How Stress Impacts Your Health

Stress- we’ve all experienced it at some point in our lives (some much more than others). Stress is not fun to deal with and often leaves us frustrated, exhausted, and just plain irritated. While we know that stress messes with our mental health, did you know that it also has many negative effects on our physical health?Some stress is definitely normal, but extreme amounts of stress can really make us physically sick.

Physical Effects of Stress

Increased heart rate, shortness of breath, muscle tenseness, and sharp rises in blood pressure are some common symptoms of stress (WebMD, 2019). These symptoms occur as our body’s way of dealing with stress, known as the “fight or flight response”. However, there are much more severe symptoms of stress that are often overlooked that present themselves physically. Frequent colds, rashes, hives, unexplained and random allergy attacks,  nausea, heartburn, stomach pain, chest pains, heart palpitations, insomnia, and unhealthy weight gain/loss are a few scary effects of stress that we may experience. Grinding of teeth due to stress and anxiety can lead to a condition called bruxism that results in broken and chipped teeth. Many life-threatening illnesses, including the flu, can be brought on by stress due to stress’s ability to lower our immune system functioning. Stomach ulcers have been found in relatively healthy people who reported high levels of stress. Heart attacks are also common among people who suffer from stress and anxiety. All of these symptoms should be taken seriously, as they can land you in the hospital if your stress levels do not decrease.

I’m So Stressed- How Can I Relax?

Looking to chill out and reduce your stress? Here are a few helpful tips:

  1. Meditation: A few minutes of meditation and deep breathing exercises per day have been shown to decrease stress.
  2. Proper sleep: Make sure you are getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night to properly recover your body and mind to allow you to move forward after a stressful day.
  3. Healthy eating: The food on your plate impacts your stress! Healthy food makes your mind and body feel great. Load up on fruits, veggies, complex carbs, healthy fats, and quality proteins while staying away from sugars, processed/packaged snacks, and fried foods.
  4. Essential Oils: Essential oils have recently gained much popularity due to their laundry list of health benefits. Different essential oils have different effects on our bodies. Lavender, ylang-ylang, rose, and chamomile essential oils are great for reducing stress levels and helping us to relax. Plant Therapy offers stress relief essential oils that will save the day when your stress levels are through the roof. Massaging a few drops on your temples or wrists is a surefire way to reach that state of “zen” that we crave after a busy day.

SOURCES:

Stress Effects

Add comment February 21, 2019

The Importance of Vitamins and Minerals

Pretty much every person who’s interested in nutrition and fitness prioritizes the 3 big macronutrients (carbs, fats, and proteins). Getting the appropriate amounts of macronutrients each day are certainly very crucial for physical wellbeing. However, the importance of vitamins and minerals in the diet are often overlooked. Vitamins and minerals work in the body to maintain body functions (think: immune system, metabolism, digestion, etc. etc.) and overall keep your body working efficiently so that it can perform at its best each and everyday.

Some Important Vitamins and Minerals and Where to Find Them

Essential vitamins include vitamins A, C, D, E, K, and the B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12). A, D, E, and K are known as fat soluble vitamins because they are absorbed in the body with the help of the presence of foods containing a bit of fat. They are able to be stored in the body for relatively long periods of time, and your body digs them out of storage when they are needed. However, be careful- since these vitamins can be stored in our bodies for awhile, toxicity can occur if you eat too much of a certain fat-soluble vitamin! Vitamin A (AKA retinol) is important for eye health and can be found in orangey vegetables like carrots, squash, and yams (Moore, 1). Vitamin D is synthesized by our bodies when we are exposed to sunlight, and is crucial for our bone health (Ware, 1). Vitamin E, found in eggs, nuts, and seeds, can prevent inflammation and coronary heart disease. Vitamin K, found in leafy green vegetables, helps our body maintain strong bones. Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin and is often recognized for its ability to enhance our immune systems. Citrus fruits, melons, and mangoes are excellent sources of vitamin C.

Some important minerals that our body requires include magnesium, iron, zinc, fluoride, copper, and selenium. Iron often steals the spotlight due to its health benefits as well as the bodily degradation that occurs when we become iron deficient. We need PLENTY of iron in order to transport oxygen through the blood stream. Without iron, we cannot produce enough red blood cells, which can lead to a condition called “anemia” (Watson, 1). Anemic people are often tired all the time, dizzy, weak, have irregular heartbeats, and experience shortness of breath. We can ensure that our iron levels are high by eating plenty of leafy green vegetables.

I’m Not Getting Enough From My Food…What Do I Do?

If you find yourself not getting your recommended amounts of vitamins and minerals from the foods you are eating, don’t worry! There are plenty of supplements that you can take to, well, supplement your intake. Garden of Life offers an extensive line of vitamin and mineral supplements known as “Vitamin Code” that are perfect to help you boost your levels. Garden of Life’s supplements are raw and organic, so you can be rest assured that you’re putting the best possible things into your body while simultaneously increasing your intake and keeping your body running smoothly. The brand offers all of the important vitamins and minerals mentioned above, as well as many more.

Vitamins and minerals are a key part of a healthy diet. To be sure you are giving your body the amount of nutrients it needs, eat vitamin rich foods and increase your intake with supplements.

 

SOURCES:

https://nccih.nih.gov/health/vitamins

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/161618.php

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/161618.php

https://www.everydayhealth.com/anemia/anemia-basics.aspx

Add comment February 21, 2019

Health Benefits of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is produced by our bodies in response to sun exposure. To produce sufficient vitamin D, it is recommended that people spend at least 10 minutes in the sun 2-3 times per week. Scientists have found that vitamin D has a multitude of health benefits for us.

Health Benefits of Vitamin D

  • Bone health: we all know that calcium is very important for strong bones and joints. Calcium needs sufficient amounts of vitamin D in order to be absorbed in our bodies. Therefore, we can’t have healthy bones without generous levels of vitamin D.
  • Decreased flu risk: studies show that individuals who include vitamin D supplements in their diet during the winter months reduced their risk of contracting influenza by over forty percent.
  • Reduce the risk of certain cancers: vitamin D slows tissue growth in cancerous cells, which therefore reduces the spread of cancerous cells in the body.
  • Decreased diabetes risk: individuals who provide their bodies with adequate levels of vitamin D has reduced their diabetes risk by almost ninety percent.

Because vitamin D is used quite quickly in the body, its effects do not last very long, especially during cold winter months when sunshine isn’t as abundant. Vitamin D is important in maintaining our physical well-being, so it is important to enhance your vitamin D production by taking a supplement, such as Thorne Research.

 

SOURCES:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/161618.php

Add comment December 31, 2018

A Healthy Diet for Graceful Aging

Aging does not always have to be a negative thing. In fact, aging can be a beautiful, peaceful, and even confidence-building experience for many people as long as they implement and maintain a healthy lifestyle, including a nutrient-dense diet.

A healthy diet is crucial in order to avoid “looking old” as you age. A diet high in omega-3 fatty acids and amino acids prevent the skin’s collagen and elastin from weakening, thus preventing deep wrinkles in the face and on the hands. Limiting sodium intake and increasing potassium intake has been shown to reduce water retention and thus reduce dark circles that tends to form under the eyes as we age. Water, although not a food, is very overlooked when it comes to preventing or reducing typical signs of aging. Keeping cells hydrated prevents them from shriveling up and will prevent noticeable wrinkles on the skin. Foods high in polyphenols, such as garlic and green tea, prevent free radicals from destroying the skin’s collagen and thus prevent wrinkles. Some supplements, such as CuraMed, promote healthy and graceful aging by reducing inflammation, protecting cells, and promoting joint function.

Although there are many important factors involved in healthy, graceful, and slow aging, it is clear that a healthy diet is one of the most important factors. Enhancing your diet with healthful foods and supplements may reduce the physical effects of aging on your appearance.

Add comment December 31, 2018

Healthy Joints for a Healthy You

Having healthy joints is extremely important. A joint is a point in the body where two bones are joined together. Weak or injured joints can result in excruciating pain as well as limited mobility, osteoporosis, and/or arthritis. There are a number of ways to keep our joints in tact and functioning normally.

Physical Activity

Physical activity is a key factor in keeping joints healthy and strong. Movement reduces stiffness in the joints while strengthening the muscles used to support the joints. Furthermore, regular exercise has been shown to ease joint pain.

Maintaining a Healthy Weight 

Many overweight individuals have pain due to the excess weight pounding on their joints. Maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding obesity can greatly reduce or completely eliminate any joint damage or pain. Exercise, along with eating a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins, can help you maintain a healthy weight for your body.

Joint Protection

Sometimes joint pain is inevitable, especially if you are very active or if arthritis runs in your family. General upkeep on your joints is crucial in maintaining their functionality. If you feel pain in your joints, try to ease up on your physical activity (especially intense work outs or long runs). Seeing a physical therapist an regularly stretching may relieve your pain as well. Braces for wrists, ankles, and even knees can  reduce the pain while simultaneously healing the joint.

Supplements

Many individuals turn to supplementation to maintain, or even heal, their joint health. These supplements, such as Jarrow Formulas, have been shown to rebuild cartilage and help control inflammation that leads to pain. Supplements are a great way to keep joints healthy and avoid chronic pain.

Add comment December 14, 2018

Superfood Spotlight: Chia Seeds

Superfoods: foods that are extremely nutritious and healthful for our wellbeing. Scientists and health officials have recognized a long list of superfoods that provide us with a huge variety of health benefits. Berries, dark leafy greens, legumes, and even eggs have been given an honorary superfoods title. In recent years, however, chia seeds have taken the spotlight for their tremendous nutrient density and versatility.

What are chia seeds? They are a tiny seed species that originate from Central America. Thousands of years ago, they were a staple in the diets of the Aztec and Mayan people due to their healthfulness. In fact, “chia” is the ancient Mayan word for “strength”.

Chia seeds are small but definitely mighty. They are rich in fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and some of the B vitamins. Just two tablespoons of chia seeds contain 11 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, 9 grams of heart healthy fats, and 18% of the recommended daily intake of calcium! Fiber and protein help us feel fuller longer, so we are less likely to snack or eat mindlessly throughout the day. Omega-3s are great for heart health and reducing the risk of heart disease, and calcium keeps our bones and joints strong. Chia seeds are a great source of these nutrients, especially for vegetarians and vegans, who do not get protein, omegas, calcium, or B vitamins from animal products such as fish, eggs, and meat.

Chia seeds have also been recognized as a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants help to destroy dangerous free radicals (which have been linked to the development of cancers and heart disease) in our bodies. By eating foods rich in antioxidants, like chia seeds, we can eliminate the harmful free radicals that our body stores and reduce our chances of contracting deadly illnesses.

Clearly, chia seeds are a food you want to incorporate into your diet. The health benefits that they provide to us are too great to ignore. Luckily, it is very easy to add chia seeds to your everyday meals. Just add a couple of spoonfuls to your oatmeal, yogurt, or smoothies, or even sprinkle some on top of a salad. Enjoy the great taste and the optimal nutrition that they give!

 

 

Source:

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-proven-health-benefits-of-chia-seeds#section1

Add comment December 2, 2018

Getting Healthy with Vitamins & Minerals

Everyone knows that the keys to being healthy are maintaining and healthful diet and establishing an exercise regimen. However, the impact that vitamins and minerals have on our health is often overlooked. They support our immune systems, keep our metabolisms running efficiently, help our organs and cells to do what they are supposed to do, and even prevent degradation and pain in our muscles and joints . Making sure we get the recommended daily intake of all vitamins and minerals is essential for keeping us healthy and ensuring that our bodies function properly.

The most important way to get your intake of vitamins and minerals is through proper nutrition. Besides providing us with carbohydrates, fats, and proteins (the “macronutrients”), food also provides all of the vitamins and minerals (the “micronutrients”) that we need. The 8 B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, biotin, folic acid, and cobalamin) are mainly found in plant foods like whole grains, lentils, beans, and dark green leafy vegetables. B vitamins are crucial for healthy brain development and have been proven to prevent strokes and amnesia. They also strengthen the immune system, which allows you to better ward off illnesses. Minerals, such as calcium, maintain bone health, increase our energy levels, and strengthen our immune system, among dozens of other benefits.

Eating a variety of foods will help you consume all of the vitamins and minerals your body needs to function at its best, but if you want an extra boost, taking supplements such as Pure Encapsulations is a step in the right direction. And while you’re increasing your own intake of vitamins and minerals, don’t forget about your furry friends’! Dogs and cats need plenty of vitamins and minerals to keep them strong, agile, and healthy. Pet Wellbeing is a great line of supplements that provide your pets with all-natural remedies for colds, diseases, and muscle pains while keeping organs, such as the kidneys and liver, functioning properly.

Add comment December 1, 2018

Health Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) that animals and plants synthesize. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats for a human diet because we as humans cannot produce them and thus need to supplement omega-3s into our diets. Fish, vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, plant oils, and leafy vegetables are all great sources of omega-3s. They provide a lengthy list of health benefits and have been proven to inhibit, prevent, or even reserve diseases, pains, and sicknesses.

  1. Omega-3s can reduce inflammation in the body. Reducing inflammation can ease pain caused by arthritis, muscle soreness, and even osteoporosis.
  2. Omega-3s are heart healthy. Moderate to high levels of omega-3 intake have been shown to contribute to a healthy, normally functioning heart. Individuals who have a very low intake of omega-3 fatty acids are at a higher risk of developing hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and having a heart attack.
  3. Omega-3s are vital to brain development in fetuses. Pregnant women who have a moderate to high intake of omega-3s during pregnancy have children who have higher intelligence, better social skills, and decreased risk of autism than their counterparts.
  4. Omega-3s can reduce the negative side effects of autoimmune disorders. Omega-3s have been shown to be able to fight off painful and life-altering autoimmune diseases such as lupus, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis.

The list of benefits that omega-3s provide can go on for many pages. To take full advantage of these benefits, you should increase your omega-3 intake by eating fish, nuts, and seeds. Supplements, such as Nordic Naturals, are also good sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

Add comment December 1, 2018

The Importance of Sleep and How to Improve Your Sleep Quality

Everyone loves to sleep. But most of us don’t get nearly the amount that we need. A good night’s rest is a very important, and definitely the most underrated, factor that contributes to our long-term health and wellness. You can drink smoothies, eat vegetables, and work out twice a day, but if you’re not getting the sleep your body and brain needs to recover and restore, your health could take a turn for the worst.

Why is sleep so important?

While you sleep, your brain is highly active. It forms new pathways that help you learn and retain new information, while simultaneously clearing away waste products that could damage your brain and even lead to dementia. Sleep enhances one’s memory and the ability to learn, make decisions, think critically and rationally, and solve problems. People who do not get a good night’s sleep are often distracted and unable to concentrate, learn, or remember certain things.

Sleep also has profound impacts on physical health. During sleep, the body helps regulate hormones to keep them in a healthy balance. Studies show that people who are sleep deprived have increased or decreased levels of certain hormones; for example, sleep deprived individuals are often reported to have increased levels of ghrelin (the hormone that signals hunger) and decreased levels of leptin (the hormone that is responsible for feelings of fullness). Thus, those who do not get enough sleep felt hungrier more often and ate more. Sleep deprivation and obesity are closely linked.

Sleep is important for immune health, and those who do not sleep well or enough have trouble fighting off illnesses and staying healthy. Sleep also supports healthy growth and development, especially in children, and has the ability to repair and maintain muscles, nerves, and blood vessels.

The average adult is recommended to get at least 7 hours of sleep per night in order to maintain and improve both physical and mental health. Try turning off the TV an hour earlier or doing your homework during the day (instead of late at night) in order to get more hours of sleep in. If you have trouble sleeping, you may want to try a sleep-enhancing supplement such as melatonin or Kavinace.

Add comment October 26, 2018

Dietary Supplements for Better Health

There are thousands of different dietary supplements on the health market that can enhance your daily intake of vitamins and minerals. Supplements are able to provide you the nutrients that may be lacking in your diet or nutrients that your body is deficient in. Taking a supplement is highly beneficial when your body needs more of a certain nutrient that your diet alone is not providing. Supplements also have the ability to relieve pains (such as joint pain from arthritis), regulate blood sugar levels, promote restful sleep, and even prevent dangerous or life-threatening chronic illnesses. Some brands, such as Metagenics, take into account an individual’s lifestyle factors and genetic predispositions in order to provide supplements and nutritional support that is specifically targeted to that individuals’ personal needs. Supplements are an easy and fast way to keep yourself healthy and be assured that you are giving your body every vitamin and mineral it needs to function at its best and prevent sickness and disease.

Here is a list of some supplements that can help treat a variety of different illnesses, deficiencies, and pains:

  1.  Glucosamine: glucosamine is a natural chemical compound formed in the body that supports cartilage growth, maintenance, and repair in between the bones and joints. People with severe joint pain are advised to take glucosamine to rebuild the cartilage around their bones and reduce the pain that occurs when bones rub against joints.
  2. Vitamin D:  Vitamin D is very important for a strong immune system. Many people with autoimmune disorders, such as Colitis or psoriasis, take a vitamin D supplement to improve their immune system, and thus eliminate the autoimmune response.
  3. Iron: iron supplements are greatly beneficial to individuals who suffer from weakness, dizziness, and fatigue due to anemia. Iron has also been shown to promote strong hair, skin, and nails.
  4. Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 “regulates the nervous system, promotes a healthy digestive system, and promotes cell reproduction” for healthy hair, skin, and nails. Getting enough vitamin B12 on a meatless diet provides some difficulties, so vegans and vegetarians often take a daily B12 supplement, such as from Integrative Therapeutics, to make sure their needs are being met.

 

Add comment October 22, 2018

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