Tag Archives: holistic health

The best ways to alleviate post-work out soreness

When we really push ourselves at the gym or on a hike, the soreness afterwards can sometimes hurt so bad it’s almost enough to dissuade us from returning to that activity.
Soreness is caused by a build-up of lactic acid that causes inflammation, pain, and tenderness. There have been many studies which have sought to find the most effective way at relieving soreness. Ultimately, which method of relief will be effective really depends on your body.
Below, we’ve listed some of the most popular and quickest ways to alleviate soreness so  you can quickly get back to doing the things you enjoy.
Stretching – while it may hurt while you’re doing it, stretching is one of the best ways to alleviate soreness. The pulling and contraction of your muscles moves the lactic acid around helping it disperse throughout the body. If you want to alleviate your pain, you’ve got to go through a bit of pain first.
Rolling – rolling is another one of the pain relief methods that requires a bit of pain at first. This method involves utilizing a foam tube to ‘roll’ muscles out. To learn how best to use this tool, look up some youtube tutorials.
Supplements – supplements such as glutamine and branched-chain amino acids help muscles to repair quickly. They can drastically reduce your recovery time and have they have added nutrient benefits as well.
Hydration – probably the most important (and easiest) thing you can do is hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Water helps flush your system and keep your cells and organs happy. Maintain your water level so your body can work efficiently and effectively to eliminate the acid build-up.
Ice bath/pack – the best combatant for inflammation (read: muscle soreness) is ice. Applying ice or better yet, submersing in an ice bath, can greatly reduce inflammation. Bonus: ice numbs nerve receptors which means less pain.

Health benefits of coffee

Do you enjoy your coffee? If so, you may be reaping some health benefits you’re unaware of.
The coffee bean has been around for centuries. And there’s good reason. Throughout the history of the world, coffee has been enjoyed by various cultures for various reasons. The most popular being the belief it had healing powers and the valued energy-boost to complete hard tasks.
Modern coffee drinkers enjoy it for the taste, the effects, the social aspects, and of course for the wake-up effects. Lots of research has been done on coffee. Focuses of research has been confirming long-held beliefs about coffee and finding any additional benefits or harms.
The caffeine boost helps you feel awake and energized, helping you get through your activities.
It’s good for the digestive system. Coffee helps move things alone keeping your tummy happy and healthy.
It boosts the metabolism. Caffeine is not only an appetite suppressor but a metabolism booster as well. Many individuals with health goals or weight loss goals incorporate coffee into their eating plan.
It’s a healthy alternative to alcohol. In our society, friends gather around food, alcohol, and coffee. Alcohol comes with high sugar and calories, and is often paired with carbohydrates. Coffee is a calorie-free alternative that is healthier and safer on the body.
It can raise your pulse. Any intake of caffeine can raise your pulse. Keep this in mind if you’re prone to a rapid heartbeat.
Coffee can keep you from sleeping. Too much caffeine can mean little-no sleep. Make sure to not consume any caffeine within 8 hours of sleep.

Stress’ effect on the body

Are you stressed out? Feeling like there’s not enough time in the day to get everything done? Feeling the pressure at work? Too much on your plate? Dealing with a lot right now?
You aren’t alone. According to a recent study, 77% of people in the US state they feel regularly feel stress. 77%! That’s more than ¾ of everyone living in the US. With work, social, and family demands it’s no surprise.
So now that we know we’re all in the stress boat together, what effect does all of this stress have on our bodies?
Medical research shows that stress has a great impact on your overall health. From common physiological symptoms such as headache, muscle pain, chest pain, fatigue, stomach upset, hair loss, sleep problems, and change in sex drive; to psychological symptoms such as anxiety, restlessness, lack of motivation, lack of focus, feeling overwhelmed, irritability, and depression. Additional effects include overeating, undereating, and social withdrawal. Probably the most marked symptom of stress is the increase in susceptibility to illness. Stress has been shown to inhibit your immune system, making you ineffective at fighting off sickness.
Luckily, if you get sick of feeling sick all the time, there are some proven ways to manage stress. Finding ways to alleviate stress can have a great impact on your health. Many people have found success with incorporating and making time for physical activity, meditation, yoga, massages, socializing, and setting aside time for hobbies such as reading or listening to music.
Don’t forget to aim for plenty of sleep, a balanced diet, and avoiding tobacco, and excessive alcohol and caffeine. If all else fails, schedule a visit with your doctor. There may be an unseen cause for your stress or they may have some insight into treatment.

The benefits of biotin

Biotin (also known as vitamin B7) is becoming increasingly popular in the vitamin and supplement aisle of most pharmacies and health stores.
For those who are unfamiliar, biotin is a water-soluble vitamin that is a part of the B-complex vitamin family. Its rise to fame can be contributed to its support in the beauty world.
Biotin has many benefits but its most praised is its support of healthy hair, skin, and nails. In studies, biotin has been shown to promote the growth of hair, strengthen and grow nails, and keep skin glowing. Individuals who take the vitamin report better feeling hair and skin, as well as overall improved health.
In addition to supporting healthy hair, skin, and nails, biotin also supports a healthy metabolism, improves glucose intolerance, balances blood sugar, protects brain function, promotes a healthy cardiovascular system, supports thyroid and adrenal function, plus more!
Is this do-it-all vitamin too good to be true?
While biotin is most definitely not a ‘miracle’ cure (news flash: this doesn’t exist!), there is nothing wrong with using vitamins and supplements to compensate for nutrients that may be lacking in the body. Assuring that your body gets the healthy micronutrients it needs, will allow your body to fuel its processes and help you run on maximum efficiency (like having super supple hair, strong nails, and glowing skin)!

Could a sugar addiction be making you feel icky?

Did you know studies show sugar is more addictive than heroine? How can that be possible?
Sugar is one of the most widely consumed products in America. And it’s no wonder – it’s in everything! Don’t believe us? Check the nutrition labels of your favorite snacks and condiments.
To make matters worse, every time you consume a sugar-filled product, you feed the habit, making you crave sugar even more.
And you can thank your brain and gut for caving into those cravings. Over time, you become dependent on sugar. This means that if you try to refrain from it (like when you go on a diet) your body freaks out, sending cravings out of control and making you feel icky.
So how can you detox from sugar without feeling like you’re dying?
It starts in your gut. The bacteria in your gut is used to feeding and thriving on sugar. When you take this away from them they can get quite awry, making you feel bad and sending SOS craving signals to your brain.
To overcome this, you need to reset the bacteria in your gut and feed them healthy things. To do this, you should focus on 3 things: probiotics, high fiber-low carb-low sugar, and intermittent fasting.
Probiotics are a great way to reset your gut. They channel good, healthy bacteria in, pushing the bad ones out.
Eating foods high in fiber and low in sugar in carbs will ensure these newly replenished good bacteria stay nourished and feeling good. When your gut feels good, your brain feels good!
Lastly, intermittent fasting (eating all of your meals within an 8 hour window) will allow your gut to heal and reset. Good bacteria will be able to thrive and the bad bacteria will starve. Within 4 weeks, your sweet tooth should be cured!

Naps: harmful of beneficial?

Are naps harmful or beneficial? This long-held debate has some research behind it that may change the way you think about naps.
Naps have been around forever. Your grandparents did it (and still do) and even your hardworking ancestors. Historians actually claim that modern day sleeping habits (i.e., 7-8 hours a night, uninterrupted, etc.) are just that – modern. They say that our ancestors would sleep 3-4 hours at a time, waking to do much needed farm, labor, and house work.
While we don’t need to wake up in the middle of night to do chores anymore, many still find themselves needing a rest mid-day. Whether due to sleep deprivation or much-needed relaxation time, naps can be both harmful and beneficial, depending how you do it.
While naps can reduce tiredness, boost alertness, improve mood, as well as improve work or school performance, they aren’t for everyone. Naps can cause grogginess upon waking and sleep problems at night, especially if you’re prone to bouts of insomnia.
That being said, there are ways in which you can nap that can boost the beneficial effects and ward off the harmful ones.
When should you nap?
Listen to your body. If you’re feeling extremely fatigued, take the nap.
Plan ahead. If you know you’ll be missing out on sleep later, plan ahead and take a nap. Your body will thank you later.
How should you nap?
Keep it short. Keep your naps between 10-30 minutes. This will help you rejuvenate quickly, without effecting your sleep later.
Find your restful place. Napping where its quiet and comfortable will ensure those 10-30 minutes are as restful as possible.
Ultimately, listen to your body. You know your body better than anyone else. Happy napping!

Could drinking alcohol be setting your health goals back?

Its no surprise to anyone with a health or fitness goal that alcohol is difficult to factor in. Alcoholic drinks are often high in calories, sugar, and carbohydrates. But does having a health or fitness goal mean you have to skip out on the alcohol all the time?
There’s no getting around the facts. High calories, high sugar content, and high carbohydrate intake are not conducive to a healthy diet or weight loss. In addition to the nutrition label, alcohol actually stalls your metabolism, so it can in fact set your health goals back.
That being said, life is about balance. And we know you work hard to maintain your health. That’s why we’ve compiled these tips on how to choose the healthiest alcoholic beverage when you’re out. Here’s how you can incorporate the occasional alcoholic beverage without derailing the healthy lifestyle you worked so hard for.
Go light. If you have to drink beer, go for the lighter alternative. Light beers, while they may not taste as good, can have just a fraction of the calories and/or carbohydrates.
Get back to the basics. Straight alcohol isn’t for everyone, its definitely an acquired taste. There’s a reason sugary drinks are the norm.. they taste better! That being said, straight alcohol has far fewer calories than their sugary counterparts. So if you can stomach it, skip the juice and soda mixers. Try a vodka soda or tequila on the rocks. You may surprise yourself.
Just have one or two. Stopping after just one or two drinks not only helps cut down on the calories, sugar, and carbs, it helps eliminate the hangover the next day too. Bonus! If you’re not ready to go home after one, but don’t want to hang with friends empty-handed, switch to a diet soda or sparkling water. You’ll still feel included and your friends won’t be the wiser.

Dehydrated? Here’s the proper way to hydrate.

According to recent scientific studies, healthy people drink more water. Doctors and scientists have set recommendations for how much water you should drink based on your weight and activity level, which you can read more about here. But setting water-drinking goals is one thing, meeting those goals is another.
Anyone who struggles to get their daily intake of water in has likely tried a few common tips and tricks to meet their water consuming goals. Chugging a glass before a meal, before bed, and when waking up are popular antics individuals who have water goals swear by. But, according to gastrointestinal, vascular, and general surgeons, this may not be the best way to go about hydrating yourself.
According to Dr. Smith, chugging water, especially when dehydrated, can cause your body to dilute your blood, resulting in the kidney’s excreting the water quickly. This means all that water you just took in takes the fast track right back out, and you are none the closer to hydration.
Further, chugging water constantly can cause water intoxication, also known as hyponatremia. Too much water in the body throws your sodium levels out of whack, causing body cells to swell and you to feel some seriously uncomfortable symptoms such as headache, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and exhaustion.
Instead of risking water intoxication and wasting your water, try sipping instead. Doctors say 2-3 ounce sips at a time, is the key to re-hydration. If you do this throughout the day, you’ll still meet your water goals and retain more water than your water-chugging counter parts. Give this new water-drinking method a try and let us know how it works!

Why you should eat more raw fish

Scientists have long been studying human health across cultures. Why are certain groups more prone to diabetes while others high cholesterol? Why do some groups struggle with chronic obesity while others do not? These are questions scientists aim to answer while studying eating trends across cultures.
Scientists have discovered that around the world, the Japanese are among the healthiest people. They believe this is due to the high amount of raw fish, vegetables, and rice they eat.
Raw fish, veggies, and rice are naturally low in fat. This has contributed to the country having one of the lowest rates of heart disease in the world. Additionally, scientists believe there may be a link between sushi and protection from lung cancer. Even though the Japanese have a high smoking rate, they do not have as high a rate of lung cancer compared to other countries who smoke the same or less.
The benefits of raw fish are many. Fish is a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids.
Raw fish as a good source of protein. Protein fills you up, provides your body with necessary nutrients, and can help you lose weight. On average, 3 oz of raw fish contains 16g of protein, making the sushi-favorite an excellent source of protein.
Raw fish as a good source of omega-3’s. Omega-3 fatty acids protect your heart and improve circulation. Doctors recommend healthy individuals consume a minimum of 250-500 mg of omega-3 fatty acids per day. Raw fish contains on average 1000 mg of omega-3’s per 3 oz.
Crush your health goals and indulge in some delicious sushi by consuming more raw fish. Your body will thank you!

Does aromatherapy really work?

Essential oils have been all the hype recently. Fans of the treatment claim the fragrances eliminate toxins and reduce stress. But does aromatherapy actually work?
Fragrances and plant extracts have been used for thousands of years as part of a natural or homeopathic way to relieve common ailments such as anxiety, depression, stress, colds, and allergies. While aromatherapy has ancient tradition origins, there may be some modern supportive science behind the therapy.
Aromatherapy works via inhaling aromas through the nose. The aromas stimulate smell receptors which are linked directly to the brain’s emotional center. The aromas are meant to stimulate positive and calm emotions. Aromas can be distributed via diffusers, oils, massage, and vapor.
While pleasant smells may improve one’s mood, do they really calm anxiety and reduce stress? Research has been inconclusive thus far, showing benefits in some studies and not in others.
One particular study examined graduate nursing students who inhaled lavender during exams. The lavender proved to reduce stress and anxiety in these students. Another study looked at dental patients with upcoming dental procedures who inhaled lavender. The lavender showed little positive effect. This is believed to be due to immediate stress (exams) versus long term stress (fear of the dentist’s office).
The take home: aromatherapy doesn’t hurt. In fact, it’s been shown to have mood-boosting effects. While the therapy’s long-term mental and physiological ailment-curing abilities aren’t proven, it has been shown to have calming and mood-boosting effects, particularly in time of high immediate stress.
Give aromatherapy a try and let us know how it works for you!

Should you condition your hair prior to shampooing it?

A new trend called ‘reverse hair washing’ instructs hair washers to mix up their hair washing routine by reversing it. The trend claims to revolutionize the appearance of your hair by giving you the look of a volumizing blow-out but without any of the work, costs, or products.
How does it work?
Those who follow the trend and boast of its success claim the success of the washing method is based on how much of your conditioner is left in your hair after rinsing it out.
The theory is that no matter how well you attempt to rinse your hair after conditioning, there is always some conditioner residue left behind. This residue weighs your hair down and can give the appearance of flat, dull hair.
Reversing the way in which you wash and condition your hair allows you to reap all the benefits of conditioned hair, such as moisturized, detangled, glossy hair, without the residue-leaving side effects.
How do you do it?
Simple. Apparently, just condition. Then shampoo.
We read the reviews and reports from triers of the method, complete with before and after pictures.
So, what did they have to say? Time and time again, the reverse hair washing method was a success. Individuals reported fuller, shinier, healthier looking hair.
They styled as normal, even towel drying, blow drying and brushing, and found hair to feel softer, thicker, and best of all, less frizzy.
Now it’s your turn. Give the reverse hair washing method a try and let us know what you think!

How important is water intake in overall health?

You’ve heard it before – healthy individuals should drink 8 glasses of water a day. But we have questions. Why 8 glasses? How important is water in a healthy diet? And what are the actual benefits of consuming water?
We’ve done the research and found the answers to these questions.
Why 8 glasses of water?
So, is 8 glasses a magic number? Its turns out no. In fact, a new report found that the old adage was just a suggestion and not founded on any actual research.
So what does the research say? Researchers suggest a more technical approach to water intake. According to the Mayo Clinic, there’s a simple formula to calculating your individualized water intake.
Step 1. Divide your weight (in lbs) by 2.2
Step 2. Multiply that number by your age.
Step 3. Divide that number by 28.3
Step 4. Your total is how many ounces of water you should drink per day.
If you don’t feel like doing any math, the numbers come out to 13 cups on average for men and 9 cups on average for women.
How important is water in a healthy diet?
Water is essential to maintaining a healthy diet. It is considered a necessary nutrient for proper body functioning.
We lose water daily through sweat, evaporation, breathing and urination. Consuming water replaces lost water and maintains healthy levels.
This delicate balance is what keeps us hydrated. When dehydration occurs, we can feel ill, faint, have stomach upset, painful urination, and even require hospitalization.
What are the benefits of consuming water?
Maintains balance of bodily fluids. Water helps us stay hydrated and feeling good. Additionally, it helps pass food, aiding in digestion.
Controls calorie intake. Water is the healthier option over calorie-filled drinks. It can also help in feeling full, which could lead to consuming less calories through food.
Keeps skin looking and feeling healthy. Your skin contains lots of water in its cells. When you’re dehydrated, skin can appear more dry and wrinkly. Increasing water intake allows your skin cells to absorb more water improving the appearance and feel.
Helps energize muscles. Water helps ward off muscle fatigue which means more stamina during physical activity.

Carry a little extra weight around the hips and thighs? This study says that may be a good thing.

Individuals who are in a normal weight range and have extra weight around their hips and thighs may be healthier than their leaner counterparts. New research published in the Journal of Cell Metabolism has shown that just because you’re lean doesn’t mean you’re healthy.
A recent study compared those in a normal weight range with extra weight around their hips and thighs to those with a normal weight range but who carry extra weight on other areas of their body as well as to those considered ‘lean.’
The study found that those with extra fat around their hips and thighs were at a lower risk of heart disease and diabetes compared to those in the other two groups.
The researchers believe this is due to the way in which individuals carry excess fat. Excess fat around the midsection has long been known to be the most dangerous area to store fat. It is linked to higher risk of obesity-related illnesses as well as other diseases.
Although these lean individuals who are storing excess fat in the midsection are considered in a healthy BMI (body mass index) range, they are not in healthy metabolic range.
These individuals are considered ‘metabolically unhealthy’ and are at a higher risk of early death. In fact, they are 300% more likely to develop heart problems and early death. Obese individuals are only at a 25% higher risk comparatively.
The take home:
Just because an individual is lean, does NOT mean they’re healthy. As this study shows, lean individuals are at a considerably higher risk for disease and death.
Make your health a priority despite your body composition. When it comes to overall health, its what’s on the inside that counts. Prioritize a healthy diet and physical activity.