Mental health

Superfoods for Stress Relief

When work deadlines begin piling up and your social calendar is filling up due to the holiday season, your health habits often get set aside. When it comes to combating increasing stress levels, what you eat actually helps to relieve your tension. What you include in your diet will help you to feel good and stay healthy. Especially when you feel stressed.

When we encounter something stressful, our nervous system and adrenal glands send signals to the rest of our body to help us think more clearly and be ready for a physical response if necessary. Nearly 40% of Americans report overeating or eating unhealthy foods as a result of being stressed. Choosing healthy foods when you’re stressed can impact your mood on a positive note, helping to relieve tension, stabilize blood sugar, and send your stress packing!

Best Foods to Incorporate When Dealing with Stress

Had a long day in the office? Kids acting out all day? Feeling a financial crunch or relationship strain? Grab a plate and dig in to the following stress-busting superfoods.

  1. Leafy Green Vegetables

While it is tempting to reach for a burger when you’re stressed, try going green at lunch instead. Green leafy vegetables like spinach contain B Vitamins and folate, which produces dopamine, the feel-good hormone that helps to keep you calm. B Vitamins and folate can also help you to feel more energetic after dealing with something stressful.

  1. Oatmeal

If you’re a carb lover, it’s likely that nothing can come between you and a doughnut or bag of crisps when stress hit. However, instead of reaching for that sugary cookie, try going for a complex carb! Stress can cause your blood sugar to rise, so a complex carb like oatmeal (which is a good source of magnesium) won’t contribute to your already potential spike in glucose.

  1. Yogurt

As bizarre as it may sound, the bacteria in your gut might be contributing to your stress levels. The secret to improving your mental health is in your gut, and unhealthy gut flora can have a negative impact of your brain – leading to issues like anxiety and depression. Consuming probiotics can help to improve your gut health and bring your microbiome into balance, thusly supporting a positive mood.

  1. Blueberries

Anthocyanins are the pigments that give berries like blueberries and blackberries their deep color. These antioxidants aid your brain in the production of dopamine, the chemical necessary for boosting your mood and making you feel good.

  1. Dark Chocolate

Calling all chocoholics! A regular healthy indulgence (just a bite, not the whole bar) of dark chocolate may have the power to reduce stress levels. Do you best to go for varieties that contain at least 70% cocoa.

  1. Seeds

The mineral magnesium is well-known for its role in helping to regulate emotions and enhance wellbeing. Green leafy veggies, beans, nuts, and seeds (like pumpkin, sunflower, and sesame seeds) are excellent sources on magnesium.

  1. Avocados

Avocados are packed with essential health-boosting nutrients, including potassium, vitamin E, B Vitamins, and folate. If you’re having a stressful day, incorporate an avocado into your diet to nourish your body with these healthy vitamins, monosaturated fat, and fiber!

What to Avoid When You’re Stressed

Many people equate “comfort” foods with carbs, but sugars and grains are among the worst foods to eat when you’re feeling stressed out. Read on to learn why!

  1. Sugar

Consuming sugar when you are stressed out can contribute to fluctuations in blood sugar, which can bring on mood swings and other unpleasant feelings. Consumption of sugar also triggers a saccade of chemical reactions in your body that promote irritation. Continuous sugar consumption can lead to disruptions of the normal functioning of your immune system which will affect your overall health and mood.

  1. Gluten

Gluten, a protein found in grains like wheat, rye, and barley, may negatively impact mood and brain health. Wheat inhibits the production of serotonin. Neurotransmitters like serotonin can be found not just in your brain, but also in your gut. Consumption of gluten can really impact your overall mood and gut health.

  1. Processed Foods

Aside from sugar and gluten, processed foods including trans-fat, artificial colors, monosodium glutamate (MSG) artificial sweeteners, and other synthetic ingredients are linked to irritability and poor mood.

What Else Can I Do to Relieve Stress?

Your diet plays an important role in stress management, but there are also many things you can do that will compliment your body’s reactions to the unavoidable stressors of everyday life. Exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and relaxation techniques (such as meditation) are crucial ways that can also help you manage your stress. It’s time to rethink your comfort foods. By watching our diet, increasing our intake of stress-busting nutrients and limiting our intake of stress-inducing substances, we can feel better about ourselves and our well-being, as well as give our bodies the chance to cope with and recover from stressful situations.

Superfoods for Stress Relief 2018-12-04T14:33:37+00:00

Overcome Adrenal Fatigue Naturally

It’s time to act against adrenal fatigue, because you’re most likely dealing with it. Almost every person can experience adrenal fatigue to some extent during a stressful point in his or her life. The adrenal glands have a major influence on the body, and symptoms of adrenal fatigue can mimic a number of health issues that aren’t easily recognizable. Common adrenal fatigue symptoms include extreme fatigue, brain fog, weight gain, and other imbalances in the body. Luckily, you can overcome adrenal fatigue with three simple steps: start an adrenal fatigue diet, include supplements in your routine, and reduce your daily stressors. So, let’s talk about the roles of your adrenal glands and how you can overcome adrenal fatigue naturally!

What are your adrenal glands?

Your adrenal glands are two thumb sized organs that are located on top of each kidney. The adrenal glands are part of the endocrine system and are responsible for rhythmically releasing, producing, and balancing a variety of hormones. The adrenals are involved in producing over fifty hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, that drive almost ever bodily function and are essential for life. However, this rhythm doesn’t always apply when external stressors are involved.

What is adrenal fatigue?

Adrenal glands play a huge role in stress response. Your brain recognizes and registers a threat, whether emotional, physical, or mental. The glands then release cortisol and adrenaline hormones to help you react to the threat, known as the fight-or-flight response. Adrenal fatigue is the overstimulation of the adrenal glands from chronic stress over time due the unbalanced levels of cortisol and other hormones.  Does this sound like your day?

You are unable to function without a significant amount of caffeine, finally feeling a boost of energy during the early part of the day, then your energy levels crash around 3 p.m., go back up around 6 p.m., fall again around 9 p.m., and then finally peak again close to midnight.

What Causes Adrenal Fatigue?

Adrenal fatigue is a condition where your body and adrenal glands can’t keep up with the high amounts of stress situations many individuals experience daily. Can stress really cause extreme fatigue? The answer is yes. Stress causes the adrenal glands to become overloaded, ineffective, and improperly release cortisol, which depletes the body of energy. Other causes for adrenal fatigue can be: exposure to environmental toxins, lack of sleep, poor diet, lack of exercise, emotional trauma, food sensitivities, and the reliance to stimulants like caffeine.

Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms

What exactly happens when the adrenal glands stop producing hormones efficiently? Every bodily function is affected. Common adrenal fatigue symptoms include: chronic fatigue, brain fog, hair loss, irritability, depression, muscle/bone loss, skin ailments, sleep disturbances, weight gain, and insulin resistance. As you can probably see, there are a number of symptoms that could be associated with other health conditions. The good thing is that all these issues are very similar, and there are now many natural ways to treat and support your adrenal system.

Naturally Overcome Adrenal Fatigue

Treatment for adrenal fatigue involves removing stress on your mind and body, eliminating toxins, and replenishing your body with health foods and supplements. Following these three steps can make a huge different.

I) Adopt a healing diet

Diet is a huge factor with adrenal recovery. There are so many foods that offer adrenal support and will replenish your adrenal energy so your system can come back to full health. However, you must begin with removing any hard to digest foods and toxins in your current environment. Foods to avoid include:

Caffeine:

Caffeine can interfere with your sleep cycle and make it difficult for your adrenals to recover. If you feel like you must drink coffee or any other caffeinated beverage, then limit your amount in the morning.

Carbohydrates:

Many individuals crave carb-heavy foods when they’re stressed, which end up draining your adrenal glands even more. If you are feeling stressed, try removing any gluten and starchy foods to see if you can regulate your tiredness and energy levels.

Sugar:

Many individuals also crave sugary foods when they become overwhelmed and stressed. Avoid sugary foods, cereals, candy, and sweets. Sugar is also an additive in many foods like bread, condiments, and dressings. Try to avoid as much sugar as possible. Alternatives include raw honey or stevia.

Processed Foods:

Processed foods include many preservatives in them that are hard to digest and drain the body’s energy and digestion cycle. The option is to include natural, whole foods, and to prepare your own meals as much as possible.

Hydrogenated Oils:

Vegetable oils like soybean, canola, and corn oil can cause a lot of stress on your adrenals. Try to implement healthy fats like coconut oil, olive oil, and ghee.

Now once you have removed these foods from your diet, you want to add nutritious, healing foods that are easy to digest. These foods help overcome adrenal fatigue because they contain tons of nutrients, they are low in sugar, and have healthy fat and fiber. The top superfoods for adrenal health include:

Coconuts:

Coconuts are easily digested and utilized by the body. They provide a much-needed source of clean energy to help support your overworked adrenals and assist you in getting through your day without feeling constantly tired and sluggish Coconuts also contain an impressively high concentration of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs). MCFAs have antibacterial properties, can penetrate and feed our cells more efficiently than other compounds, and they don’t put the liver under unnecessary stress like certain other fats.

Avocados:

Avocados are loaded with potassium, omega-3 fatty acids, folate, and fiber. They are also another great sources of healthy fat for your body.

Nuts and Seeds:

Include nuts such as walnuts and almonds as well as seeds like pumpkin, chia, and flax. Grab a handful of these healthy omega-6 packed nuts for a quick snack. You’ll get a dose of protein, fiber, and vitamin E.

Bone Broth:

Bone broth contains high amounts of calcium, magnesium, and other nutrients that play an important role in supporting healthy adrenal functions.

Kale:

Kale is packed with vitamins A, C, and K. It contains calcium, an antioxidant boost of quercetin, and omega-3 fatty acids. To reap the benefits of this nutritionally dense green, be sure to top it with something fatty, like a drizzle of olive oil or an avocado.

Fish:

Fatty fish like wild salmon is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, potassium, phosphorous, iron, zinc, and a powerful load of protein. Other options include anchovies, sardines, Atlantic herring, or Atlantic mackerel.

Fermented foods:

Fermented foods, like kefir, are rich in probiotics. Kefir, a fermented milk product, is a great-tasting source of eight or more strains of probiotics, B vitamins, vitamin K2, and calcium. Because of the bacterial content, kefir is lactose-free. The bacteria break down lactose into galactose and glucose, so your body doesn’t have to do it.

II) Include Supporting Supplements and Herbs

Another important factor for overcoming adrenal fatigue is taking the right supplements with supporting natural hers. Eating the right foods to heal the body can be challenging, and in order to get enough of every nutrient, supplements can help. Include these herbs, spices, and essential oils to help fight adrenal fatigue.

  1. Licorice Root

This spice helps to increase the DHEA in your body, which is the “parent hormone” responsible for the creation of many necessary hormones in the body.

  1. Adaptogenic Herbs

Adaptogenic herbs help with lowering cortisol levels and mediate stress responses within the body. Include herbs like ashwagandha, rhodiola rosea, schisandra, and holy basil.

  1. Vitamin C

Vitamin C minimizes effects of stress on individuals as well as reducing the time it takes to bounce back from stressful events.

  1. Lavender Oil

This essential oil has a calming effect that can reduce stress.

  1. Rosemary Oil

This essential oil also has a calming effect and helps to decease cortisol concentrations and reduce oxidative stress on cells.

III) Lifestyle Changes

The last and most important factor to overcoming and healing your adrenal function is to reduce your mind and stress. Really pay attention to your body and be kind to yourself.

  1. Rest when you feel tired
  2. Sleep 8-10 hours a night
  3. Laugh, smile, and have fun everyday
  4. Minimize work and relational stressors
  5. Avoid staying up late, and establish a regular sleep cycle
  6. Eat natural, whole foods on a regular basis
  7. Exercise to reduce stress response
  8. Avoid negative situations, people, and self-talk.

Keep Your Adrenals Strong

The best approach to healing your adrenal fatigue is to make solid lifestyle changes if you want lasting results. Some individuals notice a difference in their overall wellbeing after a few weeks eating natural foods and herbs. A balanced lifestyle with a healthy level of sleep, exercise, fun, and a positive environment, will keep your adrenal system going healthy and strong!

Overcome Adrenal Fatigue Naturally 2018-11-19T15:01:15+00:00

It’s Time To Love Your Gut

Boost Your Energy and Improve Your Mood with Probiotics

Do you find yourself feeling sluggish and tired? The stress of our daily lives – from your career, family, school – along with the fast-paced, multitasking nature of today’s modern lifestyle, can often cause you to feel depleted. You are not alone.

While these changes in your energy can seem like no big deal, they can also be suggesting that something in your body needs attention. One important factor to give attention to is your gut microbiome, the communities of trillions of bacteria living in your digestive tract.

Did you know that the beneficial bacteria in our gut are responsible for coordinating many important functions in our bodies? Our gut bacteria help us with digesting foods, regulating and supporting our immune systems, and balancing blood sugar levels. The good bacteria in our gut can also affect our nervous system, which is a huge factor contributing to our mood and energy cycles.

Now, the great news is that you can improve your mood and boost your overall energy levels by bringing balance back to your gut.

Microbes and Mood

Many individuals believe that our brains are responsible for our moods, however our gut has more in common with our emotions than we think. Our gut is known as our “second brain” by many medical professionals because of its connection to the brain through the enteric nervous system (ENS), which actually resides in the gut.

The good microbes in our digestive tract, known as the probiotics, can communicate with and signal our brain due to the vagus nerve, which connects the brainstem with the gut. The good microbes in our gut can boost our mood by:

  1. Producing brain chemicals

The healthy gut flora produces and regulate neurotransmitters like GABA and serotonin that work to calm us down and make us feel good. Did you know that over 90% of all serotonin in our bodies are produced in the gut?

  1. Lowering cortisol

Probiotics can help to lower the hormone cortisol. This hormone, produced in the adrenal glands, spikes during stressful situations, and can be responsible for causing anxiety and stress.

  1. Supporting the immune system

Healthy gut flora supports your immune system, which has been linked to mood issues such as depression.

Microbes and Energy Levels

 After learning that a compromised and out-of-balance gut microbiome can lower mood, how exactly does your gut healthy affect your energy levels? In addition to increasing our mood, which can simultaneously boost energy levels, a balanced microbiome with healthy gut flora can help with:

  1. Nutrient Absorption

The intestinal bacteria in our bodies can help us digest everything we consume, which allows us to absorb vital nutrients our bodies need to stay healthy. When there is a lack of good bacteria in our intestines, our bodies cannot fully absorb the vitamins and minerals in the foods we consume, causing our energy levels to suffer.

  1. Balanced Blood Sugar

Probiotics help to support and bring balance to our blood sugar levels, which is essential for establishing a steady supply of energy to our bodies.

  1. Improved Sleep

We need to get enough sleep every night otherwise we feel tired and fatigued. Taking a probiotic can help with sleep because they work to increase tryptophan levels in the body, which is crucial for melatonin production and improved quality of sleep.

How do we make sure our gut is healthy?

It’s not easy to keep everything in balance. There are a lot of factors in our modern lifestyles – from stress to unhealthy diet – that deplete the good gut flora in our bodies. So, what can you do to live a lifestyle that supports your gut health?

  1. Probiotic rich foods

Add to your diet probiotic rich fermented foods including kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, and plain yogurt.

  1. Natural diet

Natural whole foods not only boost your mood and energy levels, but they help to keep your microbes happy, too.

  1. Relax

Stress can affect your gut microbiome is so many ways. Stress can deplete vital bacteria and even effect digestion, both of which can contribute to low energy and unhappiness.

Our energy and mood levels have a huge impact on our lives. Thankfully if we support and take care of our body and give it what it needs, our microbes will be healthy and strong, keeping us happy, vibrant, and ready to take on the world!

It’s Time To Love Your Gut 2018-09-13T07:53:37+00:00

Can you get smarter by eating the right food?

Did you know that the food you eat has an influence on your memory?

During situations when we feel extremely forgetful, we often blame it on stress, lack of sleep, or several other factors. However, it is important to realize that the right diet plays a major role in brain health and important brain functions such as memory and concentration.

While it is known that the food we eat affects our bodies, there are several studies that detail the impact of the food we eat on the functioning of our brain. In fact, proper nutrition is believed to be essential for optimal brain cognition!

A healthy diet, low in fat and high in essential nutrients, can:

  • Improve cognitive brain functions
  • Reduce the risk of memory loss
  • Help prevent strokes
  • Boost alertness

In this blog, we are going to discuss everything you need to know about the ways in which nutrition can help improve brain cognition.

Ready for a Boost?

Not many people know that the choice of food we eat in our daily lives can either deplete or nourish our brain. The wrong brain foods such as salt, high amounts of sugar, and trans-fats can have a negative effect on the brain and leave us feeling mentally tired, anxious, and even depressed.

On the other hand, the right choice of nutritional foods can be instrumental in making one feel mentally sharp, energetic, focused, and productive.

To boost memory, concentration, mood, and cognitive abilities, it is crucial to focus on implementing a nutritious and healthy diet consisting of essential brain foods. Broadly, the advantages of having these brain foods in our regular diet are as follows:

  • Eating nutrient-rich food supports the growth of new brain cells
  • Taking a quality supplement with the right quantities of specific nutrients supports the brain to help stay focused and sharp.

The Best Foods to Help Support Our Memory:

  • Avocados

Avocados are one of the healthiest foods that are available on the market. Known as the green powerhouse, they are packed with healthy mono-saturated fats that not only keep blood sugar levels steady but also keep the skin glowing. Avocados are especially beneficial for boosting important brain functions, such as memory, due to following reasons:

  1. They contain both Vitamin K and folate that help prevent blood clots in the brain and improve cognitive brain functions like memory and concentration.
  2. Being rich in Vitamin B & C, proteins, and low in sugar makes them a powerhouse fruit for improving cognitive brain functions.
  3. Avocados are also high in tyrosine, a type of amino acid that’s a precursor to dopamine, the brain chemical that helps in keeping the brain alert, motivated, and focused.
  • Eggs

Packed with high levels of protein and Vitamin B12, eggs are a significant source of omega-3 fatty acids. Furthermore, whole eggs are a rich source of choline, a B complex-related nutrient as well. Choline is a precursor of acetylcholine, a type of neurotransmitter that improves brain function and plays a critical role in memory, concentration, and learning.

  • Broccoli

Broccoli is one of the best brain foods due to its high levels of Vitamin K and choline, which is instrumental in keeping the memory sharp. Furthermore, broccoli is rich in Vitamin C and fibers that make an individual feel full and energetic throughout the day.

  • Berries

All kinds of berries are rich in antioxidants including Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and fiber that help in detoxifying the body. Additionally, due to their high Gallic acid content, berries are excellent for improving the memory and other brain functions. They also protect the brain from degeneration, stroke risk, and stress. Whether you prefer blueberries, raspberries, strawberries or blackberries, they are all considered an ideal brain food. Berries are also rich in flavonoids, a type of potent antioxidant that helps in protecting the brain cells from oxidative damage of any kind.

  • Fatty fish

Fatty fish makes an excellent choice for improving brain health. Containing rich sources of omega-3s, fatty fish is a major building block for the brain. The Omega-3s present in fish plays an important role in sharpening memory, concentration, and improving your mood. Additionally, it helps to protect your brain cells!

  • Veggies

For proper brain functioning, getting an adequate amount of fresh vegetables is very important, especially the cruciferous ones like cabbage, broccoli, and dark leafy greens.

  • Peanuts

Both peanuts and peanut butter are a good source of Vitamin E, which is helpful in keeping the heart and brain in a healthy and optimally functioning condition.

  • Whole grains

Whole grains are rich in fiber and are an integral part of the Mediterranean diet, which is packed with fruits, vegetables, olive oil, nuts, and seeds. Several studies indicate that this type of diet is beneficial in lowering the risk of mild cognitive impairment that can eventually progress to brain-related disorders, like Alzheimer’s disease.

Vitamin B-12 is also essential for a healthier brain!

There are several studies that suggest there are certain vitamins and minerals that the brain needs to function optimally. In fact, Vitamin B12 is one of the most critical vitamins for the proper functioning of the central nervous system.

Vitamin B-12, also known as Cobalamin, is a water-soluble essential vitamin that plays a vital role in the body as it affects many important functions such as DNA synthesis, the formation of blood cells of the body, protection of nerves, and much more. A lack of Vitamin B-12 in the body can lead to serious health consequences.

There are several health benefits of Vitamin B-12 foods which contribute to vital functions in the body, including:

  • Protecting the nervous system
  • Forming red blood cells in the body
  • Synthesizing DNA
  • Provide adequate energy to the body

Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to various ailments and symptoms including depression, poor memory, numbness, balance problems, etc. Other common symptoms include:

  • Loss of vibration, sensation, and dementia
  • Balance and walking disturbances
  • Nerve damage and a state of constant confusion

To avoid the Vitamin B-12 deficiency in the body, it is essential to include foods rich in Vitamin B-12 in your diet. This can mainly be found in animal-derived products, particularly meats, dairy, and eggs.

Some excellent sources of Vitamin B12 foods include eggs, milk products, meat, fish, cheese, shellfish, and poultry products. Additionally, soy and rice beverages as well as soy-based meat substitutes are great sources of Vitamin B12 too.

Here, we will go deeper to discuss the main Vitamin B-12 food and their sources:

  • Shrimp

Shrimp is an excellent source of Vitamin B-12 and includes about 80% of the daily value of Vitamin B12 required by the body. Shrimp is also known to provide an adequate amount of nutrient choline that is significant for heart and brain health.

  • Sardines

Sardine is a common name that is used to refer to small, oily fish. They are a great source of B-12, essential Omega-3 fatty acids, and are filled with an adequate amount of lean protein and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). DHA is crucial for fetal brain development and cognition abilities in adults. A serving of sardines contains nearly 20% of the daily value of Vitamin B-12 required by the body.

  • Fortified Cereal

Cereals made with whole-grain oats or bran are fortified with Vitamin B-12 and can provide about 30% of the daily value with great health benefits in just one serving. It can either be consumed with a cup of yogurt or can be eaten with a handful of nuts!

  • Beef Liver

One of the most important benefits of eating beef liver is its very high B-12 content. Every ounce of beef liver is sufficient to cover people’s daily requirements for B-12. Consuming beef liver can also help prevent anemia due to the high iron and folate content.

  • Eggs

Eggs are excellent Vitamin B-12 foods. Eggs are an excellent option for the daily dose of Vitamin B-12 for everyone.

  • Swiss cheese

Swiss cheese contains high nutritional benefits with more Vitamin B12 contents than any other cheese. It provides almost 14% of the daily value of Vitamin B-12 per ounce. Having Swiss cheese with a slice of fruit completes the nutrient requirement of Vitamin B-12 along with protein and fiber.

  • Trout

Trout are known to have almost 4.2 micrograms of Vitamin B12 in every three ounces.

  • Herring

These small fish offer 3.6 micrograms of Vitamin B-12 in every 3 ounces. The Atlantic or Pacific herring varieties are best to consume!

Improvement doesn’t stop at the right nutrition – go further by following 3 essential tips

  • Mental Fitness

One of the precursors for best brain health is staying mentally active and happy. How positively active the brain is largely determines the cognitive health of the brain. This is the reason why games such as crosswords are known to help cognitive functions like memory. Or, how about learning something new, like a language or music? It is important to keep the brain active by indulging in mentally stimulating activities.

  • Adequate amount of sleep

We may not realize but our brain does a lot of continuous work even when we’re sleeping. The main functions that the brain performs while we sleep are consolidating memories and removing unnecessary connections from the memory. It is essential, for this reason, to have an adequate amount of sleep to let the brain perform its necessary functions. In fact, sleep deprivation, or lack of sleep, can take a toll on the brain’s cognitive health leading to memory loss, poor attention, lack of creative thinking, and so much more. To let the brain function optimally, it is best to sleep for at least 7-8 hours per night.

  • Physical fitness

The importance of physical activity in improving the brain health and cognitive function cannot be overemphasized enough. It has been proved by researchers that people who exercise regularly have greater brain volume, sharp memory, better thinking, memory skills, and run a much lower risk of dementia. Furthermore, regular exercise is also believed to help generate new cells and neurons in the brain.

It is essential to start an exercise routine much earlier in life for better brain health and cognitive functions. However, it is never too late to start!

Brain performance is a matter of your lifestyle

Proper brain health requires a disciplined lifestyle approach and some targeted dietary efforts.  Simple steps such as the inclusion of brain foods in your diet, mental fitness, maintaining a regular exercise regime, and getting enough sleep, all help in building a motivated and healthy brain!

Can you get smarter by eating the right food? 2018-08-09T08:54:25+00:00

Let The Sunshine In

Do You Really Need Vitamin D3? Absolutely!

Vitamin D is necessary for a multitude of bodily functions.  The vitamin promotes calcium absorption, modulates cell growth, regulates immune function, and controls inflammation. Unfortunately, the vitamin is not found in many foods. It is important to understand how to maintain adequate levels of vitamin D.   A deficiency can result in fatigue, increased frequency of illness, body aches, depression, weakened ability to heal, bone loss, and hair loss.

Vitamin D is the Sunshine Vitamin

Although it can be difficult to get vitamin D from foods, it’s relatively easy to boost levels of the vitamin with sun exposure. Your body produces the nutrient when sunlight hits your skin. UVB rays are responsible for vitamin D production.

The effectiveness of this method for encouraging vitamin D production varies. It depends on the strength of the sun, time of day, amount of exposed skin, and skin color. People who live in areas with longer winters and extended periods of darkness are at a higher risk for vitamin D deficiencies than people who live in warmer, sunnier regions. However, even people who live near the equator can suffer from low levels of the vitamin.

Many people don’t get outdoors enough. When they do, they often wear sunscreen. This is a good thing when it comes to preventing skin cancer, but broad-spectrum sunscreen can limit the amount of vitamin D that your body makes. You don’t need to be out in the sun for long to get enough vitamin D.  Approximately 15 to 20 minutes will do, depending on the color of your skin. Fair-skinned individuals tend to produce vitamin D more quickly than those with dark skin.

Why Do You Need Vitamin D3 Anyway?

There are different types of vitamin D.  Cholecalciferol, or vitamin D3, is the form naturally produced by your body when the sun hits your skin. This is also the type that is found in foods, such as fatty fish, egg yolks, and fortified milk. Your kidneys and liver must convert vitamin D3 into a usable form, but this is usually the favored form of vitamin D supplementation.

Although most people think of calcium as a nutrient that is necessary for bone growth, vitamin D is also crucial. That’s because vitamin D3 helps the body absorb calcium. Children who don’t get enough of the vitamin may develop rickets, a disease characterized by soft, poorly developed bones. Adults can develop misshapen and brittle bones.

Recent studies explain that vitamin D is actually a hormone. Since this was discovered, the necessity of vitamin D3 intake and production was reevaluated.

The vitamin stimulates genes that are involved in immune system regulation. Researchers say that a deficiency in the vitamin is linked to increased risk of autoimmune disease. People with low levels of vitamin D are also more prone to infection.

Treatment with vitamin D3 may also help people with the following conditions:

  • Autism
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Diabetes
  • Pain disorders
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Osteoporosis

Some psychological symptoms are associated with low levels of the nutrient. Vitamin D activates the release of mood-enhancing neurotransmitters. Deficiencies have been correlated with seasonal affective disorder, a type of depression that hits when the weather turns cold and dark.

10 Facts about Vitamin D and Immunity

  1. Every tissue in the human body has vitamin D receptors.

The nutrient is needed for every part of the body to function optimally.

  1. Vitamin D’s anti-bacterial properties have been maintained through 60 million years of evolution.

Researchers say that this is evidence that vitamin D is vital to our survival.

  1. Vitamin D is the first line of defense against bacteria

The adaptive immune system develops antibodies in response to foreign invaders. The innate immune system, which is the immediate reaction to germs, may be turned on by vitamin D.

  1. Vitamin D hinders inflammation.

Inflammation has been identified as the possible cause for may diseases. Vitamin D may help reduce inflammation, and restore your health.

  1. T cells need vitamin D to activate.

T cells, which are those that fight off harmful bacteria, extend vitamin D receptors when they need to be activated. Without enough of the vitamin, T cells can’t mobilize to fight disease.

  1. Vitamin D may lower the risk of cancer.

People with high levels of vitamin D may be less likely to develop colorectal, breast, pancreatic, and prostate cancer.

  1. Vitamin D may be just as effective as a flu vaccine.

Maintaining high levels of Vitamin D strengthen your immune system.  A strong immune system is vital to help prevent infection.

  1. Vitamin D promotes a healthy gut

The vitamin helps maintain the balance of healthy and unhealthy bacteria.

  1. Vitamin D makes your immune system more intelligent.

Regulatory T cells, which distinguish between your own cells and external invaders, are promoted by vitamin D.  This may help regulate, treat, and prevent autoimmune disease.

  1. People have been unknowingly getting vitamin D treatments for tuberculosis for years.

In the past, people with tuberculosis were sent to facilities where they received sunlight treatment. Doctors may not have realized that their patients were actually recovering because their vitamin D levels were boosted. People with low vitamin D levels are five times more likely to develop tuberculosis.

10 Foods That Contain Vitamin D3

1) Sardines and other fatty fish

2) Brazil nuts

3) Chia Seeds

4) Egg yolks

5) Fortified cereals

6) White mushrooms

7) Tuna, both canned and fresh

8) Orange juice fortified with vitamin D

9) Beef liver

10) Milk with added vitamin D and fortified soy milk

 Vitamin D3 Basics

Vitamin D is essential.It is important to maintain adequate levels of vitamin D for a happy and healthier you.

Natural Light

Exposure to sunlight promotes healthy sleeping cycles, and encourages healthy vitamin D3 production, both factors that help maintain healthy energy levels. Spend at least 15 minutes outside whenever you can, to benefit from natural sunlight.

Balance Your Diet

A healthy diet filled with fresh fruits and vegetables in a variety of colors supply vitamins and minerals that are necessary for energy production. Foods that are high in vitamin D3 also increase energy when low sunlight exposure is related to fatigue.

Exercise More Often

Exercise releases hormones that fight fatigue and lower stress. Low-intensity exercises like walking and yoga suit a wide range of fitness levels and effectively increase energy.

De-Stress

Stress has a huge impact on your physical and mental health, especially when accompanied by the mid-winter blues. Stress management classes, yoga, and guided meditations are options that reduce stress, resulting in more energy.

 

Let The Sunshine In 2018-07-28T21:49:39+00:00