Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Reduce Anxiety Without Drugs

anxiety

 

Reduce Anxiety Without Drugs

 

 

“High Anxiety” may have been Mel Brooks’ idea of funny, but it’s no laughing matter for more than seven million North Americans who struggle with insomnia, headaches, muscle tension, eating problems (too much or not enough) and relationship conflicts that general anxiety disorder can trigger. But there have been some interesting treatment approaches making the news.

 

A free smartphone app called Personal Zen, designed by a clinical psychologist, offers an anxiety-reducing game that helps shift your attention away from a seemingly threatening situation or thought to a nonthreatening one.

 

But immediately we wondered: “What if my battery dies? Or there’s an incoming call while I’m using the app?” So if you’re trying this, we suggest you find a quiet spot and put your phone on airplane mode.

 

Then there’s the recent study that suggests you shouldn’t try to calm down. Instead, reframe your feelings by convincing yourself that you’re excited, a far more positive revved-up feeling, say the researchers.

 

We say that may work if you’re nervous about public speaking, but not if you’re fretting about paying your bills or losing your job; those thoughts are never exciting!

 

We like a third approach: According to Johns Hopkins researchers, mindful meditation can ease anxiety symptoms for some folks as well as medication can.

 

Daily, sit comfortably in a quiet room for 10 minutes. Close your eyes. Breathe slowly, in and out. If thoughts pop into your brain, expel them as you exhale. You’ll decrease your stressful feelings, reduce inflammation and release feel-good brain chemicals.

 

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Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Mantram? What is it?

In solitude there is healling. Speak to your soul. Listen to your heart. Sometimes in the absence of noise we find the answers.

In solitude there is healling. Speak to your soul. Listen to your heart. Sometimes in the absence of noise we find the answers.

Mantram: What Is It, And Should You Try It?

 

Mantram is a Sanskrit word that means, roughly, “instrument of thought.” As a discipline, it refers to the practice of silently repeating certain syllables or phrases. It is a way to keep the mind occupied by putting attention on sounds or words that are believed to have spiritual meaning and positive effects, and thus free from the usual endless succession of varied, distracting thoughts.

 

 

Mantram is most often associated with Hinduism, Buddhism, and other Eastern religions, but a similar practice is also part of Western religious tradition, as exemplified by the Roman Catholic Rosary and the Jesus Prayer (“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner”) of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

 

Some contemporary psychologists, however, recommend mantram as a purely secular method of diverting attention from troublesome thoughts in order to reduce anxiety, anger, and stress.

 

Several researchers have documented the efficacy of this method to improve emotional well-being. One study, published in the Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing in 2006, measured outcomes of a five-week program of mantram practice in a population of healthcare workers (nurses and social workers, primarily female), who were experiencing high stress.  Participants were asked to choose a mantram from recommended sayings from the major spiritual traditions and were given wrist-worn counters to tally the daily frequency of repetition. The investigators found that the program reduced stress and improved the emotional and spiritual well-being of the participants. They concluded that, “Mantram repetition is an innovative stress-reduction strategy that is portable, convenient, easy to implement, and inexpensive.”

 

 

As Dr. Weil says, “This accords with my experience. After reading about mantram in my early thirties, I began repeating om mani padme hum to myself when I was falling asleep, driving long distances, or just sitting quietly. After a time, I found I could use it to break cycles of worrying that made me anxious or kept me awake. It has also helped me get through dental procedures and remain calm in the midst of turmoil.

 

“I do not repeat the words on any fixed schedule or keep count of the number of times I do it, but I’ve done it so often that I can now slip into it almost without conscious effort. Because mantram repetition is, indeed, portable, convenient, easy to implement, and inexpensive, I recommend it to you as a method worth trying to take your attention away from thoughts that make you anxious or sad.”

 

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Foods That Fight Back Pain

Foods That Fight Back Pain

Foods That Fight Back Pain

 

As reported by the University of Maryland Medical Center, back pain is the second leading cause for doctor visits, with up to 80% of adults in the United States suffering from this type of pain. Inflammation is a common cause for back pain. While inflammation is a natural response to disease or injury in the body, making small changes to your daily diet can help reduce this inflammatory response.. There are many different types of foods that help fight inflammation and reduce back pain. Dietary changes can be used alone or in conjunction with other treatments as recommended by your physician.

 

Fatty Fish

 

Fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel, contain omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce both inflammation and pain in the body, and can be especially effective for non-surgical back pain according to research at the University of Pittsburgh. However, there is a risk of bleeding with certain forms of omega-3 fatty acids that may be increased if you take blood-thinning medications so check with your doctor.

 

Red Grapes

 

Red grapes contain a compound called resveratrol. Resveratrol has been shown to help prevent deterioration of tissue and damage to cartilage in the back. Other foods that contain this beneficial compound include blueberries, cranberries, and red wine (but not too much!).

 

Cherries

 

Tart cherries contain antioxidants called anthocyanins, which have been shown to be effective in reducing inflammation, joint pain, and muscle pain.

 

Berries

 

Berries contain high amounts of antioxidants, helping to reduce inflammation. Certain berries also contain anthocyanins and ellagitannins, which can fight inflammation and pain. Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, acai, and pomegranate all have pain-fighting components.

 

Pineapple

 

Pineapple is well-known for helping to relieve pain due to the enzyme, bromelain. Bromelain helps suppress the inflammatory response, can reduce swelling, and ease pain. However, bromelain can increase bleeding, affect ulcers, and interact with medications, including certain antibiotics.

 

Broccoli

 

Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables contain a compound called sulforaphane that can reduce inflammation before it starts and block certain damaging enzymes to help prevent destruction of joint tissue.

 

Spices and Herbs

 

How you season your food can help fight pain as well. Use herbs and spices such as ginger, turmeric, boswellia, white willow bark, and devil’s claw. Some herbs may interact with medications, so check with your doctor before you start taking any new supplements.

 

Foods that Create Inflammation

 

Just as there are foods that can fight inflammation and pain, there are also foods that can potentially trigger an inflammatory response from the body, increasing inflammation and pain. The Cleveland Clinic recommends avoiding gluten, tobacco, and foods from the nightshade family, including the following:

Tomatoes

Peppers

White Potatoes

Eggplant

Paprika

 

Because all individuals react differently to different foods, try avoiding these foods for a couple of weeks to see if the pain improves. This can help you to identify your dietary inflammatory triggers.

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Health and Disease, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

2 Ways to Practicing Visual Imagination

2 Ways To Practicing Visual Imagination

2 Ways To Practicing Visual Imagination

 

Visual imagination or visualization can be a potent tool for emotional well-being. It is mostly what we focus on when we daydream, and it can totally fascinate us when we engage in imagining what we desire.

 

A significant portion of the brain, the visual cortex, is responsible for processing visual imagination and other data coming from the retinas and optic nerves. When the brain is not occupied with that task, it is free to generate pictures of its own – from your brain’s perspective, the distinction between what you see and what you visually imagine is not large. The visual cortex can act as a conduit between the conscious and unconscious mind, giving access to parts of the nervous system that regulate body functions normally considered involuntary.

 

Meditation on visual images is a religious practice in Hinduism and Buddhism, where geometric designs of spiritual significance are used. Apart from its religious purpose, this sort of meditation is said to calm the mind and body.

 

Visual images that we pay frequent attention to can determine the set point of our emotions just as habitual patterns thought can, possibly more so, because they influence physiology so strongly.

 

To get a sense of the power of visual imagination, close your eyes and picture a lemon wedge, freshly cut and glistening with juice. Concentrate on making the image as clear and detailed as you can. Then visualize bringing the lemon to your lips, sucking on it, and biting into it. As you do this, chances are you will experience sensations in your mouth and salivation, just as if you had sucked on an actual slice of lemon.

 

Practitioners of visualization therapy, visual imagination and interactive guided imagery teach patients to modify health conditions by taking advantage of this mind/body phenomenon, often with good results. Over the years, I have referred many patients to such therapists and have seen benefit with problems ranging from atopic dermatitis (eczema) and autoimmunity to cancer and recovery from surgery.

 

To improve emotional well-being, I am experimenting with visualization in two ways:

 

Practice shifting attention from negative thoughts to mental images that evoke positive feelings. For example, think of an actual place where you experienced contentment, comfort, and serenity.

Select an image that you associate with your most positive moods and focus on it frequently. Take that scene from earlier, and recreate it in your mind’s eye. Each time you do, concentrate on sharpening the details, making the colors brighter, imagining sounds, physical sensations, and scents that might have been part of the experience. Keep that image as a place you can go to in your mind whenever you feel stressed, anxious or sad.

Find your own such place, and visit it mentally whenever stress threatens to overwhelm you.

If the negative mental and physical effects of unhealthy stress are affecting your day-to-day life, take steps to address it. Proper diet, lifestyle and supplements may be beneficial.  Call us at Health and Wellness Associates to get you on your personal wellness plan.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

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Dr M Williams

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Surviving Heart Attack Often Means Leaving Job Behind

heartattack

Surviving Heart Attack Often Means Leaving Job Behind

 

Recovering from a heart attack can be a long, painful process, and now a new study finds that almost one-quarter of those patients who returned to work ultimately left their jobs over the following year.

 

The findings suggest that “even though patients return to work after a heart attack, they may still require individual adjustments at their workplaces in order to stay employed,” said study author Dr. Laerke Smedegaard Petersen. She is a graduate student at Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark.

 

An estimated 676,000 people in the United States survive heart attacks each year, according to the American Heart Association. Many survivors are of working age: The average age of heart attack is 65 for men and 72 for women, the association says.

 

The new study examined the medical and work records of over 22,000 patients in Denmark who were employed before suffering heart attacks between 1997 and 2012.

 

Of those, 91 percent returned to work within a year. But within a year of going back to work, 24 percent of the patients had left their jobs. That’s three times the normal rate of leaving a job, the researchers reported. It’s not clear, however, whether the heart attack survivors quit their jobs, or were fired or laid off.

 

Patients aged 30 to 39 and 60 to 65, and those who had heart failure, diabetes or depression, were especially likely to leave their jobs. Workers with higher incomes and more education were more likely to stay on the job, the findings showed.

 

Petersen said the percentage of heart attack patients who return to work and then leave their jobs may be even higher in the United States.

 

“In Denmark, all citizens have equal access to health care and all patients receive treatment free of charge,” she explained.

One U.S. expert said the findings are sobering.

 

“The study is an important reminder that recovery is often measured in months and years, not just weeks,” said Dr. Harlan Krumholz, director of the Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation at Yale-New Haven Hospital in Connecticut.

 

“To understand the impact of a heart attack requires that we fully understand people’s roles and function. We should study how best to help people fully resume their prior activities and have the choice as to whether they want to continue working,” Krumholz explained.

 

Karina Davidson, executive director of Columbia University’s Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health, said fatigue and an inability to perform manual labor are some of the reasons why heart attack survivors leave their jobs.

 

“Patients after a heart attack do indeed have a long road to recovery, and cardiac rehabilitation, strong family support and follow-up with their medical care are important components to ensure the best recovery possible,” she said. “Returning to work full-time will be realistic for some patients, but not for all.”

 

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Toxins and Fibromyalgia

fibromyalgia.jpg

An Over-Toxified Body Could Be Causing Fibromyalgia

 

Are you fatigued or in pain? It may be time to check underlying toxic exposures that create conditions which may be exacerbating how you feel.

We are electrical beings. There are many things in our world today that can deplete electricity.  Causes of depleted electricity can be linked to Fluoride, and medications containing fluoride such as SSRI’s, toxic cosmetics containing aluminum, mercury, and vaccines. Addictions causing a toxic liver can be a cause of depleted oxygen and energy. These include smoking, excessive alcohol, and sugar.  Food choices that can steal our energy and disrupt our hormones are pesticides in processed foods, MSG, Aspartame, HFCS and the SAD diet, all which can lead to increased risk for inflammation and other autoimmunity disorders. According to Science News, chronic fatigue is in our gut and not our head.  A toxic liver and toxic gut will affect all organs without exception. It could deter healing, slow down recovery, cause fatigue, weaken immunity, cause low energy, increase weight gain, depression, and ailments of all sorts including autoimmunity disorders. EMF’s can deplete our energy and disrupt our sleep patterns which continue to stress the mind and body. A high caffeine diet can exhaust adrenal glands.  And finally, deficiencies in Magnesium can steal our energy and oxygen-rich red blood cell count can be low.

There is a blood test called FM/a that identifies possible markers produced by immune system blood cells in people with fibromyalgia. But a diagnosis is really dependent on how you feel. Fibromyalgia includes body pain, fatigue, and insomnia. But Fibromyalgia can also be called a skin condition.  Trigger points are inflamed tissue that’s located just below the skin and is generally especially sensitive to the touch. The pain symptoms of fibromyalgia are believed by many researchers to be related to the fascia of the body. In fibromyalgia, the amount of blood flow to the peripheral tissues (the skin) is substantially reduced.

In layman terms, the immune system within the skin is acting up and this involves the capillaries and small blood vessels. To make matters worst, fibromyalgia is found in our gut. Fibromyalgia pain is found mostly in the back of the head, neck, stomach, hip and knees. Most complaints are chronic headaches and nausea.

 

But, fibromyalgia is no longer considered to be similar to the arthritic condition. (a disease of the joints) If we were to take a step back -we could possibly find the hidden connections.  There is a mental health concern with fibromyalgia that is not with arthritis. 

Today our children from about age 7 to 10 years old are diagnosed with fibromyalgia.  You may find this shocking. But if we check, it’s no surprise to find that these children can also have a toxic internal environment from a poor diet and lack of movement. They are also stressed. Subsidized school lunches can increase the risk for obesity. Increase wi-fi use can increase toxicities. Being overweight can play a causative role in pain, inflammation, and low energy levels. Secondly, children are prescribed more antibiotics, Ritalin, statins and antidepressants in the last decade. Medications can decrease good gut microbiome, decrease the quality of sleep and cause weight issues.

 Dont ever treat fibromyalgia with another toxin or chemical, such as an unnecessary prescription.  

If you think you have fibromyalgia, and you want to know how to cure this, please give us a call and set up a consultation.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

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Dr P Carrothers

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Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Sibling Stress

Sibling-Stress

How to Navigate A Stressful Relationship with a Sibling

 

Parents have a huge effect on the people their children become. But there’s another family dynamic that can influence us just as much, if not more: the one with our siblings. Relationships with brothers and sisters usually continue long after our parents are gone, and they affect us at every stage of life.

 

Never is this more evident than when we struggle with an adult sibling. It is normal for brothers and sisters to compete with each other as kids, and even fight; parents often assume we’ll grow out of it, and many of us do. Yet simmering resentments about family roles or parental favoritism can persist over time and cause real pain and rivalry.

 

We may also find ourselves at odds with a sibling over core values — like political or religious views, or how to best raise our kids — and these differences can intensify routine disagreements.

 

As intractable as sibling conflicts can seem, they don’t need to be permanent, says psychotherapist Jeanne Safer, PhD. Adjusting our perceptions and taking a few simple actions can help build the best possible bonds with our challenging brothers and sisters, even if the relationships might never be perfect.

 

CHALLENGES TO OVERCOME

Idealizing sibling relationships.   “We have this idea that these relationships are, or should be, wholly positive,” says Safer, “and we use them as metaphors for very high ideals: Sisterhood is powerful. All men are brothers. It can be hard to live up to the idealizations.”

Parental favoritism. Safer says parental favoritism plays a prominent role in nearly all sibling conflicts — and it has its roots in a parent’s experience with his or her own siblings. “If a parent is the youngest of three children, and has three children, she is probably going to favor the youngest child, seeing herself there unconsciously,” she explains.

Denial. Believing you’ve outgrown any childhood rivalry with your sibling, or that you should have, makes it hard to address underlying resentments.

Differing destinies. If one sibling has a more successful career, is luckier in love, or has an easier time having or raising children, this can sustain resentments developed in childhood, Safer says. She cites the case of a physician who was a failed musician. The doctor envied her less-affluent sister, who played the piano beautifully.

Opposing values. You may be a lifelong Democrat and your sister a staunch Republican, or you may let your kids roam free while your brother keeps his on a short leash. If these differences create tension, Safer believes it indicates historical factors are at play. “These differences in values can usually be handled if the underlying issues are addressed,” she says.

Divergent memories. We might be angry at siblings who don’t share our views of the family system, but Safer believes that our memories and experiences are inevitably different. “You and your siblings have the same biological parents but live in different ‘psychological families’ because of the different roles you play,” she says.

Parental interference. When conflict erupts between siblings, parents often push for immediate reconciliation, Safer notes. “This very often means that the higher-functioning sibling is supposed to suck it up and tolerate anything that the lower-functioning one does.”

STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESS

Take the initiative. “If you’re waiting for your sibling to address the issues between you, you may have to wait a very long time,” says Safer. “Get the ball rolling by reaching out yourself.”

Remember the good things. If you’re preparing to address a conflict with your sibling, Safer suggests a positive focus. Recall times when he or she was kind to you, stood up for you, helped you with something. “In your conversation, bring it up and thank him or her.”

Ask your sibling about his or her experience. Ask how he or she felt in your family — and be open to the explanation. Don’t expect it to match your own. Safer suggests this type of approach: “I really want to make things better between us, and I think that starts with our childhood. What was your experience of our parents?”

Address difficulties directly. Don’t let a casual “Mom likes you best” or “I always have to take care of everything” pass without a sincere response, Safer says. Ask if the two of you can talk about it. Explain that you want to connect and get beyond your roles.

Listen nondefensively. “You need to do a lot of listening,” says Safer. “And you need to listen particularly carefully to what the sibling has to say about the person you least want to hear about — yourself.”

Offer your services. Your sibling may respond better to what you do than what you say, especially if he or she is less inclined to ask for help, Safer notes. Offer to watch the kids, do some cooking, run errands. This allows you to show your implicit regard for him or her, which can help build trust.

Settle for modest improvements. Sibling struggles are deeply rooted, and they don’t always change for the better immediately — or completely. Your sibling might disagree that your issues stem from early family life, and he or she may not be ready for change. “But trying counts,” says Safer. “If you can go from being so estranged that you can’t stand to be together to being able to be decent to each other, that’s big progress.”

 

Please contact us with any of your concerns.

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived   J Spayde

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Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Top Five Warning Signs That Your Young Adult Might be in Trouble

top-five-warning-signs

Top Five Warning Signs that

Your Child/ Young Adult is in Trouble

 

What causes people to make choices that could destroy their future, and why do they give

in to peer pressure? Could your child be headed down a dangerous path? Heed the

following warning signs:

 #1 warning sign: Isolates from the family.

 

If your once social child/ adult  starts spending an inordinate amount of time away

from home or locked in his or her room, this is a red flag. If your child/young adult  starts withdrawing from you or your spouse, there’s a reason. As a parent, it’s your responsibility to identify what’s behind the change.

 

 

 

 

#2 warning sign: An extreme shift in mood.

 

Is your child/ young adult  garrulous and friendly one moment, then taciturn and angry the

next? Don’t just chalk it up to growing pains.  he or she may be hanging out with the wrong crowd,

or experiencing changes — hormonally, neurologically or socially.

One thing to do is not to let it just go, because they get bigger, they get stronger,

they get more rebellious. It’s never too late.

 

 #3 warning sign: He or she starts abusing drugs or alcohol.

 

Young adults often start experimenting with drugs and/or alcohol unbeknownst to their folks.

If you suspect your child is using drugs, know the signs to look for.

 

 #4 warning sign: Family history of alcoholism and drug abuse.

 

There clearly is a higher incidence with teens if they’ve had this history in their family.

Maybe it’s genetic; maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s just that the modeling is there.

 

 #5 warning sign: Taking risks.

 

Don’t chalk your young adult truancy, vandalism or petty theft up to boys being boys, or kids never grow up. When your family member just seems to throw caution to the wind, not care about consequences — all around bad sign, It indicates a number of things, one of which is that they don’t have the ability to connect their choices with their consequences.

 

Other

warning signs to look out for:

 

Declining grades, using street or drug language, a diminished interest in hobbies and a

lack of appreciation for family values.

 

You can’t be in denial about what’s going on. Don’t kid yourself that these bad

things just happen to other people’s kids. Know what’s going on with your

child. Make sure they understand the consequences of their actions.

Make sure they’re living consistent with the values you hold so important.

 

 

 

Health and Wellness Associates

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Diets and Weight Loss, Foods, Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Making a Commitment to Live Healthier

lliveheealthy

 

Making a commitment to live healthier is an ongoing process. It’s virtually impossible to make all the needed changes in one fell swoop. To assist you with this process, I’ve created a plan you can implement little by little, one step at a time.

 

Perhaps you made a New Year’s resolution to live healthier. The following list consisting of nine general categories will give you an indication of how far you’ve actually come.

 

If you’re still missing a few pieces, make the commitment to address one item at a time going forward. I’ve created a helpful Health Check Tip Sheet you can print out and post in a conspicuous location to keep you motivated.

 

#1 Replace Soda With Water, Tea and Black Organic Coffee

 

Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, liver damage, osteoporosis and acid reflux are just some of the health conditions linked to soda consumption.

 

Making the commitment to swap your soda for healthier beverages like water, sparkling water and the occasional cup of tea and/or organic black coffee can go a long way toward improving your health.

 

Remember, the only beverage your body really needs is clean, pure water. In fact, many common health complaints are simply due to dehydration, including tiredness, headache, irritability, confusion, constipation, dry skin and more.

 

Unfortunately, most water supplies are heavily polluted these days, even in the United States, so a high-quality water filtration system is a wise investment. Most water supplies contain a number of potentially hazardous contaminants, including fluoride, drugs and disinfection byproducts (DBPs), just to name a few.

 

How much water do you need each day for optimal health? While many still recommend drinking eight glasses of water a day, individual water needs vary so widely, your best bet is to:

 

Use your thirst as a guide. Once your body has lost 1 to 2 percent of its water content, you will feel thirsty. This is a sign that you need to replenish the lost liquids

Look at the color of your urine. Drink enough water to turn your urine a light-colored yellow (keep in mind certain vitamin supplements can affect the color of your urine)

Monitor the frequency of urination. If your urine is scant or if you haven’t urinated in several hours, that too is an indication you need to drink more

Besides water, tea and coffee also have their place if you enjoy them. According to the 2015 edition of Dietary Guidelines for Americans, you can safely consume up to five cups of coffee a day without detrimental effects.1 This is not true if you are on some medications that coffee interferes with including all cardiac and blood pressure medications, thyroid and endocrine medications, blood thinning medications, hormone replacements, cataracts and glaucoma, fibromyalgia, just to name a few.

 

All tests done are with people in their thirties, healthy, not on any medication!

 

Recent research even suggests drinking up to six cups of coffee a day may actually be beneficial for your heart and cardiovascular health, and is inversely associated with premature death.2,3,4,5,6

 

Tea and Coffee Caveats

 

Both coffee and tea contain caffeine (provided it’s not decaffeinated), which has been linked to adverse health effects such as elevated blood pressure, gastric upset and anxiety. However, both coffee and tea contain other health-promoting ingredients that appear to outweigh the drawbacks of caffeine.

 

Among them are beneficial antioxidants, and according to researchers, coffee, (because of the volume consumed, not because of its high amount) is the primary source of antioxidants in the American diet.7 As with water, quality and purity is not a given though. You need to use discernment with these beverages.

 

Most coffee is heavily contaminated with pesticides, so when we speak about the benefits of coffee, let it be understood that we’re talking about coffee that is:

 

Organic (ideally fair trade), to avoid pesticides

Freshly ground. Once ground, coffee quickly goes stale and rancid, so for optimal freshness grind your own coffee beans

Dark roast, such as French Roast, espresso or Turkish coffee tends to have the highest amounts of beneficial antioxidants. Dark roast coffee also produces more of a chemical that helps prevent the production of excess stomach acid, so it may be easier on your stomach8

Served black, meaning without milk or sugar. Adding dairy may interfere with your body’s absorption of beneficial chlorogenic acids, while the added sugar will contribute to insulin resistance, which is at the heart of most chronic disease

Brewed with non-bleached filters to avoid chlorine and DBPs such as dioxin

As for tea, both black and green teas tend to be naturally high in fluoride, even if organically grown without pesticides. This is because the plant readily absorbs fluoride thorough its root system, including naturally occurring fluoride in the soil.

 

So, as with coffee, when selecting tea, opt for organic (to avoid pesticides), grown in a pristine environment (to avoid fluoride, heavy metals, and other toxins from contaminated soil and water).

 

#2 Eat 2 Meals a Day Within an 8-Hour Window

 

 

Your body probably only needs two meals a day, and eating this way has a number of health benefits, including weight loss, disease prevention, resolving insulin resistance, optimizing your mitochondrial function and preventing cellular damage from occurring.

 

As long as you restrict your eating to a six- to eight-hour window each day, and avoid eating for at least three hours before bed, you can choose between having breakfast and lunch, or lunch and dinner, but avoid having both breakfast and dinner.

 

Which two meals you prefer are up to you; let your body, and your lifestyle, be your guide. There are also a number of other intermittent fasting plans to choose from, should this daily eating schedule not appeal to you.

 

EFT Can Increase Your Intermittent Fasting Success

 

 

Compliance is a critical factor for any intermittent fasting plan, and stress about fasting can sabotage your success. The Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) can be a helpful ally here, allowing you to tap away your anxiety about fasting. It’s one of the most powerful tools for reducing stress and anxiety I know of.

 

In 2012, a triple blind study9 found that EFT reduced cortisol levels and symptoms of psychological distress by 24 percent — more than any other intervention tested. Do you worry you’ll be hungry all the time? Are you afraid you’ll feel deprived or suffer unbearable cravings? Are you worried it won’t work for you?

 

The first few weeks of fasting are typically the most challenging, while your body is making the necessary biochemical adjustments to its metabolic engine. Tapping can be extraordinarily beneficial for eliminating anxiety and cravings during this time. EFT is easy to learn and once you do, it’s always at your fingertips — whenever and wherever you need it.

 

#3 Clean Up Your Diet

 

As for what to eat when you do eat, the most basic of recommendations is to simply eat REAL FOOD. With that foundation in mind, I also recommend you:

 

Replace net carbs with healthy fats

 

Replace net carbs (total carbohydrates minus fiber; think sugars and grains) with high-quality healthy fats. Fats are a “cleaner” type of fuel for your body compared to carbs, and most would benefit getting anywhere from 50 to 85 percent of daily calories from healthy fats, such as that from avocados, butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk, raw dairy, organic pastured eggs, coconuts, coconut oil, organic nut oils, raw nuts (especially macadamias and pecans), seeds, and grass-fed meats.

 

Dietary fats can be generally classified as saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated (PUFA). A “saturated” fat means that all carbon atoms have their bonds filled with hydrogen atoms and as a result they are far less likely to oxidize and go rancid. Fats in foods contain a mixture of fats, but in foods of animal origin a large proportion are saturated.

 

Research shows avoiding saturated fat does NOT help prevent heart disease or improve longevity. In fact, saturated fats have protective effects. The benefits of saturated fat are many, and some appear to be uniquely traceable to saturated fat. For example, you need saturated fats for brain and immune system health.

 

Another argument is that animal foods in general, including meat cheese, butter, dairy, and eggs, contain high amounts of vitamins. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat soluble, and you have to have the fat that comes naturally in animal foods along with the vitamins in order to absorb those vitamins.

 

The fats you need to avoid to protect your heart health are trans fats and processed vegetables oils, which are high in damaged omega-6 fats and PUFAs.

Eat more fiber

 

You can have virtually unlimited amounts of high-fiber vegetables, which are low in net carbs, Several studies have shown a 10 percent drop in risk for any cause of death with each 10-gram-per-day increase in fiber intake.

 

Soluble fiber helps nourish beneficial bacteria that assist with digestion and absorption of your food, and play a significant role in your immune function. Studies have also linked a high-fiber diet to beneficial reductions in cholesterol and blood pressure, improved insulin sensitivity, and reduced inflammation — all of which can influence your mortality risk.

Vegetable juicing

 

Vegetable juicing is an easy way to boost your vegetable intake, providing your body with important nutrients in an easily digestible form. The bulk of your juice should come from organic, green veggies – spinach, celery, kale, Swiss chard, etc. — not fruits, which are too high in fructose.

 

 

Grow (and eat) sprouts

 

Sprouts allow you to get the most benefit out of a plant in its most biologically concentrated form. When you sprout foods, you increase proteolytic enzymes that make both carbohydrates and proteins digestible. Sprouts are not only an excellent source of fiber, they also offer some of the highest levels of nutrition available, including vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that help protect against free radical damage, plus various plant chemicals unique to any given sprout.

 

Sunflower seed and pea shoots are both typically about 30 times more nutritious than organic vegetables, and are among the highest in protein. Sprouts are one of the easiest foods to grow at home, even in small spaces, allowing you to improve your diet at a low cost. You can find sprout starter kits and different kinds of sprouting seeds in my online shop.

 

 

Optimize your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio

 

It’s important to understand the difference between plant- and animal-based omega-3 fats. Many believe plant-based omega-3 is preferable to animal-based omega-3, but they’re not really interchangeable. Ideally, you want both, but animal-based omega-3 is particularly important for optimal health and many are deficient in it.

 

Part of the problem is not eating enough omega-3 rich foods, like wild-caught Alaskan salmon and small fatty fish like sardines. The other side of the equation is eating far too many processed vegetable oils like corn, soy, and canola, which are high in damaged omega-6 oils. Ideally, you want an omega-3 to omega-6 ratio of about 1:1. To achieve that, you likely need to increase your animal-based omega-3 and decrease your omega-6.

 

Barring high consumption of fatty fish, your next best option is to take a high-quality omega-3 supplement. I prefer krill oil, as it’s both superior in its activity to fish oil, and more environmentally sustainable.

 

 

Moderate your protein consumption and choose quality over quantity

 

Eating too much protein may be more hazardous to your health, than eating too much sugar. I recommend eating a moderate amount of high-quality protein (think grass-fed meats and eggs, for example), based on a formula of one-half gram of protein per pound of lean body mass (or 1 gram per kilo of lean body mass).

Eat fermented vegetables

 

In the U.S., the preparation of fermented foods is a largely lost art. I’m trying to change that, as fermented vegetables are such an inexpensive and effective way to optimize your gut microbiome and improve both your physical and mental health. When your GI tract is not properly balanced, a wide range of health problems can appear, including allergies and autoimmune diseases.

 

In fact, over the past several years, research has revealed that microbes of all kinds — bacteria, fungi, and even viruses — play instrumental roles in the functioning of your body, influencing everything from vitamin production and detoxification, to your affecting your weight and mood.

 

Fermented foods are packed with beneficial microorganisms that most people do not get elsewhere. Just one-quarter to one-half cup of fermented vegetables, eaten with one to three meals per day, can have a dramatically beneficial impact on your health.

 

To learn how to make your own, please review the video below and read through my previous article, “Tips for Fermenting at Home.” Aside from your choice of vegetables, all you need are some wide-mouth glass jars with lids. There are other accessories that can be helpful, such as pounders, weights and carbon filter jar lids that help reduce odors, but they’re not essential.

 

One addition you may want to consider though is a starter culture. Besides speeding up the fermentation process, some can provide additional benefits. I like using a starter culture specifically designed to optimize vitamin K2. My research team found we could get 400 to 500 micrograms of vitamin K2 in a 2-ounce serving of fermented vegetables using such a starter culture, which is a clinically therapeutic dose for K2.

As always K2 can not be taken alone.

 

 

Clean up your condiments

 

Commercially prepared condiments are typically a mixture of low-quality, genetically engineered ingredients, chemical preservatives, fillers and taste and texture enhancers that have potential health risks. Fortunately, making your own isn’t as difficult as you might imagine. Recipes for homemade mayonnaise, sour cream, salad dressing, ketchup and barbeque sauce can be found in my article, “What’s in Your Condiments?”

#4 Get 8 Hours of Restful Sleep Each Night

 

Research shows most adults really need about eight hours of sleep every night for optimal health. What makes sleep deprivation so detrimental is that it doesn’t just impact one aspect of your health; it impacts many. It has the same effect on your immune system as physical stress or illness, which may help explain why lack of sleep is tied to an increased risk of numerous chronic diseases.

 

For example, sleeping less than six hours per night more than triples your risk of high blood pressure, and women who get less than four hours of shut-eye per night double their chances of dying from heart disease.10 Sleep is also intricately tied to important hormone levels, including melatonin, production of which is disturbed by lack of sleep. This is extremely problematic, as melatonin inhibits the proliferation of a wide range of cancer cell types, as well as triggers cancer cell apoptosis (self-destruction).

 

Lack of sleep also decreases levels of your fat-regulating hormone leptin, while increasing the hunger hormone ghrelin. The resulting increase in appetite can easily lead to overeating and weight gain. Poor or insufficient sleep is also the strongest predictor for pain in adults over 50.11

 

Small adjustments to your daily routine and sleeping area can go a long way to ensure uninterrupted, restful sleep. If you’re not sure how much sleep you’re getting, a fitness tracker can be beneficial for helping you keep track of the actual time you’re asleep (as opposed to the time spent in bed). If you need more sleep, I suggest you read through my full set of 33 healthy sleep guidelines for details on proper sleep hygiene. You can also find useful tips in my “Top 5 Natural Sleep Aids” article.

 

Key recommendations for improving the amount and quality of your sleep include getting plenty of natural sunlight exposure in the early morning and mid-day, and avoiding blue light exposure in the evening. This includes avoiding electronic screens, which emit blue light unless you’ve installed light-altering software like f.lux. Another alternative is to use amber-colored glasses that block blue light, which can be purchased for about $10 on Amazon.

 

This is an ideal solution if you don’t want to change out your light bulbs and skip watching television before going to bed. Also make sure your sleeping quarter is dark to prevent melatonin suppression, which will make it difficult to fall asleep. I recommend installing thick drapes for this reason, but a far cheaper alternative is to use a sleep mask. An eye mask filled with lavender can be particularly soothing.

 

 

#5 Mind Your Oral Health

 

 

Poor oral health can contribute to systemic inflammation, raising your risk for bad breath, dementia, pneumonia, erectile dysfunction, kidney disease and head and neck cancers. So make it a habit to brush twice a day and floss daily. Oil pulling with coconut oil is another strategy that can help improve both your oral and general health by deep-cleaning your mouth and drawing out toxins. It also helps promote microbiome homeostasis, which is important for oral health.

 

Personally, this technique has significantly reduced my plaque buildup, allowing me to go longer between visits to the dental hygienist. How is it done? Simply rinse your mouth with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, much like you would using a mouthwash. Work the oil around your mouth by pushing, pulling, and drawing it through your teeth for about 15 minutes.

 

When done, spit out the oil (do NOT swallow it) and rinse your mouth with water. I typically spit mine out on the soil outside of my house, being careful to avoid any plants, to avoid clogging up my sink. If you want, you could dissolve a pinch of Himalayan salt in the water and rinse with that. Himalayan salt contains more than 85 different minerals that can also help promote strong, healthy teeth and gums.

 

#6 Sit Less, Walk More and Work on Your Flexibility

 

 

The average American adult spends nine to 10 hours each day sitting, which is so much inactivity that even a 30- or 60-minute workout cannot counteract its adverse effects on your health. While it might seem natural to sit this long since you’ve probably grown used to it (physically and mentally), it’s actually quite contrary to nature.

 

Studies looking at life in agriculture environments show that people in agrarian villages sit for about three hours a day. Your body is designed to move around and be active the majority of the day, and significant negative changes occur when you spend the majority of the day sedentary instead. To get more movement into your daily life, consider implementing the following:

 

  • Set a goal to walk about 7,000 to 10,000 steps a day (which is just over three to five U.S. miles, or six to nine kilometers). This should be over and above any exercise regimen you may have. Daily walking has been shown to provide anti-aging benefits that could add an additional three to seven years to your life.

 

  • Walk barefoot more often. Your body is finely tuned to “work” with the Earth in the sense that there’s a constant flow of energy between your body and the Earth. When you put your feet on the ground, you absorb large amounts of negative electrons through the soles of your feet.

 

The effect is sufficient to maintain your body at the same negatively charged electrical potential as the Earth. This simple process of grounding is one of the most potent antioxidants we know of. Grounding has been shown to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, improve sleep, enhance well being and much more

 

  • Stand up at work if you can, rather than sitting at your desk. A stand-up desk is certainly a worthwhile investment if you have an office job.

 

  • Work on your flexibility. Also make it a point to gain flexibility, which will help keep you functional well into old age. Pilates, yoga, and whole body vibration training are just some of your options.

 

#7 Get Your Vitamin D Level Tested

 

I recommend testing your vitamin D twice a year: around January, when your level will be at its lowest, and June or July, when it’ll be at its peak. This will help guide you as to how much vitamin D you may need to take in order to maintain a clinically relevant level of 40 to 60 nanograms per milliliter year-round. Testing your vitamin D is easy. You don’t even need a doctor’s prescription.

 

Vitamin D cannot be taken alone.  You can set up an appointment with us to determine the correct amount for you, and what you need to take with it.

 

#8 Make Stress Reduction a Daily Priority

 

Stress-related problems, including back pain, insomnia, acid reflux and exacerbations to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may account for up to 70 percent of the average American physician’s caseload.12 Such health-care expenditures are the third highest in the U.S. after heart disease and cancer. Research suggests these costs could be drastically cut simply by learning how to relax.13

 

There are many options here, so try a few to determine which works best. Here are just a few suggestions. For more tips and tricks, check out my “23 (Scientific) Happiness Hacks” article:

 

  • Daily meditation or mindfulness training: both are excellent for stress relief and relaxation. One simple way to incorporate these techniques into your life is to meditate for five or 10 minutes first thing in the morning, even before you get out of bed, to take advantage of your mind being in a quiet zone.

 

  • Yoga: regular yoga practice has been shown to have a positive effect on both sleep and stress. It’s also been shown to alleviate mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and attention-deficit, hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

 

  • Keep a gratitude journal: people who are thankful for what they have are better able to cope with stress, are happier, and better able to reach their goals, and studies show that those who keep a gratitude journal typically end up exercising more and have fewer health complaints. Studies have also linked gratitude to improved sleep, reduced stress, enhanced well-being, improved heart health.

 

  • Learn EFT: one of the most effective tools against anxiety is EFT, which helps correct the biochemical short-circuiting that occurs with chronic anxiety. You can think of EFT as a tool for “reprogramming” your circuitry, and it works on both real and imagined stressors.

 

  • Start a garden: gardening is an excellent “blues buster,” helping relieve acute stress and attention fatigue associated with a fast-paced life. Many gardeners start out gardening because they want to sample some homegrown food but end up sticking with gardening because of how it feeds their mind and soul.

 

That said, anyone who’s really serious about improving their health will eventually conclude that growing your own food is an important part of the answer. For helpful tips on making your garden a success, please review my previous articles on using wood chips and biochar to optimize your soil quality.

 

#9 Help Others and Be Active in Your Community

 

Volunteering is a simple way to help others, but it’s also a powerful way to help yourself. Beyond the good feelings you’ll get from donating your time, and the potential to develop new, meaningful relationships with people in your community, volunteering has a significant impact on your physical health, including a boost to your heart health.

 

In one study, people who volunteered for at least 200 hours a year were 40 percent less likely to develop high blood pressure than those who didn’t.14 People who volunteer for altruistic reasons, i.e. to help others rather than themselves, may even live longer than those who volunteer for more self-centered reasons.15

 

The benefits of being active in your community are particularly pronounced among older adults, a population that tends to slow down once retirement hits. There’s a definite social aspect, as if you’re socially isolated you may experience poorer health and a shorter lifespan.

 

Volunteering also gives you a sense of purpose and can even lead to a so-called “helper’s high,” which may occur because doing good releases feel-good hormones like oxytocin in your body while lowering levels of stress hormones like cortisol. Giving back is about so much more than even that, though, as it will help you to connect with your community and contribute your time and/or talents to promoting the greater good.

 

Please share with family and friends, and call to set up an appointment to get your personalize healthcare plan.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived   JM

312-972-WELL

Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Positive Effects of Meditation and Yoga in the Healthcare System

 

Positive effects of meditation and yoga shown throughout healthcare system

 

While the Western world took a considerable amount of time to discover yoga and meditation compared to the ancient Eastern world, its positive effects are beginning to show throughout the modern day healthcare system. In a recent study carried out by Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)’s Institute for Technology Assessment and the Benson-Henry Institute (BHI),meditation it was found that meditation and yoga has helped to reduce healthcare costs by as much as 43%. In the study, patients participated in a relaxation training program which significantly lowered stress-levels and anxiety while lowering blood pressure, heart rate and decreasing muscle tension. The patients were found to use much fewer health care services in the year following their participation in the relaxation program. Utilising both the data from the Harvard Relaxation Program and also data obtained from the Research Patient Data Registry (RPDR) of Partners HealthCare from between 2006 and 2014 shows a reduction in the need for additional healthcare services.

 

Considering anxiety and depression rate as the third biggest expenditure in American healthcare services, adopting almost cost-free services such as yoga and meditation could see huge pressure lifted off the health care system. This could include greater availability of services and more prompt delivery of those services and also see more funding available for research on other non stress-related diseases that require more attention. Prescribing medication such as anti-depressants only fixes the problem short term. Focusing on more long-term alternatives such as regular yoga or meditation should be the key to effectively helping a patient reach optimal vitality and assist in the recovery and treatment of disease. Unfortunately modern Western medicine is not yet focused on this and still relies almost solely on medication.

 

The link between body and mind

 

Going back to the Eastern World, many practitioners believe there is a very strong link between body and mind and the prevalence of many diseases. This belief has only in recent times spread into the Western World where before they have long believed that the mind is not interconnected to the body. In our modern day, fast paced lifestyles it becomes quite easy to forget about the importance of slowing down and taking time out for ourselves. Every day we find so many places we need to be, people we need to see, jobs we need to do and children we need to take care of. Couple this with emotional, financial and physical stress, it’s no wonder we have a hard time actually paying attention to what ourfresh air body is trying to tell us. It goes even deeper, in that we are also seeing a link between the mind and the immune system and our emotions and their effect on our body. These incredible findings have been made much more easier to prove thanks to development in technology, in particular in neuroimaging which measures specific brain function and molecular biology which reads various biological interactions between cells.

 

When you are stressed your body releases hormones that have a big impact on how your nervous system and internal organs function. Cortisol is the main hormone that affects your body’s function when placed under stress. It has been found to impair memory and function, increase weight and bring about multiple cardiovascular diseases. Your digestive system can also be directly affected by stress and it has been shown that nutrients are not as effectively absorbed when stressed. Irritable bowel syndrome and food allergies are also closely linked to stress. The brain communicates to your stomach via the vagus nerve.

 

When placed under continual stress your immune system begins to suffer which leaves you wide open to many illnesses. The body is unable to fight effectively against harmful bacteria and infections, resulting in inflammation which can occur at many levels. For this reason it is believed that many autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and osteoarthritis form in the body as a result of stress.

 

Adapting yoga and meditation into your schedule

 

Attending a yoga or meditation class even once a week can have a big impact on your overall health and wellness. A guided class will allow you to dedicate at least an hour to your practice without distraction. If you are unable to find the time to attend a class, there are many guided meditation and yoga sequences available on the internet. Finding a quiet place in the house and spending ten minutes a day at a scheduled time will help you develop the important habit of taking time out for yourself. You can then extend your practice to a longer period of time as the weeks go on.

 

The simple act of focusing on your breath will do wonders at reducing your stress levels and calming your mind. When you have a relaxed stress response system you will notice deeper breathing, a lowered heart rate and a positive change in your overall mood.

 

Hopefully in the future we will see the prevalence of many more yoga and meditation programs offered in place of prescription medication to treat a variety of mental illness and mind-body related disease.

 

Please share with family and loved ones.  Call us with your questions, healthcare concerns, and let us develop a personalized healthcare plan for you.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

312-972-WELL