Trouble Getting Some Zzzzzzs? Try These Sleep Aids

 

I’ve certainly had my share of sleep-deprived nights. For me, it’s usually not a matter of having trouble falling asleep, but waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to get BACK to sleep.

Anyway, if you’re looking for some natural ways to help you get a better night’s rest, then I hope you find the following information helpful. I haven’t tried all the things listed here, but the ones I’ve used so far that seem to make a difference are magnesium and tart cherries, either freeze-dried or in juice concentrate form (be sure you buy organic, since cherries are one of the most pesticide-laden crops around). FYI, 8 oz of Montmorency tart cherry juice has 4 times the melatonin of other kinds of cherries, so that’s what I always look for. I keep meaning to try kiwis, since I really like them, but usually eat them in the morning, so I want to see what happens if I eat them before bed.

 

High sleep index foods

You’ve probably heard of tryptophan, the amino acid that many people blame for their lethargy after Thanksgiving dinner. The body converts tryptophan into neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and melatonin, that help us relax. As a result, tryptophan-rich foods help us feel sleepy. Turkey, hummuslentils and kelp are naturally high in tryptophan and contain many other beneficial nutrients.

*Bananas are also a great “sleep index” food: They contain tryptophan, potassium and magnesium, all of which are natural muscle relaxants. Cherries are a good source of melatonin, which can help us get more restful, reparative sleep.

And did you know that in one study, people who ate two kiwi fruits before bed got an extra hour of sleep at night? They woke up later and took less time to fall asleep.

Carbohydrate-rich foods are often excellent at promoting better sleep. A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that high-glycemic carbohydrates, which increase sugar levels rapidly, encourage sleep when eaten about four hours before bedtime. Jasmine rice, potatoescarrots, corn and honey are healthy options.

Calcium helps the brain use tryptophan to create melatonin. Specific food combinations, such as whole grain cereals and milkpeanut butter sandwiches, or cheese and crackers contain balanced amounts of calcium and carbohydrates. Calcium is also a natural muscle relaxant.

When to eat

Eating high sleep index foods calms the nervous system and triggers sleep-inducing hormones. But timing is everything. A large meal right before bedtime can interfere with sleep. Tryptophan takes at least an hour to reach the brain, so plan meals accordingly.

Avoid rich, high-fat foods close to bedtime. They require a lot of work to digest and may cause stomach trouble and heartburn. Also, moderate your beverages. Too many fluids will cause frequent trips to the bathroom during the night. In particular, caffeinated beverages stimulate the body and act as diuretics, a double whammy when trying to sleep.

Natural sleep aids

As noted, there is no shortage of sleep aids, either over the counter or by prescription. While these aids generally work in the short term, they come with a long list of detrimental side effects and can become habit-forming. In addition, these powerful drugs are known to interfere with a number of critical biological mechanisms. Remember, they’re not meant to be gentle, but rather to put you out like a light.

I recommend a combination of relaxing, non-habit-forming herbs: lemon balm, passionflower, vitamin B6 and small doses of melatonin, about 500 mcg, can be very helpful.

When taken together 15 minutes before bed, these herbs and nutrients help to promote a gentle state of relaxation and drowsiness. Even better, they help optimize the body’s natural repair processes during sleep. They also work to support numerous other areas of health and longevity as well.

One of the shortcomings of modern society is that every problem requires maximum response. But when it comes to healthy relaxation and restful sleep, you should take a softer, gentler approach.

High sleep index foods, together with calming supplements can help you relax, enjoy a restful sleep and wake feeling refreshed. Other excellent sleep-supportive measures include mindful relaxation techniques, such as meditation and deep breathing.

Getting a good night’s rest is one of the best things you can do for health and well-being. When you support your natural sleep rhythms and cycles with the right foods, supplements and healthy relaxation measures, you reap significant and noticeable benefits. In addition to greater physical energy, mental clarity and emotional balance, getting quality sleep each night results in stronger vitality and better overall health, naturally.

Source: http://easyhealthoptions.com/high-sleep-index-foods-nutrients-help-sleep-like-baby/

 

Turmeric milk, also called golden milk,  before bedtime is used by many people as a sleep aid (also see the link later in this post to the Self-help **blog on golden milk that includes a version where you don’t have to make a paste beforehand)……

Source : http://www.thepaleosecret.com/fbfreegift/morningdrinkfb/01/

**Also see this Self-help Health post on golden milk.

One of my favorite relaxation and sleep aids is lavender essential oil….rubbing a couple of drops on my hands and then inhaling, or dabbing on my wrists, temples or soles of my feed. Also, warm epsom salt soaks, and being careful of the amount of blue light I get at night by turning off the computer an hour or two before bedtime. I’ve also read where oranges, pineapples and passion flower tea are helpful. Chamomile tea is well-known for its relaxing, sleep-inducing quality, and the Mediterranean diet and olive oil are supposedly good for sleep, as well. And I read that most sleep disorders are connected to hormonal toxicity, so that’s something some people may need to address.

*And the peel of a banana apparently has 3 times as much magnesium as the fruit itself, which is probably why someone came up with a recipe for using “Banana Tea” as a sleep aid. All you do is wash a banana (be sure it’s organic), cut in half w/ peel on; cut off tips and boil 3 to 4 minutes in filtered/structured water, steep and drink the liquid. You can refrigerate the fruit  for use the next day in a smoothie (the peel is totally edible and high in nutrition, so you may try tossing that in, too), yogurt, oatmeal, or some other way.

And here’s some info about using magnolia tree bark as a remedy for stress and deeper sleep:

https://easyhealthoptions.com/tree-bark-less-stress-sleep-not-pillow/

Want more info? Here’s a in-depth post by Dr Joseph Mercola about sleep, the ramifications of not getting enough of it, best sleeping positions, and 50 ways to improve it, including eliminating EMFs, using 5-HTP and/or magnesium, going back to using incandescent bulbs, and more.

Related Self-help Heath posts:

9 Yoga Poses For Better Sleep

What’s Not To Love About Cherries?!

Spirit Gate: Heart 7 Acupoint For Anxiety, Insomnia And More

Stay tuned for a post on how raising the head of your bed a few inches can promote better sleep, as well as help with varicose veins, detox the brain, and more!

 

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

 

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9 Yoga Poses + 10 Minutes = Better Sleep

 

As someone who is always in the market for natural ways to improve my quality of sleep. I have recently found several things that help, including tart cherry juice, and magnesium oil (more on these in future posts). And this looks like something worth checking out. I’m not adept at yoga or a super regular practitioner, but I always feel better and more relaxed whenever I fit some into my day, so I’m looking forward to giving this particular sequence of poses a try.

 

The 10-Minute Yoga Routine For Perfect Sleep

by DEANNA DORMAN

Do you ever have a hard time falling asleep? In today’s society, you’re probably not alone. With the constant feeling of “go, go, go,” it makes us anxious even as we are preparing for bed. It can be very challenging to fall asleep and get a restful night’s sleep with a constant feeling of anxiety and stress. Yoga can be a great way to de-stress and unwind as you get ready to hit the hay.

These yoga poses are all meant to help you clear your mind and feel relaxed. These poses can also stretch areas that may have tightened up through the day. Add this ten-minute sequence to your nightly routine to help you calm down and fall into a deep slumber.


Cat & Cow Pose

Start on all fours, with your hands under your shoulders and knees under hips. Inhale as your lengthen through your spine, arching your back, reaching the crown of your head and tailbone together, and drawing your shoulder blades down into a Cow pose.

Exhale as you bring your spine back to neutral and round your spine up towards the ceiling to curl your chin to your chest and pulling your belly button into your spine, coming into Cat pose. Work through Cat and Cow pose a few times, stretching and lengthening the spine.


Child’s Pose

Once you finish working through Cat and Cow pose a few times, sit your hips back onto your heels, bringing your toes together, but keeping your knees apart. Keep the arms reaching forward to stretch through the shoulders. Take a few breaths in this position, and if you’d like, walk both hands over to the right for a few breaths, and then over to the left for a few breaths to stretch out the obliques.


Seated Forward Fold

Start by sitting on your mat with your legs extended straight in front of you. Lengthen through your spine, sitting as tall as you can. Reach your arms in front of you to grab a hold of your feet or to place them in your shins.

Lengthen through your spine as much as possible — instead of just collapsing down towards your legs. Bend your knees as much as necessary to keep your back flat. This pose is a great hamstring stretch, but don’t make it deep and intense now; your ultimate goal is gentle relaxation.

Stay in the same seated position with your legs extended in front of you, and allow your back to stretch gently over your legs. Stay folded forward for a few deep breaths, feeling the stretch along your spine.


Wide Leg Forward Fold

Stand with your feet three to four feet apart, bringing your feet parallel to each other. Clasp your hands arms behind your back, pressing the heels of your palms together in a fist. Bend from your hips, folding forward, reaching the crown of your head and your hands toward the floor.

Relax your toes, and try to shift the weight into your toes. Stay here for a minute or two, allowing the crown of your head to keep reaching deeper to the floor.


Supine Bound Angle Pose

Start by laying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the mat. Open your arms out to the side at about 45 degrees away from the body. Let your knees drop out to the sides, bringing the bottoms of your feet together. Allow gravity to pull your knees wider, opening up the hips. Stay here for at least two minutes, breathing deeply, and sinking deeper into the pose.


Supine Spinal Twist

Laying on your back with your legs extended straight, pull your RIGHT knee in towards your chest. Hold the knee with your LEFT hand and guide it to cross over your body. Extend your RIGHT arm out to the side as if in a “T” position, and gaze out over your right hand. Hold for a minute or two, allowing the twist of your spine to increase with each exhale. Be sure to stretch the other side, as well.


Single Leg Happy Baby

Again, start by laying on your back with your legs extended, and pull the RIGHT knee back into your chest. Hugging the knee in towards the chest, grab a hold of the arch of your foot with your RIGHT hand. Bring the sole of the foot about parallel to the floor and pull the knee in close towards your armpit.

As you press into the sole of the foot with your hand, also press against the hand with your foot to increase the stretch. Keep the LEFT leg as straight as possible and you may also feel a stretch in the front of the left hip. Hold for 30-60 seconds taking deep breaths. Repeat on the other side.


Legs Up the Wall Pose

Sit next to a wall and lay on your side, keeping your hips as close to the wall as possible. As you turn to lay on your back, extend your top leg straight and slide it up the wall reaching towards the ceiling.

Follow with the other leg, bringing both legs up onto the wall, keeping the feet glued together. Bring the arms out into a “T” position and allow your hips to sink into your mat. This pose is great to get the blood flowing from your legs and feet back to your heart. It helps with circulation, and calms the body. Stay here for 2-5 minutes breathing deeply. To come out of this position, bend your knees in towards your chest and roll to one side.


Shavasana

Before falling asleep, take advantage of a peaceful moment for a brief meditation. Lay on your back with legs extended, slightly wider than hip distance apart, and your arms out at about 45 degrees. Breathe deeply and allow yourself to feel how relaxed you are after taking a few minutes to stretch and unwind after a long day. If you fall asleep in this pose, that’s alright, too!

Sweet dreams!

Author: Deanna Dorman, an ACE® certified personal trainer, Balanced Body® Pilates instructor, and NASM® Fitness Nutrition Specialist.

Source: http://blog.paleohacks.com/yoga-for-sleep

And be sure to check out the Self-help Health archive for more posts on yoga for weight loss, unkinking, a free yoga poses chart and more.

 

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

Free 21-Day Yoga Challenge + Other Tips For A Healthier Holiday Season

 

I’ve always been a fan of yoga and I know how good it is for me, AND I always feel better after doing it. But I have to say it’s never been my forté, probably partly due to the fact that I don’t do it on a regular enough basis. Hopefully this free series that I just signed up for being offered by Wanderlust TV will help change that, plus get the new year off to a yoga-y good start. Want to join me? 

 

21-Day Yoga Challenge 2018: Vinyasa for Life

Vinyasa for Life with Schuyler Grant

Whether it’s your first or 500th downward facing dog, our 21-Day Yoga Challenge with Wanderlust co-founder Schuyler Grant gives you the building blocks for a lifelong, sustainable flow yoga practice.

Daily 20-minute classes alternate between workshops and juicy flows to apply what you’ve learned. We call this format Lab + Flow. Don’t worry, you’ll work up a sweat each day! Stabilize your core, align your spine, strengthen your shoulders, and learn how to carefully and artfully balance on your hands and feet.

By the end of three weeks you will have the tools to safely practice vinyasa yoga for life. Build a strong house for your soul to play in!

  • Combine a Lab day with its Flow day for a 45 minute practice.
  • Whether it’s your 1st or 500th down dog, the 21-Day Yoga Challenge is for you. It’s never too early to develop, or too late to revisit, tools to safely practice vinyasa yoga for life.
  • Each day you’ll receive an email with notes from Schuyler about the day’s flow and a link to the unlocked session. You can stream the class online, on Apple TV, and you can download the classes in the Wanderlust TV app for iPhone and iPad while the Challenge is live.

Sign up now for free! On January 1st the challenge will begin unlocking day-by-day.

And check out these previous Self-help Health posts that include ways to deal with holiday stress and the propensity for over-indulgence, plus a recipe for a holiday toddy and some DIY ideas :

Holiday Toddy For Terrific Health?

Ear Massage: Holiday De-stressor With Multiple Health Benefits

Use These Acupressure Points To Alleviate Holiday Stress And More!

Holiday Over-indulgence? Try This Digest Aid “Cocktail”

Smelly, But Good Holiday DIY Ideas 🙂

 

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

Roll Your Eyes, Change Your Life?!

 

I have heard of Feldenkrais and even had someone trained in the modality do a bodywork session on me once, but am not really familiar with any of its principles or protocols. I found this article that discusses Feldenkrais eye movement processes interesting, intriguing and informative…..

 

Feldenkrais eye lessons improved my vision and expanded my sense of self

(by Ilona Fried) How you use your eyes can change what you see!

Plenty of workshops and retreats promise to change your life, even over a weekend! That might work for some people. But one of the simplest ways that anyone can improve their well-being is by learning to use their eyes differently.Most of us ignore our eyes until they fail or are injured. Several years ago, on an annual visit to Montreal, I noticed I could no longer read the street index on my trusty map. An optometrist prescribed progressive lenses. At 46, I purchased my first pair of glasses. Less than 12 months later, I discovered I no longer needed to wear my spectacles as much, if at all. Not only that, I learned that how I used my eyes affected my entire being and experience of life.

How was that possible?

I’d enrolled in a training for the Feldenkrais Method of Somatic Education, developed by the Israeli engineer, judo black belt and visionary Moshe Feldenkrais, to heal a leg injury. We explored many verbally guided lessons, called Awareness Through Movement. Among these, we learned to work with our eyes in unfamiliar ways. Starting from different positions in lying and sitting, we gently and slowly rolled the eyes and sensed their weight in the sockets. In various experiments, we tried moving them independently of each other, or in a direction opposite to that of the head. By doing so carefully, and paying attention to when our eyes jumped rather than shifting smoothly, we began to create new neural pathways and possibilities.

Moving my eyes non-habitually felt like unplugging a wire that had rusted into a switchboard. Unaccustomed to the effort, my eye muscles began to tire. At the end of one lesson, however, I experienced my eyes as almost double their usual size, as if I’d become a reptile. Without having to turn or lift my head, I was able to take in 30 percent more of my environment than before. Moving my eyes also rearranged parts of myself I believed to be immutable. I’d spent much of the preceding decade making fine visual distinctions. As a designer and artist I’d worked with often tiny beads to make jewelry, and selected subtle colors, textures and shapes to create mosaics. I also spent hours doing graphic design, editing photos or proofreading. Yet, for a day and a half following a series of eye lessons, I had no desire to train my focus on a narrow area.

The absence of an urge to hone in on details or detect nuances, flaws or inconsistencies made it seem as if I had been handed a different personality if not a new self. The expansion and softening of my vision lifted my spirits and even straightened my spine. For the next 36 hours, this introvert experienced what I imagine it’s like to be an outgoing person, someone whose attention is more naturally drawn to the bigger picture rather than gravitating towards details.

The striking change helped me realize that I had become so identified with having a “good eye” that I unwittingly brought that trait everywhere, even to situations where it was irrelevant or counterproductive. My ability to observe what others overlooked had been more of a compulsion than a conscious choice to direct my attention for a certain purpose. I now had my own example of what Moshe Feldenkrais referenced in The Elusive Obvious: “We often make mistakes. We carry over from one activity to another attitudes of mind that do not make life what it could be…Somehow we behave as if good habits are always good.”

Another elusive truth is that our eyes direct the movement of the rest of the body. When humans hunted and gathered, our eyes oriented us to the surroundings. They helped us spot dinner (or threats) and identify and forage non-poisonous foods. Today, many of us hunt and gather online. We collect and analyze information for work or we’re in pursuit of a job, a good price, a new relationship, or an engaging Facebook discussion. The rest of our body still wants to participate in the action, so we might find ourselves slightly crouched, hunched, or tense, as if ready to pounce or pluck a delectable item. Maybe something we see or read makes us feel threatened so we recoil. While stepping away from the computer or redirecting the gaze to the horizon can help, I’ve found that nothing resets me more than following a recorded Feldenkrais eye movement lesson. They relax ocular muscles I’ve strained and engage those which I don’t normally use. It’s like sending my peepers to a playground where movement is divorced from utility, goals or achievement. My refreshed eyes help me experience deeper relaxation.

That my vision improved and my sense of self expanded through Feldenkrais is not unique, nor is my experience as miraculous as that of David Webber. After five operations to address complications from uveitis (an immune disorder causing inflammation within the eyes), he was declared legally blind in 2002. Desperate to regain his sight, he experimented with alternative remedies and found that Awareness Through Movement lessons helped him move safely and pleasurably. Immersion in a Feldenkrais training allowed him to discover that he could heal and rewire his visual system and restore his sight.

I’ve learned that life is more enjoyable and fulfilling when I’m aware of what my eyes are doing and I choose how to use them. Mr. Webber learned to see again. Who knows what you might discover if you take the time to roll your eyes, slowly and with awareness?

Source: https://www.thriveglobal.com/stories/13032-roll-your-eyes-improve-your-life

Have any of you had first hand experience with using the type of eye techniques/movements mentioned in this article? If so, would you please leave a comment with your feedback? Thanks!


 

And here’s an invitation from Dr. Mark Hyman about a free event that starts tomorrow that some of you may want to sign up for or tell others about……

 

Broken Brain

I am very excited to bring to light a silent epidemic that is crippling our nation and is the # 1 cause of disability worldwide.

Did you know…

  • Psychiatric disorders affect over 26% of our adult population and over 20% of our adolescent population.
  • Over 40 million people suffer from anxiety and more than 20 million people have depression.
  • 1-10 Americans takes an antidepressant, which has tripled in the past decade.
  • Alzheimer’s will affect 30%, and some experts are saying up to 50% of people over the age of 85.
  • 9% of our 8-15 year olds have been given the label, ADHD.
  • In the last decade, autism has increased from 3 in 10,000 to 1 in 166.

These statistics are grim.

This topic is a very personal to me because I once suffered from a few brain disorders. Almost 20 years ago, when I was just at the start of my medical career, I went from being a healthy, thriving physician to becoming a disoriented and terrified version of myself that I did not recognize anymore. I had ADHD, depression, anxiety, and brain fog all at once. I truly descended into a spiral of helplessness and hopelessness.

This led me on a life-long quest to heal my broken brain and to find the root causes of these conditions through the approaches of Functional Medicine.

I spent this past year traveling the country interviewing the top brain health experts to bring you the most cutting edge research and information on topics such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, ADHD, autism, depression, anxiety, MS, Parkinson’s, brain fog and more…

Episodes:

  1. The Broken Brain Epidemic / My Story (October 18)
  2. Gut Brain Connection: Getting to The Root of a Broken Brain (October 19)
  3. Losing Our Minds (Alzheimer’s, Dementia & MS) (October 20)
  4. ADHD & Autism (October 21)
  5. Depression & Anxiety (October 22)
  6. Traumatic Brain Injury (Accidents, Sports & More) (October 23)
  7. 7 Steps to An UltraMind (Part 1) (October 24)
  8. 7 Steps to An UltraMind (Part 2) (October 25)

    Starting in early October, look for emails from me with sneak peeks of the docuseries including my top highlights from each episode and much more.

    What if I told you that the cure for most brain disorders and a better brain is OUTSIDE the brain? You won’t want to miss this important docuseries. It’s time we address the epidemic of broken brains.

    Please join us in our mission to make this world a healthier, happier place and share this documentary with all your loved ones and friends. Together, we can spread the word and take back our health.

    See you on October 18th!

    Wishing you health and happiness,
    Mark Hyman, MD

     

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to give Self-help Health a follow so you don’t miss out on any future posts. Also check out the To Your Health page at my website Evolution Made Easier and my other blog for more helpful information, tips, tools and resources.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

The Almond, Uric Acid, Gout And Stroke Connection + Free Event

 

I’ve always known almonds were good for us; that’s one reason why I featured a recipe a few days ago that had them as one of the main ingredients . But I had no idea of their connection with reducing uric acid and preventing gout. Now I will enjoy eating those almond-fueled sweet potato brownies more than ever! AND this article on uric acid, gout and stroke gives me even more ways to add almonds to my diet with some tasty sounding recipes at the end. Yea!

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Gout

The painful sign your stroke risk is growing

However, even where there is no history of any heart troubles, there is another factor that can greatly increase your risk…

Hyperuricemia.

That’s a condition related to high levels of uric acid in the body resulting from the natural breakdown of cells and as a byproduct of the foods you eat.

Hyperuricemia may be a condition that you’ve never come across before. But I bet you may know this one sign that you could be suffering from it…

And that’s gout — a type of recurrent arthritis commonly associated with high levels of uric acid.

In addition to causing a painful gouty joint (most often in your foot), uric acid is also an important biomarker of your vascular function.

On a more sinister level, high levels of uric acid can be a sign of coronary artery disease (CAD). And in fact, studies show that each 1 mg/dL increase in blood uric acid levels increases the risk of heart-associated death by 12 percent!

In recent years, the Western diet — full of sugar and refined carbohydrates — has been responsible for increasing levels of uric acid in many people.

But as luck would have it, there is a very simple way to reduce uric acid in your body…

Eat almonds every day

When researchers gave 150 CAD patients 10 grams of almonds each morning on an empty stomach for 12 weeks, they discovered their uric acid levels were 14 to 18 percent lower than those consuming no nuts.

So what is it about almonds that douse uric acid and protect you heart attack, stroke and gout?

Almonds provide a wide range of highly bioavailable nutrients that not only have a positive impact on uric acid levels but provide plenty of other health benefits, too.

A small handful of almonds provides:

  • Magnesium (96 mg) – for optimal heart and muscle function
  • Calcium (96 mg) – for maintaining strong bones
  • Potassium (262 mg) – for regulating blood pressure
  • Phosphorus (172 mg) – for energy production and bone mineralization
  • Vitamin E (9 mg) – a powerful antioxidant to fight free radicals and reduce inflammation
  • Soluble fiber (4.5 g) – for optimal digestion, blood sugar and cholesterol regulation
  • Protein (6 g) – to support effective cell building and to stabilize blood sugar
  • Monounsaturated fat (7 g) – to correct cholesterol irregularities with proven ability to increase levels of “good” HDL cholesterol
  • L-arginine (1 g) – a precursor to nitric oxide, a compound that promotes healthy circulation and blood pressure

Snacking on almonds directly is obviously one way to consume them. And all it takes to reduce uric acid levels is a measly 7 to 8 nuts per day.

But if you want to reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke by 28 percent, munch on a small handful each day, the equivalent of one ounce or around 23 nuts.

Of course, you don’t have to eat almonds plain because there are other interesting ways to include them in your menu:

  • Opt for almond flour when baking
  • Make your own trail mix using almonds
  • Use almond meal as a stuffing base instead of breadcrumbs
  • Add crushed almonds to your cereal or smoothie
  • Spread almond butter on toast, apple slices or celery
  • Add slivered almonds to salads
  • Make a jar of spiced toasted almonds

Source: https://easyhealthoptions.com/painful-sign-stroke-risk-growing/

Related Self-Help Health posts:

https://selfhelphealth.wordpress.com/2017/09/17/a-great-way-to-eat-more-sweet-potatoes/

https://selfhelphealth.wordpress.com/2017/08/02/jp-sears-takes-on-the-american-heart-association-plus-the-health-benefits-of-almonds/


 

And here’s a way to help de-stress your life (amen to that!) and nourish you on a more spiritual level. It’s a free event  on Sept 20th featuring Deepak Chopra and Eckhart Tolle, two of my favorite representatives of wisdom and conscious living……

Image may contain: 2 people, people standing, ocean and text

  • Strengthen Your Inner State of Peace and Security
  • Regain a Sense of Oneness and Connection with Yourself and Your Community
  • Feel more Calm, Present, and Joyful Every Day

You can sign up here: https://www.chopra.com/webinars/awakening-from-the-illusion-of-separateness-b#sm.000018z5yprdidtqu031b976bybqk

 

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to give Self-help Health a follow so you don’t miss out on future posts. Also check out the To Your Health page at my website Evolution Made Easier and my other blog for more helpful information, tips, tools and resources.

Disclaimer: Please not that any information provided here is as a guideline only, and not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

Use Orange Essential Oil To Alleviate Stress And Anxiety

 

Boy, with the way things are going in the world these days, it was very timely to come across this article about using orange essential oil for anxiety and stress relief . I have some therapeutic grade Wild Orange essential oil that I love the smell of and often use as an air “freshener” and mood lifter, and after reading this it’s no wonder why.  I immediately got up and put several drops on a cotton ball to infuse the room with its smell, plus dabbed some on my wrists and a little under my nose. Wonderful!!

 

 

If you’re like most people, your body is in a state of stress far too often…

Whether you’re fretting over a work deadline, worried about your relationship or feeling frazzled by the state of your finances, it’s easy to let daily life send you into a stress spiral.

But feeling afraid and stressed all the time is no way to live. Even worse, it could eventually take a toll on your physical health… which, in the end, will only create more stress.

But there is a way to stop the cycle of stress and fear… one that could help people with the even most serious fear-based conditions.

Because, truth be told, a lot of people deal with chronic, low-grade stress. But plenty more deal with high levels of chronic stress in the form of diagnosable anxiety disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a condition where you’re in an ongoing state of fear and stress due to some sort of traumatic experience in your life. It’s one of the most serious anxiety disorders, and it’s pretty hard to overcome. But researchers uncovered what could be a simple and side-effect free solution to PTSD-related stress…

The citrusy solution to stress

Researchers from George Washington University recently determined that orange essential oil can work wonders for mice with a fear disorder similar to PTSD…

These mice were conditioned to experience an intense feeling of fear when they heard a specific tone. Some mice also inhaled orange essential oil before and after being conditioned to fear this tone. And guess what happened to these little guys…

These mice displayed a lot less fear than other mice. For mice, freezing (like a deer in headlights) is a good behavioral sign of fear. But these mice froze less often, and when they did freeze, they did so for a much shorter period of time.

“The orange essential plant oil showed a significant effect on the behavioral response in our study mice. This is promising, because it shows that passively inhaling this essential oil could potentially assuage PTSD symptoms in humans,” said Cassandra Moshfegh, research assistant in Paul Marvar’s laboratory at the George Washington University.

You’ve probably also heard that fear negatively impacts your immune system. Well, researchers found that orange essential oil altered this response in mice too. Mice who inhaled orange essential oil had less immune cells activated in their body after the stressful event. And that’s a good thing…

Chronic stress can cause your immune system to go haywire, which is probably why it’s been linked to autoimmune disorders, among other health problems.

Orange oil for everyday stress

If you don’t have PTSD, but you do feel stressed out and fearful quite often, you may be wondering….

Can orange essential oil help me too?

My thought is, if orange essential oil can help with the serious stress and fear that accompanies a condition like PTSD, it’ll probably do the trick for less serious forms of stress and fear too. And there’s been some research to support this notion…

One study conducted by researchers in Brazil found that people who sniffed sweet orange essential oil before taking a stressful test were less anxious during and after the test than those who sniffed tea tree oil or water.

So there seems to be solid evidence behind the stress-busting powers of orange essential oil. That means, there’s no better time to pick up a bottle and add a few drops to your essential oil diffuser, your bath, your wrist (combined with a carrier oil, of course)… or just inhale it straight from the bottle. Whatever you need to do to alleviate the incessant fear and stress that’s taken over your life and find some peace in your day-to-day.

by  Jenny Smiechowski

Source: https://easyhealthoptions.com/best-essential-oil-relieve-stress/

Related Self-help Health post: Feeling Stressed? Rub Your Ears!

BTW, orange essential oil has LOTS of uses and benefits, including help with acne and dermatitis, relaxing muscle spasms, and improving cognitive function. Here’s just one article that will make you want to go out and buy some, if you don’t already have it on your shelf. Just be sure you get a high quality, therapeutic grade brand, and know that it can cause photo-sensitivity/toxicity, and only use internally under the supervision of your healthcare practitioner….

https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/essential-oils/orange-essential-oil.html

 

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to give Self-help Health a follow so you don’t miss out on future posts. Also check out the To Your Health page at my website Evolution Made Easier and my other blog for more helpful information, tips, tools and resources.

Disclaimer: Please not that any information provided here is as a guideline only, and not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

Four Ways To Be Happier (and Healthier!)

 

A fascinating read. I already knew gratitude and hugs were good for us physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, but this article has some great information about the neuroscience behind why certain things have the effect on us that they do. Even worry can have a (temporary) positive effect, but unlike gratitude and hugs, it comes with a price….  

 

New neuroscience reveals 4 rituals that will make you happy

You get all kinds of happiness advice on the internet from people who don’t know what they’re talking about. Don’t trust them.

Actually, don’t trust me either. Trust neuroscientists. They study that gray blob in your head all day and have learned a lot about what truly will make you happy.

UCLA neuroscience researcher Alex Korb has some insights that can create an upward spiral of happiness in your life. Here’s what you and I can learn from the people who really have answers:

1) The Most Important Question To Ask When You Feel Down

Sometimes it doesn’t feel like your brain wants you to be happy. You may feel guilty or shameful. Why?

Believe it or not, guilt and shame activate the brain’s reward center.

Via The Upward Spiral:

Despite their differences, pride, shame, and guilt all activate similar neural circuits, including the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, amygdala, insula, and the nucleus accumbens. Interestingly, pride is the most powerful of these emotions at triggering activity in these regions — except in the nucleus accumbens, where guilt and shame win out. This explains why it can be so appealing to heap guilt and shame on ourselves — they’re activating the brain’s reward center.

And you worry a lot too. Why? In the short term, worrying makes your brain feel a little better — at least you’re doing something about your problems.

Via The Upward Spiral:

In fact, worrying can help calm the limbic system by increasing activity in the medial prefrontal cortex and decreasing activity in the amygdala. That might seem counterintuitive, but it just goes to show that if you’re feeling anxiety, doing something about it — even worrying — is better than doing nothing.

But guilt, shame and worry are horrible long-term solutions. So what do neuroscientists say you should do? Ask yourself this question:

What am I grateful for?

Yeah, gratitude is awesome… but does it really affect your brain at the biological level? Yup.

You know what the antidepressant Wellbutrin does? Boosts the neurotransmitter dopamine. So does gratitude.

Via The Upward Spiral:

The benefits of gratitude start with the dopamine system, because feeling grateful activates the brain stem region that produces dopamine. Additionally, gratitude toward others increases activity in social dopamine circuits, which makes social interactions more enjoyable…

Know what Prozac does? Boosts the neurotransmitter serotonin. So does gratitude.

Via The Upward Spiral:

One powerful effect of gratitude is that it can boost serotonin. Trying to think of things you are grateful for forces you to focus on the positive aspects of your life. This simple act increases serotonin production in the anterior cingulate cortex.

I know, sometimes life lands a really mean punch in the gut and it feels like there’s nothing to be grateful for. Guess what?

Doesn’t matter. You don’t have to find anything. It’s the searching that counts.

Via The Upward Spiral:

It’s not finding gratitude that matters most; it’s remembering to look in the first place. Remembering to be grateful is a form of emotional intelligence. One study found that it actually affected neuron density in both the ventromedial and lateral prefrontal cortex. These density changes suggest that as emotional intelligence increases, the neurons in these areas become more efficient. With higher emotional intelligence, it simply takes less effort to be grateful.

And gratitude doesn’t just make your brain happy — it can also create a positive feedback loop in your relationships. So express that gratitude to the people you care about.

(For more on how gratitude can make you happier and more successful, click here.)

But what happens when bad feelings completely overtake you? When you’re really in the dumps and don’t even know how to deal with it? There’s an easy answer…

2) Label Negative Feelings

You feel awful. Okay, give that awfulness a name. Sad? Anxious? Angry?

Boom. It’s that simple. Sound stupid? Your noggin disagrees.

Via The Upward Spiral:

…in one fMRI study, appropriately titled “Putting Feelings into Words” participants viewed pictures of people with emotional facial expressions. Predictably, each participant’s amygdala activated to the emotions in the picture. But when they were asked to name the emotion, the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex activated and reduced the emotional amygdala reactivity. In other words, consciously recognizing the emotions reduced their impact.

Suppressing emotions doesn’t work and can backfire on you.

Via Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long:

Gross found that people who tried to suppress a negative emotional experience failed to do so. While they thought they looked fine outwardly, inwardly their limbic system was just as aroused as without suppression, and in some cases, even more aroused. Kevin Ochsner, at Columbia, repeated these findings using an fMRI. Trying not to feel something doesn’t work, and in some cases even backfires.

But labeling, on the other hand, makes a big difference.

Via Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long:

To reduce arousal, you need to use just a few words to describe an emotion, and ideally use symbolic language, which means using indirect metaphors, metrics, and simplifications of your experience. This requires you to activate your prefrontal cortex, which reduces the arousal in the limbic system. Here’s the bottom line: describe an emotion in just a word or two, and it helps reduce the emotion.

Ancient methods were way ahead of us on this one. Meditation has employed this for centuries. Labeling is a fundamental tool of mindfulness.

In fact, labeling affects the brain so powerfully it works with other people too. Labeling emotions is one of the primary tools used by FBI hostage negotiators.

(To learn more of the secrets of FBI hostage negotiators, click here.)

Okay, hopefully you’re not reading this and labeling your current emotional state as “Bored.” Maybe you’re not feeling awful but you probably have things going on in your life that are causing you some stress. Here’s a simple way to beat them…

For the other 2 “rituals,” check out the link below. Well worth the read, in my opinion.

Soruce: https://www.theladders.com/p/21219/neuroscience-4-rituals-happy

Related Self-help Health posts: Smiles = Good Medicine, Get Healthier With Gratitude, Gratitude & The DNA Connection, and Acts Of Kindness = Win-win-win Health Benefits

 

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to give Self-help Health a follow so you don’t miss out on future posts. Also check out the To Your Health page at my website Evolution Made Easier and my other blog for more helpful information, tips, tools and resources.

Disclaimer: Please not that any information provided here is as a guideline only, and not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.