Category Archives: Health
By: Wieke von Scheidt
Why do people have trouble staying focused?
Staying focused eight hours straight every day is a goal that most people strive for, but no matter how hard we try, it is impossible. Why? Experts say that the average attention span in adults is between 20 and 40 minutes.
Even though our preferred goal is to stay focused for eight full hours a day, our brain is not developed to function that way. The opposite often occurs when we try to stay on task for a long period of time – that is, we get easier distracted. Market research firm uSamp found that 53% of people waste at least one hour a day due to all types of distractions. Collaboration tools that are supposed to increase productivity at work, continuous noises, overflowing email inboxes and the frequent feeling of being fatigued, let our minds keep wandering off.
In addition to the loss of hours, our body takes a toll when trying to work without proper breaks. People often turn to coffee to keep from getting tired, this can lead to sleep insomnia. According to the National Institutes of Health, 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep disorders. In order to function properly adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each day. Many don’t get the necessary amount of sleep needed and it starts affecting their concentration. So, what can you do to maintain the level of concentration you need to get all your work done?
Studies show that taking frequent breaks helps to increase focus and productivity tremendously. Many employees don’t take enough breaks during the day, some don’t even take any at all but that doesn’t seem to increase the amount of work they get done. People that don’t take breaks tend to get distracted easier than people who break frequently.
Draugiem Group, a social networking company based in Latvia has demonstrated this by using an app called DeskTime. Employees were to work for 52 minutes and then take a 17 minute break. During this break employees did things completely unrelated to work and without the use of electronics, like going for a walk, chatting with co-workers, or reading a book.
The problem is that many fear to appear lazy or unproductive. It is important that employers support this method and show their employees that it is ok to take these breaks. In the end the whole organization will benefit from this approach.
If you have the ability to exercise during your breaks, do so. It’s been proven that moving around will increase concentration levels – even if you just go for a walk outside. Dr. John J. Ratey a clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School explained how a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is released, which plays a role in the improvement of cognitive health. The image below shows best the level of activity in the brain of a person in a serenity state versus a person who has been active for 20 minutes.
In addition to what happens in the brain, exercising regularly benefits the whole body – leading to lower health risks.
The Right Nutrition
Nutrition can make a significant difference on concentration capacity, especially when consumed at the right timing. A study by the International Labor Office shows poor diet can impact up to 20% of work productivity. It is very common that office cafeterias don’t offer a balanced meal selection. In other cases employees only have 30 minutes and run to the next Fast Food restaurant. Some may underestimate the importance of the right nutrition and their connection to mental and physical functions. Of all nutrients water is probably the most important; studies have shown that not drinking enough water will not only dehydrate your body but also decrease your level of focus and short-term memory. Other foods that increase energy and concentration include blueberries, fish, avocado, green tea, and dark chocolate.
Make a To-Do List
Making a to-do list is one of the most effective ways to get work done and stay on tasks. However, many seem to struggle creating a list and following it. There are too many distractions during the day that keep us from staying focused. Making a list will not only help you stay organized but also help finish the work you intended to do. Here are a few tips on how to write and follow the to-do list effectively.
Write Your to do list the night before
Writing your to-do list the night before will save you time and energy, which you will need in the morning to be most productive.
Get out your calendar
Take a look at your calendar, check appointments that are coming and determine what you need to for these meetings.
Make a random list of all the things you have to get done and then prioritize, listing the most important tasks first.
Check your emails
Check your email inbox when you arrive at work. Set a timeframe, like 30 minutes to read and respond to emails. After that don’t check it again for at least an hour or until you finished the first important task on your to-do list. Checking our email inbox is one of the most distracting things that keep us from focusing. As soon as we open our inbox we see an important email and feel the need to respond to it. Before we know it we will respond to the next, and the next, and the next, until we forget what we were actually concentrating on.
Set a Realistic Time
Setting a realistic timeframe is often difficult; people underestimate the time they really need to finish a task. So, be realistic and add an extra 30 minutes if you are unsure. It is better to have more time than to feel rushed. The same applies to emails, decide on how often you want to check your emails and set aside a certain time to respond to them.
The end of the day
Before you leave go over your to-do list and make sure you finished everything. Then start your new list for the following day.
Especially in the afternoon people tend to get groggy and crash easily. If that’s the case you should try Clarex. Compared to caffeine containing beverages it will keep you focused without the crash effect. If you do prefer to drink coffee you should try to drink it in the morning only. Generally, caffeine stays in your system for about 5 to 6 hours before it starts to wear off. Drinking coffee early in the day will decrease the chance of insomnia later on at night. Clarex will also help prevent caffeine jitters that tend to plague many coffee consumers.
Overall people’s ability to stay focused is limited. Scientists have proven that the human brain can only concentrate for a short period of time like up to 52 minutes. It is just a matter of us learning how to be more productive by taking frequent breaks, moving around, staying organized, making lists etc. There are many ways one can return to a good level of focus and the ones above are only a few.
Being able to read and understand nutrition and supplement labels is not only helpful but also important. For the sake of our health we need to know what we feed into our body on a daily basis. Nutrition and Supplement Labels don’t look exactly alike and for individuals who have never read either one before, they may seem very overwhelming.
Before learning about labels we need to understand the difference between food labels and supplement labels. Food or Nutrition Labels are labeled as Nutrition Facts at the top of the table, while dietary supplements are labeled as Supplement facts. Products marked as nutrition facts are sold as food and all ingredients are approved by the FDA. Dietary supplements on the other hand are not evaluated by the FDA but have to follow their guidelines and are sold as a supplement.
Both are closely regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and by the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). These organizations not only monitor exactly what goes into our foods and supplements but also created uniform layouts as well as definitions for each term. This is so all terms have the exact same meaning for different products.
1) Start Here
This section shows the amount of one serving size, usually it is 1 cup but it varies depending on the food. In addition it states how many of those servings are in the entire container.
2) Check Calories
Calories are an important source of energy – it measures how much energy a food or beverage contains; from carbohydrates, fat, protein, or alcohol. The amount of calories consumed varies from person to person.
3) Limit these
Fat is important for our body but it should be limited. There are good sources of fat such as unsaturated fats; polysaturated (Omega-3 and Omega-6) and monosaturated fats that our body needs. Fats that should be limited or even eliminated from ones diet are saturated and trans fats. Both can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Cholesterol and Sodium should also be consumed in small quantities to prevent the risk of heart disease.
4) Get Enough of these Nutrients
Fiber, Vitamins, and Minerals are good nutrients that support overall health. They reduce risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, and other conditions.
The “*” states the recommended amount based on a daily 2,000 calorie diet. This will help individuals who follow a diet close to 2000 calories determine how much of a certain nutrient they have to consume. Note that altering serving sizes will skew the amount of nutrients consumed.
6) Quick Guide
The % of Daily Value section serves as guidance to how much of a certain nutrient is consumed based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Each nutrient is based on 100% daily requirement and helps determine whether the content of a nutrient is high or low in one serving. Less than 5% is considered low, while more than 20% is considered high. The DV also helps to compare products, as long as the serving sizes are the same.
The list of ingredients is the backbone of every product. It lists exactly what substances the product is made out of. You should pay close attention to it. The ingredients are listed in descended order with the main ingredients first. Sometimes a product will advertise that it is made out of a certain nutrient but it is very far down on the list. This means the food or beverage contains that substance but the way it’s weighted in coherence to the other ingredients might not be as high as it is advertised.
Supplements are taken by mouth, often in form of a pill or capsule and are intended to complement ones diet. Supplement Labels are slightly different from Nutrition Labels.
Just like nutrition labels, supplements show the serving size and the entire serving per container.
This section lists all the key ingredients, such as vitamins, minerals, whole herbs, botanical extracts, amino acids, other ingredients such as enzymes, organ tissues, glandulars, and nutritional metabolites along with their amounts per serving and percentage of daily value if applicable.
Below the black bold line is often where companies list a proprietary blend, which is a product specific blend that does not have to list the amount per serving. Companies often develop a proprietary blend to make their product unique from other products on the market.
Other ingredients don’t have any beneficial value to the supplement. They are ingredients used to make capsules, pills, etc. It also states the directions of the recommended amount and any warnings that maybe associated with taking the product in combination with others.
Resources:http://images.flatworldknowledge.com/white/white-fig08_005.jpg http://www.theralogix.com/index.cfm?fa=products.theromegasport.labelreading&dvsn=sports http://www.nowfoods.com/Quality/Are-Supplements-Safe/099459.htm http://www.cncahealth.com/explore/learn/nutrition-supplements/supplement-savvy-part-1-understanding-food-and-supplement-labels
With the start of the Fall season the flu is not the only highly contagious disease we need to worry about. People are getting increasingly concerned about a virus, called Enterovirus D68 that is slowly making its way from state to state. Parents are particularly worried because it affects children more often than adults. The symptoms start out with a mild cold to later become more severe, affecting children’s respiratory system.
What is it?
Enteroviruses have been around for a long time, usually causing colds, fever, headaches, vomiting, and rashes in addition to other symptoms. EV-D68 is an unusual strain causing more severe symptoms such as wheezing and difficulty breathing. This may cause particular concerns for parents with children who have lung problems or asthma because it is harder to recognize. In some cases kids had been hospitalized because they required mechanical ventilator in order to breathe properly. The Center of Disease Control is paying close attention to the development of this virus.
How can you get it?
D68 is spreading like many other viruses through body fluids, like saliva, nasal secretion, as well as other kinds of interactions. The time of year Enteroviruses seem to affect more people is in the Summer and the numbers decrease in the Fall.
How to protect yourself?
- Keep away from sick people
- Wash hands often with soap and warm water for about 20 seconds
- Don’t put backpacks, purses, jackets or other items on restroom floors and counters.
- Pack reusable water bottles instead of using public water fountains.
- Carry hand sanitizer with you
- Don’t share bottles, and utensils
- Wipe down surfaces with disinfectant wipes
- Avoid hugging and kissing while being sick
How to treat it?
There is no vaccine or specific medication to treat Enteroviruses. All that can be done is to relief patience of symptoms through mechanical ventilators, and over-the-counter medications for pain and fever. Therefore it is important for parents to take be cautious and take preliminary actions to avoid infections.
For more detailed information visit Centers of Disease Control http://www.cdc.gov/non-polio-enterovirus/index.html
Over the years energy drinks have gained in popularity, especially in the sporting industry. They claim to boost the immune system, as well as enhance performance and endurance. That’s why 30 to 50 percent of teens and young adults purchase these drinks. What effect do energy drinks have on the body when consumed on a regular basis?
Drinking energy drinks like Redbull, Monster, or Rockstar once in a while when you need a little boost to make it through a long drive is relatively harmless. However, once someone starts drinking them on a regular basis their body will develop a dependency. This causes a problem for your body’s overall health because excessive amounts of caffeine and sugar are consumed. This can lead to increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and weight, while causing insomnia, and dehydration. In the long run your body will feel worse.
The most common ingredients and their effects:
Caffeine is by far the most widely used stimulant in energy boosting products around the world. According to studies, 300 to 400 mg of caffeine a day, which varies by individual, will start causing initial symptoms such as increase in heartbeat, jitters, and/or insomnia. Caffeine dependency can already develop after only 5 to 7 days of regularly intake. Individuals may notice light withdrawal symptoms. For further side effects please read negative effects of caffeine from an earlier article. Currently caffeine is not required to be listed in ingredients. However, many companies list the substance voluntarily. This regulation may change in the near future due to the high amount found in energy drinks. FDA is trying to determine how to regulate the amount of caffeine listed.
Taurine is an amino acid, naturally produced in the body and used in many energy drinks. Taurine is said to support neurological developments and regulate the level of water and mineral salt in the blood. There are claims that it improves athletic performance and when mixed with caffeine increases mental performance.
Sugar is the basic nutrient used for energy production in the body. Even though the body needs sugar, too much of it can lead to various health problems. Energy drinks are loaded with sugar, often in large quantities and hidden behind healthy sounding names such as “natural cane sugar”. Some energy drinks contain up to 62 grams of sugar (15 1/2 teaspoons) worth—per 16-ounce. Some of the negative effects of sugar are:
- Tooth decay
Guarana is a substance from a South American plant. It’s a very popular ingredient for energy drinks because of its high caffeine content. Guarana contains more caffeine than any other plant in the world, including the coffee bean. There are some claims that Guarana promotes weight loss when combined with other ingredients. So if you read Guarana on the label of an energy drink already containing caffeine, it just means more caffeine.
Inositol is a naturally occurring vitamin that is produced from glucose. It’s considered a brain food because it is necessary for brain support. Studies suggest that it also aids in illnesses like depression or cancer.
Ginseng is an Asian herbal supplement used for different medical reasons. Only few of them have been researched more extensively. However there is no evidence that it boosts energy.
Glucuronolactone is a natural occurring substance in the body. There is not much research on it but claims have been made that it supports mental performance.
Art Sweeteners are sugar substitutes, often used in energy drinks to lower the amount of calories. There are a variety of different artificial sweeteners. It can also help control blood sugar in people with diabetes. Artificial sweeteners are chemically processed and there have been various debates on its health risks. Tests on rats run in the 70 have claimed certain sweeteners cause cancer. None of these claims have been proven to be true.
Ginkgo Biloba is extracted from the leaves of the Asian Ginkgo tree. The herb is used in various energy drinks like Rockstar. Recent studies by the US government have shown that the substance may have resulted in the development of liver and thyroid cancer in mice and rats.
L Carnitine is an amino acid produced by the body. Unless there is a deficiency the substance is relatively useless. Too much of it can cause stomach upset, vomiting, diarrhea, and even seizure.
L Theanine also an amino acid that is derived from tea. Preliminary studies claim that the substance may calm the brain and enhance concentration.
No one should rely on energy drinks for the regular energy boost but rather follow a healthy diet and lifestyle. However for most people it is ok to consume energy drinks occasionally, but coffee is still a better alternative source of caffeine. Energy drinks tend to have an effect of bringing the body’s capacity from 100% to 130%. If you are looking to recover your body from 70% to 100%, try Clarex, its completely stimulant free.
By Wieke von Scheidt
Summer is almost here, or at least we hope it is. This is the time of year when many take vacation to travel, and relax. Kids have long breaks and parents can use up some of their vacation days. If you are traveling this summer it’s a good thing to know some ways to stay fit. Health is something that is often forgotten while traveling. On your next trip try to keep some of these tips in mind.
Explore the Area
Before you travel, plan your trip. Buy a map or a travel guide with interesting places to visit. Once you get to your destination be sure to get out of your accommodation at least once a day and walk around outside. Going for a long walk, whether you are exploring the city, or strolling along the beach is a great way to relax the mind and keep your body going. If it’s raining you can visit museums, shopping centers, or other indoor places that allow you to walk around.
While on vacation it is always easy to just get a quick meal from any fast food restaurant, but it is better to take an extra five minutes to bring your own meal. It will also be better for your wallet. For the little hunger in-between you can pack snacks like apples, bananas, and my personal favorite, granola bars. If you still decide to go out to eat choose a restaurant that serves a variety of good foods and make sure to get some vegetables with your meals.
Many hotels have amenities such as gyms, swimming pools, tennis courts, and so on. Even if the place you stay at does not offer any of these services, get creative. If the weather is nice, plug your headphones in and go out for a run, hike, or rent a bike. This is also a great way to explore the area.
Take the Stairs
If you stay in a room that is a couple floors up, and not all the way in the sky consider taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Have you been sitting all day, or spent a lazy day lounging by the beach? It will feel good to walk some stairs and maybe stretch. Anywhere you go you will probably find stairs, so make it a habit to use them.
Bring a Workout DVD
In case your hotel does not have any amenities you can always bring some workout DVDs and exercise in your room. Many hotel rooms have DVD players, or you can just bring your own laptop. This is a great way to get a quick workout in, especially if you don’t like exercising around people.
Vacations are a wonderful time to disconnect from our busy lives and truly relax. This does not mean you should take a break from your healthy lifestyle you normally follow. If you are used to working out and staying fit, don’t blow all that hard work by skipping it completely during your vacation. And if you love staying active it should not be a hard task to keep it up while traveling. Do you have any tips on how to stay fit and healthy while traveling? Share your tips and tell us how you stay active below, on our Facebook, or Tweet us.
This might interest some of our followers so I decided to reblog it.
It?s not uncommon to hear of undergraduates pulling all-nighters to prepare for exams or finish papers. Even though a number of studies have shown that sleep deprivation is unhealthy and can actually be counterproductive, that does little to sway the average student when deadlines…
Effects of sleep deprivation on hard-pressed students
Last week I was talking about the negative effects caffeine can have on the human body. What many don’t know is that caffeine can actually be beneficial to us. Here are five interesting facts about the advantages of caffeine.
1. It Reduces the Risk of Suicide
According to a study by Havard’s School of Public Health people who drink more than two cups of coffee a day are more stable emotionally. The suicide risk is cut by 45 percent possibly because caffeine’s stimulant effect helps boost people’s moods. www.aarp.org
2. Caffeine increases Performance
Caffeine slightly increase heart and breathing rate preparing the body for peak performance. While working out it can also increase muscle contraction, which in turn leads to the growth of the muscle. This happens because caffeine blocks adenosine receptors attached to muscle fibers causing a stronger burst of calcium. In order for a muscle to contract, calcium must be released within a fiber. www.menshealth.com
3. Lowers The Risk of Diseases
A study lead by NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke found that caffeine reduces the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease by four to eight times. This is presumed because caffeine keeps dopamine molecules active. www.aarp.org
4. The Highest Intake of Antioxidants
Another study completed in 2005 states that coffee contains more antioxidants than any other food or drink. Even though some vegetables and fruits contain a good amount, the body absorbs the most antioxidants from coffee. www.huffingtonpost.com
5. Good for Your Liver
People who drink one cup of coffee everyday are 20 percent less likely to develop liver cirrhosis, which is autoimmune disease caused by excessive alcohol consumption that could lead to liver failure and cancer. “Consuming coffee seems to have some protective benefits against alcoholic cirrhosis, and the more coffee a person consumes the less risk they seem to have of being hospitalized or dying of alcoholic cirrhosis” , said Arthur L Klatsky the lead author of the study. www.huffingtonpost.com
In conclusion, caffeinated drinks in moderation are ok. However, it is beneficial to follow a healthy diet and be physically active. More and more people drink coffee and overtime it has become much easier to access with local drive-through coffee shops across the country. We often drink caffeinated beverages to fight exhaustion. However sometimes, especially in the afternoon when our body and mind start to shut down caffeine is not the best solution, especially when we are trying to go to sleep a couple hours later. This is why we have developed CLAREX, it is a perfect supplement to help you stay focused without the added stimulant.
For so many people coffee is a morning elexir, they can’t live without. For those drinking coffee every day it has become a ritual that is hard to break. I myself love coffee, hot coffee, ice coffee, coffee with flavor, cappuccino, espresso, you name it. Some like their morning cup black; others add a lot of milk, and/or sugar. Despite many health benefits of caffeine, we often don’t think about the negative effects the black substance, we infuse into our body, can have. One of my very close friends drinks two large cups every single day, which raised the question to me. How bad is caffeine for us? I did a little bit of research and summed up some of the main points.
1. More than 4 cups of coffee daily increase the risk of early death.
A study completed by Mayo Clinic shows the risk of death increased by 21% in men who drank more than 4 cups a day. However, the study has slight discrepancies because many of those that reported their high caffeine intake also smoked and have poor fitness. NBC
2. More than 4 cups a day can also cause side effects:
- Stomach upset
- Fast heartbeat
- Muscle tremors
3. Can disturb Your Sleep
Adults need seven to eight hours of sleep per night. When you lose sleep because of work, travel, stress, or other reasons, people often try to mask their lack of sleep with caffeine. This will help you stay awake during the day, but it will also make it harder for those using caffeine to fall asleep at night. Forbes states that coffee has a six-hour half-life, meaning it will take twenty-four hours to work its way out of your system. 25% will still remain in your body after having a cup of coffee at eight a.m. in the morning. forbes
4. Silently Kills Emotional Intelligence
An article written by Forbes addresses the impact caffeine has on our emotional response. The substance triggers the release of adrenaline, which is a substance that is released in the body when we feel a strong emotion, such as fear. These emotions can overrun our behavior when caffeine is infused, putting the body and brain into a hyper-aroused state. forbes
5. The Body Can Become Dependent On Caffeine
The positive stimulating effect caffeine gives people, can become an addiction for some, said Steven E. Meredith, postdoctoral research fellow at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
“Caffeine activates many of the same behavioral and neuropharmacological mechanisms that are activated by other reinforcers, including other drugs of abuse.
And, like many other reinforcers, caffeine is associated with various positive subjective effects like increased wellbeing, sociability, and feelings of energy and alertness. For this reason and others, a small percentage of the population develops caffeine use disorder.”
He said that the absence of caffeine in a person who drinks coffee on a regular basis can cause withdrawal symptoms, and trigger headaches, irritability, depression, and concentration difficulties. medicalnewstoday
Caffeine has so many effects on our brain and body, not all of them are negative. If you want to know what positive effects caffeine might have, stay tuned, and keep following our blog.
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By Stephanie Slicis
As any student or former student knows, it can be difficult to stay on task in class. Distractions could be caused by learning a hard topic, monotone teacher, or even the pretty bird right outside the window. We’ve all been there, don’t deny it.
However long you are distracted for, you will miss something that could be fundamental. One second off task could create one confusing hour of trying to catch up. Here are some tips that will help you stay focused no matter how many birds are outside your window.
- Be Well Rested
I know, I know, you have heard this advice countless times, but it needs to be reiterated. Our schedules are constantly busy and it seems like sleep is the first thing we sacrifice to get our other tasks done.
Planning your day ahead of time will allow you to arrange making time for sleep. If some of the things on your agenda do not get accomplished, evaluate how crucial it is to get them done that day. Can it be done tomorrow? If so, pour yourself a relaxing cup of decaf tea and then head off to bed.
- Be Energized
Yes, this can be done by getting more sleep, but it also involves preparing your body for the day. Make sure to have a full breakfast or lunch before your classes to ensure that you are storing energy.
I would not recommend going to the local coffee shop on or off campus before class. The caffeine can become addictive, which will cause you to consume more just to get you through the day. Another negative about coffee is the countless bathroom trips you might have to take. More trips outside the classroom create more important information missed.
I would however recommend finding an alternative method to get energy through vitamins and dietary supplements. CLAREX is the perfect choice in this case because it is an all-natural supplement that sustains your energy all day. It also formulated to keep your brain focused in alert.
- Be Engaged
Remaining involved in the discussion will not only increase your understanding, but it will keep you focused. Answer or asking questions, reading along, and even just nodding your head toward your instructor will increase your productivity.
Idle time is when your mind can wander and lead you off course. One minute your are listening attentively, and then you begin to think about your other work you have due, or what you are going to wear this weekend. Remain in the conversation and the topic at hand, so you don’t allow idol time.
- Be Prepared
Every class length is different, and some might be over two hours long. A lot can happen in a two hour span, and you need to be prepared so that you can stay focused. I always make sure that I have a snack in my bag in case I get hungry. There is nothing worse than being hungry in class and being insanely jealous of the girl two rows in front of you that happily snacks away on her various treats. Packing your own snack will ensure that you stay active in class, instead of imagining what her food tastes like.
Your bag also needs to be appropriately packed for class. I always recommend to bring more than one writing utensil and to always have highlighters. Notes are fundamental to doing well in a class, and you do not want to miss any because your pen broke, or you forgot to highlight the important section.