Eat Well, Age Well!

Do you feel like aging is hitting you harder than it is the people around you? Do you wonder if they’ve unlocked some sort of secret? While there’s no single secret to holding off the effects of aging, there are plenty of things that can be done to help. We talked earlier about cutting out sugar, focusing on greens in the diet and ways to boost immunity, but here are some more suggestions on reaching OAP status in style…

Do not leave the house without sunscreen to avoid looking older faster. The UV radiation from the sun can severely damage your skin and it is a major contributor to how your face looks. Also know that too much sun exposure can lead to certain cancers so wear sunscreen every day.

You should exude happiness wherever you go. If you can make someone else smile, you will smile yourself. A simple smile or a kind word is enough, and you should notice that other people treat you better.

Get fish oils into your life! If not fish oils, then olive, flax or nut oils. These oils have been shown to really improve your health while aging compared to their alternatives like soybean, corn or sunflower oils. The latter oils are processed oils and have been shown to be less healthy for you.

young at heartFeel free to have a drink and a good meal once in a while. Even if you are watching your diet closely and do not consume alcohol on a regular basis, you should take the time to have a good glass of wine that you used to love and a great meal that was your favorite. Enjoy things in life. Incorporate dining out in style when you are dating.

Embrace your age! Do not fight the fact that you are no longer as youthful as you once were. It is going to happen to everyone at some point and the sooner you embrace it, the sooner you will learn to adapt to it. You are smarter and more experienced in life, enjoy it!

Keep a close friend or minister on speed dial so you can talk to them about anything at anytime. If you are able to find at least one person that you can tell anything, you are sure to relieve the burdens that you may carry if you do not let those thoughts out.

Get quality sleep on a regular basis to keep your body balanced and better equipped to age gracefully! Many people of all ages suffer from lack of sleep and poor quality of it and it is even more important to us as we get older. Seek medical advice if you are not getting the sleep you need and do not underestimate the importance of it to you!

Staying properly hydrated has never been more important to you than now! Aging is hard on the body and providing it with plenty of water will help flush toxins, bring nutrients to cells, hydrate skin and make it easier on every function of your body! Most experts recommend about eight glasses of water each day, so drink up for healthier aging!

It may seem as though there’s a magic key to remaining young, but that really isn’t so. The true way to fight off aging is to try a variety of different

Taking The Plunge

I don’t usually publish my New Year’s Resolutions and I’m not about to break that tradition now. However, on this on occasion, I will divulge the item that was uppermost on my list for 2016.

Learning to drive.

Finally.

As you’re probably aware, I take my health very seriously, hence this blog and the advice given herein. So, there’s never any “I gotta quit the junk food” BS. But I’ve been putting off learning to drive for years now. I am not a slacker, it’s just a fear thing and I guess I am scared of being behind the wheel of a steel cage that can catapult its residents down a road at speeds that were unheard of when Victoria was queen. Fear of falling asleep at the wheel due to chronic lack of sleep as a direct result of fear of falling asleep at the wheel…

nervous driver

So, with that said, I have kicked my fear to the curb and am now taking driving lessons in Brentwood. So if you’re in that area, beware! There’s a healthy chick in charge of a vehicle moving at speed and she’s scared sh*tless!

On a brighter note, my instructor says that I am making good progress, despite the very evident fear in my eyes, and that, with a few more lessons under my belt, I’ll be good for taking the the exam.

Updates to follow, assuming there’s no drastic car-to-car contact…

Overcoming the Pain of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis make even the simplest tasks challenging. However there is a wealth of health advice available that could make managing arthritis less painful. You just need to know where to look. There are numerous sources designed for arthritis sufferers where you could find helpful tips on nutrition, exercise and pain management.

First and foremost, visit a physician to make sure what kind of arthritis you actually have if you feel you are experiencing arthritic symptoms. There over 100 various kinds of arthritis and some of the symptoms are similar. However rheumatoid arthritis requires special treatment as it is a degenerative form of the disease and early detection is crucial.

rheumatoid-arthritis-handFind out as much as you can about rheumatoid arthritis. The more you understand about the symptoms and available treatments, the more of a proactive part you can perform regarding your treatment plan. There are quality web sites and rheumatoid arthritis books on Amazon available for research. At the same time it may allow you to feel less alone, to see what other sufferers with the disease are going through and what they’ve been trying.

If you’d like to minimize the pain of rheumatoid arthritis, you need to watch your weight. Having just a couple unwanted pounds on your body adds strain to joints and ligaments. It will increase your pain and keep your symptoms returning over and over. Losing just ten pounds will make a big difference, so take action today.

Don’t be reluctant to change your routine to deal with fatigue. Although it might be hard to acknowledge that you need to slowdown, letting yourself slow down and rest when you need to enables you to become more energetic later in your day. Plan your day around when you are feeling energetic and energized, and rest the pain gets worse.

Exercise is one of the best things an arthritic person can do; exercising your body is an essential part of managing your situation. Health researchers have found that exercise helps provide rheumatoid arthritis pain relief, relieve stiffness and maintains flexibility in your joints. Stretches together with lightweight training can also improve your energy and enable you to sleep more comfortably, ultimately causing less pain along with a better quality of life.

Treat yourself to a massage to assist your arthritis pain. Be sure to visit a trained massage therapist that has had experience with rheumatoid arthritis patients. Massage can help relieve your sore muscles as well as lessen your swelling and inflammation. You may also get similar benefits at home by self massaging the affected areas for a couple of minutes per day. Make sure to use oils or products to make the process easier.

Visit a physician to find out exactly what kind of arthritis you’ve if you feel you are struggling with arthritic symptoms. You can find over 100 various kinds of arthritis and understanding your unique form will help you discover ways to help look after yourself better.

Time for a Power Nap?

Ever feel like taking a nap in the middle of the day, but fearing it will do more harm than good? How long should the nap take? Is half an hour too much, or could you nap for even more? Well, all of this depends on what kind of tasks you have to do. A nap is like a reboot for your brain, but you have to know how long you should nap and when is the best time to do so.

Now, if you want a quick boost of alertness, you should nap for 10 to 20 minutes at most. This way, you will only be in the lighter stage of NREM (non rapid eye movement) sleep and this will make it easier for you to resume your tasks when you wake up. The worst possible nap length is 30 minutes, as you end up in a deeper stage of sleep and wake up from it; this will leave you groggy and you will need up to another 30 minutes to be able to work again.

If you are learning for an exam, it’s good to take a 60 minutes nap. It helps you remember facts better, as well as places and faces. You will still feel a bit groggy afterwards. Make a coffee before you nap so it’s ready for you when you wake up. If you wish to avoid grogginess after a nap, a 90 minute nap will do you good. This way, you will get a full cycle of sleep – the lighter and deeper sleep phases. It also improves creativity, procedural and emotional memory. Also don’t forget to time your nap – it’s best to take a nap 6 hours after waking up.

Take a look at this guide. It distills things nicely:

nap guide

So, there you have it – proof that a nap is just as good for you as eating your greens! Go get some Zzzzz’s

The Healthcare Debate

When you say the words “Integrative Health” or “Integrative Nutrition” most people don’t have a clue what you mean. American’s today are used to going to their health care practitioner only when something has already gone wrong. And most are seeking a quick result in pill form or an easy access cure. They want one answer. This philosophy, which has been promulgated by the traditionalist training of the medical community and the boom of the pharmaceutical industry is reason number one the United States is in a health crisis. This health crisis and the current healthcare debate is plastered all over the news. Democrats and Republicans alike are duking it out over what the answer should be. Everywhere you turn there’s talk of insurance, money, Medicare, pharmaceutical companies. Big Healthcare, big dollars, small results.

Please don’t be mistaken, we are indeed in a health crisis. A vast number of families in the United States can’t afford health care, yet we are the unhealthiest First World nation in the world! The United States ranks 29th globally in infant mortality – tied with Poland and Slovakia (we were 12th in 1960). Sixty percent of adult deaths are attributable to chronic disease. Chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart attacks, stroke, and certain preventable cancers like prostate, colon and often breast and ovarian. Our nation is being crippled by chronic disease. Over 46 million citizens are uninsured or under insured. Health insurance premiums rise four times as fast as our pay rates. More than half the bankruptcies in the United States are from medical bills. 66%, SIXTY-SIX percent of US citizens are overweight or obese. Obesity in children has doubled in the past 30 years and tripled in adolescents! (this information was obtained from a presentation given by Dr. Theresa Kennedy).

The flaw in our system lies in its “curative” nature coupled with the fact that it’s driven by corporate profit and greed. Health in this country is addressed when something goes wrong. People don’t pay attention to what they put in their body or what their body interacts with. We don’t have a health care system; we have a SICK care system. We need to change to a preventative system. Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing. It’s not merely the absence of disease. And this is one of our fundamental rights as human beings and as citizens of the United States.

I will say that again, it is a fundamental right for us to live in a state of complete physical, mental and social well being!!

There is hope.

Seven months ago, President Barack Obama requested the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions to investigate the health crisis. On February 26th the Committee held a hearing. That hearing directly addressed integrative, yes Integrative Care: a Pathway to a Healthier Nation. Esteemed doctors including Dr. Oz, Dr. Mark Hyman, Dr. Dean Ornish, and Dr. Andrew Weil testified. Words that each of highlighted were integrative health, and health Coach. Click here to watch the Senate hearing.

I remember watching this video on the Senate’s website days after the hearing was held. I was elated and invigorated knowing that our elected officials were learning about integrative health. I thought back to one of my first days at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition when founder, Joshua Rosenthal said we were on the cusp of something great, that we were creating a health revolution. I believed him, I still do, but I was worried about the rest of the United States. I have seen many people simply roll their eyes when topics like positivity, primary foods, organic produce, environmental toxicity, GMOs and hormones in beef come up. They either don’t care or don’t believe me or are in denial.

Even though the Senate seems at least open to “alternative” ideas such as health coaches, history makes it obvious that change is not going to happen swiftly. The health care debate raging now is the same one that raged through the 1990s when President Bill Clinton was in office. The only difference is the stakes. They’re higher now, Americans are sicker.

I am not posting this blog to seem downtrodden about our Government, its process and the action or inaction it takes. In the words of Mike Adams, the Health Ranger we need a “popular health care revolt; people marching in the streets, setting fire to packets of aspartame.” While I think the Health Ranger may be on to something, lets start a health revolution with our own health first. We are the first step in health reform. You are in charge of your own health. A healthy life starts with the choices you make daily, make them good ones! If you are unsure of how to make positive choices to improve your health, reach out to a health coach to help guide the way for you.

The Importance of Skin Health

good skinLets face it, this winter was a tough one and unfortunately our skin is the one who takes the beating! Our skin dries out from the heat in our homes which causes dehydration. We tend to drink less in the cold weather than we do in the hot summer months which is even more dehydrating. Physical activity also tends to decline in bad weather and so circulation to the skin is compromised. Our skin is the largest organ of our body. We need to keep it as healthy as possible so that they rest of our body is working properly.

Paying close attention to the foods we eat can enhance the vitamins that nourish the skin. A good way to remember what to eat and ways to help nourish your skin is to say your ABC’s!

A is for avocado. They contain the best kind of fats that add emollients to the skin. They also help to block absorption of the “bad” cholesterol and aid in eyesight by their high lutein content. They are also unbelievably delicious!

B is for beets. They are rich in beta-carotene and high in phytonutrients that protect the skin.

C is for vitamin C, the vitamin that enhances the skin cells’ ability to fight free radicals, the primary cause of skin damage.

D is for vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin. We all realize that we get less of the beneficial effects of sunlight during the winter months. However, with Springtime here there is no excuse for not getting outside for at least 15 minutes of (unprotected) sunshine each day!

E is for vitamin E. A rich source of antioxidants and rich in emollients for the skin. Eggs, nuts and seeds are rich in vitamin E.

G is for green tea. Green tea can reduce the risk of damage from ultraviolet light (such as the rays of the sun), and thus reduce the risk of skin cancer.

Skipping to O, omega-3 fatty acids. Flaxseeds, walnuts, beans, olive oil and fish such as salmon and Coho contain the most omega fatty acids.

P is for plums. Plentiful plums are packed with antioxidants, which are healthy for the skin.

R is for rub. Rub your skin beautiful! While in a hot shower, take a washcloth with no soap and scrub your entire body until its uniformly rosy. As you scrub each day, your skin will release toxins trapped under it leaving you with soft, smooth skin within a few months! This improves your circulation, helps your digestion and allows your skin to glow.

S is for smile. A happy face is a healthy face. The act of smiling increases production of endorphins, the “feel good” hormones. When you smile, people smile back. Spread the wealth!
W is for water. Water, water everywhere! Hydration is key to moisturizing the skin. Water keeps the cells hydrated, while helping cells move nutrients in and toxins out which automatically leaves the skin looking better.

Z is for zzzzz’s. Sleep, rest and refreshment are essential to healthy, radiant skin. This element is one that you cannot buy in a supplement or eat for dinner. Taking time to be conscious of your lifestyle and making the choice to rest and refresh yourself is your gift to yourself.

Eat Your Greens!

Did you know that greens are the most missing food group in the modern American diet? It’s true! Eating greens will help to build your internal rain forest and protect your body from viruses. Here are 10 more reasons to eat greens on a consistent basis:

1. Greens help to purify the blood.

2. Greens help prevent cancers.

3. Greens are high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous and zinc.

4. They are packed full of micronutrients and phytochemicals.

5. Greens contain vitamins A, C, E and K.

6. They help to strengthen the immune system.

7. Eating plenty of greens will help improve circulation in the body.

8. Greens contain fiber that the body needs to function optimally.

9. They also contain folic acid and chlorophyll.

10. Eating green vegetables helps life the spirit and eliminates depression.

What Are Greens?

eat your greensThere are many types of green vegetables to choose from. Find some that you enjoy eating and eat them often! Dark leafy greens include broccoli, kale, bok choy, napa cabbage, collards, mustard greens, watercress, broccoli rabe, dandelion, arugula, endive, chicory, lettuce, spinach, swiss chard & beet greens.

How to Cook Greens

1. Wash greens well to remove any dirt or sand.

2. Remove the stems if they’re thick. Don’t toss them; chop them into bite-sized pieces. You can cook them later or eat them with the greens. (They’ll take a little longer to cook, so start them first.)

3. Boil the greens for 3 to 5 minutes in salted water, or until just tender. (Add the stems a few minutes before the leaves.)

4. Steam the greens for 2 to 3 minutes.

5. Braise greens by heating a little olive oil over medium heat. Add some minced garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté for 30 seconds, then add the greens, along with the water that clings to their leaves from washing. Sauté the greens until they’re slightly wilted, then cover and braise until tender (just a few minutes). Season with salt and pepper.

6. Pair greens with beans such as chick peas (garbanzo beans) or white beans. The beans make for a hearty dish and mellow out the taste of the greens.

7. Spruce up greens with diced tomato and a dash of lemon juice or hot pepper sauce.

8. ENJOY!

Music Is Good For Your Health

I was listening to Michael Franti and Speahead after having a bit of a disappointing late afternoon and I realized that in the span of one song, my mood turned from discouraged to optimistic- down right giddy in fact. The beauty of music is it’s ability to alter your mood (take a look at this post on making sure you keep your ears in tip top condition so that you can continue to enjoy music). It’s something we need to remember to incorporate this into our daily life. When you have identified which music lifts your mood or alters it for the good, you can create your own reality. A single Ipod playlist can change your day.

Colorful musical notesRecent University of studies discovered that listening to music that you find to be joyful or uplifting can actually improve your cardiovascular health. When participants in a study listened to happy (in their opinion) music, their blood vessels dilated by as much as twenty three percent. Meanwhile, when they listened to music that caused them anxiety, their blood vessels constricted as much as nine percent.

Music also directly affects heart rate as well as breathing rate. To slow down, relax, and meditate, listening to music that is calming can help you relieve stress and enter a meditative state. Decreasing stress levels is one of the best things you can do for your health, both physically and mentally, so when you plug into your Ipod, think about your choice in music and how it will affect you.

The next time you’re feeling down, think about what kind of music you feel like listening to. Oftentimes we choose sad music to match our sad or depressed mood. When you catch yourself doing that, remember to choose music that feels joyful to you and listen to that instead. Before you know it, you’ll be feeling better. One thing that happens in your body is that your brain waves shift to match the tempo of the music. A faster tempo will enhance your alertness and lengthen your concentration span.

To make a long blog post short….Music Is Good For Your Health!! So put on something you love, smile and know that it’s doing your body good.

Dark Chocolate = Healthy Chocolate

Recent studies say dark chocolate — not white chocolate or milk chocolate — is good for you! What is it about dark chocolate? Chocolate is made from plants, which means it contains many of the health benefits of dark vegetables. These benefits are from flavonoids, which act as antioxidants. Antioxidants protect the body from aging caused by free radicals, which can cause damage that leads to heart disease. Dark chocolate contains a large number of antioxidants (nearly 8 times the number found in strawberries) and significantly less sugar. Flavonoids also help relax blood pressure through the production of nitric oxide, and balance certain hormones in the body. Dr. Andrew Weil has dark chocolate included in his anti-inflammatory food pyramid!! How exciting is that?!

dark-chocolate

Taste the Chocolate

Chocolate is a complex food with over 300 compounds and chemicals in each bite. To really enjoy and appreciate chocolate, take the time to taste it. Professional chocolate tasters have developed a system for tasting chocolate that include assessing the appearance, smell, feel and taste of each piece.

Go for 70% Dark Chocolate

You should look for pure dark chocolate or dark chocolate with nuts, orange peel or other flavorings. Avoid anything with caramel, nougat or other fillings. These fillings are just adding sugar and fat which erase many of the benefits you get from eating the chocolate. Be sure to look for a brand that contains at least 70 percent cocoa.

Skip the Milk

It may taste good but some research shows that milk chocolate, or washing your chocolate down with a glass of milk could prevent the antioxidants being absorbed or used by your body.

But On The Negative Side…
1. Chocolate may trigger headaches in migraine sufferers. Sorry guys.

2. Chocolate is considered dangerous to animals because it contains a stimulant called theobromine, which they can’t digest. Dark chocolate and baking chocolate are even more dangerous because they contain higher concentrations of the substance. This applies whether chocolate is in candy bar form, or an ingredient in cake, cookies, puddings or ice cream. If a pet becomes ill after eating chocolate, take it to the vet immediately.

3. Even though it may be healthy, dark chocolate can be very caloric. Savor and enjoy a piece a day, not a bar!

Boost Your Immunity

You can’t open a newspaper without reading the latest statistics of the flu season and the impending H1N1 flu pandemic these days. The media has worked people in to a nervous frenzy. While the threat of sickness is a real one, there are many steps we can take to ensure our good health. A recent published in the British Medical Journal said that the best defense against the flu is good hygiene including washing your hands and covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze. In addition to good hygiene, it is important to keep your immune system in tip top shape! Follow these quick tips to boost your immunity and stay healthy through the upcoming flu season:

immunity boost1. Eat the rainbow! Stalking up on raw fruits and vegetables will give your body the anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber and enzymes it needs to run smoothly. They will protect the cells of your body and turn you into a disease fighting machine. Aim towards 9-10 servings of fresh fruit and vegetables a day.

2. Step out into the sun and get some exercise! It’s great if you head to the gym daily for at least 30 minutes of cardio. Exercise is important for good health. But to boost your immune system while getting your cardio in, head to the great outdoors. Sadly, most Americans spend more than 80% of their day inside. Exercising outside in the fresh air will release endorphins and set your body on a natural high. The chilly weather will stimulate your thyroid gland and the added sunshine is important for Vitamin D levels…..

3. Start taking a multi-vitamin that includes sufficient amounts of Vitamin D. Recent studies have shown there are clear links between Vitamin D deficiency and obesity, insulin resistance, depression, certain cancers, heart disease, stroke, parathyroid problems and reduced immune function. Adult women need between 3000 and 5000 i.u’s of D3 daily. For more information on Vitamin D deficiency in women see this article from Womentowomen.com.

4. Kick the sugar addiction. If there is one thing you can do that will boost your immune system it’s the reduction and elimination of refined, white sugar from your diet. On average, Americans eat more than 150 pounds of refined, white sugar each year or about ½ cup each day. Unfortunately, our bodies are not designed to digest that amount of sugar. Too much sugar overworks and exhausts our white blood cells and weakens the immune system. White blood cells need protein to function. Excess sugar in our diet means that protein in the diet will not be digested and assimilated properly leading to reduced white blood cell function! Try reducing your sugar intake by replacing refined sugars with natural sugar alternative including honey, maple syrup or agave nectar. Avoid artificial sweeteners as they are more toxic than refined cane sugar.

5. Eat your protein! The proper amount of protein is essential to promote cell production and support the immune system. Eating protein will also prevent loss of lean muscle mass as well as boost your energy. Protein does not have to come from animal products, there are great vegetarian sources of protein that include broccoli, nuts, seeds, tofu and spinach!

6. Get your sleep! Not getting enough sleep at night has been shown to trigger inflammatory response in the cells of the body. Cellular inflammation will aggravate autoimmune disorders, specifically in females. Even modest sleep deprivation can play a role in many immune disorders. Sleep is vitally important to maintain a healthy immune system.

7. Drink water! Staying hydrated is so important for your health! To find out how much water you need and ways to make water drinking enjoyable check out our previous blog entry, Glamorous Hydration.

8. Enjoy a cup of tea! Switch out that cup of coffee for a cup of green tea. Green tea is loaded with antioxidants that will help to strengthen your immune system. Not only will green tea boost your immune system but it lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, a great benefit to your heart health!

9. Add garlic! Garlic is a potent immune system booster. It is an anti-microbial agent that is effective against bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. Add fresh garlic to your salads, soups, sauces and sandwiches. To kick your immune system into high gear try this garlic immune booster shot: Juice together 4 cloves of garlic with a good sized chunk of ginger root, add a dash of cayenne and a table spoon of flax oil. It may not taste the best, but it will super charge your immune system!

10. Pamper yourself! Take time out for you. Treat yourself to one thing a week that will make you feel relaxed and loved. This could be as simple as hunkering down in your favorite chair to enjoy an hour of a new book, call a best friend who lives hours away, get a massage, taking a bubble bath or baking cookies. Taking time to nurture yourself and treat yourself to something special will reduce your stress level naturally boosting your immune system.

Following these 10 tips will help keep you happy and healthy throughout the fall and winter season.