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Loss of memory does not have to be part of aging

Aug 28, 15 Loss of memory does not have to be part of aging

Posted by in Uncategorized

Do you always lose your keys, forget where the car is parked, or find words stick on the tip of your tongue? We associate these behaviors with aging, but losing your memory and brain function isn’t necessarily “normal” aging. Instead, it’s a sign of accelerated brain degeneration, or a brain that is atrophying too fast. Can’t find the car? The brain has different regions, and each region is in charge of certain functions, including balance, mood, memory, and problem solving. When a part of the brain starts to lose function, it shows up as symptoms related to those areas, such as poor coordination, depression, a worsening ability to do math, memory loss, or poor balance. The temporal lobes are two areas of the brain located at either side of your head, above the ears. They are in charge of your hearing, memory, speech, emotional responses and sense of smell. Within each of the temporal lobes is a region called the hippocampus, related to sense of direction, learning and memory, spatial orientation, and the sleep-wake cycle. Degeneration of the hippocampus can lead to issues in any or these areas, such as poor memory (“Where’s my car?”), being bad with directions, insomnia, and, eventually, Alzheimer’s. What causes brain degeneration? The brain is comprised of cells called neurons, which communicate with each other to manage all the body’s processes. When these cells die, it’s called neurodegeneration. Once neurons die, there’s no getting them back. However, the brain can compensate by forming new branches between existing neurons to aid in communication. That’s called neuroplasticity. As we age, natural degeneration of neurons is normal. We can maintain good brain function by slowing neuron death and through good neuroplasticity, that is, making sure we’re always growing connections between neurons and protecting existing connections. In fact, how well your brain ages can be looked at as the balance between neurodegeneration and neuroplasticity. When neurodegeneration outpaces neuroplasticity you lose brain function Unfortunately, various factors can speed up brain degeneration so that it...

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Overwhelmed by cooking healthy? Try batch cooking!

Aug 19, 15 Overwhelmed by cooking healthy? Try batch cooking!

Posted by in Uncategorized

Does a demanding schedule prevent you from cooking healthy? Are you that overworked parent who’s too tired to feed your family well? Busy lifestyles can send our eating habits down the drain, with our health and nutrition following right behind it. Many common health issues can arise as a result. The solution? Batch cooking! Batch cooking is preparing multiple meals at once and storing them for later consumption. It’s an organized system to plan, create, and utilize meals, saving you an incredible amount of time, energy and effort. In two- to three-hour sessions twice a week, you can prepare an entire week’s worth of meals for a family and simply pull them from the fridge or freezer. It takes some organization and planning, but the payoff is well worth it. People report reducing 20 to 30 hours of cooking and cleanup per week down to four or five! When you come home from a busy day at work, or you just don’t have the pizzazz to make a meal for hungry kids, batch cooking can be your saving grace and save your family’s health and well being. This set of simple guidelines will help you get started: Planning your batch cooking menu Pick simple, nutrient-dense recipes and save unfamiliar, complicated ones for their own special time, and follow these tips. Choose one-pot/skillet/casserole recipes, with a minimum of side dishes. If you’re making a meal that uses protein such as a roast or chicken, make extra to use in simple meals later in the week, such as salads or soups. Plan for every meal of the week, not just dinners. Make a written menu (and grocery list) so that when you pull a meal from the freezer on Tuesday night, you know which side dish goes with it on Wednesday. Also, write down timing for when a meal needs to be pulled from the freezer. Write down all the parts that need preparing so you stay organized. If making all oven dishes, make sure they use the...

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How to avoid those daily afternoon crashes

Aug 12, 15 How to avoid those daily afternoon crashes

Posted by in Uncategorized

Do your eyelids droop and does your energy flag every afternoon around 3 to 4 p.m? Is your answer to energy crashes a soda, coffee, energy drink, or sweet snack to sustain you until dinner? If so, you’re making a bad situation worse. Even though it’s fairly common, the “afternoon crash” isn’t normal. Instead it’s a sign of unstable blood sugar  which wreaks havoc on the rest of your body’s systems. The afternoon crash means your blood sugar has dropped too low for your brain and body to function normally, causing you to become drowsy, mentally foggy, tired, and unmotivated. The first thing most people reach for is a quick fix — caffeine or sugar. These may wake you up for a while, but they send an already imbalanced blood sugar system into another roller coaster ride of peaks and plunges. When this happens on a regular basis (several times a day for most people), it sets you up for chronic blood sugar imbalances including hypoglycemia and insulin resistance, a precursor to adult-onset diabetes. How to avoid the afternoon crash Wondering how to survive until dinner without a croissant and tall double mocha? 1. High protein breakfast: Eat a high-protein breakfast with plenty of healthy fats such as olive, avocado or coconut oil; a minimum of carbohydrates; and no added sugars or sweeteners. This provides your body with the necessary nutrients to bring it up to speed after a night of fasting (thus the word “break fast”), and allows your blood sugar to stabilize and get on a steady plane for the day. Two examples: Turkey sausage with steamed greens and sweet potatoes. Smoked salmon or two eggs with sliced avocado, sauteed vegetables, and half a baked yam. The idea of a savory breakfast might sound strange if you’re used to cereal or toast, but your body will quickly thank you for it. You’ll also notice a difference at 3 p.m.! 2. Minimize fruit, high-carb foods, and added sugars: Every time you eat fruit, high-carb...

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Seven reasons exercise recovery can be difficult

Aug 06, 15 Seven reasons exercise recovery can be difficult

Posted by in Adrenal Stress

If recovering from exercise is so difficult it feels like it’s ruining your days and sapping your motivation, you may be suffering from loss of exercise tolerance. Exercise is supposed to make you feel better and give you more energy, not make you feel worse. The occasional off day is nothing to worry about, but if you find you’re consistently having a hard time handling your workouts, it’s important to find out why. Symptoms of poor exercise recovery Can’t complete normal workouts Difficulty recovering after exercise Need a nap after exercise Unexplained depression Loss of general motivation or enthusiasm Unexplained change in weight Aggression or irritability for minor reasons Weakened immune function Loss of menstrual cycle Symptoms of leaky gut Seven things that can cause poor exercise recovery 1. You’re overtraining: It’s possible you’re simply taking too much on during your workout. Anyone can make this mistake. Try backing off for a couple weeks; if your symptoms change, overtraining could be your answer. 2. Your body wants a different kind of workout: Ways to exercise include extended aerobics, high intensity interval training, and weight training. Try a different form of exercise for a few weeks and see how you feel. 3. Insufficient protein intake: The U.S. RDA for protein is .08g per kg of body weight per day (1 lb = 2.2 kg). Macronutrient requirements vary depending on age, health, and diet, but for some this may be too little to recover. Many active people feel better eating protein at rate closer to 1.4 to 1.8g/kg daily. Do the math and experiment with your protein intake. 4. Inappropriate carbohydrate intake: How many carbohydrates one should eat is a controversial topic, but at the end of the day we’re all unique. If you frequently feel run down you may be eating too many carbs…or too few. Too many carbs can cause blood sugar to skyrocket and plummet so energy levels crash. Too few can short you on fuel so that energy lags. This is especially true if you...

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Adrenals often wrong target with chronic stress

Jul 29, 15 Adrenals often wrong target with chronic stress

Posted by in Adrenal Stress

  When stress levels go too high, the first thing many in the alternative health do is support the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands are two walnut-sized glands that sit atop each kidney and secrete stress hormones. Popular supplements include adrenal glandulars (adrenal tissue from animals), minerals, B vitamins, and a variety of herbs — all focused on boosting the ailing adrenal glands. Although this is a sometimes a valid approach, more often the real target for support should be the brain. The adrenal glands simply take orders from the brain to manufacture and secrete adrenal hormones such as cortisol, our primary adrenal hormone. The brain has stress pathways that sometimes need support. When stress becomes chronic and intense, the adrenal glands flood the brain and body with too many stress hormones. This exhausts the adrenal glands and eventually they fail to make enough cortisol. When this happens you don’t have the energy to handle even mild stressors, such as a common virus or a bad day at the office. As a result, fatigue sets in and your overall quality of life diminishes.  Although the adrenal glands may need support, the best thing to do is target your brain health for stress support. This will not only help you feel better but also slow down brain degeneration. Chronic stress has been shown to literally cause the brain to atrophy  or shrink. In turn, a degenerating brain stresses the body, creating a vicious cycle. One of the first things to look at when supporting brain health is whether it is getting enough of the basic nutrients it needs, such as essential fatty acids and methyl B-12. Are you low in vital brain chemicals, called neurotransmitters, such as serotonin or GABA? Are you sending enough oxygen to the brain with good circulation, which is best boosted by exercise? Do you have anemia or blood sugar imbalances that rob the brain of good health and function? Nutritional compounds that support healthy stress responses and target the brain include phosphatidylserine  which dampens...

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How to keep your gut healthy while traveling abroad

Jul 21, 15 How to keep your gut healthy while traveling abroad

Posted by in Uncategorized

  Nothing refreshes the mental landscape better than an exciting trip to a foreign land. However, nothing can have you regretting that adventure more than being glued to the toilet with traveler’s diarrhea or vomiting instead of traipsing through temples and markets. With some advance planning and knowledge about gut health, stomach bugs, and supplements that can protect your gut, you may be able to breeze through your trip without days-long sessions in the hotel bathroom. Nix stomach bugs with hydrochloric acid Hydrochloric acid (HCl) is the acid in the stomach. You can also obtain it in a supplement. Why would you want to take an acid when it seems everyone is taking antacids? Because it’s our first line of defense against stomach bugs and can help prevent traveler’s diarrhea. It may surprise you to know that many adults are deficient in HCl, especially the ones who suffer from acid reflux and pop antacids. This is because if stomach acid is low, food in the stomach is improperly digested. This lack of acidity also fails to trigger the valves that usher the food into the intestines. As a result, it ferments in the stomach, causing that burning feeling, and then shoots back up into the esophagus, scalding its delicate tissue. Although antacids bring relief, they fail to address the problem of low stomach acid. HCl is vital to not only digest food, but also to kill bacteria, yeast, and other harmful pathogens. When stomach acid is low, you are more vulnerable to stomach bugs. Throw in strange, new cuisine of questionable hygiene in a developing country and you’ve got yourself an impending date with the porcelain god. Or the hole in the bathroom floor. The best way to avoid this is to take HCl supplements with your meals. It’s best to begin this regimen before your trip so you can acclimate your digestive system to the change in chemistry and dial in your dose. Keep upping the dose with each meal until you feel burning....

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