How Can Your Diet Affect Your Sleep?

It’s a common misconception that diet and sleep are completely unrelated. However, the truth is that the two are very much connected and scientific studies have now shown that the type of foods you eat have an effect not only on your weight and overall health, but also the quality of your sleep.

Serotonin and diet

In order to understand the relationship between sleep and food, it’s necessary to familiarise yourself with serotonin. Essentially, this is a neurotransmitter in the brain, which is responsible for inducing a state of relaxation and calmness within the body. To produce this substance, the body requires another chemical called tryptophan, something that can be found in a number of different foods. The higher the amount of tryptophan-rich foods you consume, the easier it will be for your brain to create serotonin and the more likely it is that you will feel relaxed enough to get a good night’s rest.

Many foods that are high in carbohydrates contain tryptophan. Eating a high-carb meal will result in your body producing higher levels of insulin, which then flushes out amino acids inside your bloodstream, which would otherwise prevent the body from using the tryptophan. This is why many people tend to feel quite sleepy after they eat a high-carb meal and why high-protein meals can help people to feel more awake and alert.

how diet affect sleep

Dinners and snacks that can help you sleep

Now that you have a better idea of the way in which certain foods can impact your sleep, you can make a few adjustments in your diet in order to improve upon your current sleeping habits. To begin with, you can prepare evening meals that have more carbohydrates than protein; an example of this might be a stir-fry with noodles
and vegetables, a whole-wheat pitta with a small amount of chicken and lots of salad, or a pasta dish with tomato sauce and vegetables.

If you find yourself feeling a little peckish before bedtime, there are plenty of tasty snacks that will help you to get a better night’s sleep. Examples include a peanut butter sandwich, a handful of hazelnuts, or a bowl of whole grain cereal with milk. However, it’s best not to make a habit of consuming high-carb foods every night, as this may result in weight gain.

Foods that can disrupt your sleep

In the same way that there are foods that can help you to sleep more soundly, there are also foods that may disrupt your sleeping patterns. As you probably already know, caffeine is one of the worst culprits when it comes to keeping you awake. Whilst most people realise that drinks like coffee are laden with caffeine, not many are aware that other things, such as fizzy drinks, tea and cough syrup contain caffeine. As such, it’s best to avoid these types of drinks after 6pm, or better yet, if you’re having a lot of difficulty sleeping, avoid them entirely.

John is a freelance writer and blogger, he contributes to a variety of publications as well as his own sites and projects. He is currently working with Archers Sleep Centre.

Why Smokers Switch to Ecigarette

Smoking tobacco has always been a major source of health complications in both men and women before the introduction of the ecigarette. According to health studies, tobacco smokers are normally under a great risk of getting lung and heart disorders due to the harmful soot created by the tobacco when puffed. Things become even worse when non-smokers are also affected by the smoke released by active smokers in what is normally known as passive smoking. This has led to the rise of ecigarettes which are considered to be the safest way of smoking. A recent study carried out by health experts also reveal that many smokers are now switching to ecigarettes due to their numerous benefits.There are various motives why cigarette or tobacco smokers switch to these e-cigs. The top 4 reasons are as follows:

Freedom
Most smokers are faced with numerous restrictions especially when they try to smoke in public. Nowadays, it is against the law to smoke in the office, coffee shops, parks or other public areas simply because of the threat of affecting passive smokers. However, electronic cigarettes can be smoked anywhere because they do not burn. They only release vapor that is not harmful to the health of active and passive smokers.

Health concerns
Most tobacco manufacturers normally provide a particular warning to smokers regarding the health risks associated with smoking tobacco. Such warnings rarely prevent the smokers from smoking traditional cigarettes therefore endangering their internal body organs such as the lungs, liver, heart and kidney. The introduction of electronic cigarettes is aimed at eliminating the health risks since the vapor is harmless but it still maintains the nicotine flavor. This option is very suitable for those types of smokers who find it difficult to quit this habit yet they are still concerned with their health. The harmless vapor does not clog the arteries and besides, it does not form a layer of soot like it is the case with traditional cigarettes.

Odorless
It is always easy to identify a smoker just by the smell. This can be embarrassing especially in the workplace where you will be required to interact with your fellow employees, superiors or even the clients. Some smokers lose their jobs mainly because of the unpleasant tobacco odor that ruins the relationship between employees and their clients. This is one of the major reasons why smokers are now switching to electronic cigarettes because they are odorless yet they still have the same feeling and taste of an ordinary cigarette. As an employee, you can smoke the electronic cigarette at your free time and go back to the office without any strange odor.

Cost effective
Electronic cigarettes help in saving cash because they are less harmful to one’s health. Most tobacco smokers normally face a lot of complications such as coughing and difficulty in breathing. Such health complications require a lot of cash to treat but this can be avoided by smoking electronic cigarettes. Besides, most of them are cheap and rechargeable therefore providing a financial reprieve for smokers.

These are the major reasons why smokers switch to electronic cigarettes. If you are a habitual smoker, always bear in mind that your health comes first before anything else. These cigarettes give you the chance to smoke safely especially when you find it hard to quit this habit.

Sherry McLarson is a professional health writer and editor for online magazines and forums that aim at sensitizing the public about general hygiene, fitness and healthy living. She has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology and currently, she is researching a project about the health benefits of the ecigarette  and its impact on the lives of smokers.

Is Exercise advisable for Cancer Patients?

 

Today, more than 11 million people living in the US have cancer. The common doctor’s advice for cancer patients has for a long time been, ”Take it easy.” For a long time, doctors assumed that exercise was likely to lead to negative health effects for cancer patients. However, a recent survey conducted by the Macmillan Cancer Support Center has found overwhelming evidence that suggests just the opposite. Researchers carried out the survey, done in a series of 60 studies involving more than 400 health professionals, to look into the effects of exercise on cancer patients. The study shed light on some important benefits of exercise for cancer patients.

For starters, the survey discovered that for cancer patients, exercise is enormously beneficial, and can significantly reduce the risk of death for cancer patients. Breast cancer patients who attained the recommended exercise levels of 150 minutes every week had a 40% lower chance of dying compared to patients who did no exercise at all. Likewise, patients with prostate cancer who regularly exercised had a 30% lower chance of dying compared to patients who did not, while patients with colorectal cancer who exercised cut down their risk of dying by 50%.

cancer patient exercise

keep fit

The study recommended that doctors who offer oncology consulting services to cancer patients need to undergo a major ”cultural change” in order for them to change their views about exercise for cancer patients. For such patients, exercise should be an integral part of their care.

Starting Point

Experts strongly recommend that cancer patients should begin exercising immediately after treatment. It is common for cancer patients to slow down after treatment due to depression, stress and general feelings of being unwell associated with cancer treatment. Physical activity comes with many benefits including decreased fatigue, improved aerobic fitness, improved muscle strength, and overall improvement in the patient’s quality of life. However, patients should exercise within their comfort zones and avoid over-straining.

Moderate Activity Recommended

An ACSM panel of 13 persons recently came up recommendations for cancer patients regarding the type of exercise best-suited for them. The panel placed its focus on prostate, breast, colon, hematologic and gynecologic cancers. According to the panel’s recommendations, patients should walk for at least 30 minutes for 5 days a week.

The panel, however, pointed out that these recommendations were not a one-size-fits-all type of prescription. Therefore, each patient should have a personal exercise program that suits his or her condition and fitness. For example, patients with gastrointestinal cancer should avoid rigorous weight training, while patients with weak immune systems should avoid public gyms and patients with neuropathy, a condition that leads to loss of sensation, should opt for training on a stationary bike instead of weight training. Yoga is fine for all cancer patients.

Appropriate Exercises

Flexibility Exercises: These are essentially stretching exercises. Experts recommend this type of exercise for all cancer patients.

Aerobic Exercises: This involves activities such as jogging, brisk walking and swimming. Aerobic exercises help to improve cardiovascular fitness and significantly lower the risk of stroke, heart attacks, and diabetes.

Resistance Training: This involves activities such as weight lifting. Resistance training build muscle mass and is highly recommended for patients with higher-than-average fat-to-lean mass ratios.

Necessary Precautions to Take

The risk of injury for cancer patients while exercising is about the same as that of healthy people. As such, cancer patients should watch out for common exercise-related injuries such as strains, soreness, and sprains. Cancer patients carry a slightly elevated risk of developing heart problems. As such, they should get approval from their oncologists before commencing on their exercise program.

In summary, health experts highly recommend exercise for cancer patients. Therefore, it should become part of their overall treatment program. That said, patients with heart problems, diabetes as well as obese patients should talk to their oncologists before attempting any form of exercise.

 

This guest post is written by Regina Powell.

Five Ways to Quit Smoking

 

Smoking is one of those habits that many people find hard to give up, even if they know about the health risks involved in lighting up. However, if you’re looking to quit smoking, there are ways in which you can do it without having to struggle. Here are five great ways to do to finally say goodbye to cigarettes and all the health problems that come with them:

Take up a hobby – if you smoke regularly and do it socially, you could always try and find something else to fill your time instead – such as a hobby. Knitting, reading, writing or even sports could replace smoking.

Chew gum instead – if you miss the sensation of having something in your mouth, you could always chew gum, and that doesn’t harm your health at all and costs you a fraction of the price of a carton of cigarettes.

Use E Cigarettes from Ecigarette.co.uk – for those of you who might really miss smoking, they replicate the sensation of smoking, omitting a vapour instead of smoke, and aren’t anything like as harmful to your health. Also, they can help you give up with adjustable nicotine levels.

ways to quit smoking

The Smoker’s Halo Electronic Cigarette

Think about the effects smoking can have on your health – it’s well-known that smoking can cause breathing problems if done regularly, with many smokers suffering from illnesses such as asthma. Meanwhile, smoking can also speed up the ageing process.

Consider your family’s health – when you smoke a cigarette, the smoke omitted could be inhaled by your kids, which may harm their health as well as your own. When you get tempted to buy a carton of cigarettes, think about that before you decide whether to part with your money.

Smoking can be an unhealthy and expensive habit to have. By quitting, you’re doing yourself and those you hold dearest a big favour.