healthy eating

Lifestyle Changes For Digestive Health

Let’s face it. Eating is one of the great pleasures of life. In fact, it may be safe to say that if most of us died in front of the television with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, we’d probably die happy. That’s why digestive problems stink. There are few enough pleasures in life; we need to make sure to completely enjoy each and every one without interference. If you are suffering from digestive problems, that means you’re not getting the full benefits of one of the life’s greatest pleasures, and that needs to be remedied. Here are a few lifestyle changes you can make to bring the fun back to your food.

Beat Stress
Butterflies in your tummy? Stress and anxiety can upset digestion and cause the stomach to become unsettled. While in some people, stress slows digestion, leading to pain, bloating and constipation, in others, stress causes metabolism to speed up, resulting in diarrhea and increased trips to the bathroom. Others completely lose their appetite. In addition, IBS and digestive conditions like stomach ulcers can become exacerbated in stressful situations.

What should you do? Try to avoid eating while you’re stressed and try to avoid getting stressed while you’re eating. Arguing over dinner is never good for digestion.

Stop Smoking
Smoking can weaken the muscles which control the lower part of the esophagus, allowing acid from the stomach to travel in the wrong direction. More commonly known as reflux, this condition can cause heartburn, and bring on or worsen inflammatory conditions and stomach ulcers. Smoking is also a big risk factor for stomach cancer.

healthy family

Eat Properly
High paced lifestyles often cause us to eat on the run, which can wreak havoc on our digestion. To avoid this:

  • Don’t eat too quickly. Concentrate on putting your fork down between bites and chewing each mouthful completely.
  • Don’t eat too much. Adjust your portions at mealtimes, or try to eat small meals frequently, rather than large ones occasionally.
  • Avoid eating a big meal before bedtime. Try to give your body at least two or three hours to digest before hitting the hay.
  • Eat on a regular basis, don’t skip meals, and get plenty to drink.

Lose Weight
Excess stomach weight puts pressure on your middle, which can cause heartburn. Weight loss may help to relieve digestive symptoms like heartburn and other stomach problems.

Binge Drinking
While drinking in moderation should not harm digestion, binge drinking can increase the production of acid in your stomach and cause digestive complaints. Binge drinking means drinking eight to more units of alcohol in a session for men, and six for women.

Are you suffering from digestive issues? Let us know what lifestyle changes you made to help you. We want to know.

Office with plant

Improve Your Health With A Nice Office Plant

If you have seen “Little Shop Of Horrors” you may not be so enthusiastic about the idea of owning a plant. After all, the idea of a human blood- sucking Venus Flytrap with a mind of its own is not exactly the most encouraging image for the novice horticulturist. However, if you are not yet scarred for life by the image of your small table plant coming to life and crooning, “Feed me Seymour” in a funky baritone, you may not be completely adverse to the idea of becoming a parent to a beautiful bouncing office plant. And, if so, you may be among the fortunate individuals that can reap the health benefits of having such a plant on your office desk. Here are some of the reasons you should make your workplace a little greener.

Plants Improve Air Quality
Studies have shown plants can play an important role in improving indoor air quality. In 1973, environmental scientists found the swamp plants could actually eliminate Agent Orange from water samples and volatile organic compounds from the air. Additional research suggests that people recover from illnesses faster when surrounded by greenery.Plants Reduce Stress

Plants Reduce Stress
A State University Study at Surrey University in the UK confirmed beliefs that office plants can reduce stress. Participants in the study were asked to take a difficult exam. Half the participants did so in a plant-filled room, while the other half did not. Measurements taken afterward proved that the presence of plants eased stress for participants and that subjects recovered more quickly from stress in a plant-filled environment.

Woman holding plant

Plants Increase Productivity
With the reduction of stress comes the increase of productivity, research has found. A study published in the “Journal of Environmental Horticulture asked a group of workers to perform a simple task on a computer in a room filled with plants, while another group was asked to perform the same task in a plant- less room. Results showed a 12% increase in productivity in the workers who accomplished the task in the presence of plants. These workers also reported feeling 10% more attentive after completing the task than those tested without the horticulture.

Plants Make A Room More Comfortable
Although a thirty to sixty percent humidity is the range recommended for human health and comfort, many offices come up short of these numbers, especially during the winter and summer. Low humidity can lead to conditions increasing fatigue and respiratory discomfort. Findings by Washington Star University show that humidity rises significantly when plants are added to the environment, with one study demonstrating plants’ abilities to bring a room to the ideal range of comfort.

Plants Make You More Aware of the Environment
There’s nothing like a plant on your desk to keep you thinking about your eco-consciousness. Tending to a plant every day is a great reminder of how important it is to care about the earth. Let the shrubbery turn your thoughts to how you can add a few more eco-conscious habits to your workday, such as reducing paper and employing reusable products.

How has a plant added to your earth friendliness? Let us know why you keep a plant in your office for your mental and physical health.

Woman de-cluttering

The Calm That Comes When You De-Clutter

When Madonna proclaimed herself “A Material Girl” in the 1984 song of the same name, she was surely not the first or last to claim a preference for excess. Men and women alike have been singing the praises of material possessions since time immemorial. In 1953, Marilyn Monroe paid tribute to jewelry with her performance of “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend” and, Little Wayne paid his salute to the Benjamins in his 2006 rap single “Make It Rain.”

However, despite the fact that the sentiment, “More is better” is often held as true, sometimes too much can be too much. Clutter is not only a symptom of stress, it can also be a cause of stress. If you are finding yourself getting lost in excess, here is some expert advice.

Why De-Clutter?
According to Peggy Caruso, life coach organization is the key to a less stressful life. However, the New York Times reports that those who suffer from depression, emotional trauma and chronic pain can find cleaning to be a daunting and almost impossible task. If you’re having an especially difficult time attacking the clutter in their home, Caruso suggests starting from the inside.

Steps To An Uncluttered You

1. Clear Your Mind
Because clutter is directly associated with high stress, Caruso suggests that a calm mind is the first step toward an organized home. The coach advises morning meditation as a way to focus your energy and keep you from procrastination.

2.Write Down Your Thoughts
A daily journal will help you to prioritize what needs to be done without distractions.

3.Cut Down On Social Media
Cyber clutter can exist! Negative feeds from people can crowd your life with unnecessary upset. Caruso advises removing the bad blood from your social media to keep energy positive.

4.Be Grateful
If you are thankful for what you already have, you will be less likely to want more. Keep down clutter by taking a moment each day to count your blessings; it will also help you forget your problems and get through the day more easily.

5.Make Appointments
While your making appointments for work, take some time to schedule one for yourself. You don’t necessarily have to make one to clean, set some time aside to do something you enjoy, like reading or taking a walk. You owe yourself a little downtime.

6. Decide
Deciding what to hold on to and what to get rid of can be difficult. Caruso advises that you ask yourself three questions when determining the value of an item:

  • Would you want to save this item if there were a fire?
  • Does the item serve a purpose?
  • Does the item make you happy?
  • The answers to these should help you tackle your de-cluttering process.

7. The One Year Rule
s a general guideline, if you haven’t touched it in the last year, you’re not likely to in the next year either. Even if you like those ridiculous shoes that don’t fit, it might be time to get rid of them.

8. Enlist the Family
While you’re doing something good, make yourself and example. De-cluttering with kids can be a valuable lesson in saving and sharing and may make the task more fun for you as well.

Is de-cluttering on your list for the New Year? Let us know how you de-clutter? Provide us with your valuable knowledge!

Stressed woman

Stress, Lack Of Sleep, and Overeating

Well, the holidays are upon us again, and it is time for silent nights and visions of sugar plums and all that good stuff. Time for senses are assailed with images of Santa riding around on his sleigh coming to the houses of good children and rewarding them with treasure and eating their cookies. Surely, this couldn’t be too good. Firstly, he must be super stressed, and, secondly, those hours couldn’t possibly be healthy. No wonder he’s eating all those cookies. Do you catch yourself with the hand in the cookie jar late at night, even after a big meal? If you do you’re likely to gain weight and even develop health problems. If your find yourself a sleepless, stressed out, and overeating, it may be caused by a hormone imbalance.

Hormones
According to Dr. Mark Hyman, the underlying cause of night eating is biology. He believes it is caused by an imbalance in the hormones that regulate appetite and speculates that the key to ending your late night cravings lies within understanding how to balance them.

  • Insulin: Insulin is produced to process sugar. If insulin spikes and then crashes after eating, it makes you hungry, even if your meal is relatively healthful.
  • Leptin: Leptin is the hormone that sends a signal to your brain letting you know that you are full. If you eat a lot of sugar, flour, or processed food, your brain may become leptin resistant and not know when to put the brakes on your appetite.
  • Ghrelin: This is the hunger hormone which tells your brain to eat.
  • Peptide YY: This hormone is produced in your intestines and also sends signals to your brain when you’re full.
  • Cortisol: Also known as the stress hormone, cortisol can cause your blood sugar and insulin to rise making you hungrier and setting the stage for insulin resistance or pre- diabetes.

Woman eating breakfast

What Can You Do?

Eat Breakfast
If you’re binging at night, you probably won’t want to eat a good breakfast because you wake up full. If you’re are going to break the cycle, start the day with a high protein breakfast to keep your blood sugar even throughout the day.

Soothe the Stress
Stress causes overeating. Learn which methods of stress reduction work best for you. Deep breathing, exercise and yoga can all be effective relaxation techniques. They help to balance hormones, stop cravings, and maintain good sleeping habits.

Prioritize Sleep
Not sleeping drives up grehlin (the hunger hormone) and drives down PYY (the ‘I’m full’ hormone.) This means if you don’t sleep, you’ll be hungry, especially for sugar and carbs. Late night eating leads to bad food choices, so try to make sleep your number one late night activity.

Eat Regularly
Make sure to eat on a regular schedule, including three square meals. You can snack in between, but, remember, the body is a hormonal clock and needs a rhythm to keep it balanced.

We hope those visions of sugarplums aren’t keeping you up at night. Let us know your sleep and stress issues! We love to hear from you! Send comments and suggestions.

Woman meditating

Meditate For Clear Skin

If you put on the T.V. these days, it is hard not to see Ellen Degeneres. If you miss her daytime talk show, you can always catch her doing Oil Of Olay commercials, showing off her age-defying skin, or in her Amex commercial, meditating over a pair of socks that she was charged for twice. From these two examples, it becomes clear that Ellen DeGeneres is known for two things, good skin and meditation. Did you ever think these two things might be related?

Meditation, Stress and Your Skin
You’ve heard it a million times, stress is not doing you, or your skin any favors, but how do you avoid stress? While that may be impossible, there are ways to lessen it. Meditation anyone?

Dr. Jeannette Graf, MD and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Mount Sinai Medical Center says, “Meditation is great for everything. There’s nothing like it. For starters, it settles you so you’re in a state of deep relaxation and you’re breathing. Meditation helps every single cell in the body, and it helps your skin.” Graf explains that deep breathing adds oxygen to skin which is, “the key to help boost the actions of the cells to act normally and with great health.” She goes on to sing the praises of meditation, mentioning its positive effects on blood pressure, body, and mind.

Meditation Lessens Negativity
The popularity of meditation has grown exponentially in the past 30 years. Research from the University of Sheffield found that relaxation sessions, meditation and cognitive behavior therapy can benefit people suffering from eczema. psoriasis, acne, and vitiglio. In one such study, individuals suffering from psoriasis were asked to listen to meditation tapes while receiving UV light treatments. They were found to have healed four times faster than non-meditators. It was determined that this was caused by meditation’s ability to reduce the stress that initially caused psoriasis and helped to trigger the body’s ability to repair itself. Meditation can reduce wrinkles and slow the aging process, brightening you skin’s complexion. It will also help you feel younger by relieving tension related ulcers, headaches, muscle aches, and joint problems.

How Do You Start?
Good skin? You’re in! Meditating can be done anywhere at anytime. Just focus your mind and center your breathing. Try to clear your mind and concentrate on each breath as you inhale and exhale, excluding other thoughts. You don’t even need a quiet room, candle, or a lot of time. Graf enthuses, ‘First of all, a yoga class is a moving meditation, so find a yoga class nearby and pop in. Yoga is amazing for your skin. If you’d rather practice privately, you can buy guided meditation on iTunes and listen anywhere.

Are you a good skin guru? If you are, we want to know your secrets. Tell us what meditation has done for your skin. We love to hear from you.

Deep breathing

The Benefits of Deep Breathing

Chances are during times of stress, one or more people around you have told you to take a deep breath in order to help you relax. Maybe you did or maybe you didn’t, but those individuals had a point. Deep breathing can do incredible things for the body. It may take some getting used to, but it’s easy to learn and the efforts can be worth it.

Let’s start with discussing how to actually do deep breathing. Close your eyes, breathe in deeply (and slowly) through your nose, hold it for a second or two, then breathe out through either your mouth or nose – whichever feels more comfortable to you – while counting to five. You can do this while sitting or lying down. Focus on your breathing, maybe repeat a mantra in your mind, or focus on something that makes you especially happy such as a destination you love. Now onto a few of the benefits.

You Can Relax
One of the worst feelings is being tense; you feel like every part of your body is in one giant knot. Deep breathing helps you relax, ease your muscles, and calm your mind.

You Can Ease Unpleasant Moods
Whether you’re scared, upset, or just plain ticked off, deep breathing can help you get past the initial stages of that mood and anything negative that may come with it to get you to a better, calmer place. This can be especially advantageous if you’re having a rough day at work. After deep breathing, you may be able to focus better on the issue at hand and may even come up with a solution if need be.

You Could Lower Your Blood Pressure
Stress can temporarily raise your blood pressure, but deep breathing can help get those numbers back to a normal level. Deep breathing on a daily basis may help you keep your numbers where they’re supposed to be, especially during times of stress.

You Can Clear Your Mind
We go through so much on a daily basis, so it’s understandable how our mind can get cluttered. Deep breathing allows you to clear your mind, refocus on the positive, and move forward in a calm and rational manner. This can be excellent in every aspect of life from home to relationships to work. A mind that isn’t cluttered is one that’s better able to be more aware and in the present moment.

You Help Your Body Overall
You’ve probably heard by now how many diseases and conditions may be made worse by stress. Considering deep breathing helps to ease your stress level and improve your mood, that, in turn, could have a positive effect on your body as a whole.

Deep breathing is all about mindfulness and getting you to a place where you feel better than you did before you started. Try out different methods and don’t overthink the process. Once you start, chances are it will become a habit you will want to keep and make a part of your daily routine.

Woman holding a glass of wine

A Little Glass of Wine Per Day

For a long time, red wine has been thought to be heart healthy. Wine Lovers rejoice whenever a new study comes out boasting of the many benefits drinking red (and sometimes white) wine can have for your heart, skin, bones, and state of mind. These studies even suggest that drinking a glass of wine a day is the key to many health issues. Do these supposed benefits actually do anything, or are we just looking for excuses to drink more wine? Maybe, but there are two main benefits to wine drinking that do seem to carry some weight.

Benefit: Resveratrol
One of the main benefits you hear about when it comes to drinking wine daily is the resveratrol in red grape skins. Because red wine is fermented in red grape skins you get a hefty dose of it with each glass. Resveratrol acts as an antioxidant, which help protect your cells from damage. If you have ever seen an add or read an article about skincare with vitamin E or vitamin C, you know all about the benefits of antioxidants for your skin. Molecules called free radicals can damage your skin cells, and antioxidant skin care helps to prevent this and heal your skin. For this reason, so many brands are coming out with skincare lines formulated with these vitamins to help brighten skin, prevent aging, and repair damage.

Free radicals don’t stop at the skin’s surface- they can cause the same kinds of damage inside your body, too! That’s why it’s important to eat (and drink!) things that are rich in antioxidants (and why every smoothie you buy will have the word “antioxidant” on the label). Luckily for all of the wine lovers out there, a glass of red wine per day can help prevent the kinds of cell damage that lead to heart disease and other health problems, such as osteoporosis. Resveratrol is linked to all kinds of health benefits, and we couldn’t be happier that drinking red wine gives you a dose of this highly sought after antioxidant!

Benefit: Decreased Chances of Depression
Though heavy alcohol consumption is not good for your brain’s chemistry, studies concluded that moderate wine drinking can actually decrease your chances of depression. One particular study warns that incidents of depression do increase with heavy alcohol consumption, but those who drank 2-7 glasses of wine seemed to be in the sweet spot. They had lower incidences of depression than both heavy drinker, and those who did not drink- so raise a glass to your health!

While not all claims about wine being healthy for you may be true, there are some benefits that do seem to have an effect on your health. The resveratrol in wine has a number of benefits ranging from heart disease prevention to bone health, and it is the main reason why wine is known has a heart healthy option.  Moderation is important with anything, so sticking to a little glass of wine a day is just right- cheers!

Woman playing golf

Why Golfing is Good for Your Health

Many people assume a good workout involves profuse sweating and high-intensity exercise – however this is not always the case. A good round of golf can actually provide all the same benefits without over-stressing your muscle groups and bones. Although golf is a leisurely sport it is nevertheless a great form of exercise. Numerous studies today have demonstrated that people who exercise for 30 minutes at least three times a week have significantly reduced the risk of heart disease, strokes, and reduced chances of developing numerous diseases. Golfers who chose to carry their own clubs are also undertaking both cardio and resistance training and since an average round of golf takes anywhere from two to four hours, you can get all the recommended amount of exercise for a week in just one round. One study in Sweden found that individuals who played the game on a regular basis had an increased life expectancy of 5 years.

Cardiovascular Benefits
Golfing can involve many hours of walking – assuming you don’t take a buggy! The average golf course is also between 5 and 8 miles long. Moving from hole to hole at a quick pace is an excellent form of cardiovascular exercise and the walk back to the clubhouse from the final hole is usually around a mile. Walking at a brisk pace for two hours burns nearly 400 calories and in this way, golf is an excellent activity for weight loss. Carrying your own clubs is an excellent idea as it is a weight-bearing exercise in itself and alongside walking, it will help increase the number of calories you burn. Although some golfers use a buggy, you can still get a good amount of exercise just by walking briskly wherever possible.

Stress Busting
Numerous studies have identified golf as an effective stress-busting exercise and the social aspects of the sport and interaction increase levels of happiness and self-esteem. A round of golf involves hours of breathing in fresh air in nature surrounded by beautifully kept grass as well as the meditative process of focusing your attention on the ball. Exercising in general also releases powerful, natural mood-enhancing chemicals in our brain called endorphins. Golfers have also shown to soak up far more vitamin D than those who spend their weekends indoors. Vitamin D, otherwise known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’, is an essential nutrient in the body and increases energy levels, improves mental health, assists with calcium absorption and cell growth in our bodies.

Improved Sleep
Exercising regularly and eating are known to promote healthy sleeping patterns and improve the quality of sleep. Since golf provides a good cardiovascular workout and helps you to de-stress, getting a good night’s sleep is much easier if you play regularly. A round of golf leaves you feeling a sense of achievement at the end of it and the workout you undertake will usually tire you out by the end of the day. This is especially so for golfers who choose to tee off early in the morning at around 6a.m.

Woman meditating

Meditate to Improve Your Game

For some, meditation seems far-fetched and not a smart way to spend free time throughout one’s day. But research shows that meditation is a great way to spiritually and emotionally complete certain areas in life that one might feel are lacking. Once someone tries meditation, they instantly become aware of all the benefits that it offers, including the following.

Starts Day Off On the Right Foot
Spending just five minutes meditating each morning before beginning the day can have a lasting and positive effect that lasts the entire day. By mentally preparing for what activities and commitments are planned and increasing awareness for what may happen unexpectedly, it becomes easier to focus on the good and avoid the bad.

Promotes Positivity
Meditation allows someone uninterrupted time to focus on the good and positive in their life. By expressing gratitude and avoiding self-pity, life instantly takes on a more positive light. The Universe tends to give back what it receives. If negative energy is constantly emitted from someone, they can only expect negative energy to return. But with meditation, it becomes nearly impossible to not emit positive energy, therefore encouraging the return of positive energy from the universe.

Increase Self Confidence
When someone is able to begin to view the entire world in a most positive light, they are able to do the same with themselves. Increased self-confidence begins a positive domino effect that can completely change someone’s life path. For example, increased self-confidence can help to spark a new relationship, encourage the start of a new career or enable someone the power to embrace new and exciting opportunities.

Reduce Anxiety
Anxiety is a serious condition that can suddenly affect anyone. Increased levels of anxiety lead to increased levels of stress, which not only take away from someone’s overall quality of life but can also lead to some serious health conditions. Meditation can help to stop anxiety before it creeps up on the brain and body, preventing the unwanted side effects that go along with an already undesired condition. Imagine finally taking control of anxiety with just a few minutes of meditation at the start and end of each day.

Woman meditating

Encourages a Healthier Lifestyle
When someone begins to incorporate meditation into their daily routines, it becomes easier to make healthier decisions. For example, meditating before breakfast will most likely lead someone to choose fruit and oatmeal instead of a doughnut. It encourages healthy eating, exercise and the avoidance of toxic substances.

Slows Aging
Studies have shown that meditation can literally slow down the aging process by changing the way the brain controls aging. As already mentioned, meditation helps to remove stress and negativity from daily life, which can also have a positive effect on appearance.
There are many different types of meditation. Finding one that fits into someone’s lifestyle and meets their needs is crucial but not difficult. With plenty of informational resources available, one can begin to experience the impressive benefits of meditation in only a few days. As with many types of health treatments, consistency is key, along with the true belief that meditation can change life paths for the better.

There are many different types of meditation. Finding one that fits into someone’s lifestyle and meets their needs is crucial but not difficult. With plenty of informational resources available, one can begin to experience the impressive benefits of meditation in only a few days. As with many types of health treatments, consistency is key, along with the true belief that meditation can change life paths for the better.

Woman mopping the floor

The Benefits of Spring Cleaning

With the official start of spring days away, everybody is buzzing about spring cleaning. Some people genuinely look forward to this time of year and take the opportunity to deep clean, organize and declutter every area of their home. However, some dread the thought of spring cleaning because it can be quite overwhelming. If you are somebody who needs extra encouragement and motivation to start your spring cleaning, we’ve got you covered. Below, find some surprising incentives to clearing out your clutter and organizing your home during spring cleaning.

Decrease Stress
The state of your surroundings can have a very significant impact on your mental health. In fact, many Americans rank home organization and cleanliness as one of the top five stressors in their lives. Women, in particular, are prone to being affected by how the perceive the general order of their home; women who believe that their home is cluttered have been found to have chronic levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. Spending a few hours or a weekend clearing your home of clutter and cleaning it up can help you decrease your stress levels.

Boost Productivity
Think spring cleaning is just for the home? Think again. A cluttered desk decreases your levels of productivity because there are so many distractions. When your workspace is cluttered, your mind tends to mimic its surroundings. Getting a good system of organization and clearing clutter from your desk will help you organize your thoughts and your work more quickly. The Association of Psychological Science notes that clutter on your desk or work area can lead to increased snacking and craving of sweets, so clearing your clutter can also cut down on your calorie intake.

Woman painting walls

Get a Workout
You probably don’t consider your spring cleaning a workout, but vigorous cleaning can actually burn a lot of calories. With all of the lifting, bending, stretching and organizing, you get a workout that uses all of your muscles. The following activities are all great ways to burn some calories:

  • Mopping – Cleaning your floors may not be the most fun chore, but an hour of mopping burns about 150 calories. If you have to put some extra work into your floors and get on your hands and knees to really scrub, you can burn almost 190 calories in just 30 minutes.
  • Cleaning the Bathtub – There’s just something deeply satisfying about stepping into a clean tub or shower and the act of cleaning it can work up quite a sweat. Just 15 minutes of scrubbing your tub burns about 90 calories.
  • Redecorating – Putting a fresh coat of paint on your bedroom walls? Rearranging the pictures on your gallery wall? In 30 minutes of indoor decorating, you’ll burn more than 150 calories.

Spring cleaning may not always be the most fun activity, but it is an important undertaking. When you clear clutter, you clear your mind, boost your mood and increase your productivity. At the same time that all of these benefits are enjoyed, you also get physical exercise from cleaning, organizing and decorating your home. Hopefully, knowing these extra benefits of spring cleaning will make your work that much more enjoyable and easier.

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