat and high-fat dairy products. Saturated fats have been shown to raise blood cholesterol levels into the danger zone. Just as important is what you should be eating. For heart health and longevity, you should eat:

Plenty of fruits and vegetables: Packed with fiber and nutrients, fruits and vegetables are also relatively low in calories. Studies consistently show that diets plentiful in fruits and vegetables help people maintain a healthy weight and protect against cardiovascular disease.

Whole grains: Like fruits and vegetables, whole grains pack a lot of nutrition into a low-calorie package. Grains like oats and barley are also rich in a long list of disease-fighting compounds.

In 2009, researchers at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston reported that study participants whose diets included plenty of whole grains and fruit cut their heart disease risk by almost half compared to those whose diets favored meat and fatty foods. Findings from more than 161,000 nurses enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study also show that whole grains protect against type 2 diabetes, a disease that increases the danger of heart disease.

Nuts: For too long, nuts were banished from the list of healthy foods because they’re high in fat. They are. But the fat they contain is mostly unsaturated, which protects against heart disease.

Dark chocolate:  Researchers now think that high blood pressure and heart disease are exceedingly rare among residents of the San Blas islands because they eat chocolate, and lots of it. Components in dark chocolate called polyphenols are believed to lower blood pressure and improve the flexibility of blood vessels. In a 2008 study, researchers at the University of Aquila gave volunteers with hypertension 100 grams of dark chocolate daily. After 15 days, their blood pressure readings were significantly lower and their insulin sensitivity had improved.

Foods for a Vital Brain

The basic advice is simple: What’s good for your heart and blood vessels is also good for your brain. That means eating a diet centered on fruits and vegetables with plenty of unsaturated oils, such as olive oil, and plenty of whole grains. Foods that may add extra protection include:

Blueberries and other antioxidant-rich fruits: Ongoing research at the Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University suggests that foods especially high in antioxidants, including blueberries, grape juice, and walnuts, protect against age-related changes in the brain that lead to memory loss and even dementia.

Fish: High in omega-3 fats, fish and shellfish have been shown to protect against irregular heart rhythms than can lead to heart failure. New evidence suggests that in addition to heart protection, the fatty acids, such as DHA and EPA, found in fish oil (and ALA found in flaxseed) may offer a defense against depression and age-related memory loss.

Low-salt foods: Researchers have known for years that less salt in the diet means lower blood pressure. Now new evidence suggests that keeping blood pressure down may also protect brain cells and decrease the risk of age-related memory loss and even dementia.

“High blood pressure can damage the vasculature that supplies the brain with oxygen and nutrients,” explains Tufts University neuroscientist Aron Troen, PhD. That may explain why people with chronic hypertension seem to be at higher risk of developing age-related cognitive impairments.

 Coffee: A growing number of studies suggest that coffee has several surprising health benefits. In addition to potentially lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes, drinking coffee may reduce the risk of age-related mental decline.

The latest evidence comes from a Finish study of 1,409 volunteers published in the Journal of Alzheimers Disease in 2009. It found that people who regularly drank coffee during their middle-aged years were significantly less likely to suffer dementia and Alzheimer’s later in life. Those who drank three to five cups daily had a 65% reduction in risk.

Foods for Strong Bones

Bone loss and osteoporosis are among the leading reasons for disability in later life. And once seniors become disabled, their health often declines in many other ways. Although some bone loss with age is inevitable, eating foods rich in calcium and vitamin D can slow the process and prevent disabling fractures. Among the top choices: 

Low-fat dairy products: “The body needs vitamin D in order to absorb calcium,” says Robert P Heaney, MD, a leading expert on osteoporosis. “But adequate levels of protein are also necessary to keep bones strong.” For that reason, he argues, dairy products like milk and yogurt are the best sources of calcium because they contain the full array of nutrients needed for healthy bones. 

Dark green leafy vegetables: Collard greens, spinach, and broccoli are good sources of calcium. 

Tofu: Look for brands made with calcium sulfate, which contain the highest levels of calcium. A half-cup contains about 250 milligrams of calcium. (Adult women should consume about 1500 milligrams a day, according to Heaney.)

Unfortunately, getting enough vitamin D turns out to be trickier than getting enough calcium. Although many foods are fortified with vitamin D, diet alone isn’t able to provide enough. Our skin converts sunlight to vitamin D; but with age, that process becomes less efficient. (During the winter months in most parts of the United States, the sun is too weak to generate vitamin D production.)

While experts continue to debate the optimal levels of vitamin D, Heaney recommends taking 1,000 to 2,000 international units (IU) a day in supplement form. Boosting vitamin D is particularly important as you get older, he points out, since the skin becomes less efficient at generating this crucial nutrient from sunlight.

Beyond Nutrients: The Joy of Eating

A diet abundant in nutrients is obviously important to longevity. So is enjoying what you eat– and especially finding joy in sitting down to meals with family and friends.

Studies of centenarians the world over suggest that social connections and finding meaning in life are both crucial to longevity. The long-lived people of Okinawa say one reason they enjoy long and healthy lives is something they call ikigai, or “finding your reason to live.”

Create a Healthy Menu for Yourself and Others

Here's a quick example menu.
Here’s a quick example menu.

Eating healthy is a major part of mental health, and, therefore, happiness.  In your pursuit of happiness, you’ll learn that eating healthy is a major part of this puzzle.

From our research we learned that fatty foods from this video (http://www.introduce.trimdownclub.com/about1.html?utm_expid=59518127-165.rjaje_33TZi56qKJzcOPZg.2), like Enchiladas, are greesy and not very good for you.  Now that being said, Enchiladas are my all-time favorite food!  So…I’m going to eat them; however, we also know, from our research on healthy foods that if I ate enchiladas everyday, I would gain weight, and it would effect my bowl movements and my mental state in a negative way.

Yet, there must be a way to make a healthy enchilada, with healthy ingredients, right?  And of course, there is.  In fact, Natural Cafe makes a healthy choice black bean and chicken enchilada, which happens to be my favorite meal on their menu.

Again, if you haven’t watched this video yet, do so now before you begin. http://www.introduce.trimdownclub.com/about1.html?utm_expid=59518127-165.rjaje_33TZi56qKJzcOPZg.2

Assignment: 
1.  Create a menu with healthy foods in creative ways.  For example, if you like Enchiladas, like I do, then you might want to look at their menu, and add those ingredients to your enchilada entree on your menu.

2.  Your menu: You must create a menu of at least 3 healthy breakfast items, 3 healthy lunch options, 3 healthy snacks you could eat throughout the day, 3 healthy choices to drink, 3 healthy options for dinner, and 2 healthy options for dessert!!

3.  Your menu must also include photos:  At least 1 photo per category (breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, dessert).

4.  Explain how your made your menu healthy and “Why” it’s healthy by using proof from the video : “5 Foods to Never Eat” (http://www.introduce.trimdownclub.com/about1.html?utm_expid=59518127-165.rjaje_33TZi56qKJzcOPZg.2 )

5.  Make one of your dishes from your menu for the class “Healthy Entree Party!”

5 Foods to Never Eat…And Why!

Junk-Food1

Watch this video, then:

Assignment:

1.  Create a news story that you will report to the class!  Use the video on the homepage of the link below to get your facts.  You must report on “5 Foods to Never Eat…And Why!”  Use the Facts from the video in your news report.

2.  Speech:  You will give a 2 minute speech to the class expressing the facts about “5 Foods to Never Eat…And Why!”

http://www.introduce.trimdownclub.com/about1.html?utm_expid=59518127-165.rjaje_33TZi56qKJzcOPZg.2