Trouble sleeping? Try a cooling cap!

New research conducted by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine reported that by keeping the head cool, more insomniacs can sleep easier. Previous studies indicated that people with insomnia can’t  sleep due to the added brain activity that goes on at night. This results in the brain’s temperature being too hot to sleep.

The researchers gave 12 insomniacs a cap that contained circulating water at cool temperatures, and the results were surprising. They were all able to fall asleep as effortlessly as people without the condition. It only took them 13 minutes to fall asleep compared to the 16 minutes of the control group and they slept on average 89% of the time.

More studies need to be conducted before a definite conclusion can be reached. This solution would be great for people who are not comfortable taking medication for their condition or for those who existing treatments are not working.

Read more at: http://ti.me/iNm0Ch

Would you try something like this?

6 Foods to Slow Down Aging!

   “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?” —Satchel Paige

In keeping with our healthy theme this month, we would like to feature some exciting news. Six foods that actually help to slow aging. Now that’s music to the ears of us all. We can actually eat to look younger and feel better. How old would you honestly say you were if you truly didnt know your age? Would you be one of the lucky who could confidently throw out a number much lower than reality, or would you say you feel as though you are living in a body much older than your years?

I have found myself cursing my body for hurting at times or for not performing the way it used to. But as I recall the vigorous activity and over active lifestyle it has been subject to, I realize that my complaining perhaps comes with a package of pain that is deserved. However, when I was introduced to these 6 delicious foods and the notion of a more kind and friendly moderate version of excercise to create a new, younger, healthier me, I forgot my woes and dove in.  

Food #1: FISH

Recent research suggests that the Omega-3 fatty acids from certain fish can lead to improved mood and mental capacities. These oils have antioxidant properties, meaning they attack the cells that cause the body to decay. Omega-3s are the same acids that combat chronic inflammation, which can lead to all sorts of health complications. Finally, fish oil is great for your skin, preventing dryness and eczema, and promoting firmness and elasticity. Salmon and tuna are two of the most popular and readily available fish with high levels of Omega-3.

Food #2: WHOLE GRAINS

Avoiding all carbs makes no sense, when whole grains such as whole wheat, oats, brown rice, farro, barley and wheat berries are so rich in fiber, which keeps your digestive system regular and helps you feel full. Their low glycemic levels mean that they don’t play havoc with your blood sugar levels. Choose bread, pasta and cereals made from whole grains, and incorporate whole grains into your cooking. Whole grains have been widely accepted as a smart way to combat all types of illnesses, such as heart disease, colon and breast cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and stroke. Refined grains filter out the many nutrients intrinsic in natural whole grains, and therefore don’t provide the same benefits.

Food #3: CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES

This powerhouse family includes broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, turnips and Brussels sprouts. They are an effective aid to the body in fighting toxins and cancer. And they have a high concentration of antioxidants and sulfur, which provide energy and can keep your skin healthy. If you eat them raw or lightly cooked their protection properties are even more effective.

Food #4: NUTS

They are high in calories, but you don’t need to eat a lot of them to reap their benefits, which include protein, fiber and crucial minerals such as potassium, iron, zinc and magnesium. They are reported to be good for your digestive and immune systems, helpful in the fight against cancer, and the oils are good for your skin. Their high Omega-3 fatty acid content also helps keep your brain and body healthy. Plus, there are so many kinds of nuts to choose from: almonds, pecans, cashews, walnuts, Brazil nuts, macadamias, pistachios and more.

Food #5: AVOCADO

Did you know that avocado is a fruit? It is chock full of monosaturated fat, which is believed to reduce levels of bad cholesterol in the body. Avocados have a lot of potassium, which combats fluid retention and high blood pressure and the risk of stroke. And they have a high level of vitamin E, which is thought to prevent skin aging and may also be helpful in reducing hot flashes associated with menopause. Finally, they are rich in folate, which is thought to decrease the risk of heart attacks, as well as antioxidants, which help your body protect itself from free radicals, which means keeping your organs and tissues healthy.

Food #6: BERREIS!

Blueberries have gotten their fair share of health news but in fact all black and blue berries, such as blackberries, black currants and black grapes, contain antioxidants that are known to protect the body against damage caused by free radicals and aging. These phytochemicals are called flavonoids, and are found in the pigment of the berries. In addition, dark berries are also thought to be of assistance in maintaining good balance, coordination and short term memory.

So do yourself a favor and head to the store annd pick up a few of these super anti-aging and health focused items. To make it easier, we have attached a recipe to get your started on your new food endeavours!

Tuna Fish Salad Sandwich with Scallion and Pickled Ginger

The pickled ginger, which comes in jars and can be found in the Asian section of your supermarket, adds a pleasantly unexpected sweet pungency to the salad. For a very special tuna salad, grill or broil 12 ounces of fresh tuna. Remove and discard the skin, break the meat up into small pieces, and use it as the base for the sandwich filler below. Tuna is a cold-water fish that has a high percentage of omega-3s. You can also substitute canned salmon for the tuna.

Yield: MAKES 4 SANDWICHES

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 can (12 ounces) solid white tuna packed in water, drained
  • 2 scallions, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped pickled ginger
  • 2 tablespoons eggless soy-based mayonnaise
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • Hot red pepper sauce, to taste (optional)
  • 8 slices whole-wheat or other whole-grain bread, toasted if you want
  • 8 dark green lettuce leaves

Directions

1. In a small bowl, break up tuna with fork. Add scallion, pickled ginger, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, and hot pepper sauce if using, and mix together with fork.

2. Make four sandwiches with the bread, dividing the salad equally among them, and garnishing with lettuce, tomato, and roasted red pepper, if using.

Notes

Make-Ahead Tip: Salad can be refrigerated for up to three days.

Serving Suggestions: For a sharply flavored accompaniment, toss together Spicy Cabbage Salad with Cider Vinegar, or serve the tuna salad as is on a bed of dark leafy greens with bottled roasted red peppers as a garnish.
ENJOY!

Naps. They Do a Body Good!

March 16, 2011

Naps. We all want them, we all crave them, but not all of us allow ourselves to take them. Finding yourself in a nap midday can be one of life’s more enjoyable pleasures, but its also an indulgence we have grown to neglect. In our busy lives we find ourselves convinced that napping is not only not allowed, but frowned upon as it attacks the very core of your “super human” status in society. Well, the University of California, Berkeley, would like you to be the first to know, that the nap you have been avoiding, actually wouldnt harm your humanity at all. In fact, a nice midday siesta would indeed make you smarter, more alert, and increase your brain power for your super human day.

In a study done at the University, researchers found that adults who took a midday nap markedly outperformed those who did not on a challenging intellectual task late in the day. The adults were given a challenging task to learn at noon, all performing and learning at similiar rates. Then one group was given a 90 minute nap, while the other group was not . At 6pm, a new challenging task was given to each group and researchers saw the napping group consistently and aggressively outperform those who did not get the gift of a midday snooze. The results confirmed the researchers hypothesis that in fact as we sleep, the brain does a little housekeeping on itself, clearing out the dirt and making room for the new once we awake and continue our day.

The perfect regime? Get a good night’s rest every night. 8 hours would be nice. Include a 60 minute nap midday and you will find you and your brain in optimal health. Of course we still reccommend a balanced diet and excercise, but couple those factors with a fantastic sleep schedule and BAM! the super human you never knew existed will be running the show.

Information Courtesy of: www.aarp.com “Don’t Knock Naps – They Make You Smarter 

A VERY Berry March

“On the motionless branches of some trees, autumn berries hung like clusters of coral beads, as in those fabled orchards where the fruits were jewels…”

As we take some time out of our day this month to shop for the foods that fuel our bodies, there may be a few commonalities we notice within our favorite grocery stores. One will be the the egg themed aisles filled with Easter candy and rabbit ears, while another may be the vivid colors of strawberries and blueberries filling our produce sections. While candy can of course be delicious and fun, we are going to urge you this month to take advantage of the sweet fruits that surround you. Berries have been an essential part of the human diet since the beginning of time and we tend to forget their importance. New scientific research over the past several years has come to prove the significance of the simplistic berry in our diet and now researchers are even calling them the brain’s superfood.

The polyphenols found in berries, which give them their deep-red or blue-hue, activate proteins which act as “housekeepers” for damaged cells within the brain. These chemicals clean-up oxidative damage and help prevent and protect against degenerative brain decline. Researchers are continuing to find further evidence that support the effectiveness of berries such as strawberries, blueberries, and acai in going as far as reversing the effects of brain damage that has already occurred. Thus, let’s make this a very berry March indeed!

Berries are so easy to add to your daily diet and there are many fun and interesting ways to do so! Add a few sliced strawberries or a handful of blueberries to your daily yogurt or cereal. Strawberries can make a delicious addition to a goat cheese and walnut salad or perhaps you’d like to  treat yourself to a lowfat blueberry coffee cake! Throughout this month we would love to share some of our favorite berry recipes with you in hopes that you will be excited enough to make the berry shift and incorporate these brain saving fruits into your diet.

 Recipe #1:

Chicken & Blueberry Pasta Salad Recipe

Chicken and Blueberry Pasta Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed of fat
  • 8 ounces whole-wheat fusilli or radiatore
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

 

Preparation

  1. Place chicken in a skillet or saucepan and add enough water to cover; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer gently until cooked through and no longer pink in the middle, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board to cool. Shred into bite-size strips.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta until just tender, about 9 minutes or according to package directions. Drain. Place in a large bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, place oil and shallot in a small skillet and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and just beginning to brown, 2 to 5 minutes. Add broth, feta and lime juice and cook, stirring occasionally, until the feta begins to melt, 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Add the chicken to the bowl with the pasta. Add the dressing, blueberries, thyme, lime zest and salt and toss until combined.

 

Per serving: 315 calories; 11 g fat ( 3 g sat , 6 g mono ); 49 mg cholesterol; 33 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 23 g protein; 5 g fiber; 238 mg sodium; 207 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Selenium (60% daily value), Fiber (20% dv).

Carbohydrate Servings: 2

Exchanges: 2 starch, 2 very lean meat, 2 fat