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Category: Blog

What Is Inflammation?

What Is Inflammation?

Inflammation refers to your body’s process of fighting against things that harm it – such as infections, injuries and toxins –  in an attempt to heal itself. When something damages your cells, the body releases chemicals that trigger a response from the immune system. But sometimes, our body’s defense system triggers an immune response against healthy cells, causing unnecessary inflammation.  This is the case with certain types of arthritis and other auto-immune diseases.

Symptoms of inflammation may include:

  • Heat
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Loss of Function

However, other types of inflammation that occur deeper within the body may not produce those types of symptoms. For instance, some internal organs (such as the lungs) do not have sensory nerve endings, so there will not be pain.

Managing inflammation is important. Chronic inflammation can damage joints, arteries and organs. Here are some tips to reduce inflammation in your body:

Add Anti-Inflammatory Foods to Your Diet. Studies have shown that consuming omega-3 fatty acids can reduce inflammation; some of the best sources are salmon, tuna, tofu, walnuts and flax seeds. Other anti-inflammatory foods include grapes, blueberries, avocados, garlic and olive oil.

Cut Back on Inflammatory Foods.  Try to avoid sugar, trans fat, red meat and processed foods as much as possible.

Exercise.  Consistent exercise is a great means to prevent inflammation. Physical activity reduces levels of a protein called TNF that is an inflammation trigger. At the same time, exercise causes your muscle cells to release another protein called Interleukin 6 which helps fight inflammation.

Manage Your Stress.  Chronic stress is a huge contributor to inflammation. When stressed, our body goes into ‘fight-or-flight’ mode and produces a hormone called cortisol. Prolonged stress alters the ability of cortisol to regulate the inflammatory response and can wreak havoc on our immune system. Try meditation, yoga, journaling or some other method to keep stress levels down.

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Simple Tips to Improve Your Concentration

Simple Tips to Improve Your Concentration

Do you often forget a person’s name minutes after meeting them? Are you easily distracted?

In the digital age we now live in, it can be difficult to stay focused. According to a Microsoft study, people now have a shorter attention span than a goldfish! Whereas a goldfish can maintain its focus for nine seconds, humans begin to lose concentration after eight seconds.  Besides all the digital distractions, there may be other factors contributing to our lack of concentration. Poor nutrition, inadequate sleep and dehydration may be just some of the reasons why your mental focus is less sharp. To improve your mental clarity, begin by making positive improvements in your diet, be sure that you are getting enough sleep and drink more water.

Beyond those obvious basic recommendations, here are some more tips to help you regain your focus:

Minimize Distractions.  When you really need to concentrate, create a calm, quiet environment.  Turn off the TV, mute cell phone notifications and ask that those around you do not disturb you. If necessary, go somewhere you know you will not be disturbed in a quiet space.

Stop Multitasking.  Although it may seem like multitasking is an awesome way to get a lot done, it often turns out that all those tasks are not being done well.  Try honing on a single task at a time; the spotlight that you shine on each individual task can help you achieve better results.

Live in the Present.  It can be difficult to concentrate if you are re-living the past or worrying about the future. “Being present” is key to keeping your attention sharp.

Exercise.  Engaging in at least 30 minutes of physical activity has been shown to improve concentration and improve mental health. Whether it’s a workout at the gym or a jog around the block, any exercise can help your focus.

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Optimize Your Immunity

Optimize Your Immunity

Your body’s nervous system controls and optimizes your immunity. Your nervous system is like an air traffic controller that directs the army of the immune system in detecting and eliminating invaders. The more powerful your immune system, the less likely you are to succumb to a virus or cold.

As you probably have guessed, when your immune system is not working the way it should, it’s really no different than having a 100 watt bulb operating at 50% – as if it were stuck halfway on the dimmer switch.

We are not suggesting that you will have magic immunity from disease yet it is reasonable to suggest that a perfectly tuned nervous system can increase your immunity and provide some shielding against invaders.

You’ve heard it a thousand times, yet providing your body with what it needs functionally and nutritionally will boost your protection level. Get enough sleep, eat quality food, drink a lot of water, etc. Adding supplements that will help to supercharge your immune cells should be considered. For starters, Vitamin D intake. The good news is that the sun is available for us to get some every day. Next, Vitamin C is great to ward off the ‘nasties’ and there are many options to get enough of this.

Lastly and best of all, don’t worry about it. F.E.A.R. stands for False Evidence Appearing Real.
People with strong immune systems will come away from bouts with health challenges stronger because like any intelligent system, the immune system learns.

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Getting Enough Vitamin B?

Getting Enough Vitamin B?

Are you feeling more tired than usual? Do you have bouts of lightheadedness? Are you suffering from tingling or numbness in your hands and feet? You may not be getting enough Vitamin B.

B vitamins affect our energy levels, brain function and cell metabolism.  They help our body make red blood cells and nerve cells. B vitamins help the body make and repair DNA.  They also help prevent infections and aid nervous system function.

There are eight different types of B vitamins. They are thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin (B7), folate (B9), and cobalamin (B12).  Each one plays an essential role in maintaining good health.

B vitamins are water soluble; that means that the body cannot easily store them for long periods of time.  This is why it is so important to regularly consume foods that are rich in B vitamins. Because the main foods that provide B vitamins are derived from animals, vegans and vegetarians should be exceptionally vigilant about their intake.

Here are some foods that are a good source of B vitamins:

  • Red Meat
  • Fish and Shellfish
  • Poultry
  • Leafy Greens
  • Whole Grains
  • Eggs, Milk and Cheese
  • Legumes
  • Seeds and Nuts

It is always best to get vitamins from food sources, yet if you feel that you may not be getting enough, a B Complex supplement may be in order.  Getting adequate amounts of B vitamins will put you on the road to better health.

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Curb Your Appetite

Curb Your Appetite

It is astonishing how easy it can be for the extra pounds to creep up on us, especially as we age. Putting on a few extra pounds here and there may not seem significant but over the course of a few years, it can ultimately result in a considerable weight gain. To stop the insidious attack of the creeping pounds, start by following these tips to control your appetite.

Drink More Water.  Consuming a large glass of water about 20 minutes before eating can take the edge off your appetite and make you less likely to overeat.  When the stomach senses that it is full, it sends messages to the brain to stop eating. That water takes up space in the stomach, so those signals are sent sooner. And interestingly, mild dehydration can cause a sensation that is easily mistaken for hunger. You may think you are hungry, but you’re actually thirsty.

Avoid the “See Food” Diet.  You see it, you eat it. Don’t leave unhealthy snack options where they are easily accessible. Put them out of sight in cupboards that are inconvenient to reach. Better yet, don’t even buy unhealthy snacks! Conversely, leave healthy food options visible to encourage good snacking. Try leaving a bowl of fruit on the kitchen counter.

Eat More Slowly.  It takes time for our stomachs to send the signal to our brain that we are full. Because of this delay, we often eat more than we need. Slow down by chewing each bite thoroughly and allow your mind to catch up with your stomach. Additional benefits from eating more slowly include improved digestion and better nutrient absorption.

Make Eating a Singular Activity.  Don’t multi-task. Keep meals free of distraction. Be fully engaged in the experience of eating so that you can be aware of your food and how much you have eaten. By paying attention to your food, you can avoid mindless overeating.

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The Importance of Sunscreen

The Importance of Sunscreen

Did you know that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States? One in five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer. The deadliest form of skin cancer, melanoma, is responsible for most of the deaths from skin cancer. The number of people diagnosed with skin cancer is expected to increase as the ozone layer, which acts as a sunshield, continues to deplete. Too much sun can also result in premature aging of the skin. Consider using sunscreen year-round as a preventative health measure.

The most obvious way to reduce your risk of skin cancer is to limit your exposure to the sun, especially when the sun’s rays are strongest. But staying out of the sun is not really an option for many of us. The answer is to always wear sunscreen – even on cloudy days! Sunscreen will protect your skin from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. These rays come in two forms: UVA and UVB. The UVA rays are associated with the signs of aging skin: fine lines, wrinkles and age spots. UVA rays can pass through glass, meaning you are exposed to them while in a car or sitting in front of windows. The UVB rays are most commonly associated with sunburns. Both types of ultraviolet rays can cause skin cancer.

When choosing a sunscreen, opt for one that has a high SPF. Most dermatologists recommend using an SPF of at least 30, even on overcast days. A sunscreen that is sweat and water-resistant is helpful if you are exercising outdoors. Whatever type of sunscreen you choose, be sure to apply liberally and re-apply every few hours if you are outdoors.

As the first line of defense against skin cancer and premature aging, make the use of sunscreen a daily habit.

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All About Metabolism

All About Metabolism

We all have a friend who can eat or drink whatever they want and never gain an ounce. Some, on the other hand, can’t even look at a piece of cake without gaining five pounds. No fair! What gives? It’s the differences in metabolism.  How fast your metabolism functions is determined mostly by your genes. However, age can also affect metabolism, often slowing as we get older.

What exactly is metabolism? It is the range of chemical processes in the body that convert what we eat and drink into the energy we need to survive. We need that energy to function:  to breathe, to circulate blood, to grow and repair cells, among other things.

So, what can we do to raise our metabolism if it has become sluggish? Try these suggestions to rev up your engine.

Eat More Protein.  Protein is made up mostly of amino acids which are harder for our bodies to break down, thus requiring more energy to process (the high “thermic effect”).  This can raise your metabolic rate by 15-25% compared to your body’s reaction when processing other types of food.

Pump More Iron.  Weight training is a great way to boost metabolism. Muscles burn more calories than fat, even at rest. So, grab those dumbbells and start building more lean muscle tissue.

Try High Intensity Workouts. When you work out at a very high intensity, you create a huge metabolic disturbance.  Studies have shown that this type of training uses fat rather than carbs for energy and can keep your metabolism raised for hours after your workout is finished.

Stay Hydrated.  Chronic dehydration is associated with a suppressed metabolism. Water is key to ensuring that your body functions properly. Over 70% of your muscle consists of water, so if you are not sufficiently hydrated, your muscle ability to generate energy is greatly limited.

Following these tips and generally trying to stay as active as possible can boost your metabolism. That boost can make you feel more energized, as well as help maintain a healthy weight.

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Healthy Living Habits

Healthy Living Habits

The start of a new season brings awareness of the things that you may like to do in the coming months. Along with the goals you set and plans you make this fall, take time for yourself and make HEALTH part of your every day for the upcoming months. We are faced with so many demands of our time and attention that it becomes vital to pause. Consider incorporating lifestyle habits that will allow you to reap rewards in the long term. Try adding these few tips into your days and your health will thank you!

Start With Breakfast
Breakfast is an easy meal to skip, however, doing so can be the biggest mistake of the day! Your energy level will suffer and you’ll eat more during the day to compensate for your hunger. The National Weight Control Registry reports that 4000 participants who maintained at least a 30 pound weight loss for about 5 1/2 years, almost ALL said that they ate breakfast daily. The “breakfast of champions” has complex carbs, lean proteins & healthy fats.  A terrific option for a healthy breakfast on the go is a shake or smoothie with yogurt, leafy greens, fruits, and hemp seeds.

Do Something About The Aches 
It is found that four in five people suffer from back pain. It may actually begin to seem “normal” to deal with chronic pain on a daily basis. Back pain, headaches, carpal tunnel, knee pain, any chronic pain can affect EVERYTHING in our lives. See your chiropractor for natural treatments to help your body heal and all aspects of your life will improve.

Say No
It is key to understand that in reality, you can’t have it all. Something has to give. There is just too much to do to have it all. Stop saying “yes” to everything.  Admit that every “yes” means a “no” to something else. Saying “yes” to too many things will destroy your health and lead to failure. Someone or something will pay the price later, always. Sometimes less is more!

Make Health a Priority
You’ve probably heard the adage, “If you have your health, then you have it all.” Our bodies should be routinely “maintained and tuned up” just as we maintain our vehicles to keep things running properly and getting the best performance. Fuel and maintain your body with more sanctity. Make smart food choices and make time for exercise and quality sleep.

Try a simple technique to release stress and anxiety. When feeling uneasy about a tricky situation or after a tough day, a simple technique is to BREATHE DEEP. Push out your belly and breathe through your nose until your lungs are filled. This super stress buster can be done anytime and anywhere and evokes your body’s natural relaxation response and changes your physical and mental state. Your heart beats slower, muscles relax, blood pressure decreases, and levels of nitric oxide increase. Your brain is clearer and this simple trick takes almost no time to work. Share this health tip with family and friends of all ages for the next time they feel stressed. The mantra is BREATHE!

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