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Health

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Margarine Vs. Butter

Margarine is marketed as a healthier alternative to butter, which is not true. It may seem like butter but is mainly manufactured using vegetable oils, salt, emulsifiers and trans-fats. Most of it isn’t healthy.

Butter, on the other hand, is made from milk, which is a topic of a lot of health debates but has been used without any problem for thousands of years. It is a good source of vitamins and calcium while being high in fats.

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Health

  • The butter substitute made mostly from vegetable oils is not really a healthy food option.
  • It was initially created as a cheap butter substitute by French chemist Hippolyte Mège-Mouriès for Emperor Napoleon III, from milk and beef tallow.
  • The margarine in the market today hardly has any milk, and most varieties are vegan.
  • It is good for lactose intolerant people, who cannot consume milk and milk products.
  • People who are having problems with saturated fats and animal fats can switch to vegan margarine.
False Hope Syndrome In Dieting

Many people continue to practice the same diet fad or routine to lose weight even after the effort is proven to be ineffective. This mentality of dieters is called the False Hope Syndrome and happens due to:

  1. Overestimating the weight loss amount.
  2. Misjudgement of the time it would take to lose weight.
  3. Not knowing how easy or difficult it would be.
  4. Unrealistic expectations of the result of weight loss.

A dieter often believes the diet is the cause of failure, and he or she hasn’t tried hard enough. They overlook their own habits and behaviours and blame their intake.

We like to be in control of any situation, and have false hopes about the benefits of the ‘perfect diet’ we are consuming. The media and marketing companies are also contributing to plant unrealistic expectations in many people trying to lose weight.

Dieting is not as easy as portrayed by the media. Many people abandon the process midway or replace them with realistic and scaled-down versions.

  • One has to realize that dieting is a long-term process and one has to create systems that encourage habitual and behavioural changes that are not abandoned after a month.
  • One should not see a failed effort as something to be ashamed of, but try to learn and evolve from it.
  • One has to let go of unrealistic expectations and be practical.
The Japanese Island Of Okinawa

Okinawa, an island in southern Japan is known for the longevity of its population and has an extremely low rate of heart disease issues. The elderly are active and happy in the 80s and 90s.

Part of the secret of their longevity and happiness is their varied diet, rich in fruits and vegetables.

The Okinawa Diet: A Large Variety Of Food

A rich and varied diet, comprising of 18 different foods is the key to a healthy stomach, activeness and longevity among the Okinawans.

The main focus of the diet is a large, diverse assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables, instead of gorging on a single superfood or avoiding something (like butter or bananas) just because everyone says so.

Placebo's as pleasing treatments: History of the concept
  • Plato's cure for headaches involved a leaf coupled with a charm. Without uttering the charm at the moment of application, the remedy was not effective. We would call Plato's "charm" a placebo.
  • In the 18th century, the term "placebo" was used to describe a doctor. In his 1763 book, Dr Pierce describes a visit to his sick friend, saying that he found "Dr Placebo" sitting at her bedside. She said she was well, and Pierce seems to imply that the positive effect Dr Placebo had was due to his great bedside manner, rather than the drops he gave.
  • Eventually, the word "placebo" started being used to describe treatments. In 1752, the Scottish obstetrician William Smellie used some innocent Placemus that his patient "may take between whiles, to beguile the time and please her imagination."

Early placebo trials that tested the effects of homoeopathy tablets revealed that doing nothing was better than both homoeopathy and allopathic (standard) medicine.

In the 1990s, Danish medical researchers compared people who take placebos with people who take no treatment at all. They concluded that there is little evidence that placebos, in general, have powerful clinical effects, but the researchers made incorrect comparisons. Today it is widely accepted that placebos are effective for some things, like pain, but not for everything.

A review of over 50 placebo-controlled surgery trials shows that fake surgery worked as well as the real surgery in more than half the trials.

One famous study is from an American surgeon Bruce Moseley. 180 patients had such severe knee pain that even the best drugs failed to work. He gave half of them real arthroscopy and the other half placebo arthroscopy, where the incision was made, but no real procedure was performed. The placebo surgery worked as well as the real surgery.

A comprehensive study published in 1999 found that placebo effects were caused by both expectancy and conditioning.

But some researchers argue that there is something mysterious about how placebos work. While it is easy to see what happens inside the brain to the amygdala, or the other bits involved, it is less clear what moved the amygdala in the first place.

It is accepted that placebos are not ethical because they require deceptions. But this view does not account for the evidence that we don't need deception for placebos to work.
Further mistaken claims:

  • We can only trust placebo controls. New treatments that come along can be compared with a proven effective method. To be effective, it should be at least as good as the old one.
  • Placebo controls provide a constant baseline. This view is based on the view that placebo treatments do not work. It is mistaken. In a systematic review of placebo pills in ulcer trials, the placebo response ranged from 0% to 100% (complete cure.)

Placebos were used in clinical trials in the 18th century to debunk "quack" cures. The so-called "non-quack" cures included bloodletting and feeding patients the undigested material from the intestines of an oriental goat. These needed no trials because they were considered to be so effective.

An example of how powerful placebos are is during the second world war. Supplies of morphine were running out, and a nurse was seen to inject a wounded soldier with saltwater instead of morphine before an operation. The soldier thought it was real morphine and didn't appear to feel any pain.

A placebo can work even if the patient does not believe it is a real treatment.

This can be because patients have a conditioned response to an encounter with their doctor. Just like an arachnophobe's body can react negatively to a spider even if they know it's not poisonous, so a person can react to treatment from a doctor even if they know the doctor is giving them a sugar pill.

Experiencing insomnia
  • If you are tired most days, have trouble retaining information, concentrating, or feel like you got off on the wrong side of the bed, you might be fighting insomnia.
  • Aromatherapy, melatonin, chamomile tea and acupressure are often experienced as a temporary fix.
  • What makes insomnia worse is the dread with sundown, knowing that you will toss and turn, desperately trying to sleep and obsessing over why you can't.

Look at your full day to identify the causes of insomnia, not just the hours before you go to bed.

For example, setting too many meetings or not permitting yourself to take a break can leave you too wound up to fall asleep later at night. Instead, schedule your most intense work in the morning, and do more mundane tasks in the afternoon.

What works for you may only be discovered with trial and error.

For example, one can use smart mattresses, apps like Headspace, or fenugreek seeds. A mixture of nutmeg, cinnamon, and fennel boiled in water contains flavonoids and antioxidants that help calm the body. Mindfulness meditation can help aim your focus on the moment-by-moment experiences, thoughts, and emotions instead of thinking of the past or daydreaming.

Research shows that if you bring your work to your bed, you're likely to continue thinking about work even after you stopped working.

Try to create a separate work area - it could be your kitchen table or a small nook in your living room. Then retain your bedroom for sleep.

Cut out caffeine after midday, and limit blue light at bedtime.

We face relentless stimuli daily. We regularly talk, text, absorb voices, travel, and multitask. Try to disengage from all electronic devices after 9 pm, as the blue light interferes with melatonin and makes it hard to sleep.

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