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Health

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The French Fry

A favourite of most people across the world, french fries come in many shapes and sizes and are loaded with additives to add that irresistible taste. A regular serving of fries has 500 calories, while the same serving of regular potatoes has about 150.

The average American consumes 29 pounds of french fries in a year, and is home to the famous fast-food query: You want fries with that?

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Health

  • Though the name is French Fries, the dish originated in Belgium, according to one story.
  • When the frozen lakes of winter deprived its inhabitants of their favourite dish: fried fish, the villagers started frying peeled potatoes instead. During World War I, American soldiers tasted this new dish and named it ‘french fries’ as the main language in the southern Belgium area was French in those times.
  • Today, Belgians have the most vendors of French fries, consuming it as a mainstream food, and even considering making it an official icon of their cultural heritage.

Alternative stories of the origin of the famous fry:

  1. First sold in France, by street vendors on Paris’s Pont Neuf in 1780.
  2. Invented by the Spanish, as Spaniards were the first Europeans to encounter the famous South American Potato, and were famous for frying food in oil.
  3. Bought to American by Thomas Jefferson, who went to France during the 1780s and had his slave collect recipes for vanilla ice cream, cheese and macaroni, apart from fried potatoes.

For a few years, French fries were renamed as Freedom Fries in the United States, as a way to protest against France’s refusal to give them political support in the Gulf crisis.

This was later restored in 2006, and Freedom Fries became French again.

  • While French fries are consumed globally, different cultures consume them with different toppings or condiments.
  • Americans have them with ketchup, while the French with mustard. Japanese have their fries with green curry or soy sauce, while Malaysians eat them with chilli sauce.
  • The Belgians, who consider themselves as the place where french fries originated, eat them with mayonnaise.
A healthy breakfast to keep your concentration levels high

Getting the right nutrients in your body first thing in the morning is hugely beneficial when it comes to maintaining focus throughout the day.

Eating a wide variety of wholegrains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes throughout the day ensures that blood sugar levels are stable and provides the brain with healthy fats, carbohydrates, protein, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. These all work synergistically to promote brain health, focus, memory, concentration, and health in general.

Add an easy-to-achieve goal to your to-do list. The satisfaction of ticking off a small task is linked with a flood of dopamine. 

Each time your brain gets a whiff of this rewarding neurotransmitter, it will want you to repeat the associated behaviour.

Use puzzles and crosswords to train your improve

Crosswords and other puzzles are a handy way to pass the time, but they’re also incredibly useful in improving memory and brain function.

Your brain loves these kind of small victories, and it can help make life’s larger problems somehow seem easier to tackle. What’s more, those little bursts of joy at finishing a puzzle can help calm your mind, in much the same way that physical exercise can mentally relax you too.

By gaining awareness and not slipping into ‘autopilot’ in your morning routine, you are better able to take care of your needs throughout the day.

This will help you with lowering stress levels. If you’re unsure where to begin, use apps that have a large library of guided meditation practices.

Spending time in nature to improve your concentration

Comprehensive and dedicated science exists on the positive mental effects of venturing outdoors and spending time in nature.

Heading out into nature in the morning, then, could benefit your concentration.

Anxiety and stress will sabotage your ability to stay focused. But keeping a record of your thoughts on paper is a wonderful way to to combat stress and anxiety.

There is something about getting your thoughts out of your head and on to paper that provides a window of opportunity and gives you a bit of space to start looking at things from a different view.

  • Melancholic depression, as described by Hippocrates, was considered a unique condition that struck people out of the blue.
  • It is now known as "endogenous depression" (coming from within) and different from depression in response to external stressors.
  • In 1980, depressive disorders were remodeled as a single entity that only varies by degrees of severity.
  • The extension of "clinical depression" to include sadness created concern. Everyone feels down or sad sometimes, and usually, these moods pass without long-term consequences.
  • Clinical depression is more severe, such as losing sleep or thinking life isn't worth living and extends for a longer period. Lumping them together and ignoring the differing causes may lead to an inappropriate therapeutic approach.
  • This model also treats melancholia as a major depression "specifier" and not as a disorder in its own right.
  • Melancholia shows a clear pattern of symptoms and signs.
  • Sufferers experience a gloominess and have no desire to socialize.
  • They also lack energy and have difficulty concentrating.
  • Episodes typically appear from nowhere.
  • Individuals suffering from melancholia report a family history of "depression," bipolar disorder, or suicide.
  • Melancholy is biologically underpinned rather than caused by external stressors or psychological factors, such as personality type.
  • Treatment consists of antidepressant drugs and electroconvulsive therapy (which is rarely needed.)
An Apple A Day

Adding apples to our daily intake can improve various aspects of our health, as they are loaded with fiber, vitamins, antioxidants and minerals.

Originating from a proverb in 1866, the phrase ‘An Apple A Day Keeps The Doctor Away’ was coined in 1913. The original quote was: Eat an apple on going to bed, and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.

Eating an apple lowers the risk of heart disease, stroke, inflammation as it contains flavonoids. The soluble fibre reduces blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

The antioxidants and flavonoids also lower the risk of various kinds of cancer. It is also proven that a diet which has lots of fruits and vegetables protects us against many types of cancer.

  1. The fiber in apples supports weight loss due to the feeling of fullness.
  2. Increases bone mineral density.
  3. Helps keep the brain healthy.
  4. Protection against asthma and Type 2 Diabetes.

Apples are unlikely to have any downside, though too much of it could have some side effects. It is better to include other fruits in our plate for a healthy, balanced diet.

The difference between tiredness and sleepiness

Generally, people fail to distinguish between fatigue-physical tiredness and sleepiness, the inability to stay awake.

It's possible to feel tired physically and still be unable to fall asleep, simply because you don't feel sleepy.

To fall asleep, you need adequate time to unwind, even if you feel tired. Most people don't allow themselves enough time to relax before bed.

Lack of sleep makes it worse. When you get less sleep than the recommended 7 to 8 hours a night, you begin to accrue a sleep debt. Your body experiences a stress response and begins to release adrenaline, which stimulates your body to be alert. To overcome this, you need a good night's sleep on a regular basis.

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