The Sunshine Vitamin

the-sunshine-vitamin_path_webVitamin D, or the sunshine vitamin, can enter your body through skin exposure to the sun or through a variety of food and supplement options.

Food items that contain great amounts of Vitamin D:

  • Fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, caviar)
  • Mushrooms
  • Fortified tofu, yogurt, and breakfast cereals
  • Fortified milk, milk substitutes, and orange juice
  • Pork Chops
  • Eggs

More than 80% of the vitamin D that enters your system originates from the sun. For medical purposes, it can also be made in a laboratory. Vitamin D absorbs calcium and promotes the development of strong and healthy bone structures. It’s used simply to boost one’s immune system but can also help conditions ranging from heart and blood issues (high blood pressure and cholesterol) to skin issues (vitiligo, scleroderma, psoriasis, actinic keratosis, and lupus vulgaris). 

The 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood test can be administered at your local blood lab to determine the most accurate measurement of vitamin D in your system. For the 25-hydroxy test, vitamin levels are categorized by nanograms/millimeters. To be considered healthy and vitamin D sufficient, your levels should stay anywhere between 20-50 ng/mL. Vitamin D deficiency occurs when the level drops below 12 ng/ML. If you are not being exposed to enough vitamin D, low blood levels of the vitamin can increase the risk of a variety of health problems.

Health problems that can arise due to vitamin D deficiency:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Asthma
  • Cancer

According to Harvard’s school of public health, lack of vitamin D exposure could be caused by a variety of reasons:

  • Lifestyle
  • Sunscreen use
  • Geographic location
  • Skin tone
  • Age
  • Body weight

Bye-Bye Bloating

bye-bye-bloating_path_webWhat is abdominal bloating?

Abdominal bloating occurs when there is a formation of excess air or gas within one’s stomach. Symptoms can be experienced by both adults and children and are often painful causing discomfort throughout the day. Indicators include feeling a full or tightening sensation. Additionally, flatulence, burping, or stomach gurgles may take place depending on the cause. If there is an infection present or inflammation occurs, a fever may transpire. In severe cases, weight loss, ascites (the buildup of fluid), and even bloody stools have been reported due to medical concerns such as hemorrhoids.

What are the causes?

There are a variety of causes of abdominal bloating which range from indigestion, lactose intolerance, PMS (premenstrual syndrome), gastrointestinal distress or obstruction, pregnancy, etc. If one is exposed to a food allergen, this can negatively impact the gastrointestinal tract and can trigger the immune system to feel attacked. According to the Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE), most allergic reactions are caused by cow’s milk, eggs, peanuts, fish (bass, flounder, cod), shellfish (crab, lobster, shrimp), tree nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans), wheat, and soy products.

How to relieve or prevent it

Changing one’s diet can help curve the frequency and severity of abdominal bloating. Become more attuned to how much you eat per meal and how frequently. Eating at a slower rate allows yourself more time to chew and therefore break down your food making it easier for your body to digest. Eating smaller portions throughout the day will help you to avoid overeating as well. Preventing constipation is important when it comes to bloating, therefore you should eat foods high in fiber, stay hydrated, and develop a more active lifestyle. You should incorporate foods into your diet with high-potassium and spices such as those found in cayenne peppers, which help to minimize discomfort.

Try:
  • Almond or coconut milk  (alternatives to cow’s milk)
  • Lemon water (to aid digestion)
  • Ginger, peppermint, or detox tea (to aid digestion)
  • Massaging the area (to promote circulation)
  • Turmeric or curcumin supplements (to reduce inflammation)
Avoid:
  • Sodium (can cause water retention)
  • Artificial Sweeteners (the human body does not digest)
  • Gum (can give you gas, can make you swallow air, and can contain artificial sweeteners)
  • Carbonated drinks (can add mint, lemon, lime, or cucumber for flavor instead)
  • Excess of “gassy greens” (broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower)

If minor abdominal bloating occurs, you can also seek over the counter help at your local drug store or supermarket. If it occurs on a regular basis or for a prolonged period, it is highly recommended that you visit your doctor to relieve any pain and to rule out any serious diagnoses.

Cleanse with Chlorophyll

cleanse-with-chlorophyll_path_webWhat is Chlorophyll?

Chlorophyll is a green light-absorbing pigment, containing both vitamins (A, C, E, and K) and antioxidants. It is found in plant leaves and stems and is a great source of protein, magnesium, iron, and calcium. Chlorophyll molecules, located inside of chloroplasts along with thylakoid membranes, pass energy through the photosystems to the central chlorophyll molecule. This is how photosynthesis occurs. Not only does this green pigment aid plant life, it’s also beneficial for human health. Chlorophyll is known to fight cancer, detox vital organs such as the liver, support healthy digestion, and revitalize and purify skin. The increase of oxygen intake and circulation it can cause also helps to minimize head, muscle, and joint discomfort.

Green leafy vegetables that contain a significant amount of chlorophyll:

Spinach
Parsley
Watercress
Green beans
Arugula
Leeks
Endive
Sugar snap peas
Chinese cabbage

While consuming chlorophyll helps you to manage weight control, you can also utilize the benefits of this superfood in a variety of ways. An alternative method is to orally take chlorophyll capsules or to add liquid droplets into your beverages. You can also use an organic chlorophyll face mask, which is available for all skin types. This method protects your skin cells from further damage and prevents free radicals. Common organic face mask ingredients include Spirulina Powder (blue-green algae), Wheatgrass Powder, Chlorella Powder (freshwater green algae), and Ylang Ylang Oil. If you purchase bath bomb molds, you can combine 1 TB of these face mask ingredients combined, with those listed below, and even create your own chlorophyll bath bomb!

Bath bomb ingredients to mix with chlorophyll face mask:

1 Cup Baking Soda
1/2 Cup Citric Acid
1/2 Cup Epsom Salt
3/4 Cup Arrowroot Starch
2 TB Olive Oil
2 tsp Water
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Can Spending More Time with Your Loved Ones Help You Live Longer?

The answer is YES! Nurturing a healthy, consistent relationship with your family members, friends, or significant other can greatly improve your physical and mental wellbeing. It’s vital that you take the time to “live a little” each day and not live to work. Regardless of age or status, organizing time for the important people and relationships in your life can lead to less isolation for both parties involved. Nurturing interactions with children typically result in higher confidence levels and revitalizing communication with elders creates a boost of social support. Both of these scenarios can significantly strengthen one’s willpower. 

547431236533563-sdcjvtesdllepatojk2o_height640Benefits of a strong work-life balance may include an increase in:

  • happiness
  • self-esteem
  • self-control
  • productivity
  • motivation
  • positive thoughts
  • healthy lifestyle
  • support systems
  • lasting bonds

The company of a close companion is especially important in times of struggle or pain.  Keep in mind, burying yourself in your work does not only negatively impact your life and wellbeing but the lives of those around you. This can lead to missing valuable life experiences, such as your 10-year anniversary dinner or your child’s first dance recital.

Detrimental effects of a poor work-life balance may include an increase in:

  • anxiety problems
  • sleep deprivation and fatigue
  • depression
  • stress levels
  • absenteeism
  • weight gain
  • irritability
  • headaches
  • risk of cardiovascular disease, substance abuse, and/or sexual health problems

Recommendations:

If your schedule is too hectic to squeeze in extra plans and activities, a wise recommendation is to fit your family and friends into your day-to-day endeavors. For example, invite a friend over for wine on a Wednesday as you meal prep. Encourage your significant other to go on a 6 AM jog with you before work. Include your children in more tasks around the house, for example, laundry, which simultaneously results in fewer chores for yourself. Can’t go wrong there! You can even create new traditions, such as a monthly family movie night or a periodic picnic in the park.

Substitutes for Milk

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  • Soy milk is made from whole soybeans or soy protein isolate. It has a creamy, mild taste and is the most similar in nutrition to cow’s milk. Soy milk is often seen as controversial, though drinking soy milk in moderation is unlikely to cause harm.
  • Almond milk has a light, sweet, nutty flavor and is low in calories, fat, and carbohydrates. On the downside, it is low in protein and contains phytic acid, a substance that limits the absorption of iron, zinc, and calcium.
  • Quinoa milk has a distinct flavor and is slightly sweet and nutty. It contains a moderate number of calories, protein, and carbs compared to other non-dairy kinds of milk. It’s a good option for vegetarians and vegans since it contains high-quality protein.
  • Coconut milk has a creamy, milk-like consistency and a sweet, coconut taste. It contains no protein, little to no carbohydrates and is high in medium-chain triglycerides, a type of saturated fat.
  • Oat milk has a mild, sweet flavor. It is high in protein and fiber, but also high in calories and carbohydrates. Oat milk contains beta-glucan, which can help lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
  • Rice milk is the most hypoallergenic non-dairy milk. It is low in fat and protein yet high in carbohydrates. Rice milk contains high levels of inorganic arsenic, which may cause some potential health problems in those who consume rice as a main food source.
  • Macadamia milk is a relatively new milk to the market. It’s made from macadamia nuts and has a rich, creamy taste. Macadamia milk is high in monounsaturated fats and low in calories and carbohydrates.
  • Cashew milk has a rich and creamy taste and is low in calories, carbohydrates, and sugar. On the downside, it contains very little protein, and may not be the best option for those with higher protein requirements.

The Reason Why Diets Do Not Work

the-reason-why-diets-dont-work

Dieting is a large part of western culture, you have the South Beach Diet, the Cabbage diet, Fit Teas, Juicing Diets, the list goes on. As consumers, we can become addicted to the fresh start of a diet and the gratification we feel when we see our bodies change. However, because of the nature of many of these diets maintaining the weight we lose is statistically low. This raises the question as to why don’t diets work?

Diets put people in the wrong mental state and place value on the wrong things.

Diets are often geared toward losing weight, as opposed to building a healthy body.

Severe dieting can result in muscle loss and kidney failure.

Dieting can trigger binge eating.Dieting can make you food obsessed.

Dieting can cause constipation, and having toxic materials in your body for a prolonged period of time can cause severe health problems down the line.

If you want to be successful in your goals you need to consider this

  • what does this diet consist of?
  • whos behind the diet?
  • what are the risks?
  • what are the results?

Successful weight loss is hard work you have to be married to it if you want to see longterm change.

Here is How to Succeed at Weight Loss

  • Eat enough to satisfy your appetite.
  • Eat protein for breakfast, and avoid eating 3 hours before bed.
  • Combine protein, fat and low-glycemic, non-starchy carbs (vegetables, fruit, small amounts (less than half a cup of grains and beans) at each meal. Fat and protein and fiber slow insulin spikes.
  • Focus on very low-glycemic foods as the staples of your diet. Nuts, seeds, chicken, fish, meats VERY sparingly, low-glycemic veggies (greens, salad fixings, etc.)
  • Use grains and beans sparingly (not more than a half cup once a day each).
  • Don’t use artificial sweeteners – they trigger sweet receptors, hunger and slow metabolism leading to obesity and type 2 diabetes.
  • Use sugar as a drug – in very small doses. And all sugar is the same. If you have to ask “is ______ OK?” It isn’t.

It’s important to stay on track while you are on your fitness journey, Yo-Yo Dieting can cause damage to the bodies metabolism and can keep you from losing weight in the future.

 

Important Facts About the Flu Viruses

fact-about-flu

What is the flu?

Influenza, or the flu, is a viral infection that attacks the lungs, nose, and throat. It’s a contagious respiratory illness with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Because the flu and the common cold have similar symptoms, it can be difficult to distinguish between the two illnesses. In most cases, flu symptoms are more severe and last longer than the common cold.

There are three different types of flu viruses: type A, type B, and type C

  • Type A can infect animals and humans. This virus constantly evolves and can cause annual flu epidemics.
  • Type B can also cause seasonal outbreaks during the winter months, but this type is typically less severe than type A and causes milder symptoms. Occasionally, type B can cause severe complications. Type B flu is caused by one strain of the flu whereas type a is a combination of strains.
  • Type C flu only infects humans and causes mild symptoms and few complications.

The Difference Between the Cold and the Flu

The common cold and the flu may seem similar at first. They are both respiratory illnesses and can cause similar symptoms. But different viruses cause these two conditions. Your symptoms will help you tell the difference between the two.

People with either illness often experience:

  • A runny or stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Body aches
  • General fatigue

At first, the flu can mimic a common cold. Early symptoms may include a sore throat, sneezing, or a runny nose. As a rule, flu symptoms are more severe than cold symptoms. Colds rarely cause other health conditions or problems. But the flu can lead to sinus and ear infections, pneumonia, and sepsis. To determine whether your symptoms are from a cold or from the flu, you need to see your doctor. Your doctor will run tests that can help determine what’s behind your symptoms.

If your doctor diagnoses a cold, you’ll only need to treat your symptoms until the virus has run its course. These treatments can include using over-the-counter (OTC) cold medications, staying hydrated, and getting plenty of rest. Taking an OTC flu medicine early in the virus’ cycle may also help. Rest and hydration are also beneficial for people with the flu. Much like the common cold, the flu just needs time to work its way through your body.

Symptoms of the Flu (often worsen as the virus progresses):

  • Fever
  • Achy muscles
  • Body chills
  • Sweating
  • A headache
  • A dry cough
  • Nasal congestion
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness

The flu doesn’t usually require a trip to the doctor. Symptoms often improve with home treatment in about a week. You can relieve symptoms with over-the-counter cold and flu medicine. It’s also important to get lots of rest and drink plenty of fluids. However, you can ask your doctor about antiviral drugs. Taken within the first 48 hours of symptoms, antivirals can reduce the length and severity of the flu.

What Causes the Flu

The flu is a virus that’s shared in several ways. First, you can pick up the virus from being near a person who has the flu and sneezes, coughs, or talks. The virus can live on inanimate objects for two to eight hours. If someone with the virus touched a common surface like a door handle or a keyboard, and you touch the same surface, you could get the virus. Once you have the virus on your hand, it can enter your body by touching your mouth, eyes, or nose.

You can vaccinate against the flu. An annual flu vaccine helps your body prepare for exposure to the virus. A flu shot helps you by activating your immune system to make antibodies against specific strains of the virus. Antibodies are what prevent infections. It’s possible to get the flu after receiving the flu shot if you meet other strains of the virus. Even then, it’s likely your symptoms will be much less severe than if you hadn’t had the vaccine at all. This is due to cross-protection. This means that different strains share common elements. And that allows the flu vaccine to work against them, too.

The Causes of Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts at least 12 weeks. The pain may feel sharp or dull, causing a burning or aching sensation in the affected areas. It may be steady or intermittent, coming and going without any apparent reason. Chronic pain is usually caused by an initial injury, such as a back sprain or pulled muscle. It’s believed that chronic pain develops after nerves become damaged.

In some cases, however, people experience chronic pain without any prior injury. The exact causes of chronic pain without injury aren’t well understood. The pain may sometimes result from an underlying health condition, such as:

  • chronic fatigue syndrome: characterized by extreme, prolonged weariness that’s often accompanied by pain
  • endometriosis: a painful disorder that occurs when the uterine lining grows outside of the uterus
  • fibromyalgia: widespread pain in the bones and muscles
  • inflammatory bowel disease: a group of conditions that causes painful, chronic inflammation in the digestive tract
  • interstitial cystitis: a chronic disorder marked by bladder pressure and pain
  • temporomandibular joint dysfunction: a condition that causes painful clicking, popping, or locking of the jaw
  • vulvodynia: chronic vulva pain that occurs with no obvious cause

 

Health Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin

health-benefits-of-turmeric-and-curcumin_path_web-1

  • Turmeric contains curcumin, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
  • Chronic inflammation is known to be a contributor to many common Western diseases. Curcumin can inhibit many molecules known to play major roles in inflammation.
  • Arthritis is a common disorder characterized by joint inflammation. Many studies show that curcumin can help treat symptoms of arthritis and is in some cases more effective than anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • Curcumin has powerful antioxidant effects. It neutralizes free radicals on its own, then stimulates the body’s own antioxidant enzymes.
  • Curcumin boosts levels of the brain hormone BDNF, which increases the growth of new neurons and fights various degenerative processes in the brain.
  • Curcumin has beneficial effects on several factors known to play a role in heart disease. It improves the function of the endothelium and is a potent anti-inflammatory agent and antioxidant.

A Short Guide to Activated Charcoal

526746980248863-8yfsbcqzi5bgkul88lns_height640You may be more familiar with the charcoal you use in your grill to cook food, or in the development of certain metals. However, using activated charcoal as a medicinal remedy has gained more attention. The use of activated charcoal dates back to 1500 B.C. Egyptian doctors would use activated charcoal to cleanse a patient’s bowel or sanitize a wound.

WHAT IS ACTIVATED CHARCOAL REALLY?

Activated charcoal is slowly burnt wood, peat, or coconut shells that are treated with oxygen through quenching. This process results in charcoal that is highly porous and Non-Polar. That allows it to bind to toxins and odors.

8 ACTIVATED CHARCOAL USES

  • Whitens Teeth

Brushing your teeth with activated charcoal will draw toxins out of the mouth. However, dentists recommend that it be used once every other week for a short amount of time, because if its abrasiveness to tooth enamel.

  • Alleviates Gas and Bloating

Activated charcoal has been known to absorb toxins in the body and neutralize odors because of its nonpolar nature.

  • Mold Cleansing

Mold can grow in the body when put in the appropriate environment, this can cause a plethora of symptoms. Ingesting Activated charcoal can clean the body of the mold after the body has been removed from the moldy environment.

  • Water Filtration

We have all seen the water filter commercials, where the water passes through some charcoal. These filters are best at removing chlorine, sediment, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), as well as taste and odor from water. They are not effective at removing minerals, salts, and dissolved inorganic compounds.

  • Emergency Toxin Removal

Activated charcoal is often used in hospitals to treat victims of poisoning because it works quickly to strip the body of the toxin.

  • Skin and Body Health

Activated charcoal can be used topically to cleanse the skin of impurities and minimize pores. Historically activated charcoal has been used as a preservative for embalming mummies because of its absorption of chemicals that break down the flesh.

  • Reduce High Cholesterol

In the blood system activated charcoal absorbs excess cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, which is helpful to heart attack patients but does not replace a healthy and balanced diet.

  • Digestive Cleanser

Activated charcoal acts as a sponge in the digestive system, picking up any harmful materials that may be present in your system