October 18, 2017

Anxiety is a catching disease!

I’ve been reading a great article this week all about anxiety and stress. They’re some of the leading causes of death and disease in the world. Stress causes heart attacks, raises blood pressure, shortens breathing, and that’s just the start of it! It’s one of the biggest worries in the health and wellness community, because surveys show that at least here in America, more and more of us are getting to more and more levels of stress every year.

Mind you, I’m only taking about your own stress and anxiety so far. This is what you take home from work, which keeps you up at night, and the anxiety while you’re sitting at your desk trying to meet a tight deadline. It’s not even beginning to touch other people’s anxiety.

 

Well, an article in the Guardian talks about how anxiety is actually contagious, so much so that we can all have a big impact on the health of the people around us in our lives!

 

I’ve always believed in the power of positive thinking, because that’s proven to catch on in a room or in a situation. Studies show that you’re 25% more likely to be happy if people around you are in good spirits, according to the article. The same is true of very sad emotions. Depressed roommates affect each other negatively.

 

That’s all emotional content, and it’s stuff I’ve known about for a while. Where this article gets interesting is when it talks about mental attitudes like calmness and anxiety, which are directly tied to physical health–heart rates and all that jazz. The author talks about one design professional who urges his workers to stop taking on other people’s anxiety, because he thinks that by trying to spread their anxiety, people are trying to justify that in themselves, even when it’s not productive behavior.

 

This author is making the case that calmness is also contagious, and it can have serious consequences. For instance, he talks about the case of a doctor. If you were freaking out about something and went to see a doctor, you’d want them to be calm, even if the situation was really bad, right? Because if you both become anxious or stressed, it bounces off each other.

 

So, just like we need to try to lighten people’s mood, we should be trying to actively calm them down. It’s tricky, though, because as the article says, a lot of us think that worrying and panicking can be productive. It usually isn’t.

The key is to defuse stressful and anxiety-inducing situations with cool, level-headed thinking and emotional clarity. Basically, the scientific explanation of zen.

 

It’s definitely an interesting read, so I recommend that you check it out!

Uncategorized

All you need to know about juicing, juicers, and the science behind the trend!

Alright guys?

 

Today’s blog is about one of my new obsessions, juicing! Are you on the juicing train already? If you are, this is probably going to be preaching to the choir. If you’re not, I want to set out my case for why you should be!

 

I got into juicing for the same reason everyone does–it’s so convenient. I mean, who doesn’t like the idea of getting 3 servings of fruit and veg from one glass? I started out buying bottled cold-press juice at Whole Foods, but the costs started to add up pretty quickly. So, I quickly moved on to buying an actual juicer and raiding the bulk produce section — yes, before worrying about whether juicing steps are easy or not, you have to first buy a good quality juicer.

Now, I chop a week’s worth of veggies on Sunday, keep them in bins in the fridge, and then juice them for 5 minutes every day. How easy is that? I think it’s probably the least work you can do per serving, even if you were to physically chew through a big sack of carrots every week.

What drew me in was the fact that I could get home from a busy day working and within 5 minutes be drinking enough vitamins and other nutrients to totally recover from it, without having to make some fancy salad or be bothered with chewing. 

 

Like a lot of nutrition fads, I was initially fairly skeptical about whether juicing was actually any better for you than eating. In reading the science, I was definitely reassured. CNET has a great article about how juicing breaks down the cell walls of produce, which essentially “opens” up the nutrients to the enzymes in your digestive tract. It doesn’t add any nutrients to your food, but what it does is make them more easily available, so that you end up absorbing more of them than you would by eating normally.

 

There’s one big point which you should definitely do research on and exercise skepticism, which is the juice cleanse fad. Basically every serious scientist agrees that juice cleanses are bogus–any cleanse is bogus, to be honest. If you know anything about anatomy, you know that we have not one but three whole organs specifically devoted to “detoxing” our bodies, and the truth is that they actually work really well! Juicing can’t cleanse anything by itself. What you’re doing by adding juice to your diet is supercharging the cleansing system your body already has–so it doesn’t make sense to then cut out another important fuel like protein or wheat.

 

You also really ought to keep eating fruits and vegetables normally, because your body has evolved to process those foods, fiber and all! There are actually some bad consequences when you don’t give your gut enzymes enough digesting tasks to do, so don’t cut out whole fruits and vegetables completely! I should stress that you’re not having a bad effect on gut enzymes by having a glass or even two glasses of juice in a day. More often than not, people compromise them by eating lots of processed flours and sugars, so it’s a larger issue that juice is only a small portion of!

 

There’s also a worry you’ll probably read about online that juice is packed with sugars, so it’s actually not that great to have in your diet. Yes, and no! Fruit juice has lots of sugar, but veggie juices don’t! And as long as you leave fiber in your juice, you can really cut down on the sugar content relative to the size of the glass.

 

My two cents:

 

what can juicing do for you?

 

it’s a convenient way for busy people to supplement diets and get up to the magic 10 servings a day!

 

it’s a supplement, not a substitute!

 

It’s not necessarily better to juice things, but if you’re not going to be eating them in the first place, then it doesn’t really matter if you’re taking a shortcut, as long as you’re getting the nutrients in the end! It all goes down the same hole, as my grandpa used to say.

 

I find that it’s also a way to get things you don’t normally eat because of taste or texture into your diet. Similarly, I’ve found that if I buy the discounted produce that has weird spots or has gone a bit past prime, I can get juice even cheaper, and I don’t notice that the texture is a bit funny or whatever the problem is.

 

Is it better to eat all that produce whole and raw? Sure! Do most of us have the time to actually chow through 10 cups of produce in a day? Not likely. Even I struggle to do that some days, which is why I find that juicing helps me rest easy. I know that even if I’m missing a serving or two, I can make them up in a glass.

So, I would say that if you’re having trouble plugging the gaps between your fruit and vegetable servings more than one or two days a week, using a juicer to fill in can be a really time-efficient and easy way to go. It’s the only way a lot of us busy people are going to make up the distance between how we’re actually eating, and how we want to be eating.

 

Are you going to see miracles? Probably not. But I can personally testify that a glass of fresh juice is as invigorating as anything else you can buy. It’s a great way to begin or to end the day, since you’re getting such a rush of nutrition. It’s a must to visit this page if you’re looking for complete information on different juicing machine brands and models. For professional grade juicers, check out http://bestjuicerreviews.xyz/commercial-professional-grade-bar-machines.

Uncategorized

10 a day?

5 a day keeps the doctor away, right? That’s the conventional nutritional wisdom we’re all taught in elementary school, and it’s the rule of thumb most of us carry through to adulthood. That’s 5 cups of fresh produce at meals and as snacks.

 

I’ve been reading for awhile about how we ought to probably aim closer to 7 a day, or even more. Well, a new study has come out in the UK about how more fruits and vegetables in a diet can reduce the risk of major health problems like cancer, heart disease and strokes. Turns out, we should be aiming for double the amount of servings we’ve been taught!

Imperial College, in London, conducted the study, and showed that up to 8 million deaths just in the UK would be prevented every year by people eating a 10-a-day diet! That’s a huge reduction in mortality rates, which shows you how much longer you’ll live a healthy life by eating a good diet!

 

With specific diseases, the results showed that you’re 1/3 less likely to have cardiovascular (heart) issues by eating 10 servings every day, and 13% less likely to have cancer develop in your body. Premature death is the biggest one–more than 1/3 less likely! Overall, fresh produce reduces cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, and fills your body up with important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which prevent all sorts of diseases.

 

Sadly, only about 1/3 of us meet even the low 5-a-day standard. So, there’s a lot of work to be done, but I found this study encouraging because it shows us how much we have to gain simply from improving our diets!

 

Again, the people conducting the study have stressed that they’re not trying to scare people who are barely getting their 5 servings to begin with. They’re just moving the goalposts, and showing that benefits increase substantially the more produce you eat, so you should constantly try to include more produce, instead of panicking that you’re not meeting the goals you’ve already set.

 

There are lots of ways to add servings if you’re struggling to fit more into meals. I aim to get 2 servings at each meal, and then fill in with snacks. So, for breakfast, I’ll have some fresh fruit in my granola, and some orange juice on the side — the orange juice I make myself through my reliable juicer. For lunch, a green salad and some sort of vegetable course. And for dinner, a bigger salad and a side item like sweet potatoes or steamed kale. During the breaks, like midmorning and midafternoon, I can easily get in at least one serving each, like a fruit salad, or carrots with hummus. Just doing that, I’m already up to 8 servings. Throw in some fruit with dessert, and I’m practically there!

If you’re not getting quite that many in, try juicing! That’s how I make up for lost ground on days when I’m just too busy to prepare really healthy meals, or when I don’t fit in super nutritious snacks. You can easily pack 3 or 4 servings of produce into one glass of juice, which is enough for most of us who already try for 5-7 servings to get close or up to the golden 10-a-day mark!

 

However you get there, there’s more evidence than ever to show that a nutritious diet is the key to a healthy life–and a longer life!

Uncategorized

About Ian

Ian is a fitness and health blogger who talks about lifestyle tips, interesting science news, and studies relating to nutrition and wellness. He hails from Saskatchewan, but now lives in Portland, Maine with his girlfriend, Ella and their cat, Shakespeare.

Subscribe to my blog!

Subscribe to this blog for regular updates about lifestyle, nutrition, and fitness, and to see what Ian’s reading around the web!