Foods to make you happy

Dieting can be frustrating and often put people in a bad mood. Changing eating habits isn’t always an easy task and is common for dieters to feel anxious. The good news is that if we consume foods that not only are good for a healthy diet but also make our brains healthy it will lead to a better mood.

Eating is a substantial part of our lives. Food gives us comfort when we are hungry and joy when sharing a meal with the family. New eating trends emerge everyday, some of them are intended to make us feel better about our choices, others to embrace a healthier lifestyle.

There are seven healthy kinds of foods that will boost your mood while playing an important role in a diversified and healthy dietary regime, according to the healthy lifestyle blog Noom.

1. Seeds

Pumpkin and chia seeds, walnuts and flaxseed are rich in Omega-3, which improves healthy brain communication, protects against free radicals, and have anti-inflammatory properties. We have previously written about the benefits of seeds, here.

2. Fatty fish

Salmon, sardines, mackerel and trout are examples of fatty fishes rich in Omega-3 that “help fight many chronic diseases, including depression”, according to Noom. Besides they positively affect the pathways in the brain that communicate with the body, which regulate the mood.

3. Healthy carbs

Although carbs are usually the first thing that comes to mind to cut off when starting a diet, they are very important in regulating mood. According to Noom, “carb-rich foods trigger the production of brain chemicals serotonin and tryptophan which promote feelings of well being.” Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are all carbs that can boost your mood and leave a lasting satiate feeling.

4. Vitamin D

The benefits of vitamin D for the body is a topic we discuss often (click to read our previous post about vitamin D benefits) because Portugal enjoys plenty of sun throughout the year. When the body needs more vitamin D apart from sun exposure, few foods can provide it. Mushrooms, fortified milk and cereals are examples. Vitamin D boosts the mood and reduces the risk of depression.

5. Chickpeas

Chickpeas are a great source of vitamin B6, the one “(…) responsible for helping the body make several chemicals that carry signals from one nerve cell to another” influencing the brain development and function, according to Noom.

6. Spinach

Spinach intake provides the body with folate, which supports serotonin regulation. Serotonin regulates mood and social behavior so consuming spinach can be the mood booster you need to keep your healthy diet.

7. Nuts

Nuts provide magnesium to the body, which contributes to bone and dental health, energy production and serotonin. Eating almonds, cashews, and peanuts regularly provide the body with the right nutrients, energy and also boosts good mood.

Eating healthy can be hard sometimes when there are so many alternatives that provide an instant good mood but are the opposite of healthy food. Keep these seven foods in mind so that you can grab one of them when you look for foods that can make you happy.

Read the original Noom post, here.

 

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Vitamins and its benefits for your health

Our bodies need a certain amount of vitamins in order to be healthy. Maintain a healthy diet is important for weight-loss goals but is also important to ensure the body is consuming the necessary amount of vitamins.

When following a healthy and balanced diet, it is possible to get most of the vitamins the body needs with daily food intakes.

These are some of the vitamins our bodies need in order to be healthy:

  • Vitamin A – promotes the functioning of the immune system and maintains good eyesight. Vitamin A can be found in the following foods: cod-liver oil, sweet potatoes, carrots and leafy vegetables.
  • Vitamin B complex – there are 8 vitamins in this complex and their benefits are to transform carbohydrates, fats and protein into energy that lasts throughout the day. Vitamin B complex vitamins can be consume through foods like meat and fish.
  • Vitamin C – known for its immunity properties, this vitamin is also a good antioxidant and infection prevention. Vitamin C in high doses is known for slow the growth and spread of some forms of cancer like prostate, pancreatic and liver. The foods that contain vitamin C are mainly citrus fruits, tomatoes and broccoli.
  • Vitamin D – Also known as the “Sun vitamin”, this is the most hard to get vitamin in the winter months because one way to get is through sun exposure. The lack of vitamin D is associated with weak bone health.  Fortified milk, cheese and cereals are good sources of vitamin D when the sun exposure isn’t enough. Getting vitamin D in the winter in Portugal isn’t likely to be a problem, since there’s an average of 330 sunny days per year.  Click here to read more about Portugal in the winter.
  • Vitamin E – acts as an antioxidant in the body and it is especially beneficial for both hair and skin as it protects cells from the damage of free radicals. This vitamin is present in foods like leafy green vegetables, almonds and vegetable oils.
  • Vitamin K – one of its roles is to prevent blood clotting and to promote bone health. As people get older the intake of this vitamin is important for osteoporosis prevention. Food sources of this vitamin are leafy green vegetables, olive and broccoli.

The intake of these suggested foods is good for maintaining vitamin levels up and keep the body ready to defend itself from external threats. We should always favor the natural intake of these vitamins from food instead of the artificial chemical ones.

Read more about vitamins and its benefits here.

 

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Physiotherapy treatments in Portugal

Whether it’s the consequence of a sports injury, a bad fall, a work accident, rehabilitation decisions require access to proper and thorough rehabilitation programs. Different physiotherapy needs require different treatment methods and techniques.

For those who had orthopaedic surgery, physiotherapy programs are designed according to the specific needs and the overall health of the patient so that total recovery can be achieved. All physiotherapy needs are taken into account, depending on the condition, the age and the needs of the patient.

For professional high performance athletes, physical therapy programs should be aimed at helping them achieve a quick and effective recovery and to prepare them to return to practising sports as soon as they are ready minimising the risk for further injuries.

Medical Port’s network of physical therapy centres includes professionals with recognition in the field, known for treating the world’s best athletes and sports clubs. These professionals are trained and qualified to delivery great results, also because the physiotherapy centres with which Medical Port partners have the most advanced physiotherapy equipment and technology available.

Portugal is a great destination for physical therapy and rehabilitation treatments not only for the expertise and knowledge of Portuguese physiotherapists, but also because it’s proven that recovering in a sunny weather is more effective. According to Harvard Health soaking up in the sun in order to absorb vitamin D is important for the bones and the overall health. “Vitamin D’s best-known role is to keep bones healthy by increasing the intestinal absorption of calcium. Low levels of vitamin D lead to low bone calcium stores, increasing the risk of fractures. As bone calcium density falls, bones become weak and fracture-prone. Most studies show that a lack of vitamin D increases the risk of osteoporosis and the likelihood of hip and other nonspinal fractures.”

 

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Top 7 must-play golf courses in Portugal

The Professional Golf Association of America (PGA) has recently named the seven best golf courses in Portugal for a weeklong golf trip.

After being awarded World’s best golf destination in the end of 2014, Portugal is on the hype for golf lovers. Golf courses around the country are preparing for one of its best years in terms of number of golfers and matches, with many courses being renovated.

PGA has recently named the seven best golf courses in Portugal for both professionals and amateurs. Here’s what they say about Portugal:

Some of us just aren’t inclined to walk links golf courses or battle the unpredictable weather elements. In fact, there’s no shame in admitting that you love to smoke cigars, ride in a cart and soak up the vitamin D while playing golf.  Known more for its beautiful beaches, ideal climate and relaxed lifestyle, Portugal is a fantastic place to spend a weeklong golf vacation. 

The ideal trip would begin in the exciting city of Lisbon. Here you’ll find the San Francisco of Europe, with hills, white cobblestone streets and a massive castle overlooking the old town. The second part of your tour would be on the beautiful Algarve coast, where you’ll enjoy fresh seafood prepared to perfection, swim through spectacular rock formations in crystal-clear waters and play golf at postcard-beautiful golf courses.

Penha Longa, Atlantic course and Oitavos Dunes near Lisbon are two of the seven courses highlighted. Penha Longa has centuries-old aqueduct around the course making it a “phenomenal experience”. Oitavos Dunes was rated by Golf Magazine as one of the top 100 courses in the world and is a “perfectly natural golf course”. To learn more about the other golf courses, located in the Algarve, please read PGA article here.

Golfers can enjoy the sunny weather in Portugal, soaking up in vitamin D and improving their overall health condition, almost 300 days per year. Playing golf can be beneficial for both mind and body of players of all ages and genders. A golf player burns about 200 calories per hour while playing.

For those who would like to also assess how good their health is, Medical Port offers health check-up programs and wellness treatments for golfers and their travel partners. To learn more about some of these programs, please click here.

The importance of Vitamin D for your health

During the winter months it is important to keep up with the vitamin intake to stay healthy.

Vitamin D is a very important one we get from sunshine exposure or food.

As Harvard Health says:

Results suggest that vitamin D may have an important role in many aspects of human health, from bone fractures to prostate cancer, cardiovascular disease, neuromuscular problems, and diabetes.

Vitamin D’s best-known role is to keep bones healthy by increasing the intestinal absorption of calcium. Low levels of vitamin D lead to low bone calcium stores, increasing the risk of fractures. 

According to the publication, intestines, prostate, heart, blood vessels, muscles and endocrine glands have tissues containing vitamin D receptors. The body needs to have enough vitamin D so that these receptors can do any good for your health.

The amount of vitamin D our body needs is small, but most people don’t get it in the winter. Limited exposure to sunlight is the main factor. Some foods that can help with the vitamin D intake are: fatty fish like salmon or tuna, and egg yolks.

In countries like Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, The Netherlands, or the UK it can be hard to receive the necessary vitamin D intake during the winter.  When recovering from a medical procedure or a surgery it’s important to get all the necessary vitamins for a quick recovery, especially for seniors, for people recovering from and orthopedic surgery or doing physiotherapy.

Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon sunlight is unique.

Since the exposure to sunlight is key to receive vitamin D, Portugal is a great option to get it. With an average of 3300 of sunshine hours per year, the country enjoys mild winters compared to most European countries. Despite December and January are the wettest months, there are still several sunny days during the winter. And the temperatures are usually welcoming for a daily walk outside. Read more about Portugal during the winter here.