"You Smell Like Brain Health": Aromatherapy For Anxiety and Depression

Monday, August 25, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Physical Health and Emotion

“I once saw a dog with no nose!” 

“How did he smell?”

“Terrible!”

(Ba dum dum, ching.)

That’s one of our favorite jokes around here and it’s all about the smelling today, folks. So buckle in and get your nostrils ready. 

It’s aromatherapy time. 

How Does Aromatherapy Work? Antioxidants, Cell Protection and Sedation

Aromatherapy is often seen as hippy dippy bullshit, and indeed there are a number of claims that are not currently backed by clinical trials. However, a number of studies have shown promise in this area, linking specific oils to reductions in anxiety and depression. So let's check out the science....  continue reading

One Critical Element You Probably Know Nothing About: Selenium, Depression and Semen

Monday, August 04, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Physical Health and Emotion

Selenium works with other vitamins in the body as an antioxidant, decreasing free radical damage to cells. It has been linked to decreased edema, lower risks of hypertension in pregnancy, general improvement in immune function including fewer viral infections, and improved sperm motility. 

Improved sperm motility? Score! (Maybe literally.)

Selenium, Depression and Anxiety

But selenium does more than lead to healthy, happy sperm. The fact that selenium is retained by the brain in times of depletion suggests that it may play a critical role in neurofunction1, most notably protecting cells and preventing brain cell death9(discussed here in relation to depression). Smokers and those who drink heavily may be especially at risk of deficiency, though smokers tend to be more at risk for depletion of most nutrients. 

Smoking = sad semen...  continue reading

Foods for Mental Health: Saffron, Depression and Sex

Friday, July 25, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Physical Health and Emotion

In recent years, research has been pushing the boundary of what we know about plants for the treatment of mood disorders. While it is still an emerging field, there are a number of studies showing that certain herbs are just as effective as pharmacological intervention in the treatment of depression. One of these is saffron, the almost bitter earthy-tasting herb from the purple saffron crocus (Crocus sativus). 

But the whole flower isn’t of use to us for depression. Instead we only need the female part of the flower, the orangey-red stamen from inside the purple bloom. Apparently, the male part of the plant doesn’t do shit until it’s time to procreate. Lazy bum.  ...  continue reading

Is Your Sweetener Messing With Your Brain? The Link Between Aspartame and Depression

Monday, June 02, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Physical Health and Emotion

Think artificial sweeteners are safe? Think again. Because in a serotonin and aspartame smack-down, aspartame will win every time.

It isn’t that serotonin is a weakling. Aspartame has a three-on-one advantage that destroys neurotransmitters and alters the way brain cells respond to one another. It’s like serotonin--one of the brain's happy chemicals--has to fight blindfolded with one arm behind his back, and we get depression, irritation, aggression or trouble sleeping as a reliable byproduct of this exchange. 

In short, aspartame is a cheating, ear biting asshole.

Don’t believe me? Let’s check out the research....  continue reading

Using Your Workout To Fight Depression: The Benefits of "Green Exercise" and Avoiding Creepy Dudes

Friday, May 16, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Physical Health and Emotion

Numerous studies link exercise to mental health improvement, possibly due to the release of endorphins or assistance in regulating stress response systems.

But I have a confession to make: I hate going to the gym. 

There, I said it. It's not the actual exercise part, not really. It's more that I always get stuck on a stair climber next to those people who barely sweat in their unwrinkled workout clothes, while I huff away in my yoga pants and three-day-old socks. 

Then, there's always that creepy dude in the corner who seems intent on watching the people on the stair climbers, regardless of their sock situation. 

"Hey, baby. I've got something you can climb..." 

Pass, creepy dude. 

Luckily, there might be a better way to exercise, one that leads to higher rates of emotional benefits....  continue reading

5 Ways Your Hormones Are Affecting Your Brain: The Menstrual Cycle, Anxiety, Memory, Exhaustion and Chocolate

Friday, April 11, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Physical Health and Emotion

The only reason I'm able to post this is because I'm extremely caffeinated. Coffee or no, if someone doesn't give me some chocolate soon, I may lose my shit.

Maybe it's not that bad, but we've all had those days. Oddly, their appearance may not be related to chocolate withdrawal. Hormones play an important role in the way we perceive the environment. The hormones related to menstrual cycling can alter everything from sleep, to obsessive thoughts, to motivation and even the susceptibility to addictive substances.

Addictive substances...like chocolate right?...  continue reading