November 30th, 2007 cate
Here are 12 examples of food that are purported to be healthful for you, but really aren’t:
Yogurt with Fruit at the Bottom – too much dangerous corn syrup in them.
Baked Beans – too much brown and white sugars.
California Roll – packed with fast-digesting carbohydrates and almost no protein.
Granola Bars – oats are basically glued together with ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup, honey, and barley malt — all of which quickly raise blood sugar.
Pasta Salad – white-flour pasta, a close relative of white bread, which is not good for anyone. Also has too much mayo.
English Muffins – raise blood sugar significantly and are nearly devoid of fiber, protein, and vitamins. This makes them a great example of a food that provides only empty calories.
Croutons – usually made with the same refined flour that’s used in white bread, a food with a higher glycemic index than sugar.
Fat-Free Salad Dressing – removal of fat reduces your body’s ability to absorb many of the vitamins found in a salad’s vegetables.
Fruit Cocktail – packed in heavy syrup.
Reduced-Fat Peanut Butter – Many commercial brands are sweetened with “icing sugar” — the same finely ground sugar used to decorate cupcakes. In fact, each tablespoon of Skippy contains half a teaspoon of the sweet stuff. Reduced-fat versions are the worst of all, because they contain less healthy fat and even more icing sugar.
Pretzels – have one of the highest glycemic indexes of any food. In fact, they rank above ice cream and jelly beans in their ability to raise blood sugar.
Corn Oil – Corn oil has 60 times more omega-6s than omega-3s, the type of healthy fats found in fish, walnuts, and flaxseed. Studies suggest that a high intake of omega-6 fats relative to omega-3 fats increases inflammation, which boosts your risk of cancer, arthritis, and obesity.
November 29th, 2007 cate
Sleep must be on my mind lately, so here’s another article about Sleep but involving food. If you don’t believe that some foods can help you get a good night’s sleep, try them out first! See what happens.
From Impact Lab:
“What is the secret to getting a solid 7 to 8 hours of sleep? Head for the kitchen and enjoy one or two of these 10 foods. They relax tense muscles, quiet buzzing minds, and/or get calming, sleep-inducing hormones – serotonin and melatonin – flowing.
Bananas. They’re practically a sleeping pill in a peel. In addition to a bit of soothing melatonin and serotonin, bananas contain magnesium, a muscle relaxant.
Chamomile tea. The reason chamomile is such a staple of bedtime tea blends is its mild sedating effect – it’s the perfect natural antidote for restless minds/bodies.
Warm milk. It’s not a myth. Milk has some tryptophan – an amino acid that has a sedative – like effect – and calcium, which helps the brain use tryptophan. Plus there’s the psychological throw-back to infancy, when a warm bottle meant “relax, everything’s fine.”
Honey. Drizzle a little in your warm milk or herb tea. Lots of sugar is stimulating, but a little glucose tells your brain to turn off orexin, a recently discovered neurotransmitter that’s linked to alertness.
Potatoes. A small baked spud won’t overwhelm your GI tract, and it clears away acids that can interfere with yawn-inducing tryptophan. To up the soothing effects, mash it with warm milk.
Oatmeal. Oats are a rich source of sleep – inviting melatonin, and a small bowl of warm cereal with a splash of maple syrup is cozy – plus if you’ve got the munchies, it’s filling too.
Almonds. A handful of these heart-healthy nuts can be snooze-inducing, as they contain both tryptophan and a nice dose of muscle-relaxing magnesium.
Flaxseeds. When life goes awry and feeling down is keeping you up, try sprinkling 2 tablespoons of these healthy little seeds on your bedtime oatmeal. They’re rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a natural mood lifter.
Whole-wheat bread. A slice of toast with your tea and honey will release insulin, which helps tryptophan get to your brain, where it’s converted to serotonin and quietly murmurs “time to sleep.”
Turkey. It’s the most famous source of tryptophan, credited with all those Thanksgiving naps. But that’s actually modern folklore. Tryptophan works when your stomach’s basically empty, not overstuffed, and when there are some carbs around, not tons of protein. But put a lean slice or two on some whole-wheat bread mid-evening, and you’ve got one of the best sleep inducers in your kitchen.
What if none of these foods help you get your zzz’s? Check out your sleep habits with this quick RealAge test to find out what?s keeping you up at night.
For an extra treat, here’s the ultimate sleep-inducing snack…”
Read the rest
November 28th, 2007 cate
Speaking of naps and sleep, here’s a great article about how important sleep is, and why.
“Modern life is too demanding to turn out the lights and we’re more sleep deprived than ever before. How can we get back in the habit of grabbing shut-eye?
Ask someone how they are and their response, more often than not, is “fine but a bit tired”. Not surprising when one in three of us have sleep problems, according to recent research.
The medical profession calls it tatt, short for “tired all the time”. It’s one of the most common complaints that doctors hear. The disappearance of rest from daily life is also one of the themes of a major new exhibition on sleep at the Wellcome Collection in London.
We just aren’t getting enough sleep and it’s slipping down people’s list of priorities. It seems modern life is just too demanding – and exciting – to switch off.
As a result sleep deprivation is becoming a national problem, say experts.
Sleep is so important because it allows the brain to recover from the rigours of the day. Not getting enough has been found to increase the risk of obesity, heart disease and depression. The government is keen to tackle these health issues, efforts doomed to failure unless getting enough sleep is made a priority as well.
“But we place no importance on it in our culture. When you are sleep deprived you are putting yourself in a…”"
Read the full article
November 27th, 2007 cate
From Ririan Project:
What do Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison all have in common? They’ve all made considerable contributions to the advancement of mankind, they’re all distinguished in their respective fields, and they were all avid power nappers.
Napping can be a great way to catch up on sleep, increase productivity and become more creative. By obtaining merely 20 minutes of sleep in the afternoon your body and mind will recharge and provide the extra push required to have a successful, productive day.
Naptime is not just for kindergartners. A whole body of research shows that a midday snooze can boost productivity and alertness in the workplace.
But there is some controversy in the best way to take a nap. It may be that different people have different nap styles. I suggest trying some of the napping techniques below and see what works for you.
1. The Odd Couple
Turns out a cup of joe won’t ruin your nap, it will upgrade it. A recent Japanese study found that you can alleviate sleepiness by combining a short snooze with coffee.
Sound counterintuitive? Here’s how it works: caffeine takes about 20-30 minutes to kick in, just enough time for you to nap. That way, if you’ve had a coffee-primed nap, the benefits are twofold: you’ve rested and you’re ready to go when you wake.
The British Transportation Department even provides drivers with the following recommendation to combat driver fatigue: “Stop, drink two cups of coffee or a highly caffeinated drink, then take a short nap.” Think of a nap as a free extra shot in your latte.
2. The Nicest Nap
Sleep experts say that 2 or 3 p.m. is the ideal nap hour — late enough to fit into your natural siesta zone but early enough that it will not interfere with your night sleep. Also take your afternoon schedule into consideration when making nap plans.
If you can, experts recommend taking your mid-afternoon snooze just prior to a big meeting. Dozing right before the meeting will make sure you’re not drifting off during the meeting.
3. Length Does Matter
A good nap length is somewhere between 20 and 30 minutes. This will give you the restorative benefits of sleep without the lethargy or grogginess — what sleep experts call “sleep drunkenness.” Naps as short as 1 to 2 minutes could be effective for some people.
4. Making the Bed
Some people have difficulty power napping solely because they are in unfamiliar surroundings. While the couch in your office might not be the best place to stop for a power nap, it is certainly adequate. Heading to your parked car is another option — but of course you should make sure a window is open and the engine is not running.
Learn how to control the environment to get the most out of power naps. Turn out all of the lights and close the doors and windows. If there’s lots of noise, plug your ears with cotton balls or rubber ear plugs. You might also want to keep a dark-colored mask with you to block out all light so that nothing disturbs your power nap.
5. Set an Alarm
Chances are, if you’re tired enough to take a nap, you will not magically wake up on your own accord. So set an alarm, both to avoid the grogginess of a long nap and to make sure you don’t sleep through anything important. These days, most people have access to all kinds of alarms. Most cell phones have alarms you can set and you can purchase handy travel alarms.
6. Stop Feeling Guilty
Napping is great for your health and productivity. But even though most of us know this, we often still feel as though we are wasting time. This feeling of guilt only impedes successful power napping. Instead, make an effort to recognize that you’re not being lazy; napping will make you more productive and more alert after you wake up.
7. Calm the Mind
Let go of all thoughts. As thoughts come into your mind, just repeat this gentle reminder to yourself: “Empty the mind!” You may want to switch over to a word of your choosing to focus on (mantra) that will help push out other thoughts.
Examples of words are Peace, Calm, Rest, Empty, Power, Strength, Love. Any word is fine. In fact the word “OMmm” can be helpful because it is not attached to other meanings. Whatever works for you is what is best at that moment!
8. Be Prepared for Grogginess
Sleep is characterised by cycles of light and deep sleep. If you wake up in the middle of a deep sleep, you will feel groggy for 15 to 20 minutes. Try running cold water over your wrists or drinking a soda to wake yourself up. But in most cases — if you sleep for less than 30 minutes — you won’t enter deep sleep. Anyway, experiment to see what works for you.
9. Keep It Consistent
Experts suggest working that 20-minute nap into a particular sleep routine to make it part of your body’s expected circadian rhythm. Just like you go to sleep and wake up at approximately the same time every day, you should get into the routine of taking regular naps.
Some days, this won’t be possible, but if you need power naps, organize them into your schedule. Eventually, you’ll start to get sleepy around the time of your power nap and it will become second nature just like going to sleep at night in your bed.
10. Be an Alert Napper
If you always feel the need for a nap, think about your nightly sleep schedule. Are you down to only five or six hours? While a 20-minute nap is a good refresher, it will not make up for hours lost at night.
Conversely, if you’re getting eight hours of sleep each night yet still feel the need to nap, that might be the sign of a sleep disorder, or another health problem, so check with your physician.
November 26th, 2007 cate
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