Paradise Valley Unified To Hold Annual 5k Run on February 8th

unnamed (62)

Some event information:

*   This is the 4th Annual Event which started the first year with just 200 participants in year one, and are now up to over 1,100 participants not including spectators;
*   The PVUSD Wellness Committee, which is made up of district nurses, Benefits Coordinator Carol Priborsky and Sheri Gilbert from Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT) organize and manage the event with the help of district & community volunteers. The committee begins organizing the event each year during the summer;
*  PVUSD has held the very modest registration costs flat every year to encourage community and district participation and affordability for everyone;
*   Last year the district introduced a healthy team competition between sites/schools and continues the tradition this year. A trophy is given to the top three sites with the most registered team participation. There is also a grand traveling trophy engraved with the site winner each year that has the overall registered participants which stays with that site for the year and is highly desired! Dr. Jim Lee will be announcing this years winner of the grand trophy prior to the start of the race.
*   The Awards Ceremony commences at approximately 10 am for the top three finishers in each of eight age groups for both male and female participants;
*   Kids DASH events:  The dash events are organized after the runners are through on the track field for ages ten and under.  These events are free to participate. Depending on the number and ages (they do NOT have to register for the dash events and girls and boys run together) the announcer organizes the kids into age groups of say 3-4, 5-7, and 8-10. Runners race in  a 50 yard dash. Medals are given to all participants’ right after the finish by volunteers and as well as ribbons for 1st – 3rd as they cross the finish line;
*   Registration fees, along with generous donations from PVUSD employee benefit vendors, make this event possible. Benefit vendors include: Delta Dental of Arizona, United Healthcare (UHC), Aflac, Ellie Brockhurst & Associates and VSP;
*   If looking for more runs, you can go to AllArizonaRunningEvents.com and check out the Calendar page.
*   PV School District is celebrating 100 years of excellence this year!
*   For the first 30 years of the district, student’s had to walk to school…talk about your 5K!
*   Dr. Patrick Sweeny, Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Support Secondary, holds the distinction of owning the very first bib issued in our first 5K event held on February 12, 2011.
*   The Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT) will have three volunteers assisting with the event (Sheri Gilbert, Rebecca McGonigle and Darlene Kracht); and Delta Dental will providing Stacee Grosshans as an additional helper.

Congratulations to PVUSD for their efforts to keep their staff, students and the community focused on health, wellness and community spirit!

Advertisements

Simple breath test may help diagnose lung cancer

Simple breath test may help diagnose lung cancer, study finds

Published January 29, 2014

FoxNews.com
  • LUNGS.JPG

An easy breath test may be able to indicate if a person has early-stage lung cancer, HealthDay News reported.

In a new study, researchers analyzed the exhaled breath of people who had suspicious lesions on their lungs.  Using a special device developed at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, the researchers looked for levels of four cancer-specific substances called “carbonyls.”

Elevated levels of three out of the four carbonyls predicted lung cancer in 95 percent of the patient’s tests.  Normal levels of these carbonyls were associated with a noncancerous growth in 80 percent of patients.

“Instead of sending patients for invasive biopsy procedures when a suspicious lung mass is identified, our study suggests that exhaled breath could identify which patients” need to seek surgery immediately, study author Dr. Michael Bousamra, of the University of Louisville, said in a press release.

Click for more from HealthDay News.

55 Ways to Get More Energy

55 Ways to Get More Energy

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Greg Go, co-author of Wise Bread‘s new book, 10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget.  Buy the book today (by Monday 11:59pm PDT) and get a $15 Ebates bonus and a chance to win a brand new Flip Cam.

If you’re tired all the time, a change in what you eat (diet) or what you do all day (activity pattern) may be all you need to turn things around 180°.

You won’t be able to do everything on this list all the time — you’d tire yourself out trying to get more energy — but do try them all to see which ones work for you and your schedule. Add a few of these tips to your regular routine.  Or mix them up to keep things interesting.

1. Change your socks for refreshment.

It’s an amazing trick.  Bring a change of socks to work, and change your socks midway through the day (say, after lunch).  You’ll be amazed at how much fresher you’ll feel.   This trick is especially handy on days with lots of walking — like during a hike or family outing to the amusement park.

2. Rock out loud.

Whether you work alone or in a room with coworkers, a quick one-song rock out loud session is an effective way to beat back exhaustion.

In a cube farm? Get everyone to sing along! The key is to choose a song that everyone can sing along with. (I like Kokomo.) The energy boosting effect comes from bobbing your head and singing out loud. One song, 3 minutes.  That’s a quick boost of adrenaline that lasts for a bit.  You’ll be singing to yourself the rest of the never ending project delivery night.

3. Get rid of the stuffy nose.

If allergies have your sinuses blocked, you may be feeling more tired and cranky.  An over-the-counter allergy medication should clear up your sinuses (and your mind).

4. Work with your body’s clock.

There is a natural ebb and flow of energy throughout the day.   We start off sluggish after waking up, even after a solid 8 hours of sleep.  Our energy peaks mid-morning, and it’s natural to want a siesta in the afternoon. We get a second spike of energy in the early evening, followed by our lowest energy point just before bedtime.  Once you understand this natural rhythm of energy throughout the day, you can work on the important tasks during your peak hours and avoid early afternoon snoozefests (meetings).

5. Have a piece of chocolate.

Not too much, but if you’re going to have some candy, it might as well be chocolate.  We get an endorphin buzz from chocolate (not to mention the energy boost from the slight bit of caffeine chocolate contains).  Dark chocolate has more caffeine than milk chocolate.

An afternoon snack of yogurt, berries, and nuts will provide the boost of energy to carry you through the day.  Photo by lepiaf.geo / Flickr)An afternoon snack of yogurt, berries, and nuts will provide the boost of energy to carry you through the day. Photo by lepiaf.geo / Flickr

6. Have an afternoon power snack.

A small healthy snack that is low in sugar and has protein and/or fiber a couple hours after lunch helps you finish off the day strong.  Some suggestions:

  • mixed nuts
  • nonfat yogurt
  • apple and peanut butter
  • frozen berrie smoothie
  • trail mix
  • granola bar

7. Hit up the water cooler for inconsequential banter.

A little midday gossip and random banter is a great pick-me-up for your tired mind. It works because it gets your mind on zero-stress thoughts for a while.  The mental break for just a few minutes will revitalize you.

8. Eat lots of berries.

Especially berries that are blue, red, or purple.  The color comes from anthocyanins, a powerful antioxidant, that boosts energy.  Any kind of berry will contain tons.

All types of berries help fight fatigue and are delicious to boot! Photo by Zabowski / FlickrAll types of berries help fight fatigue and are delicious to boot! Photo by Zabowski / Flickr

9. Wear brighter colors.

This trick is related to the mood you project to people, and the reciprocating mood they project towards you.  If you wear dark, somber colors, you project a dark, somber attitude, and people will respond to you with a somber attitude. If you wear bright, happy colors, you’ll get that attitude projected towards you, which will boost your own mood and energy levels.

10. Take a power nap.

But do it in your chair.  Don’t lie down on the sofa or you won’t get back up.  Keep it short: 5-10 minutes max.  Any longer and it will have the opposite effect of knocking you out for the rest of the day.

11. Flirt.

It’s fun, it’s harmless (keep it innocent), and it’s effective.  Nothing quite gets the heart pumping like a little flirting.

Amore gets the blood flowing.Amore gets the blood flowing. Flirt for more energy. Photo by Kjunstorm / Flickr

12. Aromatherapy with lavender.

Research has shown that the lavender scent increases alertness. Test subjects were given math tests before and after 3 minutes of lavender aromatherapy.  The group completed the tests faster and more accurately after aromatherapy.

13. Wake up at the same time everyday.

Including weekends.  This sets your body clock.  Otherwise, you’ll be wide awake when you should be asleep.  Or worse, asleep when you should be awake (dozing off in a meeting is embarrassing).  The key is to go to bed at the same time every night. If you need to reset your sleep cycle in one day, stop eating for the 16 hours before the time you want to wake up.

14. Drink lots of water.

Dehydration is a sinister cause of fatigue because it slowly creeps up on you.  If you consistently drink less than 8 cups of water a day, you may be sluggish all the time. Get a 32 oz (1 quart, 4 cups) water bottle. Your goal is to polish off 2 of those a day.  Try it for a week and see if your general energy level increases.

15. Use caffeine wisely.

Coffee and caffeinated sodas can boost your alertness, but be careful about letting it be a habitual crutch.  The temptation to drink more caffeine to get even more energy will be strong.  Eventually you’ll be downing 5 double-shot espressos a day just to function.  Drink coffee earlier in the day to avoid insomnia, which will make the next day worse.

Coffee in moderation. Caffeine can give you a quick boost of energy, but can also be a counterproductive crutch.Use caffeine in moderation. Coffee provides a shot of energy, but can also become a counterproductive dependence. Photo by visualpanic / Flickr

16. Avoid energy drinks.

Energy drinks provide a near-instant hyperactivity boost, but they always result in a crash.  Energy drinks are like energy credit cards — you’re spending future energy to get short-term energy. The resulting energy deficit gets worse until you hit energy bankruptcy.

17. Eat low glycemic (low or complex carb) foods.

Trade in good, complex carbohydrates (low glycemic index) for the bad, simple carbs (sugar). Carbohydrates with a high glycemic index means the sugar is more easily digested by your body.  That results in a spike in energy followed by a low-sugar crash.

High glycemic index foods to avoid include white bread, potato, and high sugar foods (like sodas).  Low glycemic foods (the good carb foods) include fruits and vegetables, grains (eg., whole wheat bread), low-carb foods (eg., meats), and pasta.  Check this chart of foods and their glycemic index before your next trip to the grocery store.

18. Eat more soluble fiber.

Soluble fiber is the kind that slows down the rate of absorption of sugars. It evens out your energy levels by preventing a sugar high and crash.  (By the way, insoluble fiber  is the kind that prevents constipation.)  Don’t worry too much about which kind of fiber you’re getting — they’re both good for you.  Rotate more high soluble fiber foods like nuts, grains, fruits, plant matter (vegetables), beans, and oats into your diet.

Eat and sniff more citrus fruits for an energy boost.  Photo by Steven Fernandez / FlickrEat and sniff more citrus fruits for an energy boost.  Photo by Steven Fernandez / Flickr

19. Get your Vitamin C.

Get a daily dose of citrus fruits (eg., orange juice in the morning) or a vitamin C tablet.  Study after study shows the correlation between citric acid deficiency and chronic fatigue. Vitamin C also helps you absorb more nutrients from food.

20. Sniff some citrus.

In addition to the Vitamin C, citrus scents (like orange, lemon and lime) stimulate alertness.  So lather on some of that lemon scented lotion.

21. Cover the B Vitamins.

B vitamins cover a range of bodily functions, but most B vitamins are involved in the process of converting blood sugar into usable energy.   To ensure you get the proper amount of B vitamins, eat a balanced diet.

22. Quit smoking.

Ex-smokers frequently report an energy boost of 2-3x when they quit smoking.  Nicotine affects your sleep, so you don’t get as good a night’s sleep. That makes you cranky, frustrated and tired the next day.  Which leads to more smoking.  It’s a vicious energy sapping cycle.

23. Play to relax.

Playing a game keeps your mind working (versus, say, watching TV), but doesn’t have any of the energy-sapping stresses of work.  Go ahead and play that quick game of Scrabble on Facebook, but have a strict time limit if you don’t want your boss to say something.

Play a quick game to relax while keeping your mind active. Youll destress but still be ready to take on the next task.Play a game to relax.  It keeps your mind active without the debilitating stress. Photo by Sukanto Debnath / Flickr

24. Eat smaller, more frequent meals.

Snack throughout the day. By eating smaller but more frequent “meals”, you will maintain a steady dose of energy instead of experiencing food comas.  Don’t snack on fatty and sugar laden junk food though.  You may get a short 30 minute burst of hyperalertness, but it’ll be quickly followed by a debilitating crash.

25. Enjoy a cup of tea.

In a recent study, University College London researchers noted that drinking a cup of tea 4-6 time a day reduces stress hormone levels in your body.  The study’s results suggest “drinking black tea may speed up our recovery from the daily stresses in life.”

26. Splash some water on your face.

Just letting the cool water hit your face washes off the grime and stresses of the day.  You could also jump in the pool or take a shower for the same effect.  Showers stimulates the circulatory system and metabolism.  Get wet to feel more energetic.

Get wet to freshen up and get a shot of energy. Photo by Liz Noise / FlickrGet wet to freshen up and get a shot of energy. Photo by Liz Noise / Flickr

27. Stand up, stretch and take a couple of deep breaths.

Stretch your arms, back, legs, and neck.  Take a deep breath through your nose, hold it, and let it out slowly and forcefully.  Repeat several times.  This will take 30 seconds and will be an instant fix.  When you sit back down, you’ll have the clear head and fresh feeling needed to power through the tough/boring task in front of you.

28. Get your world organized.

When your world is organized, you don’t have to expend mental energy keeping track of a million things.  Here’s how to take back control of your time and productivity:

Zen desk = less stress = more energy. Photo by Laure Wayaffe / Flickr

Zen desk = less stress = more energy. Photo by Laure Wayaffe / Flickr

29. Look on the bright side.

A generally upbeat and optimistic outlook on life will keep your energy level up.  Yes, the worst thing that can happen might actually happen, but giving it too much worry will only drain you.  Look for the positive in every situation and you won’t be so tired.

30. Take a mini-vacation.

Take one day and just do whatever you want.  No work, no chores, no errands.  Enjoy your one full day of vacation, then come back to work more motivated and energetic.

31. Eat a satisfying breakfast but a light lunch.

A heavy lunch, especially one with lots of carbs or fat (like a burger combo) will hit you as soon as you get back to the office.  And it’ll be a sluggishness that lasts to the end of the day.  Eat a big breakfast instead.  It provides the fuel you need for the day, at the time when your body needs it the most.  Not only will you avoid the afternoon food coma, the big breakfast will make you more productive in the mornings.  Double win.

Beautiful Breakfast on a Sunday Morning in Shanghai (Charles Chan / Flickr)Start your day with a powerful breakfast that provides the fuel you need for the day. Photo by Charles Chan / Flickr

32. Choose protein over fat or carbs.

Foods with lean (low fat) protein help you feel fuller for longer.  It also prevents blood sugar spikes, giving you more steady energy.  Lean protein foods include fish and other seafood, lean pork, or chicken breasts (“white meat”).

33. Shed a few pounds.

The things you do to lose weight — exercise, drink water, avoid simple sugars — are actions that also have a positive effect on your energy level.  Even better, the actual loss of excess fat provides an energy boost of its own.  You’ll feel “lighter” and things that use to make you breathless will now seem much easier. Losing weight provides a double-impact to boosting your energy.

But be careful with fad and/or crash diets.   Cutting out too many calories (ie., energy your body needs) too fast will cause you to be even more tired. Take small steps, and make it a lifestyle change so you shed the fat for life.

34. Listen to tunes while you work.

It’s well known that our brain’s pleasure centers light up when we hear music. Throwing on the headphones and listening to any music you like while working will give you a productivity boost.

35. Start exercising.

If you have a fairly sedentary life, just the idea of starting an intense exercise program is exhausting.  But if you go slow, literally taking one step at a time, you can go from being sedentary to becoming a runner just like Leo.

Get moving! Getting some exercise will lift your energy levels all day. Photo by Hamed Saber / FlickrGet moving! Getting some exercise will lift your energy levels all day. Photo by Hamed Saber / Flickr

36. Eliminate stress.

Stress is draining.  Sometimes it’s worth it, like when you’re on a deadline to delivery a big project.  Sometimes it’s just a waste of energy.  Leo says,

Certain things in our life just cause us to be more exhausted than others, with less value. Identify them, and cut them out. You’ll have much more energy and much less stress. Happiness ensues.

Here’s how to eliminate stress from your life.

37. Have more sex.

Talk about an endorphin rush! If you keep those endorphins flowing regularly, you’ll have more natural energy.  Literally, more bounce to your step.

38. Move gym time to the morning.

A lot of people go to the gym after work.  Try going to the gym in the morning instead to get energy that lasts all day.  Sure, you’ll have to wake up an hour or two earlier, but you get that time back at night.  That exercise in the morning gets the endorphins flowing, which keeps you happy and productive the rest of the day.  By exercising in the morning instead of at night, you spend the same amount of time at the gym, but get the added benefit of having more energy at work.

39. Purge low-value tasks from your todo list.

If you have a ridiculously long todo list that is impossible to get all the way through, you’ll feel tired just thinking about the todo list.  If you want to actually cross off tasks from your todo list, you’ll need to throw out the crap tasks that you don’t want/need to deal with. Either delegate those tasks, move them into a second “nice but not critical” list, or just admit that they’re probably never going to get done and move them to the “maybe/someday” list.  Shortening your todo list to just the most critical, must-do tasks will give you the “energy” to start knocking out those tasks.

40. Avoid the mid-day cocktail.

If you want to function in the afternoon, avoid alcohol at lunch.  Even if it’s just one beer.  Alcohol’s sedative effects will take hours to recover from, killing the rest of your afternoon.

Skip the alcohol at lunch if you want to make it to 5:00. Photo by ktylerconk / FlickrSkip the alcohol at lunch if you want to make it to 5:00. Photo by ktylerconk / Flickr

41. Get a massage.

Loosen up those tight muscles and you’ll feel more relaxed.  A more relaxed you means a happier and more productive you.  Trade a quick shoulder rub with a coworker after lunch to perk both of you up for the rest of the afternoon.

42. Dress up.

Feeling better about yourself has a magical way of giving you more energy. Put just a tad more effort into looking your best for work, and you’ll get compliments from coworkers that will make you feel better — and make you a perkier, more energetic worker bee.

43. Don’t drink yourself to sleep.

Alcohol keeps your body from entering deep sleep, so even if you get the same hours of sleep, you won’t feel as rested.  Limit alcohol the hours before bedtime to get the best night’s sleep.

44. Get a thyroid test from your doctor.

If you are chronically fatigued, it may be a symptom of hypothyroidism. That’s when not enough thyroid hormone is produced, with fatigue as one of its symptoms.  Visit the doctor if you’ve been tired for a long time and haven’t had a checkup in a while.

45. Take a walk outside.

Getting outside for some fresh air, a change of scenery, and a quick walk to get your blood going will do wonders for your mood and motivation.  Seeing the sun is a signal to your body that it’s not bedtime yet.

Photo by vshioshvili / FlickrTake a walk outside to clear your head.  Photo by vshioshvili / Flickr

46. Lower your blood pressure.

Besides being a risk factor for a heart attack, high blood pressure makes you fatigued.  If you haven’t seen your doctor lately, go in and get your blood pressure checked.

47. Rotate yogurt into your diet.

Yogurt with live cultures keep your digestive system clean, which helps your body absorb all the nutrients from food.  That makes you healthier and more energetic.  Yogurt is also a good low-fat snack.

48. Have a laugh.

Laughter is great medicine for exhaustion.  Make sure you laugh regularly to keep your mood up.  Seek out funny people or subscribe to a daily email joke. I like the geeky comic xkcd for a quick smile.  What’s your favorite quick funny pick-me-up?

49. Add more cardio to your gym time.

The aerobic exercise gets your blood pumping.  It builds stamina and endurance, which is useful for both triathalons and neverending department meetings.

50. Take up yoga.

The stretching, slow controlled movements, and focus on breathing reduces tension (and stress).  The benefits include better sleep, feeling more relaxed, and being mentally sharper.

51. Eat eggs.

When people have eggs (mostly protein) for breakfast, versus bagels (all carbs), they feel more energy and eat less at the next meal.  Protein makes you feel fuller without feeling stuffed, and they provide a steady stream of energy for your body (versus the quick high and crash of carbohydrates).  Eggs are a great for breakfast or as an addition to a lunch salad.

52. Get a good night’s sleep.

We need 7-8 hours of sleep to be fully rested.  Consistently sleeping less than 6 hours a night builds up a “sleep debt” that is hard to recover from.  If you’re getting enough sleep, it should take you up to 30 minutes to fall asleep.  If you’re falling asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow (or while sitting at your desk), that’s a symptom of sleep deprivation.

53. Get more ginseng.

Ginseng is well-known to have energy boosting properties.  It is an adaptogen, which means it build resistance to stress and boosts energy.  A ginseng supplement or sipping tea with ginseng can help improve energy.

54. Socialize.

Turn off the Internet and go socialize with friends.  Humans are social animals, and we need regular socializing to keep ourselves in peak health and energy.

Go out and play with your friends! Photo by Strocchi / FlickrGo out and play with your friends! Photo by Strocchi / Flickr

55. Get on your toes.

Roll up and down on your toes.  This stimulates your circulatory system, which will deliver much-needed oxygen and fuel (glucose) throughout your body.  You’ll be more energized and sharper.  You can do this right now.

What’s your secret for getting more energy? Share it in the comments!

For more terrific ways to improve your life without spending a fortune, check out Wise Bread’s new book 10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget.  The book includes guest contributions from Zen Habits, Get Rich Slowly, The Simple Dollar, Digerati Life, and the Frugal Duchess.

Buy the book today (by Monday 11:59pm PDT) and get a $15 Ebates bonus and a chance to win a Flip Cam.

10 Nutrients Scientifically Proven to Make You Feel Awesome

10 Nutrients Scientifically Proven to Make You Feel Awesome

Want some pep in your step? Perhaps a dash of good cheer? (Who doesn’t, right?). Look no further than the grocery store’s shelves. Foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids are not only super healthy, but can also increase happiness, lessen symptoms of depression, and quell anxiety [1] [2].

10 Foods Scientifically-Proven to Make You Happier

How can foods improve our moods? It all comes down to the brain. A healthy cognitive system is essential to regulating mood, and certain nutrients have a profound impact on maintaining normal brain function [3]. To date, researchers have studied the association between foods and the brain and identified nine nutrients that can combat depression and boost our mood: calcium, chromium, folate, iron, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and zinc [4] [5]. Try one of these foods for a mid-day pick-me-up, to promote long-term happiness, or to ward off the nagging worry that you forgot to lock the front door (You did remember, right?).

 A bit about the units used below: Mg (milligram) is the typical unit of measurement for nutrients and 1,000 mg equals 1 gram. Mcg is the abbreviation of  microgram and 1,000 mcg equals 1 mg. 

1. Calcium

Calcium

 The most abundant mineral in the body, calcium plays an important role in maintaining strong bones and healthy blood vessels, and in reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Low levels of calcium may play a role in PMS-related depression in particular [6] (Sorry guys, we couldn’t find data on whether calcium can also regulate male fluctuations in mood). Calcium deficiency affects more women than men, so women should take special care to meet the daily requirements [7].

How eating it helps: Found in a variety of sources (non-dairy included), calcium is often paired with vitamin D to help regulate mood fluctuations attributed to PMS [6]. Since estrogen plays a large role in calcium production, calcium consumption may improve PMS-related depression [9].

RDA: 1,000 mg per day for adults

Food Sources of Calcium:

2. Chromium

 A trace mineral found in small amounts in the body, chromium helps the body metabolize food [10]. A lack of chromium hurts the body’s ability to regulate insulin (the hormone that regulates sugar) and may lead to diabetes-related complications like vision loss and high blood pressure [11].

How eating it helps: Chromium plays an important role in increasing the brains’ level of serotonin, norepinephrine, and melatonin, which help the brain regulate emotion and mood [12]. Because chromium works directly with the brain’s mood regulators, it’s been found to be an effective treatment of depression [12].

RDA: 25 mcg per day for women; 35 mcg per day for men

Food Sources of Chromium:

  • Broccoli (1/2 cup): 11 mcg
  • Grape juice (1 cup): 8 mcg
  • Whole-wheat English muffin (1 piece): 4 mcg
  • Potatoes (mashed) (1 cup): 3 mcg
  • Turkey breast (1/3 cup): 2 mcg
3. Folate

 Folate (alternatively known as B9 or folic acid) helps the body create new cells and supports serotonin regulation. Serotonin passes messages between nerve cells and helps the brain manage a variety of functions, from determining mood to regulating social behavior. Folate deficiency can cause fatigue in addition to lowering levels of serotonin [14].

How eating it helps: A pair of power nutrients, Folate and B12 are often paired together to treat depression [15]. By itself, Folate has the added benefit of boosting the efficiency of antidepressants [16].

RDA: 400 mg per day for adults

Food Sources of Folate:

4. Iron

 Iron plays an important role in the body, from transporting oxygen to supporting energy levels and aiding muscle strength. Low levels of iron can lead to feelings of fatigue and depression [17]. Iron deficiency appears more frequently in women than men, especially women of childbearing age [5].

How eating helps: Consuming enough iron will help prevent iron anemia (not enough iron), a condition that commonly affects women more than men. Keeping enough iron in the body is important, as the fatigue, apathy, and mood change associated with the iron deficiency can often lead to depression [4].

RDA: 18 mg per day for women; 8 mg per day for men

Food Sources of Iron: 

5. Magnesium

 Magnesium is a mineral that plays over 300 roles in maintaining and protecting the body’s health. Deficiency can cause irritability, fatigue, mental confusion, and predisposition to stress.

How eating it helps: Magnesium plays a large role in the development of serotonin, which is a major contributor to feelings of happiness [20]. Due to its ability to help regulate emotions, it’s a common element in homeopathic remedies for balancing mood [21].

RDA: 310 mg per day for women; 400 mg per day for men

Food Sources of Magnesium:

6. Omega-3s

 Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid that plays an important role in brain health and contributes up to 18 percent of the brain’s weight [22].The body does not naturally produce Omega-3s, so the fatty acid needs to be consumed from outside sources. Deficiency symptoms include fatigue, mood swings, memory decline, and depression.

How eating it helps: Studies show a correlation between consumption of fish with high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids and a decreased risk of depression and suicide [23]. Whether eating fish or snacking on chia seeds, increasing your intake of omega 3 fatty acids may help combat depression [24].

RDA: There is no established RDA for Omega-3s, but the American Heart Association suggests eating a variety of fish (trout, herring, and salmon) at least twice a week. For vegetarians, there are also plenty of non-meat sources of Omega-3s (see below for a few suggestions).

Food Sources of Omega-3:

7. Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 helps the production of neurotransmitters (which send messages from the brain to the rest of the body). Deficiency in B6 can cause short-term anemia; long-term effects include a weakened immune system, confusion, and depression.

How eating it helps: Consuming vitamin B6 is essential for regulating brain function, which influences our emotions [25]. In addition to regulating healthy moods, Vitamin B6 is also an effective method for treating premenstrual depression [26].

RDA: 1.3 mg per day for adults

Food Sources of B6:

8. Vitamin B12

B12  is an essential element that aids in the creation of red blood cells and nerves. Low levels of B12 can cause short-term fatigue, slowed reasoning, and paranoia, and are associated with depression [15]. Vitamin B-12 is found naturally in meats, eggs, and animal byproducts, meaning vegetarians and vegans have an increased risk of developing a deficiency.

How eating it helps: Because moods depend largely on signals from the brain, B12 plays an important role in regulating depression — consuming enough vitamin B12 allows the body to synthesize a group of nutrients critical for normal neurological function [28].

RDA: 2.4 mcg per day for adults

Food Sources of B12:

9. Vitamin D

 Vitamin D helps regulate cell growth, plays an important role in maintaining the immune system, and (when paired with calcium) protects bones. Studies show that low levels of vitamin D are associated with depressive symptoms in both men and women [29] [30]. Most often, lowered levels of Vitamin D are the result of indoor lifestyles, limited sun exposure, and inadequate intake of vitamin-D-rich foods.

How eating it helps: If you’re feeling blue, increasing vitamin D could help ward off depression.  Consuming the mood-regulating vitamin is important, especially during the wintertime when light from the sun (a natural producer of vitamin D) is limited [31].

RDA: 600 IU per day for adults ages 15 to 60

IU (International Unit) is a type of measurement typically reserved for Vitamin A, C, D and E. 40 IU’s of Vitamin D will equal 1 mcg— so Cod liver oil will have 1,360 IU or 34 mcg of Vitamin D.

Food Sources of Vitamin D:

10. Zinc

 Zinc is found in almost every cell and plays an important role in supporting a healthy immune system and helping the body protect the gut from damage [32]. Low levels of zinc in the diet can lead to a variety of ailments, including a weakened immune system, loss of appetite, anemia, hair loss, and depression. Vegetarians need as much as 50 percent more zinc than non-vegetarians due to the body’s lower absorption rate of plant-based zinc [5].

How eating it helps: Studies have identified zinc as an important factor in decreasing depressive symptoms, as the vitamin can improve the response of antidepressants while reducing the side effects of anti-depression medication [34]. A lack of zinc can trigger depressive behaviors, so load up on zinc-rich foods to balance your mood. [35].

RDA:  11mg per day for men; 8mg per day for women

Food Sources of Zinc:

What foods do you eat for maximum happiness? Share in the comments below, or get in touch with us on Facebook!

About the Author

Maya Dangerfield

I’m a recovering teacher and editorial intern for Greatist.com. I love mixed martial arts, soccer, scuba diving, and any challenging physical…

Healthy Pet, Happy Pet: Tips for Owners

Healthy Pet, Happy Pet: Tips for Owners

This content is selected and controlled by WebMD’s editorial staff and is brought to you by the makers of Frontline® Plus.
Next Article:

Skip to Article Content

False

Best Dog Food Choices

WebMD Pet Health Feature

By Matt McMillen

Reviewed By Amy Flowers, DVM

When it comes to nutrition, dogs are a lot like people. They’re omnivores, meaning they can live healthy lives while eating a variety of food. Meats, vegetables, and grains all can be a part of a dog’s diet.

But also like us, dogs need balanced, moderately-sized meals that fuel their activities, not an overindulgent diet that will expand their waistlines and put them at risk of diseases like diabetes.

Know Your Dog’s Needs

How much you feed your dog mainly depends on three factors:

  1. Age
  2. Activity level
  3. Ideal weight

A young Australian shepherd, for example, needs a lot of exercise, and that means a lot of food to keep him going. A tiny, 10-year-old Chihuahua, though, may be more accustomed to spending her day in your lap rather than building up a big appetite.

Dog food labels often provide some guidance on portion size, but your vet will know best how much food your dog needs to maintain a healthy weight, says veterinarian Louise Murray, DVM. She’s vice president of the ASPCA’s Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital in New York.

“Diet should be based on a dog’s condition, and it should be very tailored to the dog,” Murray says. “Talk to your vet.”

Your vet can also recommend foods that may help protect your dog against disease, says veterinarian Chea Hall, DVM, of San Luis Obispo, Calif. Large dogs may be more likely than smaller dogs to develop arthritis, for instance. Proper nutrition may help protect your dog’s joints and build up joint strength.

Know Your Dog’s Food

Your vet can calculate how many calories your dog should get each day, but most dog food labels don’t tell you how many calories the food provides.

“One cup could be 200 calories or it could be 400, and that’s a huge difference,” says Hall, who recommends a mostly dry food diet because dry is generally lower in calories than canned food.

Hall’s advice: Contact the food’s maker for calorie and other nutritional information. You should also look for a statement on the package that says the food meets at least the minimum requirements for a healthy diet set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) for your dog’s life stage.

Food labels often use terms like “gourmet,” “natural,” and “premium,” Murray notes. Those words may sound appealing, but they have no standard definition when it comes to dog food — so they tell you nothing about what’s in the food.

“They are not something to go by,” Murray says.

Your vet can be a good guide to selecting an appropriate dog food both for your dog’s health and your budget. Hall often recommends the foods sold by animal clinics, but since that’s not always a convenient or affordable option, she works with people to pick out a food that works for both owner and dog. Your vet can do the same.

Would you rather make your dog’s meals yourself? It’s crucial that you talk to your vet first to learn how to meet your dog’s nutritional needs, Hall says.

Scientists discover new way of overcoming human stem cell rejection

Scientists discover new way of overcoming human stem cell rejection

By Loren Grush

Published January 02, 2014

FoxNews.com
  • Stem cells istock.jpg

Human embryonic stem cells have the capacity to differentiate into a variety of cell types, making them a valuable source of transplantable tissue for the treatment of numerous diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease and diabetes.

But there’s one major issue: Embryonic stem cells are often rejected by the human immune system.

Now, researchers from the University of California San Diego may have found an effective way to prevent this rejection in humans.  Utilizing a novel humanized mouse model, the scientists have revealed a unique combination of immune suppressing molecules that stop the immune system from attacking the injected stem cells – without shutting the system down completely.

This discovery could ultimately help resolve some of the major problems currently limiting the use of embryonic stem cells for certain conditions, paving the way for the development of more effective human stem cell therapies.

“This is a generic way of immune suppression, so it could potentially be applied not just for stem cells therapies, but for organ transplants as well,” Yang Xu, a professor of biology at UC San Diego and lead author of the study, told FoxNews.com.  “It can be very broad.”

Embryonic stem cells are different from the other cells in a patient’s body, making them “allogenic.”  This means the immune system will recognize them as foreign agents and attack them.

One way of overcoming this rejection problem is to give patients immunosuppressant drugs, which suppress the entire immune system.  While short term use of immunosuppressants has been successful for many organ transplants, embryonic stem cell therapies for chronic diseases require long term use of these drugs – which can often be very toxic and increase the risk of cancer.

“In order for the patient to really use this therapy, they have to decide: Do they want a lifelong use of immunosuppressant drugs, or are they willing to live with the symptoms of their disease,” Xu said.

To figure out a way of bypassing this issue, researchers needed a relevant model that could closely mimic the human immune system’s response to embryonic stem cell transplantation.  To do this, they took immune deficient lab mice and grafted them with human fetal thymus tissues and hematopoietic stem cells derived from the fetal liver.

Essentially, this created a highly specialized mouse model with very robust T cells – capable of effectively rejecting foreign embryonic stem cells just like human T cells.

“The mouse immune system is very similar to humans but still very different,” Xu said.  “What we learn from mouse models does not really translate to the clinic.  So what we decided to do, rather than relying entirely on the mouse immune system, we tried to do a more human relevant system.  And it’s as close as can be at this moment.”

With these newly “humanized” mice, Xu and his team then tested various immune suppressing molecules after they had injected the mice with embryonic stem cells.  After some trial and error, they found that a combination of CTLA4-lg – an FDA-approved drug for treating rheumatoid arthritis – and a protein called PD-L1 – which induces immune tolerance in tumors – effectively protected the stem cells from rejection.

According to Xu, they don’t yet know why this specific combination protects embryonic stem cells, but they believe that both of the molecules may be suppressing the body’s T cells in two very different – and very important – ways.

“What was surprising was if you have these two together, you get nearly 100 percent local immune suppression and allow the graft to survive. But at the same time, there’s no effect on other parts of the body,” Xu said. “But if you only express one molecule, it has no impact.  That is the cool finding of this study.”

Since this drug combination was so successful in the humanized mice, the researchers hope to begin testing it on monkeys, before eventually moving on to human clinical trial.

“I think this is one of the few cases where we can have confidence that this combination would probably work in humans, because the system is so close,” Xu said.  “So the translation potential is very high.”

The research was published online in the journal Cell Stem Cell.