Healthy lifestyle cuts down negative effects of stress

Healthy lifestyle cuts down negative effects of stressA new study has revealed that following a healthy lifestyle, that comprises of a healthy diet, sleep and exercise, counters the negative effects of stress.

According to the study by UC San Francisco, the participants who exercised, slept well and ate well had less telomere shortening than the ones who didn’t maintain healthy lifestyles, even when they had similar levels of stress.

Eli Puterman said that it’s very important that we promote healthy living, especially under circumstances of typical experiences of life stressors like death, caregiving and job loss.

The researchers found that women who engaged in lower levels of healthy behaviors, there was a significantly greater decline in telomere length in their immune cells for every major life stressor that occurred during the year.

Yet women who maintained active lifestyles, healthy diets, and good quality sleep appeared protected when exposed to stress – accumulated life stressors did not appear to lead to greater shortening.

The study was published in Molecular Psychiatry.

Source: dna india

15 foods that will keep you calm

15 foods that will keep you calm

Stress and anxiety are nothing but an invitation to disaster. And a mind which is cool, relaxed and calm can take one places. Make sure that necessary changes are made in your eating habits and go for foods which can ensure that the mind stays relaxed and free of stress.

Did you know that what you eat can greatly affect the way you think and feel? Here are the top 15 foods that help you develop a calmer mind and deal with stress better:

1. Chocolates

Give in to your darkest desire by indulging in chocolates. Their anandamine content keeps the dopamine levels of the brain in check, thereby ensuring the mind stays relaxed and free of stress.

2. Nuts

Nuts contain selenium, a mineral whose deficiency causes crankiness, anxiety and fatigue. Therefore, a handful of nuts help you stay calmer.

3. Spinach

Popeye’s favorite food is also rich in magnesium, which keeps the mind from overreacting. The correct dosage of vitamins A and C as well as iron ensures a healthy diet intake as well.

4. Pasta

Pasta made from whole grain is rich in magnesium, the deficiency of which increases stress levels.

5. Whole-Grain Bread

Bread made from whole grain has the same effect as pasta, that is, the reduction of magnesium deficiency. So, make sure you include toasts or sandwiches in breakfast to lead a stress-free day.

6. Blueberries

A delicious fruit, blueberries are also packed with antioxidants, which are known to be highly effective in relieving stress.

7. Almonds

The zinc and vitamin B12 content of almonds makes them super-eligible to make it to this list. These nutrients help maintain a balanced mood and keep anxiety at bay.

8. Green Tea

Nothing can have a calmer effect on the human mind than a cup of green tea to kickstart the day. In fact, it is known to have an immediate relieving effect on many.

9. Fish

Fish types such as salmon and mackerel are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which provide selenium and tryptophan to the brain, thereby helping it stay calm.

10. Oats

Greatly beneficial in enhancing the levels of serotonin required by the body, oats are a great way to lower cholesterol levels as well as spend a calm-minded day.

11. Milk

Surprised again? Well, milk contains tryptophan, which helps in the build-up of serotonin, thereby helping the mind stay relaxed.

12. Broccoli

Go green! With broccoli, you get your required dose of potassium, the low levels of which can cause tiredness and stress.

13. Kiwi Fruit

Kiwis are also known to convert tryptophan into serotonin, thereby inducing anxiety-relieving experience for the brain.

14. Bananas

Low in fibre, bananas reduce the risk of gas, thereby increasing chances of staying calm and stress-free through the day.

15. Rice

A carbohydrate that has an immensely calming effect, rice is also easy to digest and low in fat.
The above is a list of some of the foods you can include in your daily diet to ensure your levels of anxiety stay low. In addition, remember to drink plenty of water to keep flushing out those toxins and stay healthier and happier!

Source: health digezt

Stress Slows Metabolism

Stress Slows Metabolism

If you crave chocolate cake or Ben and Jerry’s after a stressful day, you could gain over 10 pounds in a year, warns a new study.

The research, published in Biological Psychiatry, suggests that women burn fewer calories when under stress. The study participants who reported stress also had higher insulin levels.

“This means that, over time, stressors could lead to weight gain,” said Jan Kiecolt-Glaser, professor of psychiatry and psychology at The Ohio State University and lead author of the study, in a press release. “We know from other data that we’re more likely to eat the wrong foods when we’re stressed, and our data say that when we eat the wrong foods, weight gain becomes more likely because we are burning fewer calories.”

Researchers questioned 58 middle-aged women about their stress levels, and then served them a 930-calorie meal, complete with biscuits, gravy and 60 grams of fat. The researchers then measured how long it took the women to burn those calories (their metabolic rate). The stressed-out burned 104 fewer calories than the care-free women.

The researchers also noted that women with a history of depression combined with stress had a bigger rise in triglycerides after the meal. High levels of triglycerides are associated with cardiovascular disease.

“With depression, we found there was an additional layer. In women who had stress the day before and a history of depression, triglycerides after the meal peaked the highest,” Kiecolt-Glaser said. “The double whammy of past depression as well as daily stressors was a really bad combination.”

While it’s unclear whether the effect would be the same in men, it’s probably safer for everyone to reach for a green smoothie after a long day.

Source: discovery news

Innovative new treatment for depression offers hope to patients


Depression is a serious medical condition that affects millions of Americans — and nearly twice as many women as men.

Symptoms can include persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness and loss of interest in activities that were once pleasurable, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Other symptoms include feelings of guilt or worthlessness, irritability, changes in appetite, increased fatigue, difficulty concentrating — even recurrent thoughts of suicide.

About 12 million American women suffer from depression each year, women like Debi Lee. The pastor and mother of three tells NBC Special Anchor Maria Shriver that she was first diagnosed in high school, but her condition became debilitating after the birth of her children.

“It’s a struggle,” said Lee. “There’s definitely a stigma still. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I should be able to control this.”

Although depression is treatable, most commonly with medications or counseling, many never seek help, often because they are too embarrassed or ashamed.

“Depression is really a physical illness,” said Dr. Andrew Leuchter, a psychiatrist at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at University of California, Los Angeles.

It’s a disorder that even can be seen in brain scans, with images clearly showing the difference between a normal functioning brain and the brain of someone suffering from depression.

“When you show this image to a person who’s struggling with depression and you show them that their brain looks different than the quote so-called healthy person, what’s their reaction?” Shriver asked.

“It’s commonly one of relief,” Leuchter said.

Now, Dr. Leuchter says there’s an innovative new treatment called synchronized transcranial magnetic stimulation, or sTMS, that may have the potential to provide relief. Dr. Leuchter, a consultant and stockholder in the company behind sTMS, says it syncs to each patient’s brain, then stimulates it with low levels of magnetic energy, 30 minutes a day for several weeks.

“And when that happens, normal moods can start to come back,” said Dr. Leuchter.

His unpublished study of 120 patients found the treatment significantly decreased depression in some patients, compared to the placebo. The treatment is currently being studied, but not yet approved for the public.

Dr. Matthew Rudorfer, associate director of treatment research for the National Institute of Mental Health, said sTMS “represents an exciting advance for people who don’t want to take medications, can’t take medications, or who do not respond to medications.”

Currently under FDA review, sTMS treatment is not yet approved for the public but might one day offer hope for patients with depression, such as Lee, who would like to be medication-free.

“It made me feel normal,” she said.

Source: today

Study reveals stress degrades sperm quality

stress degrades

Psychological stress is harmful to sperm and semen quality, affecting its concentration, appearance, and ability to fertilize an egg, according to a study led by researchers Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and Rutgers School of Public Health. Results are published online in the journal Fertility and Sterility.

According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, infertility affects men and women equally, and semen quality is a key indicator of male fertility.

“Men who feel stressed are more likely to have lower concentrations of sperm in their ejaculate, and the sperm they have are more likely to be misshapen or have impaired motility,” says senior author Pam Factor-Litvak, PhD, associate professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health. “These deficits could be associated with fertility problems.”

The researchers studied 193 men, ages 38 to 49, enrolled in the Study of the Environment and Reproduction at the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan in Oakland, California, between 2005 and 2008. The men completed tests to measure work and life stress on subjective scale (how they felt overall) and objective scale (life events behind the stress). They also provided semen samples. Technicians at the University of California, Davis, used standard methods employed in fertility testing to assess the samples for semen concentration, and sperm appearance and motility.

Measured subjectively or objectively, life stress degraded semen quality, even after accounting for men’s concerns about their fertility, their history of reproductive health problems, or their other health issues. Workplace stress was not a factor, however the researchers say it may still affect reproductive health since men with job strain had diminished levels of testosterone. Being without a job did not improve matters. Unemployed men had sperm of lower quality than employed men, regardless of how stressed they were.

It is not fully understood how stress affects semen quality. It may trigger the release of steroid hormones called glucocorticoids, which in turn could blunt levels of testosterone and sperm production. Another possibility is oxidative stress, which has been shown to affect semen quality and fertility.

“Stress has long been identified as having an influence on health. Our research suggests that men’s reproductive health may also be affected by their social environment,” says Teresa Janevic, PhD, the study’s first author and an assistant professor at the Rutgers School of Public Health.
While several previous studies have examined the link between stress and semen quality, the current paper is the first to look at subjective and objective measures of stress and find associations with semen concentration, and sperm appearance and motility.

Source: science daily

Raise your confidence and reduce anxiety in 2 minutes


If you are nervous or anxious before important events,under a lot of stress or fearful, agitated etc… you probably have a problem with you’re levels of testosterone and cortisol. These two hormones are essential for your feelings and actions in stressful situations.

Testosterone has a strong anti-aging effect . He turns fat into muscle , keeps skin taut , increases bone density , gives us a positive mood , and enhances the ability to handle stress.

Testosterone is known as personality hormone. He gives us motivation , a sense of power, confidence, and heightened sexual energy. When we have a sufficient amount of testosterone in the blood we are ready to risk more and live our lives without delays.

On the other side,cortisol hormone has opposite effects and its secreted during physical and mental stress and greatly provokes anxiety in people making them impossible to operate efficiently.

When you have an important event usually testosterone level decreases and cortisol levels increase as a result of stress or pressure.It may be a first date,speech in front of many people, exam or any other important yet stressful event for you .

Imagine that you have a way to change this situation to your advantage and gain important confidence by lifting the level of testosterone and simultaneously reduce cortisol levels and in two minutes.

Source: Secretly healthy

8 Foods That Fight Depression


Can Your Food Affect Your Mood?

Looking for a new weapon in the fight against depression? These foods have shown a lot of promise as alternative depression treatments.

A number of lifestyle factors can contribute to depression, but one that’s often overlooked is what you put in your mouth. “Diet plays a huge role in depression,” says Shawn Talbott, PhD, a nutritional biochemist and author of Vigor: 7 Days to Unlimited Energy, Focus, and Well-Being.

Do you crave sweet, salty, and fatty foods when you’re feeling blue? You’re not alone. But, says Dr. Talbot, “If we eat better foods like lean proteins, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and fish, we short-circuit the junk food cravings and have higher energy levels and sharper mental focus.” Should you add these good-mood foods to your diet?

The Diet and Depression Connection. Dr. Andrew Weil shares the key nutrient you should to eat to boost your mood.

Walnuts for Depression
When eaten in moderation, most nuts are a good source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats as well as protein. But walnuts get the edge when it comes to lessening the symptoms of depression because they also are one of the richest plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids. “The omega-3s in walnuts support overall brain health,” says Robin H-C.

Fatty Fish for Depression
When it comes to omega-3 fatty acids, no food source is better than fatty fish like mackerel, bluefish, wild salmon, and tuna, says Talbott. He adds that the fatty acids found in these fish not only have specific brain-boosting properties to fight depression, but also are good for overall health as well. They improve circulation and reduce inflammation and your overall risk of heart disease.

Low-Fat Dairy for Depression
Skim milk, yogurt, low-fat cheeses, and other dairy products are rich in calcium, vitamin D, and protein. These are great for your body for many reasons, including fighting depression. “Low-fat dairy is the richest dietary source of two powerhouse nutrients, calcium and vitamin D, as well as specific peptides (proteins) that induce a sense of well-being and relaxation,” says Talbott.

Whole Grains for Depression
When looking for foods that fight depression, focus on the healthy, high-fiber carbohydrates found in whole grains and you can feel good and do your body good at the same time. “Complex carbohydrates are wonderful foods to improve mood quickly,” says Debbie Mandel, a stress management expert and author of Addicted to Stress. “Whole grains, brown rice, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and whole wheat pasta are all good choices. They help the body release serotonin.”

Green Tea for Depression
Researchers know that green tea is an incredibly rich source of antioxidants, but its depression-fighting properties can be traced to an amino acid known as theanine, says Talbott. “Theanine is an amino acid naturally found in tea leaves that provides an anti-stress relaxation benefit to tea drinkers,” he adds. “The presence of theanine in green tea is thought to be responsible for the observation that caffeine intake in coffee drinkers (who aren’t getting theanine) is more apt to result in tension as opposed to the ‘relaxed alertness’ more common to tea drinkers.”

Turmeric for Depression
If you’re feeling depressed, this bold spice found in many Indian and Asian curry dishes is a great way to boost your mood, among other benefits. “Turmeric can indeed be considered one of the ‘spices of life’ because of its profound anti-inflammatory activity,” says Talbott. “Famously used in spicy Indian and Thai dishes, turmeric contains the active compounds turmerones and curcuminods, which have been associated with a wide range of health benefits.”

Dark Chocolate for Depression
Can chocolate be considered among the foods that fight depression? Current thinking is that the dark variety really can help boost your mood. “Dark chocolate helps to release serotonin and relaxes the blood vessels of the cardiovascular system,” says Mandel. Just remember that dark chocolate is incredibly calorie-dense, with about 150 calories per ounce, so eat just one small piece at a time.

Source: woman post

Depression treatment technique uses new helmet therapy

depression treatment

A helmet that delivers electro-magnetic impulses to the brain has shown promise in treating people with depression, Danish researchers have said.

About 30% of those with the condition fail to respond to medication or psychological counselling. The new device targets malfunctioning blood cells in the brain.

In clinical trials two-thirds who used it reported that their symptoms had disappeared, and improvements in mood were noticeable within a week. The helmet was tested on 65 patients with treatment-resistant depression.

The trials were conducted by the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at Copenhagen University and the Psychiatric Centre at Hillerod in North Zealand.

Patients also continued taking their regular anti-depressant medication for the eight weeks of the trial.

‘It’s amazing’
“They were feeling well, they were functioning well, they could start work,” said Birgit Straaso, chief doctor at Hillerod.

“The helmet is amazing,” said Annemette Ovlisen, a graphic artist who suffered recurrent depression for 16 years and a participant in the Hillerod trials.

“It’s like the fog lifts. It was like somebody hit the reset button.”

The device contains seven coils that deliver a dose of Transcranial Pulsating Electro Magnetic Fields (T-PEMF) to brain tissues.

The pulses are so minute that the patient cannot detect any sensation, and the only side effect so far is occasional “tiny” nausea that immediately disappears after treatment.

Prof Steen Dissing, of Copenhagen’s Faculty of Health Sciences is the helmet’s principal architect. He said: “The device mimics electrical fields in the brain, and triggers the body’s own healing mechanism.”

The pulses activate capillaries in the brain, which form new blood vessels and secrete growth hormones. “We think it works so well because we have imitated the electrical signalling that goes on in the brain and we figured out that this signalling communicates with the blood vessels,” said Prof Dissing.

“And blood vessels do communicate with blood tissue. And we found that communication pathway.” In the trial, whose results were published this month in the journal Acta Neuropsychiatrica, 34 patients received half an hour of T-PEMF once a day, and 31 had two 30-minute doses.

The treatment had the additional benefit of enabling patients to improve their tolerance of the anti-depression medicine, researchers found.

They are currently seeking permission from the European Union to market the helmet within six months to a year, and said the potential demand was enormous.

Depression rates rising
According to the World Health Organization, more than 350 million people are suffering from depression and the number is rising, especially amongst the elderly, where one in five succumb.

At its worst, depression leads to suicide and one million take their own lives each year.

Raj Persaud, a consultant psychiatrist in the UK, said: “It is an exciting and important development as it shows that this treatment works at an acceptable level of efficacy and has low side effects.”

A similar treatment – Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) – had also been shown to be an effective treatment for depression, but no more so than taking anti-depressants, he said.

“Pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers who may not want to take an anti-depressant may find this treatment more acceptable.

“This uses and administers less electrical power than TMS, another reason why it’s theoretically interesting, and it’s self-administered, which TMS is not.

“However, most health services will be reluctant try this new treatment because they will not want the additional costs and would prefer to stick to anti-depressants.

“This is a mistake in my view, as with depression the more possible effective treatments you can offer, the better. “Only roughly one-third of people get better with anti-depressants, so having other treatments to try like this is a good thing.

“These treatments will be unpopular with health services because as well as initial start-up costs, there is training of technicians and clinicians.”

ECT replacement
Prof Dissing believes the helmet could ultimately replace controversial electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), which has been used to treat the most severe forms of depression since the 1940s.

ECT patients are sedated before being strapped to a stretcher and subjected to a dose of current that generates an epileptic fit lasting 20 to 50 seconds.

Some psychiatrists regard ECT as a life-saver, while detractors deplore side effects such as memory loss, and in some extreme cases, personality changes. The Danish helmet employs completely different technology to ECT and should not be compared, says Prof Dissing.

Colleagues at Odense University are so impressed with his invention that they will conduct an experiment in May to determine whether T-PEMF can have a positive impact on the degenerative Parkinson’s Disease.

It is hoped patients will see an improvement in symptoms such as limb stiffness and tremors.

Source: BBC news

Indian employers rank stress No 1 lifestyle risk factor: Survey


Indian employers are ahead of their Asia Pacific counterparts in developing strategies to manage work-related stress as one in every three employers instituted stress management programmes last year and an almost equal number plan to do so this year, says a survey.

According to the inaugural Asia Pacific edition of the ‘Staying@Work’ survey conducted by professional services company Towers Watson, stress is the number one lifestyle risk factor, ranking above physical inactivity and obesity.

A growing recognition among employers is that the workplace experience can both contribute to and reduce employee stress and an increasing number of employers are planning lifestyle change programmes that were not as prevalent as of now.

“Almost 1 in every 3 Indian employers has instituted stress or resilience management programmes in 2013 and an almost equal number plan to follow suit in 2014. With stress being ranked as #1 lifestyle risk factor in India, this number is likely to grow,” the report said.

“It is noteworthy that Indian employers fared better than their Asia Pacific counterparts in managing employees’ work -related stress,” Towers Watson India Director, Benefits Anuradha Sriram said.

Integrating various initiatives into a comprehensive and robust health and productivity strategy is a gradual process, but the fact that Indian companies have begun taking positive strides in this direction augurs well, Sriram added.

According to Indian employees the top three reasons for stress at workplace include unclear or conflicting job expectations, inadequate staffing (lack of support, uneven workload in group) and lack of work/life balance.

One of the most common solution adopted by employers to manage employees’ stress is offering flexible working hours as 50 per cent of employers resort to this solution.

Other top solutions adopted by employers include organise stress management interventions like workshops, yoga, tai chi and undertake education and awareness campaigns to help their employees manage stress.

Though Indian employers are ahead of their regional peers in managing stress at workplace, only 38 per cent have identified stress management at workplace as a top priority of their health and productivity programs, signaling a vast scope for improvement in this area.

“In a challenging economic scenario, where companies are stretched to balance costs and maximise productivity, employers need to identify specific triggers that impact employee wellness, engagement and in turn productivity,” Sriram said.

Source: Hindustan Times

Chronic stress in early life linked to anxiety, aggression in adulthood

Researchers have suggested that chronic stress in early life causes anxiety, aggression in adulthood.

A research team led by Associate Professor Grigori Enikolopov of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) conducted experiments designed to assess the impacts of social stress upon adolescent mice, both at the time they are experienced and during adulthood.

The tests began with 1-month-old male mice – the equivalent, in human terms of adolescents – each placed for 2 weeks in a cage shared with an aggressive adult male.

The animals were separated by a transparent perforated partition, but the young males were exposed daily to short attacks by the adult males. This kind of chronic activity produces what neurobiologists call social-defeat stress in the young mice. These mice were then studied in a range of behavioral tests.

These experiments showed that in young mice chronic social defeat induced high levels of anxiety helplessness, diminished social interaction, and diminished ability to communicate with other young animals. Stressed mice also had less new nerve-cell growth (neurogenesis) in a portion of the hippocampus known to be affected in depression: the subgranular zone of the dentate gyrus.

Another group of young mice was also exposed to social stress, but was then placed for several weeks in an unstressful environment. Following this “rest” period, these mice, now old enough to be considered adults, were tested in the same manner as the other cohort.

In this second, now-adult group, most of the behaviors impacted by social defeat returned to normal, as did neurogenesis , which retuned to a level seen in healthy controls. “This shows that young mice, exposed to adult aggressors, were largely resilient biologically and behaviorally,” says Dr. Enikolopov.

However, in these resilient mice, the team measured two latent impacts on behavior. As adults they were abnormally anxious, and were observed to be more aggressive in their social interactions.

The study has been published online in the journal PLOS ONE.

Source: zee news