How Stress Impacts Vital Organs

How Stress Impacts Vital Organs

Stress affects just about everyone’s daily lives. Unfortunately, stress is not a benign thing. It can affect your body in ways that can have a long lasting impact on your health. Here are some ways stress can affect your health:

• The Effect Of Stress On Your Brain – Stress can cause you to lose your concentration and memory abilities. Whether this is psychological or physiological is not completely clear. When you are under stress, parts of your brain associated with memory, such as the hippocampus, do not work well and you cannot turn short-term memory into long-term memory. You can also fail to concentrate on things you hear or things you are reading. It isn’t clear whether this is a long-term effect or short-term effect; however, things like stress reduction techniques seem to be able to restore your ability to think.
• The Effect Of Stress On Your Gastrointestinal Tract – Stress triggers the body’s fight or flight response so that epinephrine and norepinephrine are released from your adrenal glands. This has multiple effects on the body. One thing this phenomenon does is shunt blood away from the gastrointestinal tract and toward the muscles of the body as a way of gearing up to “fight or flee” from a real or imagined opponent. This can lead to a decreased blood flow to the gastrointestinal tract, which translates into indigestion and poor uptake of nutrients. Fortunately, this can be short-lived unless you live under situations of chronic stress. Then the GI system will be more permanently affected.
• The Effect Of Stress On Your Cardiovascular System – Stress causes the release of epinephrine and norepinephrine, which automatically raises your blood pressure and heart rate. This puts more stress on your heart and puts you at higher risk of suffering from hypertension-related diseases like heart failure, stroke, and heart attack. These kinds of things do not happen overnight but if you suffer from chronic stress, the long lasting implications of heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, heart failure, and stroke are real possibilities, especially if you do not eat well or have a strong family history of heart disease.
• The Effect Of Stress On Your Immune System – Excess stress also causes the release of cortisol from the adrenal cortex. Cortisol has many effects on the body but one of the main ones is that it suppresses the immune system. High levels of cortisol mean that you are at greater risk of getting colds and the flu and have a harder time healing from open sores, cuts, or wounds. Cortisol can suppress several aspects of the immune system so you will find yourself sicker more often when under stress than you would be if you were under less stress.

Things You Can Do To Reduce Stress

Because stress can wreak havoc on your body, you need to do what you can to lessen the stress on your life so you can remain healthy. Sometimes it is just a matter of reducing the things in your life that are major sources of stress. It might mean getting out of a stressful relationship, getting your finances in order or changing your job situation so you don’t go to work each day with stressful feelings.

If you can’t change your circumstances, you may want to practice stress-relieving techniques. These include things like meditation, Tai chi, yoga, and Qi gong.

These activities can be easily learned through attending classes at a local health club or buy purchasing a DVD that will teach you ways to reduce the amount of stress you perceive in your life so you can live a healthier life.

Another great way to reduce stress is to take a vacation, or spend time in nature that naturally calms the mind, body, and spirit.

5 Natural Ways To Boost Your Memory Power

5 Natural Ways To Boost Your Memory Power

Ahh, memory, how many of us wish it to be as potent as it was in younger years.

As we grow, it is natural for bodily systems to begin to fade and slow down, and memory is one of the first to go. It may become difficult to remember someone’s name, information, or at some point, even the directions to a place you’ve been to several times.

Sometimes significant memory issues are caused by brain impairing conditions, such as Alzheimer’s, dementia and conditions marked by dementia that can cause severe memory lapses where the sufferer may not recognize one’s own family or friends. Some of us worry that we may become one of the 10 million baby boomers who develop Alzheimer’s disease.

However, memory issues do not have to be so extreme in order to cause us distress and concern. How many times have you not been able to recall the name of a movie, or a good book you read? Maybe, more often than not you cannot seem to remember where you leave your car keys when you enter your home. How many times do you find yourself thinking or saying, “What was that guy’s name.”

While not being able to recall as we once did is alarming, there are ways to naturally boost your memory power so that these embarrassing and often problematic mishaps happen less often. The following are five natural ways to boost your memory power and improve overall brain function.

5 Ways to Naturally Boost Memory Power

In order to improve cognitive function, we must actively take care of our minds. The following are five ways to naturally boost memory power that are safe and effective.

1. Drink Less Alcohol: It’s no secret that overconsumption of alcohol can greatly damage one’s health. The toxins present in alcohol can immediately begin to attack and impair different bodily systems as well as different areas of the brain—memory being just one of them. Impaired memory is a common side effect of heavy drinking, usually because this activity can lead to severe blackouts in which the person can only vaguely remember what happened the night before.

2. Eat a Balanced Diet: It may seem crazy but the foods you eat can impair memory. If your diet consists mainly of junk foods, you may find that you not only feel bad, but that your memory is often foggy and vague. Nutrition is key to all functions in the body, and the mind. Of course, eating the right foods is important for overall health and wellbeing, but certain foods are beneficial specifically for improving cognitive functions. Foods rich in B vitamins have been proven to prevent the onset of dementia, heart disease, and even brain shrinkage in older adults. Fill your diet with these B vitamin rich foods: eggs, milk, leafy greens, nuts, beans, fruits, fish, poultry, and legumes. Foods that are high in antioxidants such as tomatoes, carrots, avocados, berries, and citrus fruits are also known to help prevent memory loss.

3. Take Time to Relax: Ever notice how your mind feels clearer after you take some time for a nap or a brisk walk? This is because giving yourself time to relax helps your brain reset itself in the midst of excessive work. Studies have shown that students who study and then get a good night’s sleep perform better on exams than those who opt to cram all night before. This is because, like any other muscle, the brain needs rest in between intervals of heavy use. When you allot time for a refreshing break, you’ll find that your recall as well as alertness will improve significantly.

4. Bacopa: This natural medicine is largely used in the Ayurvedic system of medicine and health care. It is used to help revitalize tired, worn out, or aging brain cells as well as enhance memory and specific recall. In India, this natural supplement is used regularly to help improve intelligence levels as well as help with mental organization and storage. Many who use this medicine find that they are able to recall certain information when needed because they have successfully learned to organize and compartmentalize their thoughts and important information.

5. Gingko Biloba: While there are many “so called” memory boosters in the supplement market, most of them lack scientific research to support their claims. However, Ginkgo Biloba shows more promise than others show and is widely used in Europe for patients with dementia that stems from reduced blood flow, as it believed to improve blood flow in small vessels. According to, Dr. Fugh-Berman, an associate professor in the complementary and alternative medicine Master’s program at the Georgetown University School of Medicine, two systematic reviews and meta-analyses has found that this herb is helpful for dementia in about the same range as conventional prescription drugs given to Alzheimer’s patients. While it does not help to prevent dementia, it does improve and possibly prevents it from getting worse. Several studies show gingko to be effective in improving mental alertness in healthy people who take it as a supplement.

6. Regular Exercise: That’s right—getting the blood pumping is also an effective way to get the brain functioning better. This is because proper blood circulation gives the brain the oxygen it needs to improve common cognitive functions such as alertness, recall, intellect, critical thinking, and comprehension. Simple activities like taking a walk, Yoga, Pilates, going for a jog, or stretching are all effective ways to improve memory and overall brain health.

7. Flex Your Brain Muscles: Lifting weights builds body muscle, and using your brain builds memory muscles. Do word games, check out the many special memory-boosting puzzles available, and read more instead of watching television. Using your brain will help to keep your memory sharp.

Guard Your Brain Cells
It is important to remember that your brain cells are especially precious because they are limited. Unlike the rest of the body, these cells are not reproduced after they have been damaged or destroyed. Take care of your brain by avoiding excessive alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, and other substances that harm brain health to keep it sharp.
For even more great ways to boost your memory, visit your doctor to discuss your specific needs.

The Benefits Of Cardiovascular Exercise

Why is Cardiovascular Exercise So Important?

Our bodies were designed to move. Movement, especially continuous movement that involves major muscle groups like our arms and legs, helps our bodies function correctly.

Cardiovascular exercise focuses on movement that strengthens your heart muscle and increases efficiency in your lungs.

The word cardiovascular means “heart” and “blood vessels”.

Think of cardiovascular exercise this way: when a fire doesn’t have enough oxygen, the flames dwindle and the heat given off is not as intense. Oxygen reacts in the same way in our body: if all we take in are shallow breaths the majority of the day, our cells don’t get all the oxygen they need, our metabolism cools down a little, and our body becomes sluggish.

With cardiovascular exercise, the lungs are challenged to inhale more deeply and therefore deliver more oxygen. The cellular activity jumps back up with the increased oxygen, our metabolism fires back up and our body’s systems pick back up with renewed vigor. The same can be said with the blood flow as well. Without regular exercise, the heart muscle can become inefficient and the blood flow isn’t as forceful as it should be. Cellular waste isn’t carried away as completely, nutrients aren’t always delivered where they need to go, and the body can become bogged down in its in own inefficiency.

With cardiovascular exercise, the body can regain balance and efficiency in its processes.

When the body is working efficiently we experience:
• Improved sleep quality
• Reduced cholesterol
• Lowered blood pressure
• Reduced stress
• Increased lung capacity
• Decrease in depression symptoms
• Clearer thinking
• More energy

What kinds of exercise deliver these types of benefits?

Jogging, running, swimming, bicycling, rowing, and even the more vigorous forms of yoga all excel in getting the heart beating and lungs breathing more efficiently.

Other cardiovascular exercising includes dancing, martial arts, gymnastics, race walking and water aerobics.

It is only recently in our evolution that we humans have begun sitting around for hours each day. This is completely opposite of what our bodies were designed for, so it is no wonder obesity and diseases associated with a sedentary lifestyle are rampant these days – we are literally sitting ourselves into an early grave!

Cardiovascular exercise utilizes our body in the way it was created – movement that balances and maintains our systems the way nature intended, resulting in an efficient set of lungs and strong, healthy heart. Although many of us don’t think of exercise as “fun”, try to remember that the benefits will be well worth short periods of exertion. By making cardio exercise a part of your daily routine, you’ll be making changes to improve your quality of life.

Healthy Bones For Seniors

Healthy Bones For Seniors

Did you know that your bones are alive? Bones are living, growing tissues that continue to be renewed. New bone is always being replaced, and it’s important to maintain your bone mass to avoid suffering bone loss.

Protecting your bones at any age is important, but it becomes increasingly crucial as you enter your senior years. For women, bone loss becomes an issue earlier on, usually once they reach menopause. This is because the hormone, estrogen, is on a rapid decline, and estrogen plays a part in protecting the bones. For men, they don’t start losing bone mass at the same rate as women until they are 65 years of age, usually the same time that testosterone levels start to fall. Like estrogen, testosterone is a bone-protecting hormone.

So what can you do to maintain your strong bones starting today?

First, it’s important to exercise and incorporate resistance training. Any type of exercise builds stronger bones, and once your peak bone mass is reached, exercising will maintain this bone mass so that you don’t start to lose it.
Better yet, exercise promotes better balance, improved posture and increased strength, all factors that will prevent falls or provide more cushion in the event that a fall does occur.

Resistance Training

Resistance training is an excellent way to keep your bones strong, so try incorporating lightweight dumbbells or resistance bands into your routines.

Balance

If you feel that these exercises would be too much for your body, consider Tai Chi, a Chinese exercise that encourages balance and coordination. Remember that exercise has the dual benefit of keeping your weight down, which also places less stress on the bones.

Calcium and Vitamin D

Second, in order for your bones to get the nutrients they need, they must be properly nourished with Vitamin D.
Vitamin D helps the body to absorb and use calcium, and calcium is responsible for growing and maintaining healthy bones.
Discuss with your doctor how much calcium you should be getting each day, and then incorporate milk and calcium-rich foods into your diet.

Examples of foods high in calcium include dairy products, some fish, tuna, eggs, green leafy vegetables, fortified cereals, whole grains and tofu.
At this stage in your life, your doctor may also suggest taking a Vitamin D supplement to prevent osteoporosis.
Another consideration you should take to maintain the strength of your bones is to protect them in the first place.

Preparing Your Home

As you grow older, areas in the home that may not have been a second thought before become potential hazards.
To avoid unexpected slips and falls, scan your home for hazards and take the necessary precautions to safeguard them.

Make sure area rugs are secured to the floor, install safety bars in the shower or tub, place nightlights in the hallway and avoid slippery floors.
If you have osteoporosis or walk with a cane or walker, you are more at risk for unexpected falls and need to be that much more diligent about safeguarding your home.

Alcohol and Tobacco

Finally, it’s important that you refrain from drinking and smoking. These behaviors have been linked to a decrease in bone mass, and they take a toll on the body at large, including the heart, arteries and organs.
After some time, drinking and smoking begin to obstruct the bones’ ability to renew themselves and therefore hinder bone formation.

Also be cautious with your intake of Vitamin A, as this vitamin in excess can actually harm bone formation. It’s believed that 25,000 milligrams is the maximum you should take and that Vitamin A in the form of retinol is the most damaging to bones.
Watching your intake of alcohol, nicotine and Vitamin A should be part of your overall approach to maintaining healthy bone mass.

 

Rainy Day Strategies For Achieving Your Weight Loss Goals

Do rainy days leave you stressed that you are going to lose all you gained if you do not engage in exercise for weight loss?

It’s raining (or snowing, sleeting, freezing cold) and you don’t feel inspired to get out there and get your heart rate up in bad weather.  You’ll just have to skip your workout today, right?  Wrong!

Below are three easy moves you can do inside where it’s nice, comfortable and dry:

Stair Climbing

If you have stairs in your home, they offer an excellent opportunity to work your legs and buns.  You can either walk up and down the flight several times, or if you are in better shape, jog quickly up and down to work up a sweat.  If you don’t have a full flight of stairs but have one or two, you can step up and down repeatedly, alternating legs.  If you have no stairs at all, try stepping up and down (carefully) on a step-stool or sturdy box.

Squats

Squats can provide a great workout in a short period of time, and they require very little space to perform.  Standing with your feet about shoulder-width apart, start bending your knees and lowering your body until your legs are bent at a 90 degree angle, then slowly rise back up to a standing position.  You can also work your upper body at the same time by raising both arms straight out in front of you as you squat down, then lowering them back to your sides as you stand up.

Pushups/Pullups

Pushups are a great exercise for working your arms, chest and back.  If traditional floor pushups are too hard for you, start with “wall pushups” – leaning forward with your hands pressed against a wall and pushing your body weight back with your arms.  If you have a pullup bar, you can use virtually any doorway to secure it and get a great workout for your arms.

These moves are just the beginning too; there are endless great exercises you can do at home to work up a sweat, elevate your heart rate and strengthen your muscles.  If you don’t like traditional workouts like these, how about simply turning on the stereo and working up a sweat dancing around the house?  Or cleaning out the garage or basement?  Or cleaning your home from top to bottom, washing walls, windows and floors?

Think outside the box and you can come up with dozens of great activities to substitute for your normal workout routine.

 

If you would like fore weight loss strategies go to:  http://loseonepoundaweek.com/blog

Docmac