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Brianna R.

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When sleeping problems are increasing

According to a meta-analysis, about 40% of the population has had sleep problems during the pandemic.

We know to keep a consistent schedule, avoid alcohol, caffeine and bright lights before bed and practice other sleep habits. But it is not enough to solve chronic insomnia. Our brains need to feel safe and secure to be able to fall asleep.

@brianna_rr795

Can’t Sleep? Here Are Some Surprising Strategies That Actually Work

wsj.com

We have insomnia if we have difficulty falling or staying asleep three or more times a week, which lasts for months, leading to fatigue, mood changes or difficulty concentrating.

Insomnia is partly triggered by the fear and anxiety we have about not sleeping. When we start to chase after sleep - waking up later, taking naps, going to bed too early, it decreases our sleep drive. Our brain then begins to associate the bed with anxiety about falling asleep.

  • Try to sleep for seven to nine hours a night.
  • Keep consistent wake-up and bedtimes.
  • Keep the bedroom cool, quiet and dark.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and exercise before bed.
  • Turn off your screens 30 to 60 minutes before you need to sleep.
  • Don't chase sleep. Don't go to bed early or sleep late. Don't nap.
  • Don't go to be until you're sleepy. Sleepiness is when your eyes are drooping.
  • Don't stay in bed unless you're asleep.
  • Establish consistent daily routines and bedtime routines.
  • Recognise when you sleep best, then stick with it.
  • Don't tell yourself you won't be able to sleep. Instead, say that a bad night of sleep is okay.
  • Keep a journal. Write down all the things you don't want to forget.
  • If you start to ruminate in bed, think about the things you're grateful for.
  • Listen to someone else's voice, like an unexciting audiobook.
Treating muscle pain
  • A hot compress. Applying heat to the area is an effective way to treat muscle pain. It can be a hot-water bottle or a microwaveable bean bag.
  • Refrain from pressing on tight, sore spots. It most likely will only give you short-term results and be uncomfortable. Exercising seems to provide longer-term improvement.
  • Weight lifting. Research suggests the most effective way of treating muscle pain is low-intensity weight training.

Fitness tips: how to treat muscle pain

theguardian.com

Nowadays, vitamins are often perceived as being essential to humans' daily diet. Therefore, there is a variety of regimens based on them and provided by numerous companies that promise to ensure an improved functioning of our organism.

How Vitamins Went From Medical Marvel to Marketing Scam

slate.com

As applied to any other subject, when it comes to vitamins people should be careful too. Taking too much of a certain vitamin might lead to disequilibrium in your immune system and not only. 

So, better safe than sorry, make sure to check with a doctor before starting any diet based on vitamins.

History of peanut butter

The Incas were the first to grind peanuts, but peanut butter reappeared in the modern world when John Harvey Kellogg filed a patent for a proto-peanut butter in 1895.

The food compound involved boiling nuts and grinding them into a paste. Kellogg promoted peanut butter as a healthy alternative to meat, which he saw as a digestive irritant.

A Brief History of Peanut Butter

smithsonianmag.com

A 1908 ad claimed that 10 cent's worth of peanuts contained six times the energy of a porterhouse steak.

By World War I, U.S. meat rationing turned consumers to peanuts. Manufacturers sold tubs of peanut butter to local grocers and advised them to stir frequently as the oil would separate and spoil.

  • In 1921, a chemical process called partial hydrogenation was applied to the naturally occurring oil in peanut butter. This made the oil solid or semisolid at room temperature, and the nut butter thus remained blended. This process made it possible to ship the spread across the country.
  • By 1920, Rosefield found Skippy, which debuted crunchy peanut butter and wide-mouth jars. In WWII, tins of Skippy were shipped with service members overseas.
  • By 2020, SKippy and Jif released their latest peanut butter innovation of squeezable tubes.

George Washington Carver helped black farmers prosper, free from the tyranny of cotton.

Carver took over the agriculture department at the Tuskegee Institute in 1896 to aid black farmers. Carver began experimenting with plants like peanuts and sweet potatoes, replenishing the nitrogen that cotton plantations stripped from the soil, and helping farmers feed their families.

Peanut butter was first established as a delicacy. In 1896, Good Housekeeping encouraged women to make their own peanut butter with a meat grinder and suggested spreading it on bread.

Before the end of the century, an employee at Kellogg's sanitarium, Joseph Lambert, invented machinery to roast and grind peanuts on a larger scale.

Building muscle

You can mess up a lot more in one week than you can improve in six months of training.

Through a six-month strength-training program, one study showed older people could increase their muscle with an impressive 2.9 pounds. However, another study showed that bed-rest could make you lose 3.1 pounds of muscle within just one week.

Over 50 percent of the protein just eaten will make it into a person's circulation within five hours; the rest will be taken up by tissues in the gut or will not be absorbed. In the same period, 11 percent of ingested protein is incorporated into new muscle.

Overall, we break down and rebuilt up to 2 percent of muscle each day and completely rebuild ourselves every two to three months.

If you exercise first you're more of what you just ate. Amino acids from protein is a source of raw materials. It also acts as a signalling molecule, triggering the growth of new muscle.

In healthy adults, about 0.25 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight is ideal for a given meal. That target can be hit three to five times a day. If you exercise before you eat, your muscles become more sensitive to protein's signals.

... you're less of what you just ate. Factors that make muscles less sensitive to protein signalling is ageing. Much of the muscle loss takes place during short periods of inactivity, such as bed rest after a knee replacement.

A simple fix is never to feed someone in a hospital bed unless absolutely necessary. Instead, get them up and make them shuffle to their food. The proportion of protein eaten should be higher to ensure sufficient muscle synthesis signals.

A study found that ground beef protein resulted in more tracer amino acid absorbed as well as it being absorbed more quickly. Another study showed that people who retained more of their own teeth tended to have more muscle.

Eating lying down will slow down protein digestion and possibly reduce the synthesis of new muscle protein.

  • According to research, within the first 10 minutes after drinking coffee, the caffeine enters your bloodstream and is pumped throughout your body.
  • At 20 minutes, you'll feel less fatigue.
  • Within 30 minutes, your adrenal glands will produce more hormones, and your vision may become sharper due to your pupils dilating.
  • Within 40 minutes, your body begins producing more serotonin, which improves the neuron function and leads to improved coordination and muscle strength.
  • After 4 hours, your metabolism increases and you burn energy faster.
  • Within 6 hours, the coffee has gone through your system, and you will expel about half the caffeine.

Your brain on coffee

bigthink.com

Added Sugar vs. Natural Sugar
  • Added sugar is unfriendly to our health. It can be found in most food products we come across. It is absorbed by the body quicker unlike natural sugar.
  • Processed food is digested quickly as soon as it enters out intestine while fiber-rich foods break down slowly and travel farther down the digestive track making us feel fuller.
  • Foods containing natural sugar and fiber allow the body to feed the healthy bacteria in our gut and supports the health of our own microbiome.

Dried Fruit, Oats and Coffee: Answers to Your Sugar Questions

nytimes.com

Bananas and grapes are delicious fruits but they contain high amounts of fiber and natural sugar (fructose). When we eat these fruits it can give us a sugar spike or commonly known as sugar rush.

You can still eat them but eat them sparingly and try other variants of fruit instead.

If you're opting to go on a low sugar diet, dried fruits may not be the best suitable choice for you.

Dried fruit is a great snack as long as you're aware of how much of it you are eating. It's packed with nutrients but the drying process removes the water and concentrates a lot of the sugar in a small bite.

Milk Isn't Added Sugar

If you love milk in your coffee or tea, the good news is milk isn't considered as added sugar because it has it's own natural sugar you may or may not know as lactose.

Milk isn't as overwhelming to the liver as added sugar would be. However, if you drink milk from soy or nuts, check the label because many of those products contain added sugar.

If you're planning to go on a no-sugar, no-grain diet plan here are some breakfast ideas for you:

  • High protein breakfast: Eggs and bacon are good choices but eat them moderately. Plain bacon does not have any added sugar. You can also opt for salmon, tuna, or chicken.
  • Sweet alternatives: Plain and unsweetened yogurt can be paired with berries or nuts. If you want apple and peanut butter opt for the sugar-free kind.
  • Greens and vegetables: Experiment with vegetable recipes!
  • Soups

Many brands of oats have added sugar in them so it's always best to check the label for zero grams of sugar.

  • Steel cut oats are the least processed. They have more fiber in them and are usually the best choice for oats.
  • Rolled oats are partially cooked and it can increase your blood sugar levels pretty quickly.
  • Instant oats should be avoided because your digestive track will absorb them so fast that it can cause a sugar rush.

Bread making has become a popular hobby nowadays and although it is time consuming, we feel rewarded once we get a taste.

Nevertheless, handmade bread contains much less sugar than processed ones. If you bake bread with molasses, you should keep in mind that molasses is added sugar. Try opting for a recipe with less added sugar, it's better for your body.

Orange Juice Is Heavy In Sugar

Drinking it in the morning is a poor choice because it will give you a morning sugar spike and will cause you to crash midday or in the early afternoon.

Although it is a natural food, the juicing process of it takes out much of the fiber and concentrates on the sugar content. Have it as a weekly treat instead and opt for iced water with orange wedges to keep the citrus in your daily routine.

In 2020, most large food makers are asked to list their "added sugar" on the nutrition facts label and they have been required to do so.

Smaller companies are not exempted from the requirement but are given until 2021 to comply. This rule will help consumers to figure out the natural sugars from the added sugar.

Ice Baths For Athletes

Many athletes and sportspersons have an ice bathing ritual post their performances or even after routine workouts to recover their muscles, by reducing the temperature, tissue inflammation and blood flow. This is also done to reduce swelling and pain in their limbs.

Extreme cold temperatures may work in the short run, and help athletes recover at a faster rate, especially if they are to perform again in the coming days.

Do ice baths have benefits?

bbc.com

Ice baths are not recommended for ling term muscle strengthening. New studies show that while the ice bath method works to some extent, it does not help in building muscles, and might even slow down the natural repair process.

This method can be used occasionally for a quick recovery but is not recommended if one wants stronger muscles in the long run.

Emotions And Food

People have a relationship with food which is often based on their emotional state of mind.

  • Lonely people who crave for human affection and understanding often end up consuming more food.
  • People having feelings like shame or guilt often restrict their food consumption.

Many people are in a state of emotional distress due to a situation like boredom, frustration, or being overwhelmed.

Food seems soothing to them in this state of dissociation, causing them to eat mindlessly, something called ‘stress eating’. This is a way to mentally escape or detach from the existing unpleasant situation.

Food is a temporary and suboptimal substitute for any emotional requirement. To break this pattern, one can try to express their emotional problems to an empathetic person from one’s inner circle of friends and loved ones.

Emotional pain can be corrected if it is expressed to a listener who is able to understand and acknowledge the same.

People who lack an empathic person in their lives can remedy their emotional pain by:

  1. Rescuing/adopting a dog, which provides great emotional support.
  2. Talking to a good therapist who is able to listen with an open heart.
  3. Being in nature, which helps one feel grounded and reduces one’s anxiety.

A simple awareness that how our emotions are altering our food intake can help free ourselves from the impulse to seek food for our emotional comfort.

One’s unconscious guilt or shame may be based on childhood trauma or emotional abuse in the past. Exposing this feeling can help in catharsis, and assist in recovery.

To understand the conflict between our good intentions and our contrary impulses, we can look at the dual process model. Our behavior are divided into two categories:

  • The rational mechanisms, managed by the reflective system.
  • The emotional mechanisms, managed by the impulsive system.

The impulsive system can facilitate or prevent the reflective system from putting our intentions into place.

We are programmed to be lazy

theconversation.com

The attraction toward sedentary can be viewed in light of evolution. When it was challenging to gain access to food, minimizing effort allowed for the saving of energy that was crucial for survival.

This tendency could explain the current pandemic of physical inactivity since genes allowing individuals to survive are likely to be present in the next generation.

  • The first step toward an active lifestyle is to become aware of this force that is driving us to inactivity.
  • We likely engage in physical activity only when it is fun or necessary. To promote physical activity, make it pleasant by restructuring your environment to favour it, especially during your daily trips.
  • The architecture of new buildings should also encourage physical activity by prioritizing access to stairs, or standing desks, etc.

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