Tag Archives: b vitamins

Staying Healthy and Balanced in the New Year

weighing_the_balance_

 Happy Holidays everyone! The coming of the New Year presents a perfect opportunity to reflect on how we can improve for the next time around. I’m sure we’re all hoping to be fitter, smarter, more productive, etc., but at the core of every goal comes one key element: balance. Without a sense of grounding and self-care, the rest of our goals go straight out the window. So rather than develop some grandiose resolutions for the New Year, why not work towards this one goal? Here are the steps that will help you to stay grounded in 2013.

 

Eat the Right Foods

Obviously now (holiday season) is not the time to advise shunning every treat that comes your way—we all know that is just not realistic. But it is important to recognize the strong link between the foods we eat and the way we feel. When feeling depressed, for example it’s best to avoid alcohol and too much sugar and instead opt for foods containing fatty acids (chia seeds, flaxseeds) and b-vitamins (nutritional yeast), as they help with mental functioning. Additionally root vegetables like sweet potatoes and squash are a great source of serotonin, which helps to counter mental imbalance.

 

Spend Time Outside

Several studies reveal the benefits of soaking up rays of sunshine. Not only does sun exposure provide immunity-boosting vitamin d, but it also helps alleviate feelings of depression. So whenever you feel bogged down, take some time to enjoy the great outdoors and remember that the world is much bigger than the problems we face on a day-to-day basis.

 

Stop—For 30 minutes

We live in a country of motion. Ironically, the “go” mentality often hinders us from getting anything done. When swamped with 80 things to do, we half-accomplish some of the things on our list while zoning out about how we could be something else. Instead, take at least 30 minutes a day to do something completely enjoyable and unproductive. Whether its exercise, watching 30 minutes of your favorite show, or grabbing a bite with a friend, when you get back to work, stopping will leave you with a clear mind and readiness to continue your day.

 

Keep a Good Support System  

Surround yourself with people who lift you up—who enjoy your company and accept your goals and responsibilities. It’s already difficult enough to stay grounded without toxic individuals in your life—there is no reason to be around people who don’t have your best interests at heart.

 

Healthy Habits for Your Brain

 

Uh-oh. It’s that time. You know, that time where all your work just piles onto you in one dreadful, stressful, time-consuming week? Well, you’re not alone. In fact, it just happens to be one of those weeks for me! Here’s how I’m getting through it.

Chia Seeds

Remember chia pets? Well, believe it or not, those little seeds that were once used to create your green little plant friends can also give you tons of energy and mental stamina! The Tarahumara tribe—also known as “the running people”—have a diet primarily consisting of these seeds, which helps them to sustain 40 mile runs with ease. In addition to containing tons of omegas and protein to keep you alert, these seeds also expand when you soak them in water, keeping you full and away from distracting study snacks! Fill up a glass of water with chia seeds, or make a chia seed smoothie with almond milk and almond butter for long-lasting stamina. Buy them at any health food store.

B-Vitamins

B vitamins are essential for regulating the nervous system and increasing circulation, thus helping brain functioning. Studies also show that a diet high in vitamin B can help increase memory and recall. Eating a wide variety of greens will help you get a great amount of B-vitamins; cauliflower itself also has a ton of b-vitamins alone. The only B-vitamin that is not easily available in vegetables is b-12; for this reason, it is important that vegans take either a b-12 supplement or chlorella and blue-algae tablets—although these are a bit harder to find.

L-Tyrosine

For those of you who take Adderall (and hopefully with a legal prescription!) you probably know that although it does increase mental stamina, it does so with the horrible side effects of irritability, increased heart rate, and loss of appetite. L-tyrosine acts as a great alternative. Adderall acts by regulating the production of dopamine in the brain; this is a good thing for those of us with ADD symptoms. However, it also decreases the amount of serotonin produced in the brain, which can result in depression. Not so good! L-tyrosine regulates dopamine without decreasing serotonin, so you can be focused and happy! L-tyrosine can be found in pumpkin seeds, spinach, spirulina, and mustard seeds. If you need a more concentrated dose, you can also take a 500 mg tablet in the morning on an empty stomach.

Exercise

Exercise is incredibly important to increase mental alertness and energy. However I know that going to the gym can take up a good amount of time if you’re in a crunch.  But that doesn’t mean that you can’t fit exercise into your life.  My friend David likes to set a 30-minute timer while he is studying to do push-ups. It keeps his heart rate up so that he’s pumped to study for the next 30-minutes. I personally like to jump rope, do crunches, or have a mini dance party every half-hour. It’s not like I’m going to the club while in law school, so I might as well set one up in my apartment!

On that note, I’ve got tons of law school reading and research, so I’m signing off. Good luck getting it all done!