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Always Get Sick After A Stressful Period? Science Says It’s Normal But Preventable

Always Get Sick After A Stressful Period? Science Says It’s Normal But Preventable

The final deadline is looming, the due date is soon! All the pressure is on you as you carefully analyze the work submission while trying to keep the peace in family blues at home. And then it eases by,  you make it! The deadline is over! The crammed headspace is released. And time for an escapade into a breath of relaxation. Just as you lay back and ease down by the poolside planning to make the booking for a retreat beach getaway, you get sick! You sit back and ponder, are you just unlucky? Surely it is known that stress makes you sick ,but how can you fall apart when the stressful job is done! What did you do so wrong now, You passed the tests. Made the deadline? Did the duties?

Luck has very little to do with it. It is called a post-stress condition, where the body’s defenses to ward off inflammation or infections after a stressful event phases out. Just after a strenuous project of any sort that heightens stress levels like, training for a marathon, a final exam, or working on completing a proposal, and just as you have successfully reached the end of the challenging tunnel reaching the limelight you suddenly fall sick!

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The Let Down Effect ClockWork

Marc Schoen, from the UCLA School of Medicine author of, When Relaxation is Hazardous to Your Health, calls this phase the ‘letdown’ reaction. Prostaglandins are released together with stress hormones leading to heart disease, arthritis, cancer, and migraines. What happens is the immune system is on alert and is set to fight. Now when stress starts to subside, the immune system goes on a retreat as well, leaving the body vulnerable to the effects of prostaglandins . Schoen’s states: “Don’t go from 100 miles and hour to a screeching halt.” Instead of launching straight onto the couch or next to the pool, schedule an exercise routine. A few minutes at different intervals during the day is sufficient to keep the immune system boosted. Schoen recommends brain stimulation as well, like crossword puzzles and card games. After this, you may unwind without effects of a crash landing.

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    The best way to avoid this ‘letdown’ phase is preventing strain. When you are under stress pace yourself,get enough sleep,exercise, and eat a healthy diet. Make time for relaxation like rhythmic breathing, meditation and decompress.If you feel that you lack time to adopt healthier habits, this problem has an immediate solution in sixty seconds. Yes, sixty seconds!

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    A study in the American College of Cardiology revealed that sitting for more four hours a day will leave you prone to sickness. If the main reason for not adopting healthier habits is because there is enough time, consider that problem solved in sixty seconds. Take minute walk intervals. Every step counts toward the ten thousand recommended per day.

    According to Dr Nieca Goldberg from the Joan H Tisch Centre for Women’s Health at New Yor University Medical center, when you have stressful episodes there is a need to take breaks and not get engage continuously. Even if you happen to be under extreme stress at work thirty seconds focusing on breathing exercises in between meetings will decompress the stress and avoid your body system to a force shut down keeping your immune system in check.

    Balance physical and mental stimulation in the correct intensity. Physical stimulation like brisk walks or taking the stairway a few times a day will assist. Mental stimulation in the form of mathematical problems. computer games, crossword puzzles  or chess are a critical window according to Schoen and you will emerge feeling refreshed and not down n out!

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    Last Updated on February 21, 2019

    12 Best Brain Foods That Improve Memory and Boost Brain Power

    12 Best Brain Foods That Improve Memory and Boost Brain Power

    Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

    But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

    I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

    Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:

    1. Nuts

    The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

    Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

    Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

    Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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    2. Blueberries

    Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

    When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

    3. Tomatoes

    Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

    4. Broccoli

    While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

    Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

    Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

    5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

    Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

    The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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    Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

    6. Soy

    Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

    Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

    Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

    7. Dark chocolate

    When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

    Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:

    15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

    8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

    Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

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    B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

    Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

    Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

    To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

    9. Foods Rich in Zinc

    Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

    Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

    Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

    10. Gingko biloba

    This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

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    It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

    However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

    11. Green and black tea

    Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

    Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

    Find out more about green tea here:

    11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

    12. Sage and Rosemary

    Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

    Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

    When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

    More Resources About Boosting Brain Power

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

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