A poor diet can stress your body

stressJoshua Steckler, owner of Push Fitness, a personal training studio located in Schaumburg specializing in weight loss, muscle toning, and nutrition, posted in the Daily Herald on July 18 that perhaps your commute to work, paying all the bills this month, or trying to function on four hours of sleep. We all have a good understanding of what stress feels like and where it comes from, and many of us even practice techniques to manage that stress.

Other types of stress may not be as apparent, or we just don’t recognize the signs. For example, food can act as either an ideal fuel for the body or a poison that should be avoided. When you eat certain foods, they may be causing stress within your body — also known as inflammation.

Inflammation is our body’s response to illness, injury, or stress. Inflammation can actually be beneficial when it’s short-term. Sprain an ankle and it will become inflamed to begin the healing process. But, if inflammation is long-term and systemic, it could lead to many diseases and health problems.

Diseases associated with long-term systemic inflammation include cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and many autoimmune diseases. So it would seem logical to try to minimize or at least control inflammation.

Taking control of systemic inflammation begins with the digestive system.

Changing the types of foods you eat will have a dramatic effect on the health of your digestive tract. Cutting out processed foods, sugary foods, chemical-laden foods, and trans fats is a good place to start.

Adding healthy fats such as fish oil while limiting certain plant oils such as soybean oil may help balance out your Omega 3 to Omega 6 fat ratio. Continue reading

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Even more reasons to eat your broccoli

broccoliLauren Priebe shared that as a child, you may have avoided broccoli at all costs. As the health conscious adult you surely are, it may be a staple of your diet. But, love it or hate it, the benefits of broccoli can’t be denied. It has long been referenced as a so-called super food. And a recent study suggests broccoli has even more health benefits than we once thought.

University of Illinois researchers found that broccoli is full of healthy promoting agents called phenolic compounds. These “compounds, including certain flavonoids, are associated with a lower risk of coronary artery disease, type II diabetes, asthma, and several types of cancer,” said Jack Juvik, a U of I geneticist.

In addition, Juvik discovered that by eating broccoli rich in phenolic compounds, the vegetable helps to reduce inflammation and lessen the risk for a number of degenerative diseases.

The study noted that our bodies do not naturally produce phenolic compounds, which makes eating broccoli even more important to fight off the risk for infections.

“Broccoli is also rich in vitamin A and C, fiber, folate and potassium: it’s essentially a nutrition powerhouse that provides a variety of services for our bodies such as maintaining skin, our immune system, aiding in digestion and more,” says Melodi Peters, a registered dietitian at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington. Continue reading

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Coconut oil pulling is the easiest way to detoxify

coconut oilJess at Paleo Grubs shred that if you want to get all the below benefits of coconut oil pulling, make sure to do it every morning.  This process:
• Detoxifies your body
• Boosts metabolism
• Kills bad breath”
• Heals bleeding gums
• Prevents heart disease
• Reduces inflammation
• Cures tooth decay
• Whitens teeth
• Soothes throat dryness
• Prevents cavities
• Heals cracked lips
• Boosts Immune System
• Improves acne and
• Strengthens gums and jaw

Step by Step Instructions
1. Put one tablespoon of organic, unrefined coconut oil in your mouth. Since coconut oil is a saturated fat that hardens at room temperature, you might have to kind of chew/suck on it in order for it to melt.

2. Once melted, swish the oil around in your mouth for 15-20 minutes, making sure you work it through your teeth, around your gums, etc. You don’t have to get aggressive about it, it can be a calming and easy swishing motion. You can make this part of your morning routine by doing it in the shower, while you get dressed, etc.

3. When you’re done, spit the oil out into the toilet or trash can, and brush your teeth as normal. Done!

4. Do this every morning.

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Top 5 Natural Remedies for Poison Ivy Rash

poison ivyDr. Josh Axe shared asked if  you know that up to roughly 85 percent of all people are sensitive to oils found in the poison ivy plant?  It’s true, which is why poison ivy rash is so common.

Those who react to poison ivy by developing a skin rash are also very likely to develop similar symptoms from coming into contact with poison oak or poison sumac. When a person is “sensitized” to poison ivy’s oils — the skin touches the oils and enters the immune system, causing a histamine response — a form of dermatitis develops on the skin. In about 15 percent of people, this reaction becomes very severe.

Fortunately, the poison ivy rash itself isn’t contagious. It cannot be spread from body part to body part or from person to person. However, having a poison ivy rash once does not protect you from getting it again in the future, and the fact that poison ivy’s oils can linger on tools and clothing for long periods of time means a rash can easily spread. If you’re struggling to control your poison ivy symptoms, natural remedies for rashes including essential oils, supplements and compresses can all help lower itchiness and redness while you heal.

The treatments below can help keep you protected from developing a poison ivy rash in the first place, along with lowering the severity of symptoms you experience, including itchiness. Some experts believe that treatments won’t help speed up the amount of time it takes for a poison ivy rash to heal, since the immune system must gradually work through its allergic response. However, it’s likely that by boosting overall immune function before you’re even exposed to poison ivy, you’ll be able improve healing and shorten the duration of your symptoms.

1. Take Steps to Prevent a Rash

Recognizing what poison ivy plants look like (as well as poison oak and poison sumac) and avoiding exposure are the first steps in preventing a poison ivy rash from developing. Here are some pointers:

  • Poison ivy plants have three leaves and tend to be shiny and medium-sized. Some people like to remember the common phrase, “Leaves of three, let it be.” The leaves are usually bright green but can also have shades of red or yellow.
  • Poison ivy is capable of growing in many climates and is found across the U.S. It tends to grow in areas where people roam around, including the edges of trails, streets or gardens.
  • It can be found on golf courses, campsites, near the beach, hiking trails, by garages and on the side of dirt roads. The reason it’s commonly found in these areas is because the plant likes partial shade and tends to grow where densely populated woods meet open land.
  • It can appear as either a small vine or a small shrub, which means it’s sometimes on the ground but also up higher. Its base/trunk tends to grow tiny hairs on it, which means it’s a good idea to look over a whole plant if you suspect poison ivy.

A number of available creams, soaps and lotions can also be used to help lower your risk for developing symptoms if you do come into contact with the plant. However, these still won’t guarantee that you’re protected from having an allergic reaction, so always use caution when you’re working outdoors and suspect there’s poison ivy. Some people swear by using protective lotions before they garden or work outside, since these can add a buffer between the plant and your skin. Continue reading

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What to Do When Your Kids Love Fast Food


fast foods

Marie Miguel at mariemiguel0404@gmail.com writes about diabetes and general health topics.  Following are her thoughts on how to manage when you kids love fast foods.

We all know that fast food is never a good meal option, if not detrimental, for our health and our kids’ health. Still, it continues to be a part of our daily diet. Let’s be honest, most of us can’t end the day without eating a donut or two or prefer to have upsized burgers and fries for lunch. We also just love the taste of sodas and shakes, especially during hot summer days.

Numerous studies have shown consumption of fast food as one of the leading causes of child obesity. More and more parents can’t keep up with the daily grind and the pressures to get their kids to eat healthy so it makes sense why we would opt to just drive through fast food counters for food instead of cooking them ourselves. It is quite a challenge to do both things at the same time and most parents aren’t eating healthy themselves with their kids taking after them but, that doesn’t mean that we can’t do it!

If your kids have had fast food for a long time and not letting them eat in these places makes you feel guilty, you shouldn’t! Teaching kids to eat healthy early in life makes them healthier adults. If you feel like you have no other choice but to let them eat fast food but would want to do away with future doctor visits and expensive medications, here are some tips and tricks to help your kids to start eating healthier.

  1. Go for the grilled or baked options rather than fried – Grilled beef patties and chicken sandwiches are better compared to ones that are fried. There are also fast food chains that offer baked versions of French fries, hash browns, pies, and chicken nuggets. If your kids love munching on these, get the baked versions instead. Fried options are often times laden with more fat and sodium content than their grilled and baked counterparts, they’re even tastier too!
  1. Watch their portions – Most servings in fast food chains are for adults so it doesn’t make sense to feed your kids an entire meal. If you have more than one child, split the serving in half. That also automatically cuts the fats, sodium, and calories in half. You can also go for “value meals” or “upsize” your order if you have more than 2 kids with you.
  1. Wheat buns are better than the regular bun – Some fast food locations now offer wheat buns in place of the carbohydrate laden regular bun.
  1. Skip the drinks – Soda and other artificially flavored beverages are high in sugar. They taste good but, that doesn’t mean they’re good for your children. Don’t fall for claims like “100% natural”, especially when you see it inside fast food places. You’re kids are better off drinking water.

Continue reading

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A New Way to Prevent Muscle Cramps

As long as people have played sports, unexpected muscle cramps have been an Achilles’ heel for everyone from aspiring Olympians to weekend warriors.

For decades physicians and other experts in sports medicine have theorized that a cramp was the result of a muscle that was dehydrated, or starved of electrolytes, or suffering tears in its micro-fibers and cell membranes. These caused pain and spasms that could only be alleviated with water and electrolytes, conventional wisdom held.

Now, more experts are beginning to believe we may have been thinking wrongly about cramps all along. A shot of spicy liquid—think wasabi or hot chilies—may be a far more effective treatment than an energy drink or a banana. All it took was a Nobel Prize winner experiencing some untimely cramps while sea kayaking a decade ago for people to begin to understand that the causes of muscle cramps may not have much to do with muscles at all.

“The primary origin of the cramp is the nerve, not the muscle,” said Rod MacKinnon, the kayaker and Nobel Prize winning scientist who studies molecular neurobiology and biophysics at Rockefeller University and has led the new thinking on cramps. Continue reading

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Cultivate Optimal Thyroid Health

jennJenn Mc Grath, Owner of Points To Wellness and Licensed Acupuncturist shared that the thyroid gland is shaped like a butterfly and is found at the front of the neck, below the Adam’s apple. Although small in size, this gland has a big influence on the body’s ability to transform food into the energy needed to sustain life. Thyroid hormones control the growth, temperature, and function of every cell in the body. It is a vital component of the endocrine system, an elaborate network of hormone-producing glands acting upon the cardiovascular, digestive, neurological, and reproductive systems. The importance of this gland, therefore, cannot be understated.

When functioning properly, the thyroid gland secretes just the right amount of thyroid hormone to regulate almost all the metabolic processes in your body. Too much or too little of these vital body chemicals, and it can drastically influence energy levels, body weight, and your mental health. Cultivating your thyroid health, combined with proper nutrition and diet, can boost energy, improve appetite, reduce insomnia, relieve depression symptoms, improve circulation, relieve muscle aches, and assist you in recovering from endocrine disorders. An easy way to improve thyroid health and the health of your endocrine system, is to eat nutritious meals and maintain a well-balanced diet.

Continue reading

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How to build an injury-free workout routine

“A lot of the time, soft-tissue injuries happen when you progress too quickly — load too much, too soon,” says Justin Mullner, a sports medicine doctor and team physician for the soccer team D.C. United.

Chris Estafanous, a physical therapist in Washington, adds, “It’s great when people are excited about getting in shape — they want to get ripped or big fast. But it takes time to progress safely.”

Along with safe progressions (the most important aspect of staying healthy), an injury-free workout routine should include a warm-up and postural control drills, as well as exercises that create a balance between strength and mobility.

The warm-up

Some gym-goers might forsake the warm-up because, well, they don’t have much time and warm-ups aren’t really a workout.

True, but the body has a hard time adjusting when it goes from zero to 60, and on a muscular level, warming up is kind of like lubricating an engine. In other words, the soft tissue gets primed when the blood starts flowing, Mullner says.

He adds that as we age, our muscles and tendons become less responsive — meaning they might need longer warm-ups.

The warm-up doesn’t need to be anything fancy, just about 10 minutes of gradually increasing the heart rate and gently doing some dynamic stretching and range of motion exercises.

“Just get the blood flowing,” Mullner says. Continue reading

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