Colitis: The Importance of Colon Health

Colitis, partially ulcerative colitis, and Chron’s disease, which are both forms of inflammatory bowel disease, are relatively well-known within the medical community and among those who are directly impacted by the illness. However, colitis might not be as well known to the general population as more prevalent medical conditions like diabetes or asthma.

Welcome to our investigation of the gut, one of the body’s most complex ecosystems. As we set out on this adventure, we delve into a subject that affects millions of people globally but is frequently hidden from view and spoken about in silence: Colitis: The Importance of Colon Health.

In this blog we will go deeper into colitis, going into its causes, risk factors, symptoms, and various treatments. We will also discuss ways to support general health by treating colitis and preserving colon health. We hope to help you navigate through everything you need to know about colitis and discover the importance of maintaining a healthy colon!

If family members have ulcerative colitis, have a physical exam and blood tests.

What is Colitis?

The big intestine, or colon, can become inflamed, and this condition is known as colitis. It can have a number of causes and symptoms, including cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), bleeding in the rectal area, and occasionally fever.

Symptoms Of Colitis 

You may experience weight loss, abdominal pain, blood or mucus in your feces, loss of appetite, a bloated stomach, or acute diarrhea. More severe cases may include fever, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, and nausea. Chronic colitis will also include malnutrition, fatigue, malabsorption, anemia, and dehydration.

Types

The term “colitis” refers to a group of inflammatory diseases of the colon, each with unique features and underlying causes. Understanding the distinct varieties of colitis is crucial for precise diagnosis and suitable management. There are several types of colitis . Additionally, colitis can be identified by how long a person may experience symptoms, from short-term types like food poisoning to autoimmune disorders like inflammatory bowel disease. Some of these are easy to treat with mild symptoms and go away after a short period of time. Others can be lifelong and cause damage to the colon as well as impact your daily life.

Here are the most common types:

Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis is the most common type of inflammatory bowel disease. It is caused when the immune system reacts more than it should to other materials and bacteria in the digestive tract. Inside the inner lining of the large intestine, bleeding ulcers occur along with inflammation. Ulcerative colitis starts at the rectum and spreads to the entire colon over time. There is no cure, but symptoms can be managed. For severe ulcerative colitis, surgery can be done to remove parts of the colon.

Ulcerative colitis can be painful and could lead to a medical emergency.

Crohn’s Colitis

Another kind of IBD that can impact the colon and other parts of the digestive system is Crohn’s disease. This is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes the digestive tract to become aggravated and grow larger. Abdominal pain, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, and weight loss are possible symptoms.

Ischemic Colitis

This kind of colitis is brought on by decreased or limited blood flow to the colon, which damages and inflames the colon’s tissue. Numerous conditions, including blood clots, constricted blood vessels, and low blood pressure, can result in ischemic colitis. Abdominal aches, cramps, and bloody diarrhea are some of the symptoms. 

Infectious Colitis

This kind of colitis is brought on by a colon infection, which is frequently brought on by bacteria, viruses, parasites, or fungi. Salmonella, Shigella, Escherichia coli, and Clostridium difficile (C. diff) are examples of common pathogens. Fever, dehydration, diarrhea, and stomach pain are possible symptoms.

Microscopic Colitis 

This particular kind of colitis is characterized by colon inflammation that is only visible under a microscope. Collagenous colitis and lymphocytic colitis are the two primary kinds. Abdominal pain, weight loss, and persistent, watery diarrhea are some of the symptoms.

Lymphocytes can only be seen under a microscope.

Chemical Colitis

When harsh chemicals or irritants, like pharmaceuticals, enemas, or cleansing solutions, damage the colon’s lining, it can result in chemical colitis, which is characterized by inflammation, and symptoms include diarrhea, bleeding from the rectal area, and pain in the abdomen.

Radiation Colitis

This type of colitis occurs as a side effect of radiation therapy for cancer treatment, particularly when the radiation is targeted at or near the abdomen or pelvis. Radiation damages the lining of the colon, leading to inflammation and symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, and rectal bleeding.

Pseudomembranous Colitis

A Clostridium difficile infection causes pseudomembranous colitis. It is a bacteria that stays in the intestine and doesn’t cause harm as long as the good bacteria keeps it balanced. It takes hold after certain antibiotics are ingested that may kill off the good bacteria. This means the Clostridium difficile can start spreading and overgrow rapidly. When this happens it starts to produce and release toxins. The good news is that taking the appropriate antibiotics can stop this condition.

Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

Inflammatory bowel diseases are long-term conditions that can disappear for short periods called remission. These are autoimmune diseases as a result of the immune system not working effectively and attacking the body instead. Triggers include environmental factors like diet, smoking, drugs, pollution, infection, and stress. Gastrointestinal and liver disease is linked according to this review in the World Health Journal of Hepatology. It’s important to get your liver tested when you have inflammatory bowel disease so that treatment can start immediately. This will help to prevent greater liver disease damage. If you have a family history of this disease it puts you at higher risk of getting it yourself.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease is an immune system dysregulation where the body does not work optimally.

Risk Factors Associated with Colitis

Other Inflammatory Disease Risks

Once you have one inflammatory disease there is an increased risk of getting more in other body parts. For example, osteoarthritis sufferers generally also have chronic liver inflammation and we discussed the link between gastrointestinal and liver disease.

Bowel Movements Perforation

The more inflammation that occurs, the more damage it can cause. The walls of the colon start to become weak and could tear. A weak wall could tear if you have an ulcer that pushes through. When that happens the bacteria starts to leak through and affect the bloodstream and abdominal cavity. A disruption of the bloodstream may result in septicemia and ultimately sepsis.

Increases Colon Cancer Risk

Chronic inflammation could cause cells to change and over time these changes could become cancerous. After experiencing colitis for 10 years your risk for colon cancer and colorectal cancer starts to increase.

Toxic Megacolon

Your colon could start to widen more and more. When that happens it interferes with muscle contractions that generally occur during digestion. It allows for gas and food to not travel through the intestine as it should and therefore become stuck. This can cause severe bloating and increases the risk of a rupture.

Treatment Options

Anti Inflammatories

It may be necessary for you to take the prescribed medications to reduce the inflammation or discomfort. However, it is advisable to consider your holistic options, like garlic or rosemary, to reduce inflammation.

Surgery

Surgery can be necessary to repair the damage if there has been a rupture or a perforation.

Diet

For short-term colitis, sticking to a high-fiber diet can help manage the symptoms. However, when dealing with a chronic disease, a more specialized diet may be a better option. You may need to keep a food diary to identify the trigger foods that cause your body to experience symptoms.

A anti-inflammatory diet can help with ulcerative colitis.

Low-residue

You should only eat food that has been fully cooked. Fats and fiber will irritate your intestines and could lead to aggravated symptoms.

Anti-inflammatory

Avoid processed foods and high in saturated fats and sugar. You should include foods like nuts, olive oil, and avocados in a balanced diet. The Mediterranean Diet is anti-inflammatory and can help mitigate the effects of colitis.

Elimination Diet

The elimination diet is eliminating particular foods or food groups from your diet for a predetermined amount of time. This procedure aids in the identification of any dietary sensitivities or intolerances that may be the source of symptoms such as headaches, skin conditions, or digestive problems. Following the elimination phase, foods are progressively added back one at a time while taking note of negative reactions. This aids in identifying the items that cause symptoms, enabling a customized diet free of problematic foods.

Prevention

You can prevent a flare-up by adjusting your lifestyle, creating routines, and sticking to the following:

Food Diary

Take note of what foods cause inflammation and remove them from your diet. Experiment with your fiber intake, meal sizes, and meal frequency to find what works best for you.

Identify colitis and ulcerative colitis symptoms.

Diet

Eat foods that are healthy and good for your colon and drink plenty of water. Add supplements that can also be beneficial in helping with colon health.

Well of Life’s Colon Cleanse helps to keep your colon clear so that the digestive process works optimally. It also eases a lot of the symptoms linked to colitis.

This supplemnet may ease ulcerative colitis affects.

Mental Health

Make sure you are getting adequate rest and managing your stress levels by getting rid of as many stressors as you can. Indulge in activities that bring you happiness and spend time with loved ones often.

Exercise

Do at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day. This will keep your organs working optimally and regulate your body’s inflammatory responses.

Sleep

Getting at least seven hours of uninterrupted sleep a night is restorative. Sleep allows your body to recharge and repair. Keep to a sleep schedule daily to ensure you get enough sleep.

Key Takeaways

While we don’t know what could prevent colitis, we do know that there are ways to lower the risk and even prevent a flare-up. Keeping our colon healthy through a healthy lifestyle change will not just benefit your colon but your overall health as well.

Having colitis doesn’t mean you can’t live an active, healthy life. By making your digestive health a priority, maintaining remission is easier to do. Controlling symptoms is merely a matter of doing the right things for your body!

 

What Are the Clean 15? Your Safe Produce List for 2024!

What are the Clean 15? Shoppers frequently encounter an endless number of options in the busy aisles of grocery stores and lively farmer’s markets, all of which promise health and energy. In spite of this abundance, the Clean 15 stands out as a healthy food options even though they are not non-organic fresh produce.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) selects the top 15 fruits and vegetables each year that have the fewest pesticide residues, making them safer to eat. This list is known as the Clean 15. In addition to providing an abundance of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, these conventionally grown produce options can be added to your diet without the worry of exposing yourself to high pesticide residues as opposed to produce found on the dirty dozen list.

This blog will not only list the clean fifteen, it will provide you with plenty of information so that you can make smart choices for your loved ones and yourself.

The most contaminated crops based on most recent USDA data contaisn two or more pesticides.

Environmental Working Group (EWG)

The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit organization that focuses on environmental conservation and public health research as well as advocacy. It is also committed to taking care of human health. The research is mainly based on cosmetic safety, tap water contamination, pesticides in produce, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Since 2004 it has published a yearly EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce based on tests done by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration(FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The EWG compiled the 2024 Clean 15 guide based on tests from 47,510 samples of 46 fruits and vegetables. With this data, EWG hopes to reduce the amount of pesticides used year by year as consumers are gaining more knowledge of pesticide use.

How Are Pesticide Residues Tested?

The EWG measures the amounts of detectable pesticide residues found on different types of fruits and vegetables using information from the USDA’s Pesticide Data Program (PDP). The PDP gathers samples of different fruits and vegetables from throughout the country and examines them to check for pesticide residues. These samples, which reflect average market conditions, are from both conventional and organic products.

The EWG usually prioritizes fresh vegetables over packaged or “plate ready” foods. The list prioritizes whole, fresh produce that is frequently accessible in grocery stores and farmers’ markets, ranking fruits and vegetables according to their levels of pesticide residues.

Although fresh produce is the focus of the EWG’s investigation, it’s important to remember that processed or “plate ready” foods, such as frozen fruits and vegetables,also have laws pertaining to pesticide residues. The data provided for the EWG’s analysis by the U.S Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Data Program (PDP) is from both fresh and processed produce samples.

The US Food and Drug Administration and US Department of Agriculture test a rotating list of domestic and imported products every year. While employees at the FDA merely wipe dirt off produce, those at the USDA Pesticide Data Program wash, peel, and clean fruits and vegetables like consumers would. Subsequently, over 250 different pesticides are tested on the fruits and vegetables, with the results made available online.

2024’s Clean 15

The top 15 fruits and vegetables that, when grown traditionally, usually have the lowest levels of pesticide residues are highlighted in this list. These products are seen to be safer options for customers who want to limit their pesticide exposure without buying organic produce.

The Clean 15 list is especially helpful for consumers who prefer to buy organic fruit when it has greater pesticide levels and feel more at ease buying conventionally grown products when it is on the clean list. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that whether or not they are on the Clean 15 list, washing fruits and vegetables well before consuming them is still advised.

In this year’s list, nearly 65% of the samples taken had no pesticide residues that could be detected. In samples of the first six Clean Fifteen goods, there were no more than three pesticides detected. Furthermore, just 10% of the fruit and vegetable samples from Clean Fifteen had two or more pesticides present.

Here is the 2024 Clean 15 List:

  1. Avocados

  2. Sweet corn

  3. Pineapple

  4. Onions

  5. Papaya

  6. Frozen sweet peas

  7. Asparagus

  8. Honeydew melon

  9. Kiwi

  10. Cabbage

  11. Watermelon

  12. Mushrooms

  13. Mangoes

  14. Sweet potatoes

  15. Carrots

What Makes These Fruits and Vegetables Clean?

Avocados

This conventionally grown fruit is the most pesticide-free with fewer than 2% having any pesticide residues. The only pesticide found was imiprothrin, which was mostly harmless when tested. The thick skin of the avocado shields the pesticides from seeping into the fruit.

Sweet Corn

Pesticide residue was in less than 2% of the samples taken in sweet corn. This crop’s thick husk protects it from contamination.

Buy organic foods or organic versions based on the EWG's shopper's guide.

Pineapple

90% of examined pineapples had no detectable pesticide residues, thanks to the thick, inedible peel acting as a natural protective barrier. However, during testing on pineapples, less than 5% of the samples contained six chemical pesticides, additionally, triadimefon, a fungicide to control various fungal diseases, was not found. This is good news as this pesticide is a dopamine uptake blocker.

Onions

There are a variety of onions, however, the onions listed on the Clean 15 list are your standard brown onions. An analysis showed that onions are exposed to many different pesticides, but only the outer skin layers have been shown to contain pesticide residues. Therefore, if you remove the outer layers and wash your onions, the inner flesh is pesticide-free.

Papaya

Papayas samples contained very few pesticides making this a pesticide-safe option for many consumers. However, bio-engineered papayas are very commonly sold, so it is always advised to check how the fruit was grown.

Fresh fruits like papaya are conventionally grown fruits.

Frozen Sweet Peas

Approximately 80% of the frozen sweet peas that were analyzed showed no traces of pesticides making them a safe option. Snap peas, on the other hand, have more pesticide residues even though they are usually consumed whole, indicating that de-shelled frozen peas have less pesticide residues as the pod of the peas protects the pea from pesticides. The most harmful pesticide found, dimethoate, was in fewer than 4% of the samples taken as it also breaks down quickly once applied to crops.

Asparagus

Tested samples found nine pesticides in total on green asparagus spears, with the most harmful pesticide detected in less than 1% of the samples taken, making this a safe choice. By washing your asparagus you can reduce the pesticide residue even more!

Of the samples tested, the nonorganic produce had very few items tested positive.

Honeydew Melon

Numerous producers of honeydew have adopted integrated pest control or IPM (integrated pest management). IPM includes several farming techniques that lessen the impact of pests, including growing in raised beds to enhance drainage and reduce root diseases, using flames instead of pesticides to kill weeds, and switching from sprinklers to drip irrigation.

This fruit is only tested by the FDA, however, 45% of the samples didn’t have any pesticides. This isn’t surprising as it is well protected by its thick skin.

Kiwi

Non-organic kiwi consumption is relatively safe, even though the fungicide fludioxonil was found on the outer skin of samples. Therefore, by washing and peeling the kiwi fruit to avoid the skin, will make it a safer choice.

Cabbage

Although many cruciferous vegetables contain numerous pesticides, USDA tests on cabbage samples only revealed seven pesticides, two of which are associated with causing health problems. However, flonicamid was only in 0.8% of samples, and methomyl in 1.3%, showing that the pesticide contamination is very low.

Watermelon

Only 1% of the samples taken contained most of the pesticides found in watermelon, and they were only found in the outer rind. Thus making the inner fleshy part untouched by the pesticides and safe for consumption.

USDA data showed at least one sample of grapes tested positive so buy organic grapes and commercial watermelons.

Mushrooms

The most common pesticide found on mushroom samples is thiabendazole. Doctors mostly prescribe this pesticide as a pharmaceutical dewormer for humans against pinworms and hookworms. Therefore, finding traces of this pesticide in mushroom samples does not warrant it as an “unsafe option”.

Mangoes

Mangoes have a relatively hard outer skin to protect the inner flesh of the fruit. Less than 1% of mango samples contain detectable levels of the 11 common pesticides.

Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are relatively new to the Clean 15 list. Less than half of the samples contained dichloro, a fungicide for soft rot. Sweet potatoes are safe to eat after peeling however, soaking your sweet potatoes in baking soda can also efficiently remove pesticides or fungicides.

Carrots

In 2024, carrot samples showed a significant improvement, with lower pesticide levels compared to samples from 2020 and 2021. In 2021, 34 pesticides were found, indicating a rapid decrease in pesticide usage. However, these tests are conducted on the actual carrot samples, not the leafy greens, which are more exposed to pesticides above the ground.

Based on USDA data, at least one sample of carrots used to contaminated with other pesticides.

2024’s Dirty Dozen Items

The “Dirty Dozen” typically includes a group of twelve foods known to contain higher levels of pesticide residues when conventionally grown. Fruit and vegetable samples that make the Dirty Dozen list contain over 50 pesticides.

This year’s vegetables and fruits with the most pesticides are:

  1. Strawberries

  2. Spinach

  3. Kale, collard, and mustard greens

  4. Grapes

  5. Peaches

  6. Pears

  7. Nectarines

  8. Apples

  9. Bell peppers and hot peppers

  10. Cherries

  11. Blueberries

  12. Green beans

Of the fruit and vegetable sampled with detectable pesticides, strawberries had the most pesticides.

Dirty Dozen Fungicides

This year, samples found pesticides such as pyrimethanil, fludioxonil, boscalid, and pyraclostrobin, all of which cause hormone imbalances.

Researchers connected Boscalid to hormone disruptions, cancer, and thyroid issues. Pyrimethanil can be harmful to the proper functioning of the thyroid by blocking androgen receptors in the body. Fludioxonil is damaging to male reproduction systems as it also behaves like estrogen. Researchers have connected Fludioxonil with breast cancer. Lastly, pyraclostrobin can cause metabolic disorders and liver toxicity.

Why Are Pesticides Bad?

The agricultural industry uses a lot of pesticides on produce yearly and this causes a lot of environmental and health impacts. It does help farmers to increase their yield but each year the repercussions grow.

Pesticides are meant to be used to destroy harmful pests, diseases, and weeds that could destroy crops but they do a lot more than that. Their use causes health issues to people who eat those products as well as farm workers who are exposed to it often. Pesticides kill helpful insects and pollinators and pollute the air, water, and soil.

Studies have connected pesticide use to an increase in genetic harm in people, spontaneous abortions, congenital abnormalities like neural tube disorders, and preterm births. Pesticide exposure has also been linked to heart disease, cancer, decreased sperm counts, and other illnesses.

Studies show that farmworkers who apply pesticides or are exposed to them are most vulnerable. According to a meta-analysis published in 2022, workers exposed to pesticides had a nearly five times increased risk of DNA damage, while a study published in February indicated that children exposed at a young age had worse neurodevelopment from infancy through adolescence.

Human Health Issues

Exposure to pesticides ranges from inhalation, ingestion skin contact, or contact with your eyes. What happens after exposure depends on individual vulnerability, pesticide type, and the type of exposure and duration.

You may feel the effects of pesticide exposure straight away which include dizziness, throat irritation, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and nausea. In time you could develop malignant or benign tumors, reproductive problems, genetic changes, cognitive dysfunctions, birth defects, asthma, blood disorders, endocrine disruption, and nerve disorders.

Infants and Children

Pesticide levels and the types of pesticides found in produce have an even bigger health effect on infants and children. In 1993 it was found that infants and children were consuming large amounts of contaminated foods. This allowed the Environmental Protection Agency to pass an act in 1996 to ensure that the levels of pesticides in food do not harm infants and children.

Reduce pesticides for better health.

Infant Health

Infants exposed to high levels of pesticides often develop poor lung function, slow reflexes, attention disorders, and lower IQs.

Children’s Health

Children’s health is affected by pesticide ingestion resulting in developmental delays that include learning issues, attention disorders, and childhood cancer.

Other Issues Caused by Pesticides

The pollution caused by pesticides is immense and impacts the environment to the extent that it is a major concern.

Plants

Pesticides affecting nitrogen levels in the soil lower plant yields. The death of pollinators also impacts natural plant reproduction and crop pollination.

Loss of Biodiversity

Most pesticides are harmful to birds, bees, and animals, causing the local wildlife to decrease in numbers and upsetting the biodiversity of the area. Pesticides harm aquatic life like frogs and fish.

Buy organic to keep biodiversity healthy.

Soil

Pesticides found in produce do seep into the soil, killing the microorganisms and making the quality of the soil worse year by year. It becomes reliant on the chemicals to grow produce.

Water

Water in groundwater, lakes, streams, rivers, oceans, and rain contain pesticides. Either someone spilled it by accident, the wind carried it, it leached through the soil, or contamination occurred via runoff.

Washing Produce

Washing fruits and vegetables thoroughly lowers the danger of exposure to pesticides, but it does not completely eliminate them.

The FDA suggests you follow these guidelines when cleaning fruits and vegetables from the Clean 15 list:

  1. Clean fruit like melons using a clean vegetable brush, and clean the brush each time it needs to be used.

  2. Rinse produce before peeling so that residue doesn’t contaminate the knife or peeling utensil.

  3. Vinegar Soak: Pour some white vinegar (usually a solution of one part vinegar to three parts water) into a bowl of water. After letting the produce soak in this solution for five to ten minutes, give it a good rinse with water. Due to its moderate acidity, vinegar may aid in the breakdown of pesticide residues.

  4. Baking Soda Solution: Use one teaspoon of baking soda for every two cups of water when mixing water with baking soda. After a few minutes of soaking, thoroughly rinse the vegetables. By dissolving pesticide residues, baking soda can aid in their removal.

Other Washing Methods

Other pesticides can still be on produce so wash thoroughly.

Key Takeaways

The Clean 15 makes it easier to know which fruits and vegetables, when grown traditionally, are less likely to have significant levels of pesticide residues. Increased consumption of these foods can provide you with the health advantages of fresh produce and possibly lower your exposure to pesticides.

Although the Clean 15 list is a useful reference, it’s crucial to keep in mind that the best way to reduce pesticide residues in produce is to wash and prepare it correctly. Selecting organic products wherever feasible is still a wonderful strategy to reduce your exposure to pesticides. In the end, you may continue to enjoy a diet high in fruits and vegetables while reducing potential hazards if you make educated decisions and put your health first.

If you can’t afford organic food all the time and can’t grow food at home the Clean 15 will help you make better shopping choices. Having a list of conventional vegetables and fruits with low pesticide exposure, which are also budget-friendly compared to organic produce prices, helps prioritize your health.

We hope that we have helped you make the right shopping choices for the health of your family and yourself. Until next time, remember to keep your produce clean and your health pristine! Happy cleaning and happy eating!

 

Benefits of Wormwood: The Wonder Healing Plant

The benefits of wormwood are numerous from treating insomnia, jaundice, stomach aches, anorexia, and anemia, to aiding digestion and alleviating pain. It is a wonder healing plant with a long history in traditional medicine for treating various ailments from common health issues to more serious health issues. It has been the go-to herb for skin infections, pain relief, removing intestinal worms, and aiding digestion for centuries.

Today wormwood is available over-the-counter as a natural medicine and herbal remedy for various illnesses and to promote general health. Its health benefits are abundant and it can be taken in a variety of different ways both fresh and dried.

This blog will help you find out more about wormwood, its benefits, and its many uses.

The anti inflammatory compound found in wormwood can reduce pain in knee osteoarthritis.

Three Main Types of Wormwood

Artemisia Absinthium

The ancient Greeks used wormwood shrubs recreationally and medicinally for hundreds of years. It also goes by the name artemisia absinthium, mugwort, green ginger, and madderwort to name a few. It is a bitter herb that has an aromatic scent similar to sage and if left in the garden is a natural pesticide.

The active ingredient in wormwood is the chemical thujone. There are two types of thujone – alpha thujone and beta thujone. The former is the more toxic of the two but products made in the United States must contain no thujone or 10 parts per million. Read the labels and make sure the products you are taking adhere to these requirements.

Artemisia Annua

Traditionally used in Chinese medicine for fever due to summer heat, ulcers, tissue generation pain, jaundice, stop bleeding, and malaria. Its modern use is mostly for malaria and bilharzia.

Artemisia Afra

Also known as sweet wormwood and used traditionally in Africa for malaria, coughs, intestinal worms, colds, loss of appetite, earache, fever, headaches, and colic.

Benefits

There are so many positive health benefits of wormwood as it is a very versatile healing plant.  The list of overall health benefits ranges from hormone regulation to liver support, and more!  Many ailments can be treated by using wormwood as either an ointment, tea, tincture, or extract, therefore making it even more versatile as it can be used in multiple ways to treat multiple health issues

Improves the Immune System

Wormwood contains flavonoids, artemisinin compounds, and the antioxidant, chamazulene. Together these three protect the cells against oxidative stress and work together to maintain cell membrane structures. They also protect nerve cells from free radical damage and oxidative stress caused by disease or external factors. This keeps the immune system functioning in a healthy state so that the body’s immune response is working at optimum levels, therefore reducing the risk of a chronic disease occurring

Battles Malaria

Malaria is a deadly parasitic disease that can affect humans by a single mosquito bite. Once bitten by a mosquito infected with malaria, red blood cells within the body are attacked by the infection. The artemisinin compound in wormwood reacts to this invasion by producing free radicals. Those free radicals set out to eliminate the parasite by reacting to the amount of iron found in the parasitic cells. This makes wormwood one of the most used antimalarial herbal drugs in the world. Therefore, it is advised if you are living in, or traveling to an area that is a malaria zone to take wormwood supplements as this could prevent you from contracting this infection.  

Wormwood is used to treat the malaria parasite.

Antibacterial and Antifungal Capabilities

The published journal, Chemical Composition of the Essential Oils of Serbian Wild-Growing Artemisia absinthium and Artemisia vulgaris, stated that certain oral thrushes and yeast infections have been killed using wormwood as well as other fungi and harmful bacteria. There was also a noticeable drop in infection rate from soft tissue and skin infections when using a wormwood extract topically. The wormwood essential oils, in particular, contain antimicrobial abilities against salmonella and E.coli, therefore emphasizing the importance of using wormwood as an antibacterial or antifungal.

Improves Blood Sugar Levels

The natural active compound in wormwood is sesquiterpene lactones. A study found that this compound may regulate blood sugar levels and stimulate the creation of insulin in the body. It might even prevent lipids from forming in the blood. Lipids are a combination of fats that regulate what your cells take in and out. Too much can be harmful resulting in high cholesterol levels.

Relaxes the Nervous System

Wormwood contains antioxidants that, besides helping to fight off disease, also have a calming effect on the nervous system. It aids in concentration and focus, which decreases stress and can provide a feeling of contentment. The calming effects can help bring about relaxation and help lower muscle pain in the body.

According to certain research, wormwood could have a slight uplift in mood. It is thought to influence the brain’s neurotransmitter systems, which may elevate mood and lessen anxiety.  Therefore wormwood does not only help overall relaxation and mood regulation, but it can also greatly reduce the risk of a chronic disease but reducing oxidative stress within the body. 

Soothes Skin Issues

Wormwood essential oils can be used on psoriasis, acne, eczema, and insect bites to soothe the symptoms of pain and itchiness. Scientific research has also shown that wormwood used topically reduces skin sensitivity and redness. It also repairs the skin barrier and improves damaged skin over time.

The antibacterial qualities of wormwood can aid in the treatment of several bacterial and fungal illnesses. It can be put on external wounds and infections of the skin.

Inflammation and Pain Relief

One of wormwood’s compounds, artemisinin, has potent anti-inflammatory effects. It lowers swelling, pain, warmth, and redness. A randomized double-blind control trial tested the Topical Effects of Artemisia Absinthium Ointment and Liniment in Comparison with Piroxicam Gel in Patients with Knee Joint Osteoarthritis. The trial found that inflammation and pain caused by osteoarthritis were treated and effectively reduced with wormwood ointments applied topically. 

Crohn’s disease occurs when the lining of the digestive tract becomes inflamed causing several issues like abdominal cramps, diarrhea, digestive problems, and fatigue. Studies have shown an array of positive results with using wormwood to treat a gut disorder such as Crohn’s disease. Using a natural and holistic approach to treating this disease could help to reduce the amount of negative side effects caused by the typical treatment of steroids needed to manage the disease.

Due to wormwood’s inflammation and pain relief properties, studies have shown that wormwood has the ability to suppress tumor necrosis factor-alpha. Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) is a cytokine, a type of protein involved in cell signaling in the immune system. It plays a crucial role in inflammation, immune response, and cell death (apoptosis). In certain diseases and conditions, such as autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and psoriasis, TNF-alpha levels are often much higher, contributing to inflammation, increased pain, and tissue damage.

Aids Neurological Disorders 

Wormwood can improve cognitive functions and enhance neurotransmitter function, which could help sufferers of Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease with disorientation, confusion, and delirium. Not only can wormwood help ease the symptoms of a neurological disorder, but it can help in reducing the risk of the onset of a neurological disorder, due to its neuroprotective properties. These properties help protect the nerve cells from damage caused by inflammation, oxidative stress, and many other external factors that could contribute to a chronic neurological disorder.  Wormwood could also help with nerve cell regeneration if damage has already occurred.

Antidepressant Properties

Wormwood has a calming effect and can be used as a natural form of therapy to treat depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and insomnia. The depressive symptoms of these mental health conditions are treated by the relaxing effect the herb induces. 

Kill Parasites

The name wormwood comes from its use for treating parasitic infections in the body. Wormwood is well-known for its parasite detox as it contains compounds like sesquiterpene lactones and thujone that have been found to have potent antiparasitic effects. Research suggests that it can react to pathogens, and expel parasites from the body. It is commonly consumed for treating parasites like roundworms, pinworms, and tapeworms. 

Wormwood contains sesquiterpene lactones that have potent antibacterial qualities, such as artemisinin and absinthin. It has been demonstrated that these substances are not only effective against a variety of parasites, such as helminths worms, but also bacteria, and even some types of fungus too!

Improves Digestion

The terpenes in wormwood encourage the production of intestinal secretions, bile, saliva, and stomach mucus. These gastric juices are essential in ensuring that the digestive process runs smoothly. Wormwood can reduce stomach acids (hypoacidity), bringing relief from acid reflux and peptic ulcers. A study showed that it relaxed the intestinal tract and, therefore, decreased spasms. This encouraged better digestion and improved appetite.

Bile is produced in the gallbladder when wormwood is ingested. This aids the digestion process and increases blood flow in the digestive system. In the small intestine, bile is necessary for the breakdown and absorption of fats and fat-soluble vitamins. Wormwood promotes effective digestion and nutrient absorption by aiding in the breakdown of dietary lipids through an increase in bile synthesis and secretion.

Wormwood prevents constipation and lowers the severity of stomach ailments like diarrhea, nausea, gas, and bloating. This is why it is the preferred remedy for treating gastrointestinal disorders.

Anti-Cancer Properties

The artemisinin in wormwood has antioxidant properties and is used to produce free radicals. A study showed the cytotoxicity of wormwood and how it can target and damage cancer cells whilst leaving other normal cells unharmed. Wormwood has the ability to cause apoptosis (programmed cell death) of cancer cells specifically, making it an effective holistic cancer modality without the adverse reactions that other drugs may cause.

It has been discovered that wormwood prevents cancer cells from proliferating by obstructing the development of their cell cycle. Wormwood slows down tumor growth by interfering with several signaling pathways that are important in the growth and division of cancer cells.

It battles cancer cells the same way it battles malaria parasites, making it a viable natural remedy treatment for cancer.

Types of Wormwood Products

There are various wormwood products available from fresh wormwood to topical ointment. Wormwood can even be found in alcoholic beverages. It can be ingested as a tea, powder, or tincture (mixed with water), or wormwood can be used as an essential oil.

Wormwood Pills and Capsules

These contain powdered wormwood and may also contain other natural herbs and ingredients that may work synergistically with wormwood. These are mostly used for parasite cleanses.

The Well of Life ParaPurify contains wormwood and other natural ingredients like black walnut hull and mimosa pudica. It was created as a parasite cleanse and to support your body whilst trying to achieve homeostasis.

Contains wormwood extract.

Wormwood Tinctures

Tinctures are made by soaking fresh wormwood leaves and flowers in a solvent like honey, glycerine, or vinegar. This must be left for up to six weeks before being filtered for use. This tincture can be diluted in water when ready to use.

Wormwood Tea

The flowers, stems, and leaves are dried to make tea. You can use half a teaspoon but no more than a full teaspoon as it is very bitter. You can add dried anise or peppermint to improve the flavor. The longer you steep it, the stronger it becomes, therefore steep it based on your strength preference.

Digestion wormwood in tea will have a bitter taste.

How to Make Wormwood Tea

Ingredients

1 cup of boiled water

1 teaspoon of dried wormwood leaves

Method

Boil enough water for one cup of tea. Pour water into the cup and add the wormwood leaves. Cover the top so that the tea seeps. Wait five to 15 minutes then strain the leaves. Let the remainder cool down in the cup before sipping.

For Gallbladder or Gastrointestinal Issues  

Drink one cup after meals to relieve bloating and gas.

For Appetite Stimulation

Drink one cup before meals to encourage your appetite.

For Bruises, Gout, Rheumatism and Arthritis

Make a compress out of wormwood. You do this by making the tea as normal but instead of sipping it, soak a gauze pad in it after it cools down. You can then place this soaked gauze onto the affected areas.

Wormwood Oil or Wormwood Essential Oil

Wormwood oil is made from the leaves and stems. This extraction happens during the plant’s pre-flowering stage through a process called steam distillation. Once the oil is extracted from the wormwood it can be used in ointments and lotions for topical use.

Precautions

Make sure you don’t take wormwood in any form for longer than 4 weeks and never take wormwood oil internally as it is toxic. Always take the correct dosage and avoid wormwood in the following conditions:

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Wormwood may cause miscarriages and it could be harmful to newborns, so it’s best to avoid using it during any of these stages.

Children

Wormwood is too strong for children under six years of age and will be toxic to them.

Porphyria

Disorders that fall under this group could react to the compound called thujone in wormwood. The reaction could make symptoms worse so it’s best to avoid taking it, or only use products that are thujone free.

Epilepsy

The thujone present in wormwood can cause seizures by overstimulating the brain. This is a higher risk in epileptic sufferers and people who have other seizure disorders. It may also hinder seizure medications by inhibiting their effects.

Gallbladder Stones, Blockages, and Cirrhosis of the Liver

Wormwood increases bile which worsens these issues.

Heart Disease

If you have heart disease and take chronic medication containing blood thinners then avoid wormwood. It reacts with blood thinning medication causing intestinal bleeding.

Kidney Disease

People with chronic kidney disease or kidney disorders have a high risk of kidney failure if they use wormwood.

Stomach Ulcers

Wormwood irritates the stomach lining making the symptoms worse.

Allergies

If you are allergic to marigolds and ragweed then you will be allergic to wormwood as they are all in the same Asteraceae family.

You might be allergic to these bitter herbs.

Key Takeaways

Wormwood is a wonder plant for so many ailments from pain relief to lowering inflammation and removing intestinal worms. With so many uses and health benefits, it’s no wonder that this wonder plant benefits overall health and vitality! 

As a natural treatment wormwood comes in several forms (pills, powders, capsules, teas, tinctures, and oils) both dried and fresh. Schedule an annual wormwood parasite detox to ensure your body is functioning optimally. You have plenty of options to choose from, and each one fits a specific purpose depending on your needs. The choice is yours for better health and relief from a range of common and rare ailments!

We sincerely hope we have given you enough information on wormwood to make the right decision for you and your health.

 

Gut Cleanser: Are the Health Benefits Fact or Fiction?

Gut cleansers or colon cleanses were first created as an ancient Greek practice used to get rid of harmful waste in the body. The term autointoxication was coined because it was believed that toxins would be made from this undigested food and be carried through the bloodstream causing you harm and leading to severe health issues. Even though this ancient theory was disproved, there is a grain of truth to the benefits colon health provides for your overall health.

Modern colon cleanses have come a long way from their ancient Greek creators, you can now do one at home or book an appointment with a hydrotherapist for a professional colon cleanse. There are also alternative ways to keep your colon healthy and working as it should.

This blog will take you through what a colon cleanse is, and what the different types are and provide you with some tips should you want to have one done. We will give you all the information you need to determine whether it is indeed beneficial to our health or not.

A natural colon cleanse is good for the immune system.

What Is a Colon Cleanse?

A colon cleanse is generally done when you are about to have a colonoscopy. A medical procedure that involves inserting a tube into your colon with a tiny camera so that it can be looked at close up. People who have medical conditions like chronic constipation and fecal incontinence would also use this procedure to help them with their bowel movements.

Over the years colon cleansing has become a popular method to detoxify the body. It goes by other names from colonic irrigation to colonic hydrotherapy. It involves flushing the colon with either water or water mixed with other substances to clean out the excess waste sitting in the large intestine. A lot of liquid is used to flush the colon, the maximum is 16 gallons in total.

How Does Colon Cleansing Work?

Colon Cleansing Methods

Using a Hydrotherapists or Colonic Hygienists

This cleanse is also called high colonics and is done using a colon hydrotherapy machine. Probiotics may be used with enzymes and herbs as well as different water pressures and temperatures. 

You lay on a table and a small tube is inserted into your rectum. The low gravity-based reservoir or low-pressure pump then gets to work using the water to flush out your colon. It could take an hour as this process is repeated.  The toxins are removed with another tube and then the process starts again. The procedure is similar to an enema just involving more liquid. 

Some methods involve leaving a small amount of water in the colon for a set period before being flushed out to absorb the toxins. Some hydrotherapists will massage your stomach at this point. 

Home Cleanse

You can get kits to use at home to perform the rectal cleanse. Liquid, capsules, or powdered supplements can also be taken orally. The kits and products can be purchased from pharmacies, health food stores, and supermarkets. These generally contain magnesium, enemas, enzymes, non-stimulant and stimulant laxatives, and herbal teas.

Benefits of Colon Cleanses

By getting rid of stagnant waste you are getting rid of toxins that are stagnant in your body. This not only benefits your overall health but also does the following:

Lower Colon Cancer Risk

If the unwanted waste is not released from your body from an unhealthy diet then it collects in the intestine causing harm. A clear colon allows for a healthy gastrointestinal tract and lowers the development of cancerous growths, polyps, and cysts.

Increase Focus and Promote Clearer Thinking

The build-up of waste preventing the adequate absorption of nutrients makes you lose focus and become distracted. A colon cleanse allows for better absorption of food so that we can think clearly.

Colon cleansing allows us to think clearly.

Improve Digestion

A clean colon can easily process waste and pass it through while being able to absorb nutrients and vitamins more easily. This prevents constipation from a slow digestive system that is clogged with waste and allows the body to get nutrients from the food with ease.

Energy Boost

Once the toxins are released, the body is renewed resulting in a burst of energy, better blood circulation, and better sleep quality.

Promote Weight Loss

Slow-moving food starts sticking to the intestinal walls causing a build-up and slowing down the digestive progress further. The average colon can hold up to eight meals so this build-up just adds more weight onto your body. By clearing out the waste, food can move at a normal pace and this resets your body’s metabolism aiding in weight loss.

Strengthen the Immune System

By digesting food properly and absorbing nutrients, we get all the vitamins we need to keep our bodies strong. In one study, issues in the gastrointestinal system improved after a colon cleanse.

Natural Colon Cleanses

Oral colon cleanses can be done using natural ingredients and can be done at home. There are different types:

Herbal Teas

Cayenne pepper, ginger, and garlic target bad bacteria, and herbs like slippery elm, psyllium, marshmallow root, and aloe vera are natural laxatives that help with constipation relief. Ingesting these herbal teas promotes a clean colon.

Digestive health starts with healthy plant foods.

Drinking Water

Drinking enough warm water ensures digestion is regulated. Try to also eat foods that have high water content like tomatoes, celery, cucumbers, and lettuce.

Juicing

These are quite popular and involve blending up vegetables and fruit. This helps with your fiber intake, and hydration contributing positively towards digestion. The fruit gut health and helps food move through the colon easily. A juice fast is when full meals are replaced with these special juices over a few days.

Saltwater Flush

When you wake up in the morning, before having anything to eat, mix two teaspoons of salt with lukewarm water and drink this as quickly as you can. Repeat this in the evening before going to bed. Stay near bathrooms when you do this cleanse as you will need to use the bathroom multiple times during the day and before bed.

Safe Colon Cleansing Tips

There are risks involved with colon cleanses so we have listed  a few tips you can follow:

Do Your Research

When looking for a hydrotherapist make sure they are qualified and part of a professional organization with safety procedures in place. This includes the use of new protective equipment and disposal wear. All machines must also be properly sanitized and be sure you are not allergic to anything that may be added to the water.

Research colon irrigation and colon cleansing preparations.

The same goes for home kits and oral cleanses. Only use colon cleansing products that are safe and sanitary from a reputable source.

Hydrate

Make sure you drink a lot of liquids before and after the process because none of the liquids being used will be absorbed into your body. 

Get Advice

Talk to your medical practitioner in case you run a high risk of getting hurt. This could be the case for people suffering from inflammatory bowel disease.

How to Keep Your Colon Healthy

Biologically your bowel and digestive system work to get rid of excess waste in the body. That isn’t to say that the process works as planned all of the time so it is a good idea to make sure your colon is healthy and functioning at its peak.

Avoid Toxins

Quit smoking, alcohol, processed foods, and anything else that could create toxins in your body.

Drink Enough Water

You know you have drunk enough when your urine is clear and don’t feel thirsty during the day. Water moves through the digestive system helping waste move easily. Make sure you drink at least 12 cups of water a day. If you are a very active person then this amount can go up to 16 cups or more.

Take Probiotics

Fermented foods all contain good bacteria to keep your gut microbiome healthy. Foods that contain probiotics are kombucha, apple cider vinegar, pickle juice, sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickles all contain natural probiotics that you can take daily or you can take supplements.

Fermented foods contain beneficial bacteria to improve colon health.

Exercise Daily

Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity in a day to keep yourself fit and help food move along your digestive tract more easily.

Eat a Plant-Based Diet

This healthy diet will increase your fiber intake.

Resistant Starches

Green bananas, potatoes, legumes, and rice contain these foods that help gut microflora and clean the colon naturally.

High Fiber 

Keeping your colon healthy starts with eating the right food. High-fiber foods assist with gut bacteria, giving a boost to the helpful bacteria. Besides helping you keep you fuller in the day, fiber-rich foods prevent constipation and assist with overactive bowls. Getting plenty of seeds, lentils, fruits, rice, white beans, peas, nuts, and vegetables is essential.

Key Takeaways

Colon cleanses are beneficial for overall health, especially a natural colon cleanse, as they keep the colon healthy and function as it should. You need a healthy colon to digest food well otherwise all the nutrients and vitamins you need can’t be absorbed into your body.

A healthy colon is needed for overall body health and wellbeing so it’s always acceptable to ensure colon health is a top priority. Whether that means you want to use colon irrigation or change your lifestyle the choice is yours. You have all the information you need to make the decision that suits your body’s needs.

 

Does Melatonin Help Anxiety? Exploring Its Potential for Relief

Does melatonin help anxiety? It’s a question that many individuals grappling with anxiety often ask, seeking relief and understanding in their journey toward better mental health. In a world where stress appears to be an inevitable companion, researching different natural and pharmacological solutions has become a popular activity. Although melatonin is mainly recognized for its function in controlling sleep, its possible mental calming benefits have drawn more attention. But does it really have potential as a treatment for anxiety? Let’s explore the facts, myths, and science of melatonin and how it relates to anxiety.

A lot of the time not getting enough sleep can cause us to feel anxious throughout the day. Sleep and anxiety are linked so lack of sleep could make anxiety worse. Melatonin ensures you have better sleep quality and a longer sleep so you wake up feeling refreshed and less anxious, therefore this shows us that melatonin works well when treating anxiety.

This blog is going to take you through what melatonin is, what it does, and how it helps with anxiety. 

Taking melatonin helps with anxiety.

What is Melatonin?

It is a hormone created from the amino acid tryptophan and helps to keep the body’s circadian rhythm on track, therefore,  keeping us awake when we should be during the day and asleep at night. It is released mostly at night, between the hours of 2 am and 4 am, however, it is also produced and released during the day but in small amounts. At night melatonin is produced ten times more than during the day because it is needed more.

Melatonin comes from the pineal gland and enters the fluid around the brain and spinal cord before entering the bloodstream. From here it travels to all the tissues and organs in the body, this triggers all the specific receptors to tell the body it’s time to sleep.

Melatonin is sensitive to light, so it is responsible for our internal clock. As light changes, we either become more alert or feel tired. When the nights get longer and the days shorter as the season changes, the way melatonin is created and released also changes. This is called circannual rhythm or seasonal rhythm.

It is an antioxidant that serves to lower oxidative stress in our brains. Melatonin looks for and gets rid of free radicals and reduces tissue damage. It also stimulates the creation of antioxidant enzymes in the body as an extra defense against oxidative damage.

Pineal Gland

The pineal gland is a very small pinecone-shaped gland found deep in your brain. It is part of a network of glands that produce and release hormones throughout the body. It gets information from our eyes to know when the light changes based on the time of day. Once it has this information it makes melatonin.

Low Melatonin Productions

If your melatonin levels are low, you will experience sleep disturbance at night or have trouble falling asleep. Over time it could lead to mental health disorders or a sleep disorder.

Contributing Factors

Light exposure

If we have a lot of light exposure at night then production lowers, especially from blue light found in phones, televisions, laptops, and most electronic devices.

Age

As we get older, we produce and release less melatonin. This is why it becomes harder to get good quality sleep as we age.

Diseases

Bipolar disorder, some cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), Type 2 diabetes, and migraines can interfere with the production and release of melatonin.

Symptoms

Circadian Rhythm Disruptions

When your sleep-wake cycle isn’t performing as it should. This normally occurs when your biological clock is out of sync.

Nightly Wake-Ups

Waking up at night often and being unable to fall back asleep.

Daytime Sleepiness

Constantly feeling tired during the day and feeling as if you didn’t get enough sleep.

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a natural response to fear, stress, or caused by a surrounding threat. It is an emotion characterized by fear, worry, or concern about the future. While it’s common to feel anxious in reaction to stressful events occasionally, anxiety becomes a problem when it gets out of control, persists, or interferes with day-to-day activities. Anxiety doesn’t have to be caused by a life-threatening situation, it could be an awkward situation or needing to make a very important decision.

When you are anxious, you get a boost of adrenaline and your body goes into “fight or flight mode” so you can respond to that danger appropriately. This response becomes a disorder when we start experiencing “flight or flight mode” more often, without there being any danger involved. This leads to physical symptoms and an inability to function as we normally would.

Often panic starts to set in and this hampers our ability to do our day-to-day activities. People with this disorder end up isolating themselves from places and people to protect themselves from this constant perceived danger. A lot of the time anti-anxiety medications are used to treat these affective disorders.

Anxiety Symptoms

Sweating, nausea, shaking, and an increase in blood pressure are physical anxiety symptoms. Emotional symptoms include constant worry, nervousness, difficulty concentrating, restlessness, unease, irritability, inability to sleep, and fear.

Types of Anxiety Disorders

Social Anxiety Disorder

Also known as the fear of public embarrassment. It’s cause is based around being fearful of others judging you when you are in a public and social setting. Common factors of social anxiety disorder include the fear of rejection, the fear of intimacy, and stage fright.

Phobias

Certain situations or items might cause such distress that we become anxious in their presence. Snakes can trigger a fear response so extreme that panic sets in or agoraphobia, the fear of being unable to leave a certain place or get help.

Separation Anxiety Disorder

If a specific place or person makes you feel secure and safe, being away from that place or person causes severe anxiety.

Seek medical advice when taking antidepressant medications with a melatonin supplement.

Panic Disorder

People who suffer from this disorder often have panic attacks which results in them not being able to breathe easily. This can result in shaking, nausea, confusion, and dizziness. These symptoms can start small but can become uncontrollable.  The majority of the time stressful situations cause panic attacks.

Selective Mutism

Specific places or situations may cause a person to become temporarily unable to speak. This could be due to trauma or anxiety.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder(GAD)

This is the most common type of anxiety. This is when you can’t pinpoint exactly what is causing the anxiousness. Regardless of your situation, you experience the physical and emotional symptoms of anxiety, which are often debilitating.

Causes of Anxiety    

Multiple factors cause anxiety such as:

Stimulants

The use of illegal stimulants or caffeine can have a large impact on your anxiety levels. These substances can increase your heart rate and blood pressure, heighten your sensitivity, disrupt sleep, and ultimately create a withdrawal effect and therefore increase your anxiety.

Unhealthy Environments 

Stress exposure for long periods in unhealthy work or family environments could cause anxiety. If your working environment causes you high levels of stress due to toxic behaviors, it will start affecting your anxiety levels. This is the same in family environments that are hostile and unsafe.

Family History 

You could have an anxiety disorder if your family has a history of this condition. If your parents or grandparents had high stress levels and were anxious a lot of the time you could have inherited it genetically.

Genetically low melatonin levels could react with melatonin supplementation.

Medical Issues

Thyroid disorders, diabetes, and heart arrhythmias can cause anxiety. Worrying about your illness or health conditions could make you anxious.

Ask your healthcare provider about how much melatonin is needed as a sleep medicine.

How Does Melatonin Treat Anxiety?

Melatonin is a sleep aid, and getting a good night’s sleep lowers anxiety levels, therefore by having adequate melatonin levels, you will sleep better and ultimately have less anxiety!  Melatonin reduces anxiety levels in adult patients undergoing surgery and makes them feel more at ease both before and after the procedure. It also produces a calming neurotransmitter in our nervous system that helps to improve mood quality and lower stress levels. In this randomized clinical trial you can see how melatonin administration was effective at relieving anxiety symptoms.

How to Increase Your Melatonin Levels

Keep a Regular Sleep Schedule

By going to bed at a fixed time and waking up at a fixed time, you regulate your body’s internal clock. This helps your body produce melatonin naturally.

Establish a Calm Bedtime Schedule

Before going to bed, create relaxing activities like reading, having a warm bath, or practicing relaxation methods like deep breathing. Your body may receive this as a cue to relax and get ready for sleep.

Reduce Your Nighttime Exposure to Artificial Light

Before going to bed, limit your exposure to strong lights, especially blue light from computers, smartphones, and other electronics. Blue light can hinder your ability to fall asleep by suppressing the generation of melatonin. It also causes sleep disturbances.

Increase Your Daytime Exposure to Natural Light

Go outside during the day, especially in the morning. Exposure to natural light aids in regulating your circadian rhythm, which affects the synthesis of melatonin and your sleep-wake cycles.

Think About Supplemental Melatonin

Melatonin supplements can be taken to raise melatonin levels if natural approaches aren’t enough. Since the amount and timing of these medications can vary depending on individual needs, it is imperative to use them sparingly and under the supervision of a healthcare practitioner.

Some people take melatonin supplements as a form of sleep medicine when their bodies don’t make enough of the hormone. Low melatonin production could have adverse effects like chronic insomnia. 

It is used for treating sleep problems like poor sleep, and trouble falling asleep. It is also used for older adults suffering from neurodivergent disorders, acute coronary syndrome, and cardiovascular disease

Well of Life Sleep Restore contains melatonin as well as sleep-enhancing elements. It has been formulated to support healthy sleep so you can feel restored.

Sleep aids can help with sleep deprivation.

Eat Foods High in Melatonin

Some foods contain melatonin and chemicals that promote its production. Tomatoes, walnuts, almonds, grapes, and tart cherries are a few examples. Including these foods in your diet could help your body produce more melatonin naturally.

Address Stress

Prolonged stress can interfere with the generation of melatonin and deregulate sleep patterns. To encourage relaxation and improved sleep, try stress-reduction methods like progressive muscle relaxation or mindfulness.

Establish a Sleep-Friendly Environment

Make sure your bedroom is calm, dark, and cool to sleep in. If required, reduce noise by using white noise machines, blackout curtains, or earplugs.

How Does It Regulate Sleep?

Enhances Sleep Quality

Taking melatonin reduces sleep disruption, helps you sleep longer, and gets you to fall asleep faster without hassle.

Circadian Rhythm Regulator

If you work, travel across time zones, or work different shifts,  this puts your biological clock out of sync. You can’t process things or could even develop mood disorders over time. Melatonin resets that clock so the sleep-wake cycle functions as it should.

Sleep Assistance

Supplements for travelers with jet lag or sleep disorders like insomnia include a melatonin supplement at night before bed to promote sleep.

When comparing other medications, taking melatonin worked best for jet lag.

Key Takeaways

We have found out that not only does melatonin help us get a great night’s sleep but it has other functions as well. It fights off free radical damage in the body and helps with anxiety. The link between getting good sleep and anxiety is the key to understanding why this is the case.

We highlighted how a natural hormone for sleep also helps to lower stress and treat anxiety. As a sleep-enhancing protocol and preventing cognitive dysfunction compared to other medications, it’s the best at treating sleep issues. A good night’s sleep helps to decrease symptoms of anxiety and lowers the risk of other mental health conditions or depressive symptoms. Melatonin makes this all possible while being natural making it a much healthier option!

 

How Much Sodium Per Day is Healthy: How to Find the Balance

Sodium is a widely distributed mineral that is present in a variety of foods and is necessary for many body processes. But moderation is key, as it is with most things in life. The chemical formula ‘Na’ on the periodic table of elements represents sodium. The amount of sodium we consume each day can have a big impact on our health and well-being. In this blog, we will delve into the importance of understanding just how much sodium per day is healthy for our bodies.

Excessive consumption of sodium has been linked to several health issues, including heart disease, stroke, and kidney problems. Striking a balance between supplying the body with the sodium it needs and avoiding overindulgence is crucial.

By reviewing recommended daily intake guidelines, identifying common high-sodium foods, and providing practical guidance for reducing sodium levels in our diets, we hope to empower you to make informed decisions about how much sodium you consume each day. To optimize our health, let us work together to solve the sodium conundrum and discover effective ways to track and manage our intake of sodium.

Sodium is known as Na on the Periodic table of elements.

What is Sodium?

An electrolyte and necessary mineral, sodium is vital to the maintenance of many body processes. It plays a crucial role in controlling the activity of neurons, muscle contractions, and fluid balance. Sodium helps to maintain muscle function and helps transmit nerve signals, along with other electrolytes like potassium. Sodium is not just a mineral but also an essential nutrient for the body to properly function. It is crucial for maintaining overall health and supporting vital bodily functions.

The main way to get this mineral is through diet; common foods with different sodium contents are sauces, processed foods, table salt (sodium chloride), and some natural foods. Sustaining general health requires being aware of the function of sodium in the body and being cautious of daily consumption amounts.

Sources of Sodium

Sodium chloride, or table salt, is widely used in cooking and flavoring and is a household staple. It is arguably the most evident source of sodium. It’s crucial to use moderation when adding salt when preparing meals. Additionally, checking labels for ingredients like sodium bicarbonate (also known as baking soda) and monosodium glutamate can provide a clearer understanding of the sodium content in processed foods, as these ingredients contribute significantly to overall sodium intake.

Processed and Packaged Foods:

Known for their high sodium content, processed foods include canned soups, frozen dinners, and snack foods. These easy choices frequently have salt added for flavor and preservation.

Sauces and Condiments:

Some sauces that can significantly raise our daily consumption of salt include barbecue sauce, ketchup, soy sauce, and salad dressings. Selecting low-sodium or homemade options can help you cut back on your salt consumption.

Bread and Baked Goods:

Bread, rolls, and baked goods may contain a higher-than-normal salt content, especially when produced commercially. It is helpful to look for low-sodium options on labels.

Restaurants and Fast Food:

Food prepared outside the home, whether at restaurants or fast-food chains, frequently has a high salt content due to processing techniques and seasonings. One way to reduce sodium intake is to choose healthier options and be cautious of portion sizes.

Natural Foods:

While fresh produce naturally contains little sodium, some natural foods—like celery, spinach, and beets—have more sodium than others. But when these items are part of a balanced diet, their salt concentration usually doesn’t pose a problem.

Healthier Salt Options

There are healthier options of salt that can be used, and these include:

Himalayan Pink Salt: Derived from old sea salt deposits, Himalayan pink salt is prized for its high mineral content, containing calcium, magnesium, and potassium. This natural salt substitute adds a pleasing visual element to meals with its subtle pink color and complex flavor profile.

Sea Salt: Made from seawater that has evaporated, sea salt keeps trace minerals including zinc, potassium, and magnesium. Sea salt is a versatile alternative for flavoring foods. It also adds depth to recipes because of its saline taste and grainy texture.

Kelp Salt: Made from powdered and dried kelp seaweed, kelp salt is a novel substitute that adds umami flavor to food. Kelp salt is high in iodine and other vital elements and has a savory flavor characteristic that enhances nutrition.

Herb-Infused Salts: To enhance your culinary creations, infuse salt crystals with the flavor of herbs like basil, thyme, or rosemary. By reducing the need for excessive salt, these flavor-enhancing aromatic mixes also promote a more deliberate and well-rounded approach to seasoning.

Low-Sodium Salt Blends: Low-sodium salt blends are a good option for people who want to cut back on their sodium consumption. These products typically contain a potassium chloride and sodium chloride mixture, which lowers the product’s overall sodium content while imparting a salty flavor.

Lemon Salt: Infusing salt crystals with the zesty essence of lemons, lemon salt is tart and invigorating, adding a zesty touch to food. This tasty alternative puts a unique spin on classic spice by bringing brightness to grilled veggies, fish, and salads.

Himalayan salt is a healthier option for regular table salt and adds a pop of colour to the dish.

Recommended sodium intake

In an interview conducted by Health Secret with Dr. Kim Williams, she said that “the limits that we like to set for sodium have been argued back-and-forth. Right now, we would say anyone who has high blood pressure should be eating less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day. If we’re talking about general health, the large outcome studies done by the Nurses’ Health and Health Professional Follow-Up Study say that everyone should be doing less than 2,000 milligrams.

Choosing foods labeled as ‘less sodium’ or’ reduced sodium’ can be beneficial for those trying to stay within these recommended intake limits. This helps reduce the risk of high-sodium-related conditions such as heart disease and stroke while managing blood pressure and heart health.

How Much Sodium is Too Much Sodium?

Although our bodies need sodium to function correctly, too much of the mineral can have negative health repercussions. What is the limit for sodium, then? The suggested daily intake guidelines contain the solution.

If an adult consumes more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day, it may be considered excessive, and it may increase their risk of developing heart disease and stroke. Experts advise people with specific medical disorders or risk factors—like hypertension—to stay well below the recommended daily dosage of 1,500 mg.

We must be aware of how much sodium we consume and make an effort to keep it within the suggested ranges. This is done in order to protect our health and well-being. We may take proactive measures towards a healthy future by determining how much sodium is too much and making deliberate decisions to limit our intake.

Reading food lables is important especially when trying to maintain a healthy sodium balance.

Balancing Sodium Intake with a Healthy Lifestyle

Determine High-Sodium Fenders:

Processed foods, fast food, and condiments are often high in sodium. You can choose lower-sodium options and make educated decisions if you can identify these sources. When using canned foods that contain sodium, you can rinse them out to lower the sodium intake as well.

Carefully Read Labels:

Read food labels carefully and select items with reduced salt content. When shopping, try to choose products that are labeled “low-sodium,” “no added salt,” or “sodium-free.”.

Cook at Home:

When you cook at home, you can lower sodium levels by adding flavor enhancers like herbs and spices in place of salt. You also have more control over the ingredients.

Eat Fresh Foods:

Increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables. These whole foods have several health advantages and are generally lower in salt. By incorporating more fresh foods into your diet, you lower your sodium intake.

Keep Yourself Hydrated:

Drinking enough water will assist your body in eliminating excess sodium, which can help you maintain a healthy balance.

Depending on a number of variables, including age, gender, activity level, climate, and general health, different amounts of water should be consumed each day. Nonetheless, the “8×8 rule,” which recommends consuming eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, or around 2 liters or half a gallon, is a general recommendation that is frequently mentioned.

Adhering to the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) criteria is another widely recommended course of action. The DRI states that an adult’s recommended daily fluid intake is:

  • For men, roughly 3.7 liters (125 ounces).

  • For women, roughly 2.7 liters (91 ounces).

Since everyone’s needs for hydration are different, it’s important to pay attention to your body’s needs and adjust your water consumption accordingly. These factors may include physical activity, the weather, and your particular health concerns.

Hydration is key for sodium intake as they balance each other.
Keep an Eye on Your Health:

Make sure your salt intake is in line with your overall health objectives and maintain a balanced diet. Your body needs sodium to perform its bodily functions properly; however, everything should be taken in moderation.

In an interview conducted by Health Secret, Dr. Peter Glidden said, “In order to have healthy, strong stomach acid, which is necessary for optimal health, you need salt. Let me say it again. You need salt. You need the chloride from sodium chloride in order to have hydrochloric acid in adequate amounts in your stomach.”.

Regular exercise is essential for maintaining a healthy salt balance, in addition to a balanced diet. Engaging in physical exercise promotes circulation, which helps the body flush out extra salt through perspiration].

Exercise also improves cardiovascular health and lowers the risk of diseases like heart disease, that a high-sodium diet could worsen. A balanced diet and regular exercise have a synergistic impact that improves general health and well-being. Eating nutrient-dense foods and exercising frequently will help you maintain a healthy sodium balance and lead a vital and long-lasting lifestyle.

Exercise reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases that could be worsened by a high sodium diet.

Effects of Excessive Sodium Intake

Overconsumption of salt has serious consequences, and there are some health risks associated with a high sodium intake. It increases the risk of heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke. The kidneys’ inability to handle too much sodium can lead to fluid retention and renal injury.

Moreover, evidence suggests a link between high sodium intake and cognitive decline. Knowing these effects highlights the importance of monitoring sodium intake for overall health and well-being.

Key Takeaways

To achieve optimal health, it is crucial to strike the ideal balance in salt consumption. All bodily functions require sodium. Too much of it can be bad for you, though, especially if it leads to heart disease, kidney disease, or stroke. Understanding the recommended daily intake of salt is crucial to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and reducing the risk of associated health problems.

Dietary standards recommend that most people consume 2,300 mg of sodium daily, which is approximately one teaspoon of salt. For those with certain medical conditions or risk factors like high blood pressure, cutting back on sodium to 1,500 mg per day may be helpful.

Maintaining that balance in the diet requires careful attempts to monitor salt intake. Choosing fresh and less processed foods, cooking at home, and reading product labels are all good ways to control your salt intake.

By making informed dietary choices and prioritizing complete, nutrient-dense meals, people can take proactive steps to maintain a good sodium balance and promote overall well-being. Maintaining a balanced salt intake is essential to leading a healthy lifestyle. By monitoring their salt intake, choosing their food carefully, and exercising frequently, people can maintain their cardiovascular health, protect their kidneys, and reduce their risk of stroke.

Adopting a holistic approach to health that incorporates regular exercise, a balanced diet, and sodium awareness can help promote a lifetime of health and vigor. Keep in mind that even small changes in sodium intake can have a significant positive impact on health outcomes, so let us make an effort to keep balance and well-being in mind when making daily decisions.

 

What Are The Dirty Dozen: Exploring Pesticides in Produce

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) compiles an annual “Dirty Dozen” list to guide consumers on the 12 fruits and vegetables with the highest pesticide residue levels when grown conventionally. The list enables consumers to make knowledgeable decisions about their food purchases by identifying certain produce items, especially when it comes to selecting organic options to reduce exposure to dangerous pesticides.

The discussion around pesticide use in agriculture has received a lot of attention as people have become more aware of how their food choices affect their health and the environment. The decisions we make about the food we eat in the modern world go far beyond nutrition and flavor.

Join us in this blog as we explore the world of the Dirty Dozen, learning about the effects of pesticides on produce, the significance of this list, and how we may choose better options for the environment and ourselves.

The Dirty Dozen draws attention to harmful substances and allows us to make collective decisions regarding what we ingest.

What is the Dirty Dozen?

The term “Dirty Dozen” traces back to the early 1990s, when the Environmental Working Group (EWG) began examining data on pesticide residues from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The EWG updates this list every year with the newest information on the 12 fruits and vegetables that contain the highest detectable pesticide residues.

The list has grown in value over time as a helpful tool for customers trying to cut back on the dangerous chemicals they eat.  The EWG hopes to encourage consumers to choose organic products by drawing attention to these produce items and increasing their knowledge of the possible hazards associated with pesticide exposure.

Pesticides are harmful to human health and we should be very aware of what we are ingesting.

Criteria For Inclusion In The List

In the selection process for the “Dirty Dozen” list, decision-makers use several crucial factors to determine which fruits and vegetables qualify.

Detectable Pesticide Residue Levels:

The level of pesticide residues on a specific variety of produce is the main aspect taken into account. High levels of pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables raise the chances of inclusion in the Dirty Dozen list. Conventional fresh produce sampled by the EWG determines whether or not it will be on the dirty dozen list.

Frequency of Detection:

The Environmental Working Group also considers the frequency of pesticide residues found in a particular fruit or vegetable. If the samples contained pesticides in high amounts, over a certain period of time, they would be a priority on the list.

Variety of Pesticides:

One other crucial factor to take into account is the range of pesticides available for use on any given crop. If a fruit or vegetable has had exposure to multiple types of pesticides, it is more likely to be on the list.

Crop Importance:

The EWG takes into account each crop’s popularity and frequency of consumption while creating the Dirty Dozen list. Goods with high pesticide residue levels that are also frequently consumed are a priority for the list.

The 2024 Dirty Dozen List:

  1. Strawberries

  2. Spinach

  3. Kale, collard & mustard greens

  4. Grapes

  5. Peaches

  6. Pears

  7. Nectarines

  8. Apples

  9. Bell and hot Peppers

  10. Cherries

  11. Blueberries

  12. Green Beans

The Dirty Dozen list was put in place to draw awareness to a cleaner way of eating that excludes pesticides.

Overall Impact of Pesticides on Humans And The Environment

Eating fruits and vegetables that contain potentially harmful pesticides can put people at risk for several health issues, such as:

Acute Toxicity:

Short-term ingestion of high concentrations of pesticides can cause acute poisoning, which manifests as nausea, vertigo, and respiratory problems. Some pesticides are extremely toxic and can be immediately harmful to your health if ingested in excessive amounts.

Chronic Health Effects:

A number of chronic health diseases, such as cancer, neurological disorders, reproductive problems, and endocrine disruption, have been related to long-term diet-based exposure to low amounts of pesticides. Long-term ingestion of produce containing heavy levels of pesticides may raise the chance of certain health issues occurring.

Identifying and Avoiding Pesticide-Heavy Produce

Produce contaminated with pesticides can be easily identified and avoided with a few simple steps.

Reading Produce Labels

Reading labels can provide important information about the origins and growing methods of the produce you choose, including fruits and vegetables. Certain countries have different regulations regarding pesticide use. This will impact the outcome of the product. Another thing to look for on the label of a product is its organic certification. This indicates that it was grown without artificial fertilizers or pesticides.

Choose Organic Produce Over Non-Organic Produce

In comparison to non-organic produce, organic foods offer a few benefits, including:

No Synthetic Pesticides:

Rather than using frequently detected chemicals as pesticides to control diseases and pests, organic farming relies on crop rotation, biodiversity, and natural pest management techniques. As a result, there are no pesticide residues in the produce, lowering consumer health concerns and resulting in fresh produce.

Environmental Sustainability:

Organic farming practices, which prioritize biodiversity, soil health, and water conservation, promote long-term sustainability and ecosystem resilience. Customers who purchase organic food are endorsing agricultural techniques that reduce pesticide pollution and safeguard the environment.

Washing And Preparing Produce

When preparing fruits and vegetables for consumption, there are easy steps that you can follow to reduce exposure to pesticides:

Washing:

To get rid of contaminants and surface residues, give the produce a thorough washing under running water. For produce with firm skin, using a brush can aid in removing stubborn remains. Some pesticides will remain after washing produce, though it will reduce their concentration.

Washing your fruit removes the harmful chemicals of pesticides from your fruits and vegetables.

Peeling and Trimming:

Since many pesticides accumulate on the surface of fruits and vegetables, peeling or trimming the outer layers of food can help further reduce pesticide residues. But be aware that in the process of removing outer layers, you may loose some fibers and nutrients.

Alternatives and Solutions To No Organic Options

Diversity In The Diet

Nutritional Variety:

A varied diet full of legumes, fruits, and vegetables provides vital minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals that promote general health and well-being. A rainbow of foods can boost vitality, lower the risk of chronic diseases, and improve immune function when we include them in our meals.

Reducing Pesticide Exposure:

It is possible to cultivate different crops using different pesticide treatments, so eating a variety of meals will help reduce the impact of pesticide residues. We can reduce our exposure to certain pesticides and consume a greater variety of nutrients from various sources by increasing the diversity of foods we eat.

Growing Your Own Produce Or Buying From Farmers Markets

Growing your own fruits and vegetables gives you greater control over the growing process and ensures that your produce is free of artificial chemicals and pesticides. By gardening at home, you are building a closer relationship with the food that you eat, gaining self-sufficiency, and saving water all at once. You will reap the full health benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables when you grow them at home while avoiding the harmful chemicals that are present in conventionally grown produce.

Purchasing vegetables from surrounding farmers and farmers’ markets promotes sustainable farming practices and helps the community’s economy. An emphasis on organic and agroecological farming methods is common among local farmers; these methods reduce reliance on synthetic pesticides and encourage biodiversity preservation.

Growing your own produce is an easy way to avoid harmful pesticides.

Organic Farming and Sustainable Agriculture

Supporting organic farming practices contributes to ensuring that no artificial additives, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), or synthetic pesticides are used in the production of our food. Organic farming is a safer and more environmentally friendly alternative to conventional farming because it enhances soil health, biodiversity, and ecosystem resilience.

Sustainable agriculture is the second point. Regenerative agriculture and integrated pest management (IPM) can all help improve soil fertility, and water conservation while reducing the need for pesticides. Sustainable farming methods allow farmers to build resilient ecosystems that benefit both people and the environment.

Organic farming promotes a healthier way of eating as it avoids harmful pesticides.

Key Takeaways

In conclusion, learning more about the “Dirty Dozen” list and pesticides in produce sheds light on an important aspect of our food chain that needs to be addressed. This blog highlights how crucial it is for consumers to make educated decisions in order to protect the environment and our health. By recognizing the presence of pesticide residues in fruits and vegetables and using resources like the “Dirty Dozen” list to guide our choices, we empower ourselves to make decisions that go beyond what is on our plates.

A more sustainable and hopeful future can be achieved through both individual and collective efforts, such as supporting sustainable farming practices, buying organic food, and advocating for a food system that prioritizes health and sustainability. Let’s keep learning and promote a food culture that benefits our health as well as the environment we live in. By working together, we can create a food system that is healthier and more sustainable for future generations.

Let’s take one organic bite at a time and choose health over harm. Cheers to a future when our planet flourishes, our bodies are nourished, and our plates are clean. Say goodbye to the Dirty Dozen, and hello to a greener, cleaner tomorrow!

 

The Standard American Diet: Unmasking The Threats

The Standard American Diet (SAD), which shapes not only our plates but also our health outcomes, is commonly found in the fast-paced world of contemporary food culture. Under the surface of comfort and familiarity, there is a network of health concerns and hidden threats that are frequently overlooked. The goal of this blog is to expose the harsh facts that lie beneath the surface of the Standard American Diet (SAD).

Fundamentally, the problem lies in a diet that is low in healthy fats, high in processed foods, and high in sweets. Researchers have linked the Standard American Diet (SAD), a mainstay in many American homes, to a host of health issues. These include the nation’s rapidly spreading obesity pandemic and the covert emergence of chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease.

In this blog, we hope to illuminate the subtle aspects of the SAD and reveal the complex relationships that exist between our food preferences and overall health. We want to give readers the knowledge they need to make wise decisions, for their own health and well-being. We will do this by exposing the dangers associated with this popular diet. Embark on the journey with us as we break down the elements of the Standard American Diet, reveal its hidden risks, and show you how to eat in a healthier, more mindful way. One mouthful at a time, let’s reveal the SAD and take control of our health.

Straying from the SAD will help your overall health and increase vitality.

What is the Standard American Diet?

The Standard American Diet (SAD) refers to the typical eating habits of a significant portion of the American population. A low intake of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins characterizes it, and it includes high consumption of processed foods, refined carbs, harmful fats (such as saturated and trans fats), and added sugars.

The Foundation of the SAD

The Standard American Diet (SAD), which has an effect on people’s health and well-being, serves as the basis for many American eating customs. Examining the fundamentals of the SAD provides insight into the essential factors that form these widely practiced eating patterns.

Processed Foods:

A reliance on processed foods is at the core of the SAD. These easy, frequently pre-packaged foods are widely available in the diet of modern Americans. Processed foods, which include everything from sugary snacks to fast food meals, are frequently heavy in added sugars, unhealthy fats, and sodium and low in important nutrients like fiber and vitamins.

Refined Carbohydrates:

Eating refined carbs is another essential component of the SAD. Pastries, white bread, and pasta are examples of refined grain foods that are staples in many American diets. These processed carbohydrates and a lack of nutritious foods cause quick rises in blood sugar levels and may have negative health effects. 

Unhealthy Fats:

Saturated and trans fats, in particular, are frequently included in the SAD’s basis. While trans fats are frequently found in fried and baked items, saturated fats are typically found in red meat, full-fat dairy products, and processed foods. Both saturated and trans fats are unhealthy, and overconsumption of these fats can increase the risk of heart disease and other chronic illnesses.

Added Sugars:

Consuming a lot of added sugars is a hallmark of the SAD. Processed foods, sweetened beverages, candy, and snacks largely influence daily sugar intake. Consuming too much sugar can cause obesity, Type 2 diabetes, weight gain, and other health problems.

Low Fruit and Vegetable Intake:

The Standard American Diet (SAD) usually falls short in this area, despite the fact that these essential food groups are crucial parts of a balanced diet. Reduced consumption of fruits and vegetables results in a deficiency of essential nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants that are critical for general health and well-being. This poor diet choice can be detrimental to your health, and more healthy foods should be implemented into your diet.

Health Risks of the Standard American Diet

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) are the cornerstone for using nutrition to promote health and prevent chronic diseases. The Standard American Diet (SAD), however, frequently deviates from these suggestions, which can result in a number of health problems. The health problems and chronic diseases that the Standard American Diet is known to aid in include:

Obesity:

Being obese is one of the main health hazards connected to SAD. The consumption of processed foods, refined carbohydrates, unhealthy fats, and added sugars has increased. This leads to an excessive intake of calories and weight gain. Heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and several malignancies are among the many chronic illnesses for which obesity is a major risk factor.

The SAD is a major contributor to obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

Cardiovascular Disease:

The SAD focuses on unhealthy lipids, especially trans and saturated fats. These fats can raise cholesterol and raise the risk of heart disease. People are more susceptible to cardiovascular issues when they follow a diet that is high in processed foods and added sugars, which exacerbate arterial damage and inflammation.

Type 2 Diabetes:

A poor diet that is high in added sugars and refined carbohydrates, known as the Standard American Diet, can raise blood sugar levels and cause insulin resistance, which raises the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Sedentary lifestyles raise this risk, which highlights how important it is to adopt healthy eating habits.

Cancer:

Although not a direct cause, SAD’s concentration on processed foods and red meats at the expense of fruits and vegetables may raise the chance of developing several cancers. A diet rich in plant-based foods and low in processed meats has been associated with a lower risk of cancer.

A lack of a healthy diet can increase the risk of cancer.

Digestive Problems:

The low fiber content of the SAD may cause several digestive issues, including diverticulitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and constipation. Because fiber supports healthy gut flora and encourages regular bowel movements, it is essential for maintaining digestive health.

Increased Inflammation and Impact on the Immune System:

Pro-Inflammatory Foods:

The SAD diet incorporates pro-inflammatory foods, which raise oxidative stress and induce the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines. These foods have the potential to increase inflammation in the body. Chronic disease cases like cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, and other conditions are associated with chronic inflammation.

Imbalance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids:

The Standard American Diet (SAD) tends to contain a lot of Omega-6 fatty acids, mostly from vegetable oils used in processed foods. An imbalanced intake of Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids may contribute to inflammation. Flaxseeds and walnuts are good sources of Omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory qualities that help control the immune system.

Lack of Antioxidants:

Fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods are not consumed enough and, therefore, don’t always provide enough antioxidants in the SAD. Antioxidants support the body’s defense against oxidative stress and help lower inflammation. Reduced immunity and increased inflammation can be consequences of an antioxidant-deficient diet. Reduced immunity is dangerous as it lowers your body’s natural disease control.

Disturbance of Gut Microbiota:

The SAD can upset the equilibrium of the gut microbiota because of its high consumption of processed foods and low fiber content. Immune system performance and the control of inflammation depend heavily on a healthy gut flora. Increased intestinal permeability, or “leaky gut,” and systemic inflammation can result from an imbalance in the gut flora.

Impact on Mental Health

Nutritional Deficiencies:

The SAD can cause nutritional deficiencies because it places a high priority on foods that are processed and discourages the consumption of whole foods that are high in nutrients. B vitamins, minerals, and Omega-3 fatty acids are examples of essential nutrients that are critical for brain function and mood control. Deficits in these nutrients may be a factor in mental health problems like anxiety and depression.

Blood Sugar Imbalances:

The SAD diet can cause sudden spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels. Blood sugar fluctuations can affect mood, energy levels, and mental clarity. Long-term blood sugar irregularities may raise the chance of mood problems and cognitive deterioration.

Inflammation:

Chronic inflammation brought on by the SAD is becoming more well-acknowledged as a contributing element to the emergence of mental health disorders. Brain inflammation can impact neurotransmitter activity and play a role in mood disorders.

Gut-Brain Axis:

Diet has an impact on the gut-brain axis, which is the two-way connection between the gut and the brain. Through the gut-brain axis, disruptions in gut health, which are frequently observed in people who follow the SAD, might affect mental health. Dysbiosis and inflammation in the gut may have an impact on mood disorders and cognitive issues.

High Blood Pressure

Blood pressure levels can be raised by processed foods heavy in sodium, bad fats, and added sugars. All of which are found in the SAD. Furthermore, a low consumption of foods high in potassium throws off the sodium-potassium balance. This can be detrimental, as it is essential for controlling blood pressure. Hypertension is also influenced by obesity, insulin resistance, and inflammation associated with the SAD. Studies have shown a link between high blood pressure and the SAD as well as heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis.

Reducing sodium intake, eating more foods high in potassium, and making full, nutrient-dense food choices are essential for controlling blood pressure. People can reduce their risk of issues associated with hypertension and adopt healthier food choices by being aware of how the SAD affects high blood pressure.

Reducing Health Risks by Making Dietary Adjustments

Embracing Whole Foods:

A diet centered on whole, minimally processed foods can significantly reduce the health risks associated with the SAD. It can also improve overall health, and provide essential nutrients, including fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats. Such a diet will improve your overall health in comparison to the SAD.

Limiting Processed Foods:

People can cut back on their intake of hazardous additives and empty calories by consuming fewer processed foods that are high in unhealthy fats, added sugars, and sodium. You can improve your health by selecting homemade meals and snacks made with fresh ingredients.

Watching Portion Sizes:

Reducing calorie intake and averting overindulgence in food needs careful portion control. People can maintain a healthy weight and lower their chance of developing obesity-related health problems by paying attention to serving sizes and listening to their hunger cues.

Maintaining Hydration:

Sufficient hydration promotes healthy digestion, metabolism, and nutrition absorption. It is vital for general health. Reducing sugary drinks and sticking to water as the main beverage can help people stay properly hydrated and support good health.

Hidden Dangers in Everyday Foods

Artificial Preservatives and Additives:

Processed foods that fall under the SAD frequently contain artificial additives and preservatives to improve flavor, color, and shelf life. However, if ingested frequently, these substances could be harmful to one’s health. Certain additives, such as food coloring, artificial sweeteners, and sodium nitrate preservatives, have been associated with adverse health effects. These include allergic reactions, digestive issues, and even an increased risk of certain cancers.

People can promote a more natural and nutrient-rich diet by avoiding artificial additives and preservatives, choosing whole, minimally processed foods, and closely reading ingredient labels.

Unveiling the Marketing Tactics

The Food Industry’s Impact:

In addition to individual preferences, the food industry’s aggressive marketing tactics also contribute to the formation of the Standard American Diet (SAD). Food corporations spend a lot of money advertising SAD foods to people of all ages using creative marketing techniques. These strategies, which range from eye-catching slogans to vibrant packaging, aim to present processed and unhealthy meals as convenient and enticing.

Additionally, the food sector frequently finances or conducts studies that may favorably portray particular goods, fostering consumer credibility and trust. People can become more discerning consumers and make decisions that put their health and well-being ahead of profit-driven marketing gimmicks by learning how the food industry affects the SAD.

Deceptive Labeling:

Understanding the sometimes misleading labels on SAD items is one of the main obstacles to following the Standard American Diet. Foods with false labels may not have the full nutritional value, which makes it harder for consumers to choose their diets with knowledge. Phrases such as “natural,” “low-fat,” or “sugar-free” might give the impression that a product is healthier even if it contains a lot of artificial sweeteners, chemicals, or bad fats.

Furthermore, portion sizes on packages might be artificially modest, which could cause consumers to misunderstand how much sugar, calories, and other nutrients they really ingest. People can prevent themselves from being deceived by misleading labeling methods and develop a more nutritious and well-balanced diet by carefully reading labels, examining beyond marketing promises, and concentrating on whole, minimally processed goods.

Strategies for a Healthier Diet

Transitioning To A More Balanced and Nutritious Diet

To escape the Standard American Diet (SAD) and embrace a healthy eating pattern, you must make deliberate choices and make small, gradual adjustments to your eating habits. Increase your intake of entire foods, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, in your diet to start. Limit the number of processed foods you eat that are high in artificial additives, harmful fats, and added sugars. Try out different flavors and recipes to make the shift joyful and long-lasting. If necessary, seek the assistance of a nutritionist or health coach to develop a customized plan that suits your nutritional needs and way of life. Keep in mind that, over time, minor adjustments made consistently might result in major gains in your general health and well-being.

Components Of A Balanced Diet

Whole foods provide an abundance of vital nutrients that support optimal health and are the cornerstone of a balanced diet. These foods include fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support a stronger immune system and help prevent chronic illnesses. Fiber supports and maintains energy levels and a healthy digestive system. Lean protein sources, including beans and lentils, are essential for both muscle growth and repair. These nutrient-dense foods will help you nourish your body, enhance your general health, and lower your chance of contracting diseases linked to a poor diet. Make sure to prioritize them in your meals. Having a healthy food supply at home makes this easier as well because it reduces the likelihood of you buying a meal that has additives in it.

Organizing and Preparing Meals

Planning and preparing meals in advance is essential to maintaining a healthy diet and way of life. To begin, schedule some time each week to make a grocery list, plan your meals, and prepare ingredients ahead of time. In addition to saving time, batch cooking guarantees that wholesome meals are accessible every day of the week. To enhance the flavors and textures without adding excessive amounts of sugar or fat, try experimenting with different cooking methods. These cooking methods include grilling, steaming, or roasting. To guarantee that you are getting a varied intake of nutrients, think about including a range of colors and textures in your meals. Creating a meal plan and improving your cooking abilities will help you make better eating habits a fun and long-lasting part of your daily life.

Health Benefits

Transitioning from the Standard American Diet to a more nutrient-dense, well-balanced eating pattern has several health benefits. Eating more whole meals, fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins can help people feel better mentally. It can also boost their immune systems and reduce inflammation. A diet rich in nutrients that come from whole foods can help people maintain a healthy weight and feel more vital and energetic overall. It can reduce their risk of developing chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Meal planning and preparation promote consistency and adherence to a healthy lifestyle. These have long-term benefits for both physical and mental health. Adopting these healthy eating practices can enable people to overcome the SAD cycle and create enduring habits that promote their well-being for years to come.

Environmental impact

Resource-Intensive Production:

The production of SAD foods, especially animal products like beef, needs a significant amount of energy, land, and water. The raising of livestock contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions, water pollution, and deforestation. Ecosystem strains and habitat damage are caused by the extensive use of resources for cattle production.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions:

Methane and nitrous oxide are two of the main greenhouse gases emitted by animal agriculture. This is a major part of the SAD. The environment is negatively impacted by these gases as a result of climate change and global warming. It also raises sea levels, causes more frequent extreme weather events, and disturbs ecosystems.

Deforestation:

To make room for cattle grazing and the production of feed crops, deforestation occurs in places like the Amazon rainforest. This is due to the SAD’s demand for animal products. Deforestation not only decreases biodiversity but also releases carbon stored in trees, exacerbating climate change.

Deforestation decreases diversity and exacerbates climate change.

Water Use and Pollution:

Processing, feeding crops, drinking, and other activities all require a lot of water in animal agriculture. Antibiotics, hormones, and infections can contaminate water sources through animal farm runoff, causing environmental deterioration and water contamination.

Loss of Biodiversity:

Monocropping techniques that lower biodiversity and disturb natural ecosystems are frequently used in the growth of industrial agriculture to satisfy the Standard American Diet requirements. This loss of biodiversity may have an indirect effect on soil health, ecosystem services, and the resilience of natural habitats.

Food Waste:

At several phases of manufacturing, distribution, and consumption, there is a high amount of food waste linked to the SAD. Food waste is a waste of resources, including labor, energy, and water, used in food production. It also adds to greenhouse gas emissions in landfills.

Packaging and Transportation:

The food industry is multinational. Meeting SAD requirements necessitates long-distance transportation of food goods, which raises carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. Furthermore, processed food packaging frequently produces plastic trash that degrades the environment and endangers wildlife.

Key Takeaways

Our investigation of the Standard American Diet (SAD) has revealed a terrain full of unrecognized hazards to human well-being and the environment. Because of its heavy reliance on processed foods, high sugar, and fat content, and nutrient-poor diet choices, the SAD seriously jeopardizes sustainability and well-being.

Throughout this trip, we have examined the detrimental effects of the SAD on human health. We cover everything from obesity and heart disease to digestive issues and mental health. Eating a lot of highly processed foods that are full of artificial additives, refined sugars, and unhealthy fats has led to a number of health issues. These include immune system weakness, imbalances in the gut-brain axis, and chronic inflammation.

We have also looked into how the SAD affects the ecosystem. This highlights how it contributes to deforestation, water pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, resource depletion, and biodiversity loss. The SAD’s international supply lines and intensive production practices have a severe negative impact on ecosystems, aggravating climate change and endangering the planet’s delicate balance.

 

Does Melatonin Help Anxiety? Exploring Its Potential for Relief

Does Melatonin Help Anxiety? Exploring Its Potential for Relief

Does melatonin help anxiety? It’s a question that many individuals grappling with anxiety often ask, seeking relief and understanding in their journey toward better mental health. In a world where stress appears to be an inevitable companion, researching different natural and pharmacological solutions has become a popular activity. Although melatonin is mainly recognized for its function in controlling sleep, its possible mental calming benefits have drawn more attention. But does it really have potential as a treatment for anxiety? Let’s explore the facts, myths, and science of melatonin and how it relates to anxiety.

A lot of the time not getting enough sleep can cause us to feel anxious throughout the day. Sleep and anxiety are linked so lack of sleep could make anxiety worse. Melatonin ensures you have better sleep quality and a longer sleep so you wake up feeling refreshed and less anxious, therefore this shows us that melatonin works well when treating anxiety.

This blog is going to take you through what melatonin is, what it does, and how it helps with anxiety. 

Taking melatonin helps with anxiety.

What is Melatonin?

It is a hormone created from the amino acid tryptophan and helps to keep the body’s circadian rhythm on track, therefore,  keeping us awake when we should be during the day and asleep at night. It is released mostly at night, between the hours of 2 am and 4 am, however, it is also produced and released during the day but in small amounts. At night melatonin is produced ten times more than during the day because it is needed more.

Melatonin comes from the pineal gland and enters the fluid around the brain and spinal cord before entering the bloodstream. From here it travels to all the tissues and organs in the body, this triggers all the specific receptors to tell the body it’s time to sleep.

Melatonin is sensitive to light, so it is responsible for our internal clock. As light changes, we either become more alert or feel tired. When the nights get longer and the days shorter as the season changes, the way melatonin is created and released also changes. This is called circannual rhythm or seasonal rhythm.

It is an antioxidant that serves to lower oxidative stress in our brains. Melatonin looks for and gets rid of free radicals and reduces tissue damage. It also stimulates the creation of antioxidant enzymes in the body as an extra defense against oxidative damage.

Pineal Gland

The pineal gland is a very small pinecone-shaped gland found deep in your brain. It is part of a network of glands that produce and release hormones throughout the body. It gets information from our eyes to know when the light changes based on the time of day. Once it has this information it makes melatonin.

Low Melatonin Productions

If your melatonin levels are low, you will experience sleep disturbance at night or have trouble falling asleep. Over time it could lead to mental health disorders or a sleep disorder.

Contributing Factors

Light exposure

If we have a lot of light exposure at night then production lowers, especially from blue light found in phones, televisions, laptops, and most electronic devices.

Age

As we get older, we produce and release less melatonin. This is why it becomes harder to get good quality sleep as we age.

Diseases

Bipolar disorder, some cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), Type 2 diabetes, and migraines can interfere with the production and release of melatonin.

Symptoms

Circadian Rhythm Disruptions

When your sleep-wake cycle isn’t performing as it should. This normally occurs when your biological clock is out of sync.

Nightly Wake-Ups

Waking up at night often and being unable to fall back asleep.

Daytime Sleepiness

Constantly feeling tired during the day and feeling as if you didn’t get enough sleep.

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a natural response to fear, stress, or caused by a surrounding threat. It is an emotion characterized by fear, worry, or concern about the future. While it’s common to feel anxious in reaction to stressful events occasionally, anxiety becomes a problem when it gets out of control, persists, or interferes with day-to-day activities. Anxiety doesn’t have to be caused by a life-threatening situation, it could be an awkward situation or needing to make a very important decision.

When you are anxious, you get a boost of adrenaline and your body goes into “fight or flight mode” so you can respond to that danger appropriately. This response becomes a disorder when we start experiencing “flight or flight mode” more often, without there being any danger involved. This leads to physical symptoms and an inability to function as we normally would.

Often panic starts to set in and this hampers our ability to do our day-to-day activities. People with this disorder end up isolating themselves from places and people to protect themselves from this constant perceived danger. A lot of the time anti-anxiety medications are used to treat these affective disorders.

Anxiety Symptoms

Sweating, nausea, shaking, and an increase in blood pressure are physical anxiety symptoms. Emotional symptoms include constant worry, nervousness, difficulty concentrating, restlessness, unease, irritability, inability to sleep, and fear.

Types of Anxiety Disorders

Social Anxiety Disorder

Also known as the fear of public embarrassment. It’s cause is based around being fearful of others judging you when you are in a public and social setting. Common factors of social anxiety disorder include the fear of rejection, the fear of intimacy, and stage fright.

Phobias

Certain situations or items might cause such distress that we become anxious in their presence. Snakes can trigger a fear response so extreme that panic sets in or agoraphobia, the fear of being unable to leave a certain place or get help.

Separation Anxiety Disorder

If a specific place or person makes you feel secure and safe, being away from that place or person causes severe anxiety.

Seek medical advice when taking antidepressant medications with a melatonin supplement.

Panic Disorder

People who suffer from this disorder often have panic attacks which results in them not being able to breathe easily. This can result in shaking, nausea, confusion, and dizziness. These symptoms can start small but can become uncontrollable.  The majority of the time stressful situations cause panic attacks.

Selective Mutism

Specific places or situations may cause a person to become temporarily unable to speak. This could be due to trauma or anxiety.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder(GAD)

This is the most common type of anxiety. This is when you can’t pinpoint exactly what is causing the anxiousness. Regardless of your situation, you experience the physical and emotional symptoms of anxiety, which are often debilitating.

Causes of Anxiety    

Multiple factors cause anxiety such as:

Stimulants

The use of illegal stimulants or caffeine can have a large impact on your anxiety levels. These substances can increase your heart rate and blood pressure, heighten your sensitivity, disrupt sleep, and ultimately create a withdrawal effect and therefore increase your anxiety.

Unhealthy Environments 

Stress exposure for long periods in unhealthy work or family environments could cause anxiety. If your working environment causes you high levels of stress due to toxic behaviors, it will start affecting your anxiety levels. This is the same in family environments that are hostile and unsafe.

Family History 

You could have an anxiety disorder if your family has a history of this condition. If your parents or grandparents had high stress levels and were anxious a lot of the time you could have inherited it genetically.

Genetically low melatonin levels could react with melatonin supplementation.

Medical Issues

Thyroid disorders, diabetes, and heart arrhythmias can cause anxiety. Worrying about your illness or health conditions could make you anxious.

Ask your healthcare provider about how much melatonin is needed as a sleep medicine.

How Does Melatonin Treat Anxiety?

Melatonin is a sleep aid, and getting a good night’s sleep lowers anxiety levels, therefore by having adequate melatonin levels, you will sleep better and ultimately have less anxiety!  Melatonin reduces anxiety levels in adult patients undergoing surgery and makes them feel more at ease both before and after the procedure. It also produces a calming neurotransmitter in our nervous system that helps to improve mood quality and lower stress levels. In this randomized clinical trial you can see how melatonin administration was effective at relieving anxiety symptoms.

How to Increase Your Melatonin Levels

Keep a Regular Sleep Schedule

By going to bed at a fixed time and waking up at a fixed time, you regulate your body’s internal clock. This helps your body produce melatonin naturally.

Establish a Calm Bedtime Schedule

Before going to bed, create relaxing activities like reading, having a warm bath, or practicing relaxation methods like deep breathing. Your body may receive this as a cue to relax and get ready for sleep.

Reduce Your Nighttime Exposure to Artificial Light

Before going to bed, limit your exposure to strong lights, especially blue light from computers, smartphones, and other electronics. Blue light can hinder your ability to fall asleep by suppressing the generation of melatonin. It also causes sleep disturbances.

Increase Your Daytime Exposure to Natural Light

Go outside during the day, especially in the morning. Exposure to natural light aids in regulating your circadian rhythm, which affects the synthesis of melatonin and your sleep-wake cycles.

Think About Supplemental Melatonin

Melatonin supplements can be taken to raise melatonin levels if natural approaches aren’t enough. Since the amount and timing of these medications can vary depending on individual needs, it is imperative to use them sparingly and under the supervision of a healthcare practitioner.

Some people take melatonin supplements as a form of sleep medicine when their bodies don’t make enough of the hormone. Low melatonin production could have adverse effects like chronic insomnia. 

It is used for treating sleep problems like poor sleep, and trouble falling asleep. It is also used for older adults suffering from neurodivergent disorders, acute coronary syndrome, and cardiovascular disease. 

Well of Life Sleep Restore contains melatonin as well as sleep-enhancing elements. It has been formulated to support healthy sleep so you can feel restored.

Sleep aids can help with sleep deprivation.

Eat Foods High in Melatonin

Some foods contain melatonin and chemicals that promote its production. Tomatoes, walnuts, almonds, grapes, and tart cherries are a few examples. Including these foods in your diet could help your body produce more melatonin naturally.

Address Stress

Prolonged stress can interfere with the generation of melatonin and deregulate sleep patterns. To encourage relaxation and improved sleep, try stress-reduction methods like progressive muscle relaxation or mindfulness.

Establish a Sleep-Friendly Environment

Make sure your bedroom is calm, dark, and cool to sleep in. If required, reduce noise by using white noise machines, blackout curtains, or earplugs.

How Does It Regulate Sleep?

Enhances Sleep Quality

Taking melatonin reduces sleep disruption, helps you sleep longer, and gets you to fall asleep faster without hassle.

Circadian Rhythm Regulator

If you work, travel across time zones, or work different shifts,  this puts your biological clock out of sync. You can’t process things or could even develop mood disorders over time. Melatonin resets that clock so the sleep-wake cycle functions as it should.

Sleep Assistance

Supplements for travelers with jet lag or sleep disorders like insomnia include a melatonin supplement at night before bed to promote sleep.

When comparing other medications, taking melatonin worked best for jet lag.

Key Takeaways

We have found out that not only does melatonin help us get a great night’s sleep but it has other functions as well. It fights off free radical damage in the body and helps with anxiety. The link between getting good sleep and anxiety is the key to understanding why this is the case.

We highlighted how a natural hormone for sleep also helps to lower stress and treat anxiety. As a sleep-enhancing protocol and preventing cognitive dysfunction compared to other medications, it’s the best at treating sleep issues. A good night’s sleep helps to decrease symptoms of anxiety and lowers the risk of other mental health conditions or depressive symptoms. Melatonin makes this all possible while being natural making it a much healthier option!

A Good Night’s Sleep : The Health Benefits It Provides

A Good Night’s Sleep : The Health Benefits It Provides

A good night’s sleep frequently falls to the bottom of our list of priorities, for a variety of reasons. However, in the middle of our hectic schedules, we frequently forget the restorative power that a restful night’s slumber can offer. It is important for our general well-being. As adults, we need adequate sleep otherwise the risk of health problems arises.

Getting a good night’s sleep helps you awaken refreshed and ready for the day. Without a good night’s rest, you feel tired, sleepy, and unable to function properly. The risk of stroke, heart disease, or high blood pressure rises with ongoing disturbances, poor sleep, or lack of sleep at night.

This blog will detail why it’s so important that we get enough sleep, what happens while we are asleep, and what we can do to ensure we get good quality sleep at night.

Healthy sleep plays a role in lowing heart disease risk.

What is Sleep?

Reduced sensory awareness and inhibition of voluntary muscular movement are two characteristics of sleep, a naturally occurring repeating state of altered consciousness. It is an important physiological function that keeps one’s physical, mental, and emotional health in check. The body goes through several intricate physiological and neurological changes when we sleep, which help with things like hormone balance, memory consolidation, and tissue repair.

Sleep Stages

There are four stages, three are non-rapid eye movement(NREM). The last is rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Each stage of sleep serves to get closer to a deep sleep.

As we are asleep we go through the four stages several times, sometimes up to six times in a night.

Stage 1 – Light NREM

This is the lightest stage as we try to fall asleep. Our eye movements, brain waves, breathing, and heartbeat slow down as we relax our muscles. It could take several minutes or more.

Stage 2 – Deeper NREM

Brain waves slow down but there are bursts of activity as memories get processed. Eye movements stop and muscles relax even more as body temperature lowers. This takes 25 minutes during the first stage cycle and then increases each time the body cycle restarts.

Deeper NREM are slower brain wave length but with additonal bursts of activity.

Stage 3 – Deepest NREM

Your muscles are fully relaxed, and your heart rate, brain waves, and breathing are at their lowest as you go into your deepest stage. The body starts its background activity to build and repair, grow tissue, and strengthen the immune system by fighting off any infections. This causes you to feel renewed and is the most difficult stage to wake up from.

Stage 4 – REM and Dreaming

You start dreaming usually 90 minutes after the first stage. Your breathing and heart rate pick up and your eyes move through closed lids. There is brain activity but your muscles are mostly kept still.

How Much Sleep is A Good Night’s Sleep?

Adults need less than children but at least seven hours of a good night’s sleep is optimal. This was based on a study by the Sleep Research Society. This must be regular and of good quality, meaning no interruptions. Less than seven hours isn’t considered a good night’s sleep.

Why is A Good Night’s Sleep Important?

Memory and Thinking

Long-term memory storage and your ability to learn and process information relies on good sleep. Everything that happened during the day is stored and information is processed based on those new memories.

Over exhaustion and insomnia may lead to a burn out in a person's health.

Immune System

Your body has immune cells that work when you are asleep. When we are sleeping our bodies recover, repair damage, and regenerate cells, which leads to stronger immune function.

Hormones and Weight Gain

When we sleep cortisol is made and emitted throughout the body. This makes us feel alert and helps us wake up.

Insufficient sleep means the hunger hormone increases, making you feel hungry during these awake times. They mostly make you crave foods high in calories, fat, and sugar. The hormones that make you feel full decrease which is why you may overeat and run the risk of weight gain.  Your sleep patterns control your weight, you also start to retain more salt in the body which makes it difficult to lose weight.

Safety

The less we sleep the slower our reactions, judgment, reflexes, decision-making, and ability to focus become. When this happens we are not able to make safe decisions and could be a danger to ourselves and those around us.

Emotional Intelligence and Social Interactions

Lack of sleep can lead to risky behavior and mood swings and it makes it difficult for us to cope in social situations and be able to regulate our emotions as it is difficult to control our emotions when we are tired. We also find it difficult to recognize other people’s expressions and emotions, making social interactions difficult. This could result in isolation as social settings become too difficult to cope with.

Inflammation

Sleep helps regulate the central nervous system. When we sleep less than we should or it is interrupted, specific inflammation markers get flagged resulting in high inflammation in the body. This negative effect is higher in women than in men.

Reduced inflammation is linked to getting an adaquate amount of rest throughout the night.

Disease Risk

You could run the risk of diseases like stroke, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, or high blood pressure due to lack of sleep. If deprivation continues it could also cause certain cancers or Alzheimer’s disease.

Type 2 Diabetes

Constant sleep disruption could mean your body is unable to process insulin resulting in insulin resistance. This has been the case for people who have obstructive sleep apnea making them high-risk for Type 2 diabetes. This condition disrupts slow-wave sleep while reducing oxygen intake. Both of these factors result in lowered glucose metabolism and insulin resistance.

Productivity and Concentration

If you are sleepy you’re not alert and your ability to concentrate drops. This lowers your productivity levels. Mental capacity is impaired when you haven’t slept enough so you cannot problem-solve as quickly and hold onto information. According to this study physicians who didn’t sleep enough, made more mistakes.

Sleep is important for productivity.

Physical Performance

It isn’t just your brain that needs sleep to function optimally, your muscles need it too. Endurance, power, fine motor skills, and reaction time all improve when you get enough sleep. Research suggests that sleep loss increases the chance of an injury from physical activity.

Stress and Mental Health

Anxiety and depression are two mental health conditions that could be related to difficulty sleeping. Sleeping lowers stress levels because you can cope and have clarity. Your cortisol hormone is lowered and melatonin kicks in to allow you to rest fully. Stress is lowered when your sleep quality and quantity are increased. You also feel less irritable and grumpy.

Are Naps Allowed?

Short sleeping periods or “naps” have been known to be beneficial as long as it’s taken many hours before your bedtime. By sleeping for 10 to 20 minutes, it can boost your energy levels and help you complete the rest of the day’s tasks. So if you need a nap, make it a short sleep and only take it during the day.

Better sleep lowers the risk of lung diseases.

What Is Sleep Deprivation?

Poor sleep quality or trouble falling asleep could come from sleep disorders like insomnia or sleep apnea to things like anxiety, asthma, drugs, stress, caffeine, alcohol, pain, medication, or even heartburn.

How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Unless you have a sleep disorder or medical condition preventing you from sleeping, there are a few things you can try to promote good quality sleep.

Sleep Habits

Create a healthy sleep habit by going to bed at the same time every night and getting up at the same time each morning. After a few weeks, this sleep schedule becomes a routine and you will have no trouble sleeping.

Relaxed Muscles

Tense muscles keep your body stiff and result in improper sleep. Relax your body when it is time to go to bed.

Device Usage

Stop using devices at least one hour before it’s time to sleep and ensure there are no blue light filters in the room.

School aged children and sleep deprived adults need to curb device usage in order to get a good night's sleep.

Bedroom Setup

Make sure your bedroom is comfortable, quiet, dark, and at the right temperature. It must be inviting and comfortable to fall asleep.

Hunger

If you are so hungry whilst you are trying to fall asleep, it may prevent you from sleeping. In this case have a light snack to ease the hunger sensation A heavy meal will result in uncomfortable sleep.

Activity

Get active during the day and not close to bedtime. Physical activity helps you to get better sleep at night but avoid activity too close to bedtime.

Weekend Catchup

If you have not had adequate amounts of sleep throughout the week, sleeping longer on the weekend will not help you”catchup” on sleep. Try to keep your routine the same throughout the week and weekends.

Supplements

Well of Life Sleep Restore includes vitamins and herbs to enhance relaxation. It supports your sleep needs and therefore it may assist you in achieving adequate quality, allowing you to feel rested and restored with elements such as melatonin and magnesium.

Well of Life's Sleep Restore supplement can enhance a good night's sleep!

What Are Sleep Disorders?

These are medical conditions that can cause chronic sleep deprivation.

Sleep disorders can have the following symptoms:

  • Being unable to move your body at first when you wake up in the morning.
  • Difficulty falling asleep.
  • Constant loud snoring.
  • You feel a crawling or tingling sensation in your arms or legs that only stops once you move.
  • Being unable to stay asleep.
  • Your breathing stops now and then for a few seconds while you are asleep.
  • Gasping while you are asleep.
  • Feeling sleepy during the day makes it difficult to do everyday activities.

Types of Sleep Disorders

  1. Sleep Apnea
  2. Restless Legs Syndrome(RLS)
  3. Insomnia
  4. Narcolepsy

Key Takeaways

As we come to the end of our blog into sleep as nature’s best medicine, we are reminded that getting enough good sleep affects our overall health and well-being. We’ve learned about the several advantages sleep provides, including improved cognitive performance, strengthened immune systems, and increased emotional resilience.

Sleep is a biological necessity, not just a luxury. Our bodies heal, renew, and revitalize during these peaceful sleep periods, setting us up to take on the challenges of every new day with strength and vigor.

Let’s embrace nature’s best medicine and enjoy all of the benefits it provides for our well-being. I wish you a good night’s sleep and dreams that are full of hope for a better tomorrow.

Jonathan-Otto-scaled-1

Otto is an investigative journalist, natural health researcher, documentary filmmaker, and humanitarian.

He has created several highly-acclaimed, groundbreaking docuseries — Vaccine Secrets, COVID Secrets, Unbreakable: Destined To Thrive, Depression, Anxiety & Dementia Secrets, Autoimmune Secrets, Natural Medicine Secrets, Women’s Health Secrets, and Autoimmune Answers — covering innovative, effective natural remedies for autoimmune disease, neurodegenerative disease, mental health, cancer, and heart disease.

These docuseries — watched by millions around the world — represent Jonathan’s unceasing quest to discover the root causes of debilitating diseases by interviewing over 100 world-renowned natural medicine doctors, scientists, natural health experts, and patients.

In response to this life-saving knowledge, Jonathan created Well of Life, a line of doctor-formulated, 100% natural supplements specially designed to detox and fortify the body.

Jonathan’s greatest reward has been hearing the testimonials from people whose lives have literally been saved with the protocols he developed.

His work has been featured in international TV broadcasts, print media, national news, and radio broadcasts. He received the awards, Young Citizen of the Year and International Volunteer of the Year, by the Australian government for international humanitarian contributions, which he continues to support.

Jonathan and his wife, Lori, welcomed their first son, Asher, in January 2019 and their second son, Arthur, in May 2021.

Copyright 2020 Captivate Culture LLC  © All Rights Reserved

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