Do you ever feel like there should be more hours in the day to finish everything on your to-do list? Or maybe it's not more time you need, but more motivation to actually accomplish the tasks you have in front of you. A select few have figured out how to crack the productivity code on a daily basis. But for the rest of us, it may feel like our motivation is as rare as a lunar eclipse. If you've been searching for more motivation to be productive lately, giving your body helpful nutrients may be able to help. In fact, there are some common productivity supplements that people turn to when they need to kick it into full gear.
Taking a supplement can be beneficial for many aspects of your health, but it should never be the only thing you rely on. Additionally, they should never replace the nutrients you naturally get through a balanced diet. However, sometimes there are key vitamins and nutrients we are low in or don't get enough of through what we eat, which is where supplements come into play. And if you're specifically looking for productivity supplements, there a few routes you can take. For one, a vitamin that can help boost your energy levels is going to be great for helping you be more productive. Along with energy boosting, you can also choose supplements that will Improve your cognitive health, boost memory and focus, and relieve distracting stress.
To learn more about the best supplements for having a productive day, we talked with a couple of expert dietitians to get their suggestions. Read on for their choices, and for more tips on taking supplements, make sure to check out the 9 Best Costco Supplements To Take Every Day.
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"Since many people are eating fewer animal products and more plants, they may not be consuming enough vitamin B12 to meet their needs," says Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, registered dietitian and author of The First Time Mom's Pregnancy Cookbook and Fueling Male Fertility. This is because vitamin B12 is naturally abundant in many animal-based food and drinks like dairy milk, eggs, cheese, fish, and meat.
B12 is an important vitamin because it helps our body form more red blood cells and has been found to help with heart health. In addition, it can also help provide us with necessary energy for having a productive day.
"This nutrient, among other roles, supports energy levels, especially for people who eat less animal-based products," says Manaker. "Adding a vitamin B12 supplement to their routine may offer some benefit." And, if you're someone who's not getting enough of this vitamin in your diet, you may experience fatigue and mood swings—two common side effects of B12 deficiency that can ruin your productivity plans for the day.
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Green tea is naturally full of antioxidants and has been known to help people's health by boosting fat oxidation, reducing the risk of certain cancers, and slowing brain aging. Plus, on top of all of these benefits, green tea can boost productivity by providing caffeine and a special compound that can help your cognition. But if you're not a fan of the taste, you can buy a green tea extract in pill form, which still gives you the same benefits.
"Green tea extract contains caffeine, which is known to provide people a boost throughout the day," says Manaker. "And, EGCG— a compound found in green tea—has been shown to support brain health."
RELATED: The Best Supplements To Slow Aging, Say Dietitians
If you're looking for a powerhouse of a productivity supplement, Gingko biloba is a safe bet.
"Ginkgo biloba is an herbal supplement with active ingredients like flavonoids and terpenoids, which are believed to help Improve blood flow to the brain and protect it from oxidative stress," says Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD at Balance One Supplements. "This is why this supplement is commonly used to Improve cognitive function, including focus and attention."
"It may also help support working memory, which, when functioning at its peak, can help people have a more productive day," says Manaker. Best adds that, "Ginkgo biloba can help to increase the availability of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine, which are important for regulating mood, attention, and focus as well."
Sometimes, we need a boost from a productivity supplement that can help us focus and stay on track. We may have all the energy we need, but without the focus, procrastination can take over. According to Manaker, taking an L-theanine supplement may be able to help.
"L-theanine is an amino acid that, when combined with caffeine, can help people experience heightened focus," she says. One study on young adults published in Nutritional Neuroscience found that L-theanine taken with about 40 milligrams of caffeine, which is equal to around half a cup of coffee, helped participants have better focus during certain tasks.
Another easy and fairly affordable supplement you can take for productivity is called CoQ10.
"Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a naturally occurring antioxidant that is involved in the production of energy in the mitochondria, which are the powerhouses of the cells, and it helps to convert the energy from the food we eat into a form that the body can use," says Best.
"Some studies have suggested that CoQ10 supplements may help to increase energy levels, particularly in people with CoQ10 deficiency or in those taking statin medications, which are meant for lowering cholesterol," says Best. "While CoQ10 is generally considered safe, it is important to talk to a healthcare provider before starting any new supplements, especially if you are on medication or have any medical conditions."
RELATED: The #1 Best Supplement for Women Over 50
Manaker suggests taking Ashwagandha if your stress is getting in the way of completing your daily tasks. Thi is an herb that can be taken as a pill or in powder form, and some research studies have shown that it can be used to relieve stress.
One report from the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine concluded that high concentrations of this herb can help an individual's resistance to stress and Improve overall quality of life. A small study published in Medicine found that ashwagandha may be able to reduce stress by interacting with the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis—a part of the body that contributes a role in cortisol and stress levels.
"For some, feeling overly stressed can cause them to lose focus, so having a solution may help people be more productive by maintaining their chill," says Manaker.
A very low-carb diet can make a big difference for children who don't respond well to other epilepsy treatments. The UK Epilepsy Clinic works to show families how to use the ketogenic (keto) diet to reduce and even eliminate seizures.
The keto diet is often touted as a weight-loss method, but it's really a medical diet that's been used to treat epilepsy since the 1920s. The keto diet is essentially a strict diet that mimics the effects of fasting. Keto requires you to cut out most carbohydrates and sugars while eating more fats and limited proteins. The name comes from a process called ketosis, which occurs when someone fasts and the body starts burning fat instead of carbs. Keto also works well for adults with difficult-to-treat epilepsy with medications.
Typically, your body uses carbs and sugar for energy. But cutting out most carbs forces the body to burn stored fat for energy. Researchers aren't exactly sure how the keto diet works. It may lower the "excitability" of the brain, which reduces seizures.
If it's followed carefully, the keto diet works for children whose epilepsy is difficult to treat:
Clinical trials are also underway studying how the keto diet might be used to treat malignant glioma, Alzheimer's disease, migraine, motor neuron disease and other conditions.
The keto diet can cause low glucose levels early on, so it's important to work with a physician and dietitian before you or your child try the diet. Patient families at UK HealthCare meet with a dietitian and me either in person or via telehealth before embarking on the keto plan, but ongoing monitoring can be done at satellite clinics throughout Kentucky to save travel time and costs.
Citation: Treating epilepsy with a keto diet (2023, February 6) retrieved 19 February 2023 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2023-02-epilepsy-keto-diet.html
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Children who have a healthy diet throughout their childhood have better mental health when they are eight years old. This is shown by one of the largest surveys of its kind, according to researchers from the University of Agder (UiA) in Norway.
"Nobody raises an eyebrow when we talk about how diet affects our physical health. The link between diet and mental health, however, is not as obvious," says child psychiatrist and postdoctoral research fellow Christine Helle at UiA.
But the link is there. And it turns out to be clearer than we previously thought.
Researchers from UiA have used data from the Norwegian Mother, Father and Child Cohort Study. This is one of the world's largest health surveys. In the dietary study, the researchers used data from 40,000 children who were followed over several years.
"In this study, we see a clear connection between what children eat during their early years and personality traits and symptoms of anxiety and depression when they are eight years old," says Professor Nina Cecilie Øverby at UiA.
She emphasizes that the research cannot establish cause and effect, but that there is a connection. The findings have been adjusted for the influence of other characteristics that the researchers know may be important, such as the mother's education and mental health.
The mothers answered questions about their own and their child's diet at various stages, during the pregnancy and when the child was six and eighteen months old. New rounds of surveys were conducted when the child was three and seven years old.
At the age of eight, children who had a healthy diet growing up scored higher on personality traits such as conscientiousness, openness, extraversion and benevolence.
Children who had a less healthy diet scored higher on personality traits related to neuroticism.
"The association we find between diet early in life and personality traits has not been shown in previous studies to our knowledge," says Øverby.
The personality traits are based on the Big Five model, which is the leading scientific theory of how our personality is shaped.
"Personality traits are dimensions that measure the degree of psychological characteristics. Personality traits are important for our mental health, even if they're not linked to mental disorders or ailments," says Helle.
She nevertheless adds that the trait of neuroticism are often associated with vulnerability to developing anxiety and depression.
When the researchers talk about a good diet, they talk about a diet that is in line with the Norwegian nutrition recommendations (in Norwegian only). Fruit and vegetables, whole grain products, fish, and home-cooked meals.
"The body develops the nervous system, internal organs and the brain at the beginning of life. For this, the body needs energy from food. In addition, the food we eat can affect how our genes work," Øverby says.
The researchers emphasize that facilitating a healthy diet is a social responsibility.
"With this knowledge as a foundation, it becomes even more important to offer children a healthy meal in nurseries or during the school day. It's about ensuring social equity in matters of health, and that is especially necessary to underline in these uncertain economic times," Helle says.
The researchers describe the results as very robust. There are, however, some weaknesses in the study. The mothers had to fill in the forms themselves, among other things.
"We also see that the women who take part in the survey are more highly educated and smoke less than average. Several such features indicate that they do not represent an average of the population," Øverby says.
She still thinks there is no reason to believe that the results would have been different with a different sample.
The study measures the effect of diet early in life on the personality of eight-year-olds. The natural question then becomes: When is it too late to make changes?
The researchers can reassure you that it's never too late to start eating healthier and benefit from it.
"We are not fully developed as eight-year-olds. If you establish good eating habits early in life, a lot has already been done. But we cannot eat our way to the personality we want. There are many other conditions that affect it, especially the genes you carry and the life conditions you encounter," Helle says.
She points out that this study, however, shows that good nutrition early in life is a step in a positive direction.
The study is published in the journal Nutrients.
More information: Kristine Vejrup et al, Diet in Early Life Is Related to Child Mental Health and Personality at 8 Years: Findings from the Norwegian Mother, Father and Child Cohort Study (MoBa), Nutrients (2023). DOI: 10.3390/nu15010243
Provided by University of Agder
Citation: How diet affects a child's mental health (2023, February 15) retrieved 19 February 2023 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2023-02-diet-affects-child-mental-health.html
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Eating a lot of free sugars — also known as added sugars — might feel harmless in the moment, but it could increase your risk for getting cardiovascular disease, a new study has found.
Free sugars are those added during the processing of foods; packaged as table sugar and other sweeteners; and naturally occurring in syrups, honey, fruit juice, vegetable juice, purees, pastes and similar products in which the cellular structure of the food has been broken down, according to the United States Food and Drug Administration. They don’t include sugars naturally occurring in dairy or structurally whole fruits and vegetables.
Previous studies have reported that links between carbohydrate consumption and cardiovascular disease might depend on the quality, rather than the quantity, of carbohydrates consumed, according to the new study published Monday in the journal BMC Medicine. To test that theory, the authors behind the latest research assessed diet and health data from more than 110,000 people who participated in UK Biobank, a cohort study that collected data between 2006 and 2010 from more than 503,000 adults based in the United Kingdom.
People included in the new study participated in two to five 24-hour online dietary assessments, logging their food and beverage intake multiple times within each 24-hour period. After over nine years of follow-up, the researchers found total carbohydrate intake wasn’t associated with cardiovascular disease. But when they analyzed how outcomes differed depending on the types and sources of carbohydrates eaten, they found higher free sugar intake was associated with a higher risk for cardiovascular disease and greater waist circumference.
The more free sugars some participants consumed, the greater their risk of cardiovascular disease, heart disease and stroke was. All heart diseases are cardiovascular disease, but cardiovascular disease is the term for all types of diseases that affect the heart or blood vessels, such as stroke, congenital heart defects and peripheral artery disease, according to the US National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (PDF).
Higher intake of free sugars was also linked with higher concentrations of triglycerides — a type of fat that comes from butter, oils and other fats people eat, plus extra calories their bodies don’t immediately need. Having high triglyceride levels — defined as more than 150 milligrams per deciliter — can increase risk for heart diseases such as coronary artery disease.
“This study provides much needed nuance to public health discussions about the health effects of dietary carbohydrates,” said Dr. Maya Adam, director of Health Media Innovation and clinical assistant professor of pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine, via email. Adam wasn’t involved in the study. “The main takeaways are that all carbs are not created equal.”
The link between higher free sugar intake and cardiovascular disease risk lies in the differences between how the body metabolizes free sugar versus sugar in whole foods.
“Added sugar intake can promote inflammation in the body, and this can cause stress on the heart and blood vessels, which can lead to increased blood pressure,” said Brooke Aggarwal, assistant professor of medical sciences in the cardiology division at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. Aggarwal wasn’t involved in the study.
“Added sugars are often found in processed foods which have little nutritional value and may lead to overeating and excess calorie intake, which in turn leads to overweight/obesity, a well-established risk factor for heart disease,” Aggarwal said via email.
Based on their findings, the authors suggest replacing free sugars with non-free sugars naturally occurring in whole fruits and vegetables to lower your risk of developing cardiovascular disease — and experts in nutrition and cardiovascular health agree.
“Whole food carbohydrates take longer to break down into simple sugars, and a part of them — the fiber — can’t be broken down at all,” Adam added. “This means that whole, intact grains don’t cause the same spikes in blood sugar that we experience when we eat simple sugars. Blood sugar spikes trigger insulin spikes, which can destabilize our blood glucose and … be the underlying cause of health problems in the long run.”
Additionally, the fiber in whole food carbohydrates acts as an “internal scrub brush” when it passes through the digestive system, Adam added. “That’s why, generally speaking, we need a certain amount of these ‘good carbs’ in our diets to stay healthy.”
Total fiber intake should be at least 25 grams daily, according to the FDA.
Awareness is the first step toward reducing your intake of free sugars, so look at nutrition labels when shopping, said CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and public health professor at George Washington University. Wen wasn’t involved in the study.
“Many times, people think about cutting calories or not consuming fatty foods, but they may not be aware of the dangers of free sugars,” Wen said.
“When we buy packaged foods — even the ones we don’t think of as being sweet like bread, breakfast cereals, flavored yoghurts or condiments — these foods usually have plenty of added sugar, and it adds up,” Adam said.
Cut back on sugary drinks and go for water sweetened with fruit slices instead, Aggarwal suggested. Have fresh or frozen fruit for dessert instead of cakes, cookies or ice cream. Foods with higher fiber content can also help you stay fuller longer, she added.
Cooking and baking at home more often is one of the best ways to reduce sugar in your diet, Adam said.
“The American Heart Association recommends that added sugars make up less than 6% of calories per day, which works out to about 6 teaspoons of sugar per day for women, and 9 teaspoons per day for men,” Aggarwal said.
Lastly, efforts to change your diet shouldn’t only happen in the kitchen or grocery store. “Aim to get at least seven to eight hours of good quality sleep per night, as we tend to choose foods higher in sugar when we’re tired,” Aggarwal said.
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Unlike other diets, such as the keto diet or Mediterranean diet, the GOLO diet isn’t so much a way of eating as it is a specific diet plan. While there is some flexibility in what you can eat on the GOLO diet, the plan requires a specific supplement from GOLO, LLC, the company that created the diet in 2009.
The theory behind this diet is to achieve weight loss by speeding up your metabolism by reducing insulin resistance—which causes an increase of blood sugar—in order to prevent health conditions related to weight gain.
As for the creators, the company’s website says the team consists of “dedicated doctors, pharmacists and researchers.” However, the only specific individuals listed include the CEO and president, both of which have sales and marketing backgrounds and are not doctors or registered dietitian nutritionists themselves. In fact, the website doesn’t identify any specific healthcare personnel.
“The GOLO diet is an approach to weight loss designed to be used short-term,” says certified functional medicine practitioner Vikki Petersen, who’s also a certified clinical nutritionist and founder and executive director of Root Cause Medical Clinic, which has clinics based in California and Florida. “Its goal is to manage your insulin levels, thereby normalizing your metabolism and hormones.” Programs range from 30 to 90 days.
The website offers limited information about the specifics of the GOLO diet. Instead, you must purchase their supplement, Release, in order to access materials they refer to as the “Metabolic Plan.” As Petersen notes, the aim of the GOLO diet is to address and lower increased blood sugar levels that are caused by insulin resistance, which is associated with the eventual development of cardiovascular disease. By addressing insulin resistance—in part with the supplement—GOLO claims to speed up your metabolism, resulting in fat loss.
In a accurate study published in The Journal of Nutrition, researchers investigate the association between the quality of the maternal diet during pregnancy and hepatic fat in the offspring during early childhood.
Study: Maternal diet quality during pregnancy and offspring hepatic fat in early childhood: The Healthy Start Study. Image Credit: Evgeny Atamenenko / Shutterstock.com
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in the pediatric population is a growing concern, as it is associated with insulin resistance, childhood obesity, and various other metabolic disorders. During childhood, NAFLD can also lead to liver fibrosis and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis.
Previous studies have shown that exposure to obesogenic factors, such as suboptimal levels of lipids or glucose, as well as maternal obesity in utero during the developmental stages of the fetus, can increase the risk of hepatic fat in the offspring.
The activity levels of the mother and maternal diet could also influence the risk of NAFLD in the offspring. Research on animal models has shown that high-fat and high-sucrose-based diets are associated with liver fat in the offspring. Therefore, it is important to understand whether and how maternal diet quality influences the risk of NAFLD in offspring.
In the present study, researchers analyzed longitudinal data from the Health Start Study, a pre-birth cohort from Colorado, United States. The Healthy Start Study enrolled pregnant females above the age of 15 at less than 24 weeks of gestation with a singleton pregnancy and with no history of previous stillbirths or pre-existing chronic diseases such as diabetes, steroid-dependent asthma, psychiatric disease, or cancer.
The study recorded data from in-person visits with the mother-child dyad during early and mid-pregnancies, one day after delivery, twice during infancy when the offspring was at a median age of five and 22 months, and once during early childhood when the offspring was around five years old.
The researchers used the data for 1,131 mother-child dyads with complete information on the maternal diet during pregnancy. In addition, a subset of the children from these dyads underwent an assessment of hepatic fat during early childhood through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
The quality of the maternal diet was assessed using two distinct metrics. First, the typical maternal nutrient intake of carbohydrates, energy, fats, and protein was used to determine the macronutrient distribution.
Three indices, including the Healthy Eating Index-2010, relative Mediterranean Diet (rMED) score, and dietary inflammation index (DII®), were used to determine the maternal diet pattern scores to obtain insights into the combined impact of various foods consumed during pregnancy.
The researchers hypothesized that a maternal diet of poor quality with high fat and sugar content would correlate with a higher accumulation of hepatic fat in the offspring during early childhood.
Linear regression models were used to analyze associations between predictors of maternal diet during pregnancy and hepatic fat in the offspring. These models were also adjusted for perinatal or maternal confounding factors, the offspring's demographic characteristics, and the mother's total energy intake.
Higher rMED scores, which indicated a relatively high Mediterranean Diet type with high fiber intake in the maternal diet during pregnancy, were associated with lower hepatic fat in the offspring during early childhood. Furthermore, a material diet with high DII scores, combined with increased sugar intake in the maternal diet and high levels of total sugar by the mother, was linked to higher hepatic fat in the offspring.
A sub-component analysis also revealed that the reduced intake of legumes and green vegetables in the diet by the mother and a higher intake of empty calories such as added sugar also increased the risk of hepatic fat accumulation in the offspring during early childhood.
These findings were consistent, even when the analyses were adjusted for factors such as total energy intake and body mass index (BMI) during pregnancy. Thus, the correlation between maternal diet and hepatic fat accumulation in the offspring was independent of the energy balance in the mother.
Increased intake of healthy dietary fibers and carbohydrates with a low glycemic index was linked to better weight control during pregnancy and enhanced metabolic homeostasis in the mother, which could reduce the susceptibility of the offspring to NAFLD. However, the study found that the levels of maternal triglycerides, previously linked to hepatic fat in the offspring, did not influence the associations between maternal diet and NAFLD risk in the offspring.
Overall, the current study reports that a maternal diet of poor quality that includes lower levels of healthy fiber and high sugar consumption increased the susceptibility of the offspring to NAFLD. Furthermore, pro-inflammatory maternal diets, as determined by high DII scores and dissimilar to the Mediterranean diet, were associated with hepatic fat accumulation in the offspring during early childhood.
These findings provide a target in the perinatal stage for preventing NAFLD in the pediatric population.