An Apple A Day…

April 22, 2017

Did you know that apple cider vinegar can help promote health?? Check out 18 of the best health benefits of apple cider vinegar.

1. Calm an upset stomach
When we eat (or drink) something that does not agree with us, a stomach ache ensues and can cause pain and gas. This is usually from bacteria build up. If you are experiencing acute stomach pain and feel it is not severe enough to visit a healthcare provider, consider having apple cider vinegar to ease the pain. The pectin in apple cider vinegar is known to soothe intestinal aches, spasms and pain. The best mixture should include two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with some water, juice or apple juice.

2. Eliminate annoying hiccups
Hiccups are usually caused by excess air in the digestive system, which your body is attempting to eliminate through muscular spasms. A teaspoon of apple cider vinegar is great for alleviating this problem. It is possible that the strong acidic nature of apple cider vinegar helps to prevent the spasms that cause hiccups, which will help reduce the risk of getting these unwanted spasms.

3. Sore throat cure
There are many reasons a sore throat occurs. An effective way to help eliminate a sore throat is to gargle with apple cider vinegar. The bacteria in the throat causing pain do not like the strong acid content of apple cider vinegar, which means they will die off when you gargle. Gargle with a combination of two ounces of apple cider vinegar and two ounces of warm water once per hour for throat pain relief.

4. Reduce your cholesterol
There has been quite a bit of research and studies on how to reduce cholesterol. There have been a few studies that have shown apple cider vinegar to be beneficial for lowering cholesterol. As little as one tablespoon a day can lower cholesterol. The acetic acid contained in the vinegar is what is believed to help fight off cholesterol in the body.

5. Stop indigestion
If you are a victim of frequent indigestion after meals, and your doctor or healthcare provider is aware of your condition, then consider using apple cider vinegar prior to meals to help prevent indigestion. Take one teaspoon each of honey and apple cider vinegar and a tall glass of warm water prior to eating.

6. Clear nasal congestion and stuffiness
Cold medicine is a costly purchase year after year and tends to have many side effects. Rather than using cold medication to help relieve a stuffy nose, consider having some apple cider vinegar. The potassium in apple cider vinegar thins mucus, and the acid in the vinegar helps reduce the total amount of bacteria in your nasal cavity. Only one teaspoon is needed and you can mix it with a glass of water to gain these benefits.

7. Lose weight
The acid content in apple cider vinegar is known to suppress appetite, which means that you are not as likely to overeat. In addition, apple cider vinegar can increase your metabolism, which will cause you to burn more calories throughout the day. Lastly, consuming apple cider vinegar can help your body eliminate harmful water retention, which actually has heart health benefits as well.

8. Dry scalp
Dry scalp is prevalent in the colder months of the year. Using apple cider vinegar as an addition to your shampoo can help eliminate dandruff and leave it healthy. Mix a batch with two ounces of water and two ounces of apple cider vinegar and apply to your scalp when you shampoo. The acidity of the vinegar prevents harmful germs from growing on your scalp and it will help to eliminate dry scalp.

9. Avoid blemishes on your face
Acne can affect anyone at any time. There are a handful of products that are great for zapping acne off your face, but the most effective way to eliminate acne is to kill the bacteria on your skin and prevent it from growing. Using a little apple cider vinegar on your face can be a great way to kill the bacteria on your face to help prevent acne from growing. Dab it on a cotton ball and use it like you would any toner.

10. Skip your midday coffee and look for apple cider vinegar instead
Midday lulls are common for a number of reasons, but when it happens, many simply go to the nearest coffee store to load up on more caffeine. Instead of another cup of coffee, consider having one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with some water or juice to increase your energy levels for the day.

11. Prevent harsh leg cramps at night
If you wake up in the middle of the night with achy legs due to cramping, consider having some apple cider vinegar. It contains potassium, which is good for cramping symptoms. Blend one ounce of apple cider vinegar with a little honey and some warm water to cut those cramps out of your night.

12. Eliminate chronic bad breath
If your bad breath persists and your dentist or doctor does not indicate a tooth problem, then try some apple cider vinegar. Gargle with apple cider vinegar to help eliminate bacteria in your mouth (dilute the vinegar if you desire). The high acid content of apple cider vinegar kills germs in your mouth if your usual mouthwash is not getting the job done.

13. A natural teeth whitener
Using apple cider vinegar is a safe and natural way to reduce or eliminate staining on teeth. Swishing or gargling every day with apple cider vinegar can to help reduce staining of teeth. In addition, it can help whiten your teeth and stop any bacteria from growing in your mouth. This is a win-win combination for the health of your mouth.

14. Stop bruising on your skin
Bruises are caused from broken or inflamed arteries and veins in the vasculature. The anti-inflammatory properties of apple cider vinegar can prevent bruising. The best way to diminish bruises is to apply apple cider directly to the bruise. It will initially cause the bruise to change its color, but over time it will help eliminate it and heal the area.

15. Improve blood sugar
Apple cider vinegar can help control blood sugar in a way similar to various prescription medications. Researchers have followed the effects of apple cider vinegar and have found that it prevents and slows the breakdown of starches during digestion. When this happens, blood sugar benefits and is not elevated as high as it normally would.

16. Protect you heart
Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of adults. One way to reduce heart disease risk among adults is to consume apple cider vinegar. The regular consumption of apple cider vinegar can help to reduce blood pressure, which is a major marker of those with heart disease.

17. Prevent cancer
Cancer is the number one killer worldwide and is caused from many factors that are still unknown. Foods that contain high amounts of natural antioxidants are known to help prevent the risk of cancer. This is why apple cider vinegar is beneficial. Apple cider vinegar contains high amounts of polyphenols, which are also found in wine, and can help to reduce your risk and fight free-radicals in your body.

18. Alleviate sunburn pain
Skin pain due to sunburn can be reduced by soaking the area in some apple cider vinegar. In as little as 10 minutes, your pain from sunburn can be reduced dramatically.

Omega-3

April 12, 2017

What are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

Omega-3 fatty acids are common nutritional supplements often taken in the form of fish oil or flaxseed oil. They’re classified as a polyunsaturated fat, one of the “good” fats (as opposed to “bad” fat, which is saturated.)

Omega-3s are believed to play many important roles, including:

  • Aiding brain development and function
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Reducing back and neuropathic pain
  • Preventing heart disease
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Lowering risk of cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • They may also help alleviate depression, asthma, painful periods and rheumatoid arthritis. However, evidence is less compelling in these areas.

Omega-3s for Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Some studies show that omega-3s may improve symptoms of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. One survey showed that omega-3 fatty acids are among the most common supplements taken by people with fibromyalgia.

Some researchers hypothesize that omega-3 fatty acids may help alleviate oxidative stress, which studies suggest may play a role in these conditions.

Many people take omega-3 supplements, or eat a diet rich in omega-3s, in order to combat inflammation. Chronic fatigue syndrome is believed to be associated with pro-inflammatory cytokines. Some research suggests that fibromyalgia may involve inflammation of the fascia.

We don’t know yet whether they help counter the cognitive dysfunction or unique pain types of these conditions or the cardiovascular irregularities that are common in chronic fatigue syndrome.

Omega-3 Dosage

Some health professionals recommend that people who don’t eat a diet rich in omega-3s take 500-1000 milligrams a day in supplements.

Doctors may recommend that people with certain conditions, such as heart disease, take more. It’s important for you to discuss your supplement needs with your doctor.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Your Diet

You can get dietary omega-3 fatty acids in several foods, including:

  • Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, herring, sardines, anchovies)
  • Seaweed
  • Algae
  • Walnuts
  • Canola and hemp seed oils
  • Flaxseeds and flax seed oil
  • Soybeans

Side Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Just because omega-3s are natural doesn’t mean they’re safe for everyone or in any amount. It’s important for you to be aware of possible side effects.

Common side effects include:

  • Upset stomach
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased burping
  • Heartburn/acid reflux
  • Abdominal pain and bloating

Some people don’t like the “fishy” taste these supplements can leave behind. Taking them with meals can help alleviate this problem as well as other side effects. It may also help to start with a low dosage and gradually increase it.

While rare at lower dosages, omega-3s may increase your risk of bleeding problems, including a type of stroke.

Higher doses may also be linked to nosebleeds and blood in the urine. A blood sugar increase in diabetics is possible, but unlikely.

Those with major depression or bipolar disorder may experience mania, restlessness, or a crawling sensation on the skin.

Some fish may contain contaminants, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins and methylmercury. These substances are believed to build up in the meat, not the oil, so supplements are considered safe.

Long-term supplementation may cause vitamin E deficiency. Your doctor can test you for this problem.

Is Omega-3 Right for You?

It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor about supplements you’d like to try so you can make sure it won’t be a problem with any of your other medications or conditions.

However, omega-3 is generally considered safe and is readily available anywhere that sells supplements, so it’s an easy one to add to your treatment regimen.

Need a boost?

April 12, 2017
Need a boost?

The natural approach

Not ready to hit the Viagra yet? Thanks to these 10 helpful tips, you may not have to. There are several alternative things you can try help get you and your partner back under the sheets (or wherever else strikes your fancy). And don’t worry, you’re not alone. Sexual dysfunction affects both men and women of all ages. It can happen for a variety of reasons that include chronic illness, stress, and anxiety.

Take a bite out of a forbidden fruit

Little evidence supports the effectiveness of certain foods, but there’s no harm in experimenting. Figs, bananas, and avocados, for example, are considered libido-boosting foods, known as aphrodisiacs. But these foods also provide important vitamins and minerals that can increase blood flow to the genitals and promote a healthy sex life.

Indulge in all things chocolate

Throughout history, chocolate has been a symbol of desire. Not just because of its delicious taste, but because of its power to improve sexual pleasure.
According to one study, chocolate promotes the release of phenylethylamine and serotonin into your body. This can produce some
aphrodisiac and mood-lifting effects. According to another study, the effects of chocolate on sexuality are probably more psychological than biological.

Take your daily herbs

Next time you decide to sit down for a romantic dinner, add a little basil or garlic to your dish. The smell of basil stimulates the senses. Garlic contains high levels of allicin, and increases blood flow. These effects may help men with erectile dysfunction. Ginko biloba, an extract derived from the leaf of the Chinese ginkgo tree, is another herb found to treat antidepressant-induced sexual dysfunction.

Take a tip from Africa

Yohimbine, an alkaloid found in the bark of the West African evergreen, has been known to work as as a natural Viagra. Some studies suggest that Yohimbine bark can help you maintain an erection. It will also enhance the quality of an erection. However, researchers say there is no natural equivalent to match Viagra.

Boost your self-confidence

The way you feel about your body affects the way you feel about sex. An unhealthy diet and lack of exercise may cause you to have a poor self-image. These things can discourage you from having and enjoying sex. You can boost your self-esteem and your sex drive by shifting the focus from your flaws to your attributes. You can also focus on the pleasure experienced during sex.

Stick to one glass of wine

Two glasses of wine might be one too many. Drinking one glass of wine can put you at ease and increase your interest in becoming intimate. But too much alcohol can ruin your ability to perform by affecting erectile function. Too much alcohol can also inhibit your ability to orgasm.

Take time to meditate and relieve stress

No matter how healthy you are, being stressed out is going to affect your sex drive. Women are particularly susceptible to the effects stress can have on one’s sex life. Men, on the other hand, sometimes use sex to relieve stress. And sometimes differences in the approach to sex may cause conflict. To relieve stress, participate in sports activities, practice tai chi, or take a yoga class.

Hit the snooze button

Those with a hectic lifestyle don’t always have the time to get the right amount of sleep. Being busy also makes it difficult to make time for a sex. People who balance work with caring for aging parents or young children are often left exhausted, which can lead to a reduced sex drive. Boost your energy and sex drive by taking naps when you can and eating a healthy diet high in protein and low in carbohydrates.

Keep your relationship in check

After you’ve had an argument with your partner, chances are you’re not in the mood to have sex. For women, sensing emotional closeness is important to sexual intimacy. That means unresolved conflicts can affect your sexual relationship. Communication is essential for building trust. It’s important to prevent resentments from building up.

Consult a doctor

Even if you’re taking a natural approach to boosting your sex drive, it still might be a good idea to talk with your doctor. They can help you identify underlying problems. Your doctor may suggest some strategies for enhancing sexual health. These may include communicating with your partner, making healthy lifestyle choices, and treating underlying medical conditions. Knowing the root of the problem affecting your sex life will make it easier to find a solution.

The Effects of Testosterone

April 12, 2017
Hormones

Testosterone is often called the “male” hormone. However, both men and women produce testosterone. Hormones are molecules that regulate the body. They are usually produced in one location in the body and travel to other organs.

Testosterone is an androgen hormone. It produces male characteristics in the body.

Testosterone is made in the following locations:

  • testes in men
  • ovaries in women
  • the adrenal glands, located above the kidneys in both men and women

Men have higher levels of testosterone in their bodies than women. In either sex, if testosterone levels become imbalanced, adverse symptoms can occur.

Testosterone is responsible for many actions in the male body throughout a man’s life cycle. It helps the external and internal organs of a male fetus develop. This includes the male reproductive organs such as the penis and testicles.

During puberty, testosterone is responsible for:

  • growth spurts
  • deepening of the voice
  • growth of hair in the pubic region, face, and underarms

Testosterone is also associated with behaviors such as aggression and sexual drive. Men need testosterone to make sperm.

In women, testosterone also contributes to a woman’s sex drive. It also helps to secrete hormones important in a woman’s menstrual cycle.

Testosterone also plays common roles for both sexes. For example, the hormone stimulates the body to make new red blood cells. Testosterone can also affect a man’s bone density, fat distribution, and muscle strength.

Low testosterone in men can cause many physical symptoms.

It can also cause insulin resistance, which can contribute to diabetes. Examples of symptoms caused by low testosterone in men include:

  • decreased sex drive
  • erectile dysfunction
  • higher percentage of stomach fat
  • gynecomastia (development of breast tissue)
  • infertility
  • lack of body hair
  • lack of deepening of the voice
  • low muscle mass
  • slowed growth of the testicles or penis

A boy will typically start puberty at around age 10. If this is delayed, low testosterone levels could be the cause.

Possible causes of low testosterone in men include:

  • chronic health conditions such as diabetes
  • damage to testes, such as physical trauma, alcoholism, or viral illnesses
  • genetic diseases
  • hypothalamic disease or tumor
  • pituitary disease or tumor
  • testicular failure

In women, low testosterone can result in:

  • decreased sex drive
  • infertility
  • irregular or absence of menstrual periods, known as amenorrhea

Low testosterone in women can be caused by:

  • long-term use of oral contraceptives
  • advancing age
  • ovarian failure or removal of both ovaries

In both genders, low testosterone levels can cause mood changes such as:

  • lack of motivation
  • depression
  • difficulty concentrating
  • problems with memory
  • insomnia

Having too much testosterone can also cause health problems.

In boys, undergoing early puberty, also called precocious puberty, can cause development of:

  • facial hair
  • deepening of the voice
  • well-developed muscles
  • growth of the sexual organs

Early puberty can be caused by tumors and a condition known as congenital adrenal hyperplasia.

Potential causes of excess testosterone in men include:

  • congenital adrenal hyperplasia
  • taking anabolic steroids
  • tumors of the testicles or adrenal glands

In women, excess testosterone can cause a condition known as hirsutism. This causes a woman to develop body hair in a male fashion, including on the face. Virilization is another condition caused by excess testosterone. This causes a woman to have a masculine appearance. Symptoms can include male pattern baldness and a deep voice.

Ovary or adrenal gland tumors and polycystic ovarian syndrome are potential causes.

Taking certain medications can increase testosterone levels in both men and women.

Examples of these medications include:

  • anticonvulsants
  • barbiturates
  • clomiphene
  • estrogen therapy

Talk to your doctor before you stop taking any medications.

A man’s testosterone levels will typically peak somewhere between age 20 and 30. After this time, they will gradually decrease for the rest of his life. Testosterone levels are estimated to decrease by 1 percent annually after age 30 to 40. Therefore, lower testosterone levels are more common among older men. This explains some of the age-related changes in men, such as loss of muscle mass.

Women’s testosterone levels peak in their 20s and then begin to slowly decline. When a woman starts to experience menopause, her testosterone levels are half of what they were at their peak. A woman’s adrenal glands will make less testosterone during menopause. The ovaries will continue to produce testosterone after menopause but stop producing estrogen and progesterone.

Treating the condition that is causing high or low testosterone levels can help restore levels. But it’s not always possible to find a cause of testosterone imbalances. Your doctor can prescribe testosterone replacement to correct low levels.

There are several treatments for low testosterone. Examples include:

  • topical gels and creams
  • sublinguals
  • patches
  • injectable testosterone
  • implantable testosterone

Both men and women may take testosterone therapy. A woman may take testosterone to improve sex drive and reduce sexual dysfunction. However, women must have an appropriate level of estrogen before treatment. This is because testosterone can affect a woman’s estrogen levels.

Testosterone replacement therapy can cause side effects, such as:

  • acne
  • breast tenderness or enlargement
  • increased amount of red blood cells
  • infertility
  • small testicles
  • swelling of the low extremities