Eight Ways How Exercise Can Make You Happier

People who exercise a lot tend to be happier than those who don’t. In fact, even a short 10-minute exercise have a huge short-term impact on the hippocampus, let alone a long-term one.

A study conducted by the JAMA Psychiatry journal shows that exercise is one way to prevent depression. However, people that have the illness are still pretty inactive, how much more for those who don’t have it.

In the past year, around 66% of men and 58% of women over the age of 19 and above are active in doing physical activity. While being great in numbers, there’s still more room to do better than that. With that said, here are eight ways how exercise can make yourself happier.

  1. De-stresses Your Mind and Body
  • Ever heard of “runner’s high”? It’s a term for that feeling of euphoria each time you exercise. Physical activity can, in fact, make you feel good as it releases neurotransmitters in the brain that can make you active and happy at the same time.
  • Not only that, but these endorphins produced by doing physical activity can also relieve stress. Stress is everywhere and comes in different forms, be it from human contact or the things around us. That’s why exercise is very important to de-stress your mind and body.
  • Exercise also helps you to relax more effectively. This is important for both your mental and physical health, making it easier for you to unwind and let loose for a while.
  1. Helps Treat Depression
  • Depression is one of the most common mental illness that’s experienced by many. Despite that, it is also easily treatable by exercise too. Exercise is one of the most successful and effective treatments to prevent depression.
  • A study conducted by various researchers shows that regularly doing physical activity is equivalent to certain antidepressant drugs that are commonly used to cure depression. In fact, exercise acts as a natural antidepressant that can lower the symptoms of depression.
  • People suffering from depression have low levels of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. But by doing regular exercises, all these feel-good chemicals will be back in their normal state. These feel-good chemicals are responsible for stimulating your brain to give you that euphoric feeling. Studies show that doing regularly exercises cuts depression rate from 16.3% down to 8.3%.
  1. Lowers Anxiety
  • Aside from depression, anxiety is also a common mental illness that’s more prominent in women. Exercise reduces muscle tension, lowers blood pressure and heart rates, and increases alpha waves in the brain to make you easily enter the relaxed state of mind.
  • With that said, exercise is indeed an effective anxiety reliever. With lots of exercises around, aerobic exercise is the one that will help ease anxiety that lasts for up to three months.
  1. Eliminates Bad Mood Quick
  • Having a bad day? Turn the tables around by doing exercises. Physical activity helps you improve your mood faster compared to other “relaxation” techniques that have little to no effect at all.
  • Exercise improved your clarity and efficiency, which allows you to think more clearly. Based on a study conducted back in 2001, exercise can indeed turn your grumpy mood into a lively one easily and quickly. So if ever you’re having a bad day, get up and grab your gear and start exercising.
  1. Boosts Your Self-Esteem
  • Feeling down? Think that you’re not good enough for anybody? Well time to shake that body by exercising. Exercise can improve your intuition, creativity, and overall gives you a more positive and stronger enthusiasm in life.
  • Self-esteem problems usually come from how you look at yourself, especially in your body shape. People tend to be ashamed because they don’t look slender and sexy enough, making them feel like an outcast from all the “slim” people out there.
  • However, when you start exercising, you will start to feel better about how you see yourself. Not only physically, but also mentally. You will start to appreciate your body as you go along the way to the road of fitness.
  1. Improves Your Cognitive Ability
  • Aerobic exercise helps regulate oxygen flow to the brain, thus decreasing the chance of brain cell loss. This results in an increase in your cognitive performance, which enables you to think clearly and efficiently before and after every workout.
  • Doing physical activity helps improve focus, which helps you plan and think better. It also boosts your social health which enables you to communicate well with another person. This works much better if you have a workout buddy with you.
  • Regularly doing exercises gives your IQ score a boost up too, which allows you to perform better in school or at work. So what are you waiting for? Start doing exercises today!
  1. Helps Strengthen Relationships
  • Relationship issues are inevitable. But with exercise, you can strengthen your bond with one another whatever type of relationship is that. Couples who exercise together is proven to have a healthier and happier connection than those who don’t.
  • Studies show that working out with your partner can increase physical gains especially when both of you work together as a team. This leads to a happier and healthy relationship that benefits both of you.
  • Not only that, but exercise also increases sexual intimacy and will lead to a healthier sex life for couples. Not just for couples, exercise can strengthen the bond for family relationships too. So if you’re a parent, encourage your teens to do exercises with you. You will then notice an improvement in your relationship with them.
  1. Helps You Cope Up with A Range of Difficult Emotions
  • Emotions such as grief, heartache, loss, and fear can be treated with the help of exercise. This is because exercise boosts your serotonin levels that are responsible for relieving these range of difficult emotions.
  • Exercise also works as a medication to improve and normalize your neurotransmitter levels to make you feel happy and more alive again. Once you engage in physical activity, it’ll increase your endorphin and serotonin levels to make you feel better and to shove away bad emotions that reside in your mind.
  • Are you having difficulty motivating yourself to do physical activity? Tell yourself to move your body! Repeat this until you start to feel like doing it! Exercise is one way to distract yourself away from these negative emotions and makes you focus on your well-being, thus making you a positive person overall.

Eight Simple Rules You Should Follow Before Trying the Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet is considered one of the healthiest diets to date. It gained popularity because it helps ease out depression as suggested by researchers. The diet involves eating more plant-based foods with fewer amounts of both meat and dairy.

People who followed the Mediterranean diet were found to less likely to develop depression and have a happier mood overall. However, lots of thorough research is still needed to prove that following such diet can indeed treat depression.

When we talk about diets, it’s primarily about avoiding eating “bad” foods while consuming more of the “good” ones. A whole diet approach consists of choosing to eat a variety of food groups for a healthier and balanced approach to eating.

Nature plays a vital role to make us eat lots of fruits and veggies. Take a tomato for an example; its natural deep red color is striking enough to convince us to eat one. The color of our favorite fruits and veggies are due to the nutrients they have. Lycopene found in tomatoes is the reason for its color. Same with anthocyanins which are found in aubergines and blueberries, which results in a deep blue/purple color. Likewise, the color orange on squashes and carrots is because of beta-carotene.

Olive oil also has a big part in the Mediterranean diet. Oleic acid, which is a compound found in olive oil helps fight various health issues such as cancer and brain damage just to name a few. So with that said, how do we eat the “Mediterranean” way? Let’s find out!

  1. More Veggies!
  • It’s important to incorporate five portions of non-starchy veggies in your everyday meals such as Aubergines, Peppers, Courgettes, Green Beans, Tomatoes, Cucumber, and the like. Roasted Mediterranean Stuffed Red Peppers also goes perfect with the mentioned veggies too.
  1. Don’t Forget About Healthy Fats
  • Legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, and butter beans should also be included in your meals too. Not to mention, nuts and seeds. They provide a good amount of fiber and protein and also healthy fats as well. Olive and Avocado oil also contains healthy fats which are perfect to go with your everyday meals. Consider adding at least 5-6 teaspoons of olive oil per day and ¼ of avocado oil.
  1. Time to Get Fishy
  • Consider adding fish to your daily meals such as salmon, fresh tuna, sardines, and mackerel to name a few. Eating at least 2-3 times per week of fish is recommended. Fishes are filled with protein and contain anti-inflammatory properties such as omega-3. If you’re allergic to fishes (which is rare), you might want to opt on taking omega-3 supplements instead.
  1. Consume Less Dairy
  • Eating lesser amounts of dairy food is part of the Mediterranean diet. Trim it down to only 1-2 daily servings of dairy-based foods. A cup of milk, fresh curd cheeses like feta or ricotta is also recommended too since they are easier to digest. Don’t forget to eat eggs too like 3-4 times a week. Eggs are rich in protein and are easy to prepare.
  1. Opt for Better Food Choices
  • Avoid eating refined carbs since they lack essential nutrients and fiber. Go for wholegrain instead for easier digestion and better nutrient absorption.
  1. Increase Your Antioxidant Intake
  • Eat plenty of fish and antioxidant-rich dried herbs such as oregano, basil, thyme, and rosemary.
  1. Choose Healthy Drinks
  • Opt for drinking healthy food choices such as green tea, and most importantly, water. Avoid sugary beverages such as fruit juices, squashes, and cordials. Don’t worry; you can still drink alcohol but keep it in moderate quantities.
  1. Eat with the Seasons
  • It’s better to eat during harvest season where fruits and veggies are at their nutritious state. Try something new and eat veggies or fruits that you have never tasted before. Be it radishes to your salad or maybe a roasting fennel as a side vegetable.

Final Note

  • With plenty of meat and fish on the list, it’s better to opt for plant-based foods more often and less of processed foods. Spruce up your dish by adding color of fruits and veggies. Lastly, eat until you feel that you’re 80% full. This will make you comfortable without feeling overstuffed.

Eight Essential Tips for Maintaining Your Paleo and Gluten-Free Diet While Traveling

It’s summertime! And there’s nothing better than spending the rest of the season somewhere far away. But just because it’s summer doesn’t mean you have to be reckless on the foods you eat while traveling. If you’re a person that’s following a Paleo or Gluten-Free diet plan and want to maintain it even when you’re traveling, then this article is for you. Listed below are eight tips to keep in mind on how to achieve that goal. Let’s read on to find out!

  1. Research About the Restaurant You’re Dining In

  • Before you dine at some fancy restaurants at your destination, it’s important to do your research first to know what meal they had in store in their menu. This will help you to choose which restaurant serves gluten-free meals and the like.
  1. Always Check the Menu

  • Be smart and check the menu of the restaurant you’re in before ordering. Check if they have a gluten-free section and see if they offer enough meals for you. There are times where some restaurants have outdated gluten-free menus, so when you spot one, always approach their cook and see what’s available.
  1. Educate the Server

  • Let the server or waiter understand that you’re undergoing a diet and requesting to remove a particular ingredient in your meal is normal. A Gluten-Free card is also important so if you have one, don’t forget to bring it and show it to the waiter whenever you order.
  1. Beware of Gluten-Free Grains

  • Not everything “gluten-free” is considered healthy, and one example of this is grains. Grains are hard to digest and contains toxic molds that can have a negative effect on people that are gluten intolerant. Meals that contain grains should definitely be avoided so check other meals that don’t contain
  1. Opt for High-Quality Foods

  • And don’t be afraid to spend on one. People that are gluten sensitive must not eat low quality food is this may lead to serious health issues. Fruits and veggies may be contaminated with insecticides sprayed on them at their farms so be careful on picking one. Corn-fed beef may be contaminated with E-coli that’s harmful to our bodies so pick one that is grass-fed.
  1. Heated/Oxidized Oils is a Big NO

  • Beware on eating meals that use vegetable oils. Some of them are being heated/oxidized during its processing stage that may cause inflammation in the arteries and small intestine once consumed. These kind of oils are often used by restaurants because of its cheap If you want to stay safe, ask the server if they can cook your food using real butter instead of oil. Don’t be afraid to pay extra for it if they do. At least you’re putting your health on top of your priority first before anything else.
  1. Rent a Hotel Room with a Kitchen

  • For your accommodation needs, it’s important to book one with a kitchen. You can then shop at local supermarkets and cook your own gluten-free recipes at your disposal.
  1. Trust Your Instincts

  • If you have a really bad feeling about something inside a restaurant, then don’t be afraid to head for the door. As mentioned on the previous tip, you can cook your own meals instead to ensure a much safer eating experience while you’re at it.

Controlling Your Hunger After an Intense Workout

So you’re done hitting the gym and you start to feel good about yourself. You now imagine that you will turn into a sexy bodybuilder in no time. But suddenly, when you get out of the gym, you were greeted with various fast food chains in each and every corner. And the next thing you’ll find is yourself munching on your favorite burger and fries at McDonald’s.

We all had these moments and it’s completely normal. But is it really normal to be “that” hungry every after a workout? If you can’t make it home before digging in, then that is a serious problem that needs to be taken care off.

Based on a study, this feeling of extreme hunger every after a workout are more prominent in women. This is because women have a harder time resisting hunger, and they are most likely prepare for a second dinner after a workout.

On the other hand, men that are working out for longer durations especially at moderate speeds are more likely to feel hungrier than performing an intense workout that lasts for at least 20 to 30 minutes.

The Reason Why You’re Hungry After Working Out

  • When we look at it, exercise can indeed make you hungry. Food contains calories and this is where your body gets it energy from. When you exercise, you burn calories, thus making you lose energy and then making you feel hungry afterwards. While working out, the body uses glycogen that is found in the muscles and liver as a source of energy. Once you’re done, the body begs to refill the energy it
  • It is also proven that exercise suppresses acylated ghrelin (a hunger hormone) and stimulates digestive hormones PYY and GLP-1 (hormones that limit your appetite). However, the effect doesn’t last for long. And that’s why your body cries out for food each time you’re done working out.

Preventing Overeating Post-Workout

  • Drinks Lots of Fluids – There are times that you feel hungry, but in reality, you’re just thirsty. That’s why it is important to drink lots of fluids before grabbing your wallet to buy a box of pizza. Also, don’t forget to bring a bottle of water with you every time you work out, just in case the gym you’re going in doesn’t have available water.
  • Eat Well Before Exercising – Eat something that can truly satisfy your stomach without making yourself feel full. This limits your hunger each time you’re done working out. An energy bar paired with Greek yogurt and banana should be enough to fuel you.
  • Eat The Moment You Feel It – Don’t wait too long to eat every after a workout. If you feel hungry afterwards, then grab something to eat (maybe a lite snack) to avoid excess hunger when you get home.
  • Fuel Up with Protein – Protein is the one responsible for muscle buildup. That’s why it’s important to have your daily protein intake to help build your muscle each time you exercise.
  • Plan Ahead – Rethinking and planning what to eat after a workout is the key to slow down your hunger. So after working out, don’t race your way to the kitchen quickly. Grab your towel and take a shower, and let your inner thoughts work what’s best to eat for dinner.
  • Watch Your Calorie Count – This works better if you have a fitness tracker with you. After working out, check how many calories you’ve burned. This helps you decide and control what to eat after your workout session.

Best Foods to Eat During Pre-Workout and Post-Workout

Lots of questions come into mind when talking about fitness. Is it about how to lose weight faster? About burning more calories? Or is it about how to feel energized during the session? Yes, there are lots of answers that can solve each question but one of the most straightforward solution of them all is to “eat”. You heard that right, it’s eating.

Our mindset when it comes to losing weight is to train hard and work hard with eating less at the same time. However, this isn’t the case after all. It’s not about starving yourself. it’s about combining exercise and eating healthy foods to get the most out of your health.

Why It’s Important to Eat Before Working Out

  • To eat or not to eat before a workout, your body still burns the same amount of fat. In fact, not eating before a workout will result in muscle loss in the long run. But why does this happen?
  • This is because your body switches to survival mode when you’re hungry. When this happens, your body will find alternate ways to get protein and muscle. This will eventually lead to loss of muscle mass and can slow down your metabolism thereafter, thus making it hard to lose weight. Also, exercising with an empty stomach is like driving a car without fuel.

Foods to Eat During Pre-Workout

  • A combination of carbs and protein is the key for a healthy pre-workout meal. Listed below are meals you can eat during pre-workout.
  • 2 tablespoons banana with almond butter
  • ½ cup oatmeal with 1 cup of berries
  • ½ cup brown rice paired with ½ cup of black beans
  • ¼ cup of apple and walnuts
  • 6 ounces of Greek yogurt paired with ¼ cup of trail mix
  • 1 slice of whole-wheat bread paired with a slice of banana
  • 10 multi-grain crackers with 3 tablespoons of hummus

Why It’s Important to Eat After Working Out

  • Your body uses glycogen as energy when you exercise. Once you’re done with that last rep, your glycogen breaks down and you start to lose energy thereafter. This is why eating after workout is important especially protein and carbs. It helps you buildup energy and repairs muscles that were broken down during exercise.
  • It is also better that you start refueling once you feel that your energy is depleting. Whenever you go to the gym, bring your energy drink with you, or a pack of peanut butter and jelly sandwich for you to eat.

Foods to Eat During Post-Workout

  • ½ cup salad with roasted chickpeas, light olive oil, and vinegar
  • 1 cup chocolate milk
  • 4 ounces of grilled chicken paired with of steamed vegetables
  • 4 ounces of grilled salmon paired with 5 ounces of baked sweet potato
  • ½ cup Burrito with beans paired with ½ cup brown rice and 2 tablespoons of guacamole
  • 1 cup Quinoa bowl paired with 1 cup blackberries and ¼ cup pecans
  • Protein shake (one scoop protein powder, half banana, almond milk, and hemp seeds)
  • 1 cup sautéed or steamed veggies paired with 1 cup non-GMO tofu

A Simple Metabolism Hack to Burn More Calories

According to a study, our bodies suddenly become a power calorie burning machine around 5 pm. Researchers are having a hard time deciphering how this happens, suspecting that the metabolism acts like this according to our circadian rhythms.

This means that every time we sleep, our bodies are exerting less energy, thus slowing our metabolism rate. That’s why some diet tips recommend not to eat late at night because it’ll make you gain fat. During the day, however, our metabolism suddenly rises until it reaches its high point at five in the afternoon.

That’s why it is important to sync our diets depending on the time of day to make it more effective. Here’s how!

  • Stick to Your Usual Schedule

  • Maintaining a consistent and regular schedule is the first step in this kind of diet. Meaning, you have to wake up and go back to bed at the same time every day. This applies to your breakfast, lunch, and dinner too. The moment you fail to maintain your daily schedule, your sleep, weight, and health will suffer in the long run.
  • Avoid Eating at Extreme Hours

  • We always fail at things, especially at maintaining our schedules. It’s not your fault, especially if you’re a worker were going home late is really a thing. Say, for example; you got home by 10 pm, avoid eating heavy meals at this hour because you’re less likely to burn them off. Instead, grab a meal before leaving work especially around 7-8pm. The same thing goes when you wake up early. Avoid eating breakfast at 4 am where your metabolism is still at its lowest point.
  • Plan Your Carbs and Fat Intake for the Day

  • Studies show that fast carb burnout happens in the morning, while fats burn quickly in the evening. That’s why it’s important to eat your carbs in the morning while fat at night. The difference is small, but at least it’ll help you out with your weight loss. Have a healthy carb breakfast such as a bowl of oats during the day and foods with good fats such as cheese, salmon, and avocado at night.