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Risks of Excessive Consumption of Refined Sugar

Refined sugar is the bad constituent of our daily diet. This is a fact, established by numerous studies. Scientists have extensively researched on the matter and found out that processed sugar is linked to rapid aging, obesity, cardiovascular diseases and even some strains of cancer. Regardless of its adverse effects for health, sugar has been an important part of many dishes and meals all around the globe.  

Due to its widespread use, health experts are divided into two groups regarding the consumption of sugar. Some of them are calling to cut the amount of recommended sugar intake while few are of the opinion that excluding sugar completely out of diet is necessary to maintain a healthier lifestyle.  

What is Refined/Processed Sugar?

Processed sugar is usually extracted from sugar cane. Sugar canes are rich in sucrose, which is a combination of two primary carbohydrates, namely glucose and fructose. Raw sugar cane syrup was boiled, cooled and solidified in the form of sugar crystals. This refined and processed crystalline sugar is used as an added ingredient in numerous foods and drinks.

Natural Sugars are not that Harmful

Glucose, lactose and fructose are considered natural sugars because they are found in fruits and certain vegetables. They are considered more suitable to consume than the processed crystalline sugar.

Modern Dietary Lifestyle is Crammed With Added Sugar

Sugar has earned bad reputation due to its excessive use in popular contemporary foods and drinks. Soft drinks, chocolates, baked desserts and many other dietary items contain tons of sugar. It is a wide known fact that a glass of fizzy drink have up to 7 tablespoon of processed sugar and a standard-size chocolate bar contains around 6 tablespoon of added sugar. Both of these items are equally popular in every age group and demographic all around the world.  

Grave Health Risks of Excessive Sugar Consumption

There are two major health concerns that have their roots in the excessive use of refined sugar.

Cardiovascular Diseases

There is a study published in the health journal which concluded that added sugar probable make your body more prone to hypertension and cardiovascular diseases than dietary sodium found in table salt. It has been measured that consuming 24-ounce of fizzy drink can increase blood pressure and heart rate up to 15/9 mm Hg and 9 bpm respectively.

It is worth mentioning that cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of premature deaths in the developed world. According to the statistics provided by CDC, hypertension is one of the primary contributing causes of more than 360000 deaths in the US.

Obesity

Obesity itself is a basis of many life threatening diseases. Nearly one-third of American population is facing the problem of obesity and ingesting too much sugar is the one of the reasons. According to a published study, the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is causing weight gain in children and adults alike.

Sugar Consumption has Transformed Into Sugar Addiction

According to one study, the consumption of diets, with rich content of sugar, showed signs of craving and withdrawals in rats when their sugar intake was reduced. Conclusion of this research highlights the fact that sugar works in the same manner as drugs in reward pathways of mammals’ nervous system.

Statistics from CDC points towards the alarming situation of excessive use of sugar in the US. Refined sugar is 13% of total daily calorie intake of American adults. Cutting the entire consumption of sugar is neither advisable nor possible. However, reducing it to the possible minimum levels and replacing the refined sugar with natural options can prove to be good for healthier life. Following are some of the organic substitutes for refined sugar that you can add in your daily diet.

Honey

Raw, unprocessed honey is best to use for its sweetness, antioxidants and nutrients. Honey can be added in tea instead of sugar and coffees. There are many dessert recipes that can be made with honey and without using processed sugar.

Coconut Sugar

Coconut has many health benefits. Its water and milk has been used for years due to their healthy properties. Coconut is also used to made sugars with low glycemic index and high mineral content. It can also used instead of refined sugar in the making of different desserts.  

Dealing with Stress

Stressed businessman
Both internal and external circumstances can cause stress

Some people have or will have experienced stress and anxiety at least once in their lifetime. For others, it may be a frequent occurrence, due to either ongoing issues or because you are more subject to it due to your metabolism. The quick pace of modern times has also made this psychological problem a more prevalent one. More people than ever are now victims of stress and its consequences. Here, we will try to help you with a small yet effective guide to deal with stress.

How to deal with workplace stress

According to a survey, eight out of ten Americans have anxiety in the workplace. Overwhelming responsibilities, deadlines, disruptive or challenging employees, demanding or rude supervisor, personal relationships while in the workplace or other apprehensive workplace issues could be sufficient to cause discomfort to you of what would otherwise be a standard day at work . This in turn could result in numerous consequences, not the least being inhibited from your ability to concentrate on your job. This then can result to becoming error prone, being subject to reprimands and possible termination. On a daily basis, the hardship of trying to keep up with demanding commitments or having to meet impending deadlines can keep you on your toes and can bring unwanted stress.

Share it with your supervisor

If anything is bugging you at the workplace and it’s not in your control, then there is no need to get stressed out. It may be best to let your supervisor know what you are up against, since keeping him or her in the dark would only lead to speculation that could take them down the wrong path in their decision of what to do with you. In addition, discussing your concerns and work-related problems with your higher ups can help you to release the stress.  

If the problem is more personal and you feel that it may not be productive to discuss with your boss, you might want to consider taking some days off and also discussing the problem with family or close friends, as it is not recommended to keep it to yourself.

Avoid multitasking

If you are already feeling stressed and anxious, then getting involved in multitasking can become a catalyst for the already worsened condition. Try to focus on one task at a time to relieve symptoms of stress.

Don’t get yourself exhausted with over thinking

Stress is very much related to the state of mind and over thinking is one of the things that can aggravate the situation of work-related stress by overwhelming the mind. Getting consumed in work related worries that won’t matter after a while will only take a toll on your mental health.

How to deal with stress at home

Home is the place to be yourself and to get the relaxation you need. Unfortunately, in many practical situations, there are certain problems that make family life stressful. One should be very sincere in dealing with such domestic stresses for a happy life.

  • People often lose their cool while dealing with stressful conditions at home. Remember, it will only amp up the stress levels of the whole family and there are no chances that the problem will go away with your aggressive and irrational behavior.
  • Finances are also one of the main reasons that induce domestic stress. In any such circumstances — where you are facing a financial challenge — it is better to deal with it through cooperation among all family members. A shared responsibility from all family members will help you face the issue at hand, and will also lower the levels of stress at home.
  • Many times, domestic stress gets aggravated because of minor nuisances. You can save yourself all this unnecessary stress by keeping your demeanor as amenable as possible. Be cool. Learn to breathe.  

Deal with stress through dietary means

Apart from acting on all the above mentioned tips, there are certain food items that can help you relieve your stress levels. Make them a part of your dietary lifestyle to feel happy and stress-free.

Cashew nuts

Zinc deficiency in the body can bring several psychiatric disorders, and stress is one of them. You can replete the levels of zinc by adding cashew nuts in your diet. Cashew nuts can be used in different recipes. They can also be consumed exclusively as a snack.

Dark chocolate

According to a research conducted by the University of Bern in Switzerland, the use of dark chocolate can alleviate the effects of hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline that are associated with stressful conditions. While dark chocolate is healthy and has antioxidants and a variety of minerals, those with less than 70% cocoa contain dairy and sugar. An excessive use of it might lead to weight gain.

Asparagus

This spring vegetable is high in folic acid, which is considered good for cognitive health and stress conditions. Use steamed asparagus in salads. You can also roast asparagus stalks for a crispier texture.

Garlic

If you are experiencing a stressful situation for a long time, then your immune system will also bear the brunt of it. When using different food items to relieve consequences of stress, garlic can come handy in boosting your immune system since it is packed with many antioxidants. Garlic is an all-season vegetable, and can become a part of nearly every meal.  

Medical Assistance

Seeking the advise and console of a medical professional is commonplace for people with depression and is highly recommended for those who are frequently affected.

Thearpy

Probably one of the most common ailments that would cause someone to go to therapy would be stress and the related problems that would be associated with it. A counselor can help you manage your anxiety better than you are probably doing yourself.

If you find yourself in constant anxiety, don’t go through it alone. A therapist would be highly recommended.

Medication

Pills on a table
Always seek the advise of a medicial professional before taking ANY medication

Now we come to a path that many, many people pursue, and for good reason! Drugs can be a major benefactor in managing to keep you calm, but caution is highly suggested!

A doctor or certified practitioner are the only ones who can prescribe the appropriate medication for you.
There are so many drugs on the market, it is very important for a physician to determine what would be best for you and you may be surprised how much better you could feel with the proper mediation and respective dosage.

If I may depict one case history where a 45 year old man lost his father to heart failure. For eleven months, the man was blaming himself with the notion that he could have done things better while his father was in ailing condition, not realizing that guilt is a common issue for someone to feel when they lose a loved one, but most of the time, it is totally unwarranted. “Why didn’t I do it this way” or “I could have done this differently” are common thoughts a guilty person may go through; however, for many people who suffer guilt after a loss, the fact is that nothing would have been different, and as they say “It is all in your head”. But in the mind of the person suffering from it, it is die-hard real.

The ongoing guilt and the grief was causing this man to have episodes of depression and when not in depression, he would suffer from serious anxiety attacks. It wasn’t until he seeked medical help that a prescription plan was provided to him and after a few weeks, his guilt began to dissipate to the point that one morning when he woke up, he felt entirely free of his guilty feeling.

This happened because he was initially lacking the chemical serotonin in his brain, which caused him to think irrationally and once the proper medication was provided to him, his serotonin level increased to the point that his anxiety and depression was totally gone.

Referring to a popular metaphor, we can say that the man went from feeling that the glass was half-empty to the glass being half-full. In reality, this meant that he went from thinking that he could have done things better when aiding his father to instead, thinking about all the great things he did for his dad while he was living well and also while he wasn’t well.

If you plan to see a doctor, you can visit your family physician who would be able to recommend some limited amounts of prescription drugs that could help you cope through a bad situation, but for the long term, it would best to seek the help of a psychiatrist.

Psychiatrists are medical professionals whose specialty is your mental health as opposed to your physical health. They will be able to diagnose your condition and prescribe the appropriate medications that could you help you.

To go any deeper at this point would be beyond the scope of this article, but we hope that you have gained some important information while you were here.

Norovirus – A Leading Cause of Gastrointestinal Illnesses in the United States

A 3D graphical representation of a number of Norovirus virions

Norovirus is an infectious disease that disturbs the digestive system of humans. It is the leading gastrointestinal disease and is caused by the consumption of contaminated food. According to the statistical study of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on the subject of food borne illnesses, nearly 20 million people fall ill due to norovirus each year just in the US alone. The virus can also turn deadly as statistics have shown that it is fatal for at least 800 affected people each year, but in general, most people do recover within two to three days.

Origin of the Virus’s Name

Norovirus is named after Norwalk, Ohio, where the first outbreak was reported in a school in 1968. People also called the infection caused by norovirus ‘stomach flu’ or ‘stomach virus’, also it is common to label it as food poisoning. 

How Norovirus Spreads and Works?

A large part of the population can be infected by the norovirus at any given time, because the disease can spread very easily. Consuming foods or drinks that have been contaminated with the virus is a common way of acquiring it and the virus can easily spread if you’re not careful – if you touch a contaminated surface and then touch your mouth and nose, you can easily get infected. That is why the CDC and all other major health organizations recommend to wash your hands frequently, especially when in public environments. In addition, washing your counter tops with chlorine-based disinfectants will help to eliminate the virus. The transmittable ability of the virus is also known to be aerosolized i.e. it can be sprayed into the air by infected people. Indeed, even with the best precautions, the virus can still be acquired, as noted by a recent Princes Cruise in the South Pacific, where 91 people were infected. It should be pointed out though, that with the scores of cruise ships that leave port every day, an outbreak like this is considered rare among these vessels.

An adult can be affected by norovirus from as few as 18 virus units. According to the CDC, a number of norovirus that can fit on a pinhead would be sufficient enough to infect more than 1000 people. Outbreaks of norovirus mostly begin from food outlets. The CDC points out that 70% of norovirus outbreaks are caused by infected food workers.  When food infected service workers prepare food, they easily transmit the virus to customers.

Sign and Symptoms of Norovirus

The symptoms of norovirus generally start to appear 12 to 48 hours after a person first comes into contact with it. Common signs and symptoms include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps and pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Malaise
  • Weakness and body pain

These symptoms are usually coupled with low grade fever. In most of the cases, symptoms vanish quickly, however viral shedding might last for several weeks through excretion. This viral shedding also adds up to the contagious nature of the norovirus and makes it difficult to control the outbreak of the virus.

Treatment Options for Norovirus

Norovirus is not a bacterial infection, therefore antibiotics can’t help the affected person. However, there are some self-help tips that can be useful for an affected person that will alleviate the pain and effects of the disease.

Hydrate your Body

Diarrhea and excessive vomiting can cause dehydration. Pedialyte is a good option to hydrate affected people of all ages. Drinks containing sugar, caffeine and alcohol should be avoided since they can worsen the condition of diarrhea. The best drink you should have – water. The most natural substance on earth and one that is recommended to all whether you are ill or not.

Take Care of your Diet

In many cases, appetite picks up in affected people. Therefore, it is necessary to maintain a proper diet during the course of illness. Adding fresh and light fruits that are rich in nutrients will help you to not feel weak. Soup, fresh fruits, lean protein (fish and poultry) and yogurt are some suitable food options to introduce in your diet during the illness.

It is also better to provide your body with complete rest during this time to ensure a quick and full recovery.

Always Consult a Physician!

By acting upon the above tips and by using over counter anti-diarrhea medications, you should start to feel better in few days; however, you should seek the advise of a medical professional when you first start to feel these symptoms, but if you wait (NOT RECOMMENDED) and your symptoms worsen, it is imperative that you contact your physician immediately. With that said, some of the more serious symptoms you may encounter if you do not seek professional medical help right away could result in:

  • A high-grade fever
  • Your diarrhea is not going away even with over the counter medication
  • You can’t tolerate liquids and solid food items
  • There is blood in your stool

Of course prevention is better than the cure. Try to avoid eating from unhygienic food places. Don’t eat under-cooked meals. Also, don’t eat food prepared by a sick individual or one that appears to be ill. If you have caught the norovirus, try to avoid public places and restrooms to prevent further spread of the disease.

 

Foods to Improve your Daily Diet for Better Hair Health

Photo of Hair and Brush
Eating the right foods can be very helpful in maintaining good hair

Many of us take our hair for granted when it comes to improving its health. Virtually all of us have seen commercials advertising shampoos and conditioners, which can make a difference, but there are many other ways to ensure great health of your hair. Since  there are around 150,000 hair follicles on the human scalp and you should treat them as part of the body for better care.

A healthy diet is one sure way to keep your hair in good standing. According to dermatology experts, having a protein and iron enriched diet can provide your hair with the necessary boosts for healthy growth. In this article, we will discuss some different food items that should be included in your diet for better hair health. Making these foods a permanent part of your diet routine can also prevent non-inherited baldness and premature graying.

Red Meat (Lean)

According to researches, iron deficiency can lead to hair loss and eventually to baldness. Some examples are: top sirloin, top loin roast and pork tenderloin. Notice how the names of meats that are lean have an ‘oin’ associated with their name. Choose these cuts in order to get the leaner options. You may also consider bottom round steaks, which is the “round”, rear leg of the cow.  Treating iron and protein deficiency with the consumption of this type of meat in your daily diet will help your hair to regrow.

Almond Butter

Almond butter is full of different beneficial macro and micro nutrients. Proteins, good fats and vitamin E are the main constituents of almond butter. Studies have proven that Vitamin E gives hair a sheen look and boosts volume.

Eggs

Adding eggs in your daily diet is the most economical way of getting an adequate amount of biotin. Biotin is a vitamin B derivative that assists hair growth and boosts scalp health. A deficiency of biotin can cause brittleness of hair, which ultimately leads to hair loss.

Green Veggies

It is well known that vegetables are high in nutrients for many parts of your body and there are many different green vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard and broccoli that will help your hair as well. These vegetables are full of vitamin A and C, which help in producing sebum from sebaceous glands on the scalp. This acts as a natural hair conditioner, so keep it going with the veggies. Nothing to lose and everything to gain!

Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is full of proteins and vitamin B5, and both have proven health benefits for hair. Vitamin B5, also known as pantothenic acid, improves blood flow to the scalp which is necessary for better hair growth.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are filled with beta-carotene which is then converted into vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is a natural protector against dry skin and hair. Dry skin condition is a major cause of dandruff. Apart from carrots, kale and squashes, sweet potatoes also contain beta-carotene. If you want to provide your hair with a natural sheen, add these organic food items into your diet.

Lentils   

Lentils are packed with iron, zinc, protein, biotin and folic acid. Folic acid provides strength to red blood cells. Red blood cells are responsible for providing hair and skin with oxygen, which improves their health.

Barley

Barley is a good source of Vitamin E. This vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects the skin and scalp from the damaging effects of UV light. The sun damage on the scalp can lead to thinning of hair, and if not treated on time, can also lead to baldness. Making barley part of your dietary routine can provide you with sufficient amounts of vitamin E.

Fish

Physiological inflammations are not good for the human health due to many reasons and hair shedding is one of them. Therefore, adding foods in your diet that are rich in anti-inflammatory nutrients can help you maintain the health of your hair. Cold-water fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. They are anti-inflammatory and help you to restore hair health.

Salmon’s efficient insulin processing mechanism will also prevent balding and hair loss by reducing the insulin resistance in the body.

Guava

Taking sufficient amounts of vitamin C in your daily diet can prevent thinning hair. A research conducted in this domain noted that taking oral supplements of vitamin C encouraged significant hair growth in women who were suffering from the issue of thinning hair. Instead of taking extra supplements, you can consume sufficient amounts of vitamin C by adding guavas in your daily diet.  

Oysters

Oysters make great meals. Increase their servings in your meals since they are considered to be a rich source of zinc. Zinc is an important mineral nutrient that ensures healthy skin, nails and hair. Consuming diets rich in zinc help hair growth and reduce hair loss.

 

Why One Should Adopt Organic Eating Practices

Organic CarrotsIn the past few centuries, starting with the Industrial Revolutions, automation has found its way into just every type of lifestyle. In contrast to the earlier way of living, wWe have now accepted routines that can be unhealthy and dangerous for us personally and also for our planet. Included in this narrative is the making of our food. From vegetables to chicken to meat, automation and processed foods are commonplace. But there is an alternative. This post discusses eating organic food and why you should adopt to these practices.

What are organic foods?

Organic eating is the revival of dietary practices that don’t contain any tinge of industrial synthesis. Quite simply, it is food processed naturally. The purpose of adopting an organic routine is to provide us with a more healthy alternative and a better environment for us all. 

Properties of an organic food

For any food to be organic, there are several requirements that should be fulfilled:

  • It is necessary for organic crops to be grown without the use of any artificial fertilizers and pesticides. Even sewer sludge which is a byproduct of sewage treatment can’t be used to facilitate the growth of organic crops.
  • Any crop or livestock that is genetically modified with the help of biotechnology can’t be considered organic.
  • Crops and livestock treated with growth hormones to get rapid yields can’t be used to make organic food items.
  • Preserving and protecting crops from invasive pests through food irradiation also exclude them from the list of organic foods.
  • Using synthetic and artificial flavors and additives also make foods items ‘inorganic’.

Health benefits of organic food

There are several scientifically tested benefits of organic food items. Not the least of which are healthier for our bodies. But obtaining these natureal food items comes with a price (pun intended); that is, they are about 30% more expensive then the processed foods we are so used to purchasing. And here, we have the old expression – You get what you pay for!

Let’s take a closer look to see how beneficial organic eating is and then you can make the decision as to whether they are worth the price!

Organic foods are more enriched with micronutrients

Studies have confirmed that organic food contains more micronutrients and antioxidants. It has been estimated that organic food can have up to 60% increased oxidant levels. Since organic foods don’t rely on synthetic external sources of protection, i.e., pesticide sprays and food irradiation. Therefore, they produce chemicals for protection on their own. Majority of these produced chemicals are antioxidants.

Antioxidants are molecules that alleviate the effects of free radicals and prevent cell damage in human body. Getting the sufficient supply of antioxidants in your daily diet through organic food items help you to have disease-free healthy life.

Organic foods also contain more micronutrients than regular dietary items. If you are consuming organic items in your diet then you will not need extra supplements of mineral and vitamins.

Organic foods don’t have high levels of nitrate

Regular crops and foods contain high level of nitrates because they are grown with the assistance of synthetic fertilizers. Organic vegetables and fruits, on the other hand, are grown with the help of natural fertilizers which means nitrate content in these products is low.  

High level of nitrates in food is linked to cause different cancers. It also causes newborn problem called methemoglobinemia which affects body’s ability to carry oxygen.

Organic foods contain good fats

More than 50 research studies conclude that organic meat contain more of omega-3 fatty acids and contain less saturated fats than regular meat. Saturated fats are considered bad and associated with various cardiovascular problems. While omega-3 fatty acids belongs to the family of polyunsaturated fat which is considered as good fats. Omega-3 fatty acids are studied for several health benefits including:

  • Reduction of inflammation
  • Reducing risk of cancers
  • Helps in alleviating the symptoms of depression and anxiety
  • Prevents asthma in children and young adults

Organic milk and dietary products are also reported to have more omega-3 fatty acids.

There is another reason to prefer organic meat over regular meat. Regular livestock are injected with antibiotics for fast growth. Consuming the meat containing excessive amount of antibiotics causes our immune system to go weak.  

Apart from its health benefits, let’s look into some miscellaneous benefits of organic foods.

Organic foods taste better

It is a widespread perception that organic fruits and vegetables taste better than the regular ones. Since most of these fruits and vegetables are sold fresh without adding any preservative. It helps them to carry their natural taste and texture.

Organic practices ensure a better environment

Producing organic fruits, vegetables and livestock exclude all those practices that are harmful for our ecosystem. With organic eating, you are not only ensuring the optimal level of your own health, but you are contributing to secure a healther ecosystem.

Panic Attacks and Disorder: Causes and Some Self-Help Techniques

You are in the hospital on your way to visiting a loved one and the doctor tells you that the person has passed away or you come to work thinking it is a going to be a normal day and you are handed a pink slip. Maybe it’s a situation where you relationship with your spouse is deteriorating. These are just some of the situations that could spark a panic attack. For those lingering situations, such as the relationship scenario, you may encounter panic attacks routinely and randomly.

What Exactly are Panic Attacks?

Panic attacks are the sudden episodes of extreme fears that can lead to the activation of several body functions that may include irregular breathing or problems breathing, rapid heartbeat, nausea, stomach pains or cramps, muscle or chest pains or other abnormal physical experiences.

As mentioned in the scenarios above, you may experience a few panic attacks in your lifetime, such as dealing with financial problems, divorce, work related issues, personal health issues, seriously ill family member or other circumstances where fear overrides your every day mood. In some circumstances, women who give birth may feel depressed, called Postpartum Depression.  If the panic attacks continue, it could elevate you condition to a level of stress denoted as panic disorder and if not addressed by a medical professional, other ailments may materialize, such as depression.

For many, the panic disorder they are feeling are based upon a real experience they are going through, while others worry about things that may not be that realistic, but due to some metabolic reasons, they too may suffer from panic disorder.

If you do experience a panic attack, it is highly recommended to seek the advice of a medical professional for possible treatment. In the interim, there is so much information associated with this condition, we can only scratch the surface, so, as a guideline, we summarize below answers to some questions you may have regarding panic attack.s

Causes of panic attacks

Besides sudden, unexpected natural life experiences, researchers attribute additional factors that can increase the risk or even become an underlying factor of panic attacks in adults. 

Genetics

There is partial evidence that panic disorders might be attributed to genetics, as studies have shown that people with a family history of panic attacks and disorders are more vulnerable to this psychological ailment; however, it has not been proven that genetics is the root cause or only attribute to cause this effect. Indeed, for many, it may not be a contributing factor at all. 

Major life events

For some, stress can be part of their everyday lives and might not lead to panic attacks. However, there are some life events, such as the death or serious illness of a loved one that can cause considerable anxiety, which can ultimately lead to panic disorder. In most cases, these attacks are temporary and usually die down with gradual lowering of stress levels.

Traumatic Memories

For many people, different incidents become the reason of panic attacks. Physical or mental abuse, sexual assaults or serious accidents are some of the reasons that can induce panic attacks.

Unhealthy lifestyle

Eating junk food, alcoholism, excessive smoking and caffeine consumption may increase the risk of panic attacks. Caffeine especially can cause your heart to beat faster and when you are suffering from panic disorder, drinking caffeine related liquids is not recommended.

Some foods that can help keep you calmer are:

  •  Green Leafy Vegetables
  •  Organic Turkey Breast
  •  Blueberries
  •  Dark Chocolate
  •  Pistachios
  •  Avocados

And then there is exercise. How much exercise do you get each day? If you had to think about that one, you most likely are not getting enough physical exercise. Experts suggest exercising to the equivalent of 10,000 steps per day; however, we reiterate, seek the advise of a professional before changing your diet or physical lifestyle, especially if you are on medication.

Panic disorder can affect the quality of your life

Constant panic attacks at different times can confine you. People try to avoid the places where they have experienced a panic attack. These consequences can make your social life very challenging. As a result, people often start to avoid all the situations where human interaction is involved. Other bad consequences of panic attacks are:

  • You will see a sharp dip in your confidence level and it will consequently affect your professional and educational life
  • Your family and the loved ones will also be affected by episodes of your panic attacks

Self-help measures to tackle panic attacks

Determined to help yourself is very important to courageously face the issue of a panic attack. There are several measures one should take to alleviate the symptoms and reduce the occurrence of these attacks.

Keep Calm

Some people find solace in meditation, while others are able to find a sense of relaxation listening to soft music. Others keep them self busy and feel gratified with daily senses of accomplishments.

Then there is therapy or visiting a psychiatrist, which could include prescribed medication to help you keep calm.

Any of these methods or any combination of these methods could be beneficial to your well being when being subjected to panic disorders.

Accepting the problem

Most people try to avoid the problem of panic disorder instead of facing it. This behavior can’t help you to get rid of the panic attacks. Accepting the problem and all the emotions associated with it is the first step to treating this psychological problem. Whenever you experience a panic attack, it is helpful to keep reminding yourself that it will end soon. Knowing that you will come out of the situation unharmed can reduce the intensity of the symptoms.

Accepting panic attacks also reduce the levels of anxiety before or after the occurrence of panic attacks.

Try to rationalize it

Another thing which can help you survive an episode of panic attack is to keep yourself grounded. Panic attacks can the reaction to imaginary perceived threats, i.e., one is not in an actual danger. Also keep reminding yourself that the attack is caused due to chemical imbalance in the brain and it will get back to normal after few minutes.

Tackle the triggers

Handling the triggers of panic attack is very crucial in managing panic attacks. Triggers of panic attacks are a set of conditions may remind you of a bad experience. Let’s suppose you acquire a panic attack while shopping in the grocery store. Shopping or grocery store might not be the reason of a panic attack, but your brain may acknowledge an event on an unconscious level where some feature in the store makes an association with something unpleasant and that can trigger an attack.

People who make you anxious and uncomfortable may also prove to be the triggers of your anxiety. Avoid these triggers if possible, but it might not feasible to do it every time. Therefore, it is imperative to carefully recognize the signs so you can already know what is happening to you in order to apply an appropriate coping mechanism.

Apart from treating yourself with self help techniques, you can also try alternative medicines and other methods of treatments to address the problem of panic attacks, but NEVER DO IT ON YOUR OWN!  Seek the advice of a medical professional. You may be pleasantly surprised what some therapy can do. In addition, your doctor may prescribe medication that can keep you calm. There are scores of prescription medications available for stress and anxiety related issues, but speak to your medical professional first before doing anything on your own.

In addition, if you are looking for help, but don’t know where to turn, this website is a valuable source of information that can help get you started.

Ten Indicators that You May be Addicted to Marijuana

Did you know you can become addicted to marijuana? Consistent use of the drug can lead to an issue known as marijuana use disorder, which can subsequently lead to a form of addiction in some cases. Although not as common or dangerous as other drug addictions; such as opioid use, recent studies have shown that 30 percent of those who use pot may have some degree of this disorder. People who begin taking the drug before the age of 18 are four to seven times more likely to develop a marijuana use disorder than comparatively older people. 

It is quite difficult to assess yourself objectively with regards to judging whether you are addicted to a substance. However there are signs of addiction that are unique to certain drugs. The first step in recovering from any addiction is recognizing that the problem exists. You might not need a rehab center or go through painful withdrawal symptoms, but addicted you may well be if you are subjected to any of the following indicators below:

  • Withdrawal and Tolerance

Humans naturally develop a tolerance for any drug that they consume regularly. The same is the case with weed. What that means is that you need to take more of the drug in order to get the same level of high. What follows from that conclusion is that you are building up a tolerance for that drug. Experiencing tolerance or withdrawal symptoms is a possible sign of marijuana addiction. Withdrawal signs can include insomnia, loss of appetite, irritability and anxiety.

  • Consuming More Than You Intend To

Your initial intention may be to just “take a couple of drags”. But you may end up consuming the entire joint and then going for more. Consuming more than you intend to is an indicator of addiction.

  • Inability to Stop Using Canabis

You may be making an attempt to quit using marijuana and finding that you are not being able to stop as easily. Experiencing a level of difficulty in stopping your habit is an indication that you may be hooked onto the substance.

  • Consuming All of Your Time

Be aware for how you are spending the majority of your free time or worse, during work or school time. Marijuana addicts do not realize it, but much of their time is spent getting high, waiting for the time to get high or trying to procure the drug. Although it draws negative connotations, you may becoming a ‘pot head’. When you get to this point, your addiction can get more problematic as your social lifestyle may be interrupted, as well as failing grades and/or slacking off from your job. Is that what you want?

  • Loss of Interest in Other Activities

To continue from the previous point, marijuana users who become addicted, stop doing other things. Their physical activities decrease along with other recreational activities and are all substituted by getting together with people who consume marijuana and getting high. 

  • Persistently Consuming the Drug

If you continue to consume marijuana before going to school or work, despite having been caught and warned about it, then you could be a subject of marijuana use disorder to some level.

  • Using Marijuana as an Escape Mechanism

If consuming marijuana precedes trying to deal with any problems that you have e.g. relationship issues, work problems etc, then you may be addicted\. This indicates that marijuana is being used to escape the unpleasantness of a current situation. This is more common with alcohol, but take a lesson what happens to some people who go down that path. It is not pleasant.

  • Relying on Marijuana for Creativity, Enjoyment and Relaxation:

If you feel that you need to consume canabis to relax, get in your creative zone or just enjoy yourself, you could be addicted. Regular users are unable to realize that the period of “relaxation” wears off and then they are prone to irritability and anxiety, which could actually lead to violent behavior.

  • Choosing Things to Do or Relationship Partners Based on the Possibility of Marijuana Usage

If the possibility of whether you’ll be able to use marijuana dictates your choice in relationships and activities, it could indicate an addiction to marijuana.

  • Inability to Fulfill Daily Obligations

Regular users of marijuana start to fall short on attending to any daily responsibilities that they may have. Thinking about them may lead to irritation as they perceive them to be larger than they actually are. This is because their minds are on getting high; an indication of being addicted.

Bottom Line

If you are taking marijuana, you must be aware of the consequences, both within your own body and indirectly, how you may be affecting others, you friends, family, school and workplace. In addition, whether you are addicted to the drug or not, do not drive or work machinery that could be harmful to you or others. And one more thing – marijuana is illegal in most states!

Mantras for You to Develop a Strong Connection with Self

Words can change our lives for better or for worse. People have always used mantras, chants and prayers and other forms of meditation techniques to put themselves on a more focused path. But, does it really work?

Yes it does. One of the simplest forms of meditating is to just lay back and clear you mind; subsequently, relaxing your mind and body. A little soft music is also recommended, but some people may want just plain quiet.

Constantly reminding yourself of one thing everyday conditions your brain into believing in it, just like if you listen to one type of music for long, it can start altering the neurological path of your brain cells. We need to be our own constant reminder that life is good. It is important for our inner peace and mental health that we train our minds to feel good about ourselves and keep holding on.

To attain internal peace

“I breathe, therefore I am at peace.”

All our lives, we are taught how to eat, how to walk, how to talk and how to sit straight with our heads up. However, the most important aspect is often ignored. Breathing! One thing that keeps us alive, we ignore it as if it is barely there. Being aware of your breathing is important so you can acknowledge your existence. Sometimes, we forget that we exist just by getting lost in the quest of making things right; we forget that we are breathing. Stop and breathe deeply and slowly. Knowing that you exist and feeling what keeps you alive is enough to bring you at peace, physically and mentally.

To overcome anxiety

“There is nothing wrong with what I don’t know”

Often we are so lost in the act of controlling everything around us that we forget that a completely wide world of options and opportunities exist out beyond our thinking. The need to control everything emerges from our fear of uncertainty. However, there is really no cure for what’s unknown, because it is not a disease. It is important to remind yourself that the situations are always better than you think. It starts a pattern of thoughts that works on the law of attraction. Negative thoughts and hopelessness attracts negative outcomes because it diminishes our ability to think rationally and perform well.

To attract fulfillment

“I have what it takes to get things done”

Losing self confidence means losing all your chances of succeeding in life. When we do not trust ourselves with whatever we are facing, we lose the motivation to look for ways we can actually handle the situation. Remind yourself that what you have to do is not going to be done by anyone else. Nobody is given outwardly resources. Sit down, list the situation, and list the resources you need to deal with it. From that, count what you have in your hands to get the work started. Always start with what you have because that will remove the initial hesitance of starting something you intend to work at.

To find meaning in your work

“I have what I have and it is important”

It is not happiness that we are seeking, for it is too fleeting to be sought. Instead, we are looking for peace and confidence. Remind yourself to stop running after something that is too fleeting in nature. It will make you restless. Prioritize your choices, your responsibilities, relocate your focus on things that matter and be confident about them. You are given more than just flesh and bone. Instead of focusing on what you do not have, try to understand why you have what you have and why it is important to you. Acknowledgement is the key to peace and fulfillment.  

 

How Unrealistic Goals Pave Way for Depression

Today, our lives revolve around the idea of growth. Growth in terms of self growth, economic growth, growth as a society, growth in technology – it has become a never-ending quest for becoming something more than what we are at the given moment.

We have become so obsessed with the idea of constant growth that the mere idea of stopping or staying still has become a synonym of failure, lagging behind, missing something out.

It is believed that if we stop, we die. After all, the time is ticking

This constant pressure to keep moving and keep doing something more has started to take toll on our mental health, individually as well as collectively as a society. If we look back in time, we will see that today’s generation is more prone to anxiety, depression and burnout than their ancestors. We might be progressing, achieving milestones, making things that can change the world, ticking things off our bucket lists, acquiring a new set of skills to meet with the time’s need, however all this is coming at the cost of our mental health.

Where we are getting with this calls for the need to stop, reflect and evaluate. We need to stop and breathe and let go of the notion that stopping is the opposite of growth. Growth is not linear. It is not in one direction. Growth is inwards as well as outwards. Creating a balance between ‘being’ and ‘becoming’ is too important in this time.

But, how do we do that?

It is obviously a human need to keep creating meanings out of things, keep doing and keep moving. But, it does not mean one should lead themselves to the point of burnout.

Set realistic goals for yourself. Forget there is any clock ticking. There really is not. Time is relative and it is high time that we understand this now. The purpose is to create something of value, and it can be as little as planting a new tree in your garden, painting your wall, or contributing your role in a charity cause.

The point is, to not count what you are doing. This will put a pressure on you and that will turn a healthy mind into an anxious mind – obsessive, compulsive and always restless. There won’t come a day when you are not be given an opportunity to create something, whether it is in your professional life, your personal relationships or your social life. Even if you do not realize, you are making a change. Our purpose is to live day by day so we can understand what elements make life what it is, instead of constantly chasing something.

Set goals but do not set the standards for measuring it. Do not set standards to define failure. These standards and this desire to achieve the idea of perfection are the main causes of increasing anxiety disorders and depression in today’s generation. Setting the goals too high will only throw you back too low. Go outside, exercise to feel good about your body, be generous and give as much as you can. Do not narrow the scope of your being by always trying to achieve something in materialistic terms.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil: A Healthy Fat Option for Your Diet

Fat is considered the most controversial nutrient among all the macronutrients due to its health risks for human beings. But this so-called “fact” has been rightfully challenged, thanks to nutritional and food sciences that have discovered that not all fats are bad fats. There are fats that are essential for a healthy lifestyle and then there are fats that pose major threats to the physical well being in the long run.

As far as choosing food that provides good fats in abundance, it is difficult to look past extra virgin olive oil. Olive oil extracted using natural methods and free of any additives provides the best composition of healthy fats and other micronutrients.

What is the difference between extra virgin olive oil and regular olive oil?

Before buying olive oil for your daily consumption, it is necessary to know the difference between regular and extra virgin olive oil. You may have come across both sitting side-by-side on a store shelf, and never even bothered to find out the difference. These are two singular products and here’s why:

  • Olive oil can only labeled as ‘extra virgin’ if it is not treated with chemicals and high temperatures, and contains no more than 1% of oleic acid.
  • Regular olive oil is treated with temperature (it is heated) and other chemicals for refining purposes, and its oleic acid content is also more than extra virgin olive oil.

Remember that the nutritional composition of both types of olive oil varies too. Therefore, insist on buying extra virgin oil for maximum health benefits.
Still not sure why you should choose extra virgin olive oil? These health benefits that you can get from the oil may change your mind.

Cardiovascular benefits

The Mediterranean diet has been found to reduce heart attacks and strokes by 30%. One of the underlying reasons behind this is the prevalent and excessive use of unrefined olive oil, which is a prominent part of the cuisine of the region.

There are various cardiovascular benefits that can be availed with the use of extra virgin olive oil:

  • Research suggests that monounsaturated fats help in improving the endothelial function of the arteries which is necessary for having a healthy cardiovascular system. Extra virgin olive oil contains more than 70% monounsaturated fats, thus its inclusion in your daily diet will strengthen your arteries like nothing else.
  • Olive oil helps in improving the LDL and HDL cholesterol balance in the body. Daily consumption of extra virgin olive oil also helps in reducing levels of triglycerides which are considered to be unhealthy fats.
  • People with the problem of chronic high blood pressure can maintain their systolic and diastolic blood pressure with olive oil.  

Prevention of cancer

Due to its rich antioxidant qualities, extra virgin oil can prevent the onset of cancer by reducing the oxidative damage in the body due to free radicals. With decreased free radical activity, a person becomes more resistant to the growth of cancerous tumors.

Provides relief from pain

Extra virgin olive oil contains a natural phenolic compound which acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and provides relief for inflammation. Medicinal research has proved that inflammation is the root cause of many chronic diseases.

Obesity prevention

Feeling less satiated is one of the major reasons behind obesity in many people. People binge eat because they just can’t get that feeling of being full. Extra virgin olive oil is composed of healthy fats that don’t only fulfill the daily requirement of fats, but also makes you feel satiated. When that happens, you eat less, experience less cravings, and don’t gain extra weight.

Prevention of Alzheimer’s disease

As far as neurodegenerative diseases are concerned, Alzheimer’s tops the list. It is one of the leading causes of dementia in the human population. Dementia causes a steep decline in mental abilities to the point where it becomes difficult for the person to function normally. Oleocanthal, a chemical found in extra virgin olive oil, improves brain function and arrests the declines of mental abilities with the aging process.

While we’ve focused largely on healthy fats in this article, virgin olive oil also contain adequate amounts of vitamins and trace minerals that are essential for many body functions. Introducing virgin olive oil in your diet can prompt a positive and healthy change in your lifestyle without compromising on the intake of fat.