Showing posts with label zinc. Show all posts
Showing posts with label zinc. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Can Your Diet Make You Happier?

Experts are recognizing that what you eat and other important health and wellness practices may contribute to your level of happiness. Which eating habits can you adopt that will help you and your family members obtain maximum happiness?

How can your diet make you happier?

Research supports the idea that what you eat may help or hinder your mood, sense of wellbeing, and overall happiness. Consuming a balanced diet is essential to good health. Consult with your doctor or healthcare provider regarding the use of supplements.

What are the building blocks of eating for happiness?

Amino acids are essential for wellbeing. Animal-based sources of amino acids include meats, fish, milk, and eggs. If you're a vegetarian or vegan, you can get these acids from plant sources including soy, beans, legumes, and some grains. Too much caffeine in your diet, excessive exercise, stress, and your genes may deplete your amino acids.
Serotonin is essential for balancing your mood. Lack of serotonin may cause anxiety, panic, anger, and pessimism. Experts suggest that consuming tryptophan-rich foods like milk can help you obtain necessary amounts of this important building block.
 Catecholamines are hormones made by your adrenal glands, which sit on top of your kidneys. They support alertness, energy, concentration, and drive.
Gaba is a brain chemical related to a sense of calm and relaxation. Prolonged stress or a diet lacking in nutrients may cause a gaba deficiency. If you need more gaba in your life, consume more shrimp, oolong tea, cherry tomatoes, and kefir probiotic drink.
Endorphins may be affected by genetics, chronic stress, and physical pain. You can build your endorphins with spicy foods, chocolate, herbal teas, and energy drinks.
Omega-3s are the key to building healthy brain cells. Get your omega-3 acids by eating fatty fish, pastured meat, dairy products, walnuts, and flax seeds.
Zinc/B6 are important nutrients for brain function. Chicken, pork, and beans contain zinc; tuna, turkey, beef, and eggs are all high in vitamin B6.

Check out the government's Medline Plus website for more information on amino acids.

How do you ensure you have all the building blocks in your diet?

In some cases, your body may produce a building block, and you need to be aware that you don't deplete it. In other instances, consuming the right foods might be the answer. In some cases, it may be necessary to take supplements. You should always check with your doctor or healthcare provider for guidance.

What are other considerations?

Digestion is a key component of the happiness lifestyle. Properly digesting food is essential to maximizing the nutrients you take in from the food you eat. Factors such as diet, medications, stress, disease, and alcoholism can alter or impair your body’s digestion.

Stable blood sugar is key to balance, wellbeing, and a positive mood. Consuming protein is essential to achieving blood sugar stabilization. Too much sugar or caffeine in your diet can have a negative effect on your blood sugar.

How do lifestyle factors play a role in happiness?

Sleep remains an important ingredient of a happy life.
Exercise is key. Regular exercise, even for a few minutes a day, is a must for a well-balanced lifestyle.
Find ways to manage stress or remove stressors from your life. Excessive stress can have a negative impact on your wellbeing.
Drinking adequate water throughout a day is important to preventing dehydration, which can lead to fatigue and difficulty concentrating.
Don’t forget the fun! Participate in sports, activities, or hobbies that make you feel good, challenge you, and have a positive effect on your sense of self-worth.

Adopt these building blocks and lifestyle factors, and you and your family will enjoy reaping the benefits of living a happier life!

Live Healthy. Live Smart.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Why Is Zinc so Important?

Its importance to growth and development is often overlooked. However, zinc is crucial to your health, and a lack of it can lead to numerous harmful symptoms. Read on to discover the role zinc plays in the proper growth and functioning of the human body.

What is zinc?

Zinc is an essential trace metal that's vital to many of the body's biological functions. Zinc plays a crucial role in more than 300 enzymes in the body.

What does zinc do?

Zinc plays an important role in your organs, tissues, bones, fluids, and cells. Systems particularly affected by zinc include:

  • The immune system: Low levels of zinc lead to reduced and weakened T-cells. An increase in zinc can help fight pneumonia, diarrhea, infections, and colds.
  • Skin, hair, and nails: Zinc activates renewal of skin cells. Creams containing zinc are used for skin irritations, wounds, and acne.
  • The reproductive system: Zinc plays a crucial role in reproductive health for both men and women. A zinc deficiency can contribute to infertility.
  • The cardiovascular system:  Zinc is reportedly involved in the regulation of arterial blood pressure.
  • Overall growth and development: Zinc ensures proper growth of the fetus during pregnancy, and is essential in the growth and development processes of infants, children, and teens.
From what food sources can you get zinc?

According to the National Institutes of Health, sources of zinc include:

1. Red meat
2. Poultry
3. Lamb
4. Fish and seafood
5. Whole cereals
6. Daily products
7. Beans
8. Nuts and seeds such as pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and cashews
9. Zinc supplements or a daily multivitamin (for those who don’t get enough zinc in their normal diet)

Want to view how much zinc is in the foods you eat? Check out this chart. 

Who is at risk of developing a zinc deficiency?

According to a study by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), nearly half of the world’s population is at risk for inadequate zinc intake. It’s especially concerning in the geriatric population as well as in undeveloped countries where food sources may not be zinc rich.

Low blood levels of zinc have been found in individuals with:

Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Liver cirrhosis.
Delayed wound healing.
Diabetes-associated conditions such as coronary artery disease, hypertension, and elevated levels of triglycerides.

What are the signs of zinc deficiency?

Rough and dry skin
Dull hair
Brittle finger nails
White spots on nails
Reduced taste and smell
Loss of appetite
Mood swings
Frequent skin infections

How can you sneak more zinc into your family’s diet?

1. Sprinkle pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or cashews as a topping on yogurt, ice cream, salads, or soups.
2. Include poultry and red meat in your family’s diet.
3. Choose breakfast cereals that are high in zinc.
4. If following a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, check with your healthcare provider to see if a zinc supplement might be necessary.

By incorporating these easy ideas, you can rest assured that your family’s diet will be rich in a necessary mineral that keeps their bodies growing and functioning properly. Zinc may sometimes be overlooked, but that doesn't make it any less important to your health.

Live Healthy. Live Smart.