sleeping habits

How to get a good night’s rest

Sleep habits are essential to getting a good night’s rest. 

With workplace stress, family concerns and other kinds of unexpected challenges during the day, sleeping at night can be challenging sometimes. These factors are out of your control, but the sleep habits you have established for yourself may lull you to sleep whatever the odds. 

The correlation between sleep and health should not be underestimated. There are studies supporting the strong relationship between the two, as sleep deficiency is proven to put a person at risk of different illnesses and health problems. 

If you ever find yourself finding difficulty sleeping as soon as you lie down on your bed, this article is for you. If you want to improve your sleep habits, this one’s also for you. 

Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute’s philosophy revolves around helping a growing population improve their quality of life and cognitive function. One of the best ways to achieve that is to have a good night’s rest.


Natural sleep habits you should develop

How are your sleep habits?

​​The inability to sleep can be worrisome and unhealthy for many people. In moderate to worst cases, sleep disorders can be more serious that you might even need some medication. However, there are more natural ways to create better sleep habits at night.

Before things escalate, you might consider changing your sleep habits. You can always start now! There are some who do a light reading before bed, for example. Others meditate and follow mindfulness techniques. You can also set the right room temperature. The bottom line is to find what works for you given your lifestyle and environment.

Practicing good sleep habits

A good night’s rest is often underrated despite the fact that it’s as equally important as a healthy diet and regular exercise

Today’s busy world doesn’t embrace the role of adequate sleep. Everyone wants to keep moving. And it’s becoming more and more challenging to create sound sleeping patterns that could make you productive in the day. It’s common to see people sleeping less, with its quality deteriorating. What can you do to improve this vital part of your health?

We’re listing down the best sleep habits that you should reflect upon:

No phones before bed

People’s dependence on smartphones has become so out of hand, that they sleep beside them too. However, studies show that devices and screen time interferes with sleeping habits and suppress melatonin production which is crucial for rest. 

Melatonin is a natural hormone that tells your body it’s time to sleep and wake up. Since phones and other electronics emit blue light, they delay the said substance which decreases the feeling of sleepiness, preventing you from getting a good night’s rest.

So, do your retinas a favor and ditch your gadget before sleeping. You can start by observing a schedule when not to touch your phone. Toggle your notifications off so you won’t be tempted to check your messages. And lastly, place your electronics away from your bed. If it’s your alarm clock, a regular one is still available! Use that instead!

Maintain a regular sleep schedule

A good night’s sleep is crucial in your immune system. Research suggests that people who regularly sleep, six hours or less, are more likely to get colds than those who complete the ideal eight hours. Thus, maintaining a regular bedtime schedule is just right.

Sleeping schedule doesn’t only pertain to duration. It’s a consistent time that you discipline your body to rest and snooze. Keeping up with this is challenging at first, but training yourself to follow a sleep routine, timing and duration is good for the heart. 

Harvard University supports a study that an inconsistent sleeping schedule puts you at a higher risk of heart attack and other related problems. Irregular bedtimes are also the cause of diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and stroke. Thus, schedule your sleep! It’s a win-win!

Limit your caffeine

Caffeine is a common stimulant, and it has a massive following all over the world. It’s the best bud of those people who need to stay active and awake. They rely on this drug for that dose of energy they need. However, some have become addicted to it leading them to sleep problems. 

The overuse of caffeine, like coffee, maybe the culprit to symptoms of insomnia, or if you’ve been suffering from this condition, it could get worse. Caffeine consumption prior to bedtime leads to anxiety, disturbed sleeps, sleeplessness – and just poor sleep. It’s possible to come across people who experience the opposite with caffeine, but it isn’t the common case. 

To avoid any sleep problems that caffeine stimulates, drinking not more than four cups of coffee in a day is advisable. Timing is also everything. If you can afford to not consume a cup after midafternoon, that would help you get a good rest at night. The American Academy of Pediatrics also discourages adolescents and children from consuming this stimulant. 

Dim the lights, or turn them off

Sleeping with lights on isn’t for everyone, and there’s a reasonable explanation for it.

Exposure to light prevents a person from creating sleep because the brain finds it difficult to shut off. Since you’ve been under light during the day, your mind and body associate it with alertness and energy – which may be a problem during bedtime. 

Darkness has a positive impact on sleep. When light is absent, your body gets the signal that it’s rest time! When you fail to achieve this, you alter your sleep clock. So, start utilizing room-darkening blinds. You can dim your lights, or go to bed at the same time each night. Turn off your electronics too!

Have a going-to-bed routine

via Gfycat

If you don’t have a bedtime routine, it’s never too late to have one! Humans will always be creatures of habit. As they establish good habits, they allow their brains to recognize a lifestyle that works for them. This is also true when it comes to your sleep habits. 

Deciding on a bedtime routine includes setting a sleep schedule, turning your electronics off, eating light before snoozing, taking a refreshing bath, listening to music, relaxing to shake off the stress, and practising meditation. You can customize this depending on your preference. Establishing a routine for sleep will be your best friend, and only you can tell what relaxes you!

Exercise during the day

via GIPHY

How does exercising affect sleep? 

Experts believe that working out has a great effect on your sleep hygiene. It doesn’t matter how simple or serious your fitness program is, it’s beneficial to the quality bedtime that you get. Your physical activity reduces symptoms of sleep-related disorders which are common to almost 70 million people in the United States alone. 

With this is the ongoing debate about exercise and sleep timing. Studies recommend at least 150 minutes of workout weekly, which is 30 minutes daily for a week. They further support that the entire sleep duration increases when your exercise extends for an hour.


Exercising has quick sleep-inducing exhaustion, and that will solely knock down a person to snoozefest. Staying active sends a chemical effect on the brain. It produces more adenosine which is responsible for making you sleepy. This means that when you exercise harder, you drive your body to get more sleep.

Getting a good night’s sleep: Yes or no?

There are many “hacks” to help you have a good night’s sleep. Some say, count the sheep. Others say, play nature’s music like a white noise humming in the background. It helps to also relax your body so you can easily drift off to sleep.’

If, at all possible, your bed should only be used for sleeping. Separate your other rooms for recreation or work so that your body is conditioned to rest in bed. You’ll find your bedroom more relaxing this way.

workout motivation

Tips to motivate yourself to workout

You’ve finally decided to commit to an exercise program. You’re into it for the first two weeks, only to find yourself needing some workout motivation as time goes by. Well, there’s a reason why the number of enrollees in a gym hikes up especially after the holiday season and becomes an occasional visit after a few months. 

Starting a workout routine is easy, but sticking to it is a completely different story. Everyone has good and bad days. It may be simpler to finish a HIIT now, but a struggle the next day That’s okay! Many factors could affect your workout motivation like a busy schedule, family matters, personal affairs, or even sickness. But the big question is – how do you bounce back to your workout program?

Realistically, it doesn’t matter whether you’re working out to lose weight, fight depression and stress, enhance your memory, or strengthen your bones and muscles – the journey has its highs and lows. After all, it’s a big commitment, and to see results, consistency is the only way to go!

Exercising isn’t just hype, or a trend that you follow, because it seems cool for a while. If you’re serious about the change you want to see in yourself and your body, you have to make time for it. It will take multiple hours of your week, and you may have to stick to it for the rest of your life. 

If the main reason you want to move and lift is to see physical changes in your body, you’ll need around four to six weeks to notice some results. Sometimes, it may lead to 12 weeks according to Women’s Health. This is the timeframe your nervous system requires to perform efficiently, and the interval your muscles need to contract. Surpassing the six to eight-week mark, on the other hand, gives you 50% more mitochondria, and that’s the best for endurance. Not to scare you, but this is just the start! 


Movement is one of the five main points that Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute promotes for healthy living. (Others being wellness, diagnostics, treatment, and longevity.)  In this article, we hope to encourage you to move more and learn some tips on how to motivate yourself to work out.

The importance of workout motivation in your fitness journey

Image source: https://www.pinterest.ph/pin/86905467791793065/

Workout motivation is vital in staying fit and healthy. It has become even more necessary with the lifestyle changes brought by the pandemic. With all the things you have to prioritize in this busy world, how do you keep up with an exercise program?

Motivation, together with your discipline and perseverance, would make exercising a natural activity for you. But, what drives you? Is it enough to keep you moving? 

You set your goals, made your plans, but do you have the desire to work out? Motivation has two types – extrinsic and intrinsic. This is also true in working out. 

Extrinsic motivation is when you are focused on external stimulants to work out like the body aesthetics and physique. Meanwhile, intrinsic motivation surfaces from within. It isn’t bound to a result that you can see, but more on what you feel. For instance, some people love to exercise because it makes them happy, and that could be enough to keep going. 


Workout motivation tips to keep you on track

Image source: https://imgur.com/gallery/ZqXWJ

If you’ve started a fitness program and you need some workout motivation to stay focused, here’s a sign! Don’t wait for the New Year! This doesn’t have to be a part of your resolution as you can start as early as now! Go check these tips for you to consider:

Begin with the end

“To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination.”

Stephen R. Covey

Starting with a specific aim in mind will set the tone of your fitness journey. It doesn’t matter whether it is simple at the beginning. As you progress, you’ll have more time to make life-changing fitness goals. Regardless, be realistic with your situation and work from there. 

Just a tip – if you want sustainable workout motivation, find your intrinsic drive instead. Extrinsic reasons may be more motivating at first, but they may derail you for they are hard to manage in the long run. When you are not fixated on the superficial, you become more intentional and that translates to a major, physical transformation. So, start with the end in mind!

Understand what drives you

When you’re aware of your workout motivation, you’ll have more power to use it to your advantage. There surely are days when you are in the mood, so what do you do about that? Where do you put your energy? Do you take advantage of it and fuel your workout?

There are reasons why you are motivated on some days and not others. Was it because you had enough sleep? Did you eat right? Have you met a new workout buddy? Knowing what keeps you going will drive you to take action on a regular exercise routine. Listen to what your body tells you and keep your emotions in check.

Identify the barriers

Identify the possible stumbling blocks that you may come across in your fitness journey so you wouldn’t have to use them as an excuse. When you know your weakness, you give yourself the power to do something about it. Name the things that could hold you back. This may be uncomfortable at first, but that’s how you face it and get it out of the way. 

Does your schedule change from time to time? Plot a flexible workout routine. Do you need to go somewhere on a certain day? Exercise earlier. Maybe you don’t have any access to the gym because of the pandemic? Workout from home instead. When you are aware of the challenges that may stop you from this fitness journey, you deal with them. 

More workout motivation to master

Create a support system

“Surround yourself with people that reflect who you want to be and how you want to feel, energies are contagious.”

Anonymous

Your fitness journey is personal but you don’t have to do it alone. You can involve the people around you to help you with the process. Enroll in a fitness center and make friends with people who are as passionate about working out as you are. Sure, you can get DIY tips on the internet about exercising, but sadly, they can’t be that reliable. 

At one point, you might find the need to hire a personal coach or trainer, if you’re clueless about your approach, and then it’s just valid to seek someone’s expertise and guidance. Surrounding yourself with supportive people makes the journey easy and positive. The last thing you’d want is hanging out with someone who mocks your diet or workout. The harsh truth is that there are people who are like that so create a support system that you trust.

Impose discipline

Working out takes a whole lot of discipline. And if it was only that simple, every person who attempted to work out would’ve seen results. 

People often interchange workout motivation with discipline, but the latter is more on the routine that you’re willing to stick to despite the odds, and bad days. Discipline is that voice in your head that makes you stand up and exercise even if you’re not in the mood. It is the rule you strictly adhere to even if you’re not in your fighter spirit. 

Discipline is action, and motivation drives the action. Your drive fleets. But the earlier shouldn’t. You take action when you know the reason why you workout, eliminate possible excuses and set realistic aims for yourself. All these instill discipline and that gets you moving even without workout motivation.

Document your journey

Some people may raise their eyebrows on the idea of documenting every part of their fitness journey, but it helps. It’s useful most especially if you dip in and out of your routine because of your hectic schedule, or other personal reasons. 

You can start by writing a plan of action. Setting a realistic deadline, and enumerating the ways you’ll achieve your goals will set you on the right track. Monitor your progress by noting your weight and measurement. Take before and after photos. Use fitness apps too! Do all of these before you hop into a new exercise and diet regimen. Documenting your journey means keeping a record of your progress. Tangible results have always been motivating!


How to motivate yourself to exercise at home

Oftentimes, it’s easier to dress up and go to the gym to work out, right? But, what if, for whatever reason, you can’t go out? Or do you have just enough time to squeeze in a workout for the day at home? You’ll need to be able to create a space at home where you can condition your body that it’s your exercise area. 

Good workout motivation is to just lay down your yoga/exercise mat on the floor. When you have established that area at home where to exercise, the next steps will easily follow. Many coaches recommend wearing workout clothes so you are training your body to remember that it’s time to get moving.

See, it’s important to separate work (or any other non-domestic activities) and home. So, it only makes sense to also be able to differentiate workouts within your home premises. This way, you will not easily be tempted to just sit on the couch all day and skip exercising.

Slowly, you can invest in space-saving gym equipment like adjustable dumbbells in packs and maybe a reliable, DIY bench. You have the freedom to modify your exercises routinely at the comforts of your own home. Just make sure you stick to your schedule. Block the time and days you are actually committing to work out. Remember, no excuses!

Also, wouldn’t it be good workout motivation to know that you’re saving money from membership fees you would otherwise be spending on? Plus, no more worries about getting stuck in traffic and missing your schedule in the gym. Less hassle! Stress-free!

Every once in a while, you can invite friends over. Make it a small group only whom you can be accountable with. It helps to know you’re not doing this alone. 

Overall, enjoy! Be patient. Get excited when you see even small progress. It’s all about the journey. Celebrate your wins and results of hard work for a stronger mental and physical health!

home remedies for colds

Home Remedies for Colds

It’s no surprise how some people can still feel under the weather even if they are home. This happens to the best of us, and preparing for it is easier when we discover the best home remedies for colds. 

Chills, body aches, nasal congestion and fever – a combination of all these are your usual symptoms for flu. Common colds aren’t exactly “curable.” However, you can alleviate these early signs and heal them faster with a few effective home remedies that are not hard to make.

There are various viruses that can cause colds. Hence, symptoms may vary from one person to the next.  In this article, Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute talks about how to treat colds and avoid feeling so sick from its symptoms.

Why Choose Home Remedies for Colds?

home remedies for colds

Home remedies for colds are more convenient as, oftentimes, the antidote for its symptoms is just to rest. What better way to allow your body to rest than to do it at the comforts of your own home, right? 

Catching a cold can be worrisome because it often takes more than a week before the early warnings subside. That said, doing home remedies for colds, especially during the first 3 days, is crucial. 

You don’t necessarily need to go to the doctor’s clinic right away. You don’t want to spend too much on medicine that you don’t need. For instance, antibiotics and aspirin aren’t needed for  common colds to go away. Needless to say, don’t self-medicate. There’s no harm in natural healing especially when your body can still take it. 

Sometimes, all you really need is to rest at home with these home remedies to recuperate faster. However, if symptoms persist for more than a week, you should definitely call your doctor and health insurance provider to render you the best medical treatment.

All-Natural Remedies for Colds

Water

water

Who says treating colds should be expensive each time? The cure can be simple that it’s available in your kitchen. How many times have we been told about the importance of drinking water? It is, especially when you have colds. Whether you’re experiencing respiratory or stomach flu, you’ll feel much better with enough hydration.

Water moisturizes the lining of your throat, mouth, and nose. Eventually, your body will have the opportunity to get rid of the phlegm and mucus that are building up in your system. Make a conscious effort to drink more fluids than you’d normally use to. Stay away from alcoholic and caffeinated drinks as well. They shouldn’t be your source of hydration. 

Honey

honey

The demulcent effect honey has makes it one of the best home remedies for colds. This syrup relieves irritation as it forms a cooling firm around the throat. As a matter of fact, most over-the-counter cough medicines mimic the same effect with added sugar only to stimulate salivation and mucus secretion. 

Mix your honey with tea or warm lemon water to soothe your sore throat! If you prefer to drink the syrup alone, that should work as a suppressant too! A study revealed that children whose ages were 1 to 5 with a case of upper respiratory tract infection reduced their coughing after taking two teaspoons of honey. 

Ginger

ginger

How effective is ginger for sore throat? This pungent, spicy herb is not only the best for cooking, but for healing too. As a matter of fact, there are strong scientific studies and traditions that support its medical use. Grating some ginger in a boiling water could reduce inflammation and soothe the sore throat that causes rough coughs. 

There are many ways ginger helps colds. First, it provides pain relief which serves as an anti-inflammatory, another is it boosts a person’s immune system which is a big help in fighting infections which could be the primary trigger of sore throats. Try combining this herb with lemon and honey and create a natural and delicious drink to cure your flu!

Garlic

garlic

Garlic has the cold-fighting compound, allicin, that demonstrates antifungal and antibacterial properties. This is responsible for its distinctive hot flavor which reduces the possibility of catching a cold by more than a half. There is also a study that suggests how this vegetable reduces the time in recovering from colds. 

There are a few ways to optimize the health benefits garlic has to offer. Crush or slice a glove for it increases its allicin content which is good for the body. If you’re cooking with crushed garlic, don’t overdo it. Allow it to stand for around ten minutes. And if you can use as much garlic as you can for every meal, that would speed up the process!

Chicken Soup

chicken soup

Chicken soup is a go-to dish for many, so it’s addition in this list should be a win-win! This remedy is the best when you are already feeling the appearance of the cold. No wonder it’s common to see mothers or grandmothers serve chicken soup whenever their loved ones don’t feel well. 

A study published implies that chicken soup comes with anti-inflammatory effects which ease the manifestations of infections in the respiratory tract. Some researchers connect the heat, spices, and aroma of the chicken soup in clearing sinuses and improving cold health problem symptoms. Including this bowl of nutrients in your diet may be a good idea whether you’re feeling under the weather or not. 

Menthol Ointment

menthol ointment

With common colds, your airways are congested and sinuses blocked. Hence, menthol ointments can help decongest these airways. Its predecessor, mint plant, is rich in antibacterial benefits that aid in alleviating pain and unclog sinuses. This is a natural cooling ingredient found in vapor rubs which you can use in steam vaporizers, for example.

Menthol is one of the effective home remedies for colds as they interact with the cold receptors in your throat and nose. Using menthol can reduce coughing and cold symptoms simply by inhaling the mist from this cooling ingredient.

It was previously believed to be a herbal medicine but now it extends to drug therapy use. Other similar cooling remedies for colds are eucalyptus and camphor. But, don’t overuse it as menthol can be irritable to the skin and sometimes sting.

Echinacea

echinacea

Echinacea came from the daisy family of flowering plants in North America. Also commonly known as coneflowers, these plants are considered supplements with health benefits. It’s worth noting here that there’s still a few who don’t believe it is beneficial to health. However, there are also some who have seen benefits which include reducing cold symptoms and other infections.

This traditional medicine is rich with antimicrobial and antiviral properties making it one of the best home remedies for colds. These days, many people globally use supplements with Echinacea to treat not only colds but also coughs and influenza. Other illnesses it can target are bronchitis, upper respiratory infections, and other inflammatory conditions.

Probiotics

kefir probiotics

In a previous article, Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute talks in detail about the benefits of probiotics (and prebiotics) in your body. Probiotics serve as the “police” in your gut; hence, they help sustain order and stop any harmful microorganisms to compromise your immune system.

Probiotic foods such as yogurt, picked vegetables, and sauerkraut are great home remedies for colds. With a healthy and balanced diet, they can help protect you against flu viruses. A study showed that people who eat probiotic foods have lower risks of catching colds.


Home Remedies for Colds Work

It’s important that you monitor your symptoms when you catch a cold. These home remedies for colds can help you recover easily so you can go back to your healthy self. Many of these natural remedies are effective and widely known to ease common colds.

These days, when having colds get people paranoid due to the covid-19 scare, it’s good to know home remedies that actually work. The bottom line is that you take care of yourself and listen to your body. Rest up, sleep well, and drink lots of fluids and vitamins to help combat common colds. 

It’s not fun and, sometimes, you might feel miserable when colds don’t go away. But, with these home remedies, hopefully, you can get back on your feet stronger than ever.

Since there are home remedies for colds, grab any of the listed recommendations above the moment you experience the first sign of colds.  

References:
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324607#seeing-a-doctor
https://www.piedmont.org/living-better/9-natural-cold-and-flu-remedies
https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/12-tips-prevent-colds-flu-1
https://www.healthline.com/health/cold-flu/home-remedies#probiotics
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/common-cold/in-depth/cold-remedies/art-20046403

healthy habits

How to Develop Healthier Habits

Choosing to live with healthy habits can easily make life better and longer.

Who hasn’t tried to eat better, exercise regularly or sleep longer? At one point, people decide to create a list of healthy habits and give up those that are not for the sake of their mental health and wellbeing. 

But, what is a habit? A habit is a routine that you repeat whether you are aware of it or not. Some practices are good; some are the opposite. Once you recognize that you have tendencies and urges that negatively affect your health, that’s when you embark on an objective, lasting change and rethink your routine

Some people are okay with what the world offers, while some continuously make excuses when they fail to achieve the results they want. But why should you settle for complacency when you have the power to enhance the quality of your life by establishing healthy habits? 

Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute is on a mission to help people enjoy better food and quality of life. In this blog, we list down some of the healthy habits you should incorporate into your routine to attain the goals you have envisioned for yourself.

How to start healthy habits

How to start healthy habits?

It boils down to just getting started, right? But we all know that, sometimes, it’s not easy. Or is it? You can make better choices now with the end goal in mind: to feel better, grow more robust, and live longer.

Now, with that north star, you can jumpstart your journey with healthy habits for your overall health and wellness. Identify your weak spots and consider the support system you might need. You will need this compass when you are actually within the method you have developed for yourself initially.

Have a growth mindset from the start so that you don’t stress yourself too much. This point means you won’t have to be too hard on yourself when challenges come because they do. Instead, welcome them headstrong and keep going. You can even use challenges as stepping stones to further improve yourself.

Start writing down your current habits so you can compare what boxes you’ve ticked and evaluate yourself in stages. Know and accept what needs to be changed, what else you need to do, and what you can ultimately let go of. Being aware of where you’re at will significantly help you see how much you can still positively change.

 How to develop healthier habits

Failing to plan is planning to fail.

Who has not heard of this famous quote by Benjamin Franklin? It may sound cliche by now, but this mindset will never run out of style. Planning is necessary to succeed in whatever you need to do or change, and this stays true in developing healthier habits in life. 

Whenever you want anything turned into a habit, you need repetition for it to happen. Regularly doing something over time will establish a good foundation of stepwise progress you want to see in your life, and it will become automatic to you.

For example, if your goal is to be alert and productive, set a schedule for sleeping and waking up. Regular sleep times are crucial to maintaining a solid 7-8 hours of sleep every day. Plan your week so you can start your day at 7 am and make sure you’re in bed at 10 pm, for instance. No extra Netflix shows at night. No snooze buttons in the morning. No more, no less.

Having an organized schedule always wins. You can even incorporate workouts within the day to have mental breaks and still take care of your physical health. A good tip for developing healthy habits? Create routines that will eventually become so natural to you; it’s like you can do them without thinking.

Routines turn into habits

Nir Eyal, author of the book Indistractable said that “if you value your time, focus, or relationships, you will need to form new patterns of behavior.” A routine is a series of frequent behaviors intentionally repeated, so they stick.

Routines can be uncomfortable because you need to put effort into doing them consciously. You can have to-do lists to interject certain behaviors to where you want to turn into habits. 

Say you want never to forget to hydrate and drink at least 7-8 glasses a day. Add “water breaks” or set the alarm for when you remember to drink at certain times of the day. Over time, with discipline and commitment, you’ll be looking for your water tumbler like it’s the back of your hand.

Consistency is key

Some people say it’s good to commit to a new habit for a few days first. (A good benchmark is 30 days). Once you get past that, you’ll find yourself consistently making such habits. During the first 30 days, you need to get into the habit every single day, as much as you possibly can. It is crucial.

For instance, if you want to exercise regularly, get that yoga mat daily and without fail. It’s not a workout routine if you don’t stick to it consistently (see what we did there?). If you plan to do only 3-4 days of exercise, stick to the same days. Do not miss a single day because it can be challenging to bounce back.

Keep things simple

Do not overcomplicate your plan. Remember: it takes repetition for the habit to kick in. You can’t change a harmful habit overnight. It’s tempting to get overly excited in the first few days and to do too much. But, the real test is in the days, weeks, and months following that. Sustainability keeps you on track with the change that you want to make. 

Build on the simple steps first, gradually increasing repetitions each day or adding hours where possible. If you’re developing healthy habits in your food, you can add progressively new vegetables or fruits to your plate, for instance. The adjustment doesn’t have to be drastic but realistic. 

It’s better to see little progress over time than a sudden change in a short time. There are no shortcuts, for they are bound to fail. Often, the latter produces abrupt changes that even your own body can’t tolerate. That could be destructive to you mentally and physically rather than beneficial in the long run.

Find an accountability partner

Someone close to you is an ideal buddy to help keep you in check. This person should be a reliable and trustworthy ally who will support you without judging you, especially when struggling. The last thing you’d want is to be around people who mock your journey to change. 

It would help if you had someone to motivate and encourage you to keep going when times are tough. Also, an accountability partner is someone who will cheer you on to celebrate your small wins. It’s an excellent boost to your morale to know someone sees your victories – big or small.

Whether you choose a relative or a friend, your accountability buddy should know your triggers, too. That way, you wouldn’t feel alone or helpless when laziness kicks in. You can tell them to call you at certain times of the day to check on you, for example. Doing this can help you get back on track when you don’t feel like failing on the habit you want to develop.

Healthy habits to do every day

How do you start your healthy habits?

Did you know there is a science to how healthy habits can work? According to James Clear, author of the book Atomic Habits, there are four (4) stages of habit.

  1. Cue
  2. Craving
  3. Response
  4. Reward

Clear said this is the backbone of every habit. Your brain usually runs through this four-step pattern in the same order, almost without fail. He suggests the following questions, which you can use as a guide when you want to change a specific behavior:

  • How can I make it obvious? (Cue)
  • How can I make it attractive? (Craving)
  • How can I make it easy? (Response)
  • How can I make it satisfying? (Reward)

Sometimes, you ask, “why don’t I do what I say I’m going to do?” Let’s say you want to create a habit of saving money. Your ultimate goal is to set aside a portion of your budget for your plans of getting your dream house.

How do you do it?

  • How can I make saving obvious? 
    • You can set a reminder on your phone on your payday with the exact amount or percentage of the amount you want to save. (e.g. 10% of your 2-weeks salary pay goes to your dream house project)
  • How can I make saving up attractive?
    • Create a calendar showing the dates and amount you save so you can track your progress. Sometimes, visually seeing how much you’re holding can motivate you more to continue what you’re doing. Put photos of furniture you want to put in your dream house that closely estimates the amount you have so far. This plan acts as your vision board that slowly becomes a whole house with each addition in your savings account. 
  • How can I make saving easy?
    • If you have the option to auto-debit or transfer this specific amount to your other bank account, consider that. You can also call your bank to help you set the maximum limit of your card expenses. Or go to your online bank account settings to limit your withdrawals to ensure you don’t touch your savings.
  • How can I make saving up satisfying?
    • You can gamify your habit of saving up by asking your accountability partner to reward you with anything. For example, when you can set aside more than you regularly do, your buddy can walk the dog for you. (You can be creative on this one.)

Every day is an opportunity to convert bad habits into good ones. Clear says that you can ask the same questions above to evaluate bad habits, guiding you to make better choices.

Healthy habits to look into

Here are other vital habits you can develop that you may have heard before but haven’t paid attention to:

  1. Eat a well-balanced diet.
  2. Drink alcohol moderately.
  3. Hydrate more.
  4. Avoid vices such as smoking.
  5. Have at least 7-8 hours of sleep each day.
  6. Move. Work out at least 3-4x a week.
  7. Smile more to minimize negative vibes.
  8. Cultivate positive relationships and avoid toxic people.

Three steps to replacing bad habits

Everyone has established habits, but no one is exempted from the wrong ones which are often triggered by stress and boredom. If you recognize that you need to change some of your bad habits, replacement is the proper term for it. 

It may be drinking too much caffeine, biting your nails, eating unhealthy food – you always have the power to replace bad habits with healthier practices.

Changing isn’t a walk in the park, of course. Norcross and Vangarelli from 1988 relieved that 77% of resolution-makers could only maintain their pledges to start anew for a clean, one week. However, 19% can stick with them for the next two years, or to simply put – eight out of ten would go back to their old habits. 

So, what can you do to not fall on the same path?

Commit. Committing to a habit is essential in changing your ways. You have to be serious about your goal. If you don’t start on this proper mindset, you won’t have a direction.

Substitute. Substituting your bad habits to a new, healthier habit is the way to change them. What prompts you to do what you don’t want to? For example, if you’re feeling the urge to smoke, change it with breathing exercises. If it is spending too much time on Facebook, find a new habit that could eliminate that. Commit and plan.

Sustain. Sustaining the new habit is the most challenging part, but it is possible with the first step, commitment. Celebrate your progress. Somedays, you’d trip on your goals, but it’s always in the matter of how you go back on track.

Importance of healthy habits

Whatever it is that you’re doing now is a result of your habits over time. Anything that naturally occurs to you, any routine you’ve been doing, they’re the sum of all your patterns combined. What you do repeatedly are the things that you do all the time. The same goes for food. You develop an appetite for the food that you crave. 

But, you see, healthy habits aren’t limited to food or mundane tasks. What you spend time most – doing and thinking about every day- forms which you ultimately become. Healthy habits are essential because they can prevent you from getting sick or experiencing health conditions. 

A healthy lifestyle is rewarding, in and of itself, because there’s less stress and problems. You feel good about yourself, so you have a positive self-image and good self-esteem. You can confidently face each day because you are strong and healthy.

Healthy habits lower the risk of poor decision-making because certain behaviors become automatic that positively impact your life. You have better relationships and socialization with friends. You’re more productive, have more energy, and can handle stress better. 


If you want to remain youthful and improve your mood every day, healthy habits can make this happen. Enjoy a quality of life that meets the length of life! Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute fully supports your journey to improve the quality of your life. Get started with healthy habits, if you haven’t yet, with recipes you can find here.

prebiotics and probiotics explained

Prebiotics and Probiotics: Explained

Collectively, prebiotics and probiotics can protect you against metabolic diseases.

With a healthy gut microbiota, you are letting your immune system work optimally. Therefore, a balanced diet helps you maintain normal body weight and stop pathogens that make you sick.

In a previous article here in Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute, you will find how the gut microbiome can affect your other body functions. That’s where prebiotics and probiotics come in. Gut inflammation can be caused by unhealthy gut bacteria and may lead to a compromised immune system. Hence, your body needs food and proper hydration in order to perform well.

It’s important to eat a good amount of prebiotics and probiotics to ensure healthy gut bacteria inside your body. Collectively known as gut microbiota, these gut bacteria perform vital biological functions for human health.

Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute explains the role of prebiotics and probiotics in your nutrition. Read on to learn how these food sources and supplements can affect your gastrointestinal bacteria and, consequently, avoid health issues.

What are prebiotics?

There are special plant fibers or substances from carbohydrates that help your digestive system work efficiently. These are prebiotics which aid healthy bacteria to grow in your gut. Moreover, they act as a food source – to feed on – for the healthy bacteria living in your gut.

Prebiotics help avoid food from getting stuck in your digestive system which often causes bloating and abdominal cramps. When prebiotics are incorporated in your diet, it may help stop symptoms or triggers of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Prebiotic foods

prebiotics

Many fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are good sources of prebiotics. Other prebiotic foods are:

  • Asparagus
  • Bananas
  • Greens
  • Onions
  • Soybeans
  • Garlic
  • Artichokes
  • Barley
  • Cocoa
  • Chicory
  • Flaxseed
  • Konjac root
  • Legumes
  • Oats
  • Wheat

You can also find products that are fortified with prebiotics such as bread, cereals, cookies, and even baby formula. One way to know that your food has prebiotics in them is to look for the following: chicory fiber, inulin, galactooligosaccharides, fructooligosaccharides, and oligofructose. Many dietary supplements also have them.

Benefits of prebiotics. The main purpose of prebiotics is to improve the overall balance of your gut microflora. While they essentially feed your good gut bacteria, prebiotics help keep the cells lining your gut to be healthy. Prebiotics help absorb calcium and maintain a healthy glycemic index in your body. This is done by improving the rate at which foods cause spikes in your blood sugar. Prebiotics also help you avoid constipation through fermenting food faster in your gut.

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are good bacteria that contain live microorganisms, such as live yeasts, which are good for the digestive system. They naturally live inside your body. Probiotics also serve as the “police” that sustains order and stops any harmful bacteria to colonize in your gut.

For example, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are probiotic bacteria helping maintain the right acidity in your gut. Similarly, there are other edible sources you can consume, as well as supplements, rich in probiotics.

Foods rich in probiotics

probiotics

Many fermented foods are good sources of probiotics. Note that pasteurization kills bacteria. Therefore, if you need probiotic benefits from these foods, they should be pasteurized. Here’s a list of probiotic foods:

  • Yogurts
  • Sauerkrauts
  • Kimchi
  • Kombucha tea
  • Kefir
  • Unpasteurized pickles
  • Pickled vegetables

Benefits. Probiotics primarily maintain normal microflora – what is commonly called “good bacteria” – in your body. There are probiotic supplements with the intention of carrying the bacteria all the way down to your large intestine. Some, on the other hand, may not make it as far as your colon and get mixed in your stomach acid.

There are probiotic foods which are also synbiotic in nature such as cheese and kefir. It means that they contain both prebiotics and probiotics. You’re getting twice the benefits like 1) beneficial bacteria and 2) prebiotic fiber food source to feed your gut bacteria.

Why take prebiotics and probiotics 

prebiotics and probiotics

A person’s gut isn’t usually the first place people consider when seeking help for medical needs. However, recent studies and more general awareness about gut health are gaining more attention. You can have a more preventive approach in promoting a healthy gut ecosystem in your body. This way, you can be more intentional with your food choices and  “listen to your gut.”

Both prebiotics and probiotics are beneficial to your body, especially to your gut. But, they are good for the gut in different ways as mentioned above. Bottomline is that you should know which food affects the good and bad gut bacteria. When there’s gut imbalance, the bad bacteria can grow and colonize faster which may eventually overwhelm the good bacteria.

You can easily damage your gut microbiome with a diet composed of food rich in fat and sugar, for example. Harmful bacteria is often associated with increasing body mass index. Thus, you should exert a conscious effort to improve your gut bacteria with proper nutrition and lifestyle.

Lastly, before taking prebiotics and probiotics as supplements, consult with your doctor especially if your body is sensitive to certain ingredients. You should be guided by health professionals before consumption of large concentrations of these supplements to avoid risks of health conditions and gut-related illnesses.

Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute is on a mission to help people enjoy better food and quality of life. Remember: You can benefit from prebiotics and probiotics as a natural healing approach and strategy in advancing your gut health.

References:
https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/expert-answers/probiotics/faq-20058065#:~:text=Probiotics%20are%20foods%20or%20supplements,as%20food%20for%20human%20microflora
https://www.mayoclinic.org/prebiotics-probiotics-and-your-health/art-20390058
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/probiotics-and-prebiotics
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323490
https://atlasbiomed.com/blog/what-are-pre-and-probiotics-which-foods-and-how-do-they-work/