By Natural Advocate | March 31, 2011 - 6:25 pm - Posted in Natural Depression & Anxiety Relief

Exercise, I am convinced, is the single most important factor in my own personal life, for reducing stress and anxiety. I have been under a ton of pressure at work lately, and the stress I feel really has boiled over into my life outside of work, I’m sort of ashamed to say.

While I was always able to keep my work and personal life separate and leave my problems “at the office”, this time it’s just been different, and the troubles that I felt during the day at work followed me home at night.

So much so, that I actually started logging on to work a lot in the evening from home, just so I could not tear my hair out the next day under all the demands being thrown at me rapid fire from the various business groups I work with. 

It was the only way I had to cope. And guess what? When my stress levels were their highest, I stopped going to the gym at work on my lunch so that I could work straight through my lunch. This only compounded my stress more, and even lead me to have some instance to rapid heartbeat and panic attacks. 

I knew that I was actually compounding the stress by not going to the gym and working during that time instead, but I felt I had no choice and that I really had to do it.  The fact of the matter is, I was probably making myself a less productive person by working instead of going to the gym in the end.

I realized once I started getting that workout in during the day, that I was actually able to focus more, I was able to control my responses to stress better, and I was also able to control the way I dealt with demanding people better as well, whereas I felt like I might explode on them before.

Exercise also helps you to regulate your breathing better, which means that you can also control your heart rate and your physical responses to stressful situations. 

Exercise is excellent for reducing stress and anxiety because it reduces the hormones ciruclating in the body, and balances the hormones that are supposed to always be kept in balance as well. Also, by working out, you literally “work out” your stress issues.

By Natural Advocate | March 29, 2011 - 1:50 pm - Posted in Natural and Herbal Treatments

The thyroid is a very important gland that is deceptively small for the power it packs in regards to several functions in the human body. An underactive thyroid gland can make it very hard for people to lose weight, or even to maintain a normal healthy weight.

It can also lead to low energy levels and a host of other associated health problems. Hypothyroidism, which is a slow or underactive thyroid, is the most common disorder associated with this gland, but hyperthyroidism is also an issue that some have to deal with.

We’ve built a page around this titled Herbal Thyroid Remedies that we thought our readers might find a handy piece of information if they are looking for natural ways to help regulate this very important, hormone releasing gland

By Natural Advocate | March 27, 2011 - 5:36 am - Posted in General Health Updates

It’s common knowledge that our bodies need water to keep ourselves healthy and even to keep ourselves alive.  Our craving, or thirst, is often a late indicator of mild dehydration.  Most people do not recognize early signs of mild dehydration. 

Symptoms of mild dehydration include dizziness, muscle cramps, fatigue and difficulty focusing on a task.  If you experience any of these symptoms, go straight to the faucet or water cooler and drink a few glasses of water.

The rule of thumb for how much water you should drink in a day varies according to your activity level and the median temperature in your environment.  A good guideline is to drink one half of your body weight in ounces, not pounds, of water per day. 

For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, you should drink at least 80 ounces of water per day.  From that guideline, you can add more water to allow for more activity and to factor in for excessive perspiration if it is hot in your environment.

While coffee, pop and alcohol are liquids, they are actually diuretics so you will often need more water to offset consuming these types of beverages.  A diuretic will cause you to lose more liquid than you take in.

On the average day, you should consume water as your main beverage, rather than juices, flavored beverages, pop or coffee.

Our bodies need water for all of their basic functions such as breathing, sweating, urination, digestion, lubrication like saliva, fluid membranes around joints, mucus membranes and fluids for our eyes. 

Water comprises 80% of our brains and blood, 75% of our muscles and 22% of our bones.  To sum it up, our bodies can’t function for long without proper hydration from water.  So, make sure that you drink enough purified water to keep your body functioning optimally.

By Natural Advocate | March 25, 2011 - 4:54 am - Posted in Medical News

While it is true that most people need, and only feel good and at their most functional and productive, with 7-8 hours of sleep per night, there are a select few people who consistently get 4-5 hours of sleep per night that function well or even above those that get the standard eight hours.

Scientists have been looking into this phenomenon for a while now, and although they cannot 100% pinpoint whether these people actually have genetic variations in every case, or just really good discipline, they are looking at genetic causes.

Because by all accounts, most of us are genetically programmed to get the standard 8 hours of sleep to feel our best.  I know I am one of those people.  I’m also one who doesn’t feel good after I’ve gotten too much sleep. Getting too much sleep for me is almost worse than not getting enough.

If I sleep for nine hours or more, I feel groggy, almost like I’m “hung over” all day long. Not to mention, the psychological effects this has on me are not good since I tend to feel guilty, and almost “lazy” that I wasted time when I sleep too long. 

For this reason, I choose only natural sleep aids when I’m having trouble sleeping, so I don’t feel that groggy, hung over feeling in the morning and can get busy being productive.

Most of us really need high quality sleep, and if we are experiencing insomnia, or if we get even a couple nights of bad sleep, or just incomplete or too little sleep, our functionality and mood are often affected greatly.

Research has also shown that lack of sleep contributes to a poor immune system function, breaking it down and making it more likely that you will catch colds and the like more easily.

Insomnia is also linked to mood imbalance and even depression.  It can contribute to anxiety levels, and some research has also shown that you even eat more when you’ve had less sleep, making it harder for you to lose weight or keep a healthy weight.

While there are some seemingly genetically blessed anomalies that seem to really do well on very little sleep, it is not recommended for the average person.

By Natural Advocate | March 23, 2011 - 11:14 am - Posted in Alternative & Herbal Health News, Energy Enhancement

Sometimes I feel guilty about my daily cup of coffee in the morning, a habit which I became addicted to just a few months ago after my green tea with lemon just wasn’t waking me up enough in the morning to prepare for my early mornings and long work days. 

Unfortunately, even though it is perceived as less healthy than other stimulating drinks like green tea and yerba mate, coffee is the only stimulant hot drink that really wakes me up in the morning. Not only that, I strongly prefer it’s taste, aroma and general effectiveness over other stimulants as well.

Caffeine used to make me break out, but I think my body has developed a tolerance to it since I started back up on a daily cup or half cup of coffee in the morning. Well, according to some new research, I may actually be doing something good for my body by drinking that daily cup of joe (aside from the creamer and sugar I put in it of course).

New research has shown that women who drink a daily cup of coffee may actually be at a much lower risk of stroke than women who do not drink coffee.  Might this have something to do with coffee helping to keep the blood vessels dilated? 

Of course, this study, which was done on Swedish women, refutes some other studies which say that daily coffee intake may be bad for your heart (caffeine can induce a more rapid heart rate, thereby making your heart work harder for a short duration).

The study showed that women who drank coffee actually enjoyed a 22% to 25% lower risk of stroke than women who were not big coffee drinkers.  Not bad.

Even though the findings and the numbers are compelling, researchers are quick to point out that they cannot directly prove that the coffee is the direct link to lower stroke risk in these women. They just know that this particular group of women happened to drink coffee every day.

For example, maybe these women take supplements or eat a diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which helps increase heart health and decrease stroke risk, or they may eat other foods that are linked to good health. 

There may be other lifestyle factors, genetic factors, or diet factors that are at work there too that were not known at the time.  Well, I guess I’ll take it – it makes me feel less guilty about this one “vice” I have!

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