Category Archives: Fitness

Do You Know the Secret to Losing Stubborn Fat?

A bulge that just wouldn’t budge – we all know a couple of those areas. It is interesting that fat doesn’t just bother people who are on the heavier side of the scale. Even people with otherwise perfect weight also struggle with losing fat from a particular area. All the diet and workout seems to ignore those problem areas. You can lose inches from everywhere but never from that one area, which can be your belly, arms, thighs, or flanks. This is not an uncommon scenario, and science has uncovered various reasons behind it.

According to science, fat in certain areas is more stubborn because of the higher concentration of alpha-receptors. These receptors can hinder the metabolism of fat. The subcutaneous fat, the layer right beneath our skin, tends to have more alpha-receptors. Areas with a higher level of subcutaneous fat are harder to tone. There are certain hormonal issues that may increase the number of alpha-receptors. It is why your workout and diet, despite working for other areas of your body, may not affect your problem areas.

Here’s a good news though – stubborn fat cells aren’t invincible. While it is difficult to get rid of stubborn fat cells, it is not entirely impossible. You just need to know the secret to target those stubborn fat cells.

We have got you covered!

Secret #1 – Cut Down on Artificial and Processed Sugar

Food is the key to our health. However, it is often assumed that losing fat can only be achieved with eating less. While in reality, it is not as much about how much you eat but what you eat. If you will consume more fats, you will store more fat. Fat, however, is not the only culprit here. Other ingredients in our food also hinder our body’s ability to break the fat down. The result is stored fat, which can become too stubborn.

Sugar plays a vital role in storing fat in your body but natural sugar isn’t as bad as artificial sweeteners. Several studies have shown that artificial sweeteners mess with our metabolism. The excessive amount of sweet can confuse the system. This includes the low-calorie sugar alternatives and the sweeteners used in juices and drinks.

Read labels. Avoid food that contains a high amount of preservatives and artificial flavors. Consider it the first step to prevent your fat from becoming too stubborn.

Secret #2 – More Fiber and Protein

Fiber and proteins are two nutrients that are not fat friendly at all. They can help you burn fat more easily than ever. A fiber-rich diet is often recommended for people who have hit a weight loss plateau. It can push the paddle on your body’s ability to metabolize fat. Part of the fat metabolism process is excretion of excess fat cells. Fiber improves digestion and expedites the rate at which our body excretes the excess. It serves as a good appetite suppressant and keeps you from accumulating more fat.

Similarly, a protein-rich diet helps you build lean muscle. It is a calorie-burning process that can put your metabolic rate in the next shift. Naturally, your body’s fat burning process also improves when the metabolic rate goes up. This means you will break down the fat cells you weren’t able to target before.

Secret #3 – Kill the Stress

It is a common misconception that mental stress will make you lose weight. While many people lose their appetite due to mental stress or lack of rest, the effect may be the opposite for others. Mental stress increases the amount of cortisol in our body. Cortisol is the hormone that can actually increase your appetite. That is where the term “stress eating” comes from – but that is not all.

The higher amount of cortisol can also redistribute the body fat to certain areas such as belly. This means you will find more fat accumulating around what we believe to be the most common problem area for most people. Therefore, it is important to manage stress. Your mental condition can be a direct contributor to your physical situation.

Yoga and meditation are great ways to deal with stress. Regular yoga has proven to create a significant difference in fat percentage and overall body weight.

Secret #4 – Increase the intensity

Exercise plays a role in burning your body fat. If it isn’t working for you, there’s a high chance you aren’t doing it right. Regular aerobics and cardio will keep your health and might prevent weight gain, but with stubborn fat, you need to take it up a notch.

Contrary to popular belief, high-intensity strength training can help you burn fat fast. It doesn’t bulk you up. It helps you build lean muscle, which means you will burn more calories and lose more fat. Don’t be scared to add some weights to your workout. Interestingly, it is a great way to scare the fat away. You can start by limiting weights to two or three times a week. Use weights when you are targeting muscles in your problem areas.

So, if your fat is too stubborn and you feel like you have hit a plateau, lift a dumbbell or two.

Secret #5 – Find Some Help

Let’s be honest here. All the perfectly toned bodies and magical transformation we see on television and social media around us, it’s not always all natural. There are many procedures and treatments that allow you to shed a layer of stubborn fat from the desired area. It is how many celebrities got their flat board tummy and admirable thigh gap.

There are many invasive and non-invasive fat reduction options. A few years ago, invasive procedures such as liposuction were the hype. Today, there are non-invasive options such as CoolSculpting. While there is nothing wrong in seeking professional help to get rid of the stubborn fat, the results can only be sustained by maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Now You Know!

Now that you know the secret to losing stubborn fat, make the right moves and take the right decisions to get the body desire.

Funny Pre-workout Memes

If you go to the gym on at least a semi-regular basis, you know that person. You know, the one downing pre-workout shakes and supplements before getting there, amped on vitamins (and caffeine) and ready to take on each machine like they’re taking the final stand against robots. You know, the people who really live for that pre-workout life. Some people swear by it, others swear at it, and still others just love to hate on it. No matter how you feel about the pre-workout mania, it’s here to stay. If you’re looking for some memes to send to your buddies next time you hit the gym, you’re in luck. Hang onto your hats, it’s going to be a wild and caffeinated ride!

1.

Some people just haven’t had the pleasure of a pre-workout yet. For those not inducted into the buzz-filled world of pre-workout, sometimes words just aren’t enough to explain how amped it gets you. Next time someone asks, just send them this. They’ll get it.

2.

Or send this one over. How else can you really convey just how powerful you feel short of lifting up a truck in the parking lot yourself 30 minutes after taking your pre-workout?

3.

Just be sure you don’t take more than you need! Sometimes the temptation is strong, but you’ll find yourself geeking out like this kid after. And be careful if you take two extra scoops…

4.

You may end up lost in a mall in your underwear – I mean, gym shorts. And chances are you won’t be as ripped as this guy here, no matter how amped the pre-workout has you feeling.

5.

Sometimes though, you’ve got to take an extra scoop when your body gets too comfortable with the amount you’ve been taking. There’s nothing worse than being exhausted at the gym after a long day of work. May as well start the pre-workout early and get vibrating before you get to the gym…

6.

Except for when this happens. Nothing’s worse than being amped beyond all control with nowhere to put it but your cubicle. But at least you get to go to the gym eventually…

7.

Unless they keep you way too late at work. To finally be free, bursting with pre-workout power, and find out the gym is closed? There are few things worse. It leaves you sitting there, wondering what you’ll do with the energy you have left.

8.

And then you’re feeling like this bug-eyed Barney, waiting on the moment to pass and things to go back to normal. Who can have a conversation, cook dinner, or act normal when there’s still that pre-workout feeling coursing through your veins? Three scoops? More like three scoops too many.

9.

Okay. We all know this guy. He’s had one scoop of pre-workout once and suddenly, he’s the king of the gym. Cool your jets, bro. One scoop is just the beginning.

10.

For some people, though, one scoop is enough and they’re blazing through the doors like this bull, ready to knock over all the equipment. Lifting on the bench? What if I just lifted the bench!

11.

Some people, however, are workout purists. Why see what you can do when your body is coursing with induced energy, when you can push your body au naturale? Like Austin here, some of us like to live dangerously…

12.

…although we may just have some very different definitions of “dangerous.” Four-scoops Nick Cage knows he’s gone too far and is trying hard to rein it in. Once you’re at five scoops, though, it’s hard to even try and act normal.

13.

Okay, so Nick Cage is just the meme and gif overlord. Fight me about it. After all, who can forget the iconic ”bees” scream? Except this time, it’s not bees he’s screaming about. It’s only too many scoops of pre-workout coursing through his veins and numbing his face.

14.

Sometimes though, you take more than just too much – you take way too much. That vibrating isn’t just limited to your face, my friends. The answer? Work it off!

15.

Because if you work out long enough, you’ll just pass out peacefully at home, right? Not always. If you take too much, you can crash and burn like this poor guy. Too much pre-workout, not enough actual sleep. Let’s just hope someone figured out how to get him home!

16.

We all know that person who wants to hang with the pre-workout pros and take a full serving, but just can’t seem to handle it. Remember, every body’s different! If your dead lifter friend caps out at 120 pounds, chances are you need to tell them to cut down – they can’t handle two scoops!

17.

Or they may end up like this. Rough. Your first time exceeding the label’s (or your body’s) recommendation can be tough. Eventually, however, you recover – although your muscles may be killing you the next couple of days because of how overload you went.

18.

This one is my favorite. When you are the keeper of the pre-workout keys, there aren’t many things that feel more godlike than granting your friends a burst of power. Go, my friends. Work hard. Thank me tomorrow.

19.

But at the end of the day, whether you’re a god or Forrest Gump, your energy will fade. And when you get in the pre-workout zone, sometimes you don’t even notice how much time has passed until you’re sitting there dazed like Forrest himself. After all, we all get tired eventually…

20.

…eventually being the key word there. Sometimes it seems like you just can’t shake that pre-workout fever! If you’re lying in bed, I guess you could always get back up and work it off.

Zumba Memes

Few things are better than a good meme. And when they happen to be memes about something I love, that’s even better. I love laughing at all the little quirks that only the people who share my interests can ~really~ get. And by interests, I mean one interest. And by one interest, I mean obsession.

Y’all, I’m talking Zumba.

Here are a few of the best memes that really get me laughing. Scroll through them all before heading out to your Zumba class! You’ll have a few gems to share with your comrades on the dance floor.

1.

Because you’re going tonight, right? If not, you may need to rethink your plans.

2.

These panels of six are always a classic. And you know what, in my opinion, the best Zumba groove is always somewhere in the middle of all six pictures. And with my bold moves, I know I’m falling somewhere between the fifth and sixth picture just about every time.

3.

And each time, we leave so invigorated! If only our to-do lists could be as simple as this. Zumba five times a week? Sign. Me. Up.

4.

Because all this Zumba filling up our to-do lists really does keep us all going through dark times. Possible even more so than our partners…although maybe we shouldn’t tell them that.

5.

If they knew how we truly felt about Zumba, our partners may look a little like this husband.

“Oh, a movie tonight? I know you really wanted to see it, but I can’t…it’s Zumba night!”

“Again?”

“Again.”

But our partners probably aren’t the only people crying when we can’t seem to jump off the Zumba train…

6.

While we may feel like we’re breaking our inner Shakira or J Lo or Janelle Monae free when we’re in Zumba, by the end of class we’re all walking out of there like we’re trying to recover from the tribulations of aging.

And don’t even get me started on Zumba Tone…

7.

Because that class hurts the next day.

8.

When you have a coffee date with a friend right after class, you know that they’re going to think you’ve been through the ringer that day! What they don’t yet realize is that you were just having the time of your life. But with a little work, maybe you could convert them to the Zumba craze sooner rather than later…

9.

Even if you’ve got to take them to class yourself and show them. Once they get into it, though, they’ll realize how much fun it is! So much so that by December, they’ll be singing a totally different tune…

10.

…because anyone who starts Zumba now is going to be as perky as Will Ferrell’s elf come the holiday season. Seriously, how could you not be, when all you’re doing is getting fit through dance?

11.

Because even if we don’t look as cool as we feel, at least we’re doing the work, right?

12.

Although I for one feel my inner pop diva deflate a bit when the instructor switches her game up and leaves me shuffling to an unfamiliar series of moves. Because once one move is introduced…

13.

…your whole game is upended. Once you fumble in your groove, it takes more than a few beats to shimmy back into place. But remember! Even Janet Jackson has had a high-profile malfunction in her dance routine, and she bounced back just fine.

14.

And even if we trip hard in front of the rest of the class, we’re all still superstars in a Zumba class!

15.

Especially when we roll up in all our new Zumba gear. Seriously. Any forgotten moves or stumbling can be undone just by checking you out in your swanky new clothes. All you need to take it to the next level? Serve yourself some Blue Steel!

16.

But no matter how good you look in those new duds, when the instructor changes familiar moves up with no notice, your Blue Steel is going to switch to this face when you see yourself in the mirror.

17.

But even if the instructor keeps the routine standard, and no matter our clothes or fierce looks, nothing can really prepare our ‘dos for the post-Zumba mayhem. Just be careful when you’re scheduling your day out, or you may have one unkempt aesthetic for your business meeting or Tinder date.

18.

Maybe it’s the hair, but sometimes we can’t seem to convince our friends, no matter how hard we try. All I know is when someone asks why I workout with Zumba, I just gotta pull a face like this one.

19.

But who knows? Maybe our friends would be convinced if they could only find the right instructor. Like Inigo – an icon! If he were heading the class, you know we’d all be lining up around the block! That persistence has gotta rub off on us, right?

20.

Because after all, Zumba is more than a day at the gym. It’s a whole party and community! Personally, I’d rather get my workout in for the day by dancing wild for an hour than by staring into space and lifting heavy stuff up and down. Wouldn’t you?

21.

Man, sometimes, it seems like haters are gonna poo-poo on anything that diverges from what a workout is “supposed to” look like. Whenever people tell me dancing isn’t a work out, I a), blame the patriarchy for hoodwinking folks into thinking that baseball is a more taxing sport than ballet, and then b), slap ‘em with this meme.

Solid gold.

22.

Maybe those people who hate on Zumba just don’t understand; it’s way beyond a workout method. It really is…like…an entire lifestyle.

See you all in Zumba class!

Vitamins and Supplements To Lower Your Cancer Risk

Protecting your family from potential diseases and other health problems isn’t easy. For most people that means focusing on healthy habits, getting plenty of exercise, and enjoying a wholesome diet. Another way you can help boost your chances of living a full and healthy life is by choosing beneficial supplements to add to your diet. Some vitamins and supplements can actually also reduce your risk of getting cancer. Here are some of the top supplements and vitamins you should be taking to lower cancer rates.

Selenium

The first ingredient or supplement you should be adding to your diet is selenium. Selenium is naturally found in some foods with whole grains and Brazil nuts. Most people don’t eat Brazil nuts each day, so you can boost your chances of getting the benefits from this compound by taking a selenium supplement. Some scientists have found a link between increases in selenium in the diet and a reduction in the risk of getting liver, lung, colon, and esophagus cancer. The reason the risk lowers is because of selenium’s ability to remove harmful free radicals from the body.

Vitamin E

Next, try learning about the benefits of Vitamin E to your body and adding this incredible ingredient to your daily menu. If you want to get this vitamin naturally, try eating foods like olive oil, almonds, broccoli, avocado, beans, and spinach each day. Most complete multivitamin supplements will also have the recommended daily value of Vitamin E. This vitamin helps improve the feel and look of skin, hair, and nails. But it’s also becoming clearer that Vitamin E may help protect the body against cancers such as prostate, colon, and lung.

Vitamin D

Another top vitamin you should be taking on a daily basis for health benefits is Vitamin D. Being deficient in Vitamin D is associated with a long list of health problems, including potentially developing breast cancer. Vitamin D also helps the body absorb calcium and enjoy the benefits of that supplement. If you need more Vitamin D in your body, eat foods such as milk, cheese, yogurt, fatty fish, or eggs. Vitamin D can also be found outside by going out into the sun periodically.

Vitamin B

Instead of one compound, Vitamin B is actually a wide array of many different minerals and supplements. The list of B vitamins includes Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, folic acid, riboflavin, and more. Some doctors recommend patients take a supplement that covers all of these vitamins, such as Vitamin B Complex. Taking these vitamins and eating foods rich in the compounds may help your body fight against some cancer-causing agents like inflammation and free radical damage.

Fish Oil

Health professionals and top companies that focus on cancer research, such as Harry Stylli and OncoCellMDx, also recommend fish oil supplements for cancer prevention. Eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids is a great way to get this ingredient naturally in your diet. Look for flax seeds to add to your cereal and other dishes to get a quick boost of this compound, or try ingesting fatty fish each week through your meals.

Curcumin

The last type of supplement you should be taking to help lower your risk of a future cancer diagnosis is something called curcumin. This brightly-colored yellow spice is not commonly known as something that has health benefits, but research is producing some promising results. It’s a type of ginger, and it can be finely grounded and added to food as a spice or taken as a separate supplement pill. Some studies have shown curcumin is beneficial in protecting the body against blood, skin, and lung cancers.

Talk to your doctor to develop a plan of attack with vitamins and supplements to protect yourself against health issues like cancer. Then, add some of these ingredients to your daily routine to give yourself a boost.

8 Natural Ways to Increase Your Glutathione Levels

A healthy body is essential for a healthy life. If you fail to keep yourself healthy, chances are that you will most likely not be happy with your life either and it will eventually crumble away. It is important for one to take care of their physical and mental health. It involves numerous activities which include exercise, a healthy diet and involving yourself in pleasurable activities.

Of course, it should never be a goal to be eternally happy. But it definitely should be a goal to be healthy because happiness truly does stem from that. Now to ensure that your body is functioning at optimum levels, you have to keep a check in regards to different things. One of these things includes your Glutathione levels which require special attention since low levels may result in various dangerous diseases e.g. cancer, AIDS, Parkison’s disease etc.

It comprises of three main proteins which are: cysteine, glycine and glutamine. All of them safeguard your body from free radicals and harmful toxins as it works as an effective antioxidant. Your own body actually produces this through the liver and it is also found in numerous foods such as fruits, meats and vegetables. However, it is definitely a cause of worry when your Glutathione levels decrease due to age, interaction with diseases, poor diet and intense exercise. So you look for ways to increase it, right?

However, it is understandable that when your body lacks something, you are confused as to how to regain it. You tend to avoid anything that includes chemicals because it just sounds like bad news to you, putting various things into your body like that. But that is where mother nature is such a gift to mankind. Nature has many sources through which you can increase your Glutathione levels. Among them, we have chosen 8 natural ways by which you can improve your Glutathione levels considerably.

1. Sleep

Rock-a-bye, baby, and let those Glutathione levels improve! You may definitely love sleep but it is very possible that your activities have restrained you from getting enough of it. But you must realize how essential sleep is for your body’s health. One of the many effects of decreased sleep is on your Glutathione levels. Your body needs rest so it can recover all that it has lost during the day. Basically, your body repairs and rejuvenates itself when you sleep.

Other than oxidative stress and hormone imbalances, chronic lack of sleep is extremely harmful to your Glutathione levels. In fact, it was noted that individuals who suffered from insomnia had much lower Glutathione levels in comparison to those who had a fairly good sleep schedule. So the message is clear. Your bed is definitely a best friend but not for long.

2. Exercise

It is never good to be a couch potato. Of course, sleep is important, but a good balance is too. You cannot sleep continuously and expect your body to be in shape 100%. Not only do you need to give it some rest, but you also need to put it work. And that is where exercise comes in. Of course, exercise is a wonderful tool to use to get a healthy body and it is just as much useful to increase your Glutathione levels.

Reportedly, exercise helps increase Glutathione levels in your body among other antioxidants present. But rather than simply focusing on lifting weights or just cardio, use a combination of both for a much more balanced exercise regime. It benefits you more in a lot of terms but be sure to keep it suitable in accordance to your body. If you eat unhealthly and sleep less but workout like crazy, you will not get the results needed in the end except a lot of fatigue, probably.

3. Increase Sulfur-Rich Foods Consumption

Ah, yes. Sulpher is essential for the synthesis of Glutathione among other things such as the activity and structure of different enzymes and proteins. So you can understand that eating healthy is also an important part in ensuring your body stays healthy internally. But you already knew that part, right?

But did you know that other than dietary protein foods such as fish, beef and poultry, you can obtain sulfur from a number of vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, cale, mustard greens, onion, garlic and more. So if you are trying to stick to a vegetarian diet, you can easily go for these options. And studies support how these vegetables actually help in increasing your Glutathione levels. So go ahead, add those allium and cruciferous vegetables to your shopping cart.

4. Consume Whey Protein

Another thing which helps in the synthesis of Glutathione is Whey protein and it does two jobs at once – increase the glutathione levels and helps your body relieve all that oxidative stress. It does a great job in improving your immune system to help you fight off illnesses while also increasing the cysteine levels in your body. Building tissues and improving the balance of different chemicals in your body is possible if you consume the appropriate amount of Whey Protein.

So if you find a product that may contain this as an ingredient, definitely go for it. Otherwise, this is also found in yogurt, fish and eggs. Makes things a lot easier, does it not?

5. Increase Selenium-Rich Food Consumption

Diet, diet, diet. It cannot be stressed enough about how important your diet is. Not only to keep your looking healthy but actually feeling healthy as well, especially internally. Selenium is quite often found in foods such as beef, chicken, fish, Brazil nuts, cottage cheese and brown rice. Usually, adults are told to not go beyond 400mcg of Selenium consumption and stick to the advised 55mcg. But you must think of all this aside, how does Selenium actually help the glutathione levels.

Well, Selenium is an essential mineral that is a glutathione cofactor, making it necessary for glutathione activity in your body. So all in all, increase in selenium-rich food consumption will help improve your lowered glutathione levels. However, if you wish to go an extra mile, there are also supplements presents to increase your selenium intake. Your pick!

6. Consume Turmeric Extract

You have probably seen this orange-yellow colored herb often in your kitchen. And it is most likely that you are already aware of many of its benefits. But obviously, when it is said to ingest Turmeric to avail of the benefits it offers, it is difficult to do so. That is why the Turmeric extract is advised which is abundant with a component known as curcumin. This component has been reported to be beneficial in restoring the glutathione levels you have lost in your body while also increasing the activities of all kinds of enzymes in your body.

7. Milk Thistle

Silybum Marianum is a milk thistle plant from which milk thistle is extracted as the herbal supplement which will aid your glutathione level increase. How is that exactly? Milk thistle contains Silymarin, a composition of 3 active compounds, that is pretty famous for its antioxidant properties. Many experts claim that Silymarin may be responsible for aiding your body against cell damage by preventing it in the first place. So it is being a natural glutathione booster is the reason as to why cell damage is prevented if you consume Milk Thistle.

8. Increase Vitamin C Intake

Your body requires numerous vitamins to continue with many of its processes whilst keeping your internal body healthy and functional. In all these vitamins, you will also find the beneficial Vitamin C which acts as an antioxidant and an antioxidant booster. It increases your natural glutathione levels by protecting the cells in your body from oxidative damage and also fends your body off from free radicals.

Not only that, but it also acts as a converter turning your oxidized glutathione back to its active form. If you think that is all there is to it, you are wrong because this Vitamin also aids the increase of glutathione levels in your body’s white blood cells. If you are wondering how to naturally increase your vitamin C consumption, you can turn towards increased ingestion of citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwis, bell peppers and papayas.

However, if you feel that is not enough and you require supplements along with your diet, do not shy away from that. There are different glutathione supplements available in the market that do not have harmful side-effects due to their natural ingredients and GRS Ultra is one of them that you need if you want to improve your glutathione level greatly.

Conclusion

So after all, mother nature truly has blessed us with many gifts to ensure we have a healthy body and a healthy mind. It is very understandable for one to worry about anything their body is lacking because each chemical, hormone, cell etc have a function which is important. If one thing falls short, it clearly affects your health and lacking of one thing can cause the decrease of something else.

It is important to keep an eye on your body which includes your Glutathione levels. It helps improve your immune system, prevents cell damage and strengthens you. And that is why these 8 natural ways to improve your glutathione levels can be so helpful. If you are not someone who is into taking numerous supplements or ingesting different chemicals, you do not have to worry because nature has a few ways of its own that you can take advantage of.

Health is wealth, of course. So be sure to get a yearly full body check up, maintain all your levels, keep your mind healthy just like your mind, exercise and improve your diet.

 

The Power of Plants: What Adaptogens Are and How They Work

A stressful lifestyle, poor diet, environmental factors, aging, and declining physical activities are just some of the reasons why more and more men and women are developing hormonal imbalances. This malfunction of one or more hormones in your body can lead to various symptoms, including fatigue, trouble sleeping, mood swings, muscle pain, low sex drive, hot flashes, and infertility. If left untreated, hormonal balance can trigger long-term issues such as osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, increased risk of cancer, and urinary tract infections.

One of the traditional medical approaches to this condition is hormone replacement therapy. However, this treatment is considered to have many side effects. It is best to talk with your doctor about a comprehensive approach and appropriate corrective care.

Adaptogens Explained

Adaptogens, aka adaptogenic substances, can always help because they regulate endocrine system functions and help with achieving hormone balance.

As their name suggests “adaptogens” contribute to your body’s adaptation to stress, and they do so in a completely natural and holistic way.

Adaptogens are actually planted extracts which encourage the body’s ability for resistance and resilience to the harmful effects of physical, mental, emotional, and environmental stressors. Adaptogens are normalizing the stress response and thus restoring hormonal balance. Since they are natural and non-toxic, adaptogens are generally safe for everyone.

The Function of Adaptogens

Now, let’s take a little closer to what adaptogens can do for you. These plant compounds target your Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal (HPA) Axis to heal your body’s stress response (the-fight-or-flight response). You see, your body is not designed to cope with stress on an everyday basis. When it turns into chronic stress it can lead to hormonal dysfunction.

Adaptogens have the ability to gently heal the natural stress response and lead to a natural restoring of balance in your body.

Some of the useful functions of adaptogens:

  • Regulate the production of cortisol
  • Boost immunity
  • Decrease fatigue
  • Balance hormones
  • Maintain healthy organ function
  • Improve resistance to stress

Best Adaptogenic Plants for Hormonal Balance

Unlike hormone replacement therapy that produces undesirable side effects, adaptogenic herbs are a natural and safe treatment for hormonal imbalance. If you are facing any issues with hormones, here are some of the top adaptogens to try.

Cissus Quadrangularis

This is a vine that grows in Africa and parts of Asia, and it is commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine. The plant has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and analgesic properties, and it is believed that it can optimize stress response and contribute to hormone balance. While the very plant is difficult to come by, Cissus Quadrangularis is powerful natural hormone optimizer that is available on the market and offers similar perks.

Ginseng

Ginseng is popular among health buffs for quite some time now. For this purpose, its strongest perk is that strengthens the HPA (Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal) Axis which helps in stress management, and at the same time diminishes the risk of hormonal imbalance. Most importantly, ginseng promotes vitality without overstimulating the endocrine system.

Maca Root

Maca root is ideal for balancing female hormones, as it aids the pituitary, adrenal, and thyroid glands. Besides balancing the hormones, it also supports the endocrine system. This adaptogen is the closest it gets to hormone replacement therapy for postmenopausal women.

Ganoderma Lucidum

Ganoderma Lucidum is a type of adaptogenic mushroom which supports immunity and improves your body’s ability to balances out its hormones. They have been used in Asian medicine for hundreds of years for minimizing the effects of inflammation, fighting fatigue, and preventing hormone imbalance.

Chasteberry

Vitex Agnus Castus or Chasteberry is a powerful adaptogen that affects the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. It stimulates the hormones participating in ovulation and restores overall balance in hormones. It is especially useful for maintaining stable progesterone levels. Chasteberry can be used to promote regular cycle, alleviate PMS symptoms, and boost female fertility.

Flaxseed

Flaxseed can be found in almost any grocery store today, and it will never be a mistake to get one of these. These seeds contain phytoestrogens called lignans, protein, fiber, and an omega-3 fatty known as ALA. Lignans can impact the hormone receptor cells to increase or reduce the production of phytoestrogen. Flaxseeds also stimulate the production of Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG) which binds to superfluous estrogen and testosterone molecules to make them inactive.

Avocados

Now, here’s a plant we all know and love. But did you know that, besides being delicious and packed with healthy calories, avocado and its micro-nutrients aid in hormone regulation? By promoting the production of progesterone, avocados regulate the menstrual cycle and pregnancy and inhibit the estrogen absorption which can cause serious health problems later in life.

Hormonal imbalance can cause a series of health problems that can make your life complicated. While it is essential to treat this issue in consultation with your doctor, getting additional support from harmless products of nature can only bring you positive effects. After all, mother knows best, and Mother Nature is the one mother to rule them all.

 

 

How Lack of Sleep can Affect Your Physical Fitness

Did you know sleep deprivation can cause physical and mental health issues? This may be rather surprising for you, but it is true. Studies show that if your brain gets fatigued, your health and well-being is compromised. From mood swings to anxiety, flu to obesity a person who suffers from sleep deprivation can have a deteriorated health pretty fast.

How is Sleep Related to Fitness?

Studies show that most adult individuals need about 7-8 hours of sleep at night. If you sleep less than 4-5 hours, you can suffer from mental and physical exhaustion. According to research, your body gets time to renew and rejuvenate itself during sleep. This means that all the wear and tear that your body goes through is ‘fixed’ while you are snoozing. Hence the reason you must get adequate sleep.

If you aren’t sleeping enough for a day or two, nothing much would happen, other than irritability and inability to perform to your optimum. But if sleeplessness continues for weeks, your body stops working in the best manner possible. Studies have clarified that people who are unable to have a proper sleep are the ones who take more sick leaves because they fall sick more often.

But these are not the only problems that occur because of sleep irregularity or deprivation. Here are major physical fitness issues that you will face if you aren’t getting all your zzz’s.

Medical Conditions

Many studies have been conducted on how your health deteriorates when you aren’t getting enough sleep. It has been made clear that people who either have disruptive sleeping patterns, are awake most of the night or suffer from insomnia are the ones who are most likely to contract chronic diseases like heart problems, stroke, brain damage, diabetes and even liver dysfunction. What’s more, they are also prone to accidental deaths as well as death occurring due to severe medical illness.

Why does this happen? Because lack of sleep gives way to stress, which in turn cause spikes in blood sugar levels and blood pressure.

Muscle Repair Hindrance

One study conducted on athletes showed that when they were sleep deprived, they could not perform well. However, when they had a good rest at night, not only was their performance affected but their general temperament changed too. When athletes could sleep well, their physical fitness improved significantly.

Researchers concluded that this was because the extraneous physical requirement drained them and caused fatigue to their muscles. Since muscles are best repaired when a person is asleep, athletes felt better immediately after a good night’s rest.

Impact on Brain Function

Your memory, focus, and concentration are affected if you haven’t slept well. Lack of sleep also leads to poor judgment, inability to deal with emotions and reduced ability to solve problems. These happen because the brain is tired and does not get the time to refuel with the rest a good night’s sleep gives it.

Skin Degeneration

How does this happen you ask? Notice yourself that when you don’t sleep well for a few nights, your eyes become sunken and puffy, and your skin loses its shine and becomes pale, while you also get dark circles under your eyes. This is one of the clearest sign of sleeplessness.

Low Libido and Lack of Sexual Pleasure

Low libido and lack of sexual pleasure are common health problems that people who suffer from sleep issues go through. Since the person is too tired, they either don’t feel aroused at all and cannot perform well in bed. This, of course, gives rise to relationship issues as depression among the sufferers of sleep conditions.

Obesity

Studies have also shown that people who experience sudden weight gain are ones who also have sleep problems. What is the connection between sleep and weight? The brain signals your body to stop eating when you are full through the release of certain chemicals. These hormones do not function when the brain hasn’t gotten enough sleep and this leads to weight gain.

Another reason sleeplessness leads to weight gain is that people who are sleep deprived each out to food for comfort and eat consume more calories than what their body requires.

So what can you do to improve your sleep conditions so that you remain physically and mentally fit? Here are easy tips for better sleep:

  • Switch off electronic devices preferably an hour before you lay down to sleep so your brain can relax
  • Eat a well-balanced and nutritional diet. This will allow your hormones to work to their optimum
  • Exercise every day as that invigorates the body and helps the brain function properly. It also tires your body down leading to sleep.
  • If insomnia gets worse, don’t shy away from seeking medical help. Perhaps one of the most exciting telehealth platform benefits is that you can consult your GP from the comfort of your own home.

Which One Beats Stress More Effectively: Yoga or a Cup of Tea?

Stress is tough to deal with, but if turning to medication isn’t an option for you, try both yoga and teas. But which is more effective in beating stress, yoga or teas?

Check out the benefits of teas and yoga in reducing stress and calming the mind. Finally, discover if both can work together for overcoming anxiety and stress better.

Tea Benefits for Overcoming Stress

According to a study, “The Social Psychological Effects of Tea Consumption on Stress: Executive Summary,” teas might help in reducing stress.  About 4% of the participants, the tea-drinking group, were able to reduce anxiety levels versus the non-tea-drinking group.

One of the tasks that the participants completed was the d2 Test of Attention, which involves looking for the letter D instances in a text passage, and then crossing them out based on the marks they could see below and above it.  (Malcolm Cross and Rita Michaels, 7 August 2009)

That’s not the only study citing how teas are beneficial for overcoming a stress, though, but thousands of them.

Herbal teas, including green and turmeric teas, can help reduce stress. Turmeric teas contain curcumin, turmeric’s active ingredient. This compound can help in blocking traumatic and fear related memories, making it an effective aid for people battling posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Turmeric works by ameliorating chronic stress damage, which affects and impairs the brain’s cognitive departments especially learning and memory.

Curcumin in turmeric can also reverse the reduction of Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor, a type of protein affecting nerve growth and needed for long-term memory. It can also help in preventing structural changes in neurons due to stress.

Turmeric also helps reducing anxiety and depression by increasing the level of dopamine and serotonin.  Mediating anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects are serotonin, Gamma aminobutyric acid and noradrenaline – neurotransmitters controlled by curcumin.

Green tea can also relieve stress. Ideally, you must drink five cups daily for the best results. If you do, you may notice psychological distress reduction.

What makes green tea effective is its polyphenol content, namely epicatechin gallate (ECG), epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), epicatechin (EC) and epigallocatechin (EGC), which offset mental and physical fatigue.

Other healing herbal teas include passionflower tea, which contains flavone chrysin that reduces anxiety and stress.

Another is peppermint tea known as a natural muscle relaxant, promoting overall calm. It is ideal to drink before bed for a calming sleep.

Drink any of these teas daily and experience an instant stress relief and a happier life outlook with a better mood all the time.

Yoga Benefits for Overcoming Stress

Everyone into yoga would say that it could provide him or her with stress relief due to mood improvement and increased sense of well-being.

The activity can also promote connectedness with Spirit and God. It also allows for mindfulness and increases self-compassion.

By achieving a better mood, you can be more focused in the present, allowing yourself to take a break from your daily stresses.  Having better focus on the now, you can also relax better.

This relaxing activity can also calm and relax the mind, especially when you’re anxious and stressed out that tend to happen more often than not when you’re mind is so busy to the point of being frantic.

By focusing at present, you can achieve a relaxed mind, one of the benefits of yoga on stress. Yoga, which also promotes meditation, can slow the mind, allowing it to focus.

With consistent practice, you can achieve a more relaxed state of mind – something valuable in dealing with stress.

As yoga poses also helps calm the mind and body, you can also experience better breathing and prevent rapid breathing due to tension and stress.

Effective breathing comes easy with practice that can teach you how to utilize your entire lung capacity and your diaphragm correctly.

[Shallow and rapid breathing causes more anxiety – and that something you can avoid by doing yoga.]

Other benefits of yoga for battling stress include controlled breathing, physical movement, meditation, mental imagery, controlled breathing and stretching.

For the body, yoga can help in sound sleep, reduced cortisol levels, allergy and asthma relief, lower blood pressure, spiritual growth, sense of well-being, anti-aging, increased flexibility, slowed aging process and spiritual growth.

Certain yoga poses, including boat pose, big toe pose, child’s pose and dolphin plank pose, are effective poses for battling stress.

Benefits of Doing Both

Can you benefit from doing both yoga and drinking tea?  Yes, you can!

Both are mind and soul enriching and can provide stress relief. They can help you alleviate anxiety and depression – making them effective stress busters that leave you collected, cool and calm.

When consumed after yoga, herbal teas can help you feel that you’re going on an aromatic journey. You’re also going to feel that your mind and body are relaxed, making it easier for you to sleep or go back to your daily grind. Nevertheless, both can make you healthier and feeling more relaxed.

Green tea, which is dubbed as the healthiest beverage on the planet, can enhance your inner peace and ensure calmness for its muscle-relaxing properties.  You must drink tea after yoga to improve your circulation for its antioxidant properties.

And speaking of stress relief to achieve with yoga practice and drinking tea,   you can also sleep better.

And as it does not contain as much caffeine as coffee has, it can definitely give you a high quality sleep.

And unlike coffee, teas deliver a slower energy release, not a quick energy jolt that subsides fast, too.

Other benefits of drinking teas after yoga include metabolism boost, reduced inflammation and strengthened immune system.  So after your yoga session, drink your cup of tea and double yoga’s benefit on stress relief.

If you want to reap the stress relief benefits of teas and yoga, you should start combining both.

Always sip a cup of tea whether green tea, turmeric tea or passionflower tea, after a session – and notice immediate stress relief, calmed mind and body and better life outlook.

Certainly, everyone can enjoy not only drinking tea or doing yoga daily but also living their lives to the fullest with better mood,  upped energy and connected mind, body and soul.

Experience the big difference. Drink tea after yoga starting today!

The Brain-Changing Benefits of Exercise

If you’re not exercising regularly, your life is about to get a whole lot better. That is, assuming you’re willing to start working out. When most of us think of exercise, we think about muscle mass. You may work out to get stronger, leaner or faster. But did you know that exercise benefits more than your physical strength? It also benefits your brain.

You may have heard people say that meditation is like a workout for your mind. Well, exercise physical exercise is too (albeit in different ways).

Physical exercise can help strengthen your hippocampus, which is the part of the brain that regulates emotions and helps to form memories. If this sounds like exciting news, you should hear Wendy Suzuki talk on the subject. Wendy is a neuroscientist who recently gave a passionate TED Talk on the subject.

So pick up those dumbbells and get smarter – or at least, remember more.

How exercise impacts the brain

There are two ways exercise impacts the brain: directly and indirectly. Indirectly, exercise helps boost your mood, improves sleep and reduces stress. In fact, exercise is a natural remedy for anxiety.

Whenever you have a problem that affects these areas (mood, sleep or stress), it can contribute to cognitive impairment. You’ll notice that when you’re exhausted or highly stressed, you’ll often have trouble concentrating. Studies have found that exercise also increases the volume of the areas of the brain that control thinking and memory. A PNAS study found that people who exercise more often actually have a larger hippocampus than people who don’t exercise.

Directly, you can benefit from exercise’s ability to reduce insulin resistance and inflammation. Exercise also stimulates the release of brain chemicals that help protect your brain cells.

How to use exercise to strengthen your brain

While we can assume that most forms of exercise have similar effects on the brain, most studies on the matter have used walking as the exercise form. In the PNAS study, participants walked briskly for one hour twice a week. If you’d rather engage in a different form of exercise, just aim for at least 120 minutes of brisk aerobic activity each week. The goal is to get your body moving and your heart pumping.

If this sounds like too much for you, try exercising for a few minutes each day and work your way up. Remember, any exercise is better than no exercise.

And if you need more motivation than strengthening your brain, here are some other ideas to get you pumped about exercising.

  1. Choose something fun – When you were a kid, exercise was called playing, and you couldn’t get enough of the stuff. Try to start thinking of it this way again, and you may begin to enjoy it again. Some fun ideas include playing a team sport or going dancing.
  2. Choose an exercise partner – You’re more likely to exercise when you have someone to hold you accountable. But having a good partner can also make exercise more fun. Choose someone with similar goals to yours to ensure you stick with it for the long term.
  3. Trick yourself into working out – If the idea of a workout really repulses you, fit in small workouts throughout the day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator and/or park across the parking lot, so you have to take more steps to get to your car.

Exercise has so many benefits, but knowing that it can help improve memory and cognition may help make it a priority. With a stronger hippocampus, you’ll stand a better chance at fighting neurodegenerative diseases like dementia later in life. Start working out today and keep your mind fresh for years to come.

8 Simple Ways to Get Relief from Back Pain

Almost 31 million Americans suffer from lower back pain and it has become of the growing concern for doctors and victims alike. Most of the time the pain is temporary, but for some, it’s a chronic and a painful part of their lives.

There are many ways one can get relief from back pain. Most take the short, easy way out – taking a painkiller. While it does remove the pain, the underlying cause can cause massive health problems.

Doctors suggest that healthy habits such as exercising, stretching, good diet, and posture can help you get relief from back pain. It will also prevent back pain from happening in the future.

Check out these 8 simple tips to get relief from back pain.

  1. Maintain a healthy weight

Staying fit and keeping your body weight in a healthy weight limit is one of the best ways to avoid back pain. According to neurological experts, the extra pounds can stress you to cause back pain. Change your diet and include fruits, vegetables and avoid fatty and processed food to keep your body and back healthy. 

  1. Keep your back muscles strong

The most common reason for having back problems is when people have a weak back. When doing hard work or heavy lifting, the back gives out – due to degeneration of the spine – causing problems with exercise. You can build muscle strength through physical therapy that can support your spine and surrounding area to stop back pain from ever happening.

  1. Stretch your muscles

It’s important that people with back problems grow a practice to stretch before going to bed. The exercise is simple and does wonder for your back. Not only it keeps you flexible, but it also helps you recover from a back injury. The motion of the exercise is as simple as bending back and forward, and side to side.

  1. Focus on keeping a good posture

One of the major reasons for having a back problem is having poor posture. Always stand up straight with your ears above your shoulders and your shoulders above your hip joints. And your hip joints above your ankles. This will keep your posture straight and pain-free. When sitting down, sit in an upright position with your back straight.

  1. Lift properly

Most of us still make mistakes when it comes to lifting things properly. We should always lift with our knees, not with our back. Make sure you don’t twist your body when lifting. If your job requires lifting things regularly, try to do some exercise that strengthens your back muscles and if required, wear a brace.

  1. Keep your bag/purse at home

Carrying a heavy bag regularly can cause hip and lower back problems. A heavy bag can change the way your spine curves and put pressure on your sciatic nerves. Sitting down with a full wallet on your back pocket can also cause similar problems. If unavoidable, carry a bag that has proper shoulder straps or just carry cash and ID.

  1. Stay stress-free 

Stress makes everything worse. So try and keep your life as free from stress as possible. There are many ways you can do these – taking up yoga, having a short getaway with friends and family, avoid overscheduling or even a day at the spa! Stay positive and laugh. A stress-free life will make you more open, have a healthy attitude and solve half of your back problems.

  1. Sleep well 

Sleep is an essential part of resting. People with back pain should take extra care as sleeping badly could have an adverse effect on your back. Soft mattresses can push your back and spine out of alignment while sleeping. So, it’s best to choose a mattress suited for back pain. Usually, medium to firm mattresses do the trick.

Having back pain isn’t the end of the world. Millions like you are coping with back pain. Following these habits will not only help you get a healthy ‘pain-free’ back but also a healthy life.