Monthly Archives: April 2016

Halloween chocolate can improve your mood

unduhan-6People who mindfully consume their chocolate treats this Halloween may experience more of a mood boost than those who do so without thinking, or who mindfully consume other foods, a new study suggests.

“Mindful eating practices encourage people to slow down and think about their eating experience,” said lead author Brian P. Meier of Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania. “My guess is that most people do not do that routinely.”

Meier and colleagues studied a group of mostly white college students who ate either five pieces of Blommers Appalachian Gold Milk Chocolate Discs or five Carr’s Plain Table Water crackers, each about a 75 calorie portion.

The students were randomly divided into four groups. One group was given some chocolate and instructed to eat it mindfully, another group was assigned to do the same, but with the crackers instead of the chocolate, a third group was told just to eat chocolate (without instructions about mindfulness), and the fourth group was assigned to nonmindful cracker consumption.

They ate while listening to 4.5 minute audio recordings, either including instructions on eating mindfully, or without specific instructions.

The mindfulness recording included instructions like “hold a chocolate/ cracker in your hand and gaze at the color and appearance and to think about the farmers who produced the ingredients needed to create the food,” and “focus on the sensations created by the food.”

The students also completed mood questionnaires before and after food consumption.

Those in mindful chocolate or cracker groups had more positive mood after eating than they had before eating, and people who ate chocolate had more improvement in mood than those who ate crackers.

“We only used milk chocolate and one amount (75 calories) in our study,” Meier told Reuters Health by email. “We do not know if mindfully eating dark chocolate or a higher amount of milk chocolate changes the effect. Dark chocolate has more of the beneficial ingredients for physical health according to several studies, but we did not examine it here in terms of mood.”

People who liked the food they were eating seemed to get more of a mood boost, so liking the food may explain at least part of the connection, the authors write in the journal Appetite.

Specific components of chocolate as well as associations with past positive experiences may influence mood, Meier said.

Family connect with mother

It was a beautiful August morning in Winston Salem, North Carolina, three years ago when my wife, Rebecca, then age 59, and I were engaging in our morning ritual of sipping coffee on the back porch. Without warning, the awful moment I had long dreaded finally arrived: Rebecca, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) six years earlier, looked at me and said, “I have no idea who you are.” Her blank stare confirmed she really meant it. “But Sweetie, I am your husband, Ed,” I replied. “You are my wife. We’ve been married for 33 years.”

The pain of that moment drove me from the porch into the house. I tearfully stood before a recent family portrait, looking into the faces of our adult daughters Erin, Leah and Carrie. I wondered how 37 years of a relationship and a third of a century of marriage could disappear from Rebecca’s memory overnight. I also wondered how, in the absence of her knowing us, the girls and I would be able to convey our love to her moving forward.

The 5 Love Languages came to mind.

Authored by pastor and marriage counselor Dr. Gary Chapman, the book “The 5 Love Languages” describes how individuals communicate and receive emotional love using the metaphor of literal languages.

The 5 Love Languages include:

1.) Words of Affirmation: unsolicited words of affection and appreciation

2.) Quality Time: giving someone your full, undivided attention

3.) Gifts: a visible symbol of love such as a purchased, handmade, or found tangible gift

4.) Acts of Service: doing helpful things for another person to lighten their load

5.) Physical Touch: deliberate touch conveying your presence to another

For couples and families on the AD journey, The 5 Love Languages provide tools that make it possible to sustain an emotional connection with a memory-impaired person. With progressive cognitive decline, the person with AD gradually loses the ability to manage his or her side of the relationship, yet their deep human need for love does not disappear, and their ability to experience love is retained until the end of the journey. However, the healthy partner must repeatedly make intentional, sacrificial “love by choice” decisions that exceed what is required in relationships unaffected by dementia.

What happens to your body

There comes a point in almost every fitness lover’s life when they consider throwing in the towel after a workout—both figuratively and literally. Blame it on your looming work deadlines, or the stubborn needle on the scale, or even just plain old boredom.

That’s normal. But here’s why you shouldn’t follow through on the temptation to just quit: There are plenty of benefits to exercise, but they’re not permanent. In fact, many of those hard-earned gains will start to disappear in as little as two weeks, says Farah Hameed, MD, a sports medicine physician with ColumbiaDoctors.

Here’s exactly what you can expect to happen to your body if you give up exercise:

Within 10 days: Your brain might start to change

For years, researchers have suspected that exercise is good for your brain, too—according to one 2013 review, it might be able to help offset age-related memory loss. Now, a new study in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience found that even a short vacation from your workout might cause changes to the brain.

In the study, when a group of long-term endurance runners took a 10-day exercise hiatus, their subsequent MRIs showed a reduction in blood flow to the hippocampus, the part of the brain that’s associated with memory and emotion. The researchers point out that although the runners didn’t experience any cognitive changes over the period, more long-term studies are needed.

Within two weeks: Your endurance will plummet and your vitals may spike

After just 14 days, you might have a harder time climbing a flight of stairs or keeping up with your colleagues during the monthly kickball game. The reason you’re so winded? Skipping sweat sessions causes a drop in your VO2 max, or the maximum amount of oxygen your body can use. It can dip by about 10 percent after two weeks, says Dr. Hameed. It only gets worse from there: After four weeks, your VO2 max can drop by about 15 percent, and after three months, it can fall about 20 percent—“and those are conservative estimates,” Dr. Hameed notes.

Staying even slightly active can help: One 2009 study found that male kayakers who took a five-week break from their training saw an 11.3 percent drop on average in their VO2 max, while those who worked in a handful of exercise sessions during each week only saw a 5.6 percent drop.

Even if you don’t notice a change in your speed or strength, you might experience a sharp rise in your blood pressure and blood glucose levels—something that could be more serious for people with diabetes or high blood pressure, says Dr. Hameed.

Researchers from South Africa found that a two-week exercise break was enough to offset the blood pressure benefits of two weeks of high-intensity interval training; another 2015 study in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that people who did an eight-month bout of resistance and aerobic exercise saw an improvement in the blood glucose levels, but lost almost half of these benefits after 14 days of inactivity.