Did you know that strong muscles might boost your immunity? 💪

The key is in small proteins that are released when your muscles contract—proteins called myokines.

👉 Myokines boost natural killer cells (your first line of defense against infection)

👉 Myokines keep inflammation in check

👉 Myokines decline with age 

If you are making efforts to support healthy immunity, don’t forget exercise! Staying active is the best way to maintain muscle mass over the years and could have a beneficial effect on your defense against disease. 🏃‍♂️🏋️‍♀️🚴‍♂️

What’s your favorite way to stay active every day?

Stress and Exercise

Even as stay-at-home orders are lifted this summer, things are not back to normal. Most of us are seeing fewer friends and attending fewer social gatherings than ever before. 

It can start to take a toll. 

From sadness to anxiety to anger, the stress is real. 😟

So, what can we do?

A preliminary study of more than 3000 US adults at the beginning of the COVID quarantine (early April), found that the people who stayed physically active were less depressed and more mentally resilient than people who were sedentary. 👌

The study also showed that longer periods of sitting and more screen time were associated with worse mental health. 🤨

The takeaway? Get moving and feel better. 🏃‍♀️🏃‍♂️

Foods for Sleep

Tossing and turning at night? Unable to fall asleep? Groggy in the morning?

Poor sleep can make everything else in life feel wrong. 

You’ve probably tried all the usual recommendations: block out the light; turn off devices; follow a schedule; etc. 

But what if the foods you eat could be affecting your sleep?

An article recently published in Nutrients reviewed 32 different studies on sleep and diet. Here’s what they found to improve sleep:

👍 Tryptophan-rich foods (like seeds, cheese, and meats)

👍 Zinc supplements and zinc-rich foods (like oysters)

👍 Phlorotannins (a supplement derived from brown algae)

👍 Chlorophytum bovivilianum and Velvet Bean supplements

👍 Cherries (Jerte Valley cherries and Montmorency tart cherries)

There was mixed evidence on what balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat is best for sleep. Some studies showed carbohydrates to help, but others showed potential benefits of ketosis. 🤔

The reason foods and nutrients have such an effect on sleep is probably because of their influence on serotonin and melatonin. The more we can boost our melatonin levels at night, the sounder we’ll sleep. 😴

Tell us—what about sleep do you struggle with most?

Watermelon for Lycopene

Lycopene is a plant pigment that makes tomatoes red and watermelon pink. It’s an antioxidant that might be important for supporting prostate and heart health. 

👎 Lycopene levels in the body decline with age. 

👎 Very few foods are good sources. 

If you don’t eat tomatoes, watermelon, or guavas every day, you might not be getting enough. 

One curious thing about lycopene is that it becomes more bioavailable when foods are cooked or heated. That means you benefit more from eating cooked tomato sauce than raw tomatoes. 

But cooked watermelon?

That’s why researchers tested pasteurized watermelon juice as a way to increase lycopene levels in older women. Pasteurization heats the juice and releases the lycopene. 

The study showed that drinking 12 ounces of pasteurized watermelon juice on an empty stomach in the morning tripled the circulating lycopene levels in women 2 hours later. 

It’s watermelon season, so grab a melon or some refreshing juice—and know you are doing your body a favor. 🍉😋 

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