woman doing yoga 10 L1

10 Unexpected Things Harming Your Immune System…

You’re doing all you can to keep yourself healthy, and yet you still come down with a cold… fever or worse yet, the flu. There are things that aren’t all that immunity. So keep washing your hands, drinking all the orange juice you like, and avoiding close contact with anyone who is obviously sick, watch for these added immunity sappers.

You’re breathing polluted air: The smog in the air isn’t doing
your lungs or your immune system any good. Research has shown that dirty air causes inflammation in the body and suppresses T cells, essential in terms of your immunity.
Invest in an air purifier for your home or office so you can breath easy inside.

You’re sitting too much: If you have a desk job, you likely spend
lots of time in the chair at your desk. This can slow down your
metabolic rate, causing your body to naturally absorb immunity
boosting nutrients at a slower rate than normal. Every hour and a
half, get up and step out of doors for a five-minute break. The
movement will activate your muscles, fire up your metabolism, and
the fresh air will wake you up, make you feel more alert.

You’re using the wrong beauty products: Things like foundation,
concealer and lipstick not only sit on your skin, they are absorbed into the body all day long. Some of these products have artificial ingredients that your immune system isn’t used to breaking down, so the bad stuff can readily slip past your internal defenses. Go all-natural with as many products as you can. The fewer ingredients a product lists, the safer it is for your body and immunity.

You’re eating too much white flour: The white flour in some
baked goodies actually impairs the T cells and B cells, both key illness fighters in the body. Make sure the grains you’re eating are
primarily whole grains, as they have lots of immunity building fiber.

You don’t make sleep a priority: If your body doesn’t produce
enough melatonin naturally as you sleep, your immune system isn’t
able to make the white blood cells it uses to fight off bacteria
and keep your body in good repair. Try for seven to eight hours of
sleep each night, and make getting that a priority, not a luxury.

Continues below…


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Fact: Poor Sleep Increases The Risk of Death/ Disease

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10 Unexpected Things Harming Your Immune System… Continued…

You’re eating too much animal protein: Too much animal protein
causes the body to naturally produce more of the IGI1 hormone, known to speed up the aging process and impact your immunity. Try to keep your intake of meat and dairy to 10% of your daily intake of calories. You might even consider cutting animal protein consumption even more, to about 5% of your daily intake, and you should see a difference.

Your diet doesn’t have enough good fat: Healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fats from fish, avocados and nuts do have anti-inflammatory properties that help improve your immunity. So avoid the processed foods, limit your intake of animal protein,
but try and add foods such as salmon, sardines, almonds and kale.

You’re lonely: Lonely souls tend to be less resilient in terms of stress, which causes the immune system to struggle. If this is you, schedule some time with those you like, friends, co-workers, neighbours, members of groups of like-minded people. People who have more relationships in their lives also appear to have a greater resistance to infection.

You think you thrive on stress: People think they work well under pressure, but long term stress brings up cortisol levels, and this reduces levels of other hormones like testosterone and estrogen.

When hormones are out of balance, your immune system can’t react to threats as quickly. Learn how to stress less, or find quick ways to relax.

You’re not doing yoga as part of your workout
: This type of workout appears to have the most impact on Immunity as it stimulates the body’s circulatory, digestive, endocrine and nervous systems, and these all work together to make the immune
system stronger. There are tons of tips out there for beginners so there’s no reason not to give yoga a try.

To your good health,

OpenClips / Pixabay

9 Myths And Facts About Your GI Tract

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t know a whole lot about your digestive process and the gastrointestinal tract that makes it all happen. Myths are often repeated as fact by people who seem to know what they’re talking about. It’s only when you start to have uncomfortable (embarrassing) digestive symptoms that you have to search out the truth so that you can help yourself feel better.

So let’s de-bunk 9 of the most common myths…

1: Digestion happens in the stomach. False, the biggest portion of the digestive process actually happens in the small intestine. The stomach takes in food, churns it and breaks it into smaller particles, unappealingly named chime. This is then released in batches to the small intestine where a good deal of the digestion and absorption of nutrients occurs. Foods don’t digest in the order you eat them – rather it’s all mixed together and sent along its way.

2: Cut your food intake, you’ll shrink your stomach. False. Once you reach adulthood, your stomach is pretty much the same size, unless you have surgery to shrink it. Eating less will not shrink your stomach. Eating less will help you reset your appetite thermostat so you may not feel as hungry and it’s easier to stick to healthy eating goals, resist snacking.

3: Thin people have naturally smaller stomachs. False. It might seem hard to imagine, but the size of the stomach is not related to weight or dieting. You can be naturally thin and have the same size (or larger) stomach than those who fight the battle of the bulge for a lifetime.

4: Exercise cuts the size of your belly. It doesn’t. Exercising does not reduce one area of fat alone, though it does help burn fat all over the body. It’ll also help tighten the abdominal muscles so that you’ll look leaner.

In truth, the most dangerous part of fat is the kind you can’t see, the fat in the omentum, a sort of sheet that lies over and all around your internal organs. If you’re really overweight you probably have a lot of fat over and around your organs. The danger with so much weight lies in that the liver can be so packed with fat that a form of hepatitis can develop.

Luckily making changes to a more healthy way of eating can really help in shedding the weight you see, and the stuff you don’t.

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9 Myths And Facts About Your GI Tract Continued…

5: Foods with insoluble fiber cause less gas and bloating. False. Gas and bloating actually come from intestinal organisms that are needed to digest soluble fiber. What you may have thought to be an easier form of fiber (soluble) can actually cause more gas and bloating than insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber isn’t digested, thus no involvement with intestinal organisms – so no embarrassing gas or uncomfortable bloat.

6: Ease acid reflux symptoms by losing weight. True. Losing just a bit of fat in the abdominal area makes a difference in your symptoms. Less fat means less push against internal organs, less heartburn, a bit of relief. Since most people lose weight in the tummy area first, you’ll see some change in your symptoms in just a few weeks after you start trying to lose weight.

7: Eating before bed makes you gain faster than if you ate the same foods during the day. False. Gaining weight comes down to taking in more calories than we burn, and weight gain isn’t based on the 24-hour clock as we understand it. There isn’t any science that says eating at a specific time can influence weight gain all by itself.

But you should know that eating before bed, especially if you’re stressed, can make digestion more difficult. You might experience gas, bloating and painful heartburn. Later in the day, the digestive system, like the rest of us, is tired, so it contracts less, moving food through the system more slowly.

8: A 200-calorie snack of peanut butter and crackers is better able to control your appetite than eating a 200-calorie serving of crackers. True. Fats digest more slowly than carbs, and they stay in the stomach longer which leaves us naturally feeling fuller, longer after eating a snack that has a bit of fat. By contrast, simple carbs give you a quick increase in blood sugar, but can have you dropping just as fast.

9: Beans cause everyone to make gas, and there’s nothing you can do. True. Beans are naturally loaded with a kind of sugar that needs a certain enzyme to digest. Some of us have more of it, some less and the less you have the more gas will be made during your digestion of beans. Over the counter gas remedies or charcoal tablets can help if you take them before you dig in.

To your good health,

obsidianphotography / Pixabay

Improve Your IQ With These Seven Solid Ways

If you want to help your brain (and who doesn’t?), there are things you can do to help grow your grey matter and improve your IQ (Intelligence Quotient) by no less than 17 points over a single week. You’ll be able to hold your own in intellectual conversations, feel more confident and empowered by taking just a few simple steps every day.

IQ is a measure of your mental agility or comprehension speed, and that this number can be influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. An average score is 100 and this usually stays stable upon reaching the teen years. The score comes as the result of a set of standardized tests (language fluency, three dimensional thinking, etc.) that measure your thinking abilities in relation to your age.

A higher IQ is related to attainment of education, income and other socioeconomic factors that are key to success in life. Here we bring you seven scientifically proven ways to add points to your own IQ.

1. Play board games – having fluid intelligence is a big part of every IQ tests, and is tied to your working memory. In research, just 25 minutes of play each day will bring your IQ up by 4 points. Puzzles, Dual N-Back games are good choices.

2. Take supplements – taking 5g of creatine a day can give you an extra 15 IQ points over a six week time period. Creatine gives a big boost to brainpower and raises the energy levels that are available for computation in the brain.

3. Play social games – any activity that involves a diverse range of skills plus social interaction will add an IQ point to your total. You can play online on your own, or with friends, to keep on top of your game.

4. Blast some bad guys – a study at the University of Rochester confirmed a link between first person video games and better visual awareness in the real world. That’s a crucial building block for IQ and can add up to two points to your own number.

Continues below…


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Improve Your IQ With These Seven Solid Ways Continued…

5. Do cardio workouts – a Swedish study proved that cardiovascular fitness can bring up your verbal intelligence by 50%. Better cardiovascular fitness was linked to better cognitive scores, an increase of 5 (or more) IQ points, while muscular strength was only weakly associated with intelligence.

6. Perform practice IQ tests – retaking IQ tests can actually up your score by as much as 2 points. This proven technique gives you a chance to prepare and be more confident during the next test.

7. Go vegetarian – like it or not, there are a number of studies that have linked higher IQ with a vegetarian diet. The lifestyle and food choices of vegetarians are linked with strong intellectual functioning and a slowed cognitive decline. Doing what you can to fix you diet could bring back 10 years of IQ age, and that isn’t anything to scoff at.

You see… not so difficult. And the payoff may well be huge.

To your good health,

White77 / Pixabay

Spread Healthy Living Habits

Researchers at Duke Medicine have provided us with hard evidence of what seems good common sense. A child whose mother encourages and models healthy behavior is more likely to be active and eat a balanced diet as an adult. Not all that surprising really. Still the findings, appearing in the May 2013 issue of the International Journal of Obesity are an important reminder to parents – children often tune out what you say, but they never miss what you do.

Healthy habits are easier to adopt when they are established early. What’s more, they protect against childhood obesity, a problem that’s more than doubled in children, tripled in teens over the past 30 years. In 2010, more than one third of kids and teens were considered to be overweight or obese.

Study author Truls Østbye, M.D., PhD, professor of community and family medicine at Duke, is quick to recognize that obesity is a complex phenomenon that’s influenced by many factors, but there are variations in levels of obesity from one society/environment to another, so there’s something in the environment that impacts obesity. Of course when it comes to children, the home and parenting help to shape both diet (encouraging eating fruits veggies) and physical behaviors (encouraging play outdoors) for long into the future. This latest study supplies evidence of just how important this can be.

The team examined the relationship between the home and behaviors that are related to being obese (diet and exercise habits, for example) in a group of preschoolers. There were 190 children, aged 2 to 5, whose mothers where considered either overweight or obese. The team collected details on the children’s intake of food over the past week, with items rated as healthy or junk foods. The children even wore accelerometers for a week, and this measured both moderate and vigorous physical activity as well as time spent in sedentary activities.

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Spread Healthy Living Habits Continued…

The socioeconomic status of the mothers was also examined; they supplied details on their education levels and job status. These factors had no association with the physical activity of the children, but showed mixed results in terms of diet. More research in this area could help understand how socioeconomic factors might influence a child’s health. Further work on if the influence of the home environment changes as kids get older will also be needed before strategies can be developed to
address these issues.

The mothers also supplied details about the environment where their child lived, including the policies about food and exercise, the access to healthy/junk foods, availability of equipment/space for activity, and of course, if they modeled healthy eating and exercise for the child. When the team analyzed all the data they saw some significant links between the measures of environment and the subjects diet and exercise patterns. To promote healthy habits in children, parental role modeling and a healthy home environment are key. Kids ate more healthy foods when there was limited access to junk food and a family meal policy at home. The home environment had more impact on diet, rather than activity patterns, of the children.

It’s hard to change behaviors, but our children are one of the best reasons to do so. You’ll be healthier, and your children will have a ready role model for living a healthy lifestyle that will benefit them long into the future. It’s common sense, now backed by solid evidence.

To your good health,

geralt / Pixabay

5 Facts To Know About Low Carb Diets

Low carb diets don’t work according to some experts. Others, equally sure, swear by them, and insist we just don’t understand or aren’t depriving ourselves enough. Most nutritionists will tell you that people crave carbs, and if you eliminate them from your diet, you’ll only want them all the more. Forbidden fruit.

Here are five simple, solid tips from The CarbLovers Diet Cookbook that may have you rethinking that ban on carbohydrates you’ve been struggling to stick to.

1. Low carb diets leave you feeling stressed and sad. A recent study by Australian researchers that appeared in the Archives of Internal Medicine followed 106 dieters for a year, half were on a low carb diet, the others were on a carb-rich diet. At the end of the year, the carb eaters were feeling happier, calmer and more focused than those who’d deprived themselves. Carbs are known to up the levels of mood regulating stress reducing brain chemicals, while high protein fatty foods might cause these levels to drop.

2. Low carb diets leave you fatter, not thinner. The stress and depression that most low carb dieters feel is enough, over time, to thwart even the best efforts to stay on track. The reason? Stress produces lots of hormones, like cortisol, that increase your appetite and make you vulnerable to binges according to obesity expert Elissa Epel, Ph.D. who is an associate professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco.

3. Low carb diets can’t be sustained over the long term. Most people can tough out a low carb diet for a time, but it’s quite another thing to do it for a lifetime. Studies show that people have a harder time sticking to low carb, as opposed to high carb, eating plans. In a recent Harvard University study of 322 dieters, just 78% stuck with their diet for up to two years, while almost 90% of those on a high carb diet were still following the eating plan at the end of the study period.

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5 Facts To Know About Low Carb Diets Continued…

4. Low carb diets bring bloating to your belly. According to the National Institute of Digestive Diseases, belly bloat is a key sign of constipation, and this is a common side effect of that low carb diet. In one study as many as 68% of participants on a low carb diet were complaining of constipation, compared to just 30% of the non dieting population, and 35% of dieters who were eating more carbs.

5. Low carb diets make people feel deprived, making dieters start to crave carbs according to a University of Toronto study of 89 women where half restricted the amount of carbs they ate, and the other half did not, When fed a test breakfast three days later and told to eat as they wished, the low carb dieters stuffed themselves, while the other women kept to their diets. The bottom line? Cut out carbs and it’s nearly impossible not to binge when you relax your guard.

While low carb diets are known for fast weight loss, much of what you lose in those early days is water, not fat. In the long run, the picture is not so clear and experts are likely to continue to argue the point. Remember, when it comes to weight loss, it’s the cutting of calories, and the increase in regular physical activity that is the tried and true formula for weight loss.

To your good health,

Bellezza87 / Pixabay

Which Coffee Is Good For You?

Here’s a bit of fascinating news for coffee drinkers. We love it for the taste, and the feelings of being more alert we get. New research has found that, surprisingly, coffee can also be good for the heart. Who would have thought it? We all know there are addictive properties to the caffeine in coffee, but the jump-start it gives our bodies makes that easy to ignore. Not many who drink coffee on a daily (hourly?) basis realize there may in fact be health benefits to that macchiato, cappuccino, flat white, long black, latte, espresso you enjoy.

There has been research over the years showing both positive, and negative, effects on the body after drinking coffee. This might be explained by the lack of consistency in the coffee we’re all drinking. There are different roasts, species and varieties of coffee beans and all of them have different amounts of caffeine and other components. There’s also the impact of adding sugar, sugar syrups, cream or milk as well as the sizes of the cups that become a part of the equation.

Of late there’s been a lot of change in the debate over if coffee is good or bad for you. A Harvard School of Public Health study has found no link between coffee and mortality. Even if you drink up to six cups a day, there’s no higher risk of death from any cause. This fits into the research picture that seems to be emerging over the past few years.

Coffee is one of the complex flavor profiles there is; it has double the flavor range of many wines. The chemical structure of coffee actually provides you more flavors, and it’s loaded with caffeine, which wakes you up and has you ready to go. Experts do warn about drinking too much, an 8-ounce (225ml w/ 100mg of caffeine) cup was used in the Harvard study, not the 16-ounce (450ml w/ 330mg of caffeine) one you get in a large coffee at a coffee shop.

Coffee has also been shown to have no impact on the many forms of arterial cardiovascular disease, arrhythmia or heart insufficiency. There’s even an association between coffee drinking and a reduction in the incidence of both diabetes and liver disease. There may be protection for Parkinson’s disease and benefits to mental health due to the social interaction of getting and drinking the beverage. Unlike alcohol that leaves people lethargic, coffee switches us on.

Continues below…


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Which Coffee Is Good For You? Continued…

Other studies have found some beneficial substances in coffee, most recently in Greek style coffee. Research appearing in the Vascular Medicine Journal found that the coffee intake of elderly subjects on the Greek island of Ikaria was associated with a drop in one risk factor for heart disease. Greek coffee is brewed in a stovetop pot (briki) and is rather strong, with lots of heavy foam and can be brewed along with sugar to increase the sweetness. It’s served with a glass of water.

This type of coffee has been found to have high amounts of some important anti-inflammatory compounds. Brewed coffee has the most caffeine at 135mg per 8 ounces, while filtered coffee has 112mg of caffeine and percolated just 74mg of caffeine for the same 8 ounce serving. Seemingly how your coffee is brewed impacts the substances in the cup.

The good news on coffee goes further than that. The drink has been identified as one that’s a natural source of antioxidants, those helpful little substances that stop molecules from oxidizing and producing dangerous free radicals. There is also research to support women who drink two (or more) cups of coffee a day being less apt to have symptoms of depression than those who don’t drink this much coffee.

So, there’s a lot to learn. Enjoy your coffee, but as in all things, use moderation. It should not be your primary source of fluids.

To your good health,

secomp / Pixabay

When Eating Too Much Protein Affect Your Health

Protein, the building block of life, is good for you, right? But can it ever be trouble? Certainly, if you have damaged kidneys, otherwise moderate dietary intake of protein is fine. Even then, if you’re aiming to up how much protein you’re eating, do so gradually, as a sudden jump may not be the best thing for your body, though there isn’t much research on the topic. When eating lots of protein, experts do recommend drinking more water, and though this may (or may not) have a biological basis, it’s still a good practice.

So how much protein is too much? A good rule of thumb is try not to go over one gram of protein per pound of body weight. So a 185-pound person would want to take in under 185 grams of protein a day to stay healthy. Too much protein can cause dehydration and damage to kidneys. The best sources of protein have all the essential amino acids in the right amounts.

In general, animal proteins are considered better than plant proteins.

Protein is all-important these days, mostly because of research that’s found it keeps you feeling fuller, longer and therefore helps you lose weight. If you look at your grocery store shelves, you’ll see many products that call out protein on the label – granola bars, cereals, almond milk and juices are some of the items that typically advertise that they’re sources of protein.

Research that examined active male athletes and measured the urinary creatinine, albumin and urea found there were no significant changes in dosages of 1.25-2.80/kg bodyweight. The same lack of association has also been shown for postmenopausal women. Keep in mind these are healthy subjects.

When it comes to the kidneys and protein, there are functional changes in these organs related to your intake of this nutrient. Restricted protein diets are the norm for those who know they have kidney damage. This makes sense, as protein is known to be involved with renal function, and if not controlled for by diet could possibly accelerate (or not reduce) the loss of kidney function.

If you have kidney damage, check with your doctor on protein intake.

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Are Your Genetics Keeping You Fat? (1 tip to change fast)

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When Eating Too Much Protein Affect Your Health Continued…

The latest research appears to point to a “too much, too soon” situation as slower, more controlled changes don’t bring any adverse changes to the kidneys. Take home? Change your protein intake over a moderate length of time, not abruptly, for the best results.

And while normal dietary amounts of protein are also okay for the liver, there’s evidence that high protein refeeding after prolonged (over 48 hours) of fasting might cause injury to the liver. The current treatment standards for hepatic disease call for a reduction in protein intake. This is due to the chance of ammonia build up in the blood that could contribute to encephalopathy.

At least some work with animals suggests that the damage can become evident when going through periods of sufficient protein intake and then protein malnutrition. The evidence is still preliminary and more work will need to be done.

There is also no relation between protein intake and risk of bone fractures, which is a sign of bone problems. For postmenopausal women, soy protein seems to have a protective affect on bone mass, perhaps due to the isoflavones content.

To your good health,

cocoparisienne / Pixabay

Things To Know About Seasonal Affective Disorder

If you dread the shorter days and longer evenings of winter, you might think you have seasonal affective disorder (or SAD for short), but a new study finds that this condition might not be as common as experts originally thought. We know SAD exists, that it is a fact of life for an estimated 14 million Americans as well as being documented by earlier work according to study lead author David Kerr who is an assistant professor in the School of Psychological Science at Oregon State University, but this latest research suggests that what we think of as the “winter blues” doesn’t impact people nearly as much as experts might have thought.

For the current research, appearing in the Journal of Affective Disorders, Kerr and the team looked at the results from surveys taken by over 500 people in Iowa and over 200 in Oregon. They answered questions about depression over the years and the team tried to see if changes in weather (amount of sunlight) might have on mood.

There was a very small effect that appeared during the winter, but it was more modest than you might expect if SAD was as common as people think. That’s a surprise, with a sample size this large, with such precise measures of weather, the team expected to see a larger effect.

SAD is a type of depression that comes on in the fall, as the days shorten, and lifts in the spring and summer months. Just like depression, not everyone with SAD experiences the same physical, emotional or cognitive symptoms to the same extent as another patient. Anyone can get SAD, but it’s more common for those who live in areas where winter days are extremely short or there are large changes in amounts of daylight in different seasons, women, anyone between the ages of 15 to 55 (risk decreases as you get older) and those who have a close family member (parent or full sibling) diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder.

To tell the difference between SAD and other forms of depression, your doctor will ask about the timing of the symptoms and if they recur at the same of year then get better for at least 2 years in a row. You’ll undergo a physical exam to be sure everything else is okay, and your doctor will ask about symptoms that come with SAD like carb craving, gaining weight and sleeping more than is normal for you.

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Things To Know About Seasonal Affective Disorder Continued…

There are many effective treatments for this mood disorder including cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure to light (using a light box for 30 minutes, usually in the morning) and antidepressants to improve the balance of chemicals in the brain that impact mood. All work well in easing even the toughest symptoms, but only you and your doctor can decide what’s right for you.

Cognitive behavioral therapy stands out as an effective treatment because it’s been shown to keep SAD from coming back the next year. Light therapy also works well for those with SAD, and some patients even report feeling better within a week after starting. If you have felt no improvement by 3-4 weeks, chances are, light therapy isn’t right for you.

Research findings or not, if you, or someone in your life, is coping with seasonal affective disorder, don’t wait – talk with your doctor and find out just what’s happening. It’s the only way to truly feel better.

To your good health,

bngdesigns / Pixabay

9 Steps To A Better Lifestyle

If you’re searching for true happiness, here are some smart steps you can take to help get there. Interesting that the latest research finds that money can buy happiness, if you spend carefully. This is just one of many tips experts we surveyed have given on finding, and prolonging, happiness in your life.

1. Buy your bliss, just not all the mall. Research finds that people who bought intangible things like concert tickets, lessons relating to a hobby or even a dinner out were happier than those who spent money on clothes, TVs or appliances. This is likely because as human beings, we tend to get maximum pleasure from social bonding, and the anticipation of an experience can be as valuable a source of joy as the actual experience. Recalling the event keeps you feeling happy long afterward

Even if the outing didn’t go exactly as planned, the cherished memories effect is still often at work. People tend to remember things as being better than they were according to experts.

So the take home is this, while materialism is fine once in a while, it’s not the answer all the time. You might ease the pain of paying effect, and be happier, by letting more time lapse between paying for something and getting it.

2. Age gracefully as reported happiness dips for women at 40 but comes back strong by 50 according to a study of 500,000 men and women in 72 nations. Incidentally, for men, the low point is about 52. Science can’t explain it, but it may be that at this age a woman puts herself last and might feel that life is going on without her. As the kids leave the nest, the woman has more time to nurture herself.

So schedule a regular “me” day for yourself that doesn’t change for anyone, or anything except an emergency. You can also set priorities and do things that truly bring you pleasure, and drop the things you don’t enjoy.

3. Forget about self-improvement and focus on what’s already incredible about you. This is far more effective in creating joy than trying to do things to “improve” on yourself. Find your own strongest qualities and nurture them. Using your signature strengths at home and at work has shown itself to leave subjects less depressed and happier than those who don’t focus on their own strengths.

4. Make tough things work, in other words, look for the “silver lining” in life’s surprises like a sudden layoff or a health setback. Even a disaster like breast cancer has been shown to bring women some positive things – new life priorities and feelings of self-confidence. It’s often the negative experiences that help us grow/ learn and be happier in the end.

5. Spend 21 minutes a year on your relationship. Researchers at Northwestern University tracked the marital bliss of 120 subject couples. Half did a 7-minute exercise three times a year in which they thought about three specific questions related to their most recent argument. Couples who evaluated their relationship had less stress related to arguments, and far higher levels of happiness and passion than those who didn’t do the exercise.

There’s research that suggests marriage quality declines over time. Being proactive in terms of your relationship is a plus for keeping that relationship strong.

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9 Steps To A Better Lifestyle Continued…

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There’s research that suggests marriage quality declines over time. Being proactive in terms of your relationship is a plus for keeping that relationship strong.

6. Watch a sad movie. A study from Ohio State University finds that the more sadness you experience during a film or TV program, the greater their feelings of happiness when the program was over. These type of shows put us in a more thoughtful mood, and allow you to focus your attention on your own relationships, and appreciate what you have.

7. Find joy in your commute. Those who walk/bike to the office tend to be happier than those who drive or take a bus/subway according to a 2012 study of 800 subjects conducted in Portland Oregon. Commuting is a great time for introspection and reflection, for enjoying music or a book on tape. Think about what you are grateful for instead of grousing about the slow traffic.

8. Take pleasure in giving. Generosity both far away and closer to home can help you feel happier. Giving to charity brings more happiness than spending on yourself, while doing things for people in your life makes you the happiest.

9. Fake it, until you actually feel it. When you’re sad, the act of smiling can cheer you up, and while the reasons for this have yet to be pinpointed, a study at the University of Kansas finds that grinning slows down your heart rate during stress.

To your good health,

geralt / Pixabay

Cut Off The Effects Of Psychological Stress

If you’re struggling under unrelenting psychological pressure, you have a new reason to try to find healthy ways to manage it. The health of your heart (not to mention your mind and the rest of your body too). While the question of psychological stress causing heart disease is still very much open to debate, everyone agrees that chronic stress is hard on your heart, the rest of your body and your mind.

A recent study out of Michigan Technological University sheds some light on the picture of stress and its effect on the heart. The work found that volunteers who ingested fish oil supplements daily for 8 weeks saw less of a reaction to stress in both their heart rate and sympathetic nervous system reactions than those who took olive oil supplements instead. Long story short, order the fish or think about fish oil supplements if you’re dealing with lots of mental stress. And who isn’t?

When you’re under psychological stress, the body goes through a series of physiological actions that all feed into your nervous and circulatory system. So your heart rate goes up, your blood pressure rises and the sympathetic nervous system, the controller of the “fight or flight” instinct, takes off. The body doesn’t see a difference between real stress (a sketchy character following you), and imagined stress (a presentation at work).

Here’s how stress hurts your heart in the short term:

- Increased heart rate.

- Increased rate of blood flow, upping blood pressure.

- Release of fatty acids into the blood for energy increases.

- Continued release of cortisol which impacts where fat is deposited in the body, mostly in the abdomen.

Study author Jason R. Carter, Ph.D. warns that over time this puts you at risk of high blood pressure, hardened arteries and even a shocking sudden cardiac death. Science doesn’t know for sure how much stress it takes to cause problems for the heart, but it is suspected of playing some role. You may have noticed in your own life that angry personalities, those who don’t handle stress well, appear more susceptible to negative health issues.

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Cut Off The Effects Of Psychological Stress Continued…

Over time, chronic, unending stress can do measurable damage to the heart…

- Higher heart rates over time could push the heart to take on an abnormal heart rhythm.

- Higher blood pressure over a long period brings a higher risk of heart disease and stroke.

- Higher cholesterol and triglycerides up the potential for your arteries to thicken with plaque, leading to coronary artery disease or even heart attack.

- Deposits of fat in the belly, the so-called “apple” shape, are one of the markers of metabolic syndrome and a risk factor for heart disease.

Carter suggests a daily dose of fish oil for those who are high strung, the so-called Type A personality, might be beneficial. You should discuss this with your own doctor before doing anything, and look for healthy ways to help manage that unending psychological stress. Listen to soothing music. Find humor in daily situations. Watch funny movies. Unload your worries to a loved one, close friend, clergy or even in writing, to keep private. The key is to do something to give your body a respite on some type of regular basis, even if just for a little while.

To your good health,

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