I’ll assume you’ve had a head cold before. Those viral upper respiratory infections (URI) bring the usual symptoms of fever, stuffy nose, and scratchy throat. However, have you also noticed that you feel crabby, unmotivated, foggy, or restless at night?
The culprit? Neuroinflammation. Yes, a head cold = a hot head (and a bad mood).
Here’s how it works: Viral infections like a cold (caused by viruses like rhinovirus) or flu (caused by the influenza virus) are foreign invaders to the immune system. The immune system works as a “defense and repair” mechanism and is closely linked to your neurological and psychological systems. When those bug invaders enter, your immune system revs up to defend. This activation can cue the process of inflammation to occur in your body and brain. An inflamed brain (neuroinflammation) can contribute to a depressed mood and brain fog (i.e., mental fatigue, lack of clarity, poor concentration,...
“Tell me what you eat and I will tell you who you are.”
-Anthelme Brillat Savarin, 1826
As far back as 1826, Savarin knew “we are what we eat,” and– more specifically– who we become. Functionally speaking, “food is information.”
Foods contain nutrients which provide directions to the systems of the body about how they will function, creating either positive or negative consequences. The nutrients we consume send messages to the brain and body about how it is going to behave. When we think of “food as information,” the focus becomes foods to include rather than foods to exclude.
The body and the mind are a connected, collaborative, community of interdependent systems. For example:
Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the United States has risen over the last four decades. Two recent studies (one in Pediatrics and the other in JAMA Pediatrics) found that rates continue to grow, reporting that about 1 in every 40 children are diagnosed with ASD.
Why are so many more kids being diagnosed with ASD? Two key possibilities:
Another big problem: 30% of children with ASD are not receiving appropriate treatments. Treatments for ASD include medications,...
Adaptogens and nervines can support resilience in body and mind. These substances are generally well-tolerated and can help your system adapt more skillfully when faced with stress.
Adaptogens are typically plant-derived substances that work to balance your body and mind. You may also hear them called “adaptogenic herbs.” These substances can help your body adapt to physical, chemical, environmental, and emotional stress; and can also exert a normalizing effect on bodily processes.
My cell phone rang during dinner with friends. Scott, my husband, had collapsed and was being taken to the hospital.
Panic rose in my chest as I made my way to the ER. The doctors struggled to make sense of his symptoms. Was he suffering a heart attack? An aortic dissection? A strange cardiac rhythm? I gasped for air as the doctors wheeled him from room to room for tests– and again when he landed in the ICU. Breathe, I told myself.
Soon after entering the ICU, Scott flatlined. My heart flooded with terror. The medical team rushed to his room and after a few minutes his heartbeat picked up again. I held fast to only one thought: Breathe.
Scott was taken to the operating room for a temporary pacemaker implant. Breathe, I reminded myself. Ten days later we were told that Scott has a very rare heart condition. Breathe, I thought. One breath at a time.
The "Window of Tolerance" is the optimal zone of arousal where a person is able to thrive in everyday life. This zone has been described by Drs. Dan Siegel and Pat Ogden as “sailing within a river of wellbeing where we are able to respond to all that comes our way with equanimity-without being thrown off course" (learn more here).
When you find yourself outside of this desirable zone (e.g., a nerve-wracking social situation), then your nervous system gets revved up and you can become emotionally over-reactive and quick to anger. Or, you may go the other way, and shut down or withdraw.
As the saying goes, "You can't direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails." So how can you adjust your sails when you find yourself outside your window of tolerance? You can use awareness, grounding, and mindful breathing skills to help you get back in the zone for more optimal functioning.
The days are getting dark and cold. Warm hearty meals may be at the center of your cravings and, trust me, you are not alone. The following tips on how to eat more plant-based this fall will not only satisfy your comfort food craving but nourish your body by helping you succeed in eating more whole foods.
The term plant-based has been buzzing around the internet of late and hopefully, we will continue hearing more about it as time passes. A whole food plant-based diet means that the food you consume is centered around an abundant variety of whole grains, vegetables, legumes, beans, fruit, nuts, and seeds while aiming to eat food as close to its whole form as possible (e.g. brown rice vs. white rice), choose organic as much as you can, and avoid processed food.
Whole food plant-based diets have been studied and appear to be among the healthiest ways of eating. Let me put it this way, very few people argue...
It's here! The kit to get you through winter without that mind-body crash has arrived.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is common in winter. The Winterize Your Brain Kit includes key supplements and tools that work synergistically to help you create more warmth, light, & happiness- even during the coldest & darkest days. Learn more about your kit below.
Watch the video above and learn more about the kit here.
Food has an amazing ability to affect your mental clarity, mood, memory, and your ability to focus and to feel calm. If you’re looking to boost your focus, one of the places you should start with is what you’re eating. Below are some general suggestions and specific foods that may help you improve your focus.
Eat Breakfast. Studies have found that eating breakfast may improve short-term memory and attention. Foods at the top of researchers' brain-fuel list include high-fiber whole grains, protein, dairy, and fruits. Just don't overeat; researchers also found high-calorie breakfasts appear to hinder concentration.
Keep Regular Mealtimes. Your mid-day meal should be the largest if possible with a light meal at supper. Eat moderately, neither fasting nor indulging in large meals.
Relax. Take time to relax after eating. You'll digest better and feel more calm, satisfied, and ready to focus on your next task.
If you have gastrointestinal (GI) concerns, consider trying the SHARE Model (below) to ease discomfort and restore more resilient GI health. The Share Model is a modified version of the 5 Rs from The Institute for Functional Medicine.
If you're not sure about your symptoms, visit your doctor and then visit the Natural Digestion section for more information and support as you work to improve your GI health.
There are some basic GI health supplements from Resilient Remedies that can help you as you implement SHARE. See below for these supports.
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