Archive for the ‘natural health’ Category

Yoga has been around for a long time.  Originally, it was a spiritual practice but more recently has become an activity for those wanting to increase their physical and mental well-being.

Almost all the of the different types of yoga have similar elements:  postures, breathing and meditation.   You should try different styles and determine which works best for you.

yoga imageWhat are the health benefits of yoga?

  • Relieve stress
  • Relieve lower back pain and neck pain
  • Improve mobility, flexibility, balance
  • Improves sleep
  • Manage depression and anxiety
  • Manage pain and symptoms from chronic diseases

It can be overwhelming with all the different types of yoga represented in studios today.  Here is a short list of the most popular yoga types and what they offer:

  • Power Yoga: Challenging sequence of poses created to increase energy and heat flow
  • Ananda: Designed to harmonize your mind, soul, and body through a series of poses. May be best for beginning students since there is not a lot of aerobic output.
  • Lyengar: The priority of this type of yoga is on proper alignment by using props. The poses in this class are held longer than in other types of yoga classes.
  • Ashtanga: Fast paced series of challenging poses that increase in difficulty throughout the class.
  • Bikram: Often referred to as hot yoga, is a sequence of 13 standing and 13 sitting traditional yoga poses. The temperature of the room in which you practice this type of yoga is about 100 degrees.
  • Hatha: A good class for beginners, as it is slower paced and includes breathing/meditation exercises, flexibility, and strength.

Try one or try them all.

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CBD Oil Can Benefit Your Overall Well Being

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CBD oil is getting a lot of attention but more research is needed. 

CBD imageCBD oils have become all the rage lately, however are there any real health benefits that can be obtained from it? CBD, or Cannabidiol, oil is extracted from cannabis that contains chemicals that are found in marijuana plants. This doesn’t mean that it gives you the “high” effect because CBD oil does not contain THC, the chemical responsible for getting people high. Even though CBD does not cause any intoxication, there is still a lot of controversy around it. Nevertheless, many are becoming more aware of the possible benefits it could have on overall wellbeing. The following are potential health benefits of CBD oil:

  • Anxiety management. Research has found that it can change the way your brain reacts to serotonin. A study found that a dose of 600 mg CBD oil helped people with social anxiety before having to give a speech
  • Pain relief. Studies have found that  CBD oil can be used to manage pain. It can provide benefits when taken after chemotherapy services. However, scientists believe that the anti inflammatory properties are the main contributors, and not necessarily that it helps with pain
  • Reduces acne. As mentioned previously, CBD has anti inflammatory properties that are very beneficial when it comes to acne. It was found that it helps prevent activity in the sebaceous gland that is responsible for sebum production. Too much sebum production is what causes acne.

There are many ways you can incorporate CBD into your lifestyle such as oil, capsules, sprays, and creams. The form of CBD really depends on what it is being used for. CBD is not approved by the FDA and you should consult your physician before incorporating it into your lifestyle. CBD oil is not legal in all states, so be sure to check your state law’s.


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Vegan Food – Is it Health Food?

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Go to the supermarket and you will be overwhelmed with all the vegan alternatives in the aisle.   There are vegan milks, vegan meats, vegan butters, vegan yogurts, vegan snacks and the list is endless.   For those that have been vegan or those that are trying to live a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, it seems like there is a plethora of food options for you now.  Are all these options healthy for you?   Have you read the labels on some of these vegan foods?   The list of ingredients is important and it’s prudent to read all labels.  Many of these items have added sugar, some bad fats and other chemicals that may not be particularly healthy.

One example of a meatless entree recently reviewed has jackfruit listed in the ingredients.   This fruit is similar to fig but it does not contain much protein.    Jackfruit is mostly carbohydrates so it’s probably not the best substitute for meat if you are seeking protein.  Another issue is that some vegan foods are highly processed.  They may have some veggies listed as an ingredient but recognize that they may not be the whole foods you need for your diet.   Generally, if you want to have a vegan diet, it’s best to consume whole foods – the actual fruit, vegetable, nut, etc.

Also, just because it is vegan does not mean that it is great for you.   Oreos, gummi bears, Wheat Thins, even some pop tarts are vegan.

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What Are Adaptogens?

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What Are Adaptogens?

Adaptogens are substances that are becoming more and more popular because of their promise to help your body adapt to different stressors. These herbs are unregulated by the FDA and are believed to reduce stress/anxiety, promoting homeostasis, and supporting the adrenal glands. Some examples of these herbs include ashwagandha, Rhodiola, ginseng, reishi, and Chaga. As of right now, there is more data on adaptogens for animals than humans. Studies have found that after 12 weeks, symptoms of depression were no different in those who took placebos than those who took 340 mg of Rhodiola every day.

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Some small studies show that ashwagandha can lower the stress response hormone, cortisol, in the morning. However, cortisol levels vary throughout the day, so a single measurement in the morning doesn’t provide much information. The idea that supplements like adaptogens can balance hormones is not backed up by science, and your body already has natural mechanisms to balance hormones. The lack of scientific data also means that there is not much information on the effects they could have. If you are concerned by fatigue or hormone imbalance, speak to primary care physician to find the best course of action for you.  You may also want to consider ordering your own online discount blood tests at https://www.healthonelabs.com/tests_offer/index/24


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What you should know about CRP

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What you should know about CRP

CRP is C-reactive protein, a protein found in the body that reacts to the inflammatory response. Called a complement protein, CRP and other proteins like it respond to tissue damage. These proteins and other aggregates of the inflammatory, cause a reaction to help repair when there is an injury anywhere in the body. This quick reaction to tissue damage and inflammation is part of our immune response.

Reactions to Inflammation

Due to this reaction, CRP levels are understandably elevated after surgery or accidental physical trauma. CRP levels are also affected when the body undergoes vascular events that leave tissue without oxygen, such as heart attacks or strokes. CRP levels are often watched after myocardial infarction or heart attack, along with other blood tests to prevent another episode.

CRP & Infection

When someone is actively fighting infections, like appendicitis, influenza, or pneumonia, CRP levels will also be elevated. CRP levels, along with white blood cell counts, are a big determinant when physicians decide if a treatment is effective at eliminating the infection.

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Autoimmunity and CRP

When the body’s immune system starts to target its own cells, it is called Autoimmune disorder.  Some examples of autoimmune diseases are rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s Disease, lupus, and hypothyroidism in some cases. In addition to physical symptoms of pain and fever, autoimmune diseases will increase the inflammatory response. C-reactive protein levels are often evaluated by doctors, again, with other tests, to help determine the severity or progression of the disease or episode.

CRP & Heart

Because CRP is elevated after a heart attack, most doctors will follow its levels in patients after coronary events. If initial levels of CRP are over 2.4 mg/dL, they are considered at risk for coronary events.  It is desirable to have CRP levels less than 1.0 mg/dL. Statin drugs treated for hyperlipidemia reduce CRP levels, another reason to keep at-risk patients on these drugs. It is evident that patients who have consistently higher CRP levels are more likely to have hypertension, diabetes and heart disease.

Some cancers may elevate CRP levels and is often very high during acute or chronic kidney failure. A CRP blood test alone will not diagnose a single disease but can be significant in the presence of other symptoms.

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Why is a Complete Blood Count blood test important?

A complete blood count (CBC) is the go-to test to analyze the three main types of cells within the blood: red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Red blood cells contain a molecule called hemoglobin that carries oxygen from the lungs to the body’s tissues. A CBC shows the number of red blood cells, their size and shape, and the concentration of hemoglobin within each cell. Red blood cells can be low if a person has been losing blood or if they have anemia (low hemoglobin levels). If you are diagnosed with anemia, your doctor will then order more specific tests to determine if your anemia is the result of recent blood loss, low iron levels, or a vitamin B12 or folic acid deficiency.

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The white blood cells are a key player in the body’s immune system, defending you against potentially harmful organisms. A CBC gives a total white cell count and the percentages of the different types of white cells, which can help your doctor determine what sort of infection your body is fighting (bacterial, parasitic, etc.). Additionally, leukemia, which is a cancer of the bone marrow, can be diagnosed if abnormal white cells are present in the blood.

A blood platelet count in the normal range is necessary to ensure the blood clots as it should, preventing excessive blood loss from injuries or surgery

 


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What is the best nut butter?

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What is the best nut butter?

Peanut butter is the most popular nut butter, but it may have some competition. To name a few there is almond butter, sunflower butter, and cashew butter. Most of these provide protein, magnesium, vitamin E, zinc, and copper. It is becoming increasingly popular to add things like collagen, omega-3s, and coconut to nut and seed butters for added health benefits, but are all of these additives necessary? The answer is, it depends. The most important thing when determining if a nut butter is healthy is reading the label. Look for nut butters that have no more than 3 grams of added sugars, less than 3 grams of saturated fat, 6-8 grams of protein, less than 150 mg of sodium.

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A good rule of thumb when reading food labels is if you can pronounce the ingredients, then there is a good chance that it’s a good option. There are also options that are similar to nut butters for those that are allergic to nuts such as sunflower butter, soy and pea butter, and tahini. When looking for the healthiest versions of these nut-free butters look for options with minimal ingredients. Lastly, you should beware of spreads that resemble nut butters, but are actually spreads with more sugar than nuts. A few examples include cookie butter, chocolate spread, and granola butter. Overall, nut butters are a great snack option full of vitamins and nutrients, but it is important to select options made with clean and minimal ingredients.


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Does daily physical activity boost your mood?

It is widely known that regular exercise is key for overall good physical health, however, it is possible that it could prevent depression. A study done by JAMA Psychiatry found that there was a 26% decrease in chances for individuals to become depressed for each major increase in physical activity. It was even something as simple as replacing 15 minutes you would usually spend sitting with a 15-minute run. Before this study, it was unsure whether exercising improves mental health or if moving less is an effect of being depressed.

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The study found that exercise independently reduced the risk of depression. It was also found that everyday tasks and activities like walking to get coffee or taking the stairs to count towards your daily physical activity. This is great because it means you don’t necessarily have to exercise the conventional way every single day on a treadmill or Stairmaster, but simply making small changes like walking instead of driving makes a big difference. This also increases your chances of staying active daily because exercise doesn’t have to be daunting, but should be time to unplug and de-stress.To live a healthy active lifestyle you have to find what works for you, whether it’d be going to a group exercise class or going on a walk. Ensuring you exercise daily will help improve your mental well being, so go out there and find physical activities that are enjoyable to you.


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Why Low-Fat Diets Fail?

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Why Low-Fat Diets Fail?

One of the most common misconceptions people have when trying to lose weight is that they need to cut out fat or eat foods that are labeled low-fat in order to achieve their goal or live a healthy lifestyle, however by doing this you could actually be doing more harm than good. Reducing fat often leads to a higher intake of refined carbs, and cuts out healthy fats that your body needs. Research has found diets with high amounts of saturated fats are associated with a higher risk of heart attacks and high blood cholesterol levels.

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So, instead of taking an approach that completely eliminates or significantly reduces fat, you should opt to include healthy unsaturated fats in your diet. Healthy fats are actually an essential macronutrient because they help your body absorb nutrients like vitamins A, D, E, and K, and antioxidants. Omega-3 fats optimize heart, nerve, and brain function. You should include healthy fats into your diet like avocados, olive oil, nuts, and fish, and try to limit your consumption of “reduced-fat” fat foods that are high in refined carbs and added sugars. A healthy diet includes healthy fats, primarily unrefined carbohydrates, and protein.


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What type of water should you be drinking?

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What type of water should you be drinking?

There is no question that staying hydrated is key when it comes to your health, like reducing fatigue, preserving sensitive tissues, and keeping your immune system healthy. There are many options when it comes to your drinking water such as:

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  • alkaline,
  • spring,
  • purified,
  • mineral, and
  • artesian,

but does it matter which one you are drinking?

Mineral water natural water that contains at least 250 part per million total of dissolved solids. Artesian water is acquired from a well that taps a layer of rock or sand. Spring water is derived from an underground source in spring. Purified water is highly treated through distillation, and deionization in order to meet certain standards. Lastly, alkaline water just has a higher pH than tap water,  with a pH of 8 or 9 as opposed to tap water’s pH of 7. So with all of these choices, which one is the best one? There is not much evidence that one type of water is superior to others, however, there is proof that states everyone is drinking enough water. It is recommended that men drink 125 ounces and women drink 91 ounces. That’s about 15 cups of water for men and 11 cups of water for women. Your body is made up of water, so it is important to stay hydrated regardless of your choice of water.


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