Tea and coffee have known health benefits, but now we know they can work together.
Credit: NIKOLAY OSMACHKO from Pexels
- A new study finds drinking large amounts of coffee and tea lowers the risk of death in some adults by nearly two thirds.
- This is the first study to suggest the known benefits of these drinks are additive.
- The findings are great, but only directly apply to certain people.
Maybe you should enjoy this article with a cup of coffee or tea.<p> The <a href="https://drc.bmj.com/content/8/1/e001252?T=AU" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">study</a> involved 4,923 type 2 diabetics living in Japan. The average participant was 66 years old. All of the participants were taken from the rolls of the Fukuoka Diabetes Registry, a study geared at learning about the effects of new treatments and lifestyle changes on the health of diabetics. <br> <br> The participants filled out questionnaires concerning their health, diet, habits, and other factors. Among the questions were two focused on determining how much green tea or coffee, if any, the participants consumed over the course of a week. The health of the participants was recorded for five years. During this time, 309 of the test subjects died from a variety of causes. <br> <br> Subjects who drank more than one cup of tea or coffee per day demonstrated lower odds of dying than those who had none. Those who consumed the most tea and coffee, more than four and two cups a day, respectively, enjoyed the most significant reductions in their risk of death. This level of consumption was associated with a 40 percent lower risk of <a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/10/201020190129.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">death</a>. </p><p>Most interestingly, the effects of drinking tea and coffee appear to combine to reduce risk even further. Those who reported drinking two or three cups of tea a day and two or more cups of coffee were 51 percent less likely to die during the study, while those who drank a whopping four or more cups of tea and two or more cups of coffee had a 63 percent lower risk of <a href="https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/diabetes-coffee-and-green-tea-might-reduce-death-risk" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">death</a>. </p>
So, should I start swimming in a vat of coffee and green tea?<iframe width="730" height="430" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/LY0E-JQxeoY" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe><p> Not quite. </p><p> The primary takeaway from this study is that Japanese adults with type 2 diabetes who drink a lot of green tea and/or coffee die less often than similar people who do not. If this effect is caused by something in the drink, lifestyle choices people who drink that much tea all make, or something else remains unknown. The finding must be considered an association at this point. <br> <br> The eye-popping reductions in mortality rates are compared to the risk of death of others in the study. The people who died reported drinking less tea and coffee than those who lived. Unless you have several demographic and conditional similarities to the subjects of this study, you probably won't suddenly be at a two-thirds lower risk of death than your peers because you drink green tea. </p><p> Like all studies that depend on self-reporting, it is also possible that people misstated how much they consumed any one item. The study also did not look into other factors like socioeconomic status or education level, also known to impact death rates and potentially linked to coffee and tea consumption. </p><p> However, it is yet another study in the pile that suggests that <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/top-13-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-coffee" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">coffee</a> and <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-green-tea" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">green tea</a> are good for you. That much is increasingly <a href="https://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/health-benefits-linked-to-drinking-tea" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">agreed</a><a href="https://www.rush.edu/health-wellness/discover-health/health-benefits-coffee" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> upon</a>. This study also suggests the benefits are additive, which is a new development.</p><p><br> So, while it isn't time to start the IV drip of green tea, a cup or two probably won't <a href="https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/news/20201022/coffee-green-tea-might-extend-life-for-folks-with-type-2-diabetes" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">hurt</a>. </p>
Yet 80 percent of respondents want to reduce their risk of dementia.
- A new MDVIP/Ipsos survey found that only 35 percent of Americans know the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.
- Eighty percent of respondents said they want to reduce their risks.
- An estimated 7.1 million Americans over the age of 65 will suffer from Alzheimer's by 2025.
Credit: logika600 / Shutterstock<p>Remaining healthy requires regular screenings. Here again we see a disassociation between risk reduction and proactivity. Seventy-seven percent of respondents don't talk to their doctors about lifestyle habits that support brain health; 51 percent have never been screened for depression; 44 percent have never had a neurological exam; and 32 percent have never been screened for hearing problems. </p><p>Common early warning signs of dementia, <a href="https://news.yahoo.com/americans-worry-alzheimers-disease-survey-140644803.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">according to</a> Dr. Jason Karlawish, co-director of the Penn Memory Center, include repetitive questions and stories, difficulties with complex daily tasks, and trouble with orientation. </p><p>In terms of intervention, <a href="https://bigthink.com/21st-century-spirituality/does-lack-of-exercise-lead-to-dementia" target="_self">exercise</a>, <a href="https://bigthink.com/surprising-science/obesity-dementia" target="_self">diet</a>, building a <a href="https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/brain-reserve" target="_self">brain reserve</a>, and challenging your brain (such as learning a new language or musical instrument) are all proven methods for staving off the ravages of Alzheimer's. Oxytocin has also <a href="https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/alzheimers-oxytocin" target="_self">showed promise</a> in brain-addled mice, while researchers found positive results for a <a href="https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/intermittent-fasting" target="_self">group of intermittent fasters</a> in promoting neurogenesis. </p><p>Epidemiologist Bryan James says that dementia is <a href="https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2013/04/15/176920391/how-exercise-and-other-activities-beat-back-dementia" target="_blank">not an inevitable result</a> of aging. </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"It's simply not pre-destined for all human beings. Lots of people live into their 90s and even 100s with no symptoms of dementia." </p><p>Professor of neurology at Boston University School of Medicine, Andrew Budson, <a href="https://news.yahoo.com/americans-worry-alzheimers-disease-survey-140644803.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">recommends</a> aerobic exercise and the Mediterranean diet. As has long been known, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, fish and shellfish, and healthy fasts like nuts and olive oil seem to have brain-boosting properties. </p><p>To learn more, take the <a href="https://www.mdvip.com/brain-health-iq-quiz" target="_blank">Brain Health IQ quiz</a>.</p><p><span></span>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
New research conducted on the brains of mice suggest it may be possible to "switch off" particular food cravings.
- A food craving can be described as an intense desire for a specific food. This desire can seem uncontrollable at times.
- Emerging research suggests it may be possible to "switch off" the pleasure feelings we experience from eating certain foods, which could curb cravings.
- This could be groundbreaking in terms of new eating disorder treatments.
Why do we crave certain foods?<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzU2NDQ4MC9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNzI4NzQ4OX0.dcwuhfKjmlPb8NVbVNWo_Jmw_o-46ji5p_V2FTqglFs/img.png?width=980" id="06808" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="1767ed3939181ef77895f7a92d70f7d4" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="illustration of pencil erasing road to meats and fried food" />
Can you "erase" food cravings? New research suggests it's possible..
Photo by Lightspring on Shutterstock<p>A food craving can be described as an intense desire for a specific food, and this desire can seem uncontrollable at times. The person experiencing the craving may be left feeling unsatisfied until they experience that particular food or taste.</p><p>Food cravings are caused by the regions in the brain that are responsible for memory, pleasure, and reward. Hormone imbalances can also cause food cravings to spike. Additionally, your emotions may be involved in producing food cravings, especially if you find yourself eating for comfort reasons. <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/emotional-eating" target="_blank">Emotional eating</a> can quickly turn into a very bad habit and generally happens when someone is eating to stifle or soothe negative feelings.</p><p>Food provides satisfaction, so replacing a negative emotion (such as loneliness) with a positive emotion (such as joy from eating a piece of chocolate cake) seems like a good idea. When you experience satisfaction, <a href="http://www.kinesis-cem.com/Insights_Biology.shtml#:~:text=Bottom%20line%2C%20there%20is%20a,satisfaction%20is%20all%20about%20dopamine.&text=Using%20this%20technology%20they%20measured,this%20case%20Kool%2DAid)." target="_blank">your brain is flooded with dopamine,</a> which then adds to the motivation you have to keep doing that thing (eating) that is making you feel good. </p><p>Once this happens a few times, it can become truly <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/emotional-eating#Emotional-hunger-vs.-true-hunger" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer dofollow">difficult to distinguish true physical hunger from emotional hunger</a>. </p><p>Physical hunger slowly develops over time and you will desire a variety of different foods. You will feel the sensation of being full (when you've eaten enough) and take that as a cue to stop eating. </p><p>Emotional hunger, on the other hand, comes on very suddenly and is usually pinpointed to a certain food that makes you feel good while eating is. You may binge on food and not realize the sensation of being full, which tends to lead to feelings of shame and guilt.</p><p>Food cravings can become a major roadblock in maintaining a healthy weight and diet. But what if there was a way to "switch off" the cravings?</p>
Scientists switch off pleasure from food in the brains of mice<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzU2MzEyNi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2NjU3NjM5M30.mIWaR_tNpDB9YDZKUtoPNjVxGZg--KBgc1uPJjuWojo/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C265%2C0%2C266&height=700" id="89281" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="7cb67928ea39866de4f872e3de2836aa" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="amygdala food cravings close up of amygdala region of the brain" />
Research has revealed it's possible to "switch off" food cravings area of the brain in mice.
Image by CLIPAREA l Custom media<p>New research (in mice) has revealed that the brain's underlying desire for sweet (and it's alternative distaste for bitter) can be "erased" by manipulating the neurons in the amygdala.</p><p><a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180530133034.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer dofollow">This 2017 study</a> suggests that the brain's complex taste system (which produces an array of thoughts, memories, and emotions when tasting food) is actually made up of discrete units that can be individually isolated, modified, or even removed. </p><p>For this experiment, scientists focused on the sweet and bitter tastes and the amygdala, the region of the brain known to be key in making value judgments about sensory information. <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22884404/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer dofollow">Previous research</a> has shown that the amygdala connects directly to the taste cortex. </p><p>The researchers performed several tests in which the "sweet" or "bitter" connections to the amygdala were artificially switched on, like flicking a series of light switches.</p><p> When the sweet connections were turned on, the mice responded to water just as if it were sugar. By manipulating these connections, the researchers were able to change the perceived quality of the taste. </p><p>In contrast, when these connections were switched off but the taste cortex remained untouched, the mice could still recognize and distinguish sweet from bitter, but now lacked the basic emotional reaction to each taste. </p><p>Dr. Li Wang, Ph.D, a postdoctoral research scientist and the paper's first author, <a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180530133034.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer dofollow">explained to Science Daily</a>: "It would be like taking a bite of your favorite chocolate cake but not deriving any enjoyment from doing so. After a few bites, you may stop eating, whereas otherwise you would have scarfed it down."</p><p>This research is quite extraordinary, as typically the identity of food and the pleasure we derive from eating that food are intertwined. This study proves that they are separate components that could be isolated from each other and then manipulated separately. </p><p>This could be groundbreaking research in terms of advancing the treatments of certain eating disorders. </p>
Optimize Your Brain: The Science of Smarter Eating | Dr. Drew Ramsey<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzExOTgzOS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NjQ3ODg2NX0.TwdjbQ_1SN4rfCRm_E6-ndK2XjimNlj_duOoPXH-mzY/img.jpg?width=980" id="d008b" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="af3fb594ed844f149f5faf65adc0f7be" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Those bananas you love are Cavendish bananas, and they're probably about to go extinct.
- The world's most popular edible variety is about to be wiped out by a fungal invader. Again.
- We've already lost Gros Michel bananas, which were the world's favorite until the 1960s.
- The solution? Possibly genetic editing, but more likely a greater availability of exotic varieties.
Cavendish clones and T4<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzUyMTAyOC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxOTMyODExOX0.VYcEq9r5NtWoNOk9P4-ueQ_qOP95x3t7tlEEZnSxcgw/img.jpg?width=980" id="381dd" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a007a0ab6d2efae7e4d5dab3b12de480" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="painting of William Spencer" />
The father of our preferred banana
Image source: Sotheby's/Wikimedia<p>Cavendish bananas are pretty much genetically identical — they're all sterile clones from the fruit of a single English tree, grown in 1834 by William Cavendish, the 6th Duke of Devonshire, in his greenhouse. As such, they're all vulnerable to the same threats. What's killing them now is a soil-borne fungus, <em><a href="https://apsjournals.apsnet.org/doi/10.1094/PHYTO-04-15-0101-RVW" target="_blank">Fusarium oxysporum</a> f.sp. cubense</em> (Foc), also known as Fusarium Wilt Tropical Race 4 (TR4). It kills bananas by infecting its root and vascular system, rendering it unable to take in critical minerals and water.</p><p>TR4 first began ruining Cavendish bananas in Malaysia and Indonesia <a href="https://www.newsweek.com/worlds-bananas-are-clones-and-they-are-imminent-danger-publish-monday-5am-1321787#:~:text=The%20entire%20banana%20industry%20was,for%20export%20to%20developed%20countries." target="_blank">around 1990</a> and has since made its way through Southeast Asia and to the Middle East and Africa. Last year, it reached Latin America, the world's main source of bananas.</p><p>Growers are doing what they can to beat back T4's advance—including taking acre to use only untainted planting materials so as to avoid spreading T4 via soil contamination—and Australia has shown some success in slowing down the assault. However, these are stopgap efforts that are ultimately unlikely to save the Cavendish.</p>
Not Fusarium oxysporum’s first rodeo<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzUyMTAzOC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwNTk4NjAzNH0.nvv9tta7mEBQKk-kJg0u8sb-Ujej7xw5asXwgpCEneY/img.jpg?width=980" id="2ee9f" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8a804a4b17901a4ac3c5bc05b36b7451" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="fungus growing in petri dish" />
Credit: Keith Weller, USDA-ARS - USDA/Wikimedia<p>This is not the banana industry's first encounter with this fungus. Up to the 1960s, the world's most popular edible banana was the Gros Michel, or "Big Mike," variety. To meet worldwide demand, growers got into the Gros Michel monoculture business big-time, with thousands of tropical-forest hectares converted into massive plantations growing these bananas.</p><p>What spelled doom for the Gros Michel banana was, yes, <em>Fusarium oxysporum</em> — the disease it caused was known as "Fusarium Wilt," or "Panama Wilt." It was the T1 version of today's T4, and it largely wiped out the Gros Michel banana, nearly taking the entire banana industry down with it. (You can <a href="https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/gros-michel-bananas" target="_blank">still find a Gros Michel banana</a>, but it's not easy.)</p><p>The Cavendish didn't quite have Gros Michel's rich taste, but it wasn't vulnerable to T1, and so it took the place of the Gros Michel as the world's main edible banana. </p>
Not the first rodeo for the Cavendish<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzUyMTA0Mi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzMDYzODI4M30.3Jqr-ls6ELY-oxnpNzxBzR81L6c9IJxUCnBmptuRqMY/img.jpg?width=980" id="d7948" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a5d6bf71bdf5aa5f7af96a2e81ccb871" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="A banana leaf with Black Sigatoka" />
A banana leaf with Black Sigatoka
Credit: Scot Nelson/Wikimedia<p>The Cavendish is also susceptible to another fungal invader via a disease called <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_sigatoka" target="_blank">Black Sigatoka</a>. This fungus, <em>Pseudocercospora fijiensis</em>, destroys the plants' leaves, producing cell death that damages the plants' ability to photosynthesize. If left uncontrolled, crop yields can be reduced by 35 to 50 percent.</p><p>Growers are fighting back with continual leaf trimming and the liberal use of fungicides—more than 50 applications of the toxic chemicals may be required each year to bring Black Sigatoka under control. This is, of course, harmful to workers managing the crops and to the environment, and makes growing Cavendish bananas less profitable. If this weren't bad enough, repeated applications of fungicides end up strengthening the fungus and making it even harder to control by selecting for mutations that can withstand the chemicals.</p>
Fixing the Cavendish?<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzUyMTA0Ni9vcmlnaW4uZ2lmIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNjcxNTc1M30.ppCOY7UAcqXyCq2vIkGSBtei2pOBrmV_jf57XwbfJtY/img.gif?width=980" id="e5011" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="28a14854a86c9cc7cbf12276342d2b00" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Hope for the banana-lover<p>Some observers are already looking beyond the Cavendish in hopes that we might end up with an even better fruit, given the many varieties of banana that exist in nature. Two such bananas are Peru's popular <a href="http://www.promusa.org/blogpost617-Peru-s-best-kept-banana-secret" target="_blank">Isla banana</a> and the <a href="https://www.housebeautiful.com/room-decorating/outdoor-ideas/a27285401/blue-java-bananas-ice-cream-banana-tree/" target="_blank">Blue Java</a>, a banana that tastes like ice cream. Maybe the demise of the Cavendish will end up being a good thing.</p>
Thankfully, there are ways to combat mental and physical fatigue, even in isolation.
- With tens of millions of Americans sheltering at home, many people feel exhausted.
- Reasons range from a lack of routine, emotional uncertainty, poor nutrition, and alcohol abuse.
- Keeping your daily habits in place as much as possible is important for combating lethargy.
Optimize Your Brain: The Science of Smarter Eating | Dr. Drew Ramsey<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a5fc406dabd4e2acb818f68be3378bb5"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/J8BnvIku0kw?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><h3>Here Comes the Sun</h3><p>While many cities have promoted outdoor exercise, some have shut down parks, trails, and beaches (as is the case here in Los Angeles). While there is an <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/backlash-coronavirus-simulation-medium-said-runners-need-32-feet-distance-2020-4" target="_blank">ongoing debate</a> over safe distance protocols continues, we know that a <a href="https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20364651" target="_blank">lack of sunlight can cause depression</a>. It might be Spring, but if you don't have access to outdoor space to walk and exercise, you might be negatively impacted. Reduced activity slows your metabolism, adding to the sluggishness; less daylight also reduces melatonin and serotonin production in your brain, which could further provoke anxiety and depression. </p><p><strong>Cure</strong>: If you can get outside once a day, even for a walk around the block, do so. As for movement, streaming classes have never been more popular. You can find just about any format you desire on Instagram Live or YouTube. Plenty of world-class instructors are selling classes on Zoom. A little movement goes a long way. (With Equinox being closed, I've been teaching t<a href="https://www.derekberes.com/yoga" target="_blank">hree live-stream yoga classes</a> a week, which are all <a href="https://www.youtube.com/derekberes" target="_blank">archived on my YouTube channel</a>.)</p><h3>Routine</h3><p>Humans are habitual animals. We feel out of our element when our schedules are thrown off. Adjusting to a new routine sometimes bring a sense of refreshment, but given the stress many of us are feeling financially—22 million Americans have <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/16/economy/unemployment-benefits-coronavirus/index.html" target="_blank">filed for employment</a> in just four weeks—it can seem hard to muster the energy to stick to a routine. Still, maintaining a routine is important, and when it's thrown off, time assumes a new meaning. </p><p><strong>Cure</strong>: Try to institute as many habitual practices as possible. You've likely heard to shower and dress every day, and those are important. Setting a regular sleep schedule and alarm is helpful. Stick to what you can but also try to find new ways of creating healthy habits along the way. It's amazing how quickly new routines become habitual as well. </p><h3>Sustenance</h3><p>Speaking of health, it appears that the most dangerous underlying condition for experiencing the worst COVID-19 symptoms, besides old age, is obesity. As the <em>NY Times</em> <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/16/us/coronavirus-cases-live-updates.html" target="_blank">reports</a>, "New studies point to obesity as the most significant risk factor, after only older age, for patients being hospitalized with Covid-19, the illness caused by the virus." Sales of processed foods, pretzels, and popcorn <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-21/americans-drop-kale-and-quinoa-to-lock-down-with-chips-and-oreos" target="_blank">are all up</a> while <a href="https://calmatters.org/california-divide/2020/04/california-farmers-coronavirus-food-supply-food-bank/" target="_blank">produce is rotting</a>. Overeating and eating processed, sugary foods both negatively impact our energy levels, creating a feeling of lethargy. </p><p><strong>Cure</strong>: <a href="https://bigthink.com/surprising-science/calorie-restriction" target="_self">Restricting calories</a> and <a href="https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/intermittent-fasting" target="_self">closing your feeding window</a> are two important means for losing weight and gaining energy. We all need to keep our immune systems <a href="https://bigthink.com/surprising-science/coronavirus-immune-system" target="_self">as strong as possible</a> right now. As Dr. Drew Ramsey, who practices nutritional psychiatry, <a href="https://bigthink.com/videos/drew-ramsey-on-brain-health-and-nutrition" target="_self">says</a>, the food categories he recommends include leafy greens, colorful vegetables, and small fish, especially sardines and anchovies. He likes to see a "rainbow of colors" on every plate. And if you need a quick start to this process, one that will also help you deal with emotional eating, might I suggest the <a href="https://bigthink.com/personal-growth/scott-carney-the-wedge" target="_self">Potato Hack</a>? </p>
Signs at a bar thank medical workers and advertises liquor to go on April 15, 2020, in New York City.
Photo by David Dee Delgado/Getty Images<h3>Alcohol</h3><p>In the immediate aftermath of sheltering at home orders, <a href="https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2020/4/15/21219860/alcohol-delivery-coronavirus-liquor-store" target="_blank">alcohol sales</a> shot up 55 percent, with liquor and spirits up 75 percent, wine up 66 percent, and beer up 42 percent. Overall, online alcohol sales saw an increase of 243 percent. While that trend has slowed somewhat, we're still imbibing: One in three Americans <a href="https://www.alcohol.org/guides/work-from-home-drinking/" target="_blank">report</a> drinking more while in isolation. Since alcohol <a href="https://www.thrillist.com/health/nation/why-am-i-so-tired-all-the-time-fatigue-symptoms" target="_blank">destroys your REM cycles</a>, you won't get that deep and restful sleep your body needs. </p><p><strong>Cure</strong>: Don't drink. At least not as much, and not every day. An old friend of mine told me that in Jamaica, whenever her family or friends have a craving for food or alcohol, they drink tea. Amazingly, it seems to work, at least in my own experiences. Keeping yourself mentally occupied with a crossword puzzle or Sodoku (or a game of chess, if you have someone to play against) is a useful distraction. Exercise is also a wonderful way to get your mind focused on a healthier endeavor. </p><h3>Screen time</h3><p>Sure, we're all plugged in right now, but it doesn't mean that the blue light is doing us any good. Constantly checking the news is a double whammy: <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/31/technology/coronavirus-screen-time.html" target="_blank">the medium</a> <em>and</em> <a href="https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/annehelenpetersen/social-media-shaming-policing-behavior" target="_blank">the message</a> are both exhausting us. </p><p><strong>Cure</strong>: We're not giving up our screens. As the <em>NY Times</em> suggests, a "<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/13/parenting/manage-screen-time-coronavirus.html" target="_blank">three Cs</a>" approach could work. Sure, not everyone has Children, but Content and Context are applicable. Stay up to date with credible news sources. You just don't have to log on every hour, or even every day. Don't drop off, however. Civic engagement has never been more important. Just make sure to give your eyes a break. </p><h3>Bill Gates and the 5G Cartel</h3><p>Conspiracy theories are <a href="https://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/local/better-understanding-covid-19-and-your-mental-health/article_1fb65caf-207b-5abe-bab1-55421b992d7c.html" target="_blank">tiring</a>. The Bill Gates created 5G to depopulate the world so that survivors would have to be microchipped when getting his vaccine thread just exhausted me to write. The rabbit hole these theories lead down is doing no one any good. </p><p><strong>Cure</strong>: Not everything you don't agree with is part of the "mainstream" media. We (rightfully) applaud health care workers putting their lives at risk. Reporters might not be as close to the virus, but they're still putting their health on the line to keep us informed. A <a href="https://www.pewresearch.org/topics/news-sources/" target="_blank">tiny bit of research</a> does wonders for your mental health—and that of everyone on your social media feeds. Question everything, sure, including yourself. </p><p><span></span>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a>. His next book is</em> "Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</p>