Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014
Constipation is the most common complaint for digestive issues in America and can be an uncomfortable and sometimes painful condition for some people. Constipation severity can range from mild symptoms and sporadic episodes to chronic and painful problems.
Elderly people and women are at higher risk for experiencing constipation. Although the number of daily bowel movements and length of time between them is different for every person, most people should pass waste at least once every three days. Beyond this time frame, stool can become more difficult to pass and cause health risks. Having continuous problems with bowel movements can cause disruption in a person’s regular lifestyle. Living with pain, bloating and an overall feeling of illness from constipation can be difficult.
A person who is constipated may experience less than two bowel movements per week, ¼ of the time battle with incomplete evacuation and suffer hard stools. This includes straining for 25% or more of bowel movements for a minimum of three months.
Constipation can be caused from many factors; environmental, biological or dietary.
• Neurological diseases
• Not enough water or fiber in the diet
• Eating disorders
• IBS or colon cancers
• Attempting to ‘hold it’ or not go when your body says to
• Travel or change of routine
• Too much dairy
• Sedentary lifestyle or lack of exercise
• Overuse of laxatives
• Medication or antacids containing aluminum and calcium
Although constipation is relatively easy to diagnose without intense testing, some people do have serious underlying illnesses that could be contributing to the problem. Seek medical care if you experience vomiting, sudden weight loss, fever or abdominal pain in connection with your constipation. Bloody stools or not having a bowel movement in one to two weeks could indicate a serious problem. It is always a good idea to check your symptoms with a health care provider. If deemed necessary, your doctor may run blood tests or barium studies, or even a colonoscopy.
Most constipation can be treated with increased fluids, changing your diet or increasing exercise. However some people require over the counter or prescription strength laxatives or stool softeners. Some home remedies exist that can ease the discomfort of constipation. The most well known (and common) natural supplement is the increase of fiber consumed daily. Fiber will only help to stimulate bowel movements and regularity if it is taken with ample amounts of water. Castor oil, a home remedy laxative that has been around for generations, can get things moving almost instantly. Fish oil can be consumed through supplements or increasing the amount of salmon, tuna or other Omega 3 rich fish in your diet to help aid with digestion. Research has found that this nutrient can help ease constipation. Introducing probiotics into a diet and maintaining a healthy ingestion can help keep healthy digestion.
Thursday, April 17th, 2014
For a person who has ever experienced stress, they can agree that it is not a fun feeling. Every person responds to stressful situations differently, and what may be devastating for one person may be a simple day to get through, for another. Stress is physical, psychological or emotional response to external or internal factors that are negative or toxic to a person. Unlike other illnesses or diseases that have a specific cause or pathogen, stress can come from unlimited sources and cause a number of different and problematic responses. A person that suffers either acute stress or chronic stress will show signs and symptoms that can cause detrimental damage to their health.
The most common reaction to stress in humans is stomach problems and enlarged adrenal glands. Chronic stress often leads to heart disease or stroke, kidney disease or arthritis. The onset of illness that have been connected to stress are:
Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Lowered Immune system
Increased risk of viral infection
Digestive problems and IBS
Some neurological diseases
A person can physically and mentally only handle so much stress before they reach a breaking point. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of stress or a pending breakdown may help prevent serious and sometimes fatal consequences.
Some signs that you may be experiencing unhealthy levels of stress may be:
Tremors or trembling in the hands or lips
Sweaty palms or feet
Muscle spasms or neck/back pain
Tight jaw or grinding teeth
Dry mouth and difficulty swallowing
Dizziness or feeling faint and difficulty breathing
Confusion and difficulty organizing or concentrating
Constant sweating or blushing
Ears ring, buzz or pop
Cold sores or herpes flare up
Rashes or constant unexplainable allergies
Stomach upset including nausea, diarrhea, constipation or excessive gas
Anxiety or unexplainable panic, nervousness
Extreme mood swings, including suicide or crying
Increase in anger and frustration
Heartburn, chest pain or rapid heart rate
Loss of sex drive
New nervous habits and racing thoughts
Difficulty communicating or controlling impulses
Because stress is a perceived as an ‘intruder’ the body’s sympathetic nervous system kicks in and attempts to survive the crisis through the increase of cortisol and adrenaline production. Constant, long term stress can cause the body to remain in this heightened state for a long amount of time, effecting the respiratory system, muscles, endocrine system and digestive tract.
Tuesday, April 15th, 2014
Healthy hair and nails though external can be improved from the inside out. The ‘eating clean’ phenomenon can have beneficial results to a person’s hair, skin and nails. The food that a person consumes becomes part of the body on a cellular level. Because hair is mainly made of protein, it is important to have ample levels of protein in a diet to ensure healthy hair. Sometimes the bad things we eat may actually take a bit of time to show up, just like good things consumed. Immediate results are not always possible. Skin will show results of good or bad foods within a week, whereas hair and nails may take months. These foods will help to improve the structure and appearance of hair skin and nails.
• Walnuts: Glossy, strong hair. The copper found in this nut helps to keep natural hair color strong. Omega 3, biotin and vitamin E not only aid in cell protection from DNA damage, but also create a type of protective shield for the hair.
• Oysters: Prevent hair loss. The zinc in these tasty little guys will prevent loosing hair and a dry scalp.
• Salmon: Create healthier hair! The vitamin D protein and Omega 3 fatty acids immediately go to improving hair follicles and scalp.
• Eggs: Iron, selenium, zinc and sulfur are packed into eggs. This combats hair loss.
• Spinach or kale: Maintains hair follicle health and circulation of scalp oil. This is from the combination of iron, vitamin C, beta carotene and folate found in these greens.
• Carrots or sweet potatoes: Both contain beta carotene and antioxidant that the human body converts into vitamin A. This vitamin is directly responsible for providing proper oil/moisture levels to the scalp and skin.
• Greek yogurt: This yummy snack contains the pantothenic acid B5, protein and vitamin D. This is an all around great combination for super healthy hair from scalp to end.
Some people suffer from specific conditions of the hair or nails, which can be treated or improved with homeopathic options.
• Chloride of Sodium can alleviate very oily hair as well as help to heal dry contusions of the scalp. This also helps with treating hangnails.
• Phosphoric acid can help prevent heavy hair loss or thinning as well as loss of natural color.
• Silica can be used to treat strong odor or heavy sweating of the scalp.
Environmental factors affect hair and nails as well. Smoke, pollution, swimming and other damaging factors cannot always be reversed with diet – they may need to be avoided or limited. Using fern extract to prevent sun damage and biotin as a tool to stop breaking can be beneficial for those who use chlorinated pools. For damage that has already occurred to the hair, black current oil and primrose can help to rejuvenate what may have been compromised. Either way, a diet full of protein and rich in vitamins and minerals will benefit more than the skin, hair and nails.