Chocolate reduces stress. Fish stimulates the brain. Is there any truth to such popular beliefs? The findings of researchers around the world say yes: It appears we really are what we eat.
A study in a British prison found that inmates who took vitamin supplements were less prone to violent behavior. And in Germany, a psychologist at the University of Lübeck has shown that social behavior is influenced by the ingredients consumed at breakfast. But what really happens in the brain when we opt for honey instead of jam, and fish rather than sausage? Scientists around the world are trying to find out. Neuro-nutrition is the name of an interdisciplinary research field that investigates the impact of nutrition on brain health. Experiments on rats and flies offer new insight into the effects of our eating habits. When laboratory rats are fed a diet of junk food, the result is not just obesity. The menu also has a direct influence on their memory performance. The role of the intestinal flora has been known for some time, but scientists are currently discovering other relationships. So-called “brain food” for example: The Mediterranean diet that’s based on vegetables and fish is said to provide the best nutrition for small grey cells. Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish, for example, protect the nerve cells and are indispensable for the development of the brain – because the brain is also what it eats!
REMEMBER the last time you had a stomach bug and just wanted to crawl into bed and pull up the covers? That is called “sickness behaviour” and it is a kind of short-term depression. The bacteria infecting you aren’t just making you feel nauseous, they are controlling your mood too. It sounds absurd: they are in your gut and your feelings are generated in your brain. In fact, this is just an inkling of the power that microbes have over our emotions.
In recent years, such organisms in the gut have been implicated in a range of conditions that affect mood, especially depression and anxiety. The good news is that bacteria don’t just make you feel low; the right ones can also improve your mood. That has an intriguing implication: one day we may be able to manipulate the microbes living within our gut to change our mood and feelings.
It is early days, but the promise is astounding. The World Health Organization rates depression and anxiety as the number one cause of disability, affecting at least 300 million people worldwide. The new findings challenge the whole paradigm of mental illness being caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, and offer an alternative to drug treatment. You’ve probably heard of probiotics, but these are their new incarnation – psychobiotics. They could be about to change the mood of the planet.
Super session in the 2-hour European Parliament meeting on Thursday – so many issues raised by Dr. Aseem Malhotra, MEP Nathan Gill, Sir Richard Thomson, Professor Hanno Pijl and Sarah Macklin. Now edited with HD footage and clear sound.
Let’s get the message out – MEP Nathan Gill and Aseem reckon a million views would be a great goal – only if it gets shared.
Add some spice to your emergency medical kit with cayenne peppers. This small but highly nutritious superfood packs a punch against various health problems. Some examples of its health benefits include the following:
Stopping a stuffy nose — Cayenne peppers are effective against nasal congestion due to the common colds, flu, and allergies. It contains capsaicin which breaks up and expels mucus from your sinuses. To enjoy this benefit, just add a teaspoon of cayenne pepper to hot water and drink up. Do this three times a day to dilate blood vessels in your nose and drain your sinuses.
Suppressing fungal growth — The CAY-1 compounds in cayenne peppers have potent antifungal effects against 16 different strains of fungi. Moreover, it was shown to induce this effect without harming animal cells.
Relieving migraines — Capsaicin in cayenne reduces the amount of substance P, a chemical involved in the delivery of pain signals to the brain. This helps relieve migraine pain. In addition to this, capsaicin reduces platelet aggregation factor (PAF), which causes migraines by interfering with blood circulation in the head.
Promoting healthy digestion — Cayenne works as a natural digestive aid. It stimulates the production of digestive enzymes and gastric juices. As a result, the body finds it easier to metabolize food in your system. This superfood also helps with gas and bloating by stimulating the movement of the intestines. Moreover, the capsaicin in cayenne has been shown to protect against stomach ulcers.
Preventing dry mouth — Saliva is important for proper digestion and maintaining oral health. Unfortunately, some people don’t produce enough of it, which makes them have a dry mouth. By eating cayenne pepper, you can enhance the production of saliva.
Preventing blood clot formation — People with atherosclerosis have a high risk of forming blood clots. These can interfere with normal blood flow and increase the chances of having a heart attack or stroke. Cayenne pepper works by enhancing fibrinolytic activity, which prevents blood clots from forming.
Alleviating joint pain — The pain-relieving property of capsaicin is also effective against joint pain and arthritis. But aside from this, capsaicin has potent anti-inflammatory properties that help alleviate pain.
Promoting longevity — A study involving more than half a million people showed that people who consume spicy foods like cayenne pepper can increase their lifespan by 14 percent. This is possible because of the protective effects that cayenne peppers have against various health problems.
Supporting weight loss — Eating cayenne peppers during breakfast can reduce your appetite for the day. This helps reduce your calorie consumption, which consequently promotes weight loss. In addition to this, cayenne can boost metabolism and help burn off excess fat.
Enhancing heart health — Cayenne pepper is known for its ability to improve blood circulation. It is also effective against irregular heartbeat and palpitations. One study even showed that cayenne pepper can stop a heart attack in just 30 seconds.
Inhibiting the growth of cancer cells — The capsaicin in cayenne interferes with the different pathways involved in cancer cell growth. It has been observed to work against prostate, pancreatic, and skin cancer.