Good Nutrition Advice

For a healthy body and mind

Month: October 2016

nutrition advice

Health Benefits of Taking a Nap

Make like a Mediterranean and have a siesta, it could be great for your health.

A study presented at the European Society of Cardiology explores the benefits of taking a nap. The team of scientists led by Dr Kallistratos from Asklepieion Voula General Hospital in Athens monitored 386 participants (200 men and 186 women – average age 61.4 years old).

All of them had hypertension. The researchers recorded a number of things including sleep time, blood pressure, lifestyle habits, BMI (Body Mass Index) and echocardiographic measurements.

The results showed that sleeping for 60 minutes after a midday meal gave an average blood pressure reading (over 24 hours) that was 4mm of mercury lower and the participants’ blood pressure continued to drop by 2% and used less medication.

I know that it’s not realistic to imagine that everyone has the luxury of taking a nap for an hour after lunch, but if you’re able to do it at the weekend or on a day off, you should. Resting after lunch is also great for your digestion.

References: European Society of Cardiology

Why Tasty Foods Like French Fries Leave You Wanting More

Junk Food Shrinks your Brain

Junk food shrinks your brain – yes, really…

Eating junk food can diminish the size of the part of your brain that is linked to learning, memory and mental health.

The study which was published in BMC Medicine look at 255 people and used MRI scans to measure the size of the hippocampus region of the brain, alongside their regular diets. The researchers found that those who ate a healthy diet with plenty of fruit, vegetables and fish had a larger hippocampus than those who ate more sugar, salt and processed meat in their diets.

The findings are relevant to  mental health, depression and Alzheimer’s, which are a growing concern for the ageing population.

If you are reliant on processed foods and junk food take heed. Try and clean up your diet to include more fresh produce and keep sugar, salt and saturated fat to a minimum.

take a break

Why you Should Take a Break

Why you should take a break during your working day.

Do you get a chance to take a break during your working day? What you do in your break can have a knock on effect on your job satisfaction and wellbeing. Research published in the Journal of Applied Psychology looked at data from 95 employees (from 22 – 67 years old) over a typical 5-day workweek. The breaks were recorded and overall the scientists reviewed 959 break surveys.

Here were the 4 key findings:

1. The best time of day to take a break was mid-morning.

2. The best breaks were when the employees did things that they enjoyed. This could be going to the gym, going for a walk, chatting to a friend/colleague.

3. Good breaks have a positive effect on your health and job satisfaction.

4. Taking short, frequent breaks is preferable to one long break.

So there you have it. It‘s important to take breaks during the working day. Make sure you get the most out of yours.

References: Give me a better break: Choosing workday break activities to maximize resource recovery.

aging and intelligence

Ageing and Intelligence

Things are looking up for ageing and intelligence.

A group of population experts from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IILSA) have published a study (published in journal PLOS ONE) that looks at data that was collected in Germany between the period of 2006 – 2012.

Older people are getting smarter, but not fitter

The IILSA researchers found that cognitive test scores increased for both men and women at all ages from 50 – 90, while physical and mental health declined. Low-educated men aged 50 – 64 were even more likely to suffer.

One explanation for the improvement in cognitive performance is lifestyle. The lead researcher, Nadia Steiber suggests that life has become more cognitively challenging; from the use of technology and people working longer in more demanding jobs. On the other hand, people are less physically active which is why obesity is on the rise.

It’s great to hear that intelligence is booming in the ageing population but it’s important that you stay active as well. Whether you walk, swim or take a Pilates class it is important for your overall health and wellbeing to keep moving.

References: Population Aging at Cross-Roads: Diverging Secular Trends in Average Cognitive Functioning and Physical Health in the Older Population of Germany

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