Archive for the ‘Protein’ Category

How Stress is Affecting your Overall Health

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How Stress is Affecting your Overall Health

You may be living a fast-paced life which could mean you are under constant stress. The effects of chronic stress can be detrimental to your overall health. Some symptoms of chronic stress include anxiety, depression, insomnia, headaches, and irritability. The following are possible effects of stress on different systems in your body:

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  • Immune system: Chronic stress means you are releasing stress hormones constantly and this can weaken the immune system and decrease your body’s response to viruses and bacteria. A weakened immune system also means the recovery period of an illness or injury is longer.
  • Digestive system: The liver creates extra glucose when under constant stress, which could increase the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes. It can also cause an increase in stomach acid and this can increase the chances of getting an ulcer or for existing ulcers to act up.
  • Cardiovascular system: The heart pumps blood faster when under stress, thus raising blood pressure and increases the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
  • Muscular system: Muscles tense up when under stress, however, if the stress does not subside, the muscles will not relax. Tense muscles can cause headache, and body ache, and in the long run, this can lead to a reduction in exercise.
  • Central nervous and endocrine systems: The central nervous system is responsible for your flight or fight response which is activated under stress. The hypothalamus sends signals to the adrenal glands to release cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones increase heart rate and send a rush of blood to your heart, muscles, and other important organs. Chronic stress can also cause eating disorders, social withdrawal, and alcohol/drug abuse.

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How to practice flexible dieting

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How to practice flexible dieting

With the start of a new year, you may have a few health goals you’d like to reach this year. Many people resort to trying all sorts of fad diets because they think it’ll help them reach their goals, but often times they will just gain the weight back after they complete these fad diets. It is important to understand that living a healthy lifestyle is a lifelong commitment, which is why fad diets don’t work. Some have a misconception that living a healthy lifestyle means that you can never indulge in any of your favorite foods. The idea of eating super clean 100% of the time and restricting yourself from enjoying any of your favorite foods is actually not healthy and, in the long run not very sustainable. Restricting yourself can actually lead you to overindulge later.

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For example, if you’re craving a cookie and eat a rice cake instead, you might end up eating 10 cookies later when you could’ve just satisfied your craving from the beginning by eating a cookie or two. Flexible dieting is tracking the macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fats)  you consume in order to attain your goal body composition. There are many apps and websites you can use to help you determine how much of each macro you should be consuming daily to reach your specific goal, and it might take some trial and error since everyone’s body is different. Once you figure out the right amount of macronutrients for you, you should opt for 80-85% of your diet come from nutritious whole foods, however, you may also include your favorite treats and foods into your diet. After a while, tracking your macros will start to seem easier and maybe even become more intuitive for you. Benefits of following a flexible diet are that it is both effective, sustainable, and you can tailor it to reach your specific goals


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The relationship between nuts and colon cancer

Can something as simple as the incorporation of tree nuts such as pecans, almonds, walnuts, and hazelnuts into your diet help you prevent colon cancer? An observational study found that patients with stage III colon cancer who incorporated at least two ounces of nuts into their diets per week were 42% less likely of cancer recurrence and 57% lower probability of death than those who did not consume nuts. The study also found that there was no link between eating peanuts and a decrease in recurrence of cancer and/or improvement in survival.

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The overall consensus of the study is that there are lifestyle changes colon cancer patients can incorporate to reduce the likelihood of getting cancer again like maintaining a healthy weight, reducing sugar intake, and living an active lifestyle. Nut consumption is also linked to a decrease in insulin resistance and in inflammation which is both implicated to cause cancer. In conclusion, nuts should not be considered a substitution for chemotherapy or medication, but rather something you incorporate into a well-balanced diet to help prevent cancer recurrence.


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Hashimoto’s Disease

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Hashimoto’s Disease

Hashimoto’s disease is when the immune system attacks your thyroid, which can lead to an underactive thyroid, known as hypothyroidism. Hashimoto’s disease affects about 5% of the population in the US and is 8 times more likely to be found in women than in men. Thyroid hormones are critical because they control the way your body uses energy, so a reduced amount of these hormones would have an effect on many bodily functions such as high cholesterol levels and cardiovascular disease.best online lab testing services

In some rare and severe cases, hypothyroidism leads to a myxedema coma, which is essentially when the body functions slow down to the point where it becomes life-threatening. Hashimoto’s disease usually doesn’t show symptoms early on, however as the disease progresses the thyroid becomes larger which can make your neck look swollen. The enlarged thyroid can feel like your throat is full and is typically not painful. The hypothyroidism caused by Hashimoto’s disease tends to have relatively mild symptoms like depression, tiredness, weight gain, memory issues, thinning hair, and joint/muscle pain. Treatment for people with Hashimoto’s disease usually depends on whether or not they have hypothyroidism. Usually, doctors will monitor people’s disease if they don’t have hypothyroidism and if they do they may prescribe levothyroxine which is a hormone identical to the one your thyroid produces.


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Post nasal drip or acid reflux?

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Postnasal drip or acid reflux?

Mucus is constantly being produced by the body because it helps trap germs, so the mucus is also constantly dripping down the back of your throat. Post nasal drip, often referred to as upper airway cough syndrome (UACS), happens when uncommonly thick or thin mucus that drips down the back of your throat, and this sensation will usually cause you to clear your throat. It is also often accompanied by a chronic cough.

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Some people have Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) where the stomach acid is regurgitated through the esophagus and can cause health issues. GERD can cause a similar sensation to that of post nasal drip because there is a liquid going through the back of your throat. You can differentiate post nasal drip from acid reflux from the burning sensation you feel in the back of your throat, or heartburn when you experience acid reflux. Post nasal drip can be caused by allergies or colds, while acid reflux is caused by trigger foods like spicy foods, soda, or chocolate. It is important to know if you are experiencing post nasal drip or acid reflux so that you can treat it properly.  If you are unable to determine whether you are experiencing acid reflux or post nasal drip, please speak to a physician so that he can provide the correct medication for what you are experiencing.


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What is Cortisol?

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What is Cortisol?

Cortisol is a hormone that is released when your body is under stress, which is why it is often referred to as the “stress hormone”. Having knowledge of how this hormone can affect your body is crucial when trying to balance your hormones, which in turn can help you achieve better health. Cortisol is created in the adrenal glands and the release of this hormone is controlled by the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and adrenal gland. Most of the cells in the body have cortisol receptors, thus the secretion of it can affect many functions in your body. A few examples of functions cortisol effects are:order online lab tests

  • regulating metabolism,
  • reducing bodily inflammation,
  • controlling blood sugar levels, and
  • helping the creation of memories.

High cortisol levels can be caused by Cushing syndrome, which is tumors on the pituitary or adrenal glands. People who have Cushing syndrome can experience weight gain in the abdomen, chest, and face, as well as high blood pressure, skin changes, osteoporosis, mood swings, and flushed face. High cortisol levels that aren’t caused by Cushing syndrome can cause anxiety and depression and in women a change in libido and menstrual cycle. On the other hand, however, low cortisol levels can also have some negative effects on the body. Low levels of cortisol can cause primary adrenal insufficiency or Addison disease. Symptoms include weight loss, skin changes, fatigue, and mood swings. Addison disease can damage adrenal glands.

Cortisol levels are crucial for many bodily functions, which is why it’s important to make sure your levels of cortisol are regular. You can order your own cortisol blood test to check your levels here.

 


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What is the Pancreas?

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What is the Pancreas?

The pancreas is a large gland behind the stomach and close to the duodenum, the very first part of the small intestine. It is responsible for secreting enzymes into the duodenum through a tube called the pancreatic duct. Pancreatic enzymes join with a liquid produced in the liver, bile, and stores it in the gallbladder to digest food. The pancreas also releases the hormones insulin and glucagon into the bloodstream, which helps the body regulate the glucose it takes from food for energy. Pancreatitis occurs when the pancreas becomes inflamed. With pancreatitis, sometimes the enzymes become activated and begin to digest the pancreas itself. Treatment can be very painful and requires hospitalization most of the time. online lab tests If it’s not caught early, it can turn into a life-threatening illness. The most common cause of acute pancreatitis is the presence of gallstones which are small, stone-like substances made of hardened bile that can cause inflammation in the pancreas as they pass through the common bile duct.  Heavy alcohol consumption is another common cause.  Acute pancreatitis can occur within hours or as long as 2 days after consuming alcohol. Other causes of acute pancreatitis include abdominal trauma, medications, infections, tumors, and genetic abnormalities of the pancreas. Researchers studied the problem of pancreatitis and learned that eating vegetables can lower the risk of developing pancreatitis.   The study found that people who ate at least four servings of vegetables a day lowered their risk of developing pancreatitis by 44 percent compared to people who seldom ate vegetables. The following are a few ways that may help prevent pancreatitis:

  1. Limit your intake of alcohol.
  2. Keep your triglycerides in a healthy range (less than 150 mg/dL).  Triglycerides are included as part of the Lipid (Cholesterol) Panel.
  3. Eat four or more servings of vegetables each day.

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Why the circulatory system is so important

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Why the circulatory system is so important

The circulatory system, also known as the cardiovascular system, is responsible for the flow of blood, hormones, and oxygen, which in turn helps maintain homeostasis in your body. It also transports lymph, which is a clear fluid that gets rid of the waste in your body. There are 2 parts to the circulatory system: the systemic circulation, and the pulmonary circulation. The systemic circulation carries blood from the heart to all other parts of the body, and the pulmonary circulation carries blood from the heart to the lungs, then back to the heart. Some of the most common problems of the circulatory system include high blood pressure, aneurysms, heart disease, and varicose veins. A healthy circulatory system requires natural movement of smooth muscle tissue, so it is important you move your body every day by stretching, doing High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), or even something as simple as going on a walk. You should also beorder online lab tests

  • consuming a well-balanced diet,
  • maintaining a healthy weight, and
  • speaking to your physician about family history of heart issues.

You should seek medical help if you have problems breathing, chest pains, or feeling dizzy, as this may be related to your heart health.

 


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Should You be Eating More Fermented Foods?

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Should You be Eating More Fermented Foods?

           Fermented foods have many health benefits and you might want to start incorporating them in your diet. Fermented foods are foods that have been through the fermentation process, which is the process of transforming carbs into alcohol or organic acids by using yeast or bacteria. Not only does this process help to preserve the food, but it also creates strains of probiotics, enzymes, B-vitamins, and Omega-3 fatty acids.

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These probiotic-rich foods break the food down to a form that is easier to digest, which is why one of the health benefits of fermented foods is improved digestion. Probiotics are also great for your gut health, which is linked to cognitive function and maintaining the healthy weight. A few other benefits of consuming fermented foods is that it helps you absorb food better, boosts the immune system, and can help treat irritable bowel disease (IBD). A few examples of fermented foods are kombucha, kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, miso, probiotic yogurt, and natto. Many of these fermented foods can be made at home, so they are also budget-friendly and can be made to your liking. If you are having problems with your digestion, or just want to boost your overall health Importance of Zinc for your health, you may want to start incorporating some of these fermented foods in your diet.


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Can oral hygiene increase inflammation?

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Can oral hygiene increase inflammation?

There are many medical articles, including clinical studies, that show correlations between the mouth and body – poor oral hygiene can cause many health issues within your body.  Poor oral hygiene causes overgrowth of bad bacteria which can lead to gum disease and gum disease creates inflammation, which in turn can lead to heart disease.

Granted, if you have poor oral hygiene you won’t necessarily have heart disease, but a healthy mouth can lower chances of getting other factors that lead to heart disease.

Gum disease has been found to affect up to 75 percent of all adults and is primarily caused by the buildup of bacteria in the mouth, especially the gums.  When there is a significant amount of bacteria, the gums react and red, swell and bleed.  Gum disease is known as gingivitis and if left untreated can provide serious tissue and/or bone damage.

The American Heart Association has conducted studies showing the relationship between gum disease and heart disease.  There is a direct causal relationship with a strong association, meaning there’s an increased risk of heart attack.Order online lab tests

Additional research is being conducted, however, the biggest factor seems to be inflammation because this is the way bacteria enters the bloodstream.  Many people test their blood for inflammation :

The Cardiac C-Reactive Protein Test (hs) is a tool for assessing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

CRP is a protein that is found in the blood when certain inflammatory processes are happening. It is now known that arteriosclerotic plaques in the coronary arteries are a process of inflammation that correlates with C-reactive protein, and it is believed to be a good way to predict heart disease. The test can help estimate your chances of developing cardiovascular disease and your risk of having a sudden heart attack. This blood test was redesigned from the traditional C-Reactive Protein test to be sensitive enough to detect chronic low-level inflammation. Test results are independent of cholesterol, family history, and other traditional risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The test can be done along with traditional tests, such as cholesterol, to determine your risk. Recent illness or tissue injury, and chronic inflammation from arthritis can increase CRP levels and falsely influence the risk rating for heart disease from this test.

Research has also shown that significant numbers of premature and low-weight births are accompanied by unhealthy gums.   Hormonal changes during pregnancy can exacerbate sensitive gums and can aggravate symptoms.

There is a stronger connection with diabetes and gum disease: poorly managed diabetes jeopardizes the immune system, causing the body to work harder to fight any infections.  Inflammation can be increased thereby creating an environment for developing gum disease.  Increased levels of inflammation are related to a reduction in insulin sensitivity and higher blood sugar.

Stress is also known to compromise the immune system and increases the risk of developing infection.  It appears that cortisol, which is released when stressed, weakens the immune system and leaves strained

bodies with a higher likelihood of getting an infection.  Finally, when you are stressed out, you are less likely to take care of yourself, including getting enough sleep.

 


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