Category Archives: General Health

General Health

The Importance of Good Nutrition and Lifestyle as You Age

The way you age is important – it will determine whether you will spend your sunset years enjoying life and feeling energetic or whether you will spend them nursing a chronic sickness. The most important things, if you are to age well, are a healthy lifestyle and good nutrition. Fortunately, advances in science have allowed us to have information in abundance about these two things. 50 years ago, for instance, not many people knew that even taking a 30 minute walk once a day is important if you are going to stay healthy. Today, most seniors find this information on their computer at home.

The problem, however, is that the more information we have the more lax we have become about using it for our benefit. We know, for example, more about food today than mankind has ever known but we are surprisingly unhealthy. Many seniors, as they age, don’t change their food choices. They are used to eating whatever they did when they worked, which was usually fast food. As they age they keep this up and eventually, they find themselves overweight and suffering lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Making a change to your diet isn’t very hard – all you have to do is keep away from the junk and make sure that you eat a portion of all food groups at least once a day.

We also mentioned that lifestyle is important. You want to have a lifestyle that keeps you outdoors and active. You want to be out there as much as possible pursuing different things. You want to be out there socializing with friends and meeting new people. You should cultivate a life that allows for activity but also for some quiet time. After you have been out there you should be able to come back home and do some gardening or read a book.

Start making these changes today to improve life as you age.

Meditation and Rest

Rest and meditatiion
Time to recharge your body and energies…

Getting sufficient rest is essential for every human being. Without adequate rest, our minds and bodies simply cannot perform at peak or optimal rates. According to sleep experts, resting for at least 7 hours allows our bodies to recharge. Rest is also needed for organ performance, while replenishing vital energy levels and blood flow. Due to the daily hustle and bustle of our hectic lives, many of us simply do not get enough rest or sleep at night. With thoughts racings about life’s daily obstacles, problems, and hurdles, lack of sleep can result in insomnia and countless health issues.

Meditation is Important

If sleep is becoming a problem, you may need to seek help at a biofeedback or professional sleep center.  They will check to see if enough oxygen is reaching the brain at night. One common hurdle in oxygen not reaching the brain is a deviated septum. This prevents optimal breathing, along with respiratory performance and delivery. If you have a deviated septum, a professional ENT (Ear Nose Throat) doctor can formulate a strategic plan of action that will achieve desired results. This can include nose guards along with breathe strips or even day surgery if warranted. Meditation is also a great way to improve breathing techniques and rest the mind. With deep breathing exercises and guided meditation, you can restore proper balance and focus throughout the day and restfulness at night.

Relaxation Methods

Meditation helps secure life balance, while calming brain waves and resting the body and its organs. In addition to meditation, yoga and stretching exercises are also great in helping to secure a good nights rest. While they replenish vital energy levels and build muscle, these techniques help tackle anxiety stemming from stress and lifes daily challenges. If you feel physically and mentally exhausted all the time, simply try these relaxation methods to secure peace, harmony, and balance in your life.

Exercise, Diet and Cleansing, getting started

Exercise is simply essential in keeping those unwanted pounds off. According to health and fitness gurus, exercising 3 times a week is sufficient in converting fat to lean muscle. Whether via cardiovascular exercises or free weights, exercise also restores vital energy levels and clears the mind. If you are struggling with obesity, healthy eating and exercise will truly meet your needs within time and budget. In fact, walking is a great way to build endurance, speed, and agility, while shaping thighs, legs, and problems area. Consuming whole foods is another way to enhance your diet and fitness regimen.

Healthy Eating Options

Healthy eating options do not have to be hard. Simply concentrate on consuming more fresh fruits and vegetables. Staying away from excess salt and sugary foods can also help you get back in shape. Lean meats and poultry are also needed to secure the right energy levels in the body. When dieting or working out, you should try to eat at least 5 small meals throughout the day. Drinking plenty of water is also needed for muscle growth, along with joints and tendons. Water is also essential in flushing out harmful toxins, while keeping the body cool and well hydrated. If you cannot eat whole foods throughout the day, adding vitamin supplements are a great way to increase vitality and energy levels.  If you are just starting out, you can try juicing and/or cleansing, to begin with a clean slate.

Building Energy and Endurance

Many of us expend our energies on daily task and chores. This includes work, along with school and other activities. If you are feeling sluggish throughout the day, there are several ways to rebuild your energy and endurance levels. Along with regular exercise and eating right, staying active is a great way to foster more energy and balance. This includes stretching and yoga, which also helps improve respiratory performance. As mentioned earlier, walking or jogging are great ways to convert fat into muscle and build energy needed for daily living. Whether via traditional treadmills or footpaths, this exercise is vital in keeping our bodies and minds well balanced.

Exercise and diet

Vitamin Supplements are Great Ways to Lead Healthier Lives

People are definitely desiring to be more health conscious these days. But, the obesity rates in the U.S. consists of about a third of the population. People want to get back in shape and live healthier lifestyles. While getting sufficient rest is essential, vitamin supplements also go a long way. From Vitamin A to B-complex, these supplements replenish vital energy levels needed for everyday living. They also help in balancing the digestion, central nervous system, and immune system in the body. While vitamins are part of several diet and fitness plans, having the right nutrition is also paramount. This includes drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated, while concentrating on more proteins, fresh fruits, and vegetables to secure great health and longevity

Exercise and Walking

In order to secure a healthy lifestyle, walking and exercise is simply mandatory As we grew old, the aging human body loses strength in muscles, joints, and ligaments. If dormant for extended periods of time, health issues are simply bound to occur. Walking exercises nearly every bone in the body, while improving respiratory and circulatory performance. You can also effectively shed those unwanted pounds simply by walking 20-30 minutes each day. According to national fitness experts and gurus, exercising at least 3 times a week can help shape and tone legs and problems areas. Daily or weekly exercise also stimulates the body and mind, while converting fat into lean and healthy muscle.

Diet and Vitamin Supplements

No matter which diet or fitness regimen you are on, vitamin supplements are a great way to improve health. With the daily hustle and bustle of our hectic lives, many of are not able to eat the right foods. As a result, we tend to put on weight, which results in sluggishness and a loss of mental clarity. To effectively balance our bodies and restore energy levels, supplements are needed on a daily basis. Whether via fish oil or regular vitamins, these supplements are designed to enhance our bodies and secure longevity.

The Importance of Vitamin D

vitamin_DVitamin D is made up of a group of fat soluble secosteroids that play the role of improving the absorption of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphate and zinc in the intestines.  It is also referred to by many as the “sunshine” vitamin because exposure to sunshine boosts its synthesis in the body.  By helping to regulate the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, it contributes to the maintenance of good health in bones and teeth. It also plays an important role in protection from diseases like cancer, Rickets, Type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis.

Insufficient vitamin D levels in the body can lead to development of adverse effects in insulin secretion and the body’s tolerance to glucose making it necessary in management of Type 2 diabetes. Conditions such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol also require vitamin D for proper control and prevention.

This vitamin also plays a key role in maintaining  healthy skin and in the control of skin diseases such as vitiligo , scleroderma, and keratosis. It also boosts the immune system of the the body making it an important tool in prevention of autoimmune diseases and cancer.

During pregnancy this vitamin is important in the prevention of preeclampsia and gestational diabetes mellitus.

Signs and symptoms of deficiency

Symptoms of bone pain, muscle aches and weakness can mean you have a vitamin D deficiency. This is because low amounts of vitamin D will mean low absorption of calcium and phosphorus which play an important role in mineralization of bones and increases the amount of calcium flowing in blood preventing tetany (cramping or spasms).

Brittle and deformed bones are another indication of deficiency of this vitamin. This is evident in conditions such as osteomalacia and osteoporosis. Rickets, a disease in children, manifests itself in the form of bended or bowed legs, which are weak and soft, can also be an indication of deficiency. Delayed crawling in children can also be another sign that there is a deficiency in vitamin D. Tooth delay in infants, irritability and seizures with difficulty in breathing are also indicative of this deficiency.

In adolescents and older children the deficiency of this vitamin manifests itself when walking becomes painful, knock knees, and flattened pelvic bones. Adolescent girls may experience a narrowing of the birth canal.

In pregnancy the symptoms show in the neonate. this is detected by noticing any form of tetany (spasms) in the newborn child.

Natural sources of vitamin D

Healthy food choices such as dairy products are good sources of vitamin D , found in milk and cheese.  Also fortified almond milk or soy milk can substitute for those with dairy sensitivites.  Beef vitamin_d_boyliver and egg yolk are also good sources of vitamin D.

Fatty fish such as tuna, mackerel and salmon also contain good amounts of this vitamin. Mushrooms  offer a great source, especially those exposed to some sunshine in growth.

Sunlight can be a major source of this vitamin because it helps the body to synthesize it naturally.

Since it has few natural sources it may be supplemented by consumption of fortified products. These might include cereals, yogurt or juices.

Recommended daily amounts

The need for this vitamin varies with age and health status of a person but guidelines provided are as follows; in ages between 0 thru 12 months-400 IUs, ages 1 thru 70years-600 IUs, and above 70 years-800 IUs.

Indigestion, what is going on inside?

upset stomachIndigestion, also referred to as Dyspepsia, is an abdominal condition which takes place when the normal digestion process becomes impaired. The condition usually sets in during a meal or soon after. In most cases, Dyspepsia is a sign of an underlying health problem such as gallbladder disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and ulcers.

Symptoms

Most symptoms of this ailment in the gut come from the upper abdomen which consists of the stomach, duodenum and esophagus. The major and most telling symptom felt is chronic pain and discomfort in the upper abdomen. Other symptoms to look out for include;

• Feeling bloated.
• Frequent belching.
• Chronic heartburn.
• Growling sounds coming from the stomach.
• An acute feeling of nausea and at times, vomiting may occur.
• Frequently regurgitating (bringing back up) partially digested food up the esophagus and sometimes into the mouth. This causes a burning feeling along the gullet as the gastric acid in the food causes irritation.
• A tendency to feel full earlier than is normal.

These symptoms vary in severity and occurrence in different people and tend to increase in seriousness when an individual is stressed.

Who Typically Gets It?

This digestive issue is a very common health condition and will affect anyone regardless of age and gender. There are of course certain factors that put some individuals at a higher risk than others. They include people who take excess alcohol, people with emotional problems such as depression, those taking drugs such as aspirin which can irritate the stomach lining and those already suffering from a digestion tract problem like ulcers.

How Long Does it Last?

The length of time theses upsets lasts varies widely depending on the underlying cause. In some cases it lasts for just a few hours and goes away on its own without needing medical attention. Simple actions like relieving stress, reducing alcohol consumption, wearing loose clothing and avoiding lying down immediately after a meal could reduce the severity and length of an attack and sometimes prevent it.
In cases where the attack occurs repeatedly over the course of several days, a major health issue such as ulcers could be the culprit. It is very important to see a doctor at this point.

What Happens During an Attack?

It is not know exactly what happens during an indigestion attack. One highly probable explanation is that acid comes into contact with the sensitive protective stomach lining called mucosa. It may also rise into the esophagus causing heartburn. This leads to the commonly felt abdominal pain and in some cases, causes inflammation. Medical experts are still trying to connect this with the symptoms felt such as bloating and nausea.

Causes

In a large majority of patients (around 50 to 70 percent) there is no single cause  that can be identified. This is called non-ulcer dyspepsia and if it is chronic, functional dyspepsia. For the rest of the patients known causes may include;

• Certain diseases including ulcers, GERD, thyroid disease, stomach infection and stomach cancer.
• Taking certain medications like aspirin, thyroid medicines, some antibiotics and oral and estrogen based contraceptives.
• Excessive alcohol intake, high levels of stress, depression, overeating, eating too quickly and smoking cigarettes.

In general the causes can be grouped into three categories; diseases, medications and lifestyle.

It is important to note that if untreated a severe case can cause some long term damage to your digestive tract mostly due to the acid.

Time to MOVE

Are you tired?  Exercise is the answer….

Take some time to get out there and move. Even if it just involves a walk, the body is meant to be in motion.  There are so many benefits to exercise, not only for your physical body, but also for your mind and spirit.

First, you have to decide what you want to do for exercise.  This part is important in order to start and continue any routine and reap the benefits.  Do you like to go to a gym or stay at home to work out?  Are you just starting out or are you looking for more challenging exercise to get fit or lose weight?

I like to practice yoga routines at home.  And on occasion, get out to a local yoga studio to enjoy some social interaction.  Yoga practice has benefits that include increased flexibility, strength building, balance work and focused breath work.  All this benefits my heart, lungs, eye health, blood pressure, blood sugar and bones.  Like massage, yoga allows me to focus on how my body feels and my breath.  By taking this time to honor yourself, you can improve your mood and relieve stress and anxiety.  I usually suggest beginners take a class with a small number of participants and let the instructor know you’re just starting out so they can guide you appropriately in the poses.  Remember, it’s a practice; you don’t have to do it perfectly right away.  If you find one form of yoga not working for you, there are many types to try.

For a more aerobic activity, I go for a walk with my dog.  A very energetic Airedale, so it sometimes turns into a trot.  Having a dog is both a great reminder and motivator to move every day. I also like to hop on my bike to get my heart rate up.  We have a Schwinn Aerodyne bike for those bad weather days.  This type of stationary bike has handle bars that pump your arms back and forth to get an upper body work out too.

If you’re feeling tired, depressed, irritable, anxious, forgetful, suffer from chronic pain, the list goes on…movement is the answer to a healthier life.  Having an exercise or activity that increases you heart rate and circulation will in turn help you mind, body and soul.

Coffee

Coffee is my favorite beverage first thing in the morning.  There are pros and cons to this popular drink and one should always consider their own sensitivities to caffeine.  We get more caffeine from a 6 ounce cup of java than other sources, such as sodas and energy drinks.  I never drink energy drinks and rarely drink sodas anymore, so coffee is my caffeine beverage of choice.

Some benefits to coffee include antioxidants called polyphenols, which destroy free radicals that cause inflammation in the body.  Heart disease and Type 2 diabetes are two such examples of an inflammatory disease. Studies have shown how women who drank coffee (1-3 cups a day) had lower risk of heart disease than their non-coffee drinking counterparts, by as much as 24%.  Good news is that both decaf and caffeinated coffees have the same amount of antioxidants.

Caffeine can also benefit your brain in ways that help depression by affecting the levels of serotonin and dopamine. Coffee can not only help you wake up in the morning, it’s been shown to help with short term memory and focus.

How you prepare your coffee is important.  There are some oily substances that are released when the beans are brewed that can raise the LDL (bad) cholesterol if using a French press method.  The oily substances can pass through the metal filter.  These substances are trapped when using a drip coffee maker with a paper filter.  Drinking black coffee or coffee with a little cream and/or sugar will keep the calories down.  Popular coffee houses serve their drinks with lots of frothy creams and sugar, something that can attribute to Type 2 diabetes and weight gain.

Some other downsides can include an increase in blood pressure and blood glucose levels.  And of course, too much caffeine can make you jittery or affect your sleep.  Anyone taking weight loss supplements should consider the caffeine levels, so they don’t get too high amounts if they are coffee drinkers too.

Everyone is different in their sensitivity to caffeine so I only drink one cup with a little almond/coconut milk.  This keeps down the calories and limits the caffeine to reap the benefits and avoid the side effects of this popular morning breakfast drink.  You may be someone who can drink a little more but be careful not to overdo it. Enjoy.