Do you wobble if you stand on one foot? How about with your eyes closed? If you walk in a straight heel-to-toe line do you stumble? How about with your eyes closed? If you stand with your feet together and close your eyes do you sway to one side? Do you walk with a wide gait, or feel like you’re going to fall if you don’t hold the handrail going down the stairs? If you answered yes to any of these questions you have balance issues that could be a sign of compromised brain health and increased risk of dementia later in life.
Balance is governed largely by the cerebellum, the area at the base of the brain that… Continue reading
You’re eating healthy by opting for fruit juice and fruit smoothies over soda, right? Wrong, unfortunately. These more natural alternatives are still loaded with excess sugar and high in fructose, creating largely the same health risks as drinking sugary sodas. That Coke and Pepsi have bought dozens of fruit juice and smoothie brands is testament to the dubious health claims of these products. When studies linking sodas with obesity and diabetes hit the media, these companies began touting fruit-based beverages as an alternative.
Fruit juice not the way to meet daily produce requirements
Bottled fruit juice and smoothie sell themselves as a way to meet your daily requirements for fruit. But these drinks do not fill you up the… Continue reading
Although they’re located at the farthest distance from your brain, the health of your feet can give you clues about the health of your brain, mainly whether your brain is receiving enough oxygen. When circulation to the feet is poor, creating a variety of symptoms discussed below, this is a red flag circulation to the brain is compromised as well. Just because you can breathe doesn’t mean your brain is getting enough oxygen.
If your brain is not getting enough oxygen it won’t function well. You may notice brain fog, declining memory, that you tire more easily, and that it is harder to learn new things. Depression is another common symptom. Poor brain oxygen is a serious matter because… Continue reading
Managing your autoimmune condition—Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, type 1 diabetes, alopecia, vitiligo, psoriasis, etc.—can be tricky enough. Traveling takes autoimmune management to a new level as you must attend to not only your diet, environment, energy expenditure, and sleep, but also the added stressors traveling poses.
Managing an autoimmune condition doesn’t mean you have to avoid travel. It’s just a matter of planning ahead and being more conscious of your self-care. By mastering some basics you can relax and enjoy your trip and quickly return to your routine at home without a long recovery period.
Below are some tips to help you keep your autoimmune condition under control while traveling.
Plan where and what you’re going to eat. Foundational to autoimmune… Continue reading
Tis the pumpkin season, which for most people conjures images of pumpkin lattes, pumpkin pie, and pumpkin cookies. However, this colorful, nutritious, and affordable squash does not have to be relegated to the dessert table or Starbucks drive-through. There are plenty of ways to enjoy the pumpkin’s bounty without spiking your blood sugar and loading up on calories.
Pumpkin makes a great addition to soup, whether in chunks or as a puree. You can make a pumpkin puree soup with homemade chicken broth and coconut milk and seasoned with ginger, cloves, sage, and salt. For a finishing touch, add in chopped bacon bits. Or make a soup with chopped pumpkin and other veggies and meats.
Pumpkin bowl… Continue reading
Scientists may have confirmed what millions of us could have already told you: One cookie is too many and 20 are not enough. Many people have found they can go along comfortably on a diet free of sweets, pastries, and desserts until they have that one bite. Then—zing!—the addiction sets in and you feel like you might die if you don’t eat more. Turns out you’re not weak or gluttonous, it’s just your brain responding to the highly pleasurable and stimulating effect of cookies, cake, chips, and candy as if they were powerful drugs (which, really, they are). It’s no mystery why they’re also referred to as comfort foods.
These processed carbohydrates appeal to the same parts of the… Continue reading
We commonly think of sleep apnea as being caused by obesity or structural problems. However, in women the transition into menopause can contribute to sleep apnea too. When estrogen is low, the brain fails to signal the palate and tongue to retain its tone during sleep. As a result they over relax and block the airway.
Female hormones play a role in sleep
The hormonal factors that contribute to sleep apnea are different in women than in men. In a study involving rats, researchers discovered that young male rats respond to normal episodes of hypoxia, or brief periods of oxygen deprivation, during sleep by increasing brain activity to take deeper and more frequent breaths. The older male rats did… Continue reading
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, affecting about 11 percent of the population. For the majority of people, heart disease is driven by diet and lifestyle factors, however research shows an increasing number of heart disease cases can also have an autoimmune component. This means the immune system is mistakenly attacking and destroying heart tissue, causing symptoms and weakening the heart.
Typically heart disease is linked with a diet high in processed foods, sugars and refined carbohydrates, lack of activity, and obesity. The good news is that means people who make the effort can ameliorate or reverse their condition through a whole foods diet and exercise.
However, when an autoimmune reaction is part… Continue reading
Are you one of those people who wishes the work day started 11 a.m. so you can go to bed late and sleep in? Staying up late keeps you caught up with David Letterman but puts you at odds with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. Humans aren’t designed much differently than other animals when it comes to sleeping and waking—our internal clocks are set to the rising and setting of the sun.
This cycle is called the circadian rhythm and it affects more than when we wake up and go to bed. The circadian rhythm plays a role in hormone function, mood, immunity, and brain function. One way scientists have learned about the importance of the circadian rhythm is… Continue reading
The placebo effect—when a sham treatment produces desired results—is the bane of science, sometimes skewing results and outperforming pharmaceutical drugs. But instead of cursing the placebo effect, why not put it to use? Although it disrupts some studies, in other studies researchers look to understand why and how it works. By understanding the placebo effect as a valid phenomenon, you can employ it to improve your own health outcomes.
How the placebo effect works
The placebo effect happens in studies in which one group of participants is given a new drug or procedure, one group is given a sham drug (such as a sugar pill), and the results are compared. Neither group knows whether they received the sham treatment or… Continue reading