Monday, November 29, 2010

Vitamin D Impacts Overall Health

Vitamin D is a prohormone that your body produces from cholesterol. Because of its properties, vitamin D influences your entire body, in fact there are receptors that respond to vitamin D in every type of our cells, even brain cells.  

Current research has shown that vitamin D does not just play a part in calcium absorption and bone formation, but it also helps in the repair and maintenance of our body, impacts thousands of our genes, regulates our immune system, etc.  Additionally, vitamin D helps you fight infections, as well as, it relieves and prevents chronic inflammation.

Your  body makes vitamin D when it is exposed to sunshine.  Thus, it is  very important to take vitamin D supplements during the winter months when you don't get direct sun exposure. Since vitamin D helps regulate serotonin levels in your body ( a chemical that regulates mood), it will prevent you from getting the winter blues.  Additionally, the immune system regulating properties of vitamin D will  guard your body against the flu.

Source:

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Nurture Your Wellbeing

Breathe:
Breathing deep immediately increases your energy levels.  Breathing shallow reduces the much needed oxygen in your body and makes you feel fatigue.

Laugh:
When you laugh, your body releases feel good chemicals called endorphins that reduce pain and stress. Make it a point to laugh everyday --watch comedies, play harmless pranks on your buddies, read funny books, etc.

Give Hugs:
Hugs are free, they nurture and build relationships, and they make you feel so good. So make sure you hug someone everyday...and if you don't have anyone to hug then give yourself a hug.

Commit to Being Kind:
Everyone needs kindness, and I believe being kind actually reduces your stress levels by making you feel good about yourself.  "Be Kind to Everyone" has been my motto for the past few years, and it has benefited me a lot.  Be kind to everyone you encounter, be it a homeless person, a telemarketer, or your coworker.

Get Sunshine:
Just twenty minutes of sunshine everyday gives our body enough vitamin D for the day.  Additionally, sunshine makes us feel happy and boosts our mood.

Get Enough Sleep:
Your body needs to rest and to rejuvenate.  You  will feel less tired, have more energy to exercise, and be more focused on your daily tasks when you get enough sleep.  Additionally, adequate sleep is necessary for your immune system to function optimally.

Wash Your Hands:
You can prevent a lot of diseases just by washing your hands.  Wash hands before eating, after using the bathroom, before touching your face, after sneezing or coughing, and even after using public computers.

Meditate:
Meditation reduces stress which is the cause of most illnesses.  Just 10 minutes per day of meditation can give you many benefits such as, increased intuition and decreased aches and pains.  I personally use meditation to ease migraine pain.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Inflammation

Inflammation is the process that occurs when your body's white blood cells and chemicals protect you from the bacterial and viral invasions. Your body needs some level of inflammation to stay healthy.  Problems arise when your body's inflammatory response gets out of control. Did you know that excessive inflammation has been linked to conditions like asthma, allergies, autoimmune disease, heart disease, and even cancer?

What Increases Inflammation?
In his article, "What You Need to Know  About Inflammation?", Dr. Mercola, D.O. states that obesity, poor diet, existing heart condition, diabetes, lack of exercise, smoking, long term infections, gum disease, and stress, lead to a risk of developing chronic inflammation.

How to Treat and Prevent Inflammation Naturally Without Drugs?
Dr. Mercola, suggests making changes to your life style.  Some of his suggestions include:

  • Focus on a healthy diet - avoid trans-fats, fried foods, sugars, grains, and overcooked foods.
  • Take Omega 3 fats - he suggests krill oil
  • Optimize your insulin levels
  • Quit smoking
  • Optimize your vitamin D intake - best source of vitamin D is sun exposure, however, in the winter you may need to take D supplements.
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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Probiotics

What Are Probiotics?
Putting it simply, probiotics are beneficial live microorganisms that are present in the human gut.  They are also known as friendly bacteria.  These probiotics have several important functions in our bodies, for example, aiding digestion, keeping the harmful, disease causing bacteria in check, and even supporting our immune systems.  In fact, some studies have shown that probiotics can be used to prevent and control  conditions such as food and skin allergies in children,  recurrent bladder infections, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic diarrhea, etc.  

According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, D.O. the best way to maintain these friendly bacteria is to reduce the intake of sugars and grains that promote the "bad bacteria" in your gut.  Instead he supports including fermented foods, rich in probiotics in your diet.

Yogurt, tempeh, miso, and kefir are all fermented foods --my personal favorite is kefir, a cultured milk product.  Since it is readily available at most grocery stores, I would suggest you take your first step towards a healthy gut by including kefir in your diet.

Complete list of foods rich in probiotics is available at this webpage:  http://lymenaide.wordpress.com/2010/02/06/get-cultured-dietary-sources-of-good-bacteria/

Sources:
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/11/10/Dietitian-Says-Eating-Right-Is-Best-Way-to-Optimize-Good-Gut-Bacteria.aspx

http://www.medicinenet.com/probiotics/article.htm