ARTICLES

Emotional Health

How Mindfulness Can Stop Negative Thinking

Everyone has negative thoughts occasionally, but if you feel like your mind is constantly drifting toward the negative, then it can really affect not only your mental health, but your physical health.  Negative thinking can change your attitude, lower your motivation, and be disastrous to your self-esteem. It can result in depression, anxiety and even a greater chance for disease! One great way to stop overthinking and have more positive thoughts is with mindfulness. Why You Should Stop Negative Thought Patterns You Aren’t Focusing on What is Important One of the issues with negative thinking is that it can take your focus from other things you need your energy for.  If you are trying to spend time with your kids, but your mind keeps overthinking about every single thing that could potentially go wrong, you’re not going to be able to be totally present for them AND yourself. You’ll miss out on the joy of the moment.  It creates constant distraction, frustration and an inability to focus on important moments. After practicing mindfulness, you’re able to focus on the task at hand. It Takes Precious Time You may not realize it, but the practice of overthinking will take a lot

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General

Use These Anti-Inflammatory Micronutrients to Slow Down Aging

If you have been looking into anti-aging remedies, you have probably come across a lot of topical products, some expensive, and some you can make at home.  There are a lot of things purported to help you age gracefully, but a lot of it really comes down to reducing chronic inflammation.  Inflammation makes you age faster! Inflammation has a lot to do with what you’re putting IN your body rather than ON it. I will mention that using toxic products on your skin will indeed increase chronic inflammation, but for the purpose of this article we will focus on what you can do internally. We’ll cover two main areas you can take in your own hands and implement to keep your body healthy as you age: collagen and micronutrients that reduce inflammation. This blog post will cover both areas of reducing inflammation to slow negative effects of aging. First, let’s understand how inflammation affects the way our bodies age. The Relationship Between Aging and Inflammation Aging is a complex process that results from a combination of environmental, genetic, and epigenetic factors. A chronic pro-inflammatory status is a pervasive feature of aging. (Source) This chronic, low-grade inflammation existing without an acute

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Weight Loss

Healthy Pumpkin Spice Treat Recipes

For many people, the changing of seasons from summer to fall comes with cravings for comfort food, especially of the pumpkin flavored variety. There’s nothing quite like the smell of pumpkin treats wafting through the house on a crisp day. And if you’re consuming real pumpkin without additives, plus those fall spices we love, you’re doing your body a favor with the benefits they offer! Benefits Pumpkin Pumpkin offers many benefits to our health—some even call it a superfood. Containing potassium, beta-carotene, Vitamin C and fiber, pumpkin can… Regulate blood pressure (Source) Reduce the risk of cancer (Source) Boost immune health (Source) Just be sure to use pumpkin that doesn’t have added sugar, syrups or preservatives. Fall Spices Herbs and spices are small, but mighty! Just a sprinkle of these can provide numerous boosts to our health. Not to mention, these fall spices are comforting and delicious. Cinnamon – appears to work as an anti-inflammatory or antioxidant, protecting the body on a cellular level; may also balance blood sugar and aid in managing type 2 diabetes Nutmeg – has been used in traditional remedies for stomach and kidney disorders; has antioxidant, antimicrobial and central nervous system effects Ginger – high

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Nutrition and Healthy Eating

What Are Nitrates and Should You Avoid Them?

You have likely heard about nitrates, especially in the context of avoiding them in processed meats. But what are they exactly, and do they actually pose a threat to our health? That’s what we are going to explore in this article. What are nitrates? Where Nitrates Come From Nitrates are naturally occurring chemical compounds which contain nitrogen and oxygen. They along with nitrites are used to cure and preserve processed meats. (Source)  By a complex series of reactions, nitrates are responsible, along with nitrites, for the color of cured meats. In most countries, their use as a preservative is limited. Since we usually hear about nitrates as they related to processed meats, you might think that is where they are most commonly found in our diets. Not true! Processed meats only account for about 5% of nitrates in the European diet for example. Vegetables actually have a much higher concentration, as they acquire nitrates and nitrites from the soil where they grow. (Source) Nitrates vs. Nitrites In order to understand the effect of nitrates on your body, it’s important to first understand the difference between nitrates and nitrites.  These are two types of compounds, consisting of a single Nitrogen atom

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Chronic Illness

Steps to Keeping Your Liver Happy and Healthy

Your liver plays an important role in many of your body’s functions. It is a vital organ—meaning without it, you couldn’t survive.  As such, if the health of your liver is suffering, you’re likely experiencing many uncomfortable and even dangerous symptoms, which we will go over in this article. First let’s get familiar with your liver. It is a dense, reddish-brown organ that resides under your diaphragm, and on top of your stomach, right kidney, and intestines. (Source) Weighing about 3 pounds, it holds about 1 pint (13%) of your body’s blood supply! This makes it the largest solid organ in your body. The importance of the liver has been well known for centuries, in Ayurvedic (Traditional Chinese) medicine in particular. Even modern medical researchers have noted that “Except the method of presentation, no differentiation is being identified in the development of liver in both Ayurvedic as well as modern perspectives,” concluding that ancient Ayurvedic practitioners had an excellent grasp on the liver’s functionality. Another unique aspect to note about the liver is its ability to regenerate. If part of the liver is lost, it can restore itself while adjusting to the smaller size to maintain its function and providing

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General

3 Ways to Naturally Boost Bone Density and Prevent Osteoporosis

What causes 2 million bone fractures every year? Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis and low bone density affects 54 million Americans alone. About one in two women and up to one in four men over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis. (Source) What is Osteoporosis? Literally meaning “porous bone,” osteoporosis is a disease where the density and quality of bone are reduced. (Source) Our bones are living tissue, meaning some bone cells dissolve as others are formed, constantly renewing itself—a process known as remodeling. When osteoporosis occurs, the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both. Normal, healthy bones have a honeycomb structure when looked at under a microscope. As pictured above, when osteoporosis is present, the holes become larger. How to Tell if You Have Osteoporosis Most disturbingly, osteoporosis often isn’t discovered until the first fracture because it is the “silent disease.” There is no sensation or feeling signaling that you have it. In addition to fractures, some other signs that you may have osteoporosis are loss of height, upper back curving forward, limited mobility and bone pain. Risk Factors for Osteoporosis Many diseases, conditions and medical procedures put you at a greater risk

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Chronic Illness

Natural Ways to Manage Cortisol Levels

The “stress hormone” cortisol plays a key role in our stress response, also known as “fight or flight” mechanism. This is an important process within the body—but was more so many years ago when it would get triggered by actual life or death situations. When our bodies are chronically exposed to high stress, cortisol floods the body constantly.  Blood pressure, heart rate, and blood sugar are all affected also. Chronically high cortisol puts you at risk for several health problems: Anxiety Depression Digestive problems Headaches Heart disease Sleep problems Weight gain & weight loss resistance So let’s find out some holistic ways to both manage cortisol levels and keep stress at bay. Adaptogens The term “adaptogen” describes a category of plants that improve the body’s stress response and have been used for centuries in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. (Source) These adaptogenic herbs work with the HPA axis and might affect hormone production and physiological responses to stress. (Source) Korean ginseng: This botanical regulates the immune response and the hormonal changes due to stress by directly impacting the adrenals and the HPA axis. (Source) One study performed on rats suggested that it improves the sensitivity of the HPA axis to cortisol.

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Weight Loss

Can’t lose weight? It might be leptin resistance

Eat less. Exercise more. This is the common refrain you hear in diet culture. But a LOT of people who’ve tried this oversimplified advice know that there’s more to the story. We’ve talked about different unseen obstacles to losing weight here on the blog, including cellular inflammation, toxins, stress, dietary habits and hormonal chaos. Losing weight isn’t always (or even usually) as simple as cutting calories. One huge piece of the puzzle is hormones, and specifically, the “fat controller” or “satiety” hormone leptin. If you’ve struggled to lose weight after doing all the “right” things, there may be something else going on called leptin resistance. What is leptin and what does it do? Leptin is a hormone secreted by cells found in adipose tissue—or body fat. (Source)  Hormones are signalers, and leptin’s job is to signal to the hypothalamus in the brain. It primarily controls things like appetite, energy expenditure and long-term food intake (versus meal-to-meal) as they relate to levels of adipose tissue in the body.  Here’s a breakdown of how leptin works in healthy situations: When fat stores go down, leptin goes down, which increases appetite and decreases energy expenditure.  Conversely, when fat stores rise, leptin rises and

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Emotional Health

Finally Understand How the Stress Hormone Cortisol Affects You

If you’ve reached out to a health practitioner or even just Googled what could be causing symptoms like fatigue, irritability, anxiety, unexplained weight loss or gain, and appetite changes, you’ve probably heard about the hormone cortisol.  Since cortisol has influence on so many functions of the body, it can be a confusing thing to hear about. Sound familiar? This article is for you!  We’ll delve into what cortisol is, it’s role in your body, what affects cortisol and what happens when it gets out of balance. To understand what cortisol is, let’s back up and talk about hormones first. Hormones and Their Role in Your Body Hormones are molecules produced and distributed by the endocrine system in your body. After they’re released into the blood, they’re carried to other parts of the body where their job is to communicate with different cells to elicit certain responses.  Cortisol belongs to a specific group of hormones called steroid hormones, which are produced by the adrenal glands and gonads. Other steroid hormones include androgens, estrogen, progesterone, and aldosterone. So what makes them steroid hormones? Steroid hormones are different from non-steroid hormones because they are fat-soluble. That means they can cause changes within a

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