Posts Tagged ‘best online lab testing services’

How to Improve Sleep Hygiene

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How to Improve Sleep Hygiene

Getting enough quality sleep is such an important aspect of good physical health. It is the time where your body heals and repairs itself. Sleep deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Your ability to function during the day depends on the amount and quality of sleep you are getting. The following are steps you can take to better your sleep hygiene:
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  • Set up a healthy and realistic sleeping schedule
  • Stop eating 2 hours before bedtime
  • Don’t drink fluids after your last meal, this will decrease the chances you’ll have to wake up to use the bathroom
  • Reduce the amount of blue light you get an hour before you go to bed. Bluelight comes from computer, television, and phone screens, and this type of light arouses the brain.
  • Avoid napping throughout the day. If you do take a nap, make sure it is before 3 pm, so that you are tired by the time it’s time to go to bed.
  • Ensure your room is a tranquil space for you, especially your bed
  • Establish a nighttime routine
  • Set up relaxation techniques you practice before going to sleep
  • Wake up at the same time every day
  • Avoid caffeine and nicotine, especially close to the time you go to sleep

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Your Morning Routine Can Help Increase your Productivity throughout the Day

The start of your day can be a crucial part of your productivity for the rest of your day. Setting up a good morning routine can set the rest of your day up for success, even if you are not a morning person. In fact, it can even help you become a morning person! Having a good morning makes you feel accomplished and will motivate you to complete the next task of your day, and so forth. It will help maximize your energy and keep a positive mindset. It is important to be consistent in order for you to start seeing benefits, it takes about 21 days to create a habit. The following are some steps you may want to include in your morning routine:

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  1. Wake up at the same time every day, even on the weekends. Practicing this will establish a sleeping schedule and prevent procrastination throughout your day.
  2. Open your blinds, getting natural light first thing in the morning will reinforce your circadian rhythm; it will help you wake up.
  3. Drink 16 ounces of water. Doing this on an empty stomach will kickstart your metabolism, flush out your toxins, and it hydrates you.
  4. Start meditating. It has been shown that meditation helps reduce anxiety, improves concentration, and helps set a positive tone for the rest of your day.
  5. Write morning pages for 15 minutes. You essentially just write whatever comes to mind for 15 minutes straight, this helps to clear your head of all unnecessary and unproductive thoughts.
  6. Complete a workout. This will help you release endorphins and feel accomplished after you have finished. You also don’t have to think about it for the rest of the day, so it’s one thing you can cross off your to-do list.
  7. Avoid using your phone in the morning, this puts you in a reactive state instead of a proactive one.

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Can Green Tea and Coffee Help your Heart Health?

Green tea contains compounds called catechins that help regulate blood pressure and improve blood flow through an anti-inflammatory response. Similarly, coffee has caffeine and quinides compounds that affect our health positively although through a different mechanism. It is important to note that tea and coffee as good dietary practices do not include those drinks that are laden with fat and sugar. There has been an increase in both tea and coffee consumption, but those extra large lattes and teas can contain high amounts of fat and sugar when cream, milk, and sugar are included.

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The US Department of Agriculture’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion states that a 6-ounce cup of black coffee contains just 7 calories and adding some half & half and you’ll get 46 calories. If you flavor a liquid nondairy creamer, that will set you back 48 calories. Adding a teaspoon of sugar will add about 23 calories. Regular coffee, without the heavy cream & sugar, has been linked to a range of benefits that reduced the risk of Type 2 diabetes and to have a protective effect against Parkinson’s disease. Be cautioned: drinking coffee and tea is not cause and effect as there may be other lifestyle habits amongst java and tea drinkers that lead to reduced risk of disease. So, if you are someone who enjoys a cup ‘o joe or has some tea every morning, there’s no need to stop.  If you don’t, maybe enlist a friend for some tea, that is, after you do your exercise and eat your healthy meal.


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Why do Women have Testosterone?

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Why do Women have Testosterone?

All healthy women produce testosterone.  As a woman ages, testosterone levels can lower and can have symptoms such as depression, loss of muscle strength, and lack of sexual desire.  If you have experienced any of these symptoms, you may be diagnosed with the Female Androgen Insufficiency syndrome. Female Androgen Insufficiency syndrome is most common for menopausal women or those that had early menopause due to having their ovaries removed.  The most common treatment is estrogen replacement to postmenopausal women and those who have had their ovaries removed may find that this often causes and worsens this syndrome.

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Another important hormone that can produce Female Androgen Deficiency is DHEA-S.  You can order your own lab tests to check your hormone levels – there are inexpensive lab tests for DHEA-S, testosterone and other important hormones that regulate the body.  If you have any of the symptoms such as muscle weakness, osteoporosis, pain during intercourse or lack of libido, look at your testosterone and DHEA-S hormone levels and have your physician determine the best protocol.

Note: If your doctor prescribes male hormones, you should not take them longer than a few months and your doctor should discuss all the potential side effects with you.


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How to Read Food Labels

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How to Read Food Labels

Living a healthy lifestyle can be a bit overwhelming due to all the choices that are available. When shopping for food, it is important to read the food label in order to determine what product is the healthiest option. Compare products and labels. Food labels provide nutrition facts such as calories, number of servings, and macronutrients. The first thing to look for in a food label is the serving size because the nutrition facts provided are specific to the serving size. Often people don’t see any weight loss progress because they don’t read the serving size, so they are actually eating more than they thought.

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Next, you should look at the carbohydrates, specifically at the fiber. You should opt for foods with at least 3 or 4 grams of fiber per serving such as legumes, beans, whole grain breads, and fruits. You should also check the fat, low saturated fat in particular. Some great options include fish, poultry, whole grains, and reduced-fat dairy products. Under fats, you will also find the trans fat content. Trans fat increases low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which is the “bad” cholesterol, and decreases the high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which is the “good” cholesterol. Lastly, you will notice that the daily percentage value is listed, and this is important because it will tell you how much of each nutrient you have consumed, and how much you have left. The daily percentage value is based on a consumption of 2000 calories a day.


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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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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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