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The Happiness Diet: 5 Food Habits That Can Reverse Depression and Actually Make You Happier

Did you know that just a few surprising dietary tweaks can boost your happiness, and help speed upBe Happy recovery from depression?

The number of people on antidepressants is startling.

And when you look at the stats, almost 25% of women and 15% of men in their 40s and 50s are on antidepressants.

Do you know what’s even scarier? Medicating (over-medicating) people for depression is also on the rise – by over 400% (SOURCE:)

So what’s going on here? Why is everyone so unhappy? [Read more…]

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Top Brain Foods

Further to the post on Monday called Food For the Brain, here’s a video explaining a few more top brain foods. Our brains are affected by what we eat much more so than you probably imagine. Here, the narrator talks about the necessity for our brains to have Choline – a nutrient that helps to transfer messages between nerves in our brains, and also magnesium which helps people to relax and avoid migraines. [Read more…]

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Food For The Brain

Food For The BrainHave you ever wondered why you experience a “food coma” after certain foods you eat? Have you ever felt really energized? Have you ever felt de-energised or sluggish an hour or so after treating yourself to a chocolate bar or something sweet like a soda drink? Have you noticed that sometimes caffeine has little or no effect on your state of mind at certain times during the day? [Read more…]

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7 Foods That Can Help Boost Your Focus

We’ve all heard the saying ‘we are what we eat’. This rings true as much for our minds as it does for the rest of our body and vital organs. Here are 7 foods that can help boost your focus created by Amy Paturel for the Huffington Post. As far as I’m aware, through no fault of their own, very few people understand the importance of nutrition for our minds. If they did, they wouldn’t eat such cr*p! I’ve probably just alienated a few people but it’s a risk I’m willing to take. In fact, the majority of what we find in our supermarkets does not provide much quality nutrition at all. Check out this article to see an easy to read slideshow of foods that are great for our brains and therefore focus.

Brain FoodThe trick, says Patricia Bannan, M.S., R.D., author of Eat Right When Time is Tight, is fueling your body with foods that enhance focus, memory and concentration. Most of these gems are chock full of nutrients like fiber (which keeps you satisfied so you’re not thinking about hunger pangs) and essential fatty acids (which smooth connections in the brain).

Continue reading full article here

These 7 foods than can help boost your focus are congruent with my understanding of what our brain needs to function. Our brain needs essential fatty acids from foods such as avocados and and eggs. They’re called essential fatty acids as our body cannot produce them; we have to make a conscious effort to actually consume these daily. Fatty acids form the membranes surrounding brain cells, through which oxygen, glucose and antioxidants pass in and metabolic waste passes out. Our brain cells need them to produce brain cells. What wasn’t mentioned in these brain foods was complex carbohydrates to provide the brain with glucose – it’s key fuel. For more information on the right sorts of carbohydrates for our brain, see this article here.

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Super Foods To Help You Focus

Whether you’re student, business owner, employee or child suffering from ADHD there is a plethora of super foods to help you focus. This article is directed to help students during midterms but these foods apply to anyone. Your brain cells feed on glucose, which is derived from complex carbohydrates (whole grain, vegetables, fruits and legumes). Complex carbs release sugar at a steady pace into your blood stream and your brain feeds on this glucose for fuel. Your brain loves this type. Simple carbohydrates (refined, white and processed foods) on the other hand, actually drain your brain of energy, as they release sugar fast into the blood stream almost like an injection, which causes your pancreas to secrete Insulin. This in turn causes cells throughout your body to pull excess glucose from your blood stream and in turn drains your brain of the glucose it requires for energy. This leads to you not being able to concentrate, think, concentrate, focus or learn, you’ll feel weak and in extreme cases, this leads to hypoglycemia – which can actually lead to unconsciousness! Steer clear of high sugar foods which obviously includes sweets as well as simple carbs, but also high sugar soft drinks  – you’ll experience an immediate high, but that is swiftly followed by a low. Stick to these types of foods, written by Kathryn Miller for Student Printz:

Super Foods To Help You Focus

Dark ChocolateThe following is a list of super brain foods for a positive, stress-free midterm week.

• WHOLE-GRAIN—Cereals, whole-grain breads and popcorn boost blood flow to the brain.

• NUTS—Walnuts, cashews, almonds and pecans clear up “brain fog,” enable clearer thinking, and are positive mood enhancers.

•BERRIES—Blueberries strengthen the brain and help with cognitive processes. Strawberries improve brain cell abilities. Blackberries help protect the brain from oxidation stress and fights brain disease.

• SEEDS—Sunflower seeds can boost mood and brainpower. Pumpkin seeds enhance memory and thinking skills.

• GREEN TEA—When freshly brewed, it enhances memory and focus, fights mental fatigue and promotes relaxation.

• EGGS—Nutrients help boost the memory center in the brain.

• AVOCADOS—Contain mono-unsaturated fats, which contribute to healthy blood flow, which is the main requirement for a healthy brain.

• BROCCOLI—Great source of vitamin K, which enhances cognitive function and improves brainpower.

• EGGPLANT—The skin increases focus.

• SPINACH—A diet rich in spinach significantly improves learning capacity and motor skills.

• YOGURT—Calcium-rich foods improve nerve function. Yogurt improves alertness and memory.

• CHOCOLATE—Dark chocolate has powerful antioxidants, which enhance focus and concentration and improve mood. Milk chocolate starts impulse control and reaction time. Chocolate has been known to improve visual and verbal memory.

Read more on StudentPrintz.com

I was fairly surprised to see milk chocolate recommended here in these super foods to help you focus. Dark chocolate is known to be beneficial for your health (in small doses) as the coco has antioxidants but I wasn’t aware of the benefits of milk chocolate. Every day’s a school day!

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Ways To Focus On Healthy Eating

The psychology of why people struggle with weight loss and healthy eating often goes pretty deep, but these 5 ways to focus on healthy eating may just be what you’re looking for. They are written by Sandra Harrison for FitnessRepublic.com and she outlines a few techniques that you may well have never come across. For instance, some people advise to completely remove ‘fatty foods’ from your diet, and she says this isn’t necessary – you can simply treat yourself with small portions.

Ways To Focus On Healthy Eating

Ways To Focus On Healthy EatingHow to Stay Focused On Healthy Eating # 1

Don’t Eliminate ‘Fatty Foods’

No it isn’t taboo to eat small, controlled portions of the fatty foods that you love oh-so-much. Completely eliminating the fattening, sugary foods that you enjoy could eventually lead to bouts of binge eating, or a complete abandonment of the diet. Be kind to yourself, a little piece of chocolate won’t hurt your progress.

How to Stay Focused On Healthy Eating # 2:

Experiment

Experiment with healthy snack options and keep a stock of these at home. As soon as you feel the urge to nibble, head to the healthy snack corner and nibble away! Finding out which healthy snacks click with your palate will allow you to sidestep your favorite junk food without feeling the temptation to have just a bit.

How to Stay Focused On Healthy Eating # 3

Get a Partner

Finding a partner to share the highs and lows of adopting a healthy eating lifestyle will make sticking to the regime seem a whole lot manageable. Take a family member or friend on board to keep yourself motivated, and to make it easier to achieve your desired target.

Read full article on Fitness Republic here

Of these ways to focus on healthy living I thought that the advice to get a partner hit the nail on the head. If you have an accountability partner, you can reward or punish each other, to keep you both motivated. You could even apply fines for when you drift off track. From personal experience, I think the biggest point about eating unhealthily is that it affects your energy levels and your state of mind. When you eat snacks that are high in sugar from sweets and chocolate, they release sugar so quickly that your brain peaks, and then crashes, leaving you feeling less energized than before – which can cause you to crave for more, then it happens all over again. It’s a slippery slope. I therefore wouldn’t agree with the first point above. It takes 21 days to form a habit, so if you can remove the typically unhealthy snacks from your diet completely, after 21 days the cravings should go. For me, I’m not tempted to eat cakes etc unless it’s a very special occasion – and I have a very sweet tooth. I think of cakes as hours on a treadmill or half a marathon. But that’s just me..

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Ways To Focus By Consuming Brain Foods

Very few people are aware of how our minds are affected by what we eat. Did you know that our brains weigh about 3 pounds, but they consume about 20 percent of your daily calories? These ways to focus by consuming brain foods are well worth a read if you’d like to make better choices about your diet in order to improve focus, concentration, and memory and also which foods to eat to help to prevent mental decline.

Ways To Focus By Consuming Brain Foods

Brain FoodConcentrate on these foods

Good concentration skills depend on a steady flow of messages between brain cells.  The first step in improving concentration and focus is by eating healthy food at regular intervals throughout the day.

The brain also needs myelin, a fatty substance that insulates the nerve fibers so signals can be more easily sent from one brain cell to another. These nerve fibers are like electrical wires in a well-oiled machine.

You can do your part by eating healthier and keeping the “machinery” of your brain in top shape.

A diet that includes myelin includes oily fish, walnuts, pumpkin and flax seeds. So don’t skip meals, pack snacks with seeds and nuts and you’re on your way to improving your concentration.

Continue reading full original article

Did anything surprise you from these ways to focus by consuming brain foods? A lot of this nutritional information has been featured on this site, but this was the first time I’ve read about Acetylcholine as being  the “messenger” – in that it keeps our brain cells on high alert for new information. It’s found in eggs, liver and soybeans. Other memory boosters include vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower – the cruciferous family.

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Ways To Focus With Superfoods

We are what we eat, and that’s just as true for our brains as it is for the rest of our body and vital organs. Here are some ways to focus with superfoods from the Huggington Post. The Huffington Post actually called it Brain Food: Superfoods to improve cognitive function. There are a number of foods that have been proven to improve brain function, encourage focus and also to protect against age-related cognitive decline.  These include walnuts, olive oil, berries, sardines, coffee, spinach, avocados, water, wheat germ, beetroots, garlic, dark chocolate (yes really), and ice-cream (not really).

Ways To Focus With Superfoods

Superfoods For Your BrainBut before you dismiss the diet-brain connection as mere conjecture, keep in mind that study after study has found a relationship between what we put in our mouths and how well we can perform important thinking and memory tasks. While certain nutrients may specifically assist brain function, there is also the totality of our diets to consider. One recent U.K. study found that a diet high in saturated fat actually caused damage to neurons that control energy and appetite in mice. And several well-regarded studies have shown that meal timing is an important predictor of performance. For example, research shows that eating breakfast can improve the memory and acquisition skills of schoolchildren.

Click here to view the SlideShow on Huffington Post

Can you think of any more ways to focus with superfoods? This is a great list but not exhaustive  – there are additional foods including other types of nuts, whole oats (porridge), and other slow digesting carbohydrates, milk, yogurt and other dairy products. Again, there are plenty more that are featured on this site under the Food For Focus category.

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10 Ways To Focus On Brain Fitness

Like any other organ or muscle in our body, our brains need exercising – and physical exercise, as we know, is an excellent way of doing this as blood, and therefore oxygen, is pumped around the brain feeding all the cells with exactly what they need. Here are 10 ways to focus on brain fitness, which are short and sweet but well worth a read. They may be particularly applicable to retirees or people out of work but still read them if you don’t fit one of those categories!

10 Ways To Focus On Brain Fitness

How To Keep Your Brain Fit1) Keep up with current events. Watching or reading the news can really make your mind work.

2) Play a stimulating game. Crosswords and Scrabble are two games that make you use your brain to do some problem-solving on a different level. They even have apps for that!

3) Ditch the calculators and other cheats and use your brain for the stuff you learned in school.

4) Do logic puzzles. Anagrams and other logic puzzles are a great way to pass the time while you’re drinking your morning coffee. They use a part of your brain you don’t always get to use.

5) Get out into your garden. While gardening is often manual work, the manual labor takes your mind offline to make you to think, really think, about things that are going on in your life.

6) Do some yoga. Yoga has long been touted as being amazing for your body, allowing for tons of relaxation and stretching. Did you know it’s also good for your mind? Yoga allows us to relax and engage with our innermost thoughts.

Continue reading full article

Of these 10 ways to focus on brain fitness, I’d have to say, I’m not fully convinced by the first point. Whilst I think it is necessary to keep up to date with current events, the majority of the news is negative. Try it yourself – pick up a newspaper and read the first few pages. Circle everything that is negative in red, and everything that is positive in green. If we’re faced with negativity like this on a daily basis, it has a negative effect on our outlook, and it’s been proven to counter productive. When I was having trouble sleeping, I was advised to stop watching the news, my chiropractor told me to stop watching the news – and I keep on reading about successful people who advise not to read or watch the news. What’s your view? I say, the most important snippets a couple of days a week, otherwise, ditch it.

On a lighter note, if you read the whole article, you’ll have seen that green tea is mentioned. Green tea as far as I’m concerned, is a magic potion. It has so many benefits it’s ridiculous, so many that I drink it all day long and have stopped drinking normal breakfast tea and coffee. I think it’s actually better for you than water!

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Ways To Focus On Beating Stress

Stress has its evil ways of affecting how we think, focus and concentrate, let alone its detrimental effects it has on our bodies. Here are 8 ways to focus on beating stress written by Dawn Klingensmith for Omaha.com. You’ll have seen some of these before but there are definitely some original suggestions like loosing your loafers, hugging a loved one and chewing gum!

Nuts To Reduce StressLaugh

Watch talking-dog or dancing-baby videos on YouTube, or whatever strikes you as laugh-out-loud funny. Stress constricts the arteries by as much as 35 percent; laughter opens them again for increased blood flow, said Dr. Kathleen Hall, founder and CEO of the Stress Institute in Atlanta.

Lose your loafers

“Rubbing your bare feet on the floor stimulates over 200,000 nerve endings, one of the densest concentrations on the body,” Hall said. “Our nerve-dense soles are our tactile contact with the physical world, and without direct contact we lose equilibrium and become disoriented.”

Go nuts with your diet

Nuts, seeds, dairy products, legumes, soy products, tuna and turkey all contain tryptophan, an amino acid that helps the body produce the brain chemical serotonin, which plays an important role in healthy sleep and mood, said Dr. David Sack, president and CEO of Elements Behavioral Health in Long Beach, Calif.

Go outside

Several studies have indicated that “people who are in frequent contact with nature and the outdoors experience fewer stress-related symptoms than those who routinely stay inside,” said Brant Secunda, director of Dance of the Deer Foundation of Shamanistic Studies in Soquel, Calif.

“The fresh air, sunlight, scents, green views and having contact with the earth beneath your feet all have stress-reducing benefits,” he said.

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I was surprised not to see exercise emphasised in these ways to focus on beating stress. Exercise has got to be the best way to experience an endorphin release, not to mention the countless other benefits. Listening to music that you love is also an excellent way of beating stress – and it takes you to a happy place. What’s your favourite way of beating stress?

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