#HealthFix: Easy Ways To Boost Your Health And Wellbeing
What to eat and do for a happy body and mind
With age, women are particularly vulnerable to developing osteoporosis—a thinning of the bones that can lead to pain, breaks and even disability. You already know that calcium-rich foods and physical activity are crucial to prevent it. But new research suggests that a veggie-packed stir-fry or a daily helping of roasted broccoli might also help. Researchers at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, found that a diet rich in vitamin K might be an effective strategy for preventing bone loss. So load up on leafy greens such as spinach and bok choy as well as broccoli, okra and asparagus to boost bone health.
It may give you killer breath, but thanks to its high levels of allicin, garlic is known to lower blood pressure significantly. Plus, studies have found that it can prevent certain cancers and reduce lipids and bad LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, lowering your risk of heart disease.
Less is More
Back off, Tiger Mama (and you too, Tiger Grandma). Women who practise “intense mothering”—believing that moms should always sacrifice their own needs, continually provide stimulating activities, and derive most of their happiness from their kids—tend to be more depressed than women who think that ‘good enough’ parenting is, well, good enough.
If you can’t lighten up for yourself, do it for the kids. Maternal depression can interfere with the emotional bond between mother and child and can lead to an increased risk of depression, anxiety and cognitive, self-esteem and school problems in children.
Talk Yourself Fit
Say the right words (or get your buddy or trainer to cheer you) to pump yourself for a workout. A positive affirmation can enhance the effort of your muscles during exercise according to study in the journal Plos One. French researchers at the L2C2 Institute of Cognitive Sciences in Lyon had 25 participants grip a sensor after hearing a series of positive and negative sentences about the workout. They found that grip strength increased significantly after the participants heard affirmative action words. Why? Your brain stores ‘representations’ of actions that can be triggered ahead of time simply by thinking about executing those movements. By hearing (or thinking about) action words in positive terms, you’re essentially powering up the part of your brain that controls muscle movement.
Happy in the Head
Brain scans show that at any age, our little grey cells do a happy dance whenever we notice something good, whether it’s a double-chocolate brownie, a cute baby or a random act of kindness. Additionally, as we age, our neurons react less intensely to the negative things we see and hear. The result: positivity prevails. So enhance positive experiences, keep these memories alive and replay them in your mind so they become positive implicit memories for the brain. Neuroscientists now believe that the brain can be trained to be happy and focus on positive thoughts, and handle negative experiences in a manner that one bounces back to the default happiness state much faster.