Start Your Day Healthy – 5 Breakfast Foods That Offer the Best Digestive Support

Raise your hand if you are a morning person? If yes, then you are probably big on breakfast. However, as soon as you take that last bite, you feel bloated, just like a balloon. There’s no shame in admitting that after sometime you need a cup of coffee to poop. It’s high time you did something about this instead of relying on your good ol’ stretchy pants.

So, who’s the culprit?

It’s your digestive system in all its irregular glory causing cramping, constipation and bloating. When your stomach becomes sensitive to certain food types, the immune system, which is linked to your gut, starts acting up. This discomfort leads to inflammation and prevents your body from absorbing necessary nutrients such as minerals, amino acids and vitamins.

So, to kick start your day on a good note, we have come up with 5 breakfast food items that will support your digestive system and keep you healthy:

1.     Chia Seeds

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Chia seeds are considered as one of the super foods because it promotes bowel regularity. They are rich in magnesium, which promotes muscle contractions by smoothing the tissue around the intestinal wall. This allows you to remove waste from your system easily.

Chia seeds have a coating of phytic acid which takes longer to break once digested. By soaking Chia seeds in water, this coating softens, which keeps you satiated for a long time. This Chia Seed Pudding recipe features Chia seeds soaked in milk overnight to make a more thick and creamy pudding.

2.     Papaya

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The digestive enzyme “Papain” in papaya is what improves your appetite and boosts digestive function. While it helps in digesting nutrients, it also digests protein, which cleans your intestines. The good think is it can be eaten raw, cooked or blended to form a smoothie. This Papaya Boat with Granola and Yogurt allows you to make a healthy and delicious breakfast in just five steps.

3.     Pineapple

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The enzyme “Bromelain” in pineapple also aids in digesting protein. In fact, pineapple juice helps reduce inflammation of the GI tract. It is also believed that its juice can kill intestinal parasites that disrupt your digestive system. This sweet fruit can be used anyhow in salads, smoothies, and even chicken dishes. Here’s a great recipe for a Green Piña Colada Smoothie, which you can try with any type of leafy greens.

4.     Flaxseeds

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Flaxseeds are popular for their mild laxative effect that helps promote bowel regularity and relieve constipation. Flaxseeds also have soluble fibres that keep you satiated for a long time. It has various health benefits, including but not limited to controlled cholesterol level, blood pressure, blood sugar, and body weight. Here’s a recipe for Flax Seed Zucchini Bread that contains just 60 calories but is extremely fulfilling.

5.     Coconut Oil

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Coconut oil helps improve digestion and is much lighter than canola or sunflower oil. It contains lauric acid, which is an antimicrobial that helps destroy yeast and bacteria in your GI tract. Ever heard about coffee with coconut oil? Try this Coconut Oil Coffee recipe for breakfast and kick start your day with lots of energy.

So there you go… five delicious breakfast recipes that will not only improve your mornings but your appetite too throughout the day.

Parenting Rules – How to Treat Your Child Who Has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a hard condition to live with. Thankfully, with the development of modern medicine, it has become easier for kids to focus on daily life activities.

What exactly is ADHD?

It’s a medical condition in which a kid’s brain develops slowly and this affects their attention, self-control and ability to sit in one place. These habits slowly make way into their home and school life, and friendships.

ADHD Requires You to Be a “Great” Parent”

If your child has ADHD, the word “good” is too small to ensure his happiness now, as well as in the future. Being a great parent is easier said than done. However, a few small changes in your behaviour and how you handle your child can make a world of difference in how they will shape out to be. Following are a few interactions that you should incorporate in your parenting rules when dealing with your kid:

1.     Accept Your Child’s Imperfections

Every mother loves her child and in their eyes, they are perfect. Children are very empathic. They can sense when their parents are disappointed or happy with them. In the case of ADHD, children are a bit more sensitive. Your pessimistic behaviour about their future and whether they will be able to make it in the world or not, is what lowers their self-esteem and destroys their can-do spirit. In all this, you are forgetting their exceptional energy, interpersonal skills and creativity. With proper motivation and coaxing, you can help them shine in areas where they can prove to be hidden gems and work wonders.

2.     Exercise Self-Control When It Comes to Reprimanding Them

A common sentence that most parents unknowingly often say is, “Did you forget to take your medication?” While it might seem to be a question said out of frustration on their part, it can really lower a child’s self-esteem. For them, this sentence indicates that the only way they can function properly is through medicine. What you need to do is teach them self-control and apply the same rules to yourself. Patience is key, and when it comes to your child, this key should be around your neck at all times.

3.     Understand the Difference between Punishment and Discipline

We all assume that discipline and punishment means physically reprimanding the child on their misbehaviour. In the case of a child with ADHD or any child for that matter, abuse should never be the mode of punishment. Here’s how both terms are defined:

  • Discipline: Using positive reinforcement to direct the child towards acceptable behaviour when they do something inappropriate
  • Punishment: Using shame and fear to teach the child a lesson

As explained earlier, you need to have patience when it comes to your child. Instead of taking the punishment route, begin with discipline and then come up with a reward system that will motivate positive behaviour.

You need to have some kind of reliable support system, which your child can follow. A kid with ADHD needs directions at every step of the way until they are able to handle a situation on their own. They might not voice out their thoughts and this is when you should be by their side with unwavering support. The ability to spot the difficulties is what makes you a great parent.

5 Ways Inflammation Changes You Mentally and Physically

You might have heard about anti-inflammatory medication but do you know what inflammation is? They say, excess of good can be harmful. In the case of inflammation, this is absolutely true. In short, inflammation is your body’s response to threats like toxic chemicals, stress, and infection. When your immune system senses danger, it activates proteins that protect tissues and cells. To a certain level, this helps in keeping your body under control. However, when the immune cells overreact, the inflammation becomes chronic. It is mostly caused by bacteria, fatty and sugary foods, and an autoimmune disorder.

Following are 5 signs that indicate inflammation getting out of control:

1.     Skin Issues

Psoriasis, acne and rashes are the most common signs that signal that you are being over exposed to something that should be removed immediately. Nuts, milk chocolate, and potato chips are the three most harmful food items that cause acne. Certain types of foods are linked to acne through our digestion. When our health is altered, the digestive system takes a hit, which heightens inflammation.

2.     Brain Fog

When you are exposed to something inflammatory such as stress or too much junk food, your brain cells take a back seat. A kind of spell takes over you that diminish your energy and shrouds your sense of clarity. Your responses get slow and you work under this fog that takes away your alertness. Overtime, you will see a productivity drop in every task you do.

3.     It Slows Down Your Response Time When in Fight or Flight Mode

Inflammation has a small impact on your emotional stress. Inflammatory markers known as C-reactive proteins get released into your blood stream, controlling the biological response of your body to impeding danger. This is what floods your system with adrenaline and helps you escape dangerous situations. However, repeated stress elevates the level of C-reactive proteins, which can cause various physical and mental health issues.

4.     Joint Pain

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is one of the leading symptoms of inflammation. Various things can lead to joint pain via inflammation such as low amount of Vitamin D in your diet, an autoimmune disorder, smoking, and a salty diet.

5.     Heart Disease

You know that piercing pain you get in your heart as if someone poked you? That is a sign of inflammation. As mentioned earlier, when your digestive systems stops working, it triggers inflammation. One of the main reasons behind this is fatty plaque in your arteries. This plaque attacks the white blood cells and then form blood clots when they grow larger. This causes a heart attack and triggers other reactions such as nervous eating, which increases your weight.

Inflammation is as dangerous a problem as any other disease can potentially be. It can lead a person into depression, causing a lack of appetite, low mood, and poor sleep. While inflammation can be prevented by maintaining a healthy diet, it is also important to keep yourself moving physically so that it doesn’t interfere with your body growth.

2 Mindfulness Mediation Techniques for Relaxation and Sleep

Counting sheep at night? That’s what happens when you worry day and night about your life, work, family, and relationship. It’s a vicious cycle where you worry too much about not getting enough sleep and then blaming yourself as the reason. Before proceeding any further, let me tell you that sleeping aids are not the answer to this problem.

There are simple relaxation techniques such as mindfulness, which will help you find that inner peace you have been looking for. Mindfulness not only reduces night time stress but also helps you deal with insomnia. In 2015, a poll by No Sleepless Nights revealed that out of 376 voters, only 20 said that they practiced mindfulness daily and experienced a significant change in their sleep routine.

What is Mindfulness?

In simple terms, mindfulness is about focusing on yourself and being aware of your surroundings, so that you can let go of negative thoughts. It’s about focusing on the present and letting your emotions flow through you to enter a calm state.

Mindfulness Mediation Techniques

The only way to slow down your brain is to bring your inner self into focus. For this, try these 2 traditional meditation techniques before bedtime:

1.     Breathing Awareness

The first rule of getting a good night’s sleep is to go to bed only when you feel sleepy. Lie in bed and focus on your breathing. Feel the breath moving in and out of your lungs. Take natural breaths and with every inhale, imagine the air coming from some place far away. When you exhale, imagine blowing it into the same place. During this, you can count your breaths, say in and out on every breath or repeat the world “relax” like a mantra.

The next step is to concentrate on your feelings. Does the air have a taste? Does it have a scent? Is it warm or cool? In the middle of these thoughts, you might find your mind wandering and that is completely natural. The trick is to acknowledge the thoughts, let them float by and then focus back on your breathing.

The third and final step is to relieve tension from your body. Let your body parts sink one by one into the mattress and imagine yourself floating in the air. By the end of the exercise, you will feel the negative energy draining from your body and a Zen feeling will take over control.

2.     Body Scan Relaxation

This technique involves taking yourself mentally on a trip. Imagine your brain taking a trip to your feet. Now, flex your toes and imagine the muscles tightening and relaxing.

Move upwards and do the same for your calf, thigh, and so on. Take this paralysis and move it to your hand. Once done with the hands and legs, move on to your stomach, chest, shoulders, neck, face, and finally your head.

After a while, your limbs will get heavy and your body will sink further into the mattress. Again, the trick is to free your mind, and let your thought process take a natural course.

So, there you go… two mindfulness meditation techniques that will definitely help you associate positive feelings with bedtime. Getting your internal clock into order is all about giving up self-control. The more you focus on positive emotions, the more you will be able to relax in bed and sleep peacefully.

Cognitive Changes – How Neurological Deficits Affect Us

How do you make sense of something that is out of your control? Each person is born with a unique personality and this personality shapes them into the person they want to be. For a person with Parkinson’s disease (PD), the world seems to be a little different.

Parkinson’s disease is a type of neurodegenerative disorder, which affects predominately “dopaminergic” (dopamine-producing) neurons called “substantia nigra” that are found in the brain, in a specific area. In layman’s terms, this nervous system disorder affects a person’s movement and speech. Overtime, the symptoms develop from the ever-so-slight jerk movements and tremors to increased changes in cognitive ability.

What is Cognition?

Often people assume that when we talk about cognition, we are referring to “memory” but in Parkinson’s disease, cognition has many more meanings. It’s the person’s mental abilities, which they use to apply knowledge and process information that is deeply affected. These mental abilities help us to perform normal functions such as solving problems, paying attention and how certain tasks are done. In the study of cognitive processes, following are the neurological deficits a person experiences when they have Parkinson’s disease:

1.     Working and Attention Memory

Your ability to focus on one task and an aspect of the environment, while ignoring other stimuli is how you get things done. However, a person with PD finds difficulty in this such as reading a book or holding a conversation. Moving onto working memory, it’s the person’s ability to store and manipulate information temporarily. In PD, this cognitive process involves the parietal and frontal lobes. When these are affected, a person can no longer perform normal tasks simultaneously such as maintaining balance while walking.

2.     Memory

As mentioned earlier, PD is not just about memory loss. It affects different types of memories such as:

  • Long-term (days-years)
  • Short-term (minutes days)
  • Immediate (seconds-minutes)
  • Declarative (memory loss related to events, concepts, and facts)
  • Procedural (relating to how certain tasks are done such as tying shoe laces)

When the temporal lobe and the frontal areas are affected, a person experiences these types of memory loss. However, unlike Alzheimer’s, where people experience permanent memory loss, in PD, memories can be recalled when choices and cues are given.

3.     Executive Functions

Our executive functions involve organizing, planning, initiating, and being flexible in goal directed behaviour. Imagine a CEO taking charge of his company. He has to multitask to make sure that all departments are working smoothly. One of the most common neurological deficits, here the prefrontal cortex is affected, which prevents the person from performing these basic tasks.

4.     Visuospatial Function

A person’s ability to give directions by visualising the route in their minds is known as visuospatial function. It helps us create mental imagery that gives us the environment’s spatial map. Since a person with PD finds difficulty in day-to-day tasks, recalling information without any cues becomes difficult.

5.     Language

Relating to language, people with PD struggle to find the right words when communicating. Disabilities in this area include verbal concepts, generating words, naming objects and comprehension.

People with Parkinson’s disease usually talk less because for them, everything is like a puzzle. They think twice before they speak to formulate the right words. Since, their memory is not that sharp as compared to a normal person, they struggle in life from minute to minute.