How Sleep Affects Mental Health and Wellness

There is still much to be known about the link between mental health and sleep, but sleep being a basic foundation of well-being means it can have a certain degree of impact on your mental wellness and capability. A good night’s sleep – just like a healthful diet and lifestyle – is deemed crucial in fostering mental and emotional resilience, with chronic sleep issues feared to set the stage for negative mood and thinking, anxiety, and depression.

Think about it: you absorb new information every day of your life. With sleep, you are able to have the luxury of “down time” to process all these different bits and pieces of information, and then store it in your memory bank. This way they are all available when you need them. Sleep is therefore creative for improving not just concentration but also learning and creativity.

What happens to the mental aspect when you are faced with chronic sleeplessness or insomnia? Here are some of the potential adverse effects:

Your mind may slow down – Did you know that just one night of having inadequate sleep can massively impact your attention span, alertness, concentration, and ability to solve problems? Those who regularly find it hard to sleep could have impaired intelligence and mental development.
Your memory may be less optimal – While you sleep, the things you have learned and experienced during the day are thoughts to be organized or “filed” in your mind properly for future use and access. Now, if you are not getting enough sleep you would have trouble remembering what you go through today.
You may become depressed – Insomnia has been associated with the development of depression. According to some studies, people who regularly reported being unable to sleep were five times more likely to show depression symptoms. It remains unclear, again, where depression was the byproduct of sleeplessness or vice versa. Regardless of this, getting an optimal amount of sleep is considered important in treating this disorder.
You may become less smart – If you don’t get enough sleep, your performance in tasks that use the brain – such as tests or complex projects at work – may suffer. A full night’s sleep, the vital piece of the mental health puzzle that it is, organizes and makes connections within your mind to the information you obtained during the day. Without it, you may have a hard time retrieving those details for school or work the next day.
Your happiness levels may be affected – Sleep lets your brain have the time it needs to properly get into balance the chemicals and hormones affecting mental clarity, emotions, and mood – the bigger context that makes it possible for you to be relaxed, calm, and happy.

There are different ways you may achieve improved sleep. You need to tweak your sleep habits first, following a regular bedtime and waking time schedule and routine, as well as avoiding stimulants like blue light from gadgets and unnecessary noise. If you feel you are in need of greater intervention, it is best to talk to your doctor, sleep psychologist, or an expert who can get to the bottom of your sleeplessness and recommended effective natural sleep remedies.

Health Food Supplements Promise Increased Wellbeing

One of every three people in the world is suffering from Protein- Energy Malnutrition (PEM) or micronutrient malnutrition also known as “hidden hunger”. Like several nutritionists and doctors, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the American Medical Association (AMA) have admitted that modern diets should be complemented with vitamins, minerals and other health supplements to tackle ill-health.

Studies and research conducted in almost every country has proven that several nutrients are lost or reduced on consuming fast-food and convenience-food. With the growing awareness on different types of diseases and deficiencies, a marked increase has been recorded in the consumption of functional foods, super foods, fortified foods, dietary supplements and probiotics. Sale of vitamins – C, D, E and B complex, drinkable yoghurts, energy bars, ready-to-eat salads, fortified juices and drinks in addition to bottled mineral water has sky rocketed in the past two years. However all health food supplements do not come with the government’s stamp of approval. The FDA comes into the picture only when a manufacture self-reports an issue with his product or a health concern is raised.

It has been proved through researches worldwide that toxicity in the body can also increase with high dosages of vitamins A, D, E, C, Pyroxine and Iodine. Therefore health food supplements should only be taken under proper guidance because the effect may vary between individuals, depending on factors like age, sex, physical condition and the combination in which supplements are taken. As a general principle, “kitchen sink” combinations should be avoided. Unless necessary, it is advised that natural health food supplements be added to daily diet.

Researchers at National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), India, have conducted extensive research on health food supplements and concluded that spices are extremely beneficial to well being:

• Debitterised fenugreek seeds: Delay or impair glucose absorption when 25gms are consumed by diabetic subjects.
• Turmeric and its active principle called curcumin: Possess antimutagenic, anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant properties. Ingestion of 2gms per day enhances body defences.
• Onion and garlic: Rich source of compounds, like diallyl sulphide, diallyl disulphide, allium and ajoene. These have antimicrobial, hypolipidemic antimutagenic, anticarcinogenic and antioxidant properties. They stimulate enzymes in the body that detoxify mutagens/carcinogens.
• Ginger: Helps ameliorate conditions like rheumatic disorders, inflammation and gastrointestinal discomforts. Studies also suggest it to be usable as a chemo-preventing agent.
Other well researched health food supplements are:
• Chlorophyll: Builds blood, renews tissue, promotes healthful intestinal flora and activates enzymes that produce vitamins A, D, and K.
• Wheat Grass Juice: Has detoxifies the body and has a high concentration of beta-carotene and vitamins such as E and K.
• Alfalfa: Helps assimilate protein, fats and carbohydrates. It alkalizes and detoxifies the body, especially the liver.
• Barley grass: Contains folic acid, pantothenic acid, beta carotene and vitamins C and E.
• Spirulina: Helps to protect the immune system, lower cholesterol and facilitate mineral absorption. It is high in chlorophyll, protein, beta-carotene, B12 and nucleic acids.
• Flaxseed oil: Rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6. Provides essential fatty acids required for normal cell structure and function.
• Dark chocolate: If consumed in a moderate amount, helps to lower high blood pressure and keep the heart healthy. It is rich in flavonoids.
• Curds/Yogurt: Provides the digestive tract with beneficial bacteria that help to fight cancer, build bones and boost immunity. These are probiotic foods.
• Oats: Consumption of this food lowers the risk of heart diseases as it is rich in fibres, it also helps muscle growth.

In a nutshell, consuming a variety of edibles with the right health food supplements leads to increased longevity, proper hormonal functioning and physical as well as mental efficiency.

Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits of Rice

Rice has a number of health benefits, which are often overlooked. When we think about rice the first thing that comes to our mind is that it is loaded with carbohydrates. But rice is not just carbohydrates; it is an essential source of vitamin B1 too. It can provide fast and instant energy, normalize and improve bowel movements, and stabilize blood sugar levels.

Ask any body builder and he would recommend eating rice over wheat-based rotis. This is because rice can increase the metabolism and help digestion.

It can also give a boost to your skin health, aid weight loss, reduce high blood pressure, improve the immune system and provide protection against cardiovascular diseases, cancer and dysentery.

Rice is inexpensive and is a staple diet in many counties. There are 40,000 varieties of rice available throughout the world. The two main categories are white rice and whole grain rice.

Here are some of the nutrition facts and health benefits of rice.

Great source of energy: Carbohydrates acts as a fuel for the body, and rice is rich in carbohydrates. It aids in the normal functioning of the brain.

Cholesterol free: Rice is devoid of cholesterol, harmful fats, or sodium. It forms an integral part of a balanced diet. It also helps reduce obesity and is one of the most widely eaten foods in the world.

Blood pressure management: It is low in sodium and can lower blood pressure. Sodium can cause veins and arteries to tighten, increasing the stress and strain on the cardiovascular system as the blood pressure increases. It can lead to heart attacks, and strokes.

Cancer prevention: To prevent cancer, eat brown rice or wholegrain rice. They are rich in insoluble fibre that can guard against different types of cancer, especially intestinal cancer. Besides fibre, rice also has natural antioxidants like flavonoid compounds, vitamin C, phenolic and vitamin-A.

Skin care: Research shows that powdered rice can cure certain skin ailments. It has anti-inflammatory properties, so it is also good for redness and any type of skin irritation. To reduce wrinkles and other premature signs of ageing, make rice a daily part of your diet. This is because rice is rich in antioxidants and can give a beauty boost to your skin.

Alzheimer’s Disease: Brown rice contains nutrients in high level that aids the growth of neuro-protective enzymes in the brain and helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

Diuretic and digestive qualities: Rice significantly improves appetite, and lessens all problems related to the digestive system. Rice husk, being a diuretic, can help eliminate toxins from the body, and even aid weight loss. It increases bowel movement regularity as it is rich in fibre content and guards against various types of cancer.

Rich in vitamins: It is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals like vitamin D, niacin, fibre, calcium, iron, riboflavin and thiamine. These vitamins are essential to prevent diseases and boost our immune system. They are also essential for body metabolism, and general functioning of the organ systems.