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News: June 2021

Natural support for sleeping problems

Close up of woman in bed unable to get to sleep

Can’t get to sleep and sleeping pills no longer doing the trick? You are not alone. A recent study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, US, has found that sleeping drugs don’t tend to help in the long-term[i].

Drawing on data from 685 women suffering from sleep problems, including difficulty falling asleep, frequent waking or rising too early, the study published in BMJ Open found that there was no improvement in sleep quality or duration after one or two years of taking sleeping tablets.

As an alternative, those suffering with sleep problems might like to try some natural remedies such as passionflower and valerian which have been found to help promote healthy sleep patterns while relieving anxiety and without the risk of side effects such as a foggy brain on waking. Other relaxing supplements to consider include 5 HTP, which can increase levels of the body’s happy hormone serotonin. Magnesium and B vitamins can also help.

Eating more greens can help increase your strength

A range of green vegetables

It turns out Popeye might have been right after all – spinach can help to make you stronger! According to recent Australian research just one serving of leafy greens a day boosts muscle function, especially in the legs[ii]. The study, which tracked 3,759 Australians over a 12-year period, found that leg strength was 11% greater in those eating around three ounces of greens a day. That’s the equivalent to a couple of spoons of spinach or three spears of broccoli.

The nitrate found in green leafy vegetables is the secret behind their amazing power says the researchers. Along with spinach, other green vegetables to look out for include broccoli, lettuce, cabbage, and kale. Muscle function is vital for maintaining good health, especially later in life. It reduces the risk of brittle bone disease, osteoporosis, fractures and falls.

Gardening can improve your overall wellbeing

Close up of woman digging flower bed

The more frequently you garden the less stressed you are likely to be and the better your overall wellbeing. So reports a recent survey of over 6,000 people, most of whom were gardeners, published in the journal Cities[iii]. The reasons? It’s thought that when we are surrounded by nature our brain becomes pleasantly distracted which shifts our attention away from our problems and ourselves.

There is also research to show that repetitive tasks such as watering and weeding can take us out of ourselves and into a meditative state.  Yet another theory suggests that gardening uses up comparable amounts of energy to running or being in the gym but because you are focusing on nature it seems more effortless. Time to pick up a trowel and get your dose of vitamin ‘G’ perhaps?

Eating a Mediterranean diet can help support your brain

A salad of olives, tomatoes, cheese and basil representing the mediterranean diet

More good news for the health benefits of following a Mediterranean diet. A recent study published in the Neurology journal reveals that eating a diet high in unsaturated fats, fish, fruits, green vegetables and olive oil, whist low in dairy and red meat, can help cleanse the brain of the protein build-up associated with memory loss and dementia[iv].

 

[i] Sleep Med. 2021 Mar;79:183-189. doi

[ii] The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 151, Issue 5, May 2021, Pages 1222–1230, https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxaa415

[iii] https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cities.2021.103118

[iv] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000012067

 

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