Archive for the ‘wellness’ Category

If you live in a place where sunshine tends to be scarce (such as a location where winter seems to last much longer than summer!), than you may be missing out on a vitamin that can help to slow down the aging process. Vitamin D3 is the vitamin in question. This vitamin is made by the human body when sunlight is absorbed into the skin.

Let the Sun Shine!

Too much sun is bad for your skin, but so is not enough. The former problem we hear about quite a bit, the latter is discussed less often. During the summer and fall months, getting enough sun is easy enough, but after daylight savings time, a vitamin D deficiency could definitely arise.  Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin after all, and you need it to be healthy! But it is also known as an anti-aging vitamin as well.

Lack of Sun = Aging Vulnerability:

Without enough vitamin D3, your vulnerability with regards to aging goes up. That is because the sunshine vitamin protects you against cancer, keeps your bones strong and keeps your cardiovascular system young and well-functioning.

But there is more. Vitamin D3 turns up the heat on your immune system and supports it in its daily work. This vitamin supports the development of the brain; increases muscle strength and is beneficial for blood pressure and insulin secretion. There are 36 organ tissues in the human body that contain cells that respond in a favorable manner to this very important vitamin.

Vitamin D3 is an anti-aging device that can help your health in so many essential ways. Its heart-boosting benefits are well-documented, as are the ways in which it can keep your blood vessels strong and resilient to damage.

What Will Not Work:

If you are out in the sun as often as you can be, you may still not be getting enough D3. For instance, it is possible that you could spend all day out on the ski slopes on a sunny day and still be lacking in this vitamin. In wintertime in many areas of the United States, the sun does not have the energy required to transform this inactive vitamin in your body into the active form you need for it to do you some good.

Even if you are a healthy eater, you cannot eat your way to enough D3. You can get some of this vitamin from eating salmon and tuna, not to mention, D-fortified foods, such as orange juice, but not nearly enough. Consider this- you would have to consume large amounts of D-fortified foods to get the amount you require. That would be like 10 glasses of orange juice a day! Drinking that much OJ daily would lead to other problems, such as issues with your blood sugar.

What Will Work:

If you take a multivitamin, you will probably get a little of vitamin D3 in it but not a sufficient quantity. Take a look at the product label and see what it shows. Most do not have enough to be of real use.

You can however, take a supplement of the sunshine vitamin that will help you out considerably. Find out what you are getting in your multivitamin and then add a supplement that contains a total of 1,000 international units (IU). Take this on a daily basis. If you are aged 60 or old, aim for 1,200 IU.

It is best to take it with a little monounsaturated fat (the healthy kind of fat). Vitamin D3 is best absorbed in this manner.



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Does your lower back ache more often than not? Have you taken a close look at the positions you get your body into when you sleep at night? That may have something to do with the pain emitting from the lower portion of your spine.

You know what sleeping position you start in when you first go to bed and what position you wake up in. Of course, you don’t really know what position(s) you get yourself into while you sleep, but you can still improve the potential for lower back discomfort by starting out in the right position.

Seeking: Pain Free Sleeping Position:

What you want to find is the sleeping position that will cause you the least amount of discomfort, or preferably the most pain free position possible. If your lower back does not always cooperate with you, every position for sleeping is not ideal for your level of comfort.

Here is something you can try for a lower back that will not behave – try sleeping on your side. According to health experts, sleeping in this position puts less strain on the spine than sleeping on your back or sleeping on your stomach.

The reason that sleeping on your side is beneficial is because it causes fewer curves in the spine than other positions do. To further support your lower back, having a firm mattress to spend your nights on is very helpful. Another way to make your spine feel even more comfortable is to place a pillow between your knees and tuck your legs up a little bit. A small pillow would work best.

Other Suggestions for Back Issues:

To keep your back as strong and resilient as possible, keep it limber with exercise. Regular physical activity increases blood circulation to the spine and helps to prevent injuries from occurring. Remember that your spine is the support and structure for your whole body. Anything that you can do to keep it strong and flexible will benefit every part of you. Back-saving exercises are a must.

To have a strong and healthy spine, you need to feed it good food. Grapes are particularly good for the spine because the chemical compounds found in them are believed to be protective of the cartilage in your back.

Researchers theorize that it is the resveratrol in grapes that makes them a helpful ally for your back. Resveratrol is an anti-inflammatory compound that protects cartilage and has also been shown to yield heart-healthy benefits.

Resveratrol has the ability to hinder the degeneration of intervertebral disks. These disks are a part of the spine that is often connected with pain in the lower back. While studies are ongoing, it is believed that this compound, known as proteglycan, helps with the production and the build-up, of connective tissue in the disks.

Eating a handful of grapes every day, whether you prefer green, red or purple, can do your back cartilage a world of good! The protection it offers could be truly amazing!


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It is the start of a new year and this year you have promised yourself that you are going to make your health a top priority.

While you may not be guilty of any serious health infractions (such as smoking or drinking), you know that there is still room for improvement. You can tweak this and tweak this until you know that you have your health on the right track. But wouldn’t it be amazing, and so much simpler, if our bodies came with a manual, in much the same way as our cars and our new appliances do?

The human body is amazing in its ability to heal and to deal with the daily abuses that it encounters.  There is so much for it to contend with – chemicals, pollutants, preservatives, and the list go on and on.

When you really think about what you are eating and drinking, breathing in and putting on your skin, it is surprising that the life expectancy of human beings is as long as it is!

Taking Care of Details:

Every day of our lives our body takes care of thousands (no, millions) of big, medium and small details without us giving it any thought at all. The body just does what it was designed to do without our input.  Think about how the cardiovascular system works, the digestive system, the nervous system, and the endocrine system, just to name a few. Our bodies are on autopilot in effect. This is a feature that keeps every part of the body doing the job that it was given to do.

The down side to this autopilot feature, is that sometimes we can get lazy and do not do the things we need to do to stay healthy (you know, the OTHER things that our autopilot does not do for us). After all, our autopilot is already busy enough!

What the Manual Would Say:

Which brings us to talk of a manual. Wouldn’t it be great if we came with one? Then when we had questions about something that was happening with our body, we could look it up in the manual and know exactly what to do.

If there was such a manual it would tell us to get regular physical activity. It would also instruct us to eat nutritious foods and to drink enough water. It would also tell us to get enough sleep, develop a support system and find effective ways to manage stressful circumstances.

If you were to neglect any of these essential elements of life, your body would sound the warning bells and all hands would have to be on deck (to use an old navy term). It would be an emergency situation and the body would have to rally its resources to cope with it. That is what the symptoms of hunger and thirst are doing.

The same can be said for fainting, nausea and other symptoms. Any type of pain in the body is trying to get us to sit up and take notice because something is wrong.

We don’t come with a health manual. Instead we have to do what is necessary to keep ourselves healthy. Let the body take care of its details, and you take care of the rest. It is your body after all. Do not become complacent about your own health and well-being.

You only get one body for your entire life.


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It happens all the time – one minute your blood pressure is fine and the next it’s out of range and you’re wondering what happened and how you get it back down again.

First – don’t panic. If you used one of those machines at the local pharmacy then you should know they’re notoriously unreliable and often give false readings. Now, that doesn’t mean you should ignore it so schedule a test at your doctor’s office.

They’ll either confirm it is high or release you from the fear. They may also be able to diagnose why it is high by running other tests.

Even if it is above normal there are things you can do before resorting to prescription drugs. High blood pressure can be caused by many things and stress is a common culprit and diet and lack of exercise.

If you get a high blood pressure reading then here are things you can do to try and lower it, and frankly they are things you should be doing anyway. As always discuss these with a medical professional:

1. Lose weight. Even shaving 20/30 lbs off your weight unless you’re at ideal weight already should be in your plan. If you need to lose more than a few pounds then join a weight loss program or see a hypnotherapist.

2. Increase potassium intake. Bananas should be your first choice unless you dislike their taste.

3. Reduce sodium. Most food has salt added already and so there is no need to add more to taste.

4. Exercise regularly. Walking is fine but be consistent and set aside at least 20-minutes per day if you can or at least 3-4 times per week.

5. Limit alcohol. If you drink alcohol every day then ask yourself why? Sorry but water is much better for you. Alcohol is also full of calories (even lite beer) so it sabotages your effort of losing weight.

6. Cut back on caffeine. Yes, I love my coffee and tea as well but you don’t have to stop just reduce your caffeine intake. If you get your caffeine from soda then this is worse as its sugar-laden and again sabotaging your weight loss.

7. Finally, reduce stress. You can’t eliminate stress altogether but you can learn to cope better. Look into things such as yoga and meditation, and even treat yourself to a massage.

If you reach the stage where your Doctor prescribes drugs then continue to do these seven things as there is a good chance they will work together and allow you to eventually come off the drugs.

Take care.


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Losing hair can be upsetting to a man or a woman. Whether it is a little or a lot, hair loss is no laughing matter. Here we look at some of the possible causes of why your crowning glory is not what it once was.

Hair loss and hair thinning can be caused by any number of factors. Medical reasons can be to blame, as can genetic or chemical reasons. Stress can also play a role in the loss of hair for both men and women.

Causes of Hair Loss:

There are a variety of medical problems that can give rise to hair loss in both genders. Disease can disrupt and damage the roots of the hair. For instance having an under-active thyroid (known as hypothyroidism) can affect how the hair grows.

Nutritional deficiencies in the body such as a serious deficiency of the minerals iron or zinc can also lead to hair loss or thinning hair in women. The same can be said for men.

Cancer patients who are taking chemotherapy treatments may experience hair loss due to the fact that the therapy affects the roots of the hair. For women this hair loss can be particularly distressing during a time when stress is very high.

There are also instances where balding and male hair loss as well as hair loss in women is connected to a specific kind of medication that a person is taking. For instance, medications that contain high quantities of vitamin A can contribute to thinning hair in women or men.

Other Causes:

It is believed that male pattern baldness is an inherited form of hair loss. An estimated 15 percent of men experience baldness at some point in their lives. It is referred to as male pattern baldness because it follows a distinct pattern in families. To put it another way, young men who come from families where male balding is common are also likely to develop baldness.

This pattern hair loss can also affect women but is less common than it is in men. However there are plenty of young women who experience thinning hair, especially along the part in their hair and this can be traced back further in their families. If a woman’s mother or grandmother had thinning hair, she is likely to as well. There is a genetic link to hair thinning in women.

Stress can also affect hair loss and the regrowth of hair. Hair goes through a growth cycle that is broken down into three stages – anagen, catagen and telogen. When this normal cycle is adversely affected because of emotional or physical stress, it can alter the cycle and can lead to telogen effluvium (a condition that results in hair shedding and hair thinning).

A trauma to the body can also affect the rate at which the hair grows and falls out.


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In the field of chiropractic, vertebral subluxation complexes are described by the practitioners as “a set of signs and symptoms of the spinal column.” In other words, they are signs that point to a problem with the spine. The three causes of them are chemical, emotional and physical.

These vertebral subluxations are believed to cause neurological compromise along the spine. An issue that is encountered with the spinal columns can lead to a nervous system dysfunction.

Chemical Stresses that Compromise:

There are numerous types of chemical stresses that can affect your health, without you even being aware of it, until a more serious problem has arisen. Let us look at some of those chemical stresses now.

We all need to clean our homes right? Many of the cleaners we use all of the time may be toxic and very unsafe for your body. Think about the chemicals that are used in these products – the ones that make your sink and bathtub shine and make your wood sparkle. Whether it is dish detergent, window cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner or some other types of cleansers, many of these commercial products are bad news.

Personal care products may make your hair bouncy, your skin brighter and your teeth whiter but do you really know what all of the ingredients on the product labels can do to your health? Many people do not even know what many of the ingredients are. There are dozens of chemicals in hair care products, skincare products and the cosmetics that you use on your face every day. The more products you use on a daily basis, the more chemicals you are being exposed to.

Antiperspirants and deodorants keep you dry and odor-free. You need them when the pressure’s on, right? While these products do serve a purpose, they have a negative side to them. They contain aluminum and a number of other ingredients that are not found anywhere in nature. That makes them chemicals that the body is unfamiliar with.

Aspartame is found in numerous products you consume, everything from soda pop to baked goods to candy. Researchers blame this substance and other artificial sweeteners for playing a role in the onset of several autoimmune diseases. For this reason, you should avoid this these additives at all costs.

Artificial colors, flavors and preservatives are bad for you. Practically every processed food imaginable contains one or more of these chemicals. They are added to foods to extend the shelf life of them. While it is very hard to avoid these harmful substances all together, always read product labels before you buy boxed and pre-packaged foods.

You like the smell of the laundry detergent you use and the fabric softener really makes your clothes feel great, but what ingredients make up these products? Bear in mind that your clothing, as well as your bedding and your towels come in direct contact with your skin. You want as few chemicals near your skin as possible.

Reducing chemical exposure from the everyday products you use can take some effort on your part but it is worth it because you will enjoy better health. All of the chemicals described here put an extra burden upon your immune and nervous systems.

Do what you can to remove some of the burdens that they shoulder.


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When you hear about a person who is celebrating their 100th  birthday do you think to yourself – congratulations to them, quickly followed by, how did they do it?  It is not as difficult as you might think. For those of you wishing to live to see your 100th birthday or beyond, we have some tips to help you in your pursuit of lengthened longevity.

People who were born 100 years ago would typically live to 50 years of age (which was considered a ripe old age back then). Oh how things have changed! Our expected life span has grown tremendously over the past century. Babies who entered the world this year are expected to live to the age of 80 and beyond.

A study of centenarians has revealed some general guidelines that can be followed by anyone to extend their life expectancy. These guidelines can be put to use, regardless of how old you are at present.

1. Enter the world as a female. Sorry, guys this one is not your fault! For centuries women have been outliving men. Just look at how many more elderly ladies there are in society as opposed to elderly gentlemen! Why this is the case is something that researchers have theorized about but nothing conclusively has ever been proven. But there is still hope for you guys, read on.

2.. Get married and stay that way. Studies have shown that marriage positively correlates with a longer life span. Perhaps it has to do with forging a connection with a lifelong partner and knowing that there is always someone in your corner. Married people live longer than their single counterparts. This is particularly true for men. Men live an estimated 10 years longer while for women it is four years.

3. Eat less food. Research has shown that consuming less food on a regular basis can extend your life expectancy. By how much is not known.

4. Ease up on refined sugar. Eating excessive amounts of refined sugar can speed up the aging process. Pay attention to what you eat and read product labels carefully. If it says “refined” on the label, pass on it.

5. Reduce your salt intake. Too much salt can overtax the heart and the kidneys. The body must work harder to filter it through your system. Do not add salt to food for flavoring, experiment with herbs and spices instead. Steer clear of food items that are high in salt content.

6. Eat protein in moderation. Your body needs protein every day but ingesting too much of it will overstress your body and reduce your ability to fend off illnesses and various diseases. Be cognizant of how much protein you take in.

7. Be physically active. Get your body moving on a regular basis! Your body was not meant to take on the couch potato status. Exercise often. You do not need to put down a lot of money on a gym membership. Taking a brisk walk for 20 to 30 minutes a day will improve your circulation, metabolism and emotional well-being. It will improve your mood, allow for restful sleep and has the ability to add years to your life.

8. Have sex. Having sex on a regular basis increases endorphin production in your brain. It can make you feel better, look better and live longer! It also can help to keep the bond with your significant other strong. Go ahead – indulge!

Living to see the number “100” on your birthday cake can happen if you do the simple things needed to increase your life span. Take it from those who have lived to see it come true!


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