9 Foods that Affect Your Mental Health

The brain works 24/7 to control thoughts, movements, breathing, heartbeat and senses; as a result, it requires constant supply of fuel, which come from the food you eat on a daily basis. However, your brain can only function well if you eat the right kind of food. This post will explore the foods that are likely to affect your brain negatively and positively.

Foods Likely to Affect Your Brain Positively

1. Blueberries

Blueberries contain compounds that protect the brain against oxidative stress and reduce the risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. These compounds also improve the function of the part of the brain that controls learning and motor skills.

2. Nuts

Nuts contain vitamin E. High levels of vitamin E reduce the rate of cognitive decline in adults. Suitable nuts include cashews, almonds, filberts, flax seeds, sesame, sunflower seeds, and walnuts.

3. Salmon

Salmon fish contains omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce the symptoms of depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, and other mental disorders. This is possible because omega-3s stimulate the production of brain chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin.

4. Whole Grains

Whole grains are the prime source of energy. They provide a steady source of fuel to the brain, enabling it to perform its functions effectively. Healthy whole grains include oats, barley, beans, soy, wheat and bulgur.

5. Leafy Vegetables

Leafy vegetables contain high amounts of folic acid and vitamin B. A deficiency in these nutrients can lead to depression, fatigue and insomnia. Best examples of leafy vegetables include romaine, turnip, broccoli, mustard greens and spinach.

Foods Likely to Affect Your Brain Negatively

6. Tuna

Many people love tuna because of its taste. However, tuna contains high amounts of mercury, which can take a toll on the brain function. A research conducted by the University of South Florida found that high levels of mercury in the blood contribute to a five percent cognitive decline.

7. White Rice

White rice has a high glycemic index that increases the risk of depression. A study conducted in 2015 found out that women who have eaten food high glycemic-index foods were more likely to report new-onset depression than those who ate foods rich in lactose and fiber.

8. Fruit Juice/Sugary Drinks

Fruit juice contains a lot of sugar. Consistent intake of sugar can reduce cognitive flexibility and memory. This is possible because sugar promotes the growth of clostridiales, a gut bacteria that increases gut inflammation and downstream the brain is affected.

9. Cheese

Cheese contains a lot of saturated fats that contribute to memory decline and inflammation in the brain. The saturated fats also damage the hypothalamus, the part of the brain which has many important functions including directing the release of hormones from the pituitary gland vital for regulating weight and metabolism.

Are Acupressure Mats Worth Using?

For over seven years, a buzz has been growing around the so-called “acupressure mats.” Also known as a “bed of nails” or an “acupressure needle stimulation pad,” these mats are the latest trend for at home relaxation, pain relief, and enjoyment.

Featuring thousands of tiny spiking crowns melted onto a non-organic cotton and foam mat, the acupressure mat can seem somewhat troublesome, especially when considering that it is recommended for users to lay on the mat for a minimum of 10 minutes daily to rid the body of toxins, to release endorphins and oxytocin, to stimulate energy, and to break through stress. It is further claimed that use of this mat will result in long-term alleviation of anxiety, headaches, constipation, insomnia, fatigue, tension, back pain, muscle aches, and discomfort.

So how exactly does it work? Well, first it is essential to understand that the idea is far from new. In Ancient India, a healing tradition was practiced that required laying on a legitimate bed of nails. The nails would press firmly into pressure points thus relieving tension and muscle aches. Now, thousands of years later, this tradition has evolved from actual nails to thousands of non-toxic plastic spikes that are harmless to the skin.

To use the mat, one can stand, sit or lie down for approximately 10 to 20 minutes on the floor or bed; however, it is best to start slow and find a position that works best for the individual. If there are specific areas that cause pain or tension, it is recommended to try different positions on the mat.

Claims of the mat’s benefits go far and wide, although many feel wary of trusting celebrity endorsements at this point. However, Dr. Scott Weiss, a licensed physical therapist, believes that regular use of the mats lead to better sleep and improved circulation, as well as reduced stress, anxiety and migraines.

In 2011, the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine completed a small study that found people were able to “subjectively relax” meaning their self-rated relaxation gradually increased over time in all conditions. While the study did seem to show that the mats aided in relaxation, it is hard to take anything conclusive from this study alone.

While many yogis and dancers genuinely believe that the mats are helping their bodies, acupuncturists want to make it understood that these mats are not the same as acupuncture. In fact, Justine Lynch, a licensed acupuncturist in NYC, said, “The difference between seeing an acupuncturist and using a pressure mat would be like the difference between eating a meal and looking at a picture of a meal.” Further that statement, Lynch states that the most crucial part of acupuncture is working with an actual human who can personalize treatment, whereas that can not be replicated with a mat.

While the verdict of the mats effectiveness is still out, many believe that the mats are capable of relieving minor pains and aches, such as muscle tension and discomfort. And since they are far cheaper than other options, they could be worth a shot. However, these mats are not necessary, and should not be used in place of health treatment plans.

If you are unsure of whether you should try remedies such as the acupuncture mat rather than traditional pain treatments, speak with your doctor before making a decision.

8 Adaptogens That Can Help With Managing Stress

Stress is a common and often chronic condition many people are facing these days. If you or someone you know is likely to experience stress on a regular basis- you may want to consider the use of adaptogenic herbs to help treat it. The use of adaptogenic herbs in the natural health world is booming right now though it is important to note that the bulk of evidence you will find on its effectiveness is by word of mouth as opposed to scientific fact. However, more research is being done and there are many healthcare practitioners backing the benefits of their use. If you are interested in giving them a try, here is a list of adaptogenic herbs that could potentially help you with managing stress.

1. Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is also known as “Indian ginseng”. It is known for helping with a variety of issues from sleep disorders to anxiety, to backaches.

2. Holy Basil

Holy Basil is also used to treat a variety of discomforts. Such discomforts include the common cold, headaches, and migraines. It is also used to treat malaria and even heart disease.

3. Asian Ginseng

This herb improves memory, concentration, and depression. There are many types of ginseng- most of which are touted as natural energy boosters.

4. Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola Rosea is known for treating depression and contribute to more mental clarity. It is a root, known also as the “golden root”, and is said to help improve concentration and ease stress.

5. Licorice Root

Licorice Root can help with all sorts of digestive issues such as ulcers, heartburn, and inflammation. It is also used to treat bodily infections and regulate hormone levels.

6. Siberian Ginseng

Some people use Siberian ginseng to improve athletic performance. It provides a boost to the immune system and combats flu symptoms.

7. Astragalus

This herb is often used in combination with other herbs such as ginseng and licorice to increase its effectiveness. It’s good for strengthening the immune system, easing the symptoms of allergies, and managing diabetes.

8. Schisandra

Schisandra is said to protect against disease, stress, strengthens the immune system and provides one with more energy.

If you are considering the use of adaptogenic herbs to help reduce stress and improve your health, consult your healthcare provider first.

Nutritional Psychiatry Is the Future of Mental Health Care

It’s common knowledge that a diet of nutrient-rich food is essential for keeping one’s body healthy. Perhaps it’s not much of a surprise, then, that research also suggests a strong link between nutrition and mental health as well. But these findings offer more than just another reason to pass up that extra bag of chips. A robust collection of emerging evidence is driving the growth of nutritional psychiatry, i.e. using food and supplements as part of an integrated approach to remedying depression and other forms of mental illness.

Conventional treatment for depression often involves the use of antidepressants, the effects of which are varied and somewhat unpredictable. It’s true that antidepressants have been found more effective at improving mental states than a placebo in adults, but the improvement often comes at the cost of unpleasant side effects and chemical dependency. In addition, a review of 29 clinical pediatric trials by Dr. David Healy, professor of psychiatry at Bangor University, UK, found that antidepressant use in children under 18 produced more harm than benefits.

In contrast, the connection between mental illness and nutritional deficiency has been firmly acknowledged for ages by health experts, and more recently by psychiatrists looking to augment their approach to treatment. Recent data has linked a variety of mental health problems to an inflammatory response that spreads from the gut to the brain, and begins when the body is deprived of essential nutrients.

Multiple studies have associated a diet supplemented with zinc, magnesium, vitamins B and D3, and probiotics with significant mood improvements, as well as decreases in depression and anxiety symptoms. Alzheimer’s patients have also been shown to benefit from increased nutrient consumption. In addition, symptoms such as low mood, cognitive decline and poor comprehension are observable in individuals lacking Omega-3 fatty acids.

No longer can doctors–or patients–afford to brush aside the mounting evidence that supports nutritional intervention as a valid alternative to conventional treatment. Supplements are generally cheap, and available over the counter almost anywhere (though not all brands are equal). Antidepressants are arguably over-prescribed and under-evidenced, not to mention expensive in ways far more insidious than monetary cost. Nutritional psychiatry, on the other hand, boasts a body of research that should afford it a greater role in conventional mental health treatment.

An Act of Deception: How Drugs Hijack Your Brain

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How The Brain Works

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The brain is the most complex and intricate organ in the body. It controls everything from breathing, speaking and eating to the most complicated movements humans are capable of performing. Most people don’t have to think about breathing before they actually take a breath, but how exactly does the brain function and carry out the most basic or complex actions?

The brain is broken up into six different regions (cerebrum, cerebellum, frontal lobe, temporal lobes, occipital lobe, parietal lobe, and the limbic system) all of which communicate via chemicals and neurotransmitters.

  • The cerebrum is the largest and hardest working region and is composed of the left and right hemispheres of the brain.
  • The cerebellum controls balance and coordination.
  • The frontal lobe is located at the front of the head and is responsible for personality/behavior, creativity, attention, judgement, smell, physical reactions and coordination.
  • The parietal lobe is located behind the frontal lobe and controls the sensory (touch and pain) and motor (movement) cortexes.
  • Temporal lobes are located near the ears on both sides of the head near the temples. They control language, speech and hearing.
  • The occipital lobe is located at the back of the head and is responsible for vision and facial expressions.
  • The limbic system attaches to the spinal cord and allows the brain to communicate with the rest of the body. It is also in charge of managing basic life support, such as heart rate, respiration and blood pressure. The limbic system also contains the reward system of the brain, which regulates your responses to stimulus such as food, sex, etc. Once stimulated your brain releases dopamine which makes you feel rewarded/happy as a result.

 

How Drugs Trick Your Brain

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Drugs, whether prescribed or illicit, imitate the the naturally occurring chemicals in the brain and trick the body into acting a certain way. Some drugs cause a relief from pain, while other may help with alleviating disruptive symptoms. All drugs work in different ways depending on their intended effects. There are several categories of drugs which affect your brain differently; they are: stimulants, depressants, opioids, cannabinoids, and hallucinogens. All of these have the ability to impair judgement, reasoning and behavior control as well as impairing memory, learning abilities, impulse control, and setting goals just to name a few.

 

  • Depressants induce relaxation and slow down brain activity. Some side effects can include dizziness, confusion, slurred speech, lack of concentration, fever and depression.
  • Stimulants increase dopamine levels in the brain, which produces a euphoric state as well as several side effects including, but not limited to higher heart rate, body temperature, blood pressure decreased appetite, and trouble sleeping.
  • Opioids are mainly used for pain relief and utilize dopamine to control the brain to create a pain-free, euphoric state.
  • Cannabinoids also produce a euphoric feeling and enhance a person’s sensory perception. Some side effects may include: irregular heartbeat, inability of focus on a task, and memory loss, cellular death, shrinking neurons, and DNA fragmentation.
  • Hallucinogens cause the brain to have false sensations or visions. These drugs interfere with how the brain sends messages to the body and therefore cause hallucinations. Other common side effects are an inability to sleep, numbness, tremors, increased heart rate, increased body temperature, high blood pressure and/or paranoia.

 

Once taken, drugs begin to train your brain to want more of what it perceives as a good feeling. It does this by altering your brain chemistry. Each time a person takes a drug and the brain receives positive information from its pleasure center it learns that the drugs are a good thing, regardless of whether or not they actually are. As a result the brain releases more dopamine when it senses drugs in comparison to natural rewards that the body produces on its own.

At this point drugs have successfully hijacked and retrained the brain to continually crave more. The body gradually builds up a tolerance so more drugs are needed to achieve the same level of euphoria and a vicious cycle continues to escalate. After building up a tolerance and dependence on drugs the body is prevented from experiencing any pleasure without the drugs they have been taking due to low dopamine levels being released in comparison to when they are on drugs. A major side effect other than those listed above is a feeling of lifelessness. Many have reported feeling lifeless while experiencing things that used to bring them joy.

 

Multiple Drug Abuse

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Polydrug abuse, or the abuse of more than one substance is extremely dangerous. Using multiple drugs compounds the risks for the user. Instead of experiencing side effects from one drug they can experience side effects from many at once. The rate of addiction increases and the risk of overdose is significantly higher. The risk of death is much higher than if taking one drug.

 

Reversing The Damage

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Taking steps to end drug abuse is challenging both physically and mentally. While drugs hijack the brain and alter brain chemistry there is hope for those struggling with addiction. After the body goes through withdrawals the brain begins to readjust itself and return to pre-drug normalcy for example the brain is capable of regenerating cells over that were destroyed. While some effects the drug cause may be permanent there are many that will disappear with sobriety depending on the intensity of drug abuse and how the body reacts.

In order to reverse the damage inflicted by drugs the body must go through two steps to begin the recovery process.

  1. The changes the drugs made on the brain’s chemistry and structure that compel drug use to continue need to be reversed.
  2. Restore cognitive function that has been lost or damaged.
  • As drugs change the chemistry of the brain they affect the shape of dopamine receptors and make them harder to read. They need to change back to their original shape before drug abuse.

Once the drugs are out of the system the body immediately begins to try to find a new normal and reset itself. While the brain is working to do this there are many ways in which a person can cope mentally. Therapy or a facility specializing in rehabilitation are great resources as well as a medical professional, especially for withdrawal periods. The absolutely most important step to take in a person’s recovery is removing oneself from any and all exposure to the drugs a person was addicted to. Medical support may be necessary as well depending on the severity of the drug abuse.

According to recent studies on drug abuse in 2016 28.6 million people aged 12 and over used illicit drugs in the past month in the United States alone. That is over 10% of the American population. In the 18-25 age group over 25% used illicit drugs in the past month. Of those people only 1.4% received any sort of treatment. Those numbers are staggering and unbelievably concerning. Knowledge can be a powerful motivator to never use drugs or to cease using them altogether. Knowing just how drugs can hijack your brain could be a matter of life and death. There is hope for the almost 30 million people in the USA and more worldwide engaging in illicit drug use. Encourage others to seek medical and/or psychological help in dealing with their addictions to keep as many people healthy as is possible. Check local facilities’ websites for more information and how to receive help.

10 Surprising Things Your Body Does When You’re Healthy

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The human body is a fine-tuned machine that will automatically let us know when something isn’t quite right. We can almost always tell when something feels out of the norm. Looking out for changes or discomfort that are out of the ordinary can be a great way to stay on top of your health. However, if in doubt err on the side of caution and seek medical help.

Unfortunately some bodily functions are a little more gross than we would care to admit, but these can actually be signs that your body is healthy. Many of the body’s “gross” bodily functions are completely normal and show that your body is fixing any problems on its own. Your body will automatically give you clues about your health and it’s important to keep an eye out for them. Not every strange thing happens to your body is unhealthy. There are many bodily functions that might surprise you by being a sign of good health. Here are just a few of them that are usually not a cause for panic, but a pat on the back for keeping yourself in good health.

  1. Large Bowel Movements

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THAT came out of ME!? While it’s not the greatest topic of conversation, large bowel movements are good indicators of health. Well-formed bowel movements without any stray food particles show that your digestive system is on track and very healthy. You get major bonus points if you have them every day around the same time. Not sure whether your stool is as healthy as it could be? Consult a doctor and you can take a look at this informative article.

  1. Going To The Bathroom Several Times A Day

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While large bowel movements can be shocking and unnerving, but having them several times a day might instill some concern or pride. However, this is also a sign of good digestive health. Everyone’s frequency will vary from 3 times a week to even 3 times a day. Don’t be concerned if you are not one of those people who poop several times a day. Everyone is different. While any consistency or frequency changes can be a sign of illness it is not a cause for immediate concern unless the changes are sudden and drastic.

  1. Producing Ear Wax

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Much like bowel movements everyone produces ear wax and the amounts will vary by person. According to Kid’sHealth.org ear wax, or cerumen, is made in the outer part of the ear by special glands. Ear wax is actually really important for your ears. It lubricates the ear canal, fights infections, and shields the inner ear from dirt and dust. While it may be a little bit gross, ear wax is extremely healthy for your ears. The good news is that you don’t have to do anything to get rid of it; most of the time it falls out on its own without anyone noticing. If you notice larger than normal levels make sure you consult a doctor to make sure something potentially harmful isn’t happening.

  1. Passing Gas

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Whether it be burping or farting many times a day or even both you are showing signs of good health. Some people swallow more air, such as when you chew gum, and eat certain foods that may cause more gas, such as some vegetables, but passing gas is considered normal and a sign of digestive health. It is your body’s way of getting rid of excessive air. Passing an excessive amount of gas is considered rare, but if accompanied by other symptoms it may be time to consult your doctor. There are ways you can reduce the amount of gas your body excretes, such as by quitting smoking and making small changes in your diet.

  1. Sweat and Body Odor

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Sweat is a natural function the body goes through sometimes multiple times a day. Causes can be stress/anxiety, exercise, and excessive heat. Sweat comes from tens of thousands of glands all over your body, but the largest concentrations are in your armpits and groin where you typically find higher concentrations of hair. Sweat is initially odorless and does not start to smell until it mixes with bacteria on your skin. This is why everyone has their own, unique scent when they sweat much like a smelly fingerprint.

Some people sweat more often than others and this is just a fact of life. Foods and drinks can also change your body odor somewhat so keep that in mind before panic sets in. If you notice any sudden changes, start sweating for no apparent reason, sweat begins to disrupt your life and/or your notice a change in odor you should think about seeing your doctor.

Age can also be a factor for bodily odor changes. Changes in your sweat glands, hormones, and medications can have a major role in why your scent changes as you get older.

 

  1. Eyes Moving When You Sleep

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It might be unnerving and weird to see someone sleeping but their eyes are still moving around apparently “looking” at many different things. Believe it or not this is actually a sign that you’re getting enough sleep which has seemingly endless health benefits.

When we sleep our body’s go through several stages or cycles of sleep. We cycle back and forth between REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and non-REM sleep. These eye movements have been associated with dreaming, however scientists are not completely sure of the cause. While the causes might not be fully known at this time, the effects are very beneficial. This REM sleep cycle only occurs when we are in a deep sleep and has been shown to give better sleep quality, make you feel more rested and even help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

The next time you see someone sleeping with lots of eye movements let them sleep. They are getting much deserved and very healthy deep sleep.

  1. Flaky and Shedding Skin

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Your skin is one of your body’s first lines of defenses against the sun, bacteria, and other harmful substances. Flaky skin can be a sign of dryness, sunburn, or some medical conditions so don’t hesitate to consult a dermatologist if you feel like you have something more serious.

Never fear! There is plenty of good news. Our skin is constantly shedding at a rate of 500 million cells a day. This might seem like an alarming rate, but our bodies are forming more skin cells to replace them all each day as well. One of the main chemical in your shedded skin cells is squalene, which has been shown to remove ozone levels inside by 2-15%.

Next time you see dust around the house you can give yourself a pat on the back for improving air quality instead of feeling the need to clean all day.

  1. Producing Mucus

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Boogers have a bad reputation, but they are actually quite useful. Mucus works with your nose hair to trap dirt and dust particles and this combination forms what we unlovingly call the booger. Maybe we should give them a little more credit since they are a sign of immune system health.

If you’re eating you might want to put your food down. New studies are beginning to show that eating your boogers may help defend against some illnesses and infections. While studies are still being conducted there is evidence that ingesting boogers might have beneficial health results.

For now be happy that without eating any boogers your mucus is fighting off infection and keeping dust and dirt from getting in to your body. We’ll tackle ingesting them when the time comes.

 

  1. Waking Up With “Crusty” Eyes

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Eye gunk, eye sleep, eye boogers, sand, crusties, the list goes on. The medical term for those crusty particles you find on the corners of your eyes when you wake up is Rheum. Every human has a mucus layer on their eyes that attracts water. Underneath it is another layer made up mostly of water that functions as a lubricant for your eyes and also washes away infections.

During sleep our body relaxes and some of this fluid can leak to the corners of our eyes, which is completely normal. When inside your eye this “gunk” is liquid, but when it leaves the warmth of your eye it cools and becomes the crunchy, hard substance we all know. Why do we have this substance at all? It keeps our tears in our eyes where it belongs to hydrate our eyes.

If you notice any changes in color or amounts this can be cause for concern, especially in conjunction with red, itchy eyes. Eye infections can cause more rheum to build up and even turn green. Keep an eye out for these changes, but otherwise stay calm and know that your rheum is working to keep your eyes hydrated and healthy.

  1. Forming Thick Foot Calluses

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While they might not be the most attractive thing to happen to your feet they definitely are not the worst. Calluses are thick, protective layers of dead skin cells or patches of skin that have thickened and are commonly found in bony areas. Their primary function is to protect the area on which they have formed, commonly on the feet. You can get calluses from exercise or walking on rough surfaces since they develop as a response to friction and weight.

Think of a callus as a tougher version of a blister. It’s just trying to protect an area of the body that is subjected to more wear and tear than usual. Make sure to always take care of your feet or any callused area to prevent infection. You can always see a doctor if any become painful or you want to have them removed.

greg burzynski

Natural Remedies for Seasonal Allergies

It is April! So you know what that means! Spring is here. Or right around the corner. Which means, its allergy time! I know, I know, most of us aren’t exactly excited about allergy season. But along with the pollen and insects and grass that spring brings, it also offers some natural ways to fight off the sneezing, itching, and runny noses.

According to the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America, 1 in 5 people, or about 50 million Americans, live with allergies. Whether it be seasonal allergies, food allergies, or another kind, the chances are incredibly high that you know someone living with allergies.

Most Americans who struggle with the issues caused by allergies are treated with pharmaceuticals, such as Benadryl, Claritin, or other prescription medications. While these medications can help with allergy symptoms, some find that the prescriptions can further aggravate the symptoms, while others find that the medicines treating the allergy create new symptoms to deal with, such as fatigue.

Fortunately, there are natural remedies that do not bring other side effects. In particular everyday foods we eat, there are natural compounds that help combat allergies. This antioxidant, called quercetin, is abundant in certain fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Eating foods high in this compound helps to reduce mast cell activity, which soothes symptoms such as a runny nose and sneezing. It is best used as a long-term remedy, and many people begin taking it 4-6 weeks before allergy season arrives.

What is interesting about quercetin is that multiple researchers have found evidence of its effectiveness. It is believed that it calms down the hyperactivity of the airways. The compound is so powerful that Iranian researchers have proven that it can help control peanut allergies (the leading cause of life-threatening/fatal allergy attacks). However, many sources agree that quercetin should be used as a long-term remedy as it may take several months before it begins to work.

Here are some great ways to boost your quercetin levels:

Apples

Yes, you read that right! Who says that treating your allergies can’t be tasty? Apples are packed with tons of antioxidants, which fight inflammation and prevent cellular damage. No worries if you can’t find apples at your grocery store all year. Pick up a jar of applesauce and be on your way!

Honey

There have been many studies on the effects of local honey and the human body, and so far so good. One study showed that a single dose of honey before bedtime diminished coughs and discomfort experienced by children. Another study found that local honey works like an allergy shot, helping your body develop a tolerance to local allergens.

Turmeric

What can’t this little spice do? Known for its anti-inflammatory abilities, turmeric is a mast cell stabilizer. Because of the spice’s long history of aiding health, there are hundreds of recipes out there allowing you to be more healthy and eat delicious food.

Nettle Leaf

This natural remedy is far less known compared to others on this list. However, nettle leaf can be very effective at naturally blocking the body’s ability to produce allergy-causing compounds and reactions. The most effective option of this remedy is tiny capsules made from dried nettle leaves. However, there are other ways of ingesting it. For example, it is often mixed with peppermint leaf and sometimes red raspberry leaf to make a refreshing allergy relief tea.

Consume your Way to Fight Inflammation

Our body is devised with an amazingly astonishing mechanism: when an alien object tries to enter your body, it works to shield itself from the foreign element. 

The immune system of our body is designed in such a way that, when it fights off invaders like plant pollens or chemical elements of a microbe, the body reacts to the process in multiple ways. One of the reactions is inflammation.

Inflammation is the defense process of our immune system in which a part of the body becomes red and begins to swell. This is a perfectly natural reaction to an infection or an injury, as your blood cells rush to the area to assist in healing. However, if the inflammation persists chronically, the repercussions can turn life threatening. 

Sometimes inflammation occurs without an infection or a bruise caused by external factors, and that is when you need to start paying attention. Inflammation can be a gateway to a number of fatal illnesses like cancer, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, depression, and even Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. 

Remedies to combat inflammation lie in our kitchens. Many experimental studies have concluded that consuming right nutrients can actually influence the onset, or stymie the occurrence, of inflammation in the human body.

Here are some of the most dangerous foods to consume for their role in causing inflammation:

  • Overconsumption of refined carbohydrates like white bread, pastries, and white rice to name a few examples.  If the bread is soft and easily compressed most likely it’s going to quickly turn into sugar in one’s body.
  • Fried foods and other pre-prepared packaged junk foods such chips that are excessively consumed can speed up the occurrence of inflammation.
  • Sugar-laden and sweetened beverages, drinks, sodas, and over consumption of alcohol.  The liquid consumption of sugar causes other health hazards too, besides inflammation and fuels the metabolic syndrome affecting many today.
  • Processed meat like hot dogs, sausages, salami, bacon, luncheon meats.
  • Corn fed red meat like steaks, burgers, and other “meat pie” dishes.
  • Spreads of animal fat origin like margarine, lard, and shortening.

It is not a revelation that most of the food items mentioned above are associated with diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity since inflammation is an underlying cause of each of these diseases.

What must be consumed to keep inflammation at bay?

Take a look at some of the best fresh foods, preferably organic, you can consume to reduce inflammation:

  • Fibrous green leafy and cruciferous vegetables like spinach, collards, lettuce, swiss chards, kale, broccoli trying to go for various colors of the rainbow
  • Tomatoes, which contain anti-inflammatory compounds such as lycopene.
  • Almonds, walnuts, and cashews
  • Fruits, including citruses, like oranges, cherries, strawberries, and other berries
  • Fatty fish like sardines packed in water or olive oil, mackerel, wild salmon and, herring, and black cod. If eating these fish is not possible than take a high quality fish oil supplement
  • Lets not forget about the mushrooms.  If available in your area maitake, shiitake, enokitake, and oyster mushrooms provide powerful health benefits.
  • Beverages like green or white tea, matcha, and coffee have anti-inflammatory benefits too, but mind the additives, which can negate the benefits.

The Mediterranean diet, which is composed primarily of plant, healthy fat and protein consumption, is said to be an ideal and healthy dietary lifestyle if one wishes to lean towards anti-inflammatory eating.

A Look into Mind-Body Medicine

In most Western medical practices, mental health and physical health are viewed as two separate entities; physical health is handled by a primary care physician and mental health is covered by a psychologist or psychiatrist as needed. However, newer practices are pulling from centuries-old beliefs that the health of the mind and the health of the body are more interconnected than we’ve been practicing.

Mens sana in corpore sano.

In ancient Greek times, there was a firm and widely held belief that the mind and body are connected and influence the health of one another. A well-known Latin phrase was developed from this belief: “mens sana in corpore sano” translates to mean “a healthy mind in a healthy body.” In essence, total, holistic wellness is wellness in both your mental and physical health. This duality between mind and body remained the common belief and practice until the Renaissance and Enlightenment periods when they were separated into two different entities. In the 17th century, Rene Descarte described humans as being comprised of two contrasting substances which could not unify with one another; the mind being sentient and able to reason but without substance, and the body with substance but constricted to the physics of earth whereas the mind is not.

Reconnecting the mind and body.

As medical knowledge progressed and our understanding of health deepened, the importance and influence of the mind began to creep its way back into discussions of physical health in the 20th century. They began to study the power that the mind has over the body in the wake of studies on how placebos can affect the body’s ability to control pain.

Mind-body health today.

Today, an entire sector of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is devoted to researching the connection between mind and body health. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) studies the impact that mental, social, emotional, spiritual, and behavioral factors can directly affect a person’s health.

Some mind-body medicine practices from the NCCIH include mindfulness, meditation, tai chi, yoga, deep breathing, massage, and homeopathy. Mind-body practices also promote the use of natural products like herbs, minerals, probiotics, and vitamins.

The designation that mind-body health practices are “alternative medicine” presents a misinforming picture of the power that incorporating these holistic practices in life can have. “Alternative” gives the impression that all typical Western health practices are abandoned when in reality it just expands the scope through with which we view these practices and understand their impact.

The Incredible Health Benefits of Practicing Tai Chi

Tai Chi Chuan means “Supreme Ultimate Fist,” a name that harkens back to arts roots as a combat system. Over time, Tai Chi evolved into a meditative art designed more for health and fitness. The Yang 24 form, a shortened version of the traditional kata, was developed more for physical fitness than combative application. Today, people practice the breathing exercises, forms, and drills of Tai Chi as part of a low-impact exercise program. A lot is said in general about the health benefits of Tai Chi, so let’s take a look at the specific ones.
Improved Balance
Performance of Tai Chi movements assists with developing better balance. At first assessment, the connection between improved balance and health enhancements fails to be obvious. Closer inspection reveals improved balance can reduce the chances of suffering an errant fall, the impact of which can cause serious injury. Anything that cuts down on the chances of a fall can be called beneficial.

 

A Sense of Calmness

Stress reduction remains a major reason why people undertake the practice of Tai Chi. The slow, peaceful movements are performed in conjunction with deep breathing allowing the practitioner to take part in a form of moving meditation. People deal with all different sources of stress, which can be overwhelming, and without an outlet for the stress, a person’s disposition doesn’t exactly become pleasant. Tai Chi serves as a nice, calming outlet for stress.

Weight Loss

Tai Chi definitely does not fall under the category of high-impact aerobics. Those looking to shed significant weight shouldn’t look to Tai Chi as their primary form of exercise. That being said, Tai Chi does involve movement and physical activity helps with burning calories. The addition of Tai Chi into a standard weight loss program certainly wouldn’t hurt and likely would lend an assist toward achieving one’s goals.

Improved Flexibility

Tai Chi does bring about the potential to improve flexibility since the circular and flowing movements could enhance range of motion. Improved flexibility can be beneficial to those hoping to reduce strains while increasing their body’s ability to perform daily tasks and is important for everyone, not just athletes.

Set Up a Routine

Accessing the benefits of Tai Chi practice requires consistency. Even as little as ten minutes of forms work every other day could begin to yield some results. Learning a simple routine from a qualified instructor might be all someone needs to get a good foundation in the art’s basics.