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Author: Laura Pawlak

More Sugar Please

More Sugar Please

Love sugar?  This innate desire for sweets can be traced to an ancient part of the brain — the reward circuit.  The sweet, sensory experience is recorded as a rewarding one as endorphin molecules (natural opioids) bathe the brain.  A long-lasting memory of the tasty experience is stored deep inside the brain.  There is purpose to the “feel good” experience resulting from sweetness.  You will search for, and continue to consume, the ideal fuel for your mind — the simple…

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MOOD AND FOOD

MOOD AND FOOD

What you eat can affect your risk of the most common mood disorder in the United States:  depression. Mental health begins with lifestyle:  nutritious food; regular exercise; sufficient sleep; and coping skills. The chemical components of food impact one’s state of mind throughout the day — that is, after every meal and snack.  A long period of time without nourishment (fasting) activates survival emotions throughout the brain.  Food, or the lack of it, thus alters both feelings and thoughts. A…

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BELLY FAT AND MOVEMENT

BELLY FAT AND MOVEMENT

Today, unlike any time in U.S. history, body fat is accumulating pointedly in the belly.  In addition to calorie restriction, what practice is required to decrease belly fat?  Move about. Losing the unwanted pounds gained during the holidays is a struggle for everyone. Keeping it off is even more difficult.  What’s the best way to maintain a lower weight, once achieved?  Move about. Scientist study the brain, searching for ways to keep it vital over the extra decades we now…

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CELEBRATE THE BRAIN

CELEBRATE THE BRAIN

Thanksgiving and the many holidays that follow are joyful times to be with family and friends.  Holiday cheer, a positive emotion, can also provide the brain with healthful hormones and neurochemicals that improve brain function. Family traditions boost enjoyment of holiday gatherings.  In a recent series of studies in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, subjects described the customs they followed — along with those of their families — during holidays.  These activities were rated as enjoyable, personal…

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AND THE WINNER IS … THE GRAPE

AND THE WINNER IS … THE GRAPE

Nature introduced our ancestors to the first sampling of wine about 10 million years ago. As fruit ripened and fell to the earth, a natural process of decomposition occurred. Microbes in the soil turned fruit sugar into a simpler component, ethyl alcohol.  Some curious, hungry ancestor, eating the decaying fruit, probably rejected the taste, but loved the altered state of mind.  A sophisticated version of nature’s process, called fermentation, was perfected, producing wines that delight the palate as well as…

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FINDING FELICITY IN FOOD AND WORK

FINDING FELICITY IN FOOD AND WORK

“Life Is Good.” These three words have blossomed into a worldwide slogan.  Why?  You feel good just reading the words. These days life elicits more worries than “happies.” Good times are short-lived and may be prone to addiction:  compulsive shopping with credit cards; eating comfort foods loaded with calories; drinking too much alcohol; or searching for drug dealers to soothe emotional or physical pain.  Sustainable happiness begins with the simple things:  the food you eat and the work you do….

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