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Anxiety Editor Picks

How Nutrition and Supplements Can Help With Anxiety

In the United States today, over 40 million Americans are struggling with anxiety disorders. And unfortunately, it looks like that number is only getting higher as time passes.

So, how do we attack this issue?

To be sure, there are a slew of resources about improving anxiety out there. Everything from virtual therapy and smart phone applications, to special exercise regimens and fad diets are recommended. Of course, for the layperson, this only adds to the problem. After all, it can be difficult to know which of these solutions will actually work.

In the end, only you can determine what the best remedy for your anxiety is — sometimes, by simple trial and error and other times, by digging in deep to the useful information and science that’s available.

In this guide, we will be presenting information pertaining to anxiety and how it reacts to specific improvements in nutrition. Specifically, we’ll be looking at how your diet may be affecting your anxiety levels and how taking certain supplements might be able to help as well.

How Nutrition Affects Your Anxiety

The truth is that a large number of people who struggle with anxiety never seek help. This not only hinders their ability to live a happy, thriving life in general, but it may also mean that their anxiety symptoms actually worsen as they age. Chronic anxiety frequently turns into exacerbated mental health conditions — depression or addiction, for example.

Luckily, there’s good news just around the corner: Before turning to medications, treatment centers, or intensive therapies, there is a large number of people who may be able to turn their anxiety levels around by simply improving their nutrition.

This means eating a healthier diet in general, but it also means taking specific supplements that have been proven to specifically address anxiety.

What a Healthy Diet Looks Like

Most of us are somewhat familiar with basic nutrition.

You probably remember the “Food Pyramid” from when you were a kid or perhaps the more recent ChooseMyPlate campaign put out by the federal government.

Regardless of what you thought you knew about nutrition, however, there’s still a good chance that you’re not completely in line with what many holistic doctors and scientists now say is essential for good nutrition. The following provides a breakdown.

This list is ordered from most important to least important. That is, the foods near the top of the list should be eaten in the largest quantities and so on until the last items on the list, which should be eaten in the smallest quantities:

  1. Vegetables
  2. Fruits
  3. Beans and legumes
  4. Whole and cracked grains
  5. Healthy fats, including avocados, nuts, and ground flaxseeds and hemp seeds
  6. Fish
  7. Whole soy foods, including tofu, soy nuts, edamame, and soy milk
  8. Other types of protein, including cheese, yogurt, eggs, and lean meats like ground turkey and chicken breast
  9. Herbs and spices
  10. Tea
  11. Healthy sweets, including dark chocolate (sparingly)

Why Does Better Nutrition Help With Anxiety?

There are a number of reasons why eating a healthier diet can improve your anxiety levels. Here are just two to be aware of:

  • First, if you’re not eating enough healthy foods, including whole grains and vegetables and fruits, you may be eating a lot of processed foods. These processed foods tend to metabolize quickly in the body, causing your blood sugar levels to be all over the place. This can lead to anxious, jittery feelings.
  • Have you ever heard of the gut-brain axis? If you’ve ever felt your stomach turn when you were nervous, that’s it. As it turns out, a huge percentage of the body’s serotonin receptors are found in the gut’s lining, which is heavily impacted by what you eat. Serotonin is a hormone that regulates feelings of happiness, well-being, and mood. A better diet means better regulation of the way these serotonin receptors interact with your brain.

The Role of Supplements in Reducing Anxiety

Scientists and the media go back and forth when it comes to dietary supplements and what they may or may not do for you. Sometimes, you’ll hear that taking supplements is a must. If you don’t do it, you’re crazy!

On the other hand, some people say that supplements don’t do anything. There’s a lot of controversy about whether or not certain brands or types of supplements actually contain what they say they contain. Moreover, there are some people who say that even if supplement capsules and pills do contain what they claim to contain, the effects of the ingredients are so minimal that supplements are simply a waste of money.

More recent research on the matter, however, has concluded that supplements can help in a number of ways. Of course, you’ll need to choose the right formulas and brands (we’ll have some recommendations coming up).

What Exactly Do Supplements Do?

Essentially, dietary supplements such as vitamin C, vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, or calcium, fill gaps in your diet.

After all, try as you may, you’ve probably realized already that it’s pretty hard to get all of the essential vitamins and nutrients you need every single day. You’re bound to miss some here and there. The idea is that supplements fill in these gaps so that you get optimal nutrition every day, whether you ate “perfectly” that day or not.

Which Supplements Are Best for Anxiety?

Here are the supplements we recommend to help with anxiety:

Help Yourself Live a Calmer, Happier Life With Less Anxiety

Meditation, less screen time, and more exercise are all great things for helping with your anxiety. But remember: Nutrition is key.

If you have been struggling with anxiety in your personal life, try improving your diet and incorporating some of the dietary supplements listed above. We promise you’ll start to see a difference right away.

Categories
Editor Picks Energy

Boost Your Energy, One Step At a Time

If there’s one thing most of us could use more of, it’s energy. Whether we come crashing down after a starchy work lunch, or just never feel like we’re operating at 100 percent, finding that extra energy can be maddeningly elusive.

But instead of kicking yourself for not being able to turn things around right away, why not start building up your energy stores by making changes over time? Read on to find a few places to start.

Tackle Your Sleeping Issues

It’s one thing to know you need about eight hours of sleep each night — and another thing to actually get enough that good-quality sleep. Even people who take their diet and exercise routines seriously forget that getting the proper rest also takes commitment. The first step, of course, is to go to bed at a reasonable hour. But if you have trouble either falling asleep or staying asleep, you may need to pursue rest more aggressively.

If you’re a heavy snorer, your doctor can advise you on devices to correct the problem, often with an unobtrusive device.

For chronic insomnia, try basic methods like not napping during the day, or gradually moving your bedtime back until you’ve achieved about eight hours of sleep.

Eat for Energy

Perhaps the most important thing you can do in terms of figuring out which foods give you energy is to keep a food diary. It may be that certain dishes can make you drowsy that don’t affect others the same way. Some people have mild dairy allergies that result in sleepiness, for example.

In general, eating to boost your energy isn’t a big mystery. Here are a few things to add to your diet, and a few things to cut back on:

  • Avoid starchy, sugary foods, especially those made with white sugar and white flour, which can cause energy spikes and crashes.
  • Consume more low-glycemic foods throughout the day. These are foods that help steady your blood sugar, so you won’t be feeling groggy after the initial “high” wears off. Good choices include nuts, whole-wheat bread, brown rice, and high-fiber veggies like broccoli.
  • Eat more frequent, smaller meals. As with eating more low-glycemic foods, having smaller meals and snacks throughout the day helps you steady your blood sugar levels. Even if you prefer keeping to the traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner, try to make them less heavy. Keep nuts, healthy protein bars, and fresh veggies at your desk to keep you going between regular meals.
  • Trade coffee for water. While some coffee in the morning is OK, relying on it after lunch leads to insomnia. Instead, focus on hydration. When you’re not getting enough fluids, fatigue sets in. The best drink of all is water, because it won’t cause those peaks and crashes that sugary sports drinks do.

Fill in Nutritional Gaps

Whether it’s because of a busy schedule or dietary restrictions, you may be missing out on some nutrients that can bring you more energy.

Vitamin B12 is famous for its energy-boosting power, but if you’re vegan or vegetarian, you could be missing out on its energy-boosting qualities. (Your body can’t produce this nutrient on its own, and it is mainly found in animal products.) To correct this gap, consider a B12 supplement. Vitafusion offers an extra-strength version in an easy-to-take, cherry-flavored gummy form.

If you’re worried about your diet overall, or just want to jumpstart your healthier lifestyle, a multivitamin might make a better choice. Choose one that is suited to your specific needs. A multivitamin for women, example, contains antioxidants like A and C at levels recommended for women.

Kick the Habit(s)

It’s probably not news to you that smoking and heavy drinking can catch up with you in the form of heart disease, cancer or other chronic illnesses. But it’s only human to not worry about tomorrow’s problems today. One thing that can motivate you in the here and now? Kicking the fatigue “habit.”

If you’re having trouble feeling energized despite doing the obvious things like getting more rest, it may well be that your recreational habits are spilling over into the rest of your life. Cigarette smoking has been linked to insomnia, because nicotine is a stimulant. On the other end of the coin, alcohol not only makes you drowsy, but can make you wake up after a few hours’ sleep.

If you can’t kick these habits right away, time them for weekends, when you can somewhat afford the lack of pep on “the morning after.”

Work It Out

If you’ve been meaning to work out for a long time but haven’t been motivated, knowing how dramatically exercise can provide an energy boost just might convince you.

Obviously, in the short term, each workout provides a dopamine boost, which improves your mood and stamina that can last for several hours. But over time, regular exercising will give you longer-lasting energy, giving you increased metabolism and improved circulation.

Of course, exercise can also lead to weight loss, when combined with a proper diet. The more extra pounds you carry, the more your heart has to work. Getting to your ideal weight for your height, age and gender will stop the diversion of all that needed energy.

Ironically, sometimes feeling severely fatigued is what keeps people from starting the workouts that will boost energy. To counter this problem, exercise in small-sized chunks — perhaps a 10-minutes walk at lunch, or a quick game of tennis on the weekend.

If you’re exhausted at the end of a workday but still want to get to the gym, try to stand up and move around a bit during the day, to give yourself a bit of a mini-energy boost to get you to the gym or to the walking trail.

Ultimately, you should aim for about 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week in order to maximize your energy levels, while also encouraging heart health and optimum metabolism.

References:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/energy-and-fatigue/9-tips-to-boost-your-energy-naturally

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/7-simple-steps-to-boosting-energy/art-20305553

https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-lifestyle/mental-health-and-wellbeing/5-simple-heart-healthy-energy-boosters

https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/staying-motivated/how-to-get-energy-when-youre-too-tired-to-workout

Categories
Editor Picks Immunity

How to Naturally Boost and Protect Your Immune System

Lately, our immune systems have been somewhat downplayed as of late. Many of us have a tendency to doctors and medications when we should be relying on the body’s natural defenses. Sometimes our immune systems are capable, and we simply don’t give them a chance. In other cases though, the immune system isn’t able to handle the threat. 

Like all of our bodily functions, the immune system can get worn down over time. If it’s under too much pressure, eventually it will wave a white flag and just give in to whatever it’s trying to fight. Instead of accepting it, there are things you can do to give it back its strength. We’ll look at how you can build your immune system from the ground up and protect it once it’s on the mend. 

Cut Down on Stress 

This is a difficult one to conquer, but it’s also critical for both your mental and physical health. While it can feel nearly impossible, especially in a world where you’re constantly being pulled in a thousand directions, it’s exceptionally important to take time for yourself. It’s an old adage for a reason — you cannot pour from an empty cup. 

Whether it’s cutting back on work or opting for healthier activities, less stress means different things to different people. The more you give your body what it needs though, the more it will start to give back to you. Whether it’s an infection or inflammation, your immune system will have a better chance of coming through on the other side with flying colors. 

Examine Your Diet 

When there are constant new food advice and recommendations (seemingly every other day), the understandable temptation is to simply eat what you like and not worry about it. But even if you don’t want to read every new study that comes out, that doesn’t mean you can’t implement the basics.

There is no magic cure out there when it comes to the perfect diet. It all comes down to more fruits and veggies and less alcohol, fat, and sugar all around. (If you’re a regular smoker, you already know that this isn’t helping you stay healthy.) This doesn’t mean that you can never indulge, but it does mean that those indulgences can’t become a regular habit. 

Get More Exercise 

The more you exercise, the less likely you are the be stressed and the more likely you are to maintain a healthy weight. These are both incredibly important when it comes to keeping your immune system strong. Plus, exercise is pretty much good for your entire body, not just your immune system. From psychological benefits to physical benefits, the perks really do go on and on. 

It’s worth noting that the exact link between exercise and immunity is unclear. Some researchers have suggested that bacteria can be flushed out of the airways through vigorous activity, while others say that the immunity boost comes from the increase in white blood cells. In addition, increasing the body temperature, as you would after exercising, can potentially prevent bacteria from growing. Incidentally, that’s the same reason why you develop a fever. 

Identify Your Micronutrient Deficiencies 

When your gut is healthy, the immune system is in a better position to go to war. Micronutrients, like zinc, copper, vitamin C, and folic acid, have all had positive effects on the immune system in animals.

If you have trouble with consistency when it comes to your diet, you can try supplements to round out your diet such as Rainbow Light Counter Attack. This gluten-free gummy contains few allergins, but plenty of Vitamin C and zinc. 

Remember that extra doses of micronutrients doesn’t necessarily make you healthier. At some point, your body will not be helped by several extra vitamins. The idea is to take it consistently while slowing altering your overall diet. 

Practice Makes Perfect 

The most important thing to remember when it comes to giving your immune system more is that you’re playing the long game. Even if you do everything correctly, it doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to defend yourself against everything. Essentially, don’t expect everything to be fixed once you’ve made the essential changes. Your immune system is affected by everything from age to body chemistry to environmental factors, and some factors are simply impossible to control. 

As you fold in more of the good stuff and try to eliminate some of the bad, know that you’re taking important steps toward health. As difficult as it can be at first, it will become more automatic over time. The key is to be more aware of the choices you’re making and to look for habits you can stick with. 

Small Lifestyle Changes 

No matter what kind of health changes you’re looking to make, it can often be better to add rather than subtract (at least at first). So instead of cutting out fast food, you simply add a salad before you enjoy that combo meal.

Instead of throwing away your easy chair, you add a walk before you actually settle in for the night. Instead of giving up your cigarettes entirely, you add in a nicotine patch to see if that helps the cravings. 

Another small change that you can make is to incorporate a daily supplement like Mary Ruth’s Immunity Gummies, which contains the nutrients your body needs to support the immune system. Ingredients like echinacea and Vitamin D can go a long way toward shielding both adults and children alike. 

It might sound hyperbolic, but simply taking an interest in your health has a lot to do with your immune system. Your immune system has evolved to fight, but it needs fuel to keep its energy up. The more you run yourself down, whether it’s through long days or hastily put together meals, the less it will have to work with. Protecting yourself from whatever lies beyond begins with measurable changes that eventually add up to big differences. 

References:

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007165.htm

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system