Good Nutrition Advice

For a healthy body and mind

Tag: health psychology

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

Comfort food

Diet Tip: The Unexpected Effect of Comfort Food and Bad Moods

81% of people believe comfort foods improve a low mood, but are they correct? The truth about comfort food and bad moods.

Contrary to what most people believe, comfort food does not improve a low mood, a new study finds.

The research, published in the journal Health Psychology, found that people who ate nothing recovered from a bad mood just as quickly as those who ate their preferred comfort food (Wagner et al., 2014).

The results come from a study in which people were asked to list the type of foods they ate to recover from a bad mood — chocolate was the most popular. They then watched an 18-minute video that was guaranteed to make them anxious, afraid and depressed.

Comfort Food and Bad Moods

After watching the depressing video, (across three different studies) people were given either:

  1. Their preferred comfort food.
  2. A neutral food (a granola bar).
  3. No food.

Then their mood was measured. Here is how the researchers describe their results, which were pretty clear-cut:

“Comfort foods led to significant improvements in mood, but no more than other foods or no food.

Although people believe that comfort foods provide them with mood benefits, comfort foods do not provide comfort beyond that of other foods (or no food).”

The fact that all groups felt better after a time is likely due to the psychological immune system, our natural ability to recover from bad moods.

So, people were giving the credit to the comfort food for something their minds were doing automatically.

The researchers conclude:

“We found no justification for people to choose comfort foods when they are distressed.

Removing an excuse for eating a high-calorie or high-fat food may help people develop and maintain healthier eating habits, and may lead them to focus on other, food-free methods of improving their mood.

You don’t need comfort food to feel better; the mind will do the trick all on its own if you give it time.”


 

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