Healthy Habits

 


Lady doing a headstand on the beach

Your life depends on Omega-3s

Omega-3s are one of the most researched supplements in the world, with numerous studies indicating their function and importance in cholesterol management, joint pain, skin health, cognitive function, vision, mood regulation, hormonal health, immune system functioning, digestion and… the list goes on.

There are 3 main types of Omega-3 fatty acids: EPA, DHA and ALA. EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid), found in fatty fish oils and in certain nuts and seed oils, can be readily utilized by our bodies. Conversely, ALA (alpha-Linolenic acid), once consumed, requires conversion by our bodies into EPA and DHA before it can be utilized. Because the body does not produce these healthy fats, we must get them from diet and/or proper supplementation.

International studies show wild, fatty fish oils such as anchovy and sardines provide the best, most potent sources of Omega-3s (EPA and DHA), more so than oil from salmon and superior to Omega-3 from nuts and seeds. This is because there is no conversion required by the body in order to reap the benefits of EPA and DHA contained in fish, unlike ALA found in other sources such as walnuts and flax seed oil. In fact, it’s estimated one would have to consume 10 times the amount of flax seed oil to get the equivalent EPA and DHA contained in fish oil.

Find your balance

Be warned; you may be over consuming Omega-6 fatty acids. Studies show the typical North American diet is too heavy in Omega-6 fatty acids, promoting free radical production and inflammation in the body, an underlying cause of many health issues. Although Omega-3s can be obtained from dietary sources such as wild fatty fish, raw nuts and seeds and leafy green vegetables, supplementing with high quality Omega-3 fish oils from sardines and anchovies, ensures that the proper balance of fatty acids is maintained, keeping inflammation under control not to mention helping to prevent other health conditions.

Pump it up and live longer

Keeping fit is essential for cardiovascular health. Incorporating running, stretching and weight training into your daily regime supports muscle strength, flexibility and a strong heart. A diet low in sodium, rich in a variety of fresh vegetables and emphasizing “good fats” like Omega-3 is also important.

The GISSI-Prevenzione Trial, a groundbreaking study of the effects of Omega-3s on 11,324 subjects over three years, established that supplementation with 900 mg/day of DHA/EPA (Omega-3) in a 2:1 ratio resulted in a 30 percent decreased risk of cardiovascular related death, and a 20 percent decreased risk of total mortality in post–myocardial infarction patients. (See <http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/short/77/2/279)

The un”comfort”able truth

Our favourite highly refined, sugar and fat laden “comfort” foods we instinctively reach for during times of stress as a short-term boost actually have a long-term, damaging impact due to the acidic effect on our bodies. Instead, try to reach for alkalinizing foods during these times; fruit, vegetables, whole grains, fish, nuts and seeds. These powerful foods nourish and calm the body in order to better handle any situation. And a naturally energetic body is a happy one. The use of hard-hitting stimulants like coffee and “energy” drinks provide a false and temporary boost that inevitably leaves us low and can take a toll on our health in the long term.

Turn your world upside down

Oxygenation of the body is of vital importance and provides many health benefits for the body and mind. Practicing deep breathing and regularly inverting your body for increased blood flow and oxygen to the brain results in increased mental clarity and energy, decreased stress and depression and also provides pain relief. It’s as easy as doing a headstand, lying head down on a slanted board or elevating your feet on a few pillows while lying down.

The body loves routine

Did you know that the body not only likes, but it needs routine? Establishing a positive, healthy routine instils stability, reliability and calmness to daily life. Create a list of habits that are important and of value to you and begin to add them into your life. Examples may include practicing 10 minutes of deep breathing each day. In time, they will become an effortless ritual that you cannot live without.

Aging and your skin

Regardless of your age or the climate you live in, over time, your skin loses essential lipids and nutrients causing dryness and wrinkles. Dry skin is more susceptible to damage from UV rays, pollution and other harsh chemicals, further accelerating the aging process.

For years, synthetic ceramides have been a staple in the topical cosmetics industry, yet recent research shows orally consumed ceramides, naturally derived from whole grains, can improve the epidermal barrier and significantly enhance skin hydration (Asai 2007).

According to leading naturopathic doctor, skin expert and author Dr. Alan Logan, “Ceramide levels decline with age and lower levels of ceramides lead to visibly dry and inflamed skin. Discovering that all-natural ceramides in supplement form have the ability to lower inflammation and maintain an optimum level of hydration is one of the most significant precedent-setting advances made in skincare in recent years.”

Skin care - naturally

As you know, a healthy internal system equals a beautiful exterior. To help you achieve it, here are five easy steps guaranteed to provide noticeable results – naturally.

1) Drink water with fresh lemon first thing in the morning to immediately boost pH alkalinity. Too much acid in the body is linked to dry, aged-looking skin.

2) Dry brush daily. Brush your limbs and body in an upward motion towards your heart using a natural dry bristle brush (available at most health food stores). This helps remove dry skin cells while increasing circulation – both important for healthy skin.

3) Consider infrared sauna. Studies show this kind of sauna penetrates your skin more deeply due to its warming effect. The sauna opens pores while releasing uric acid and ammonia among other harmful toxins.

4) Include herbs and spices such as dandelion, red beet, parsley and ginger to your meals. Besides adding flavour, they are well known to support liver function and to promote natural cleansing.

Tomatoes, cocoa powder and oranges all contain important antioxidants, help reduce inflammation and protect skin against UV damage.

5) Reduce stress with daily meditation, yoga or tai chi. Studies show all of these help reduce inflammation and cortisol levels, both linked to problem skin, including redness, breakouts and increased signs of aging.

According to researchers from Bangalore, India, regular yoga practice is a beauty sleep must. In adults with insomnia, those who practiced yoga fell asleep 30 minutes faster and added an extra hour to total sleep time.

Your bone health

Research shows that regardless of gender or family history, we naturally begin to lose bone mass starting in our early 30s. If not corrected by diet or supplementation, our bones become weaker over time, impacting our posture, mobility and longevity – along with our hair, nails and teeth. Whether you are 34 or 94, follow a diet that’s rich in phytonutrients and alkalinizing foods, as they are proven to promote a neutral pH level (the more acidic your pH, the greater your risk for poor health, including low bone mass), promote osteoblasts (bone-forming cells) and reduce your risk for calcium loss from your bones.

And calcium is only part of the solution. According to Dr. Leticia Rao, director of the calcium research laboratory at St. Michael’s Hospital and University of Toronto, “Much of my research has shown that dietary antioxidants including polyphenols and carotenoids such as lycopene found in brightly coloured fruits and vegetables may play a very important role in bone health, including increased bone density, development and repair.

Source: www.genuinehealth.com

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