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Does a healthy diet have to come at a hefty price? Three experts advise how to dodge extortionate groceries

As numerous studies show, many find healthy diets to be too expensive
And research shows many think more expensive means healthy
Here three marketing experts from the universities of Vanderbilt, Georgia and Ohio State explain why some food is so expensive – and how to beat it…
By Kelly L. Haws and Kevin L. Sample and Rebecca Walker Reczek For The Conversation
PUBLISHED: 17:36, 4 January 2017 | UPDATED: 19:00, 4 January 2017
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Imagine you’re in the aisle of your favorite grocery store, bombarded with hundreds of the latest and greatest products on the market. After grabbing a box of your favorite pasta off the shelf, you notice a new organic version of the spaghetti sauce you usually buy.

Strikingly, you notice that the price is at almost a 50 percent premium compared to what your usual sauce costs.

Here we go again, you think: You have to empty your wallet to buy the ‘healthy’ stuff.

If this describes how you think about the relationship between food health and price, you’re not alone. This belief is so pervasive that tips on how to eat healthy on a budget are everywhere, implying that most consumers think this is a truly difficult task.

Who hasn’t heard Whole Foods’ nickname, ‘Whole Paycheck,’ or seen incredibly cheap pricing on unhealthy fast food?

Measuring the relationship between health and price of food is in fact difficult as it can be evaluated in a variety of ways, from price per calorie to price per average portion.

So how pervasive is the view that ‘healthy = expensive’ and why do consumers think this way?

In a series of studies recently published in the Journal of Consumer Research, we found that consumers do tend to believe that healthy foods are in fact more expensive.

While this may actually hold true in only some product categories, we discovered that many consumers tend to believe this relationship holds across all categories, regardless of the evidence.

Consumers and lay theories
Consumers appear to have a lay theory, or an intuition, that healthy foods are more expensive.
Discussions around food deserts – low-income geographical areas with limited access to affordable nutritious foods – also suggest that healthy foods are indeed more expensive than unhealthy ones.
Consumers also have lay theories about food: for example, believing that unhealthy foods are tastier, regardless of whether this is objectively true.
The marketplace and the media appear to have taught most U.S. consumers to expect foods with special health properties to command a premium price.
While this is the case in some instances (for example, the USDA notes a price premium for many organic foods), in other cases a general positive relationship between price and healthiness may not exist.
A lay theory, in psychology, is the term for a nonexpert’s belief about how the world works. We can have lay theories about how everything from self-control to intelligence works. And these lay theories influence how we behave.
Consumers also have lay theories about food: for example, believing that unhealthy foods are tastier, regardless of whether this is objectively true.
In our research, we document a new lay theory consumers have about food: that healthy foods are more expensive.
In other words, unlike other research exploring whether there is a true relationship between food health and price, we were interested in understanding how this belief (regardless of whether it is objectively true) influences our food choices.
Across five studies, we showed that even in food categories where there is no relation between price and health, the healthy = expensive intuition affects how consumers make decisions about food.

How a food’s price equates to health
Diving deeper into understanding what’s going on in the mind of the consumer, we wanted to know: Do higher price points drive consumers to think of something as healthier? Or do cues about healthiness lead consumers to believe that the price is higher?
In our studies, we found that the intuition seems to operate in both directions. That is, in our first study, we showed that when consumers were presented with price information only, perceptions of the healthiness of a breakfast bar varied with the price: higher price = healthier, lower price = less healthy.
Similarly, when given a nutrition grade of an ‘A-,’ the sort of summary analyses provided by various websites, including CalorieCount.com, the breakfast bar was estimated as more expensive than when the same bar was graded as a ‘C.’
In another study, consumers were asked to choose the healthier of two similar chicken wraps.
When the ‘Roasted Chicken Wrap’ was priced at US $8.95 versus a ‘Chicken Balsamic Wrap’ for $6.95, people chose roasted over balsamic.
But when the prices were flipped, so were the choices. That is, people were actively choosing the more expensive option because they believed it was healthier.

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Another study showed that food products running counter to the healthy = expensive intuition – that is, a product claiming to be healthy but offered at a less expensive than average price for the product category – led consumers to seek out more supporting evidence before they bought into a generic health claim.
Specifically, study participants presented with a $0.99 protein bar (after being told that the average price for protein bars is $2 per bar) chose to view, on average, more than three online reviews before rating how likely they would be to buy the product themselves compared with two reviews when the protein bar had a $4 price tag.
It simply took more convincing when the price seems too good to be true for stated health claims.
What is healthy?
The impact of belief in the healthy = expensive intuition, however, goes beyond just general inferences about price and health.
In another study, we found that consumers used this intuition when valuing the importance of an unfamiliar specific ingredient in a food product.
We asked participants to assess the importance of the inclusion of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) – which we told them helps reverse macular degeneration, an age-associated eye disease that can lead to vision loss – in a trail mix.
When the DHA trail mix was sold at a premium price, participants put a higher value on both DHA and the underlying health condition.
When it was sold at an average price, participants weren’t as persuaded that their diet should include DHA or that preventing macular degeneration was as important.
Interestingly, it was the unfamiliarity of DHA that drove these inferences. When vitamin A was associated with the same health claim, a relative price premium didn’t alter perceptions of how important vitamin A is as an ingredient.
This study suggests that people are more likely to rely on their lay theories when assessing health claims that are unfamiliar – a situation they likely face often at the grocery store as food manufacturers frequently introduce new products claiming to include the latest health ingredient.
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Ignore your gut
Together, our studies reveal that consumers have a pervasive tendency to associate healthier food products and higher prices.
If one is operating with an unlimited budget while trying to cook and serve healthy meals, then perhaps this isn’t a problem.
However, those trying to manage a food budget and feel good about the healthiness of their family meals may pay too much for their nutrition. This can occur despite ready availability of both pricing and nutritional information.
What is the takeaway for consumers? We all know that price and quality aren’t perfectly correlated, but it doesn’t stop us from using price to judge quality when we don’t have other information.
So if you’re truly concerned about choosing healthy foods without overpaying, stop and think next time you see a health claim paired with a high price rather than relying on your gut feelings.
A simple solution to overcoming the influence of the intuition is to seek out more information before you buy.
Getting more information, which mobile devices let consumers do easily, even while shopping in a store, will enable you to rely on more careful, systematic thinking about the health claim being presented – rather than just your gut’s take that a healthy idea requires emptying your wallet.
This article was originally published by The Conversation

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OBESITY CRISIS A ’30-YEAR PROBLEM’

Rob Hobson, head of nutrition at Healthspan
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The obesity epidemic is so huge it will take more than 30 years to fix, the Government has admitted.

Public health officials predict that it will be a decade before national sugar consumption is cut by just a fifth.
The stark admission by the Department of Health earlier this week comes just months after it released the long-awaited childhood obesity strategy.
Richard Sangster, head of obesity policy, said there was no quick fix to a ‘highly complex issue’.
‘It’s a problem that has taken 30 years or so to get to this point,’ he said. ‘It’s going to take a similar amount of time to tackle this issue.’
Poor diet and lifestyle have been blamed for fat becoming ‘the new normal’, with 61 per cent of adults officially classed as overweight or obese.
The strategy was a response to figures which revealed a third of children are overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school.
Speaking at a meeting chaired by Tory MP Maggie Throup, a member of the health select committee, Mr Sangster insisted Britain was leading the way in tackling obesity.
‘We think the obesity plan will give us around a fifth reduction in ten years,’ he said. ‘If we achieve that, that would be fantastic – no country in the world has reduced levels of obesity.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4074086/Are-happy-size-shape-body-Two-thirds-women-aren-t-half-want-lose-one-stone.html#ixzz4UMotf0cq
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5 reasons which make porridge the healthiest breakfast option…

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Nutritionist Cassandra Barns explains exactly why porridge is good for you
Oats are a natural source of vitamins and minerals, including magnesium
They also provide slow-releasing carbohydrates to help replenish muscles
Proven to lower cholesterol by stopping it being absorbed into the blood

Whether you enjoy it with almonds, blueberries or a sprinkle of cinnamon – porridge is one of the healthiest breakfast options.
Other than being low in fat, the oatmeal dish is a great source of minerals, fibre and slow-releasing carbohydrates.
Researchers from Harvard University previously found wholegrains, such as oats, were the key to living longer.
Here Cassandra Barns, a London-based nutritionist, reveals the 5 reasons why porridge makes the best breakfast.

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Oats are a good source of slow-releasing energy and, unlike most other breakfast cereals, don’t contain any added sugar,’ says Ms Barns.
‘This means they can help to keep your energy stable until lunchtime, rather than causing a crash by mid-morning!’

‘Being whole grains, oats are a natural source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B1, magnesium, iron, manganese and zinc, which have many vital roles in the body including supporting energy and immunity,’ she adds.
Most breakfast cereals are low in these natural nutrients and have to be fortified with synthetic vitamins, which may not be as easily used by our body.

Magnesium is often lacking in the average diet, and so many of us may not get enough.
‘It’s one of the nutrients that’s essential for our cells to make energy,’ Ms Barns says.
She recommends Nairn’s Scottish Porridge Oats as a particularly good source of magnesium.
SLOW RELEASING ENERGY
Porridge is a great breakfast for fitness fanatics and gym-goers either before or after training, the nutritionist claims.
‘The slow-releasing carbohydrates in oats are fantastic for powering a workout or for restoring muscles after training, and magnesium is vital for muscle function too,’ Ms Barns adds.
Oats provide slow-releasing carbohydrates to help replenish muscle glycogen – the energy stored in muscles.
DRESS UP TO INCREASE PROTEIN AND HEALTHY FATS
‘Porridge can easily be “dressed up” to increase its deliciousness and nutrient content,’ she says.
Add fresh berries for the tang and sweetness, vitamin C and antioxidants.

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Stir in chopped nuts or seeds to increase the protein content and healthy fats.
Or sprinkle over a teaspoon of cinnamon, which has warming qualities for the winter, and may help with balancing blood sugar, Ms Barns advises.
GREAT SOURCE OF FIBRE
‘The fibre in porridge oats may help to lower cholesterol naturally,’ she says.
Oats are a much better way to lower your cholesterol than popular cholesterol-lowering spreads, which are made with hydrogenated, unnatural fats.
They contain a soluble fibre called beta-glucan, which helps stop cholesterol being absorbed into the bloodstream through the intestinal walls.
Dietary fibre has also been known to help people maintain a healthy weight, which in turn reduces the chances of developing type 2 diabetes.
Porridge is known to have around 4g of fibre per bowl, where as cornflakes has less than 0.3g.

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WHY WE GAIN WEIGHT

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We gain weight when we regularly consume more calories that we burn. Through bodily function and physical activities, we lose weight, and the more active we are the more we lose.
Research proves that more people are over weight than under weight.
In the UK nearly 60% of adults are over weight or obese.
So what causes weight gain

1. consuming too much food, we tend to have much bigger plates these days.
2. Eating unhealthy high fat foods or foods high in sugar
The thing is, the body tends to store the excess carbohydrates or sugar into fat. Some foods have so much more calories than others, so the need to make the right choices when it comes to food.
Alcohol for instance is high in calories, and should be consumed in moderation.
Medical Reasons

Balanced diet

Weight gain could be attributed to medical reasons,
1. An under active thyroid gland, this means the thyroid is not able to produce enough, thyroid hormones, to regulate metabolism, this is most common in older women.

Generally, as we age we lose muscle, due to inactivity, meaning we burn less, to reduce muscle loss we need to stay active.
So the watch word is to stay active. More to come….

Contains high fibre levels
Includes essential nutrients to support healthy, lasting weight loss
Formulated with chromium to help maintain normal blood sugar levels
Contributes to the maintenance of lean muscle and promotes weight loss

 

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Dieting for just eight weeks can reverse your diabetes: Experts say restricting food for two months could eradicate the disease Read more:

Experts have found that a crash diet could reverse Type 2 diabetes
Findings described as a ‘paradigm shift’ in the understanding of diabetes
Growing body of evidence suggests losing weight could reverse condition
By BEN SPENCER FOR THE DAILY MAIL
PUBLISHED: 01:59 GMT, 22 March 2016 | UPDATED: 13:19 GMT, 22 March 2016
A crash diet lasting just eight weeks can reverse type 2 diabetes, experts have found.
Even people who had suffered with diabetes for a decade saw their condition eradicated after they restricted their eating for two months.
And six months after stopping the diet, participants in the Newcastle University trial were still free of the disease, suggesting that the condition had effectively been reversed.
The findings – described last night as a ‘paradigm shift’ in the understanding of diabetes – could lead to a cheap way of dealing with a problem that affects 3.6million people in Britain.
And six months after stopping the diet, participants in the Newcastle University (pictured) trial were still free of the disease, suggesting that the condition had effectively been reversed

COLLECT PIC / COPY SIMS - 11.7.12 PRINCESS EUGENIE GRADUATES AT A CONGREGATION CEREMONY AT NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY (PICTURED) HAVING ATTAINED A (BA HONS) ENG. LIT. AND ART HISTORY.
COLLECT PIC / COPY SIMS – 11.7.12
PRINCESS EUGENIE GRADUATES AT A CONGREGATION CEREMONY AT NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY (PICTURED) HAVING ATTAINED A (BA HONS) ENG. LIT. AND ART HISTORY.

And six months after stopping the diet, participants in the Newcastle University (pictured) trial were still free of the disease, suggesting that the condition had effectively been reversed
Type 2 diabetes occurs either when the body does not produce enough insulin to control the blood sugar – or the cells don’t react to it. The condition is often linked to obesity and usually occurs in middle age, coming with a risk of limb amputations, heart attacks and vision loss.
Experts used to think that once the disease had taken hold, it was incurable. But a growing body of evidence suggests that losing weight could reverse the condition. Scientists think that this is because removing fat from the pancreas allows insulin production to return to normal, eradicating the problem at the root of the disease.
Now, a British trial has suggested that the condition could not only be reversible – but that the reverse could come in a matter of weeks.
Study leader Professor Roy Taylor said: ‘The bottom line is that if a person really wants to get rid of their type 2 diabetes, they can lose weight, keep it off and return to normal.’ In his trial, diabetics who ate just 700 calories a day – made up of three diet shakes a day and some vegetables – lost an average of two stone (14kg) in eight weeks. Of the 30 participants, 12 saw their diabetes reversed.
The participants then gradually increased their eating to healthy levels, a third less on average than they ate before the trial. When they were reassessed six months later, none of the participants had put back the weight, and none of those whose diabetes had been reversed had seen the diabetes return.
No sugar: Scientists claim a crash diet lasting eight weeks could be the key to reversing type 2 diabetes
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No sugar: Scientists claim a crash diet lasting eight weeks could be the key to reversing type 2 diabetes
Though the volunteers remained overweight, they had lost enough weight to remove the fat from the pancreas and allow normal insulin production to resume.
The authors, writing in the Diabetes Care medical journal, said: ‘Type 2 diabetes has reached epidemic proportions. The personal cost is enormous in terms of visual loss, amputation, and premature cardiovascular disease.
‘The inevitably progressive nature of the disease has appeared beyond question. At diagnosis, patients are advised to accept having a lifelong disease.’
But they said their results showed that this approach had been incorrect. ‘Type 2 diabetes can now be understood to be a metabolic syndrome potentially reversible by substantial weight loss, and this is an important paradigm shift.’

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Professor Taylor said: ‘What we have shown is that it is possible to reverse your diabetes, even if you have had the condition for a long time, up to around ten years. If you have had the diagnosis for longer than that, don’t give up hope – major improvement in blood sugar control is possible.
‘The study also answered the question people often ask me – if I lose the weight and keep the weight off, will I stay free of diabetes? The simple answer is yes!
‘Interestingly, even though all our volunteers remained obese or overweight, the fat did not drift back to clog up the pancreas.’ His team thinks that each person has a ‘personal fat threshold’ and if they surpass this their body can no longer properly regulate blood sugar levels. The professor said: ‘If a person gains more weight than they personally can tolerate, then diabetes is triggered, but if they then lose that amount of weight then they go back to normal.
‘Individuals vary in how much weight they can carry without it seeming to affect their metabolism – 70 per cent of severely obese people do not have diabetes.’
The team has already started a larger trial involving 280 patients to see if the results can be replicated. That trial, which reports back in 2018, will examine whether dieting can reverse type 2 diabetes in all patients, or if only certain people respond.
The number of people with diabetes has soared by two-thirds in the last decade, fuelled by Britain’s obesity epidemic. Last year the number topped 4million for the first time. Nine out of ten have type 2. The rest have the genetic form, type 1, an irreversible auto-immune disease which is nothing to do with lifestyle.
The NHS spends an estimated £10billion a year on caring for people with diabetes – nearly a tenth of its entire budget.
‘I LOST TWO STONE AND NOW EAT NORMALLY. IT’S CHANGED MY LIFE’
Allan Tutty: Weighed more than 15 stone
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Allan Tutty: Weighed more than 15 stone
In just two months Allan Tutty’s life changed.
A crash diet lasting eight weeks slashed two and a half stone from his frame and reversed his type 2 diabetes.
The father of four had never felt fat, but scans showed a layer of blubber around his internal organs. Mr Tutty, 57, from Sunderland, said: ‘I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes around May 2011 during routine checks by my GP. While I didn’t feel fat, I was fat – on the inside. I’ve seen a scan of my liver and you can see the fat around it.’
Mr Tutty, who manages a brain injury unit at a care home and weighed more than 15 stone before the diet, added: ‘I took part in the Newcastle University research, spending eight weeks on a very low calorie diet which was really tough over Christmas and New Year but I was determined to complete it.
‘In the two months, I lost two and a half stone and my pancreas was working within normal limits. With my diabetes in remission, I haven’t looked back.
‘I eat normal foods, though I eat less than I used to, and I enjoy takeaways and chocolate but not on a regular basis so I have maintained my lower weight.
‘My life has changed completely thanks to this research.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3503734/Dieting-just-eight-weeks-reverse-diabetes-Experts-say-restricting-food-two-months-eradicate-disease.html#ixzz43dj6VIte
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Is YOUR brain flagging? Expert reveals her 7 top ways to perk yourself up – including eating chocolate! Read more:

We’ve all had those late nights in the office when simple tasks start taking longer and it feels as though our brain power has deserted us.
So what exactly can we do to give our brains a boost when it feels like it’s running out of juice?
Dr Jenny Brockis, author of ‘Future Brain: The 12 Keys to Create Your High-Performance Brain’ believes it’s all about unlocking the full potential of your brain.
She claims there are a number of tricks that can boost your brain’s performance almost immediately Healthista reports.
From a quick-fix solution to give your brain a little shove for a few hours, or a long term brain training technique that strengthens the mind’s power over time, Dr Brockis reveals her seven top tips…
Diet, exercise and even playing games can give us a boost in brain power, according to Dr Jenny Brockis
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Diet, exercise and even playing games can give us a boost in brain power, according to Dr Jenny Brockis
FEED YOUR BRAIN WITH COLOUR
In her book Future Brain, Dr Brockis says that eating the right foods can increase our mental stamina, help us focus, aid memory, and even benefit our problem solving ability.
‘It’s all about the right fuel for the right vehicle,’ she explains.
In February 2016, a study led by Dr Ian Macdonald, professor of metabolic physiology at the University of Nottingham, found consumption of a cocoa drink rich in flavanols (a key ingredient of dark chocolate) boosts blood flow to key areas of the brain for two to three hours.
Dr Brockis has also linked dark chocolate with the brain’s ability to focus.
Rich, leafy greens such as kale and spinach can give your brain an extra burst of power, experts say

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Rich, leafy greens such as kale and spinach can give your brain an extra burst of power, experts say

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She believes colourful foods are the key to brain function, and highlights some of the the foods that have been shown in nutritional studies to assist focus are:
Rich leafy greens – kale, spinach, and Chinese broccoli.
Deeply pigmented red and blue berries – blueberries, cherries, plums, strawberries, and raspberries.
Dark chocolate – minimum 70 per cent cocoa solids, preferably the best you can find, because here it’s quality, not quantity, that matters.
Eggs – choline boosts focus and helps to reduce cortisol, one of our stress hormones.
Tip: If you feel too busy to stop and eat, remember that if you take the time to replenish your brain’s fuel stores it will increase efficiency and help you get your work done better and faster.

 

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TAKE A 20 MINUTE NAP BEFORE 3PM
Sleep provides us with greater physical and mental wellbeing. It allows for neuronal repair and maintenance, it also brings mood regulation.
Dr Brockis says that naps can be highly beneficial to brain function, especially if those brains have been working hard over an extended period of time.
In 2010, research conducted by the University of California Berkeley found that an hours nap can dramatically boost and restore your brain power.
Naps can be highly beneficial to brain function, especially if those brains have been working hard over an extended period of time, says Dr Brockis

Naps can be highly beneficial to brain function, especially if those brains have been working hard over an extended period of time, says Dr Brockis
Their findings suggest that a biphasic sleep schedule (the practice of sleeping multiple times within a 24 hour period), not only refreshes the mind, but can also make you smarter.
Dr Brice Faraut, of the University Paris Descartes, reports in a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, that a 20-minute nap can increase cognitive performance by up to 40 per cent, with the benefit lasting two to three hours.
Dr Brockis advises that keeping the nap to 20 minutes avoids sleep inertia, which is that groggy feeling we experience if woken up from a deeper level of sleep.
Keep power naps to the afternoon between lunchtime, and no later than 3pm to avoid disrupting night sleep patterns.
Tip: Whenever possible keep to a regular 40-minute pre-bed routine to prepare your brain for sleep.
WHY IT’S GOOD TO BE CURIOUS

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Explore your curious side by signing up to learn a musical instrument, learning to dance, or taking painting classes.
Make curiosity a daily habit by doing cryptic crossword puzzles, learning three new words and their meanings everyday, or reading a book in a different genre from your common preference.
Keeping the brain active with puzzles or a reading can help keep memory
Keeping the brain active with puzzles or a reading can help keep memory
Researched published in 2014 in the Cell Press Journal, suggests the more curious we are about a topic, the easier it is to learn information about it.
Lead author Dr Matthias Gruber, of the University of California Davis, says that the findings ‘reveal insights into how a form of intrinsic motivation – curiosity – affects memory.’
Dr Brockis explains our pursuit of new information rewards our brain with the release of dopamine that drives us to continue in our quest to investigate.

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It can result in providing us with the means to be more focused, more insightful, and more adaptive.
So in other words, curiosity didn’t kill the cat, it made her smarter.
Tip: Set out to learn about things you’re interested in, and the key learnings from them will flow – and feel easy and effortless.
PLAY VIDEO GAMES
Playing a fast paced action-packed video game for an hour or so several nights a week is great for building attention.
Dr Daphne Bavelier, a neuroscientist professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester, says that video games make our brain smarter, better, faster and stronger.
In 2009, research showed how video games that involve high levels of action, such as first-person-shooter games, increase a player’s real-world vision.
According to Dr. Bavelier, a gamers ‘ability to perceive changes in shades of grey improves up to 58 per cent.’
Games boost our attentional networks and can help us to develop sharper visual acuity, which can help them pick out a stranger in a crowd and observe small details

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Games boost our attentional networks and can help us to develop sharper visual acuity, which can help them pick out a stranger in a crowd and observe small details
The average gamer is in their 30s, so these games are clearly not just for the kids.
While it is recognised that overplaying certain video games can lead to problems with addictive behaviour, for the vast majority, playing games can stimulate the brain.
Dr Brockis says gamers develop sharper visual acuity, which can help them pick out a stranger in a crowd and observe small details.
They are also better at tracking more objects simultaneously.
Games boost our attentional networks (alerting, orienting and executive), driving plasticity.
Gamers are also better at task switching with less cognitive cost compared with non-gamers.
Training on action games can help people improve their performance in different mental tasks, and this improvement persists for months after the training has finished.
MEDITATE AT WORK
Since Chade-Meng Tan, chief happiness officer at Google, introduced his Search Inside Yourself program in 2007, many other companies have introduced mindfulness programs, including Aetna,The Huffington Post, and Apple.
Companies are funding these programs for their staff and setting up meditation rooms.
They have found that offering meditation classes to employees as part of a workplace wellness program can increase productivity, reduce stress-related illness, reduce the incidence of mistakes and errors, and improve recall and memory.
Many companies have introduced mindfulness programs increase productivity, reduce stress-related illness and reduce the incidence of mistakes

Many companies have introduced mindfulness programs increase productivity, reduce stress-related illness and reduce the incidence of mistakes
In 2012, research conducted by the University of California, Los Angeles, found that long-term meditators have larger amounts of gyrification (‘folding’ of the cortex, which may allow the brain to process information faster) than people who do not meditate, and they also found that meditationstrengthens the connections between brain cells.
Dr Brockis believes that if you practice daily meditation anywhere between five to 50 minutes a day, like how you would practice a musical instrument everyday, it could result in two to three hours of efficient, high-quality work.
FIND YOUR TRIBE AND STICK WITH THEM
Humans are social creatures that excel when it comes to making connections with each other. Our brain relies on our ability to build relationships.
Typically, the people we like best are those we see as similar to ourselves, and therefore we’re more likely to connect with them.
Dr Brockis says that maintaining exceptional social skills is important because relationships are a key tool for better brain performance.
Good relationships are a key tool for better brain performance so being accepted by co-workers is vital for being able to do your job, says Dr Brockis

Good relationships are a key tool for better brain performance so being accepted by co-workers is vital for being able to do your job, says Dr Brockis
She explains that ‘at work, when we don’t feel part of a tribe, our lack of relatedness manifests in poorer performance, lower engagement and higher staff turnover.’
If you don’t feel accepted by your co-workers, then you’re more likely to leave the job.
Social exclusion, whether intentional or through apathy, causes social pain, which lowers self-esteem, confidence and mood.
So working to develop a better relationship with your colleagues will make you feel like part of the tribe, and therefore improve your brain’s performance.
Brain Awareness Week (BWA), the global campaign to increase public awareness of the pro

 

TAKE A DAILY 30 MINUTE WALK OR RUN
Dr Brockis says exercise enhances blood flow to the brain, leading to reduced brain shrinkage and increased neurogenesis (the growth and development of nervous tissue), and plasticity (brain flexibility), so your work performance is maintained.
Last month researchers at the University of Jyväskylä found that aerobic exercise, such as running, has positive effects on the brain’s function when it comes to learning.
According to Dr Brockis, a 30 minute exercise session can improve cognition, learning and memory.
Exercise enhances blood flow to the brain, leading to reduced brain shrinkage and greater plasticity
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Exercise enhances blood flow to the brain, leading to reduced brain shrinkage and greater plasticity
It also improves mood and self-esteem, reduces stress, and reduces the risk of anxiety and depression.
Exercise can also decrease the risk of cognitive impairment, and lower risk of cognitive decline, and neurodegenerative disease (a term for a range of conditions which primarily affect the neurons in the human brain).
Dr Brockis explains it’s important to choose something you think you will enjoy, for example, walking, swimming, cycling, or tennis, and do it on a regular basis.
She advises that start slow, and gradually increase the number of sessions each week and their duration.
Once you get started, you will begin to experience the natural endorphin rush that makes you feel good, and motivates you to want to do it again.
Tip: Sitting for long periods of time reduces the blood flow to the brain. Whenever you feel mentally tired, try taking a brain break by getting up to stretch and move for 10 to 15 minutes.
gress and benefits of brain research, takes place between the 14th March to 20th March.
This article originally appeared on and is re-published here with the permission of Healthista.

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Superfoods or just super marketing? Broccoli is just as nutritious as kale but half the price – and there’s NO need to buy expensive coconut water

Superfoods or just super marketing? Broccoli is just as nutritious as kale but half the price – and there’s NO need to buy expensive coconut water

  • Karishma Palsetia is a registered nutritionist at ANutr in London
  • Says there is no such thing as a superfood, only foods high in nutrients
  • We should eat everyday superfoods that are cheap and accessible
  • For example, brown rice is just as nutritious as quinoa and much cheaper 

From kimchi to kefir, every month a new ingredient is hailed as the latest ‘superfood’.

Many of us spend hours in health shops, spending a fortune on green powders and purple leaves in a bid to be healthy.

But there are everyday available in supermarkets that are a fraction of the price of fashionable alternatives – and just as nutritious.

Karishma Palsetia, a registered nutritionist at ANutr, London, says broccoli is just as good as kale and brown rice is as healthy as quinoa.

And instead of forking out for expensive coconut water, a glass of water and a banana provides the same range of vitamins and minerals.

Spirulina, an expensive seaweed, is hailed as the king of the superfoods. Yet humble spinach has more vitamin A, C, calcium and iron at a fraction of the price

Spirulina, an expensive seaweed, is hailed as the king of the superfoods. Yet humble spinach has more vitamin A, C, calcium and iron at a fraction of the price

Nutritionist Karishma Palsetia said there is no need to buy expensive coconut water, when a glass of water and a banana can provide similar range of nutrients

Nutritionist Karishma Palsetia said there is no need to buy expensive coconut water, when a glass of water and a banana can provide similar range of nutrients

Speaking to MailOnline, Ms Palsetia said: ‘First of all, there is no such thing as a ‘superfood’. There are just foods that are nutritious.

Much of the hype around super foods is actually just ‘super marketing’, she said.

‘There are new fashionable foods with high prices, but in reality they are no better for your body than other, often cheaper, products.

‘Spinach has as much nutrition as spirulina for a tenth of the price. And there’s no big difference between quinoa and brown ric

‘If you want to buy expensive products you can, but I want people to know that if they go to the supermarket and fill their baskets with fruit, vegetables, grains and proteins, they can be healthy and it’s not too expensive.’

The idea of a ‘superfood’ makes people believe one item will vastly improve their health, when in fact they should be assessing their diet as a whole, she added.

She said: ‘I think people think they can eat unhealthily and then take a spoonful of spirulina and it cancels it out.

‘It doesn’t work like that. No one food can save you.’

‘As long as you have a well-balanced diet, you are eating healthily.

From swapping kimchi for sauerkraut, and agave nectar for plain honey, below Ms Palsetia shares her top superfood 

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From orange veg, to berries and avocado, experts reveal the 8 skin superfoods YOU should eat for a radiant complexion Read more

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From orange veg, to berries and avocado, experts reveal the 8 skin superfoods YOU should eat for a radiant complexion
Blemish free, radiant skin is the goal for women across the world
Millions are spent on creams, lotions and potions that promise perfect skin
Team of nutritionists urge women to forget fancy new moisturisers
Instead, they say, beautiful skin begins with what you put on your plate
From orange veg to avocado, they reveal the best food for your skin
By LIZZIE PARRY FOR DAILYMAIL.CO
Blemish free, radiant young-looking skin is something all women long for.
Millions are spent across the world on creams, lotions, serums and other potions – all promising the perfect complexion.
But, instead of focusing on what you slather on your skin, a team of experts are urging women, and men alike, to rather concentrate on what they are putting in their bodies.
Forget a fancy new moisturiser, they proclaim.
And instead embrace the notion that beautiful skin starts on your plate.
Scroll down for video
Blemish free, radiant young-looking skin is something all women long for. While millions are spent on fancy moisturisers across the world, a team of nutritionists say beautiful skin starts with what you put on your plate

Blemish free, radiant young-looking skin is something all women long for. While millions are spent on fancy moisturisers across the world, a team of nutritionists say beautiful skin starts with what you put on your plate
Shona Wilkinson, head nutritionist at www.NutriCentre.com, a natural health retailer, said: ‘Many people don’t make a link between the foods they eat and their skin.
‘But, like any other part of the body, our skin is kept healthy by the food and nutrients that we consume.
‘So while a poor diet can quickly lead to sallow or dry skin, blemishes or acne, a healthy diet based on whole foods including a variety of vegetables and fruit, nuts and seeds, beans, fish and whole grains is an excellent basis for glowing, youthful skin.
‘The following foods are particularly good sources of helpful nutrients and great skin
KEEP IT ORANGE
Vegetables such as carrots, squash, pumpkin and sweet potatoes contain particularly high levels of beta carotene, and other carotenoids, which give them their orange colour.
‘Beta carotene converts to vitamin A in our body, which is one of the most important nutrients for skin integrity – meaning the skin that is firm, resists damage and can heal quickly,’ Ms Wilkinson said.
‘Beta carotene itself may also help to prevent free radical damage to our cells that can result in ageing, as it works as an antioxidant.
‘The orange vegetables are delicious as a basis for stews and soups in the winter, or roasted with other vegetables such as peppers, red onions and beetroot.’
Orange vegetables include high levels of beta carotene, which converts to vitamin A – one of the most important nutrients for skin integrity, nutritionist Shona Wilkinson told Daily Mail Online

carrots
Orange vegetables include high levels of beta carotene, which converts to vitamin A – one of the most important nutrients for skin integrity, nutritionist Shona Wilkinson told Daily Mail Online
Berries including blueberries and raspberries are rich in vitamin C, which is vital for the formation of collagen – the substance that gives skin it’s structure and elasticity

Berries including blueberries and raspberries are rich in vitamin C, which is vital for the formation of collagen – the substance that gives skin it’s structure and elasticity
BEAUTIFUL BERRIES
Berries such as blueberries, raspberries and blackcurrants are excellent sources of vitamin C.
Nutritionist Cassandra Barns said: ‘This vitamin is vital for the formation of collagen, which gives our skin structure and elasticity.’
Furthermore, she explained, vitamin C is also an antioxidant, ‘protecting our cells from damage’.
‘Berries also contain many other plant nutrients that may work as antioxidants in the body, such as the quercetin, catechins and resveratrol,’ she said.
‘Another advantage of berries over most other fruits is that they are lower in sugar – a diet high in sugary foods can speed up skin ageing.
‘Berries are great added to plain yoghurt, with some chopped nuts – an ideal snack or breakfast option.’

 

blue berries, raspberries,
Ms Barns said it can be beneficial to take a supplement packed with antioxidants and resveratrol, such as Nature’s Plus AgeLoss Skin Support.
OILY FISH FOR HYDRATION
Oily fish, including sardines, mackerel, salmon, and trout, are packed with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids.
Ms Barns said: ‘It has been found that Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids play an essential role in skin structure and appearance.
‘They are incorporated into cell membranes in the epidermis, the outermost layer of cells in the skin, and help to maintain the skin’s barrier function and prevent moisture loss.
‘They are also thought to have a role in the dermis, the lower layer of the skin, by controlling inflammation and minimising collagen damage from UV rays.’
For those people who are not a fan of fish, Ms Barns said a good fish oil supplement, such as Quest Vitamins’ Omega-3 can prove a good addition to their daily diet.
Oily fish, including salmon, mackerel and trout, are packed with high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids, which play an essential role in skin structure and appearance

Salmon
Oily fish, including salmon, mackerel and trout, are packed with high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids, which play an essential role in skin structure and appearance
Avocado is a great way to increase levels of vitamin E in your diet. Like vitamin C it works as an antioxidant, and protects the skin cells against damage from free radicals

Avocado
Avocado is a great way to increase levels of vitamin E in your diet. Like vitamin C it works as an antioxidant, and protects the skin cells against damage from free radicals
How to get the most health benefits from your avocado

A* SKIN WITH AVOCADO
Avocado is a good source of vitamin E, which is thought to have several roles in skin health.
Like vitamin C, it works as an antioxidant so may protect the skin cells against damage from free radicals.
It is also thought to help protect the skin from UV rays, and have anti-inflammatory activity in the skin – inflammation is involved in skin rashes, blemishes and acne.
Nutritionist Dr Marilyn Glenville, author of The Natural Health Bible For Women, said: ‘Although avocado is relatively high in fat, the majority of this is healthy monounsaturated fat like that found in olive oil, and the omega-6 fatty acid linoleic acid.
‘As we have already seen, omega-6 fats are helpful for preventing moisture loss from the skin; and monounsaturated fats may also have this benefit.
‘On top of this, avocadoes also contain good levels of carotenoids, those same antioxidants that are found in the orange vegetables.’
PUMPKIN SEEDS FOR PROBLEM SKIN
These nutritional gems are excellent sources of zinc, one of the most important minerals for maintaining healthy, happy skin.
Ms Wilkinson said: ‘It is thought that as much as 20 per cent of the body’s zinc is stored in the skin, and it has a major role in growth and healing.’
Deficiency in this mineral is linked with acne, dry skin, dermatitis and poor wound healing, she explained.
Pumpkin seeds, like avocadoes, nuts and other seeds, also contain the omega-6 fat linoleic acid.
‘Other seeds and nuts are also good sources of zinc, as well as biotin, a vitamin that is known to contribute to healthy skin and hair,’ added Ms Wilkinson.
Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of zinc, one of the most important minerals for maintaining healthy skin. Deficiency in this mineral is linked to acne, dry skin, dermatitis and poor wound healing

Green juice
Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of zinc, one of the most important minerals for maintaining healthy skin. Deficiency in this mineral is linked to acne, dry skin, dermatitis and poor wound healing
Juices made from lots of fresh green vegetables are a great way to boost nutrient levels. They contain calcium, magnesium and alkaloids, which help neutralise the body preventing it from becoming too acidic
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Juices made from lots of fresh green vegetables are a great way to boost nutrient levels. They contain calcium, magnesium and alkaloids, which help neutralise the body preventing it from becoming too acidic
A GREEN JUICE BOOST
Juices made with lots of fresh green vegetables are concentrated sources of nutrients, including many that can be beneficial to our skin, Ms Barns said.
‘They contain minerals like calcium, magnesium and alkaloids, which help to alkalise the body, preventing it from becoming too acidic,’ she said.
‘Our body generally keeps a fairly stable acid-alkaline balance, but a slight over-acidity may be linked to skin eruptions or problems like eczema.
‘Green juices are also rich in vitamin C, beta carotene and other antioxidants including chlorophyll, the substance that produces the green pigment in plants.
‘If you do not own a juicer, the just eat lots of green vegetables.’
It can also be beneficial to add a supplement to your green smoothie, Ms Barns said. She recommends Nature’s Plus Green Lightning, a nutritional powder that includes chlorella, spirulina, wheatgreass and Pacific kelp to ‘purify the skin’.

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OATY GOODNESS
Oats are a particularly rich source of biotin, a vitamin that is well-known for its role in the health of our skin and hair.
‘Oats are also high in gentle fibre, which helps to maintain a healthy digestive tract and bowel function,’ said Ms Wilkinson.
Healthy digestion is vital for our skin for two main reasons, she said.
‘Firstly, we need to digest foods properly for all those skin-loving nutrients to get into our body; and secondly, if we are not eliminating waste properly then excess toxins can circulate in the blood and may come out through the skin, in the sweat and sebum,’ she said.
‘The result may be skin rashes and other skin problems.’
Oats are a rich source of biotin, a vitamin that is well-known for its role in the health of skin and hair
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Oats are a rich source of biotin, a vitamin that is well-known for its role in the health of skin and hair
Cruciferous vegetables, which include kale, broccoli, chard and Brussels sprouts, contain a number of sulphur compounds, which can support detoxification of the liver. They also help balance a woman’s hormone levels and so can help prevent breakouts around that time of the month
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Cruciferous vegetables, which include kale, broccoli, chard and Brussels sprouts, contain a number of sulphur compounds, which can support detoxification of the liver. They also help balance a woman’s hormone levels and so can help prevent breakouts around that time of the month
CABBAGE PATCH DOLL
Cruciferous vegetables are the ‘cabbage-family’ – vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower, kale, red and green cabbage, chard, watercress and Brussels sprouts.
‘They contain lots of sulphur compounds, which can support detoxification in the liver (adequate liver detoxification is just as important as healthy bowel for getting rid of toxins),’ said Ms Barns.
‘They may also be supportive for hormone balancing, especially in women, because they contain a substance called indole-3-carbinol that has been found to balance oestrogen levels.
‘Therefore, if you are a woman who is prone to skin breakouts around your period, you may find it helpful to eat one to two portions a day of these vegetables – but make sure you vary your choice so you don’t get bored.
‘But if you are a man, don’t think they won’t help you: cruciferous vegetables are highly nutritious and good for all of us.’

Fruit and veg

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Are CARBS the new cigarettes? White bread, bagels and rice ‘increase the risk of lung cancer by 49%’, experts warn

  • Foods with high glycemic index are linked to lung cancer, scientists found
  • Such foods include white bread, bagels, corn flakes and puffed rice
  • Study found a 49% higher risk of lung cancer in people with high GI diets 
  • Scientists recommends people cut high GI foods out of their diet 

Many studies suggest carbohydrates are bad for your waistline.

But a new study has warned they may also be bad for your lungs.

Specifically, foods with a high glycemic index – such as white bread or bagels, corn flakes and puffed rice – may increase the risk of lung cancer, scientists say.

And non-smokers, who account for 12 per cent of those killed by the disease, appear to be particularly at risk.

Scientists say foods with a high glycemic index - including white bread, bagels, corn flakes and puffed rice - increase a person's risk of lung cancer, even if they have never smoked 

Scientists say foods with a high glycemic index – including white bread, bagels, corn flakes and puffed rice – increase a person’s risk of lung cancer, even if they have never smoked

The glycemic index is a measure of the quality of dietary carbohydrates – and is defined by how quickly blood sugar levels are raised after a meal.

The theory now is that a high-GI diet triggers higher levels of blood glucose and insulin.

This, in turn, increases levels of a type of hormone called Insulin-Like Growth Factors (IGFs).

Elevated levels of IGFs have previously been linked with a higher risk of lung cancer.

Lead study author Dr Stephanie Melkonian, of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, said: ‘We observed a 49 per cent increased risk of lung cancer among subjects with the highest daily GI compared to those with the lowest daily GI.’

And the findings suggest cutting out foods with high glycemic index could reduce a person’s risk of developing lung cancer.

Examples of low GI foods include whole-wheat or pumpernickel bread, rolled or steel-cut oatmeal and wholemeal pasta.

However the study also found glycemic load – a related measure of carbohydrate quantity – had no significant association with lung cancer risk.

This suggests it is the average quality, instead of quantity, of carbohydrates consumed that may modulate lung cancer risk.

Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in both men and women across the US.

Furthermore, it is also the leading cause of cancer deaths.

ALL ABOUT THE GLYCEMIC INDEX

The glycemic index, or GI, measures how a carbohydrate-containing food raises blood glucose.

Foods are ranked based on how they compare to a reference food — either glucose or white bread.

A food with a high GI raises blood glucose more than a food with a medium or low GI.

Foods with low GI include:

  • 100% stone-ground whole wheat or pumpernickel bread
  • Oatmeal (rolled or steel-cut), oat bran, muesli
  • Wholemeal pasta, converted rice, barley, bulgar wheat
  • Sweet potato, corn, yam, lima/butter beans, peas, legumes and lentils

Foods with high GI include:

  • White bread or bagel
  • Corn flakes, puffed rice, bran flakes, instant oatmeal
  • Shortgrain white rice, rice pasta, macaroni and cheese from mix
  • Russet potato, pumpkin
  • Pretzels, rice cakes, popcorn, saltine crackers
  • melons and pineapple

Source: American Diabetes Association 

More than 150,000 people in the US are expected to die from lung cancer in 2016, according to an estimate from the American Cancer Society.

Meanwhile in the UK there are around 45,525 new cases of the disease diagnosed each year, while 35,371 people lose their life to the disease annually, according to Cancer Research UK.

And while tobacco is the leading cause of lung cancer it does not account for all cases – particularly for those who never smoked.

The new study, published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, is the largest ever to investigate the potential link between glycemic index and lung cancer.

It is also the first to show GI was more significantly associated with lung cancer risk in specific subgroups – including people who had never smoked and those with the sub-type squamous cell carcinoma.

Previous studies have found that dietary factors may have an influence on a person’s risk of developing lung cancer.

Diets high in fruits and vegetables were found to decrease the risk – while increased consumption of red meat, saturated fats and dairy products are know to increase the risk of the disease.

Dr Melkonian said: ‘Diets high in glycemic index result in higher levels of blood glucose and insulin, which promote perturbations [disturbances] in the insulin-like growth factors (IGFs).

‘Previous research suggests increased levels of IGFs are associated with increased lung cancer risk.

‘However, the association between glycemic index and lung cancer risk was unclear.’

For this study, the research team surveyed 1,905 patients newly diagnosed with lung cancer – and found there was a higher risk of lung cancer in patients with the highest daily GI.

Senior study author Dr Xifeng Wu said: ‘The associations were more pronounced among subjects who were never smokers, diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma or had less than 12 years of education.

The study found high glycemic foods increase the risk of lung cancer by 49 per cent - perhaps because they trigger important hormonal fluctuations in the body 

The study found high glycemic foods increase the risk of lung cancer by 49 per cent – perhaps because they trigger important hormonal fluctuations in the body

The scientists also found that among people who had never smoked, those with high GI were more than twice as likely to develop lung cancer.

And for smokers, the risk was only elevated by 31 per cent compared to those in the lowest GI group.

Furthermore, those with the highest GI levels were 92 per cent were more likely to develop the squamous cell carcinoma sub-type, as compared to the lowest GI group.

Participants who had less than 12 years of education were 77 per cent more likely to develop lung cancer than those in the lowest group.

In contrast, those with more than 12 years of education only had an elevated risk of 33 per cent.

The study recommended that people limit foods and beverages with high GI.

Examples of low GI foods include whole-wheat or pumpernickel bread, rolled or steel-cut oatmeal and pasta.

Dr Wu said: ‘The results from this study suggest that, besides maintaining healthy lifestyles, such as avoiding tobacco, limiting alcohol consumption and being physically active, reducing the consumption of foods and beverages with high glycemic index may serve as a means to lower the risk of lung cancer.’

 

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Ditch your fad diets, FRESH is best: Cooking homemade meals packed with nutritious ingredients ‘hardwires the brain to banish junk food’

Busy lifestyles can make it tempting to turn to convenience food
But most are low in nutrients and packed with hidden sugar and salt
Addictive nature of these foods encourages us to eat more and get fat
Dr Sally Norton, a weight-loss expert and founder of VavistaLife.com says home cooking using fresh ingredients can help people shed pounds
Eating healthy food ‘hardwires’ the brain to want to eat more healthy foods
By DR SALLY NORTON FOR DAILYMAIL.COM
Lady cooking
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Busy lifestyles make it all too tempting to reach for the convenience foods.
Whether it’s pizzas, burgers, ready-meals, pastries or sauces, many are low on nutrients and packed with hidden salt, sugar and unsaturated fats.
Worse still, the addictive nature of these foods has us coming back for more.
No wonder so many of us struggle with our health and weight.
Most of us realise by now that cooking from fresh is better for us and is the only way to get back control over what we eat.
Busy lifestyles make it all too tempting to reach for convenience foods. But, weight-loss expert Dr Sally Norton says cooking fresh food from scratch is better for us and is the only way to get back control over our diets

Busy lifestyles make it all too tempting to reach for convenience foods. But, weight-loss expert Dr Sally Norton says cooking fresh food from scratch is better for us and is the only way to get back control over our diets
But the latest science suggests that it can also hardwire the brain to eat healthier and wean us off our addiction to junk food
You may be tired of hearing that you should cook from scratch – particularly if you are pushed for time and money (though remember there is a reason why junk food tends to be so cheap!).
The reality is few of us can manage it all the time if we want any sort of life outside the kitchen.
But if you’re looking for a healthier start to the New Year, the science suggests that reducing your reliance on unhealthy processed foods could work better than the latest diet or health fad.
Here are four reasons why fresh is best:
1. You can pack more of a nutrient punch
Preparing meals from fresh lets you know exactly what you are eating and helps you avoid all those hidden additives, fats, sugars, salts and empty calories that are so bad for your health and your waistline.
Not to mention the time saved not having to scan all those confusing ingredient labels.
You can boost your health even further with a rainbow on your plate.
A daily fix of different coloured fruit and vegetables will help give you all the antioxidants, vitamins and minerals you need –with the reward of an even healthier you at the end of the rainbow.
A daily fix of different coloured fruit and vegetables helps ensure a person is getting all the antioxidants, vitamins and minerals they need

A daily fix of different coloured fruit and vegetables helps ensure a person is getting all the antioxidants, vitamins and minerals they need
2. It hardwires your brain to eat healthier
Often people who start cooking their own food say they couldn’t go back to convenience meals.
And one small study offers a possible reason why.
Researchers at Harvard compared two groups of people – one on a six-month healthy eating and weight-loss programme and the other with no access to the programme.
For people in the healthy eating group, MRI scans after six months showed the brain’s reward centres were stimulated more by images of healthy food – and less by images of unhealthy, high calorie food – compared to the group who hadn’t been on the programme.
So it may be that by replacing the junk with real food, you can re-programme your brain towards desiring healthier treats than ‘hurry curries’ and chocolate eclairs.
Scientists at Harvard found eating a healthy diet hardwires the brain to enjoy healthy food, rather than junk food
Fruit and veg
Scientists at Harvard found eating a healthy diet hardwires the brain to enjoy healthy food, rather than junk food
3. You’re less likely to gorge on foods that are bad for you
Studies suggest that eating fresh, healthy food triggers an in-built cue in the brain to eat a varied and balanced diet.
Research on rats showed that when they had overeaten a healthy food, the brain stopped responding to it – protecting them against overeating and encouraging them to try different foods.
But rats fed on processed foods such as pies, cakes, dumplings and cookies, didn’t stop responding to cues for this type of food.
They happily continued with their addictive junk-food diet – despite it being higher in calories, lower in nutrients and causing a 10 per cent weight gain.
So replacing unhealthy processed foods, such as pizza and burgers, with healthy meals you prepare yourself could reactivate your body’s natural mechanism to eat better.
Plus you’re less likely to gorge yourself on foods that are bad for you and your waistline.
4. Stick with it
If all this sounds a lot of effort, the good news is that studies suggest it can get easier with time.
So stick with it, and before you know it, just the thought of your lovely stir-fry or homemade soup could be just the incentive you need to skip the ready meal aisle of the supermarket and opt for buying fresh instead.
And if shortage of time is the issue, don’t forget there is such a thing as real, fast food.
Witness the swathe of recipe books by celebrity chefs designed to help us whip up instant meals from fresh ingredients, and still have time to watch the latest episode of War and Peace.
So if you’re looking for lasting improvements to your health and weight, ditch the junk and make 2016 the year when you explore the delights of real, fresh fast food.
The article is the third in a series of 12 contributed by Dr Sally Norton from topics addressed in her VavistaLife Wellbeing & Weight Loss Programme.

 

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Cannabis ‘DOES alter the brain’s ability to process emotions’, experts warn

Cannabis interferes with a user’s ability to recognize, process and empathize with human emotions including happiness, sadness and anger
Pot smokers were shown faces depicting different emotions in tests
They were hooked up to brain monitoring device, looking at activity levels
Cannabis users showed greater response to negative emotions
And those smoking marijuana showed lower response to happy emotions
31BF0FFE00000578-0-Smoking_cannabis_

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Smoking cannabis alters a person’s ability to perceive and judge emotions, a study has found.
The drug interferes with user’s capacity to recognize, process and empathize with human emotions, including happiness, sadness and anger.
But the results also suggest that the brain may be able to counteract these effects depending on whether the emotions are directly, or indirectly detected.

 

Image of the brain
The complex biochemistry of marijuana and how it affects the brain is only beginning to be understo