Effects of Coffee on Anxiety: Insights and Analysis

Coffee, our favourite morning brew, has a devoted following across continents and demographics. Its aroma and warmth fuel the engines of many individuals, setting the stage for productivity and focus. Globally, we collectively consume 2.25 billion cups of coffee daily (Statistics of 2022). While European countries traditionally hold the crown for consumption, India’s coffee scene is witnessing a meteoric rise. This surge in popularity naturally invites scrutiny, prompting us to go deeper into the effects of Coffee on Anxiety, which is more common than you might think.

Impact of Caffeine on Anxiety

Anxiety, defined by the American Psychiatric Association as a “common stress reaction,” differs from mere fear by its focus on anticipated concerns and its tendency to manifest in muscle tension and avoidance behaviours. Forget fleeting butterflies, anxiety disorders can pack a serious punch. They can cripple your daily grind, leaving you tangled in a mess of racing thoughts, shaky muscles, and sweaty palms. Imagine your heart as a drum solo gone wild, your mind a pinball machine stuck on tilt, and your focus vanishing like smoke. That’s anxiety in a nutshell – a constellation of physical and cognitive symptoms that can make even the simplest tasks feel like scaling Mount Everest. Anxiety disorders are real-deal health concerns that deserve some serious attention.

Coffee packs a powerful amount of caffeine, a stimulant that interacts with our central nervous system in fascinating ways. Caffeine blocks adenosine, a neurotransmitter that promotes sleep and relaxation, keeping drowsiness at bay and sparking alertness. Moreover, it stimulates the release of mood-elevating neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine, leading to heightened energy and physical readiness.

This potent cocktail can temporarily raise your heart rate and elevate your mood, mimicking some of the very symptoms of anxiety. This isn’t just anecdotal; research shows a strong correlation between increased caffeine intake and the expression of anxiety symptoms. However, it’s important to remember that correlation doesn’t imply causation. While the link is undeniable, coffee alone might not be the trigger for a full-blown anxiety attack.

Individual Sensitivity to Caffeine

The coffee conundrum reveals its true complexity at the individual level. While some may experience its energising glow, sharpened focus and cognitive prowess, others feel the edge of jitters, anxiety, or even headaches. This difference stems from various factors influencing individual sensitivity, each adding a unique note to the proportion of its effects.

  • Genetic variations orchestrate the tempo of your caffeine metabolism, influencing the duration and intensity of its performance.
  • Enzymes like cytochrome P450 1A2 act as nimble conductors, ensuring a smoother, shorter breakdown for those with higher levels.
  • Body weight acts as the stage size, amplifying the experience for lighter individuals even with the same dose.
  • Age slows the metabolic rate, making children and older adults more susceptible to caffeine’s powerful act.
  • Tolerance, a crafty adaptation, can lead to cravings for a stronger encore, while existing health conditions like anxiety or heart issues become unexpected understudies, potentially amplifying the drama.
  • Even hormonal fluctuations and lifestyle choices, like sleep patterns or the habits we cultivate, can influence how our bodies respond to caffeine’s captivating yet complex performance.

Managing Coffee Intake for Anxiety

The effects of coffee on anxiety vary greatly from person to person. While some can handle espresso after dinner, others might experience jitters or sleeplessness. The key lies in moderation, and respecting your tolerance level. The FDA recommends a daily limit of 400mg of caffeine, roughly equivalent to 4 cups of brewed coffee. Start with smaller amounts and gradually adjust to find your sweet spot.

Caffeine’s stimulating effects can linger for hours, potentially disrupting sleep if consumed too late in the day. Aim to finish your last cup of coffee at least 6 hours before bedtime to ensure a restful night’s sleep.

Coffee kickstarts mornings fuels late-night endeavours, and comes with many potential benefits:

  • Cognitive Enhancement: Moderate caffeine intake can be a game-changer for focus and alertness. Studies suggest it enhances cognitive function, improving reaction time, memory, and mental clarity. So, that pre-meeting coffee might be giving your brain the edge it needs.
  • Antioxidant Properties: Coffee is packed with antioxidants, those molecules that scavenge harmful free radicals in the body. These antioxidants are linked to potential health benefits, including reducing the risk of certain chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s.

Alternatives to Coffee

While coffee may work for many, there are alternatives for those seeking a different kind of morning (or afternoon) pick-me-up. Here are some options that go beyond decaf and cater to diverse preferences:

  • Matcha: This vibrant green tea powder, with its higher caffeine content, offers a sustained energy boost and focus without the jitters. It’s also rich in antioxidants and L-theanine, promoting calmness and well-being.
  • Green Tea: A gentler, yet effective, pick-me-up, green tea offers a moderate caffeine dose alongside a wealth of antioxidants and health benefits.
  • Black Tea: Black tea provides a stronger caffeine kick and a satisfying tannic bite.
  • Herbal Teas: Herbal teas offer a variety of flavours and soothing properties. Ginger invigorates, mint refreshes, and chamomile calms the mind.

Coffee, when enjoyed in moderation and at the right time, can be a valuable tool for both your mind and body.

The next time you reach for that cup, remember, that the impact of coffee is far from a one-size-fits-all story. While coffee might be the elixir for some mornings, for others, it might be a recipe for anxiety. The key lies in mindful consumption, listening to your body, and prioritising your well-being. As you savour that cup, remember to listen to your body, respect its unique needs, and find the coffee balance that fuels your well-being.

Discover Brian Johnson’s Daily Supplement Routine

Discover Brian Johnson’s Daily Supplement Routine

Brian Johnson has been in the news a lot for reducing his biological age, spending almost 2M$ a year on his health & has become the butt of a lot of jokes. While he uses a whole bunch of different practices good for longevity & measures almost every marker possible, his supplement routine in particular has sparked considerable interest among people, and his approach to supplementation is both meticulously tailored & maybe a bit excessive, but aimed at achieving optimal health and longevity. We take an in-depth look at the specific supplements Brian Johnson incorporates into his daily regimen to stay in the pink of health & defeat death.

Morning Ritual: Kickstarting the Day

He begins his day with an array of supplements, optimizing his health right from the moment he wakes up. His morning supplement routine includes:

  • Acarbose (200 mg), Metformin ER (1,500 mg), and Nicotinamide riboside (375 mg, 6x per week) are taken to manage blood sugar levels and support cellular health.
  • Ashwagandha (600 mg) and B complex vitamins are integrated for their stress-relieving and energy-boosting properties.
  • Antioxidants like Vitamin C (500 mg), Vitamin E (67 mg), Cocoa flavanols (500 mg), and BroccoMax (17.5 mg) combat oxidative stress and support cardiovascular health.
  • DHEA (25 mg), EPA (500 mg with vitamin E, 5 mg), and Ubiquinol (100 mg) are included for their anti-aging and heart health benefits.
  • Minerals and other supplements such as Zinc (15 mg), Lithium (as orotate, 1 mg), Lycopene (10 mg), and Glucosamine sulphate (2KCL, 1,500 mg) are essential for immune function, mental health, and joint support.

Dinner Supplements: Evening Intake for Age-Related Peak

During dinner, Brian Johnson takes several supplements to further his health goals:

  • He repeats the intake of Acarbose (200 mg), BroccoMax (17.5 mg), Ca-AKG (1 gram), and Metformin ER (500 mg) to maintain metabolic health and cellular repair mechanisms.
  • Cocoa flavanols (500 mg), Vitamin E (67 mg), and EPA (500 mg) are taken again for their cardiovascular and anti-inflammatory benefits.
  • Hyaluronic acid (300 mg) and L-Tyrosine (500 mg) are introduced in the evening for skin hydration and cognitive function.

This evening routine is designed to complement the morning intake, focusing on long-term health maintenance and the prevention of age-related decline.

Before Bed: Promoting Restful Sleep

To ensure a restful night’s sleep, Brian Johnson takes 300 mcg of melatonin before bed. Melatonin is known for its sleep-inducing properties, helping to regulate the body’s sleep-wake cycle.

Periodic and Dietary Supplements

In addition to his daily routines, Johnson incorporates other supplements periodically or based on dietary changes:

  • Extra virgin olive oil (30ml daily), Pea protein (29 grams daily), and Dark chocolate (15 grams) are part of his diet for their heart health, protein supplementation, and antioxidant benefits, respectively.
  • Rapamycin (13 mg, bi-weekly), HGH (6 mg, 5x per week), and Testosterone (2 mg patch, 6x per week) are taken under medical supervision for their potential to slow aging and improve muscle mass and overall vitality.

Conclusion

Brian Johnson’s daily supplement routine is a testament to the potential of targeted nutritional supplements in supporting health and wellness. He might take it to another extreme, but by carefully selecting supplements for various health goals, from metabolic support to anti-aging and cognitive function, Johnson’s regimen offers insights into how a well-designed supplement strategy can play a crucial role in preventive healthcare.

What’s key to remember is that supplements should complement a healthy lifestyle and diet and never be a replacement for bad lifestyle habits. Before starting any new supplement regimen, consulting with a healthcare provider is crucial to ensure it’s tailored to your individual health needs and goals.

MyFitnessPal vs HealthifyMe: 2024 Ultimate Comparison

MyFitnessPal vs HealthifyMe: 2024 Ultimate Comparison

Nutrition tracking apps have become indispensable tools, helping you keep check on what you’re eating, how your macros are looking and whether you’re in a calorie deficit or maintenance. While they can be excessive for some folks leading to some information overload & health anxiety, they’re immensely useful for others, helping them stay on track with their weight management goals. Among the plethora of options, MyFitnessPal and HealthifyMe stand out, offering different sets of features to help you on your journey to wellbeing. The two apps, while very similar on the surface, are quite different when you dig deeper & we thought we’d do a detailed comparison of the two, helping you choose the app that best suits your health and fitness goals.

Overview of the Apps

Both MyFitnessPal and HealthifyMe are designed to provide users with a comprehensive platform to track their dietary habits, exercise, and overall wellness. However, their approach to helping you achieve your health objectives can vary significantly.

Key Features of HealthifyMe and MyFitnessPal

Diet Tracking

Diet tracking is the cornerstone of both apps. MyFitnessPal boasts an extensive food database, allowing users to easily log their meals and monitor their calorie intake. Similarly, HealthifyMe provides a robust platform for diet tracking, with the added benefit of customized diet plans catered to the Indian market and beyond. While MyFitnessPal has a larger absolute databse, HealthifyMe’s database of Indian foods is much larger, leading to better accuracy & tracking for people who’s primary food habits consist of Indian food.

Fitness Tracking

When it comes to fitness tracking, both apps integrate seamlessly with various fitness devices and apps, ensuring that every step, workout, and calories burned is accounted for. This connectivity allows for a seamless experience, where data from wearable devices and fitness apps flow directly into MyFitnessPal or HealthifyMe, offering a consolidated view of your health and fitness activities.

Calorie Counter

The calorie counter feature in both MyFitnessPal and HealthifyMe is highly accurate, offering users insights into their daily calorie consumption versus expenditure. This feature is particularly useful for those focused on weight loss or weight management, providing a clear picture of their caloric needs.

Weight Loss Apps: Which One Is More Effective?

Both apps are touted as effective weight loss tools, but the answer to which one is more effective largely depends on the user’s preferences and goals. MyFitnessPal offers a more global perspective with a vast food database, while HealthifyMe caters to Indian users with its regional focus and custom diet plans.

Meal Planning

Meal planning is another area where both apps shine, albeit in different ways. MyFitnessPal provides users with the flexibility to create their own meal plans based on their dietary preferences and goals. On the other hand, HealthifyMe takes it a step further by offering personalized meal planning services, guided by nutritionists and health experts.

Health Tracking

Health tracking encompasses more than just diet and exercise. Both MyFitnessPal and HealthifyMe offer features to track water intake, sleep patterns, and other health metrics, making them comprehensive health tracking platforms. This holistic approach ensures that users can monitor all aspects of their health in one place.

User Experience

While both apps are designed with user experience in mind, the interface and usability can differ. MyFitnessPal is known for its straightforward, user-friendly interface, making it easy for beginners to navigate. HealthifyMe also offers an intuitive design, but with a focus on personalized engagement through health coaches and nutritionists, providing a more tailored health tracking experience.

Conclusion: Making the Right Choice

Choosing between MyFitnessPal and HealthifyMe in 2024 comes down to your personal health goals, preferences, and the specific features that matter most to you. If you’re looking for a global platform with an extensive food database and a straightforward tracking system, MyFitnessPal might be your go-to app. However, if your diet consists primarily of Indian foods & you prefer a more personalized experience with the option for customized diet plans and the guidance of health professionals, HealthifyMe could be the better choice.

Both apps have proven to be effective companions on the journey to better health. By providing detailed insights into your nutrition, fitness, and overall wellness, MyFitnessPal and HealthifyMe empower users to make informed decisions about their health. Whether you’re focused on weight loss, fitness tracking, or simply maintaining a healthy lifestyle, these apps offer the tools and support you need to achieve your goals.

If you want to explore more options for calorie counting apps, you can read our earlier piece here.

Best Calorie Tracking Apps for Weight Loss in 2024

Best Calorie Tracking Apps for Weight Loss in 2024

Calorie tracking apps have become essential tools for anyone looking to manage their diet and achieve their weight loss goals efficiently. What used to be a tough task carrying around a food log & being the weirdo who’s scribbling in their diary at the dinner table is now replaced by noting it down in your phone, which is a shade better cuz we’re anyway all glued to our screens now right? In 2024, fortunately, there are multiple options for tracking your nutritional intake on your phone, but how do you choose the best one for your needs?

MyFitnessPal

MyFitnessPal remains a giant in the calorie tracking space, boasting an extensive food database that surpasses 11 million foods, including global cuisine and restaurant dishes. Its intuitive interface allows for easy logging of meals and snacks. The app also integrates with over 50 apps and devices, including fitness trackers and health apps like Apple health, Fitbit & Strava, making it a versatile choice for a holistic view of your health. The premium version offers deeper insights into nutrition, personalized goals, and an ad-free experience, making it a robust option for serious trackers.

HealthifyMe

HealthifyMe, India’s very own health ecosystem, tailors its database to include local cuisine, making calorie counting accessible and accurate for us who call Indian food, just food. Beyond calorie tracking, it offers features like water tracking, health coaching, and customized diet plans. Its AI-powered virtual nutritionist, Ria, provides instant insights and feedback, which is a unique feature that sets it apart from its competitors. HealthifyMe caters to a holistic approach to weight loss, considering factors like sleep and hydration.

Lose It!

Lose It! is focused on simplicity and effectiveness. Its primary feature is calorie tracking, but it excels in this area by offering an easy-to-use interface and a comprehensive food database. Users can set weight loss goals and track their progress towards these goals. The app includes a barcode scanner for packaged foods, making it convenient to use on the go. The social aspect of Lose It!, where users can join challenges and share progress with friends, adds a motivational component.

Cronometer

Cronometer is the app for the detail-oriented user. It differentiates itself by providing in-depth nutritional information, tracking not just calories but also the full range of vitamins and minerals. This app is ideal for users with specific health goals or dietary needs, such as managing micronutrients. Cronometer’s food database is carefully curated to ensure accuracy, making it a reliable tool for precise tracking. However, its interface and user experience might have a steeper learning curve compared to others.

Noom

Noom takes a psychological approach to weight loss, combining calorie tracking with behavioral change strategies to help users adopt healthier habits for the long term. It’s not just an app but a weight loss program that includes access to health coaches and a supportive community. Noom’s food database includes a color-coding system to guide users towards healthier choices. While it offers comprehensive features, Noom requires a subscription, making it a more significant investment.

Yazio

Yazio offers a clean, user-friendly interface for calorie tracking and meal planning. It includes a barcode scanner, a fasting tracker for those interested in intermittent fasting, and personalized recipes based on your dietary preferences. Yazio promotes a balanced approach to weight loss, emphasizing the importance of diet quality over quantity. The app also includes challenges and a community feature to keep users engaged and motivated.

Comparison and Conclusion

When comparing these apps, the choice comes down to your specific needs and preferences.

  • MyFitnessPal is best for users looking for a comprehensive tool that integrates with their existing devices and apps, offering a wide food database and community support.
  • HealthifyMe shines in India with specific dietary preferences, providing local cuisine options and AI-powered assistance.
  • Lose It! and Yazio are great for those who appreciate simplicity and a user-friendly interface, with Lose It! offering a social angle for motivation.
  • Cronometer is ideal for users who want to track beyond calories and dive deep into their nutritional intake.
  • Noom offers a structured program with professional support, best suited for those looking for a guided approach to weight loss and behavioral change.

If you’re looking for deeper insights into your nutritional plan & how it affects your body, a CGM might just help you more, providing data about what foods spike your blood sugar by how much. For a deeper dive, read our piece on the fundamentals of CGM devices here.

Safe Calorie Deficit Strategies for Weight Loss

Safe Calorie Deficit Strategies for Weight Loss

When it comes to losing weight, the principle of calorie deficit is the basis of your strategy. This is the foundation of all weight loss as you can’t lose weight without consuming fewer calories than your body expends. However, ensuring this deficit is achieved safely is paramount to maintaining overall health and sustainable results. Often misunderstood, we explore safe calorie deficit strategies for weight loss, emphasizing nutrition, wellness, and a balanced approach to diet and exercise.

Understanding Calorie Deficit

A calorie deficit is fundamentally about the laws of thermodynamics. To lose weight, you need to create an environment where your body uses more energy than it receives from food. This concept is simple, but executing it in a healthy manner requires careful planning. The goal is to lose weight while still providing your body with the essential nutrients it needs to function optimally.

While the goal may be to eat less calories than you burn, it’s also important to remember that not all calories are created equal. It’s not just about eating less but eating right. Focusing on nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains can help you feel full longer while consuming fewer calories apart from providing your body with necessary vitamins, minerals, and fiber, supporting overall health and aiding in weight loss.

Diet Plans Tailored to Your Needs

If you’re looking to lose weight, personalized diet plans can offer a structured approach to achieving a calorie deficit. With so many options to choose from, it’s tempting to pick an extreme plan which cuts calories drastically. While that initial loss of (usually water) weight is good for motivation, it can lead to nutritional deficiencies over time, leading to health complications that will eventually set you back in your journey. If you’re choosing between a low-carb, Mediterranean, or any other diet, the key is to find a plan that you can see fitting your lifestyle, preferences, and nutritional needs over the next few years. A well-structured diet plan is one that lets you reduce your calorie intake without compromising on nutrition & helps you stay consistent over time.

Healthy Eating Habits

Adopting healthy eating habits is essential for long-term success. This includes practices like mindful eating, portion control, and avoiding empty calories found in sugary snacks and processed foods. By focusing on wholesome, unprocessed foods, you can create a calorie deficit while ensuring your body receives the nourishment it needs.

It’s also important to note that while the goal may be to lose weight, it’s a safer strategy in the longer run to optimise for fat loss instead of weight loss. You can do this by prioritizing activities and foods that promote the reduction of body fat while preserving muscle mass as the more muscle you have, the more calories your body needs to maintain it. Strength training, in addition to cardio exercises and a higher protein diet can be particularly effective in achieving this balance.

Boosting Metabolism

Your metabolism plays a significant role in how efficiently your body burns calories. Certain foods and activities can help increase your metabolic rate, making it easier to create a calorie deficit. Regular physical activity, including both aerobic and resistance training, can boost your metabolism and enhance your weight loss efforts. Exercise is an integral part of creating a safe calorie deficit as apart from increasing the number of calories your body burns, it also supports muscle growth, cardiovascular health, and overall wellness. Incorporating a mix of cardio, strength training, and flexibility exercises into your routine can maximize your weight loss results while ensuring your body stays strong and healthy.

Embracing Wellness

Weight loss is not just about the physical aspect of health; it’s also about your overall well-being. Stress management, adequate sleep, and hydration are all crucial components of a successful weight loss journey. The chances of you slipping up on your nutritional plan & exercise routine are much higher when you’re stressed or anxious so if you want to stay consistent, ensure that you’re taking care to be able to stay consistent.

Conclusion

Creating a safe calorie deficit for weight loss requires a holistic approach that balances nutrition, exercise, and wellness. By focusing on eating nutrient-dense foods, adopting healthy eating habits, incorporating regular physical activity, and attending to your overall well-being, you can achieve sustainable weight loss results. The journey to losing weight safely is not about quick fixes but about making lasting changes to your lifestyle. If you’re in doubt, we recommend that you consult with a healthcare professional or a certified nutritionist who can provide personalized guidance tailored to your specific needs, ensuring your weight loss journey is both effective and safe.

Fungi with Benefits: How Medicinal Mushrooms Extracts Can Functionally Improve Your Health

Fungi with Benefits: How Medicinal Mushrooms Extracts Can Functionally Improve Your Health

India’s mushroom revolution is brewing, mushrooms are stepping out of the food territory and into the realm of functional medicine. Certain species contain compounds that deliver powerful therapeutic effects for the brain, immune system, nerves, and the body. ‘Magic’ medicinal mushrooms, indeed.

Mushrooms are miniature pharmaceutical factories, and of the thousands of mushroom species in nature, our ancestors and modern scientists have identified several dozen that have a unique combination of talents that improve our health. – Paul Stamets

Take Lion’s Mane, whose shaggy appearance resembles it’s namesake. This neuroprotective fungus contains bioactive compounds shown to stimulate nerve growth factor production in the human brain. Research indicates lion’s mane may aid digestion, relieve mild cognitive impairments, ease anxiety, improve focus and memory, and also protect the brain from dementia.

Then there’s Turkey Tail, an unassuming mushroom used for centuries in Japanese and Chinese medicine dating back to the 15th century. It turns out turkey tail contains unique polysaccharides that significantly boost immune function. Studies show taking turkey tail improved survival rates and immune cell counts in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Its antiviral and antibacterial effects make it a promising functional supplement for immunity.

For a physical performance boost, Cordyceps have been long famed as an athletic enhancer. Cordyceps contains antioxidants that may delay fatigue by reducing the oxidative stress on muscles. Some early findings also indicate cordyceps may enhance aerobic capacity, making it the perfect pre-workout supplement for your fitness regimen.

With its rich red hues and expansive health benefits, it’s easy to see why reishi is nicknamed the “mushroom of immortality.” When it comes to calming inflammation, many turn to Reishi mushrooms. Research indicates this fungus is packed with anti-inflammatory triterpenoids. Reishi contains ganoderic acid and other compounds shown to inhibit inflammation. Drinking reishi mushroom tea could help ease joint pain while reducing skin irritations like eczema.

Sure, you could eat fungi by the forkful, but mega-dosing on mushrooms is perhaps way too much umami in comparison just taking a powder or liquid extract packed with concentrated compounds.

I love mushrooms fried up with some olive oil as much as the next fun-guy, but whole mushrooms can’t maximize the medicinal benefits like targeted extracts. My go to is Nuvedo for the all good stuff. They’ve got a wide range that includes powdered blends and extracts for you to choose from. Another brand, a few of our friends swear by is Rooted Actives. They’ve also got great variety of mushroom extracts in powdered form, tinctures and even capsule supplements.

Mushrooms may be magic, but their mystical bioavailability comes through best in carefully crafted extracts – not your saucy stir fry.

Magnesium Threonate for Cognitive Function

Magnesium Threonate for Cognitive Function: Enhancing Brain Health Naturally

In an era where cognitive health is paramount, individuals are increasingly turning towards dietary supplements to support & bolster brain function. Among these, magnesium threonate emerges as a notable contender for its unique ability to enhance cognitive function, improve sleep quality and promote recovery. If you’ve heard about this supplement on the Huberman Lab podcast and are on the fence about trying it out, we go deep into the benefits of magnesium threonate and how it supports cognitive health to provide a comprehensive overview.

The Role of Magnesium Supplements in Cognitive Health

Magnesium is a crucial mineral, playing pivotal roles in numerous bodily functions, including those essential for brain health. However, not all magnesium supplements are created equal. Magnesium threonate stands out for its superior ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, directly influencing brain function. This property makes it an exceptional choice for those looking to improve their cognitive capabilities, from memory enhancement to mental clarity. By fostering connections between brain cells, it supports the foundation of learning and memory, positioning itself as a cornerstone in the arsenal of cognitive supplements.

Nurturing Brain Health with Magnesium Threonate

Good brain health though, encompasses more than just cognitive function; and constitutes other aspects of maintaining overall wellness of our brain. Magnesium threonate contributes to this by regulating neurotransmitters and protecting against age-related decline, making it a valuable component of any health regimen. Its benefits extend beyond the immediate, offering long-term support for a healthy, functioning brain.

The World of Nootropics, Memory Enhancers and Magnesium Threonate

In the expansive universe of nootropics & memory enhancers, magnesium threonate holds a special place. Its ability to enhance memory and learning efficiency without the side effects commonly associated with synthetic nootropics makes it a favored choice for natural cognitive enhancement and it distinguishes itself through its targeted action on the brain’s memory centers. By increasing synaptic density, it not only improves memory but also facilitates the formation of new memories, making it an invaluable tool for those seeking to enhance their cognitive capabilities without wading deep into the uncharted territories of newer, untested substances. It also helps in reducing brain fog and enhancing focus, allowing for clearer thought processes and improved productivity.

Conclusion

Magnesium threonate for cognitive function is more than just a supplement; it’s a testament to the evolving understanding of how targeted nutrition can impact brain health. As part of a balanced approach to wellness, incorporating magnesium threonate into one’s regimen offers a promising avenue for enhancing cognitive abilities, from memory and learning to mental clarity and neuroprotection. In the quest for improved cognitive health, magnesium threonate stands out as a beacon of hope, offering a natural, effective means to nurture our most vital organ—the brain.

Magnesium for Anxiety & Stress: Natural Relief Options

Magnesium for Anxiety & Stress: Natural Relief Options

In today’s fast-paced world, anxiety and stress are common experiences for many people. These mental health challenges can affect your quality of life, productivity, and overall well-being. While there are various ways to manage anxiety and stress, natural relief options are increasingly sought after for their minimal side effects and holistic benefits. Among these, magnesium, a vital mineral, has emerged as a promising solution for alleviating anxiety and stress naturally.

Magnesium: The Essential Mineral for Mental Health

Magnesium plays a critical role in numerous bodily functions, including muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure regulation. Importantly, it also supports brain function and can influence the pathways that control stress responses in the body. Despite its importance, magnesium deficiency is not uncommon, which can contribute to heightened anxiety and stress levels.

Research suggests that adequate magnesium intake can have a calming effect on the nervous system, helping to mitigate the body’s stress response and reduce symptoms of anxiety. This natural mineral aids in relaxing the muscles and the mind, fostering a sense of calm and improving sleep quality — a crucial aspect of managing anxiety and stress.

Anxiety Relief Through Magnesium Supplementation

Supplementing with magnesium can be an effective strategy for those looking to manage anxiety and stress naturally. Magnesium for anxiety relief works by regulating neurotransmitters, which send messages throughout the brain and body. It also controls the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that regulates the adrenal and pituitary glands, which in turn manage stress responses.

For those considering magnesium supplements, Magnesium Glycinate is often recommended due to its high bioavailability and gentle impact on the stomach, making it an ideal choice for improving mental health without adverse side effects.

Stress Management with Dietary Magnesium

Incorporating magnesium-rich foods into your diet is another effective way to harness the stress-reducing benefits of this mineral. Foods high in magnesium include leafy green vegetables (such as spinach and kale), nuts (like almonds and cashews), seeds (pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds), legumes (beans and lentils), and whole grains. By maintaining a balanced diet that includes these foods, you can help keep your magnesium levels optimized, supporting your body’s natural ability to manage stress and anxiety.

Natural Remedies: A Holistic Approach to Mental Health

In addition to magnesium supplementation and dietary changes, adopting a holistic approach to mental health can enhance your ability to manage your symptoms. Practices such as regular physical exercise, mindfulness meditation, and adequate sleep are complementary strategies that can amplify the benefits of magnesium. Together, these natural remedies provide a multifaceted approach to improving mental health, offering sustainable and effective relief from anxiety and stress.

Conclusion

Magnesium offers a natural and effective option for those seeking relief from anxiety and stress. Whether through supplementation or dietary sources, increasing your magnesium intake can help regulate your stress responses and promote a sense of calm. By incorporating magnesium into your mental health regimen, alongside other natural remedies and healthy lifestyle practices, you can support your body’s natural defenses against anxiety and stress, leading to improved well-being and a happier, more balanced life.

Remember, while magnesium can be a valuable part of your anxiety and stress management strategy, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are taking other medications.

Find the Best Magnesium for Sleep & Recovery

Find the Best Magnesium for Sleep & Recovery

In the world of dietary supplements, magnesium stands out for its multifaceted health benefits, particularly when it comes to promoting restful sleep, aiding in muscle recovery & helping with mental health conditions like anxiety. Among the various forms of magnesium, Magnesium Glycinate is often highlighted as the best magnesium for sleep and recovery. To understand why, we dive into why Magnesium Glycinate is highly recommended for those looking to improve their sleep quality and support muscle recovery, ensuring you’re well-informed to make the right choice for your health needs.

Understanding Magnesium Glycinate

Magnesium Glycinate is a compound that combines magnesium, an essential dietary mineral, with glycine, an amino acid. This combination is known for its high bioavailability, meaning it’s easily absorbed by the body, making it an efficient way to increase magnesium levels. It’s particularly favored for its gentle effect on the stomach, unlike other forms of magnesium that may cause gastrointestinal discomfort.

The Role of Magnesium in Sleep Health

Magnesium plays a crucial role in supporting deep, restorative sleep. It helps regulate the body’s stress-response system, allowing for a calmer state that is conducive to falling asleep. Magnesium also activates the parasympathetic nervous system, responsible for relaxing the body and mind and regulates melatonin, the hormone that guides the sleep-wake cycles of the body.

For individuals struggling with sleep disturbances, adding a Magnesium Glycinate supplement to their routine can be a game-changer. It not only aids in decreasing cortisol levels, the stress hormone that can keep you awake but also improves the overall quality of sleep by extending the time spent in restorative sleep stages.

Magnesium Glycinate for Muscle Recovery

Athletes and fitness enthusiasts may find Magnesium Glycinate particularly beneficial for muscle recovery. Magnesium is vital for muscle function, aiding in the contraction and relaxation of muscles. Adequate magnesium levels can help alleviate muscle cramps and soreness, which are common issues post-exercise.

Magnesium Glycinate’s anti-inflammatory properties also play a role in recovery, reducing muscle pain and enabling a quicker return to training. By supporting a more restful sleep, it further enhances recovery, as sleep is a critical time for muscle repair and growth.

Choosing the Best Magnesium Supplement

When searching for the best magnesium supplement for sleep and recovery, consider the following:

  • Form: Magnesium Glycinate is preferred for its high absorption rate and minimal gastrointestinal side effects.
  • Quality: Look for supplements that are free from unnecessary fillers, artificial colors, and flavors. Third-party testing is a plus, ensuring the purity and potency of the product.
  • Dosage: Consult with a healthcare provider to determine the appropriate dosage for your specific needs, as individual requirements can vary.

Conclusion

Magnesium Glycinate stands out as the best magnesium for sleep and recovery, offering a highly absorbable form of magnesium that is gentle on the stomach and effective in promoting restful sleep and aiding muscle recovery. Whether you’re an athlete looking to enhance recovery times or someone seeking to improve sleep quality, Magnesium Glycinate may offer the support you need.

Remember, while supplements can play a crucial role in health and wellness, they should complement a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen to ensure it’s appropriate for your health needs and circumstances.

By understanding the benefits of Magnesium Glycinate and how it can improve sleep and recovery, you’re better equipped to make informed decisions about your health and well-being, paving the way for a more rested and rejuvenated self.

Magnesium Supplements: Unlocking Health Benefits

Magnesium Supplements: Unlocking Health Benefits

In the quest for optimal health, minerals play a crucial role, acting as the building blocks of our physical well-being. Among these, magnesium stands out for its multifaceted benefits, impacting everything from bone health to mental well-being. To understand more about this miracle mineral, we dive into the many ways in which magnesium supplements can bolster your health, shining a light on why it deserves a spot in your nutritional regimen.

Magnesium: The Essential Mineral

Magnesium is a mineral vital for the proper functioning of your body. It’s involved in over 300 biochemical reactions, including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation. Despite its importance, many people do not meet their recommended daily intake of magnesium, leading to a gap that supplements can help fill. The major health benefits of Magnesium are;

  • Bone Health: Magnesium plays a key role in bone formation, working in conjunction with calcium to ensure strong, healthy bones. Its deficiency can be a risk factor for osteoporosis.
  • Heart Health: Adequate levels of magnesium are essential for maintaining a healthy heart. It helps regulate blood pressure, supports the heart muscle, and is linked to a lower risk of heart disease.
  • Mental Well-being: Magnesium has been found to have a calming effect on the nervous system, making it a valuable supplement for managing stress, anxiety, and depression.
  • Sleep Quality: Supplementing with magnesium can improve sleep quality, especially for those with insomnia. Magnesium helps relax muscles and calms the mind, promoting a restful night’s sleep.
  • Muscle Function: Magnesium aids in muscle contraction and relaxation. It can help alleviate muscle cramps and is often recommended for athletes to support recovery and performance.

Supplements: Choosing the Right Magnesium

When considering magnesium supplements for your supplementation plan, it’s important to recognize that not all forms are created equal. Some of the most bioavailable forms of magnesium include magnesium glycinate, magnesium citrate, and magnesium threonate, each offering unique benefits. For example, magnesium glycinate is often recommended for its calming effects and minimal gastrointestinal side effects, making it ideal for those concerned with mental well-being and sleep quality.

Nutrition: Magnesium-Rich Foods

In addition to supplements, incorporating magnesium-rich foods into your diet is a natural way to boost your intake. Foods high in magnesium include leafy green vegetables (such as spinach and Swiss chard), nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains. By combining a balanced diet with targeted supplementation, you can ensure you’re meeting your magnesium needs.

Conclusion

Magnesium supplements offer a powerful way to unlock health benefits, addressing everything from bone health to mental well-being. By understanding the importance of magnesium and how it contributes to various bodily functions, you can make informed choices about supplementation and dietary intake. Remember, while supplements can help fill nutritional gaps, they should complement a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. If you’re considering magnesium supplements, consult with a healthcare provider to determine the right form and dosage for your needs.

Through mindful supplementation and nutrition, you can harness the health benefits of magnesium, paving the way for a healthier, more vibrant life.

Daily Supplement Stack of Dr. Andrew Huberman

Daily Supplement Stack of Dr. Andrew Huberman

Navigating the complex world of dietary supplements can be overwhelming, whether you’re an experienced health enthusiast or new to the concept of supplement stacking. For those seeking guidance, turning to experts like Dr. Andrew Huberman, a Stanford University professor and host of the Huberman Lab podcast, can provide valuable insights. Dr. Huberman’s approach to supplement use is not only robust but predominantly science-driven, aiming to enhance both healthspan and lifespan.

If you’re a fan of the podcast & are looking for a guide to the supplements Dr Huberman takes, you’ve come to right place. We combed through all his episodes & narrowed it down for you.

Improved Focus and Overall Brain Health

Fish Oil

Dr. Huberman advocates for the consumption of fish oil, particularly for its omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, citing their antidepressant and cardiovascular health benefits. The ability of omega-3s to cross the blood-brain barrier makes them instrumental in mood regulation. Dr. Huberman includes Thorne Super EPA and Carlson Labs Fish Oil in his diet, emphasizing the importance of acquiring one to two grams of EPA daily.

Alpha-GPC

Alpha-GPC, a compound that may enhance cognitive function by increasing acetylcholine levels in the brain, is another supplement Dr. Huberman takes four days a week. He finds that a 300 mg dose prior to focus-intensive tasks or workouts optimizes his mental performance.

Garlic Extract

To counteract potential cardiovascular risks associated with Alpha-GPC, such as increased TMAO levels, Dr. Huberman incorporates 600 mg of garlic extract into his meals for its cardiovascular benefits and ability to reduce TMAO levels.

Phenylethylamine (PEA)

PEA, a stimulant found in chocolate, is used by Dr. Huberman at a dose of 500 mg once a week, or once every two weeks as a focus and work aid. It’s believed to increase dopamine levels, thereby enhancing motivation and cognitive functions.

Glutamine

Acknowledging both the potential immune-enhancing and cognitive benefits of glutamine, Dr. Huberman has been taking this supplement since his college days.

Creatine

Contrary to popular belief, Dr. Huberman’s use of creatine monohydrate is not for physical gains but for cognitive support, particularly to enhance focus and concentration. He incorporates five grams of creatine into his morning routine or post-workout.

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is occasionally used by Dr. Huberman to manage stress levels and prevent the long-term effects of cortisol. While not a daily supplement, it plays a crucial role in his regimen during periods of heightened stress.

Better Digestion and Gut Health

AG1

Dr. Huberman includes Athletic Greens AG1 in his diet to cover nutrient needs and support gut microbiome health, replacing the need for traditional probiotic supplements.

Multivitamin

A long-standing habit, Dr. Huberman takes Optimum Nutrition Opti-Men as part of his routine, crediting it with rapid food metabolism due to its rich B vitamin content.

Protein Powder

While not a staple, whey protein is sometimes included in Dr. Huberman’s diet, particularly during his intermittent fasting regimen to ensure sustained energy levels between meals.

Hydration and Electrolyte Balance

Electrolyte Powder

To maintain hydration and optimal electrolyte balance, Dr. Huberman uses LMNT Electrolyte Drink Mix, emphasizing the cognitive and stress-reducing benefits of well-balanced electrolyte levels.

Essential Amino Acids (EAAs)

Post-workout, Dr. Huberman replenishes lost minerals and supports his hydration with EAAs, highlighting the importance of mineral balance for both physical performance and cognitive function.

Boost Testosterone

Tongkat Ali and Fadogia Agrestis

These supplements have been instrumental in increasing Dr. Huberman’s total testosterone levels. He meticulously doses 400 mg of Tongkat Ali in the morning and 600 mg of Fadogia agrestis in cycles to optimize his testosterone levels without compromising safety.

Sleep Supplements to Fall Asleep Faster and Sleep Better

Dr. Huberman’s sleep cocktail consists of magnesium threonate or bisglycinate, apigenin, and L-theanine, combined to promote faster sleep onset and improved sleep quality. Additionally, he takes glycine and GABA several nights a week, along with inositol every third night to enhance sleep depth and quality.

Improve Heart Health

Vitamin K2

Dr. Huberman credits vitamin K2 with significant improvements in his cardiac markers, including cholesterol and triglyceride levels, underscoring the heart health benefits of this supplement.

Vitamin E, Boron, CLA, and Vitamin D3

Though not specified, Dr. Huberman takes these supplements for their potential benefits in reducing inflammation, supporting bone health, enhancing physical performance, and aiding in testosterone production.

Dr. Andrew Huberman’s supplement stack is a testament to the power of science-backed nutrition and its impact on overall health and well-being. While this regimen works for him, based on rigorous research and personal testing, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare provider before embarking on a similar supplement journey, ensuring it aligns with your individual health needs and goals. If you’re interested in building your own supplement protocol, our Rational Guide might be able to help.

Vegan Protein Supplements for Athletes: Do they really work?

Vegan protein supplements are powders that are made entirely from plant sources. These supplements provide essential amino acids that are important for maintaining muscle health, growth and overall health. They are a cruelty-free and sustainable alternative to animal-based protein sources. Vegan protein supplements are often packed with additional nutrients like fibre, vitamins, and minerals.

These supplements can be an important addition to your supplementation protocol for two reasons. Firstly, vegans and individuals with restricted diets may find it challenging to meet their daily protein requirements solely through whole foods. Supplements bridge this gap and help ensure optimal protein intake for maintaining muscle mass, energy levels, and immune function. Secondly, targeted vegan protein supplements can support unique health goals, such as faster recovery for athletes, balanced nutrition for health-conscious individuals, or managing specific health conditions. Vegan protein supplements are powders that are made entirely from plant sources.

Vegan protein supplements aren’t just a trend; they’re great for health, fitness, and environmental consciousness. But there are several challenges that you may face while selecting the right protein source, such as:

  1. Understanding protein quality: All plant proteins are not equal in terms of their amino acid profiles. It is crucial to understand how different sources of proteins such as pea, soy, or brown rice stack up against each other.
  2. Navigating conflicting claims: Brands often exaggerate the benefits of their products, making it difficult to differentiate between facts and marketing hype. You need a trusted source that can offer unbiased evaluations and cut through all the noise.
  3. Meeting individual needs: Do you have any dietary restrictions or are you sensitive to certain ingredients? A comprehensive guide can tailor the information to your unique needs and help you find the perfect plant-powered protein match.

Choosing the right vegan protein supplement is an investment in your health and well-being. A comprehensive guide equips you with the knowledge and confidence to get a better understanding of plant-based proteins and make informed decisions for your health.

While Meat & Dairy Have Long Been Hailed For Their Protein, The Plant Kingdom Has Incredible Alternatives

Plant-based protein sources are a great choice for those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet or simply want to incorporate more plant-based foods into their diet. Here are some of the best sources of plant-based protein options:

  1. Legumes: Soybeans, lentils, chickpeas, and peas are nutrient-rich foods packed with protein, fibre, and micronutrients. They are used in protein powders and meatless burger patties. Soy protein isolate is ideal for muscle building, while lentil protein is gentle on digestion and rich in iron.
  2. Grains: Oats, quinoa and brown rice are protein-rich but incomplete on their own. Combining them with legumes or nuts creates complete protein. Oat protein is satiating and reduces cholesterol.
  3. Nuts and Seeds: These tiny seeds are loaded with healthy fats, fibre, and antioxidants, making them a great source of plant-based protein. Hemp protein powder stands out with its complete amino acid profile and omega-3 content.
  4. Vegetables: Some veggies are good sources of protein, like broccoli, spinach, asparagus, and kale. While not as high as other sources, adding them to your diet with other protein-rich plant foods ensures a balanced intake.

Nourishing Your Body and Beyond With Vegan Protein Supplements As You Move Forward

Vegan protein supplements offer a convenient and effective way for individuals who follow a plant-based lifestyle to fill any nutritional gaps. They provide numerous benefits such as muscle growth and recovery, enhanced appetite control, boosted energy levels, improved immune function, and bone health. Plant-based proteins like soy and almonds are rich in calcium and magnesium, which help maintain strong bones and prevent osteoporosis.

Introducing vegan protein supplements for athletes can also promote a more eco-friendly lifestyle by reducing your dependence on animal agriculture. So, if you want to stay healthy and contribute to the environment, vegan protein supplements are a great option to consider.

Steering the world of vegan protein supplements and customising your intake to your specific needs can be overwhelming. For choosing plant supplements you should seek guidance from qualified healthcare professionals like registered dieticians or nutritionists. They are capable of assessing your individual protein needs and dietary intake, recommending suitable vegan protein supplements based on your preferences and budget, helping you find the right balance between supplements and whole food sources, and monitoring your progress while adjusting your plan as needed.

Investing in professional guidance can help you maximise the benefits of vegan protein supplements while maintaining a healthy and sustainable plant-based lifestyle.

Ultimate Guide to Reading Nutrition Labels Accurately

Understanding how to decipher food labels is a crucial skill in making informed and healthier dietary choices. Food labels are like a roadmap, offering insights into the nutritional content and ingredients of the products we consume daily. With a multitude of terms and figures, it’s important to have a guide to reading nutrition labels.

Those numbers, percentages, and jargon-filled ingredients on the packaging often create more puzzles than solutions. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to read food labels properly, empowering you to make more informed decisions about the foods you buy and consume. It’s your key to making smarter, more informed choices when picking foods.

  • Serving Size Matters: The serving size listed on the label determines the nutritional information provided. Ensure that the serving size matches the portion you consume to accurately gauge the nutritional content.
  • Scan the Ingredients List: Ingredients are usually listed in descending order by weight. Opt for products with whole, recognizable ingredients at the top. Be cautious of added sugars, unhealthy fats, and artificial additives.
  • Check the Nutritional Facts: Focus on key nutrients like calories, macronutrients (fat, carbohydrates, protein), fibre, sugar, and sodium content. Pay attention to the % Daily Value (%DV), which indicates how much a nutrient in a serving contributes to a daily diet based on a 2,000-calorie daily intake.
  • Be Wary of Sneaky Terminology: Words like “natural,” “low-fat,” or “sugar-free” might seem healthy but can be misleading. Always cross-check with the actual nutritional facts.
  • Mind the Sugar Content: Watch for added sugars and syrups which can spike the overall sugar content. Ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, or sucrose are indicative of added sugars.
  • Sodium Levels: Excessive sodium intake is linked to health issues. Check the sodium content, especially in canned goods and processed foods.
  • Consider Fat and Cholesterol: Be aware of the types of fat. Opt for foods higher in unsaturated fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) and lower in saturated and trans fats. Monitor cholesterol levels, especially if you have heart health concerns.
  • Focus on Fiber: Fiber is vital for digestive health. Foods rich in fibre can promote satiety and aid in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.
  • Understand Food Claims: Phrases like “organic,” “non-GMO,” or “gluten-free” denote specific qualities. However, it’s essential to look beyond these claims and delve into the nutritional facts.
  • Watch for Allergens: If you have food allergies or intolerances, meticulously check for allergen warnings to ensure the product is safe for consumption.
  • Consider the Whole Picture: While individual nutrients are crucial, consider the overall nutritional profile of the food. A balanced approach to eating involves assessing the combination of nutrients in the context of your entire diet.
  • Use a Critical Eye: Be vigilant about marketing tactics. Eye-catching labels and packaging may not always equate to nutritional quality.

Learning the art of reading food labels empowers you to make healthier choices aligned with your dietary goals and nutritional needs. It allows you to understand what you’re putting into your body, fostering a more conscious and informed approach to eating. Save this guide to reading nutrition labels & eat your way to a healthy you.

 

– Vasundhara Chaudhary

Quitting sugar and highly processed foods

In the food landscape, especially today, sugar is sneaky—almost everywhere! Food companies sprinkle it into almost everything they produce, from sauces and bread to drinks and snacks. They’ve mastered making highly processed foods taste irresistible by loading them with sugar, fat, and salt. This kind of food addiction messes with our taste buds. Suddenly, the natural sweetness in fruits or veggies doesn’t seem appealing. It’s like a subtle hijacking of our taste preferences, making us crave more of those hyper-palatable foods which makes quitting processed foods even harder.

Health Hazards, Addiction, & More

When it comes to sugar and those irresistibly palatable processed foods, indulging a bit isn’t the issue. When these treats become regulars on our plates, the real trouble brews. High sugar intake is linked to various health concerns, like weight gain, an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and even acne. These processed foods, while tasty, often lack the nutrients our bodies need, leading to nutrient deficiencies and increased inflammation. It’s like a tricky balancing act—enjoying these foods occasionally is cool, but making them a daily habit? That’s where it gets dicey for our health.

Added sugars in processed foods can subtly increase our calorie intake without making us feel full, leading to weight gain and even obesity over time. Not only that, but high sugar consumption is linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, a higher likelihood of heart disease, and dental problems like cavities and decay.

These foods not only have multiple health related repercussions, but also tickle our taste buds and trigger a pleasure party in our brains. They are often crafted with a perfect mix of sugar, fat, and salt, activating our brain’s reward system. However, here’s the catch: this delightful sensation can turn into a bit of a problem.

The intense pleasure derived from these foods can lead to addictive-like behaviours, making us crave more and more, sometimes to the point of overeating. This addiction to tasty but unhealthy snacks can eventually lead to health problems, so keeping an eye on our intake is the key.

Quitting & Challenges Abound

Quitting sugar and highly palatable foods can feel like walking on a new path while dodging cravings and temptation. First off, the addictive pull of these sweet treats can make it hard to resist their appeal. Then there’s the societal pressure, where these foods are often part of social gatherings or readily available at every corner.

But you need not worry too much, there are strategies that exist to aid you in this journey. Start by arming yourself with knowledge, scanning labels to dodge sneaky sugars, and replacing processed goodies with wholesome, nutrient-packed alternatives. Cultivate a support network of friends and family, and embrace mindful eating to savour every bite. Remember, this adventure is about reclaiming your health and well-being – it’s tough, but with determination and small, consistent steps, you’ll get there.

In The Long Run

Quitting processed foods & saying goodbye to the sugar rush and the allure of highly palatable foods will make your body thank you in the long run.

The benefits of parting ways with these foods are plenty – stable blood sugar levels, and bidding farewell to the energy crashes and mood swings. Quitting them can aid in weight management and reduce the risk of chronic diseases and even certain cancers. Say goodbye to inflammation. Eventually, your taste buds will even start to awaken to the natural flavours of whole, nourishing foods.

Adaptogenic Mushrooms: A Holistic Approach to Health

Adaptogens have emerged as allies to support our bodies in handling the pressures of everyday life. Among these, the role of adaptogenic mushrooms in holistic health has come to the forefront helping you handle stress better, increase your focus & aid recovery.

Adaptogenic mushrooms also known as medicinal mushrooms, have been used for centuries in traditional medicine, particularly in Asian cultures. These mushrooms are called “adaptogens” because of their unique ability to “adapt” their function according to the specific needs of the body. This can mean augmenting functions that are underperforming or moderating those that are overactive. They tune in to your stress signals and help balance things out, making you feel less frazzled and more on top of your game.

Among the diverse varieties of mushrooms, a few stand out for their distinct benefits:

  • Reishi: Known for immune system support and its calming effect on the mind.
  • Chaga: Rich in antioxidants, aiding in overall well-being and immunity.
  • Cordyceps: Often used for boosting energy levels and enhancing athletic performance.
  • Lion’s Mane: Famed for potential cognitive benefits and brain health.

The Benefits Adaptogenic mushrooms specifically offer a boost to our stress-handling abilities and are making their way into a range of products like teas, coffees, snack bars and even beverages like hot cocoa.

Gourmet mushrooms farm, Shroomery’s founder, Sumit Sharan tells us that post covid they started getting more inquiries for things like lion’s mane and reishi mainly because lion’s mane in some clinical studies has proven to be helping with Alzheimer’s.

Overall, apart from tasting pretty good, these mushrooms offer an array of health advantages:

  1. Immune Support: Many adaptogenic mushrooms, like reishi, shiitake, and turkey tail, are believed to boost the immune system. They contain beta-glucans, a type of polysaccharide, which can modulate the immune system and have anti-inflammatory properties.
  2. Stress and Fatigue Reduction: Some medicinal mushrooms, such as cordyceps and Reishi, are known for their potential to combat stress and fatigue. They may help the body to adapt to stressors and restore balance.
  3. Cognitive Health: Lion’s mane is a type of adaptogenic mushroom that has been studied for its effects on cognitive health. Research suggests it may support brain health by stimulating the synthesis of nerve growth factor (NGF), a protein that promotes the growth and normal function of nerve cells.
  4. Antioxidant Properties: Many mushrooms are rich in antioxidants, which help neutralize harmful free radicals that can cause damage to cells.
  5. Support for Heart Health: Some studies suggest that certain mushrooms, such as reishi, can support heart health by improving blood circulation and reducing cholesterol levels.
  6. Blood Sugar Control: Some mushroom varieties, like maitake and reishi, may help manage blood sugar levels, which can be particularly beneficial for individuals with diabetes.

While these potential benefits are promising, it’s important to note that more research is needed, particularly in humans, to better understand the therapeutic potential of adaptogenic mushrooms.

Consumption & Consideration

If you’re looking to incorporate adaptogenic mushrooms into your routine, they can be consumed in various ways including being brewed into teas, incorporated into cooking, or taken as supplements. You can blend powdered mushrooms into hot water for a cosy drink or opt for encapsulated doses for a straightforward approach, depending on what works with you. The dosage varies according to the form, and the right amount is a personal puzzle that you’ll have to experiment with As always, start with a small dose & work your way up. Extracts, usually more potent, call for smaller quantities compared to the whole dried mushroom.

When & how much of these mushrooms to take hinges on the species and individual needs. For instance, sipping on reishi in the evening capitalises on its calming effects. But, if low blood pressure is your norm or you’re on pressure meds, giving Reishi a pass is a smart move.

Despite their promising benefits, caution is necessary. Some individuals might experience side effects or interactions, particularly if they have underlying health conditions or are on specific medications. Consulting a healthcare professional before adding adaptogenic mushrooms to the diet is advisable.

Adaptogenic mushrooms offer a natural and holistic approach to managing stress and enhancing overall wellness. While these fungi hold immense potential, it’s vital to integrate them mindfully and moderately into one’s lifestyle.

High-Protein Smoothies: Perfect Post-Workout Fuel

Protein shakes are a staple in most fitness enthusiasts’ gym bags, proving to be life savers when it gets difficult to meet your protein requirements through whole foods. We got a box of Vanilla Whey & halfway through the box, realised that we were bored of the same old plain vanilla (pun not intended but it’s nice when things work out) shakes. To add a little variety, we turned to these delicious high-protein smoothies for fitness by Lacey Baier, a personal trainer, nutritionist, and a clean-eating blogger. Each recipe uses Vanilla Protein powder, requires just five ingredients or lesser and incorporates a variety of essential vitamins, minerals, fibre, and antioxidants.

Servings per recipe: 1 smoothie

PB&J Smoothie

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  2. 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  3. 1 tbsp peanut butter
  4. 1 scoop vanilla protein powder

Directions: Place the unsweetened almond milk, frozen strawberries, peanut butter, and one scoop of vanilla protein powder into your kitchen blender. Blend the ingredients until you achieve a smooth texture.

Nutrition Facts:

  1. Calories: 277 kCal
  2. Protein: 25.9
  3. Carbohydrates: 15.4g
  4. Fat: 13.3g

Fit + Slim Smoothie

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  2. 1 cup frozen blueberries
  3. 1 scoop vanilla protein powder

Directions: Start by putting unsweetened almond milk, frozen blueberries, and one scoop of vanilla protein powder into your kitchen blender. Blend the mixture until it reaches a smooth consistency.

Nutrition Facts:

  1. Calories: 230 kCal
  2. Protein: 23g
  3. Carbohydrates: 24g
  4. Fat: 23g

Chocolate + Coffee Smoothie

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  2. 1 frozen banana
  3. 1 tbsp freeze-dried coffee
  4. 1/2 tbsp dark cocoa powder
  5. 1 scoop vanilla protein powder

Directions: In your kitchen blender, add unsweetened almond milk, frozen banana, freeze-dried coffee, dark cocoa powder, and one scoop of vanilla protein powder. Blend until a smooth texture is obtained.

Nutrition Facts:

  1. Calories: 254 kcal
  2. Protein: 25.8g
  3. Carbohydrates: 41.3g
  4. Fat: 7.1g

Green Machine Smoothie

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  2. 1 frozen banana
  3. 1 cup baby spinach
  4. 1 tbsp peanut butter
  5. 1 scoop vanilla protein powder

Directions: Begin by adding unsweetened almond milk, frozen banana, baby spinach, and one scoop of vanilla protein powder to your kitchen blender. Blend the ingredients until a smooth consistency is achieved.

Nutrition Facts:

  1. Calories: 359 kCal
  2. Protein: 28.6g
  3. Carbohydrates: 48.6g
  4. Fat: 14.7g

Vanilla Cupcake Smoothie

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  2. 1/2 cup frozen mango
  3. 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
  4. 1 scoop vanilla protein powder

Directions

Begin by placing unsweetened almond milk, frozen mango, frozen pineapple, and one scoop of vanilla protein powder into a kitchen blender. Proceed to blend the ingredients until a smooth consistency is achieved.

Nutrition Facts:

  1. Calories: 300 kCal
  2. Protein: 26g
  3. Carbohydrates: 48g
  4. Fat: 26g

Drink Your Way to Better Zzz.

Getting restorative sleep is one of the cornerstones of good health, affecting almost all aspects of your body’s functioning. Experts suggest that adults aged 18-60 should aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night, as sleeping too little or too much can increase the risk of depression, diabetes, heart disease, and even death. Unfortunately, getting those 7 full hours of restorative sleep isn’t always easy as the quality of your sleep is defined less by the time you spend in bed and is significantly affected by various factors throughout the day, starting from the moment you wake up to the time you go to bed. Establishing healthy habits that lead you to fall asleep faster, sleep more deeply, and stay asleep through ensures you wake up rested, refreshed and sustain better health in the long term. While factors like activity, stress and your state of mind all affect your sleep, they usually take days or even weeks to integrate into our routines. If you’re trying to optimise your sleep in the short run, these are some of the best natural sleep aid drinks.

  • Chamomile Tea: Chamomile tea, consumed about 60-120 minutes before bed, is a popular sleep aid. It contains apigenin, an antioxidant that binds to certain receptors in your brain which may promote sleepiness and reduce insomnia.
  • Warm Milk: Warm milk has long been recognised as a sleep aid. It contains tryptophan, an amino acid that’s converted into the neurotransmitter serotonin and then into the hormone melatonin, which regulates sleep. Adding fresh turmeric to it can make it even healthier, as the curcuminoids in the turmeric help with inflammation and stress.
  • Almond Milk: Almonds are a source of melatonin and provide magnesium, which can help with sleep.
  • Herbal Teas: In addition to chamomile, other herbal teas such as valerian root and lavender are thought to promote sleep by having a calming effect.
  • Tart Cherry Juice: Tart cherries are one of the few natural sources of melatonin, a hormone that helps us fall asleep.

A lot of beverages though, can also have a negative effect on your sleep. Caffeine, found in coffee & tea primarily disrupts the process of falling asleep and reduces the amount of deep sleep that you get. Avoid caffeinated drinks like coffee, some teas, and energy drinks for at least six hours before bedtime, though some people may need to stop earlier in the day. Alcohol, while helping you fall asleep faster in certain cases, interferes with sleep cycles, particularly the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep, which is important for memory and learning.

As important as the beverages you consume, it’s also important to be careful about when you consume them. Drinking large amounts of any fluid too close to bedtime can lead to frequent urination, interrupting your sleep.

Choose wisely, and get that rest in.

Mood Food

With the significant progress we’ve made in anxiety management over the past decade or so, it’s become clear that apart from physiological factors like genetics and chemical imbalances, lifestyle factors like work stress and strained relationships can also contribute to anxiety disorders. But one critical piece of the puzzle that’s recently come to the surface with newer fields like nutritional psychiatry, is our diet. Your diet’s impact on mood swings & anxiety is being studied extensively & recent studies all point to the fact that there might be more of a link than we previously thought.

“You are what you eat”, they say, but how often do we pause to truly digest its implications? The link between food and mood is powerful, and we’re here to explore a side of nutrition that’s often overlooked. While we’re all in pursuit of a happier and healthier life, sometimes the very food on our plate could be steering us towards anxiety and mood disorders without us even realising it.

Speaking With Dr Parikshit Bhattacharyya, a nutritionist, we explore the anxiety and diet correlation through the lens of science.

Anxiety disorders are a group of mental health conditions that can make you feel excessively worried, scared, or uneasy, even when you might not have a “rational” reason to do so. There are different types of anxiety disorders like generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and specific phobias with symptoms ranging from always having a nagging feeling of worry to full-blown panic attacks. Interestingly, what you eat can make a big difference in the battle against anxiety, with certain foods acting as powerful allies in managing anxiety and others exacerbating the symptoms further. Some of the foods that can trigger or exacerbate anxiety disorders are:

1. Caffeine: Most of us rely on coffee or tea to jumpstart our day, but excessive caffeine consumption is known to trigger restlessness, nervousness, and jitters, symptoms closely associated with anxiety.

2. Sugar Highs and Lows: Foods high in sugar, while giving a temporary high may also cause a crash, leaving you feeling irritable and anxious. High sugar intake can also lead to chronic inflammation, which may also contribute to anxiety.

3. Processed and Fast Foods: Your favourite fast food burger or bag of chips might provide instant gratification, but they’re packed with trans fats and additives known to increase inflammation and oxidative stress in the body, both of which are associated with anxiety.

4. Alcohol and Anxiety: A drink now and then might seem like a good way to unwind, but alcohol is a depressant that can worsen anxiety symptoms. It can also disrupt sleep patterns, dehydrate the body, and negatively affect brain chemistry.

5. Skipping Meals: Irregular eating patterns can lead to fluctuations in blood sugar levels, which can, in turn, trigger mood swings and anxiety. Skipping meals can also increase the body’s stress response, making it more prone to anxious feelings.

6. High Sodium Diets: Too much salt can lead to high blood pressure and hypertension. Hypertension can cause anxiety and, in turn, exacerbate it, creating a vicious cycle.

7. Nutritional Deficiencies: A diet lacking essential vitamins and minerals, particularly B vitamins, magnesium, and zinc, can contribute to anxiety disorders. These nutrients play a crucial role in brain health and the regulation of mood.

Dietary Solutions: Foods That Soothe Anxiety

Luckily though, simple dietary practices can make a big difference in managing anxiety. Herbal teas like chamomile and valerian root have calming effects and sipping on a warm cup can be soothing. Opting for fresh, unprocessed meats or plant-based protein sources helps avoid nitrate and other preservative which may increase inflammation and practising mindful eating by paying full attention to the sensory experiences of your meal can help reduce stress and anxiety related to eating habits. An imbalanced gut microbiome, often caused by a poor diet, has also been linked to anxiety and maintaining a healthy gut through a balanced diet rich in fibre and fermented foods can help protect against anxiety. If you’re suffering from Anxiety, incorporating the following dietary practices and nutrients in your lifestyle may help you:

  1. Whole Foods Diet: Eating a diet rich in unprocessed food such as whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats, and plenty of fruits and vegetables provides the body with essential nutrients, crucial for overall well-being, including mental health.
  2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3s, found in fatty fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts, have been linked to reducing symptoms of anxiety and play a role in brain health, helping regulate neurotransmitters associated with mood.
  3. Hydration: Dehydration can affect mood and energy levels. Make sure you’re drinking enough water throughout the day to stay adequately hydrated.
  4. Complex Carbohydrates: Complex carbohydrates like whole grains, oats, and brown rice can help stabilise blood sugar levels. This can prevent mood swings and reduce feelings of anxiety.
  5. Protein: Protein-rich foods like lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, and legumes contain amino acids that are essential for the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin, which can help regulate mood.
  6. Magnesium: Magnesium is a mineral that has been linked to anxiety relief. Foods rich in magnesium include nuts, seeds, spinach, and whole grains.
  7. Vitamin D: Vitamin D plays a role in mood regulation. Exposure to sunlight is one natural way to increase your vitamin D levels. You can also get vitamin D from fortified foods like milk, cereal, and fatty fish.
  8. Probiotics: Consuming probiotic-rich foods like yoghurt, kefir, and fermented foods may help support a healthy gut microbiome which in turn helps with Anxiety.
  9. Folate: Low levels of folate have been associated with depressive symptoms. Foods rich in folate include leafy greens, beans, and citrus fruits.

It is important to keep in mind that while diet can play a role in managing anxiety, it should not be considered a standalone treatment for anxiety disorders. If you’re experiencing severe or persistent anxiety, it’s essential to seek guidance from a healthcare professional or mental health expert who can provide tailored strategies and treatments to address your specific needs.

Kombuchas 101: The Perfect Pour

Remember when asking for kombucha at a restaurant or coffee shop was like speaking an alien language? It seemed as though the only place you could find this fizzy fermented tea was at places like Atmosphere, tucked away in the quaint streets of Shahpur Jat in Delhi. Today, kombucha has gracefully transitioned from being the ‘weird stuff’ found at small organic cafes to becoming a lot more mainstream, available almost everywhere.

The market for this effervescent elixir is booming, and companies have embraced it with open arms. There are dozens of Kombucha brands offering a variety of options, from ‘immune system concoctions with turmeric’ to ‘aerated drink slayers with a Cola flavour’ and even ‘kombucha brewed with adaptogenic mushrooms’. From mango, pineapple and strawberry to more adventurous flavours like blue pea flower, and turmeric, brands like Borecha, Bhu, and Krishi Cress have us spoilt for choice.

However, with all of this popularity, comes a twist. The rise of the ‘not-so-healthy’ kombucha. Amidst the Kombucha craze, how do you separate the good from the not-so-good? Since we love this little bottle of goodness so much, we decided to investigate on picking the right one for your gut. Use this guide for help on how to choose healthy kombucha for the next time you go shopping.

  1. Natural Ingredients: Find Kombucha brewed with natural ingredients like tea, sugar, water, and of course, Scoby. Steer clear of anything that mentions artificial flavours, sweeteners, or preservatives.
  2. Sugar Content: A little sweetness is essential to start the fermentation in the Kombucha, but some brands go overboard with the sugar post-fermentation to boost flavour. Aim for a Kombucha with less than 8 grams of sugar per serving. Sweet but not too sweet, that’s the sweet spot. If you’re looking to avoid processed sugar, you can try one sweetened with honey.
  3. Live Cultures: The live culture in a Kombucha is the real MVP, making up a large part of what makes Kombucha such an effective probiotic. Make sure your chosen ‘booch declares the presence of live cultures and isn’t pasteurised, as that can kill the bacteria.
  4. Packaging: Opt for Kombucha packed in glass bottles to avoid any funky chemical leaching that might occur with plastic or metal containers. Also, keeping Kombucha refrigerated makes for a longer shelf life so ensure the bottles have been stored properly before you buy.
  5. Brewing Date: Check the bottle for the date of brewing because Kombucha can over-brew rather swiftly and taste slightly weird. If it’s been refrigerated, it should maintain its taste for about 6-8 months.

The next time you’re choosing a Kombucha, remember this short cheat sheet on how to choose healthy kombucha & sip with confidence, knowing that you’ve chosen a booch that’s as delightful as it is good for you.

Bone Health, Sunlight & Spinach

Bone health, is not the first thing you think of when you think of wellbeing, unless you’re thinking of the health of the elderly. Everyone knows that as we grow older, our bones become more fragile and are susceptible to fractures, but what we tend to sometimes forget is that they are the silent workhorses of the body and taking care of them is something we should be mindful of throughout our lives.

Bones the foundation of our structure and an important part of the larger musculoskeletal system, constantly undergoing remodelling & adjusting to our body’s changing needs. Apart from providing structure to our body, they’re also a reservoir of essential minerals and help in a number of different functions.

To understand bone health better, we had a conversation with Dr Pramod Kumar, an orthopaedic surgeon with over 30 years of experience, who helped us decode the crucial role of nutrition for strong bones, no matter your age.

Our bones provide structural support, protect vital organs, and serve as a mineral reservoir for the body. They’re also integral for mobility, allowing us to perform daily activities with ease. As we age, maintaining good bone health becomes increasingly important.

They play a pivotal role in our bodies, providing;

  • Support and Structure: They are the scaffolding on which muscles attach and facilitate movement.
  • Protection: Bones shield organs like the brain, heart, and lungs from injury.
  • Minerals: Bones store essential minerals such as calcium and phosphorus, which are vital for various bodily functions, including nerve signalling and blood clotting.
  • Blood Cell Production: Bone marrow, the inner part of bones, is the birthplace of blood cells. Red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets are all produced here.

Over the course of our lives, bones constantly change & mould themselves to play their part in the functions above. Yet, this silent workforce is not invulnerable and can be affected by multiple factors that determine it’s health, like:

  • Ageing: As we age, bone density naturally declines. This can lead to conditions like osteopenia and osteoporosis, making bones brittle and susceptible to fractures.
  • Nutrition: A diet deficient in essential nutrients like calcium & vitamin D in particular can weaken bones.
  • Physical Activity: Weight-bearing exercises stimulate bone formation. A sedentary lifestyle can accelerate bone loss.
  • Hormones: Hormonal changes, such as reduced estrogen during menopause in women, can affect bone health.

Certain medications, like long-term steroid use, may also harm bone health. Genetics also play a part; a family history of osteoporosis or bone fractures can increase the risk.

When it comes to bone health, factors such as age, hormonal changes and genetics are beyond our control. But there are lifestyle factors that we can actively manage, and one of the most important things we can do it get the right nutrition for strong bones. Making informed choices about what we eat, and providing our bodies with the necessary nutrition for strong bones if done at the right time can mitigate some of the bone health ailments that come with age. To nourish your bones the right way, pay extra attention to the following nutrients;

  • Calcium: Calcium is the cornerstone of bone health. Dairy products like milk, yoghurt, and cheese are excellent sources, as are leafy greens, almonds, and fortified foods.
  • Vitamin D: Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption. Exposure to sunlight triggers vitamin D production in the skin. Fatty fish (e.g., salmon, mackerel), egg yolks, and fortified foods are dietary sources.
  • Protein: Bones also contain a protein called collagen. Incorporating lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, and dairy ensures adequate protein intake for bone health.
  • Vitamin K: Vitamin K is involved in bone mineralisation. Leafy greens like kale, spinach, and broccoli are rich sources.
  • Magnesium: Magnesium plays a role in bone density and strength. Include whole grains, nuts, seeds, and leafy greens in your diet.
  • Phosphorus: Like calcium, phosphorus is a mineral that contributes to bone structure. It’s found in dairy, meat, and nuts.
  • Vitamin C: Vitamin C is crucial for collagen production, a protein that forms the matrix of bones. Citrus fruits, strawberries, and bell peppers are high in vitamin C.

Maintaining a nutrition plan that covers the ingredients above should have you covered for good bone health but if you’re worried about your bone health due to factors that may increase your risk of osteoporosis, such as a recent bone fracture or a family history, you might want to seek advice from a medical professional. A bone density assessment offers insights into your bone density and the pace of bone density reduction and your healthcare provider can use this data to evaluate whether you might need further interventions.

Best Of: Kombucha

Kombucha, the fizzy and tangy fermented tea, has gained remarkable popularity recently, emerging as a flavourful and healthy beverage choice. This elixir, often called the “tea of immortality,” is produced by fermenting sweetened tea with a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). With many flavours and creative infusions, kombucha is no longer confined to health stores and has entered the mainstream market, gracing the shelves of grocery stores, cafes, and even restaurants. The increasing popularity of kombucha can be attributed to its refreshing taste, potential health benefits, and its role in offering a flavourful alternative to conventional sugary beverages.

As more people become mindful of their well-being and seek out functional foods, the popularity of kombucha continues to rise. Whether you’re a seasoned kombucha enthusiast or a newcomer curious to find the best Kombucha out there, here are our top kombucha brands in India for 2024.

Atmosphere Kombucha

Atmosphere Kombucha is one of the first homegrown kombucha brands, hailing from Delhi, India. Founded by wellness-expert sisters, Rebekah and Ariella Blank, the brand’s specialty is crafting exotic, gut-friendly Kombuchas with a Himalayan influence. Their all-women team meticulously prepares the Kombucha using all natural ingredients and their commitment to quality is evident through the brewing process which lasts over a week and has multiple fermentation stages. Infused with fruits and herbs, this top tier Kombucha offering amazes the taste buds with flavours like blueberry & lavender, strawberry creme, jasmine, blueberry, and raspberry lemonade, and more.

Price: Rs 220

Kultur’d Kombucha

Kultur’d Kombucha strives for the highest levels of quality, with each batch undergoing rigorous lab testing. Setting themselves apart, Kultur’d also ensures a zero-alcohol promise, skillfully mastering the fermentation process to maintain 0% alcohol content, ensuring safety for all consumers. Their dedication to authenticity shines through with their all-natural approach—devoid of preservatives, additives, artificial flavourings, or food colours. Apple cinnamon, coffee orange, and peach are some of the flavours you must try.

Price: Rs 900 for a pack of 6 (220 ml)

Bhu Kombucha

Bhu Kombucha, a women-led venture focused on fermented foods and beverages helmed by Isha Sawhney, has garnered substantial acclaim among Kombucha enthusiasts due to its exceptional product quality. Bhu Kombucha ferments beverages in small, carefully managed batches, enhanced with the infusion of fresh, organic medicinal and therapeutic plants. This brand operates from Delhi and uses organic green tea from the lower Dibang Valley in Arunachal Pradesh. Following a two-week fermentation process, the beverages are flavoured with fresh, organic botanicals. The array of offerings comprises nine distinctive flavours, including Chili and Lime, Cinnamon and Star Anise, Cucumber and Mint, Original Green Tea, Vanilla Bean, Apple & Cinnamon, Pineapple & Ginger, and Turmeric & Ginger.

Bhu also manufactures adaptogenic kombucha, crafted using fresh Lion’s Mane mushrooms. Delight in its light-bodied essence, earthy flavour, enhanced with the infusion of lion’s mane, beetroot, carrot, and ginger.

Price: Rs 1500 for a pack of 4 (450 ml)

Borécha

Operated by brothers Aditya Ishan Varshnei and Anish, this family enterprise is a successful endeavour to introduce a beloved beverage from Manhattan to India. Borecha incorporates Gluconic and glucaric acid into their Kombuchas, which contribute to eliminating toxins from the body.

Borécha, derived from Konkani for “good tea,” is crafted at the Latambarcem Brewers in Goa and offers twelve distinct flavours ranging from roasted coconut to pina colada.

Price: Rs 99 (330 ml)

Of Yo-Yo’s, Diets and Intuitive Eating

Extreme dietary restrictions → Excessive eating → Feelings of guilt

This common pattern, sometimes known as “yo-yo dieting” is a major problem plaguing people in their pursuits of a healthy life. It may result in physical & emotional deprivation, fostering a sense of shame and guilt regarding food & leading to an extremely unhealthy relationship with food. You end up viewing food as your enemy, instead of something that nourishes & helps you. Overcoming the diet mentality with Intuitive Eating is helpful in a society dominated by rigid diets and complex nutritional advice.

Tapping into your body’s innate wisdom & trusting it to make the right decisions, Intuitive Eating, as it is aptly called, challenges you to take a hard look at your (often) unhealthy relationship with food & reconnect with your natural hunger and fullness cues. It challenges the conventional notions of dieting and encourages a mindful, balanced approach towards nourishment.

We dig into the principles of intuitive eating, exploring how this approach can lead to a harmonious and sustainable relationship with both your plate and your body.

The Correlation Between Food & Body Image

A large part of our relationship with food is often defined by our pursuit of unrealistic beauty standards. This, apart from taking a toll on our mental health, also fuels the pervasive “diet culture” that encourages unhealthy eating habits. The common cycle of overeating followed by guilt & extreme restriction can leave us feeling physically and emotionally deprived, fostering guilt and shame around food. It’s no wonder that eating disorders have become commonplace in the past few years.

Intuitive Eating (IE), a term coined by dieticians Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, advocates for a healthier relationship with food by listening to our body’s cues, breaking free from dieting, and healing our connection with food. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (United States), research has shown many beneficial relationships between IE and psychosocial factors, including positive associations with body image and related constructs.

At its core, Intuitive Eating revolves around ten principles that encourage us to reject diet mentality, honour our hunger, make peace with food, challenge the food police, respect our fullness, discover the satisfaction factor, cope with emotions without using food, respect our bodies, exercise to feel good, and honour our health with gentle nutrition.

Incorporating Intuitive Eating

Practising Intuitive Eating means tuning into your body’s hunger and fullness signals, eating for physical rather than emotional reasons, and finding pleasure and satisfaction in your food choices. It’s not about rigid diets or strict rules, but instead asking yourself to trust your body’s innate ability to self-regulate.

Intuitive Eating is a journey that looks different for everyone based on their unique relationship with food. To begin, you must reject the diet mentality and embrace your body’s natural hunger cues. You should give yourself unconditional permission to enjoy all kinds of foods, without labelling them as “good” or “bad.”

It also focusses on learning to cope with emotions without turning to food, respecting your body’s unique shape and size, and focus on how exercise makes you feel instead of the calorie-burning aspect.

Self Acceptance & Perfection Are Not The Same

Incorporating gentle nutrition into your eating habits can also support your health without being obsessed with perfection. In the end, Intuitive Eating empowers you to build a healthier, more compassionate relationship with food and your body. It helps you break free from the diet-binge cycle, reduces stress related to eating, and promotes body positivity and mental well-being.

Research suggests that intuitive eaters tend to have better overall well-being, lower BMI, improved lipid profiles, and higher self-esteem. They are less likely to engage in disordered eating behaviours and experience body dissatisfaction.

Overcoming diet mentality using intuitive eating is a journey of self-care, respect, and acceptance. It allows you to reclaim control over their food choices and health, rooted in appreciation for your body and its inherent wisdom.

Supplementation: A Rational guide

Nutritional supplements have become staples in our lives, with vitamins, minerals, and others being used more commonly than ever before. It seems like everyone we know is popping at least a multivitamin and maybe some Omega-3. And let’s be honest, it’s for a good reason. Not every diet provides all the nutrition our bodies require, and supplements offer a convenient way to boost our dietary intake of essential vitamins, mineral & nutrients. But, making informed decisions about which supplements to take, when to take them & how long to take them for can be quite daunting. To cut through the clutter, we put together a Rational Guide for supplementation which helps you cut through the clutter & build a personalized supplement strategy.

Where do you start with a personalized supplement strategy?

Before building a supplementation plan, it’s important to ask why. Are you fulfilling a deficiency or are you looking to enhance your baseline intake of a specific compound? To identify nutrient deficiencies, ideally, you need a comprehensive blood test. However, certain physical symptoms can also provide clues. For instance, brittle nails and hair fall might indicate a biotin deficiency, while fatigue and weakness could point to low iron or Vitamin B12 levels. If you suspect a deficiency, get a blood test or consult your doctor to get it checked out.

For a safe and solid supplementation program, begin with the basics—a multivitamin. This covers most essential vitamins and minerals, making sure your body gets everything it needs. Next, you may consider incorporating Omega-3 fatty acids which are usually found in fish oil or if you’re vegetarian, in Krill. This common supplement supports heart, brain, and skin health. Lastly, since many of us have limited sunlight exposure, see if you require a Vitamin D supplement.

Also, a probiotic can be beneficial for gut health, but if you’re eating enough fermented and other gut-friendly foods, you can skip this one. These three, should cover most of your bases. But, choosing the supplements is easier said than done, because the next factor to consider is the option of combination supplements or single ingredient supplements.

Combination supplements pack more than one active ingredient, all in one pill. They aim to tackle specific health goals—think immune support or heart health. Convenience is their strong suit, as you’ll only need to take only one pill or capsule daily. However, they might contain ingredients you don’t need, and the active compound doses might not be optimal.

On the other hand, we have single-ingredient supplements. These focus on just one primary active ingredient, allowing you to target specific nutritional needs with laser precision. For example, if sunlight is in short supply, you may grab a Vitamin D supplement with the exact dosage for your body. Need some gut love? A probiotic with specific bacteria that are beneficial to you is your go-to. The best part about single-ingredient supplements is the ability to control dosage precisely, zeroing in on nutritional gaps. Plus, if you’re on a tight budget, targeting one or two specific nutrients with single-ingredient supplements can be more cost-effective.

That’s good so far. Now how do I add supplements?

When it comes to introducing new supplements, the first thing is to speak to your healthcare provider. If you have their go-ahead, introduce them one by one, allowing you to observe the effects individually. Patience is the key, as supplements take time to work, and this can vary significantly depending on the supplement and your body. Some supplements, like magnesium, might take a few weeks to build up and take action, while adaptogens like ashwagandha can kick in almost immediately. For a fair assessment, give yourself at least two weeks with any new supplement and observe for any changes you might notice.

ADAPTOGENESIS: The Rise of Adaptogens in Holistic Health

Adaptogens is a word that sounds straight out of a sci-fi movie. Picture yourself taking adaptogens when you’re on a daring mission to Mars, adapting effortlessly to the alien environment. Or use them to adapt to a deep sea mission to the wreck of the Titanic. Unlikely dystopian scenarios aside, adaptogens have actually been around for ages & have gained immense popularity in the recent past. These substances have been commonly used in Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, to help the body cope with both physical and mental stressors. And now, the use of adaptogens in holistic healthcare is rising, showing up in everything from “Adaptogenic Coffee” to “Adaptogenic gummies.”

At their core, adaptogens are a group of non-toxic plants that help balance, restore, and protect your body when it needs it the most. Some of the more common adaptogens include:

  • Ashwagandha: For reducing Anxiety & Stress
  • Lions Mane Mushrooms: For increased focus & brain function
  • Ginseng: Boosts energy and cognitive function
  • Rhodiola: Helps with stress and enhances productivity
  • Holy Basil: Also known as Tulsi, helps reduce stress and anxiety
  • Cordyceps Mushrooms: Reduces fatigue & enhances athletic performance

Adaptogens interact with your adrenal system—the control centre for your body’s hormonal response to stress. They have an effect on cortisol, the stress hormone, and elevate your body’s resistance to stress. Though the exact mechanisms with which they work aren’t entirely clear yet, research suggests that adaptogens can give a little nudge to your immune, endocrine, and neurochemical systems, leading to a feel-good sense of well-being.

While adaptogens are still making their way through scientific hallways, early studies and traditional know-how suggest a host of health benefits, including:

  • Stress relief: These plants help keep your cool during high-pressure situations & minimise the effects of chronic stress.
  • Increased mental performance: Some adaptogens are known to boost your cognitive function, increasing focus, alertness, and memory.
  • Boosted energy levels: Certain adaptogens help dial up your physical performance and dial down fatigue, making them loved by athletes.
  • Enhanced immune function: Adaptogens have a unique property to fine-tune your immune response, giving your body extra muscle against illnesses.

Adaptogens, though well-tolerated by most, can sometimes come with side effects, especially with higher doses. Digestive trouble, changes in sleep patterns, and mood swings might show up as a by-product of taking adaptogens. Some can even contraindicate certain medications. Because of a lack of data, the long-term effects of adaptogen use are still a bit unclear, so it’s also a good idea to take breaks & cycle your consumption. If you’re looking to start experimenting with Adaptogens, here are some best practices;

  • Consult a healthcare provider: Before starting an adaptogen routine, talk with a healthcare provider, especially if you have a pre-existing condition, are expecting a little one, or are on other medications.
  • Start slow: Like any new supplement routine, start slow. Begin with a low dose and observe your body’s response to it before building up to an optimal dosage that is right for you.
  • Choose high-quality products: With so many options out there, stay safe by investing in top-notch brands that offer third-party testing and quality assurance. Adaptogens come in teas, powders, pills, or tinctures so take your pick.
Yoghurt, Anxiety & Immunity: The Gut Connection

Gut health has garnered significant attention in the wellness industry of late. There’s a lot of chatter about the importance of maintaining a healthy gut & supplement manufacturers, nutritionists & doctors all seem to be feeding into these conversations. But does the hype hold true? Could our gut truly hold the key to health outcomes beyond our daily visits to the loo? What is the true impact of gut health on overall wellness?

Before we unpack this loaded question, it’s important to understand that the gut isn’t just another term for the general stomach region but an entire ecosystem of microorganisms linked to various parts of our wellbeing. The gut microbiome, encompassing a complex community of trillions of bacteria and other microbes resides in our digestive tract & plays a key role in the health of our gut.

If this intricate community is imbalanced, a condition often referred to as “dysbiosis,” it can lead to various unhealthy outcomes—some of which may not be immediately associated with gut health.

We spoke to Dr Parikshit Bhattacharyya, a Kolkata-based nutritionist to get the low down on the gut & how it affects our wellbeing.

“The gut microbiome functions as a complex system, and its relationship with our well-being remains partially elusive,” he tells us. “While new research emerges daily, much of it is still awaiting clinical validation.”

But, there are several agreed-upon effects of a healthy gut on your overall health and an Imbalanced Gut Microbiome can affect your body in many ways, including:

  • Tummy Trouble: This connection is perhaps the most direct and apparent. An imbalanced gut microbiome can give rise to problems such as bloating, gas, diarrhoea, and constipation. Furthermore, conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have been linked to dysbiosis.
  • Mental Health: Often referred to as the “second brain,” the gut plays a crucial role in mental well-being. The gut-brain axis connects the two, and while research is in it’s nascent stages, there might be a correlation between gut health and mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.
  • Obesity and Metabolic Health: Certain types of bacteria in the gut have been implicated in influencing the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and even heart disease. They can impact how the body processes food, stores fat, and responds to hormones that regulate hunger and satiety.
  • Immune System Function: A substantial portion of our immunity comes from our gut microbiome. It plays a critical role in training the immune system to respond appropriately to pathogens while avoiding excessive reactions that can lead to autoimmune conditions.
  • Skin Health: The health of our gut has also been associated with skin conditions like eczema and acne. Some studies suggest that probiotics can help alleviate these conditions by improving gut health.

If you’ve been experiencing any of these conditions, they may be linked to your gut health. According to Dr Bhattacharyya, ”to address your gut health, begin by assessing your nutritional intake. Incorporate fermented foods like yoghurt, kimchi, kombucha, and sauerkraut into your diet to introduce a variety of probiotic bacteria, thereby enhancing the diversity and concentration of your gut microbiome. Adding fibre in the form of fruit & vegetables acts as a prebiotic and leads to better health of the microbiome”.

If any of these symptoms persist, you might consider taking a gut health test to evaluate the well-being of your microbiome & take action by consulting a gastroenterologist.

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