Posts Tagged ‘cortisol’

Do what you want…sometimes

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

A Healthy Life Sign

We spend the majority of our lives enduring other people telling us what to do.  Teachers, bosses, and parents have filled our lives with no-no’s, admonishments, and well-meaning advice.  But here’s a radical idea-just do what you want.  If you want a chocolate bar, have one.  If you want to take a nap, go ahead.  If you feel like skipping down the street…you get the idea.

Something occurred to me after many sweaty hours at the gym, rifling through health magazines and reading countless advice columns.  Maybe obsessively counting calories and other deprivations work for some people, but they certainly don’t work for me.  In fact, it seems to have the opposite effect.  When I tell myself I can’t have something, I want it all the more.

Such is the human condition.

So I’m trying a different approach.  If one afternoon all I can think about is eating a hamburger with fries, I actually allow myself to go and get one.  Two things are accomplished.  Once I give into my craving, I am thereby sated.   Instead of eating everything else in its place and then still wanting the burger, I just have what my body wants and in the end I am convinced that I consume fewer calories overall.  After I’ve indulged in the “treat”, I don’t feel deprived and therefore will eat healthier over the next few days (or weeks in some cases).

I am absolutely not advocating a burger-large fries-pitcher-of-beer-a-day existence.  But I think cutting ourselves some slack once in a while is mentally healthy and can go a long way.  At the very least it can help us to manage our stress.  Because deep down, we all know what the healthy choices are.

Remember, eat as healthy as possible, get plenty of exercise, and catch up on as much sleep as time permits.  It’s your healthy life.  Now go enjoy it!

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To learn more daily health tips, please read our health archives.  Some of our favorites supplements that can boost your immune system, improve sleep patterns, and can promote heart health are found on our products page.

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I Want Candy!

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Pick supplements and not sugar for better health

“The sugar rush.”  Sometimes nothing else will do.  When I’m face to face with a box of candy, or a malted milk, I am truly powerless to resist.  And with a certain chocolate-centric holiday just around the corner, I have to tread lightly, or else I will fall into a different category, “the sugar coma.”

All joking aside, sugar is delicious and wonderful to enjoy, especially on holidays and birthdays.  But it is also full of empty calories.  For example, the average soda these days contains up to 10 teaspoons of sugar.  10!  Even though I’m a sugar fanatic, I can’t bring myself to drink much soda anymore.  And that’s a great thing.  Instead I substitute milk, mineral water with a little lime, or even a small glass of wine and I save myself 100’s of calories a day.

Diabetes is on the rise.  It’s sad but true.  Some hypothesize that everything we eat nowadays is laden with sugar, and perhaps these ideas are not far off.  Be sure to check your food labels for hidden sugars, even in items like crackers, soups, and tomato sauces.  Awareness can make the difference in your health and also in your waistline.

Reward yourself properly.  As a society, we tend to reward a promotion, good grades, or any other success or special occasion with a big meal and lots of treats.  Choose wisely.  Now I love cake as much as the next person, but maybe it’s a better (and certainly healthier) idea to splurge on a massage, a night at the theater, or even a new outfit.  You will ultimately feel better, weigh less, and perhaps even spend a little quality time appreciating something you wouldn’t normally do.

Keep up the exercise, and work in lots of vegetables and fruits into your diet.  Take vitamins and supplements like Calcium, CoQ10, and Omega-3.  Get a proper night’s sleep as much as possible, and then, if all else fails, have that chocolate chip cookie with extra walnuts.  But just a couple.  Wash them down with a nice, cold glass of nonfat milk.  You’ve earned it!

Happy Valentine’s Day

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the power of downward facing dog

Monday, February 8th, 2010

yoga woman at peace

Have you ever gone on a hike, a walk, or a run and felt tired but also very relaxed and at peace afterwards? We thought so. That is the magic of exercise and of focusing on something other than every day minutiae. Yoga classes, meditation and even simple relaxation techniques can also quiet the noise within and calm the mind. And it turns out that these practices are exceptionally good for your health. A recent study was conducted on cancer patients who were asked to try an 8-week stress reduction program and the results were staggering:

In a study involving 49 patients with breast cancer and 10 patients with prostate cancer, participation in an 8-week “mindfulness-based stress reduction” (MBSR) program was found to enhance quality of life, reduce stress symptoms, reduce cortisol levels, improve immune patterns, reduce systolic blood pressure and improve mood. The 8-week mindfulness-based stress reduction program consisted of relaxation, meditation, gentle yoga, and a daily home practice. Various measurements were taken pre- and post-intervention, and at 6 and 12 months follow-up. Results of linear mixed modeling showed significant improvements in overall symptoms of stress after the intervention, which remained over the follow-up period. Reductions in pro-inflammatory cytokines, cortisol levels, systolic blood pressure, and mood disturbances were found. Furthermore, heart rate was positively associated with symptoms of stress. The results of this study suggest that participation in activities such as those included in this mindfulness-based stress reduction program may be of great benefit to cancer patients, with beneficial effects lasting well beyond the intervention. The authors conclude, “These pilot data represent a preliminary investigation of the longer-term relationships between MBSR program participation and a range of potentially important biomarkers.”

You don’t have to be a marathon runner or a renown Yogi to enjoy the benefits of exercise and relaxation. If you are short on time, buy a yoga or Pilates DVD, or simply find a nice place to sit, breathe, and quiet your mind for a few minutes. All together now: “Om”

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To learn more about managing stress levels for better health, see our health archives. Stress can compromise the immune system, cause irregular unhealthy sleep, and can even contribute to unwanted weight gain. Our effective, high quality supplements Relora® and Dual-Release Melatonin can really make a difference in your stress levels and can promote healthy sleep patterns.

Reference: http://www.vitasearch.com/get-clp-summary/36457, “One year pre-post intervention follow-up of psychological, immune, endocrine and blood pressure outcomes of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) in breast and prostate cancer outpatients,” Carlson LE, Speca M, et al, Brain Behav Immun, 2007 May 21; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Linda E. Carlson, Department of Psychosocial Resources, Tom Baker Cancer Centre Holy Cross Site, Alberta Cancer Board, 2202 Second St. S.W., Calgary, Alta., Canada T3B 0W7; Department of Oncology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, Canada).

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To be or not to be…an ice cream sundae.

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

woman with salad and antioxidants

You are what you eat.  Yes, a hackneyed expression, but nevertheless true.  I always feel better if I eat in a healthy way, and usually feel vaguely guilty if I’ve indulged in too much fat, sugar, or alcohol-and usually it’s a combination of all three-especially around the holidays.

If you’re anything like me, it can be very difficult to stay motivated.  For example, I like the gym, but I like sleeping more.  I enjoy sautéed Swiss chard, but I’d much rather have an oversized ice cream sundae dripping with chocolate sauce.  It’s very easy and tempting to stray off the healthy, antioxidant path.  There are cookie-laden forests and lakes of freshly whipped cream to explore instead!  But these empty calorie treats-as good as they may be-are nutrition traps.  What’s more, they aren’t doing anything to fortify my immune system.  I want to feel strong, healthy, and in control of my health destiny as much as possible.

So I recommit.  Every day to a healthy way of life.  For me, putting my continued good health at the top of my “to do” list empowers me to carry on with my eating-right-and-exercising-routine.  The fact that I will look better in my clothes is a nice byproduct, but not the main reason that I try very hard to take care of myself.  I cram as many antioxidant-enriched foods as I can possibly stand into my daily routine.  My body then has the tools it needs to fortify my immune system and defend against free radical damage and hopefully against various diseases and health conditions too.

In fact, there was a recent study conducted tracking midlife eating habits of Swedish twins.  It was hypothesized that those who fortified their diets with plenty of fruits and vegetables mid life seemed to lessen their risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, compared with twins who did not eat as many antioxidant enriched foods.

I decided long ago to hedge my bets and eat a healthy, well-balanced diet replete with plenty of antioxidants.  I am also sure to take Omega-3 fatty acids and highly absorbable multivitamins and vitamin D supplements every day for better health.  By committing to good health habits on a regular basis, I can still have my sundae and eat it too-and that makes me very, very happy.

Be healthy and enjoy all of the holiday festivities!

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To read more about powerful antioxidant support, check out our health archives. Happy holidays from all of us at Solanova!

Reference: http://www.vitasearch.com/get-clp-summary/38666“Midlife Fruit and Vegetable Consumption and Risk of Dementia in Later Life in Swedish Twins,” Hughes TF, Andel R, et al, Am J Geriatr Psychiatry, 2009 Nov 10; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Pittsburgh, PA, USA).

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Healthy is always helpful!

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

solanova blood sugar support supplements

Ever notice that when you’re really tired, rushed or stressed out that you also seem sluggish, fuzzy, and unmotivated?  I can only speak for myself, but I’ve noticed a pattern that I have to assume is fairly common.

Perhaps I have a particularly taxing week at work, and then the car breaks down, then I’m late for a flight that I already had to reschedule once before, and now the presentation won’t be done on time.  Stress then rears its ugly head, which in turn makes me count cracks in the ceiling all night, which leads to me feeling less than svelte as I go about my daily routine.

And then this domino effect continues.  It pervades my eating, drinking and exercising habits in an insidious way.  I start to make excuses why I absolutely have to have that maple doughnut bar oozing with sugary goodness, or that double cheeseburger-with fries of course, otherwise the burger is lonely.  Top all that off with a triple fat full mocha with extra whip and candied orange peels.  Here’s the troubling thing; all this actually makes me feel better!  I have more energy and I’m sated.  I can focus on my work, on driving, on saving that little kitten in the big Oak tree.  I feel like superman!

Until I don’t.  Then the crash comes, oh how I resent you sugar crash!  Just when I thought everything was going so well.  But I was simply fooling myself, masking what my body really needed with my out of control crazy cravings for sugar, caffeine, and lots o’ fat.  That’s not to say that there isn’t a time and place for indulgence.  But I was using this sustenance as a kind of super fat-sugar-coffee inflated life raft, rigged to help me handle my stressful, insomniac existence.  However, my little plan failed me miserably, so much so that I slogged home and blended myself an extra thick margarita for good measure.

At the risk of sounding like a 90’s fitness icon, it was time for me to “stop the insanity.”  I knew better.  I knew that the stress hormone cortisol was working against me and making me eat things I knew I shouldn’t.  And the fact that I wasn’t getting enough sleep made it all the worse.  My body craved instant (but not sustainable) energy to make it through the day and I ate it in abundance.  What I really should’ve done was take my vitamins, had one cup of coffee (which is my usual, sane practice), eaten my bran cereal, gone to work, drank plenty of water, had a very sensible and fuel-laden lunch of salad, a low fat turkey sandwich, and maybe some fruit which is my usual custom.  I then would’ve had enough sustained energy and patience to deal with the missed flight and the broken down car and maybe, just maybe, I still would’ve gone to the gym, just to blow off a little steam lifting weights.

Now I know better.  And you should too.  This is my cautionary tale.  It’s fine to have treats, but don’t rely on them to keep you going.  They will let you down every, single time.

Happy holidays.  And by the way.  Who moved my eggnog latte??

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Want to read more about enhanced energy and daily health?  Check out our health concerns archives.  And even if you overdo it at the dinner table, there is digestive help.  We also have powerful  probiotics to promote a healthy digestive tract and help synthesize vitamins and nutrients.

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It’s cold out there!

Monday, November 16th, 2009

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It’s the time of year where we start to hunker down under blankets in front of the fireplace.  Instead of a glass of water or milk before bed, we might favor something warmer and more enticing like a steam mug of hot chocolate-with extra marshmallows of course.

And maybe all of a sudden, it doesn’t seem very appealing to run the track, take a hike through the local hills, or ride a bike on your trusty dirt trail.  It’s just too cold out!  So instead we become a bit more sedentary, venturing out to the gym only when it’s not raining or snowing.

Perhaps it’s somehow tied up with instinct.  After all, many animals hibernate during the cold months of the year.  They get to curl up in their dens, stuff themselves with food, and then sleep it all off for countless hours.  If only our lives could be that simple!  Unfortunately for we humans, we need to be a little more vigilant about our health habits.  It’s way too easy to put on extra pounds during the cold, holiday laden winter months, and very difficult to shed them.  Not to mention that extra weight can increase risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and possibly some kinds of cancer.   Research studies have concluded that maintaining a normal weight can help reduce the risk for many diseases.

One surefire way to keep warm and motivated as you exercise during the cold months is to take a Bikram yoga class.  This style of yoga is practiced in a very warm room, so as to keep muscles limber, promote strength and to prevent injuries.  Other exercise classes can offer protection from the elements and usually a temperate workout environment too.  It’s also important to keep your immune system strong during the cold and flu season, which includes exercise, eating nutritious foods and taking vitamins and supplements to ensure you aren’t deficient.

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Read more about immune system strengthening in our Health Concerns archives.  We have many supplements that can fortify your immune system and help to keep you healthy all winter long.  Rubi QNol® CoQ10 offers unsurpassed antioxidant protection and MultiSential Plus multivitamin, a complete blend of essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients.

http://www.vitasearch.com/get-clp-summary/35039

Reference: “Midlife body mass index and hospitalization and mortality in older age,” Yan LL, Daviglus ML, et al, JAMA, 2006; 295(2): 190-8. (Address: Department of Preventive Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Ill 60611, USA. E-Mail: lijing@northwestern.edu ).

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Invest in your health

Friday, September 18th, 2009

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Unless you’ve been living out in the sand dunes of the Gobi desert in Mongolia-and perhaps even then-you’ve heard about the possibility of a bad flu season this year.

It never ceases to amaze me how much we are willing to pay for a designer sweater, a fancy meal out, or the next hot tech gadget we don’t really need.  But when it comes to our health, we often scoff at the idea of a minimal financial investment.

Do we not realize that without our good health, we wouldn’t be going out, donning that new sweater, playing on that new gadget in the fancy restaurant?  It’s high time we got our priorities straight.

And it’s not so difficult.  Getting moderate daily exercise, monitoring your weight and fat intake, and investing in good quality vitamins and nutritional supplements can make all the difference to your health.  And this flu season, we need all the help we can get to fortify our immune systems.

Lately there has been much research concluding the health significance of getting and absorbing enough vitamin D.  In fact, some preliminary studies seem to indicate that vitamin D could possibly play an especially important role in thwarting-or lessening the effects of-the H1N1 virus.  Stay tuned for more information regarding this connection.

Vitamin D has also been shown to benefit heart patients.  A recent study hypothesizes that heart patients who had low vitamin D levels could have adversely affected cardiac function.  The study therefore suggests that supplementing with vitamin D could benefit heart failure patient’s treatment.

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Would you like to read more about the health effects of vitamin D?  Check out our health library here.  Some other products for good immune system support are MultiSential Plus, and Omega-Gel®.  Remember to make an investment in your health today and collect the dividends for a lifetime.

http://www.vitasearch.com/get-clp-summary/38457

Reference: “Calcium and Vitamin D Status in Heart Failure Patients in Isfahan, Iran,” Garakyaraghi M, Kerdegari M, Siavash M, Biol Trace Elem Res, 2009 Aug 19; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan Cardiovascular Research Center, Isfahan, Iran).

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For Whom the Cake Tolls

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

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Sometimes I equate a really messy car-I’m talking gym shoes, old magazines, big gulp containers, and wrappers littering the backseat-with bad eating habits.  It seems as though, when I get off on the wrong track, i.e. it’s a Monday and I’m already in  the break room at work scarfing down cake from Friday’s birthday party, that I’ve sabotaged myself, and the only way to deal with it is simply to order a large pizza.

But take my word for it: this is a slippery (and fatty) slope.

We’ve all been tempted to just give up, even in the throes of healthy eating and systematic exercise.  Just like the old, trashed car that we drove around in college, it just seems easier to throw another steak on the bbq, just like we threw another big gulp container in the backseat, rather than committing to cleaning the car out.  The thing we have to remember is that the more trash we fill the car with-or that we stuff down our gullet-the longer and harder it will be to clean it (and get rid of the excess weight.)

It’s also important to understand what may be causing this self-defeating behavior.  Stress and anxiety can be catalysts to poor eating habits.  Getting enough sleep, taking a yoga class or going for a long walk can help.  And taking a natural supplement such as Solanova’s Relora®, which can alleviate stress, tension, irritability, and may regulate stress-related eating behaviors and subsequent weight gain, can also aid in your fight for control of your cravings.

Ban the it doesn’t matter now anyway self-sabotage.  Because in truth, it really Does matter.  So you had a piece of cake.  Hey, to eat junk food is human, to forgive yourself and not eat a sheet cake, is divine.  One 300-calorie indiscretion can lead to a 2000-calorie burrito-margarita-ice cream sundae glutton-fest.  Don’t give in to it.

There’s always a second chance for a healthy tomorrow. So get on it.  Oh.  And save me a piece of cake, will ya?

To learn more about healthy  habits, check out our health information section of Solanova.com.

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Sugar Rush

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

Fighting diabetes with health activities and Solanova supplements

Remember when you were eight, and the coolest holiday by far was Halloween? Not only could you wear your awesome Superman outfit or princess garb in public without condemnation, but your reward for all this creativity?  Giant bags of overflowing candy!  How could life possibly get any better?

Ah, those were the days.

Now you have to read every label of everything you consume for its sugar content because your doctor has warned you that you are a borderline type 2 diabetic.   All of a sudden you’re noticing that the jam you spread on your toast, the trusty cereal you’ve been eating for years, and the orange juice that you’re absolutely sure you can’t live without, all have insane amounts of sugar in them that your body is finding it harder and harder to negotiate.

But knowledge is power.  It’s important to go to your annual medical check ups and get things like your blood sugar tested.  It provides a benchmark for where you are and where your future health is headed.  And while something like a possible type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes diagnosis can be upsetting, there are things that can be done to maintain your health and perhaps even head the diagnosis off at the pass.

Exercise for better health.  We all know that it can help fight heart disease, high blood pressure and keeps our weight under control, but it can also mitigate stress and blood sugar levels.  And eating right, i.e. foods that are low in fat, full of fiber and that have less sugar can also contribute to lower blood sugar levels.  Certain vitamins and supplements too can be added to the mix for better nutritional and blood sugar support.

See?  With a little diligence, life can be pretty sweet after all.

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Do you need more information regarding diabetes?  Learn more about diabetes and pre-diabetes at the American Diabetes Association’s website.  And discover a healthier you at Solanova.com.  We have many vitamin and nutritional supplements to support your good health, including Relora®, which can help fight the stress hormone Cortisol that can cause undesirable weight gain.

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Get Happy

Friday, June 19th, 2009

You’re giggling uncontrollably in the movie theater.  Okay, maybe the movie isn’t that funny, but you’re enjoying it, dodging dirty looks from other patrons as you guffaw at the screen, spilling buttered popcorn on your seat.  Can you help it if “joie de vivre” is your middle name?

After all, it’s a good thing.

happiness and solanova supplements are good for you

Are happier people healthier people?  And do happy people actually live longer?  It seems that the theory could be true.  You might wonder if it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy?  If someone is truly happy with their life it probably follows that they take better care of themselves?  Perhaps that’s some of it.  Numerous studies have concluded that happy people have fewer heart attacks, strokes and experience less pain from myriad health conditions than their grumpy counterparts.  This could be in part because happy people tend to have less of the stress hormone Cortisol in their bodies, which can lead to health problems.

But what do you do if you’re not naturally a “glass is half full” person?  You can actually learn to be more positive and become happier.   Some universities even offer “happiness” courses, which are extremely popular.  Of course exercise and leading a healthy lifestyle can contribute to overall health and vitality (and happiness), research also indicates that people who lead meaningful lives and help others tend to be happier overall compared with people who might afford luxuries but who don’t enjoy their careers or who have little outside interests or hobbies.

So put a smile on your face and help out in your community.  You’ll be happy that you did!

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To learn more about the importance of managing your stress levels for an overall happier life, click here. One of our nutritional supplements that can help with regulating your stress level is Relora®.  Relora® is a natural supplement that relieves stress and anxiety, is non-addictive and can help to curb stress-related eating and subsequent weight gain.

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