Natural Mineral May Reverse Memory Loss and Boost Learning

Selenium – a mineral found in many foods – could reverse the cognitive impact of stroke and boost learning and memory in aging brains, according to University of Queensland research.

This article is a repost which originally appeared on SciTechDaily
UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND - MARCH 6, 2022
Edited for content and readability - Images sourced from Getty Images
Source: DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2022.01.005

Our Takeaways:

  • The mineral Selenium, when supplemented, reversed cognitive deficits in mice.
  • Learning and memory was also restored in stroke-affected mice.
  • Selenium is also found in foods such as grains, meat, and nuts, with the highest levels found in Brazil nuts.

Selenium – a mineral found in many foods – could reverse the cognitive impact of stroke and boost learning and memory in aging brains, according to University of Queensland research.

Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) lead researcher Dr. Tara Walker said studies on the impact of exercise on the aging brain found levels of a protein key to transporting selenium in the blood were elevated by physical activity.

“We’ve known for the last 20 years that exercise can create new neurons in the brain, but we didn’t really understand how,” Dr. Walker said.

The research team investigated whether dietary selenium supplements could replicate the effects of exercise.

“Our models showed that selenium supplementation could increase neuron generation and improve cognition in elderly mice,” Dr. Walker said.

“The levels of new neuron generation decrease rapidly in aged mice, as they do in humans.

“When selenium supplements were given to the mice, the production of neurons increased, reversing the cognitive deficits observed in aging.”

Selenium is an essential trace mineral absorbed from soil and water and is found in foods such as grains, meat, and nuts, with the highest levels found in Brazil nuts.

The scientists also tested whether selenium would have an impact on the cognitive decline sometimes experienced following stroke, which can affect people’s memory and ability to learn.

“Young mice are really good at the learning and memory tasks, but after a stroke, they could no longer perform these tasks,” Dr. Walker said.

“We found that learning and memory deficits of stroke-affected mice returned to normal when they were given selenium supplements.”

Dr. Walker said the results opened a new therapeutic avenue to boost cognitive function in people who were unable to exercise due to poor health or old age.

“However, selenium supplements shouldn’t be seen as a complete substitute for exercise, and too much can be bad for you,” she said.

“A person who is getting a balanced diet of fruits, nuts, veggies, and meat usually has good selenium levels.

“But in older people, particularly those with neurological conditions, selenium supplements could be beneficial.”

The research was first published in Cell Metabolism

Supplements for Neuropathy: Vitamins and More

Medically reviewed by Dominique Fontaine, BSN, RN, HNB-BC, HWNC-BC — Written by Emily Cronkleton — Updated on October 22, 2021

This article is a repost which originally appeared on Healthline

Edited for content

Our Takeaways:

  • Neuropathy may be cause by a number of issues
  • Certain supplements may be used with good effect toward restoring sensation
  • A healthy diet may negate the need for some supplements

Neuropathy is a term used to describe several conditions that affect the nerves and can cause irritating and painful symptoms. Neuropathy is a particularly common complication of diabetes and a side effect of chemotherapy.

Conventional treatments are available for neuropathy. However, research is underway to investigate the use of supplements. You may find these supplements preferable to other treatment options since they have fewer side effects. They may also benefit your health and well-being in other ways.

Always talk with your doctor before starting any new supplements or changing your treatment plan in any way. You may wish to combine these supplements with complementary therapies, pain medications, and adaptive techniques to help you manage your symptoms, but be cautious.

Herbs and supplements can interfere with each other and with any medications you’re taking. They’re not meant to replace any treatment plan approved by your doctor.

1. B vitamins for neuropathy

B vitamins are useful in treating neuropathy since they support healthy nervous system function. Peripheral neuropathy is sometimes caused by a vitamin B deficiency.

Supplementation should include vitamin B1 (thiamine and benfotiamine), B6, and B12. You may choose to take these separately instead of as a B complex.

Benfotiamine is like vitamin B1, which is also known as thiamine. It’s thought to lower pain and inflammation levels and prevent cellular damage.

A deficiency in vitamin B12 is one cause of peripheral neuropathy. Without treatment, it can cause permanent nerve damage.

Vitamin B6 may help to maintain the covering on nerve endings. But it’s important that you don’t take more than 200 milligrams of B6 per day. Research from 2021 shows that taking higher amounts can lead to nerve damage and cause symptoms of neuropathy.

Foods rich in B vitamins include:

  • meat, poultry, and fish
  • seafood
  • eggs
  • low fat dairy products
  • fortified cereals
  • vegetables

A 2017 review indicates that supplementing with B vitamins has the potential to promote nerve repair. This may be because B vitamins can speed up nerve tissue regeneration and improve nerve function. B vitamins may also be useful in relieving pain and inflammation.

The results of studies showing the benefit of benfotiamine in treating neuropathy have been mixed. A small 2005 study and a 2008 study found benfotiamine to have a positive effect on diabetic neuropathy. It was shown to decrease pain and improve the condition.

But a small 2012 study found that people with type 1 diabetes who took 300 milligrams per day of benfotiamine showed no significant improvements in nerve function or inflammation. People took the supplement for 24 months.

Further studies are needed to expand upon these findings. It’s also important to examine the effects of benfotiamine in combination with other B vitamins.

2. Alpha-lipoic acid for neuropathy

Alpha-lipoic acid is an antioxidant that may be useful in treating neuropathy caused by diabetes or cancer treatment. A 2021 study says it may lower blood sugar levels, improve nerve function, and relieve uncomfortable symptoms in the legs and arms such as:

  • pain
  • itching
  • tingling
  • prickling
  • numbness
  • burning

It can be taken in supplement form or administered intravenously. You may take 600 to 1,200 milligrams per day in capsule form.

Foods that have trace amounts of alpha-lipoic acid include:

  • liver
  • red meat
  • broccoli
  • brewer’s yeast
  • spinach
  • Brussels sprouts

Alpha-lipoic acid has been shown to have a positive effect on nerve conduction and to reduce neuropathic pain. A small 2017 study found that alpha-lipoic acid was useful in protecting against oxidative damage in people with diabetic neuropathy.

One important note of caution: If you are deficient in thiamine, or vitamin B1, as a result of excessive alcohol use or for another reason, alpha-lipoic acid may have a toxic effect on your system.

3. Acetyl-L-carnitine for neuropathy

Acetyl-L-carnitine is an amino acid and antioxidant. It may raise energy levels, create healthy nerve cells, and reduce pain in people with neuropathy. You can take it as a supplement. A typical dosage is 500 milligrams twice per day.

Food sources of acetyl-L-carnitine include:

  • meat
  • fish
  • poultry
  • dairy products

According to a 2016 study, acetyl-L-carnitine significantly improved:

  • chemotherapy-induced peripheral sensory neuropathy
  • cancer-associated fatigue
  • physical conditions

Participants received either a placebo or 3 grams per day of acetyl-L-carnitine for 8 weeks. Researchers noted significant differences between the groups at 12 weeks. This indicates that the neurotoxicity persists without further clinical intervention.

4. N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) for neuropathy

NAC is a form of cysteine. It’s an antioxidant and amino acid. Its many medicinal uses include treating neuropathic pain and reducing inflammation.

NAC isn’t found naturally in foods, but cysteine is in most high protein foods. You can take it as a supplement in amounts of 1,200 milligrams once or twice per day.

Results of a 2010 animal study showed that NAC may be useful in treating diabetic neuropathy. It reduced neuropathic pain and improved motor coordination. Its antioxidant properties improved nerve damage from oxidative stress and apoptosis, or cell death.

5. Curcumin for neuropathy

Curcumin is a compound found in the herb turmeric, known for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and pain relieving properties. It may help to relieve numbness and tingling in your hands and feet.

Curcumin is available in supplement form, or you can take 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder with 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper three times per day.

You can also use fresh or powdered turmeric to make tea. You can add it to foods such as curries, egg salads, and yogurt smoothies.

A 2014 animal study found that curcumin reduced chemotherapy-induced neuropathy in mice who took it for 14 days. It had a positive effect on pain, inflammation, and functional loss. Antioxidant and calcium levels were significantly improved. Larger studies on humans are needed to expand upon these findings.

Another animal study from 2013 indicates that curcumin is helpful when taken during the early stages of neuropathy. This may prevent chronic neuropathic pain from developing.

6. Fish oil for neuropathy

Fish oil is useful in treating neuropathy due to its anti-inflammatory effects and its ability to repair damaged nerves. It also helps to relieve muscle soreness and pain. It’s available in supplement form. You can take 2,400 to 5,400 milligrams per day.

The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil are also found in these foods:

  • salmon
  • walnuts
  • sardines
  • canola oil
  • chia seeds
  • flaxseeds
  • mackerel
  • cod liver oil
  • herring
  • oysters
  • anchovies
  • caviar
  • soybeans

A 2017 review examined the potential for fish oil as a treatment for diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Studies have shown that fish oil can slow progression and reverse diabetic neuropathy. Its anti-inflammatory properties are useful in reducing pain and discomfort. Its neuroprotective effects can help to stimulate neuron outgrowth.

While the results are promising, further studies are needed to expand upon these findings.

The takeaway

Talk with your doctor before starting any supplements for your neuropathy symptoms. They can provide personalized information about safety and effectiveness given your health situation.

If you’re given the go-ahead, you may find that some of these supplements ease the discomfort associated with the condition.

Last medically reviewed on October 22, 2021

Healthline has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

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  • Haupt E, et al. (2005). Benfotiamine in the treatment of diabetic polyneuropathy — A three-week randomized, controlled pilot study (BEDIP study).
    ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15726875
  • Hemminger A, et al. (2021). Vitamin B6 toxicity.
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    sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0011393X12000999?via%3Dihub
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    onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1471-4159.2009.06435.x
  • Nguyen H, et al. (2021). Alpha-lipoic acid.
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    eurekaselect.com/node/152631/article

What You Eat Can Reprogram Your Genes – The Science of Nutrigenomics

People typically think of food as calories, energy and sustenance. However, the latest evidence suggests that food also “talks” to our genome, which is the genetic blueprint that directs the way the body functions down to the cellular level.

This article is a repost which originally appeared on The Conversation
Monica Dus - March 1, 2022
Edited for content and readability - Images sourced from Pexels Images

Our Takeaways:

  • Food can drive biological processes by interacting with the genome. One example is the genetically identical worker and queen bees. They become two different life forms because of the food they eat.
  • The food not only impacts the genetic switches in our cells, but also with those of the microorganisms living in our guts, skin, and mucosa.
  • Added ingredients in food and food can also alter the flow of genetic information inside cells. Such as folate or BPA.

This communication between food and genes may affect your health, physiology and longevity. The idea that food delivers important messages to an animal’s genome is the focus of a field known as nutrigenomics. This is a discipline still in its infancy, and many questions remain cloaked in mystery. Yet already, we researchers have learned a great deal about how food components affect the genome.

I am a molecular biologist who researches the interactions among foodgenes and brains in the effort to better understand how food messages affect our biology. The efforts of scientists to decipher this transmission of information could one day result in healthier and happier lives for all of us. But until then, nutrigenomics has unmasked at least one important fact: Our relationship with food is far more intimate than we ever imagined.

The interaction of food and genes

If the idea that food can drive biological processes by interacting with the genome sounds astonishing, one need look no further than a beehive to find a proven and perfect example of how this happens. Worker bees labor nonstop, are sterile and live only a few weeks. The queen bee, sitting deep inside the hive, has a life span that lasts for years and a fecundity so potent she gives birth to an entire colony.

And yet, worker and queen bees are genetically identical organisms. They become two different life forms because of the food they eat. The queen bee feasts on royal jelly; worker bees feed on nectar and pollen. Both foods provide energy, but royal jelly has an extra feature: its nutrients can unlock the genetic instructions to create the anatomy and physiology of a queen bee.

So how is food translated into biological instructions? Remember that food is composed of macronutrients. These include carbohydrates – or sugars – proteins and fat. Food also contains micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals. These compounds and their breakdown products can trigger genetic switches that reside in the genome.

Like the switches that control the intensity of the light in your house, genetic switches determine how much of a certain gene product is produced. Royal jelly, for instance, contains compounds that activate genetic controllers to form the queen’s organs and sustain her reproductive ability. In humans and mice, byproducts of the amino acid methionine, which are abundant in meat and fish, are known to influence genetic dials that are important for cell growth and division. And vitamin C plays a role in keeping us healthy by protecting the genome from oxidative damage; it also promotes the function of cellular pathways that can repair the genome if it does get damaged.

Depending on the type of nutritional information, the genetic controls activated and the cell that receives them, the messages in food can influence wellness, disease risk and even life span. But it’s important to note that to date, most of these studies have been conducted in animal models, like bees.

Interestingly, the ability of nutrients to alter the flow of genetic information can span across generations. Studies show that in humans and animals, the diet of grandparents influences the activity of genetic switches and the disease risk and mortality of grandchildren.

Cause and effect

One interesting aspect of thinking of food as a type of biological information is that it gives new meaning to the idea of a food chain. Indeed, if our bodies are influenced by what we have eaten – down to a molecular level – then what the food we consume “ate” also could affect our genome. For example, compared to milk from grass-fed cows, the milk from grain-fed cattle has different amounts and types of fatty acids and vitamins C and A . So when humans drink these different types of milk, their cells also receive different nutritional messages.

Similarly, a human mother’s diet changes the levels of fatty acids as well as vitamins such as B-6, B-12 and folate that are found in her breast milk. This could alter the type of nutritional messages reaching the baby’s own genetic switches, although whether or not this has an effect on the child’s development is, at the moment, unknown.

And, maybe unbeknownst to us, we too are part of this food chain. The food we eat doesn’t tinker with just the genetic switches in our cells, but also with those of the microorganisms living in our guts, skin and mucosa. One striking example: In mice, the breakdown of short-chain fatty acids by gut bacteria alters the levels of serotonin, a brain chemical messenger that regulates mood, anxiety and depression, among other processes.

Food additives and packaging

Added ingredients in food can also alter the flow of genetic information inside cells. Breads and cereals are enriched with folate to prevent birth defects caused by deficiencies of this nutrient. But some scientists hypothesize that high levels of folate in the absence of other naturally occurring micronutrients such as vitamin B-12 could contribute to the higher incidence of colon cancer in Western countries, possibly by affecting the genetic pathways that control growth.

This could also be true with chemicals found in food packaging. Bisphenol A, or BPA, a compound found in plastic, turns on genetic dials in mammals that are critical to development, growth and fertility. For example, some researchers suspect that, in both humans and animal models, BPA influences the age of sexual differentiation and decreases fertility by making genetic switches more likely to turn on.

All of these examples point to the possibility that the genetic information in food could arise not just from its molecular composition – the amino acids, vitamins and the like – but also from the agricultural, environmental and economic policies of a country, or the lack of them.

Scientists have only recently begun decoding these genetic food messages and their role in health and disease. We researchers still don’t know precisely how nutrients act on genetic switches, what their rules of communication are and how the diets of past generations influence their progeny. Many of these studies have so far been done only in animal models, and much remains to be worked out about what the interactions between food and genes mean for humans.

What is clear though, is that unraveling the mysteries of nutrigenomics is likely to empower both present and future societies and generations.

9 Ways to Increase Testosterone Naturally in 2022

by Men’s Journal editors

This article is a repost which originally appeared on Men’s Journal

Edited for content

Our Takeaways:

‧ There are many things men can do to actively increase testosterone levels

‧ Optimal testosterone levels will improve health and emotional well being

‧ Avoiding estrogenic compounds in the diet will help to keep testosterone levels high

What makes a man? This question has been a subject of great argument for many centuries. However, the thing that leaps to the mind first is, undeniably, testosterone. Testosterone is the most vital male sex hormone that is a critical factor in men’s adolescence. 

An optimal proportion of testosterone maintains high energy levels as well as enhances body strength and masculinity. Besides, it is a crucial aspect regarding physical changes in boys.

But, what course of action should you adopt if you have lower testosterone levels? You will find a vast chain of treatments and procedures in this regard, but it is hard to access an authentic one.

In that sense, you have landed on the right platform. With enough research on this significant health affair, we will introduce you to the precious nine ways that will help you increase testosterone naturally. And, the good news is these will bring beneficial changes to your overall health and well-being. 

So, keep scrolling down.

#1. Testosterone-Boosting Supplements 

Your diet has a significant impact on your testosterone levels. Recent studies have found that men who consume a low-fat diet face testosterone deficiency. Therefore, always be mindful of your diet routine and stay away from prolonged dieting strategies.

Eating bulked-up ingredients fuels your masculinity. Therefore, following a rich diet plan and the intake of the best testosterone booster supplements might boost up your testosterone levels effectively. 

You might be missing some essential nutrients in your daily diet that may boost your T levels. 

We have discussed their importance and how you can have all of them at once below in detail:

  • D-Aspartic Acid

D-Aspartic acid is a natural amino acid that can increase your testosterone levels effectively. Colossal research has been done on D-Aspartic acid, which shows it is bound to many fruitful outcomes regarding the whole male reproductive system.

Recent studies have revealed D-Aspartic acid works on some critical testosterone-stimulating hormones like follicle-stimulating hormones and luteinizing hormones, which increases your testosterone levels.

Adding D-Aspartic acid into your diet for 12 days may help enhance testosterone levels and other hormones. Additionally, it may also elevate their production and transportation around the body.

Many studies have also shown that such amino acids may be helpful in sperm production and quality. So, overall, it can be a significant step towards better testosterone levels.

  • Magnesium

Magnesium is a critical mineral deeply associated with the vital processes in our body, like cellular processes, bone formation, and muscle functions. 

A couple of researches revealed magnesium supplementation for four weeks increases testosterone levels in athletic and sedentary individuals.

A magnesium-rich diet can, directly and indirectly, translate it into an increased T level (since magnesium is also responsible for converting Vitamin D into an active form). 

Although magnesium deficiency is more common in old age, many younger people, like athletes, may also suffer from it, as many minerals like Zinc, magnesium, etc., may be lost in sweat. Therefore, make sure you consume a proper intake of magnesium. 

Though many competitive supplements include magnesium as an ingredient, dietary magnesium always comes first, so try to reach out to the magnesium-rich foods that are abundant, such as greens, nuts, seeds, dry beans, whole grains, and wheat and oat bran.       

Try to stay away from magnesium oxide, as it may cause some significant health issues like intestinal discomfort or diarrhea. 

  • Zinc

Zinc is found to be the second most abundant element in humans. Apart from having countless benefits in other health regards, researchers have found Zinc may play a tremendous role in men’s masculinity, fertilization, sperm quality, and hormonal secretion.

Some researchers have also witnessed that an average Zinc concentration in the body is required for the normal functioning of the pituitary gland, which is highlighted in male reproductive potential.

Zinc is found to affect men’s fertility in numerous ways. In addition, low zinc levels in the body have a highlighted negative effect on testosterone concentrations. 

So, keeping all of this in mind, try to incorporate zinc supplements in your diet, which include oysters, beef, nuts, chicken, beans, and many more.

How to Incorporate the Nutrients Mentioned Above in Your Diet?

TestoPrime is the answer, as it is an effective testosterone-boosting supplement. With TestoPrime, you can get all of the essential nutrients in a single package. 

You can get all of these benefits by using this natural testosterone booster. The influential testosterone support can help you maintain your pubescent liveliness with new and fresh testosterone.

TestoPrime is a cost-friendly and 100% dependent combination of natural ingredients, like vitamins and fruit extracts, mainly created to give the best results and promote your overall health.

Men who have entered their 40s or are near to it are advised to purchase it. It may not only bring a flood of testosterone into your body, but it may also help you get rid of tiredness, low energy levels, loss of focus, decreased sexual desires, and a bad memory.

So, if you want all these in a short time, grab this fantastic T-boosting supplement.

#2. Get Sunlight for Vitamin D

Modern studies have shown testosterone makes you manly, and vitamin D supports your bones and muscles. However, recently, it has been concluded these two biomarkers are associated with many other body functions and may affect each other’s levels.

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that is achieved via sun exposure and many diet supplements. The essential vitamin crucially influences the proper growth and functioning of bones, muscles, nerves, and numerous body organs.

Various researches have been performed on discovering the role of vitamin D in testosterone boosting. It has been found that low vitamin D levels can drop your testosterone levels theoretically. Additionally, it can lead to improper working of the testes.

A few years ago, it was concluded that men with lower Vitamin D and T levels might have more cardiovascular diseases. In addition, people with low T levels may experience some other sexual problems like erectile dysfunction and lower sexual drives. These can be treated with Vitamin D.

Always make sure to have enough Vitamin D included in your diet. There are various supplements available in the market. Another option is to go out in the sunshine, as it is the most reliable and productive way of consuming vitamin D.

Therefore, the sun is the best way to get vitamin D. When you take some Vitamin D-rich supplements or expose your skin to sun rays, your body absorbs it. Your liver will then translate it into its active form called 25(OH) D, which your doctor looks for when he suggests a Vitamin D blood test.

The active form of Vitamin D is then transported throughout your body for different functions. It is now proven the male reproductive system is one of its receivers.

Apart from that, there are some other ways to consume vitamin D like:

  • Eat fatty fish and seafood like mackerel, oysters, shrimps, etc.
  • Consume more mushrooms
  • Incorporate eggs in your diet plan
  • Consume fortified food like milk, orange juice, yogurt, tofu, cereals, soy, almonds, etc.
  • Take Vitamin D supplements

#3. Exercise and Lift Weight

Exercises tend to be the most crucial factor in preventing many health diseases. Surprisingly, this can also be the best alternative to increase your testosterone levels. You can increase your testosterone levels on your own by adopting some essential pieces of training and workouts.

Low testosterone levels are nearly bound to lowered energy levels, decreased muscle mass, and inadequate mental health. Exercises can be the best in this regard.  

Exercises increase testosterone in two ways:

  • It helps in building muscle mass. Once your muscles are building up properly, increased T levels will result.
  • Exercises help in weight balancing and maintenance. Many studies have shown low testosterone levels are closely linked with obesity.

Research has found that heavy training like weight lifting may be the best way to boost testosterone. Lifting heavy weights may help gain muscle mass and, likewise, higher T levels. If you are new to this, opt for a trainer to get basic knowhow of it.

High-intensity interval exercises, if done along with weight lifting, may be the best combination that will not only elevate your T levels but may also help promote heart health. 

High-intensity training is also found to have positive effects on testosterone levels. Research revealed that resting for a couple of minutes between intervals is more advantageous.

Moderate cardio exercises also contribute to some extent, as they protect your heart and inhibit extra cortisol productions, which can negatively impact your muscle mass and T levels.

Make sure to stay away from chronic and prolonged exercises like cycling, running, and swimming for a long time, as these may cause problems regarding your testosterone production.

#4. A Balanced Diet Including Proteins, Carbs, and Fats

Follow a reliable diet plan that includes the intake of all of the necessary nutrients in the proper proportions.  A balanced diet is a crucial factor in elevating T levels. Hundreds of researches show that low testosterone levels and poor diet patterns are strongly interrelated.

A balanced diet not only enhances your T levels, but it has countless health benefits. Many studies show that alterations in dietary plans may lead to hypogonadism. Consuming a balanced diet enriched in proteins, carbs, and healthy fats can go longer toward normal T levels as you age.

Many essential nutrients like proteins, carbs, and healthy fats may bring noticeable benefits to your health and hormonal secretions.

According to recent health researchers, a diet rich in proteins may aid a lot in testosterone boosting. However, another study has revealed low protein levels may damage the Leyden cells assigned to testosterone production. 

Therefore, try to increase your protein intake. This will help you in fat loss which, likewise, is linked with your testosterone. Moreover, it will support your muscle development, which may be essential in testosterone boosting.

Carbs may bring out a rapid increase in your T levels. According to the latest research, eating a carbohydrate-rich diet may be harmful to diabetic people, but it is associated with a high testosterone level in the average person. Instead, try to consume carbs from starchy tubers such as potatoes, yams, pumpkins, etc.

When it comes to fats, many of you may think it has nothing to do with testosterone levels, but it is essential to take a sufficient amount of healthy fats to produce testosterone effectively. In this regard, saturated fats are beneficial.

It would be best if you add the following foods to your daily routine:

  • Lean proteins (lean beef, healthy poultry, and seafood)
  • Eggs
  • Colorful fruits and green leafy vegetables (leafy greens, broccoli, berries, carrots, and avocados)
  • Legumes and beans
  • Nuts, seeds, and edible vegetable oil
  • Whole grains

In short, we would say a healthier diet will result in a healthier weight that may boost your T levels even if you age.

#5. Meditation to Curb Stress

The pressures you are dealing with in your life may reveal several ways. Lower T levels are one of these. Stress may affect some essential hormones like testosterone responsible for pubescence in boys. However, the clear physiological linkage between stress and low testosterone is not known.

Many researchers and physicians have shown some brain chemicals released in response to stress and anxiety, and then they might be transferred to the testosterone-controlling sites in the brain.

Other research shows stress elevates the cortisol levels in the body. Cortisol is a stress hormone released by adrenal glands in the kidneys when you are under stress. It is assigned with the management of numerous processes in the body like metabolism and immune system. Therefore, increased cortisol impacts testosterone productions negatively.

In this regard, meditation may be the best option to get rid of stress. Researchers have found that at least 20-30 minutes of meditation per day will indirectly lower cortisol and increase your testosterone and growth hormone levels.

Always try to manage yourself in stressful situations. This will preserve your sanity and promote your health in many ways.

#6. Sleep, Deep Sleep

Lack of sleep can adversely affect the secretions and levels of many essential hormones and chemicals in the body, including testosterone. Simply speaking, your testosterone levels are directly linked with your sleep. So, the longer you sleep, the higher your T levels will be.

Recent studies have disclosed that testosterone production is at its peak during the REM stage of your sleep. Many physicians also suggest that for a healthy testosterone level, around seven to nine hours of sleep are required.

People who have problems regarding their sleep should consult a doctor, as they unconsciously face a significant problem. 

#7. Avoid Estrogen-Like Compounds

Your T levels are also affected by many other factors. For example, healthier life is based upon the regulation of your sex hormones like testosterone.

Always try to stay away from some chemicals like endocrine disruptors, as they can spoil your hormones badly. Some of them are estrogens compounds that can adversely affect your T levels. So, try to maintain a distance from BPA, Parabens, and other chemicals. 

They act as estrogen-rich elements, and your body may make mistakes in recognizing them due to their similar composition. They create disturbances in normal body functions. So, choose the products which do not have them.

#8. Avoid Alcohol and Drugs

It is a common fact that excessive alcohol and drug consumption may have several adverse effects on your health and, particularly, on your liver. But, does alcohol affect your T levels?

The answer is yes. When you consume alcohol and other similar drugs, your body requires a lot of time to break and process the alcohol. In this way, your system focuses mainly on this task, which in turn, causes your liver to work more.

During this process, your liver does not get time to perform its other functions, like breaking down some hormones, including estrogen and testosterone. In other words, when you consume alcohol regularly, your testosterone levels are not the same as they are when you avoid alcohol.

Some men are still having a proper T level while consuming alcohol, but that is rare. If you want a normal and healthy T level, it should be your top concern to avoid alcohol and other drug supplements.

Even in just 30 days, you can get an average level of testosterone after quitting your alcohol and drug consumption. Proper T levels are an essential part of your health and well-being. Therefore, staying away from alcohol and drug consumption can be the easiest step to achieve such goals.

#9. Do Not Ignore Your Mental Health

Mental health is something that should never be ignored. Talking about how it affects testosterone levels in the body, you might not believe us. But, if you are stressed out and mentally upset, your T-levels drop significantly low. 

Do not hesitate to consult a psychiatrist whenever you feel like there is something troubling you and making you depressed. Always talk about your mental health with professionals, as it is not a thing to be ignored. 

More to keep in mind is to constantly check the medications you are taking for other health problems. This is because they might contain any ingredient that promotes low T levels. This might not happen, but you should be careful and talk to your online therapist if you feel anything like that.

In Conclusion

Testosterone is an important male sex hormone that promotes masculinity. It also facilitates many other body functions. 

A lot of options are available in the market to boost your T levels, including many therapies, treatments, artificial supplements, and pills. But, the best way to do so is to follow or implement something natural.

In addition to following the simple tips we mentioned above, TestoPrime might help you a lot with getting your testosterone levels boosted up. It is associated with many extra health benefits regarding your heart, brain, and weight balance in addition to boosting T-levels.

However, if you are already on some kind of medication, or have a particular medical condition, make sure to consult your doctor before opting for any supplement. 

Some cancers are preventable with a vaccine – a virologist explains

Our Key Takeaways:

  • By preventing infection, vaccines also prevents subsequent cancer.
  • Some viruses has an ability to remain in the body for life that can be spread from one person to another.
  • Get vaccinated – vaccine save lives and prevents you from catching diseases.
This article is a repost which originally appeared on theconversation.com
Ronald C. Desrosiers - February 1, 2022
Edited for content and readability - Image sourced from Pexels

One-fifth. Nearly 20% of cancers worldwide are caused by a virus.

These viruses don’t cause cancer until long after they initially infect a person. Rather, the viruses teach the cells they take over how to escape the natural biological process of cell death. This strategy sets these altered cells on a path for other genetic changes that can cause full-blown cancer years down the road.

As a microbiologist and researcher of viruses, I seek to understand how viruses affect living cells and the health of the people who are infected. These particular viruses are unique and interesting, both for their effects on patients and because of the potential ways they might be treated or prevented.

https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/PNvGl/3/

The viral landscape

All known viruses can be categorized into one of 22 distinct families. Five of these families are called “persisting,” because once a person is infected, the virus remains in their body for life. One example is the herpes virus that causes chickenpox in children and can reappear later in life as shingles. This ability to survive over the long term helps the virus spread from person to person.

There are seven known viruses that can cause cancer. Five of them are members of persistent virus families. The human papillomavirus, commonly known as HPV and known to cause cervical cancer, is in the papilloma family. The Epstein-Barr virus, which causes Hodgkin lymphomas, and the Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated virus, are both in the herpes family. The human T-lymphotropic virus, which can cause a type of leukemia, is what’s known as a retrovirus. And Merkel cell polyoma virus, which causes Merkel cell carcinoma, is in the polyoma family.

All five of these viruses contain genetic code for one or more proteins that teach cells how to avoid cell death, effectively immortalizing them and promoting cell growth. The cancer cells that develop from these oncogenic viruses all contain their original viruses’ genetic information, even when they appear years after the initial infection. But only a small percentage of people who are infected with one of these five oncogenic viruses ultimately develop the full-blown cancer associated with it.

The other two viruses, hepatitis B, in the hepadna family, and hepatitis C, in the flavi family, are somewhat different. Most people infected with those viruses are able to fight the infection through their own immunity and eliminate the virus.

However, in people who are not able to fight off the infection, long-term infections of these viruses often cause extensive liver damage. These people are at risk of developing a type of liver cancer called hepatocellular carcinoma, because the body’s attempts to repair the damaged liver tissue increase the chance of a cancer-related mutation. The viruses themselves do not teach the liver cells to become immortal or transform themselves, the way the other five oncogenic viruses do to the cells they target.

These viral-induced cancers are serious health threats. Hepatocellular carcinoma, for instance, kills approximately 800,000 people a year, making it the third-deadliest cancer globally. About three-quarters of those killed have had hepatitis virus infections in the past.

HPV is similarly dangerous. The cervical cancer it causes kills some 311,000 people a year worldwide, making it the deadliest cancer in women until recently. That number includes 36,000 women in the U.S. But HPV doesn’t just put women at risk. A similar number of people in the U.S. die each year from anal and throat cancers linked to HPV.

Reasons for optimism

The first viral vaccine to protect against HPV infection and its associated cancers was approved for use in the U.S. in 2006. It has proved to be highly effective at preventing both HPV infection and the subsequent development of cervical carcinoma.

HPV vaccines are now widely available around the globe. The HPV vaccine is safe, with very mild side effects. It is recommended for children starting at ages 11 to 12, since different individuals become sexually active at different ages. The protective effects of the vaccine last beyond 10 years, and booster shots are available.

Older people – typically up to 26 years of age – can also receive the HPV vaccine. By preventing infection in the first place, the vaccine also prevents the subsequent cancers that may result from a viral infection.

The vaccine for hepatitis B virus has been similarly successful over a longer time period. Introduced in 1986, it was recognized as the first anti-cancer vaccine. Since then, more than a billion people worldwide have received it. The vaccine has been shown to be extremely safe and effective.

Vaccines save lives

The numbers of cancers prevented and lives saved by the vaccines against the hepatitis B virus and human papillomavirus are enormous and indisputable. Yet, as with the resistance to COVID-19 vaccines, vaccine hesitancy is an ongoing problem. In 2019, 46% of adolescents ages 13 to 17 in the U.S. had not received their recommended HPV vaccines. In 2020 in Mississippi, HPV vaccine coverage in adolescents reached a meager 32%.

But the U.S. is better off than some other industrialized nations. In Japan, the current rate of HPV vaccine coverage in adolescents is less than 1% because of false reports of adverse events in 2013. Despite repeated, definitive discrediting of these claims, vaccine uptake in Japan has not rebounded.

Vaccination campaigns have eradicated smallpox and effectively eliminated poliomeasles and certain other infectious diseases. Let’s hope that ongoing vaccine efforts can make HPV-induced cancers and hepatitis B virus-induced cancers a thing of the past as well.

5 Ways Running Affects Your Penis and Balls

By Mens Health Staff | May 1, 2021

This article is a repost which originally appeared on Australian Men’s Health

Edited for content

Our Takeaways:

‧ Preexisting conditions should be taken into account before sustained running

‧ Sustained running can exacerbate conditions like varicocele

‧ Running can be great exercise for boosting Erection Quality and fertility if kept to 50 km per week or less

Your body has an amazing way of adjusting on a run, and for men that includes what’s going on below the belt.

“Your body has ways of adapting to prevent bad things from happening to your penis and testicles,” says urologist and marathon runner Dr Jeffrey Thill.  

Even if your running habit puts your man parts in some uncomfortable situations – like a long run on a sweltering afternoon without adequate support – you don’t have much to worry about, adds urologist Dr Tobias Köhler.

“Your testicles’ ability to draw up toward your body is called the cremaseric reflex,” Köhler says. “And that’s just one of the ways your penis and testicles adapt to prevent injury.”

But there are still a few concerns regular runners need to be aware of. And there are a few perks that should encourage men who don’t run to dust off their running shoes.

Running Could Cause Testicle Pain
Roughly one in seven men experiences some testicle pain caused by a varicocele – an enlarged, malfunctioning vein inside your scrotum, Köhler says.

Varicoceles are genetic, and if you have one, the muscle clenching involved in running can cause blood flow to back up and enlarge the varicocele, which leads to extra pain.

Some guys also experience pain that defies explanation. “I have men come in worried about cancer, but a lot of the time their pain just doesn’t have an identifiable cause,” Köhler says.

But even in those unexplained cases, running can heighten your agony, he says. Wearing compression shorts or regular running shorts with a liner that keep your “boys” secure from can help.

Too Much Compression Can Be Problematic

While some support can make your run more comfortable, sporting overly tight compression shorts can restrict blood flow to your groin, which could lead to testicle pain, Thill says.

“If you feel pain or numbness, your body’s letting you know that’s too much,” he explains.

The good news: there’s really no concern when it comes to compression and fertility issues, he adds.

Running Can Supercharge Your Erection
Anyone who runs regularly– a couple of days a week or more – will improve their blood flow and heart health, Köhler says.

“And since we all know your heart’s main purpose is to pump blood to your penis,” he laughs, “strengthening your heart will also strengthen your erection.”

If you’re currently a couch potato, he says taking up running will lead to improved erections within a few months. A recent study from Duke University School of Medicine found that men who reported 18 MET hours/week of exercise – similar to two hours of hard running – experienced benefits to their erection. 

Running Can Also Strengthen Your Sperm
“We have lots of evidence to suggest physical activity – and running in particular – may improve a man’s fertility,” Thill says.

One recent study appearing in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found men who run or perform other moderate-to-vigorous exercise 15 hours or more a week have sperm concentrations up to 73 per cent higher than sedentary men. The active men also have higher sperm counts.

Both Thill and the study authors say regular exercise increases your body’s levels of testosterone, which could explain the sperm-health benefits.

But Too Much Running Can Harm Your Sperm
While running strengthens your swimmers, there’s some evidence men who run a lot – roughly 100 kilometres or more every week – may suffer a 28 per cent drop in circulating testosterone, as well as lower semen quality.

That’s according to an older study from the University of Connecticut. Some newer research has raised similar concerns. 

The evidence is far from conclusive. But “it seems you can get to a point where if you run too many kays, it creates an inflammatory response throughout your body that’s not helpful for sperm health,” Thill says.

Köhler agrees, and says exercise puts stress on your body.

“That stress is helpful even in regular doses,” he says. “But for guys who are always marathon training and really running a long way every day, there may be some negative effects to that physical stress, including lower testosterone and impaired sexual function or fertility.”

The same Connecticut study found testosterone and sperm quality peaked among runners who logged about 50km a week – although that was a rough average.

Sleep Specialists Share their 12 Top Tips for Waking up in the Morning

Our Key Takeaways

  • Try different “routine” on how you can wake up and check what’s best for you.
  • Check first if you are a night owl or a morning person, then create a sleeping schedule.
  • Exercising helps great with sleeping soundly and how you wake up.
This article is a repost which originally appeared on mindbodygreen.com
Julia Guerra - March 12, 2022
Edited for content and readability - Image sourced from Pexels Images

For some, waking up can be hard to do. Unless you’re a morning person, or just so happen to wake up during the right stage of sleep, the sound of your alarm can sound a whole lot like torture. Still, they say the early bird catches the worm, so if you’re trying to figure out how to wake yourself up in the morning to start conquering the day, you’ve come to the right place.

Why is it hard to wake up in the morning?

The reason is as physiological as it is mental. See, humans have a circadian rhythm and a biological clock. The two are not mutually exclusive, but they do work in tandem. Sleep expert Michael J. Breus, Ph.D. (affectionately known as the Sleep Doctor), defines the circadian rhythm as an organism’s 24-hour cycle that keeps the body working properly. The biological clock, Breus tells mbg, is a “natural timing device” that not only regulates the cycle of the circadian rhythm but adjusts it based on the time of year, a person’s living environment, and age. 

ogether, your circadian rhythm and biological clock determine when you feel tired, when you feel most awake, and how much rest your body needs to function most optimally. They’re also telling of your chronotype—whether you’re an early bird or a night owl. “A chronotype is your body’s natural disposition to be awake or asleep at certain times,” Breus explains. It’s an inherent quality and affects all parts of your daily life, including your appetite, core body temperature, productivity window, and even your ideal time for sex

Someone who is struggling to figure out how to wake up when tired in the morning is likely working against their circadian rhythm. Or, at least, trying to. For example, a night owl who sets their alarm for 6 a.m. may find their biology is working against them because their melatonin (sleep hormone) hasn’t worn off and won’t until 7 or 8 a.m., Breus explains.Ideally, you want to schedule your bedtime and wake time based on your chronotype. That way, your circadian rhythm will stay regulated, resulting in consistent and sound sleep. Fight it, and you’re likely to experience suboptimal sleep, warns Sanam Hafeez, PsyD, an NYC-based neuropsychologist and the director of Comprehend the Mind.

12 tricks to wake yourself up:

1. Stop pressing snooze.

That extra five minutes of sleep isn’t doing you any favors—physically or mentally. In fact, according to Hafeez, not only does 10 to 15 minutes of extra snooze time not provide a substantial sleep cycle, it just makes you groggier and can make you cranky.

“Combat this by setting your alarm for the same time every day. As soon as the alarm goes off, get out of the bed, stretch your body, and begin your ready regimen,” says Hafeez. If you’re still tempted to hit snooze, stash your alarm on your dresser across the room, or even outside your bedroom, leaving you no choice but to get up and shut it off.

2. But first, water.

Tempting as it may be to make a beeline for your coffee maker first thing in the morning, Breus recommends reaching for a glass of water instead. Hours of sleep (and therefore hours without consuming any fluid) leave your body dehydrated; drinking a glass (or two) of water helps kick-start your hydration for the day. Leave a bottle by your bed, or set a glass in front of your coffee machine as a gentle reminder to toss one back before your morning cup of joe.

3. Take a cold shower.

Splashing your face with cold water can do the trick, but Breus says dousing your entire body in cold water will be more effective. “The effects are directly related to the amount of time in cold exposure,” Breus tells mbg. “If you throw some water on your face it’s very different than taking a cold shower for two to three minutes.”

4. Get up and out.

According to Breus, getting outside within 20 minutes of waking up and soaking in at least 15 minutes of sunlight is a great way to wake up and stay awake. It’s as simple as going outside in your yard or taking a morning walk around the neighborhood. “[Exposure to sunlight] turns off the melatonin faucet in your head,” Breus tells mbg.

5. Abide by your chronotype.

Some people are early birds; some people are night owls. “Knowing your chronotype is extremely helpful for scheduling your day’s work around your productivity windows so you can accomplish all that you want while you still have the energy to do it well,” explains Breus. Identify which category you fall under, and schedule your sleep and wake times accordingly.

6. Play with your pets.

One of the first things I do when I wake up is pet my cat, and according to Breus, this is an excellent strategy for waking yourself up in the morning. Not only is it a more interesting way to wake up, but starting the day with an element of fun makes getting out of bed more enticing. “I play with my dogs,” Breus tells mbg, adding, “They love it and I like the unconditional love.”

7. Make your bed.

There are a few benefits to making your bed every morning. The first is a sense of accomplishment; you’ve only been awake for a few minutes but have already checked something off your to-do list. The second is fluffing your pillows and fixing your sheets will also weaken your argument for why you should crawl back under the covers. The more primped and primed your bedding, the more likely you are to stay awake and move on from your bedroom.

8. Get a workout in.

Endorphins don’t just make you happy, they make you alert. So rather than save your sweat sesh for after work, incorporate some sort of movement into your daily morning routine to help wake you up. However, it’s important to find exercises you genuinely enjoy and will look forward to doing every day, so find what works for you—be it walking, Pilates, yoga, dance cardio, strength training, etc.—and get moving.

Looking for a new routine? Yoga teacher and fitness professional Suki Clements created a 15-minute morning workout for mbg readers in hopes that it will help awaken your body, mind, and spirit.

9. Try earthing.

The practice of earthing involves taking off your shoes and putting your bare feet on, well, the earth. Also called “grounding,” the gist is that standing or walking on the earth, feeling the grass and dirt under your feet and against your skin, opens you up to receiving earth’s healing energies and health benefits.

“By walking, we exercise our muscles and cardiovascular system, improve our mental health, reduce stress, and support our overall wellness,” functional medicine doctor Isaac Eliaz, M.D., M.S., L.A.a proponent of earthing, wrote on mbg back in 2013. “Simply taking our shoes off seems to multiply those benefits.”

10. Experiment with aromatherapy.

Some people perk up to the smell of caffeine. Others need an alternative scent to awaken their sense. That’s where aromatherapy comes in. Certain essential oils can also help promote mental clarity. So rather than fire up the coffee maker as soon as you open your eyes, try diffusing oils like lemon, peppermint, and frankincense to wake up the mind.

11. Pump up the jams.

Another easy way to sneak movement into your morning routine is to dance the sleepiness out of your system. Rather than scrolling through social media, hit play on your favorite playlist and bust a move right in your bedroom. You can take your dance party into the kitchen as you make your breakfast or into the bedroom for a teeth-brushing soundtrack.

You might not work up as many endorphins as you would running around the block, but research says music can trigger energizing emotions, so a track like “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves is sure to have you bright-eyed in no time.

12. Eat a high-protein breakfast.

Smoothies, omelets, quinoa porridge, and nut butter toast are all examples of protein-packed breakfasts that not only taste delicious but will also fuel you for the day ahead. Breus recommends leaning toward breakfasts with high protein and healthy fats so you stay full, satiated, and energized until lunch. 

How to ensure you’re getting good-quality sleep.

 A good night’s sleep is a reflection of good sleep hygiene, which encompasses a person’s sleep environment and bedtime routine. In order to ensure you’re getting high-quality sleep and therefore wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day, it’s important to be mindful of the following:

  • The temperature in your bedroom. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the ideal temperature for quality sleep is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Blue light exposure. If you can’t power down your devices completely (i.e., if your phone is your alarm), it’s important to, at the very least, limit your usage before bed, as blue light can throw off the body’s circadian rhythm, preventing you from falling or staying asleep.
  • Late-night cravings. Ditch sugary ice creams and processed treats in favor of sleep-promoting snacks like yogurt bark and golden milk. Food is fuel and is meant to give you energy, and sweets before bed are bound to keep you up at night (not to mention give you some funky dreams).
  • Environmental sounds. Is your neighbor’s dog particularly rowdy after dark? Maybe city traffic is causing you to stir, or silence gives you the creeps. Investing in one of the best sound machines on the market can majorly improve your sleep quality by drowning out any unwanted (or a lack of) sound so you can snooze through the night.
  • What’s going through your mind. Falling asleep can be a challenge if your mind is racing with a million different thoughts. Writing in a journal can help clear your mind. Once you’ve settled into bed, take pen to paper and dump it all out before your head hits the pillow.
  • If you’re truly relaxed. One of the best tips for getting great sleep is to acknowledge and address your stress levels. If you’re feeling tense, it’s likely you’ll end up tossing and turning when it’s time to get some shut-eye, so identify relaxation techniques that actually work for you and implement them into your nightly routine. This can include a gentle bedtime yoga sequence or a warm bath, diffusing essential oils, or cuddling under a weighted blanket for some physical support.

The bottom line.

The secret to waking up and staying awake when all you really want is to go back to bed is to first identify your chronotype (are you an early bird or a night owl?) and create a sleep schedule that works for your body. This will ensure you get enough REM sleep, and falling into a regular routine (relaxation techniques and all) can even lead to your body being so accustomed to its schedule that you end up waking up and falling asleep naturally.

Optimism Promotes Longer, Healthier Life in Men By Reducing Stressors, Study Claims

Our Key Takeaways:

  • Optimists have a healthier outlook than pessimists and tend to be less susceptible to illness
  • New study shows that people’s energy tends to drop when they generate happy fantasies about the future
  • The team explained that optimism helps older men limit how often they experience stressful situations
This article is a repost which originally appeared on sciencetimes.com
Margaret Davis - March 10, 2022
Edited for content and readability - Image sourced from Pexels
Source: DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbac025

Winston Churchill once said, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” That means that optimism reflects how one person sees the outcomes of events that will generally turn out to be positive.

Although it is not easy to always look at the bright side of things, especially during the trying times, optimism can help people live longer, according to a new study. Boston University researchers surveyed 233 older men for 14 years and found that optimistic men led longer, healthier lives than pessimists because they had fewer stressors to deal with.

Optimistic Men Handle Everyday Stress Differently

Household chores, traffic, and work problems are just some examples of everyday stressors that people encounter. In the new study, titled “Optimism, Daily Stressors, and Emotional Well-Being Over Two Decades in a Cohort of Aging Men,” published in The Journals of Gerontology, researchers found that optimism promotes emotional well-being.

The team explained that optimism helps older men limit how often they experience stressful situations or change their interpretation of stressful situations, Science Daily reported.

Clinical psychologist Lewina Lee from the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder at the VA Boston Healthcare System said that the study tests the hypothesis that optimistic people handle daily stress more constructively, resulting in better emotional well-being.

Indeed, after following 233 older men who first completed an optimism questionnaire 14 years ago, they found that optimistic men reported lower negative and more positive moods. More so, the participants reported having to deal with fewer stressors, which explained their lower levels of negative mood.

While studies like this support the idea that optimism promotes good health, emotional well-being, and longevity, the mechanism behind it is not yet fully researched. But by looking at how optimistic men handle the stressors that would have a negative impact on their health, the findings of the new study support the claim that optimism promotes good health later in life.

While the study is conducted in older men, researchers believe that the findings can also be applied to older women. Also, Lee added that less is known about age differences in the role of optimism in one’s health.

Being Too Optimistic Can Make A Person Lazy

According to Psychology Today, optimism is a way of looking at the world positively and should not be mistaken for wishful or fantastic thinking. Optimists have a healthier outlook than pessimists and tend to be less susceptible to illness. However, some people forget to work to fulfill their wishes, which somehow forfeits the purpose of positive thinking.

Gabriele Oettingen, a New York University psychology professor who wrote the Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation, said that people’s energy tends to drop when they generate happy fantasies about the future. They often forget to exert effort to actually achieve their fantasies and end up unsuccessful.

This phenomenon of overestimating the likelihood of positive events and downplaying negative outcomes is called optimism bias. At the end of the day, optimistic viewpoints can help achieve one’s dreams, but a dose of realism can make a person succeed more likely.

Blood Tests Show a ‘Nordic Diet’ Improves Key Health Markers – Even Without Weight Loss

Key Takeaways

  • Nordic diet reducing blood sugar and cholesterol even when no weight was lost.
  • The team detected differences in fat-soluble substances in the patients who benefitted most from the diet change.
  • It includes berries, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, and beans amongst other fruits and vegetables, whole-grain cereals like rye and barley, as well as fatty fish.
This article is a repost which originally appeared on sciencealert.com
Tessa Koumoundouros - March 12, 2022
Edited for content and readability - Image sourced from Pexel
Source: Clinical Journal: https://www.clinicalnutritionjournal.com/article/S0261-5614(21)00596-3/fulltext

A new study adds support to the idea that eating better foods is beneficial even without obtaining weight loss – with the Nordic diet reducing blood sugar and cholesterol even when no weight was lost.

“It’s surprising because most people believe that positive effects on blood sugar and cholesterol are solely due to weight loss,” University of Copenhagen nutritionist Lars Ove Dragsted said. “Here, we have found this not to be the case. Other mechanisms are also at play.”

While the better-known and thoroughly studied Mediterranean diet is highly recommended for good health, it is not always practical for people in other regions of the world to consume, due to limitations of what grows locally or cultural challenges.

So the concept of healthy regional diets, like the Nordic diet, has been developed, using equivalent food items that are easily available locally and traditionally eaten in the region.

The Nordic diet has many similarities to the Mediterranean diet with an emphasis on plant-based foods, with moderate amounts of fish and eggs, and a small amount of dairy.

Both limit processed foods, sweets, and meats, but the Nordic diet favors canola oil over olive, which has some healthy omega-3 fatty acids similar to those found in fish.

It includes berries, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, and beans amongst other fruits and vegetables, whole-grain cereals like rye and barley, as well as fatty fish.

Like the Mediterranean diet, observational studies suggest following it lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseasestype 2 diabetes, and overall mortality.

In the new study, Dragsted and colleagues analyzed regular blood and urine samples from 200 overweight volunteers over the age of 50 from six centers across Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, and Finland during a four-week period where they ate their usual diet.

They sampled them again during another 19-24 weeks when half the participants followed the Nordic diet and the others followed a control diet. Both diets were calculated so that the volunteers maintained a stable weight.

“The group that had been on the Nordic diet for six months became significantly healthier,” explained Dragsted, “with lower cholesterol levels, lower overall levels of both saturated and unsaturated fat in the blood, and better regulation of glucose, compared to the control group.”

The team detected differences in fat-soluble substances in the patients who benefitted most from the diet change.

“The fat composition in the Nordic diet, which is higher in omega-3 and omega-6 unsaturated fats, is probably a considerable part of the explanation for the health effects we find from the Nordic diet, even when the weight of participants remains constant,” explained Dragsted.

These fats come from fish, flaxseeds, sunflower, and canola oil, but how they influence both blood sugar and cholesterol levels is still to be investigated

“We can confirm that the absence of highly processed food and less saturated fats from animals have a very positive effect on us,” Dragsted concluded.

With obesity levels rising around the world, contributing to cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and other diseases, researchers stress that weight loss remains important, but that it’s not the only factor contributing to the Nordic diet’s benefits. 

Similar results have also been found with the Mediterranean diet – with a huge, long-term study of 79,000 people revealing those who mostly stuck to the diet had better mortality outcomes regardless of their weight. 

A 2018 study also indicated focusing on types of foods rather than portions can be a more effective and more sustainable method for weight loss. But how effective any particular diet ends up being may also depend on the quality of foods you can afford.

So focusing on healthy food choices (to the best of our ability!) could prove more beneficial to those of us struggling with our weight than shaming ourselves – or each other – over how heavy we are.

This research was published in Clinical Nutrition.