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The Paleo Diet Serotonin Depression-min

Serotonin & The Paleo Diet

We have probably all heard the word serotonin, but usually in relation to going to the gym or doing another form of exercise. It is true to say that exercise boots serotonin levels in the brain, which is why we feel better after a workout, even if it was a bit of a struggle to get there. Serotonin is what is often referred to as the feel good transmitter as it plays a huge part in how happy we feel and if the levels of serotonin in our brain are too low, it can often lead to depression.

Depression is the result of an imbalance of hormones and exists when the neurological system is not functioning as it should be. There are many people who also believe that depression is related to inflammation in the body, which can also cause other illnesses. There is a strong relation between the body and the mind, which is why we need to take care of our bodies, in order to feel balanced and happy in the mind.

Depression can really take over a persons’ life and stop them enjoying important stages of their lives. It is a type of mental illness which can cause the sufferer to become suppressed and even stop going out completely. There are many people who turn to their doctors when they feel themselves becoming depressed and the answer is often a bottle of anti-depressants. These may help in the short term but they can be addictive, so much so that the user may not be able to come off them. It is important to realise the connection between body and mind and take care of our diets as a way of ensuring we don’t suffer from depression.

The Paleo Diet Serotonin Depression-min

As the Paleo diet involves eating the right balance of foods which reduce inflammation and lift serotonin levels, it can be hugely effective in combating an illness such as depression. A diet which is rich in Omega 3 is thought to be a way of reducing and fighting depression as it contains lots of anti-oxidants which help us to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The oil in fish is a natural method of combating depression and can be found in lots of tasty foods such as salmon, tuna and seafood.

It is important to eat foods which reduce inflammation in the body as this is thought to increase our chances of suffering from mental illnesses such as depression. The Paleo diet is a way to achieve this by stocking up on vegetables, fruit and fish and staying away from candy and crisps. Inflammation is not only significant in the effects on the brain but it can also increase the likelihood of suffering from other serious illnesses such as cancer and diabetes.

Foods which contain high levels of protein can also be beneficial in lifting our moods, as they contain amino acids which are known to improve our neurotransmitters. The proper functioning of the neurotransmitters is the way to maintain a healthy mind and as a result, a healthy body.

In order to raise our serotonin levels and ensure we feel healthier from the inside to the outside, we need to look at the natural way of achieving this, rather than reaching for tablets. A healthy diet, together with a combination of exercise, can go a long way to helping us to feel healthier and happier for the rest of our lives. We can change our diet to incorporate healthier food groups, such as meat, fish, vegetables and fruit, at any stage of our lives and it will still have a huge effect on our health.

It is not a case of depriving yourself when following the Paleo diet; it is a method of eating lots of all of the right foods which are natural enhancers of serotonin levels, as well as helping us to achieve a healthy weight. Food plays a huge part in our lives and as such, it is essential to get it right.

Dementia & The Paleo Diet Alzheimer's disease-min

Dementia & The Paleo Diet

Dementia is a serious health condition which causes the deterioration of the brain and although it is a disease which is most common in older people, it can also affect the young. The instances of dementia (of which Alzheimer’s is perhaps the most well known type) are growing in modern society and although it has always been a major concern, awareness of the disease is higher than ever before.

In the past, we would have viewed the signs of dementia as a typical part of becoming older, but this is not the case as there are plenty of people of an older age who still have a fully functioning brain. The signs of dementia include a change in personality, memory loss and/or the inability to carry out simple everyday tasks. There are sufferers of dementia who can even lose the ability to eat which can then lead to further illnesses. The effects of dementia can be rapid or can happen over a long period of time.

Dementia not only has a major effect on the sufferer of the disease, it can also have a hugely negative effect on the family and friends of their loved one as they change into a completely different person to the one they love. The sufferer may even lose the ability to identify their loved ones which can be heart-breaking for friends and family to watch.

As the awareness of this disease increases, there are many people who believe that our diet can have a major influence on how likely we are to suffer from it. It is believed that the Paleo diet is one which can actually prevent dementia or stop it progressing to an incurable stage. There is evidence to suggest that there is a strong link between dementia and diabetes, an illness which is caused through an unhealthy diet and is most common in people who are overweight. In fact, referring to dementia as Type 3 Diabetes is becoming increasingly common.

Dementia & The Paleo Diet Alzheimer's disease-min

There are a number of foods which have a negative effect on the body and thus, can be detrimental for the functioning of the brain. Those foods which are high in sugar can contribute to diabetes and dementia which is why the Paleo diet can be beneficial in improving health and helping to combat the effects since these foods are not part of the diet.

A high intake of Omega 3 is known to improve memory and help improve the overall function of the brain, which is why they are a major part of the Paleo diet. If we start to increase the consumption of foods with Omega 3, including fresh fish and salmon at any stage in our lives, we can improve the function of the brain which will help to stave off the likelihood of dementia and other serious illnesses.

As the Paleo diet also promotes the intake of fruit and vegetables which contain an abundance of the key vitamins required for a healthy lifestyle, it can provide us with the sustenance which is essential to maintain a clear state of mind. There is also a link between a diet which is high in carbohydrates and dementia and no evidence to suggest that omitting these from the diet will result in any negative effects on the body.

As we strive towards a healthier body and state of mind for as long as possible, it is important to look closely at our diet and ensure we are eating foods which are rich in vitamins, protein and the right fatty acids, such as Omega 3. The Paleo diet offers a positive approach to ensuring we live a long and prosperous lifestyle by turning away from the foods which are high in carbohydrates and fat and rich in all of the right nutrients.

It makes sense that we should take a positive approach to our diets if we want to ensure we give ourselves the best possible chance of avoiding serious illnesses such as dementia. The Paleo diet is a simple one to follow and can offer a wealth of benefits to improving our overall health and wellbeing. A combination of the right food groups and an active lifestyle will increase oxygen to the brain which can seriously reduce our chances of suffering from dementia.

It is not only essential to take care of the appearance of our bodies but also to ensure we consume the right foods to maintain a good health. If we eat the right foods, we are not only feeding our bodies but also our brain which

The Unexpected Way I’ve Improved my Training Performance paleo primal crossfit mindset gym fitness mental attitude-min

The Unexpected Way I’ve Improved my Training Performance

Since I started considering the mental aspect to Training, I’ve found I can achieve more reps, better reps, faster reps and lift heavier weights.  It still amazes me how much of the hard work is down to my mind and not my body.

I thought I was doing everything well in my Training Sessions; I had the right mental attitude, the right pre and post workout Paleo nutrition and was focusing on good form in everything I did.  Well, almost everything…

I’ve been talking about the mental aspects of training at great length with a friend, who recently came along to an interval training session with me.  After the session he commented that he’d noticed in the rest between activities, my posture completely changed.  I would put my hands on my knees and look towards the ground.  I hadn’t realised I adopted this position until it was pointed out, but after noticed that it was my default rest position after a high intensity set.  I also noticed when forced to pause a run by traffic lights, I’d also drop my shoulders and look to the ground.

I’ve been noticing a lot of other people in the gym adopt their own version of negative posture during their sessions too – sometimes even sitting down or lying in a heap on the floor!  It seems I wasn’t alone.

The Unexpected Way I’ve Improved my Training Performance paleo primal crossfit mindset gym fitness mental attitude-min

“Slumped” positions like this enable the muscles to relax, which feels like a good idea, especially during a hard tabata session.  However, it’s logical that putting the body in this position signals that you are tired and resting.  When the rest ends a few seconds later, this is not an easy position to come back strong from.  In this position, lung capacity is significantly smaller, making it harder to intake as much oxygen as the body requires – making the rest period even less effective – and the following activities that much harder.

Since this revelation, it has been so easy to change my posture in the rest between high intensity activities.  As soon as I have finished my reps I stand up straight and tall looking straight ahead, never down.  I’ve found this posture makes me feels strong, focused and ready to get onto the next exercise.  It’s actually hard to think negative thoughts about being worn out and not able to lift any more when I adopt this posture.

How is your posture between sets?  Have you found changing how you stand – or think – has improved your performance?

Mental Toughness paleo diet workout exercise fitness mindset-min

Mental Toughness

I got to the gym a few times a week, where I do lots of strength work.  This is a great complement to my Paleo diet and is making so many positive changes.  I’ve been giving lots of thought lately to what goes through my mind in the middle of a really hard set.  When I first started, I used to think

“This is so hard, I can’t do it, I want to stop”

And guess what, as soon as I allowed those thoughts to enter my head I did stop!  This is clearly not a helpful thought to allow.  I’ve noticed on the Biggest Loser that a few of the contestants have that defeatist “can’t do” attitude in training.  When they think they can’t do it, it always seems to become a self fulfilling prophecy.

Once I realise how damaging this attitude was,  I tried to distract myself from what I was actually doing, to not allow myself to think how heavy the kettlebell was and how much I wanted to stop the reps.  Thinking about my plans for the weekend or planning my next holiday was a far better strategy than focusing on how hard the set was, but I still felt I could do better, especially in terms of technique.  I don’t want to “just do” a set after all, I want to do it with good form.

Mental Toughness paleo diet workout exercise fitness mindset-min

 

I’ve been trying lots of different mind strategies myself, but the most enlightening thing has been speaking to the fit and strong people in my life and asking them exactly what they think about when the going gets tough.  I’ve been really interested in the answers they’ve given me, and have been trying out a different mental attitude in each of my gym sessions lately.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the strong, fit people have devised such good mental strategies.

Kevin suggested I repeat the mantra “this is easy” with every rep – which is the exact opposite to what I used to say!  This immediately made a big difference.

My PT Karl tells me he focuses on how much he enjoys a difficult set.  I’m not quite at this stage yet, but I will get there!

I asked an Iron Woman what she does in the middle of a 180km cycle, when it starts to feel really difficult.  She looked at me in surprise and said she can’t let herself think it’s getting difficult.  She has no option but to continue cycling – or she won’t get home!  She focuses on the cycling, her technique and on cycling home.

A PT friend said he feels the set doesn’t get going until it starts to get difficult, perhaps not until rep seven.  At this stage he tells himself this is where he’s making the difference in his muscles, so he focuses on making these reps as perfect form as possible.  The harder it gets, the more he focuses on his form.

Trying to copy these strategies is helping significantly with my training.  But I still want to understand the mind set of more fit, strong people.  I’d love to hear your mind strategy – how do you get through a hard training session?  What goes through your mind?