Replenish your serotonin

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps communicate messages between areas in the brain. Most brain cells are influenced by serotonin. Besides the brain, serotonin also affects the heart and muscles. When serotonin levels become unbalanced, a person may experience depression.

Seratonin

How to introduce Fruits & Veggies to your children

Tips for Parents:
Provide fruits and vegetables as snacks. Keep fruit washed, cut up and in plain sight in the refrigerator.

Serve salads more often. Get prewashed, bagged salad at the grocery store. Teach your child what an appropriate amount of salad dressing is and how it can be ordered on the side at restaurants.

Try out vegetarian recipes for spaghetti, lasagna, chilli, or other foods using vegetables instead of meat.

Include at least one leafy green or yellow vegetable for vitamin A such as spinach, broccoli, winter squash, greens, or carrots each day.

Include at least one vitamin C–rich fruit or vegetable, such as oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, melon, tomato, and broccoli each day.

Add a fruit or vegetable as part of every meal or snack. For example, you could put fruit on cereal, add a piece of fruit or small salad to your child’s lunch, use vegetables and dip for an after-school snack, or add a vegetable or two you want to try to the family’s dinner.

Be a role model—eat more fruits and vegetables yourself.

​More Things You Can Do:
Be sure your child is getting the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables each day. Visit choosemyplate.gov​ to find out how much of each food group your child should be getting.

When shopping for food, start in the area of the store where they keep fresh fruits and vegetables. Stock up. That way you know you always have some on hand to serve your child.

Avoid buying high-calorie foods such as chips, cookies, and candy bars. Your child may not ask for these treats if they are not in sight.

Limit or eliminate how much fruit juice you give your child and make sure it is 100% juice, not juice “drinks.”

Eat as a family whenever possible. Research shows that kids eat more vegetables and fruits and less fried foods and sugary drinks when they eat with the entire family.

Remember…
By choosing health-promoting foods, you can establish good nutritional habits in your child that will last for the rest of his or her life.

How plant chemicals boost your health

Drinking a cup of tea or eating a handful of berries a day may help protect against heart disease, a new study suggests.

The research, presented here yesterday (Nov. 10) at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions annual meeting, found that daily consumption of small amounts of flavonoids — compounds found in berries, tea, chocolate, wine and many other fruits and plants — was associated with a lower risk of heart disease.

This association (which is not to be confused with a cause-and-effect finding) is not new; previous research has also found a link between flavonoids and heart disease risk. But the new study — one of the most extensive done to date — adds stronger evidence to the idea that flavonoids may protect the heart, said co-lead study author Nicola Bondonno, a postdoctoral researcher at the School of Biomedical Science at the University of Western Australia. [5 Surprising Ways to Be Heart Healthy]

These Plant Chemicals Could Help Your Heart’s Health
Drinking a cup of tea or eating a handful of berries a day may help protect against heart disease, a new study suggests.

The research, presented here yesterday (Nov. 10) at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions annual meeting, found that daily consumption of small amounts of flavonoids — compounds found in berries, tea, chocolate, wine and many other fruits and plants — was associated with a lower risk of heart disease.

This association (which is not to be confused with a cause-and-effect finding) is not new; previous research has also found a link between flavonoids and heart disease risk. But the new study — one of the most extensive done to date — adds stronger evidence to the idea that flavonoids may protect the heart, said co-lead study author Nicola Bondonno, a postdoctoral researcher at the School of Biomedical Science at the University of Western Australia. [5 Surprising Ways to Be Heart Healthy]https://www.livescience.com/64060-flavonoids-heart-health.html

In the study, Bondonno and her team analysed data from nearly 53,000 people who had participated in the long-running Danish Diet, Cancer and Health Study, which began in the 1990s. At the beginning of that study, participants filled out a questionnaire with information about what types of foods they ate and how often they ate them. The researchers then tracked the participants’ health for more than two decades.

After a 23-year follow-up period, around 12,000 of the participants had developed some sort of heart condition.

The researchers found that people who reported eating around 500 milligrams or more of flavonoids daily had a lower risk of developing ischemic heart disease (where the heart’s major blood vessels are narrowed, reducing blood flow to the heart), stroke and peripheral artery disease (where blood vessels in the body are narrowed, reducing blood flow throughout the body). This association was the greatest for the latter, the researchers found.

Bondonno noted that 500 mg of flavonoids is “very easy to eat in one day.” You would get that amount of flavonoids from “a cup of tea, a handful of blueberries, maybe some broccoli,” she said. They also found that, on average, it didn’t make too much of a difference how much more flavonoids healthy people consumed once they passed the 500 mg/day threshold.

The reason flavonoids could have a protective role against heart disease is that of their anti-inflammatory properties, Bondonno told Live Science. Inflammation is a risk factor for heart disease, she said.

The researchers noted that the association between flavonoids and reduced heart disease risk varied for different groups of people. The link between flavonoids and reduced risk of heart disease in smokers, for example, wasn’t observed at 500 mg of flavonoids a day; instead, smokers needed to eat more flavonoids for the link to be apparent. Similar results were seen in people who drank alcohol and in men. However, it was in these three groups that the researchers found that flavonoid intake was associated with the most significant reduction in risk.

In their analysis, Bondonno and her team made sure to take people’s whole diets into consideration, because people who tend to eat lots of fruits and vegetables (and in turn, consume a lot of flavonoids), tend to have better diets in general, eating more fibre and fish and less processed food, which are all “associated with heart disease,” Bondonno said. When they adjusted for these diets in their report, they found that the association between flavonoid intake and reduced heart disease risk was still there, but a bit weaker. In other words, flavonoids may not play as significant a role in heart disease risk as a healthy diet would in general. [11 Ways Processed Food Is Different from Real Food]

Further, the study was conducted only in Danish people, and though these results shouldn’t be extrapolated, “these kinds of associations have been seen in other populations,” Bondonno said.

The findings have not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Originally published on Live Science.

https://www.livescience.com/64060-flavonoids-heart-health.html

Combat fatigue and supercharge your mornings.

Drink a glass of water first thing
Fatigue is a classic symptom of dehydration, and even a mild case can trigger feelings of sleepiness, changes in cognitive ability, and mood disruptions. Let a glass of water freshen up your entire body before you get moving.

Stretch out your tired body with yoga
There’s a reason it feels so good to stretch when you wake up. Overnight, during REM sleep, your muscles are literally paralysed (atonia), and reactivating them releases energy-stimulating endorphins.

Splash your face with water
Cold showers are reported to reduce sick-day absences from work. If you don’t want to take a full shower, a splash of cold water to the face, to signal a temperature change to your body, may also do the trick.

Is getting out of bed the main problem? Keep a spray bottle or water mist by your bedside table so you can lean over and mist yourself without even opening your eyes!

Eat breakfast to spark your energy
The jury is still out on whether breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But research does say that skipping this first meal can negatively affect your energy and ability to pay attention throughout the day.

Food is fuel. Give your body some calories to put it into action at the start of the day.

But if you’re working out in the morning, remember to eat after, not before. This will (a) burn more calories, (b) boost your metabolism, and (c) help you avoid an unsettled stomach.

Reach for a combination of fatigue-fighting foods like lean proteins, whole grains, nuts, and lower-sugar fruits.

Avoid having sugar until lunch
All breakfasts are not created equal, so take stock of your morning food choices. Sugary items like sweetened coffee drinks, pastries, and breakfast cereals can lead to the classic blood sugar spike-and-drop that leaves you feeling drained.

Drink less coffee
That’s right, we said less coffee — but not none! Though coffee has plenty of health benefits, chugging a lot in the morning may indirectly contribute to increased fatigue later in the day.

Avoid the big mugs. Purchase a smaller cup, if you have to, to help reduce the amount you drink.

Go outside to activate your brain
Sunlight bumps up your body’s serotonin levels, leading to improved sleep — and, therefore, increased daytime energy.

Sounds like a perfect reason to carve out a portion of your morning in the great outdoors.

Get some cardio in, throughout the morning
Sure, when you want to crawl back into bed, exercise may sound pretty unappealing — but it may be exactly what your body needs to get help booting up. Research consistently correlates aerobic exercise with reduced fatigue.

See if you can squeeze in a quick walk or bike ride, or try a longer workout for even more benefit.

Pro-tip: When pressed for time, get your body up with a few rounds of high-knees and jumping jacks. Even 30 seconds of torso twists could do the trick or plan a short cardio commute on your way to work.

Address your stress
Is it possible that negative feelings about your job or stressors at home are draining you of morning oomph?

You may not be able to fix certain situations overnight, but once you’ve identified them as a source of mental and physical exhaustion, you can often take some action to alleviate them.

Pro-tip: Streamline harried mornings at home by making school lunches the night before, or make time for morning meditations and create calm before your day begins.

Give yourself something to look forward to
Sometimes all we need for an energy boost is a little excitement on the horizon.

To beat morning fatigue, consider scheduling a phone call with a friend during your commute, pencilling in an outdoor walk on your midmorning break, or pre-making an appealing breakfast that calls you out of bed.

Pro-tip: Let another schedule determine yours. Make an earlier morning podcast or radio show part of your wake-up routine.

Go deeper with mental health
If morning fatigue becomes a chronic problem, it could be caused by depression or anxiety. People with depression can feel worse in the morning or only feel depressed in the morning.

The only way to know, however, is to track your mood or see a professional.