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Category: Women’s Health

Easy and Healthy Ways to Reset your Body

We try our hardest every day to not only look great but also feel great. To do this, most people change their exercise and diet. But there are other things that apply to our overall health. Our mental, physical and emotional health are the most important factors in living a good and healthy life, but sometimes life itself gets in the way of doing so. In order to live a happy life, we have to take care of our bodies. Things such as work, social interactions, school and other obligations we face can interfere with our body’s natural mechanisms and functions. How can we fix or “reset” this disturbance? There are different ways we can help our bodies get back on track and feeling healthy again. Eating a healthy diet and implementing exercise into our routine may be the primary issues to our body’s health, but taking good care of our internal sleep clock, metabolism, and hormones are three contributing factors that are also essential to helping our bodies feel good. We’ve provided information on each and steps to help you “reset” your body.

Resetting your internal (circadian) sleep clock:

Getting enough sleep is an important and essential component to our health. When we have the right amount of sleep, at least 7 to 9 hours, our bodies are more able to function properly and adequately during everyday tasks. But things that can influence and disturb our body’s internal sleep clock include external factors (lighting, sunrise and sunset time, and temperature), internal factors (hormones, genetics, neurotransmitters), and our personal habits and behaviors (travels, insomnia, stress, social life and work). What do we mean by our internal sleep clock? Our sleep clock is a psychological mechanism that delivers cues to our body to sleep or wake up at certain times of the day or evening. This is also known as the Circadian Rhythm. When functioning normally, our body tends to become tired during the evening and awake during the day time. When our clock is out of sync, our body tends to feel “jetlagged” or deprived. You can also check out our articles on the health benefits of sleep and foods to help you sleep better.

How to reset your clock:

Manipulate lighting – Light exposure cues us when to wake up and when to fall asleep, so it is natural that we follow nature’s natural lighting. Manipulating light exposure, such as dimming your lights or brightening your room can help reset your sleep clock and normalize your circadian rhythm because your body will naturally adjust.

Fast and then normalize your meal times – Your diet and metabolism are important to resetting your clock as well. To normalize your sleeping schedule try to eat one meal in the afternoon and then fast until the next day. This will help your body get back on track. Also, check out our article on the health benefits of fasting.

Practice healthy sleep habits – Making a routine and being strict and consistent with yourself is important to helping you get back to a normal sleep schedule. This includes only taking naps for no more than 20-30 minutes, limiting caffeine, avoiding usage of electronics and watching TV before bed, and keeping your room dimly lit and cool.

Resetting your metabolism:

Your metabolism is another important factor to your overall health. As we grow older our metabolism begins to slow down, which causes us to gain and retain more weight. Losing fat becomes a bit more difficult. What we eat ultimately gets converted into energy so when we feed our body junk food, things high in unhealthy fats, and other things bad for our body we are harming our metabolism. You can also read our article on fast ways to kickstart your metabolism!

Get enough sleep – As we mentioned before, your sleep is very important. So make sure to get the recommended amount of sleep needed to help your body properly function.

Drink lots of water – Water is essential to our survival and overall health. It is recommended that you drink about eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day, which is about half a gallon of water.

Manage your stress – Stress management is essential to both a healthy mind and body. When your body is overwhelmed by stress, it reacts by releasing certain hormones known as epinephrine and cortisol in order to respond to this stress. You then tend to feel hungry even though you’re still burning calories because your body tries to compensate for this. Try finding ways to keep your stress levels at bay by doing activities that help ease your stress. You can also read our article on tips to reduce stress.

Eat foods that make you feel good – It’s a sign when your body screams at you “don’t feed this to us!” So listen to your body when you start to feel bloated, gassy or tired. Start eating foods that make you feel better and energize you instead of foods that make you feel groggy and lazy. You can read our article on the Top 10 mood boosting foods.

Avoid over exercising – We know that exercising is essentially good for you, but there is such a thing as exercising too much. Exercising too much and too intensely can lead to you slowing down your thyroid. Your thyroid is a gland that regulates your hormones and these hormones are what also affect your metabolism.

Resetting your hormones:

Your hormones are an important factor to how your body functions. Hormones are what control your emotions, your metabolic rate, and help trigger certain signals and cues to the brain, such as the fight or flight response, that ultimately allow you to function.

Cut down on sweets and starches – Too many can make your hormones go wild. Try cutting back to see how your body reacts and feels.

Reduce intake on grains, legumes, and high sugar fruits – Having too many carbs can cause problems with your metabolism, especially if you are insulin-resistant or your body is unable to break down certain carbs.

Eat more healthy fats – Healthy fats can help your body produce the needed hormones to break down foods and turn them into the energy that you need. It can also help suppress cravings.

Avoid inflammatory foods – These are foods such as processed foods, junk foods, and any highly sugary and gluten filled products that can harm your immune system and endocrine system.

Sleep more – It’s quite apparent that sleep is good for you since we all need it in order to function. But adequate sleep is beneficial in helping your hormones repair, restore, and heal by regenerating cells. Not enough sleep can lead to rapid aging of your body and brain.

Reduce intake of stimulants – Try cutting back on the caffeine. Coffee, energy drinks, sodas, and also tea or chocolate can interfere with your sleep, which your body needs in order to restore.

Cut out chemicals – Instead of using your normal products, try using products that are more natural or have the least chemicals in them. Chemicals can interfere with your hormonal functions.

Minimize usage of meds – Continuous exposure to medication, whether they are prescribed or over-the-counter drugs, can stress and throw your hormones into imbalance.

RELAX! Stress might be one of the most important factors related to your hormones. When your body is overwhelmed with stress it can cause your hormones to go off the charts. Find ways to unwind and blow off steam regularly such as yoga, stretching or meditating.

 

Hormonal Balance: What You Don’t Know CAN Hurt You

 Most of us understand the importance of finding ways to invest quality time on our careers, with our loved ones and on ourselves.  Achieving such a balance can be challenging to say the least, even when we know that we need to take care of ourselves first so that we can take better care of others. Finding hormonal balance can be just as tricky.

 It gets even trickier when our health is out of alignment.  For women in their mid-thirties, their progesterone levels begin dropping more quickly than their estrogen levels, creating a situation called estrogen dominance. Over time, this imbalance only gets worse.

As a physician, I have seen how estrogen dominance can cause women to suffer from premenstrual headaches, often migraine in nature, fluid retention, fibrocystic breast disease, uterine fibroids, menorrhagia (heavy, painful menstrual periods), endometriosis and functional hypothyroidism.  Additionally, the incidence of breast cancer increases during the time of life when women become estrogen dominant.

Pharmaceutical drugs and surgery only address the symptoms, not the root problem.  It is much easier, more effective and healthier to replenish your body with the bioidentical (or natural) progesterone it needs.

Some of the many benefits of supplementing with natural progesterone are:

  1. Reverses osteoporosis by promoting osteoblastic activity in the bones
  2. Promotes dieresis (relieving fluid retention)
  3. Relieves headaches associated with menstrual cycle
  4. Enhances mood
  5. Alleviates breast tenderness
  6. Alleviates fibrocystic breast disease
  7. Regulates menstrual cycle
  8. Relieves endometriosis
  9. Assists with sleep and sleep patterns
  10. Increases libido (or sex drive)
  11. Protects against breast cancer and endometrial cancer

To discover more about the benefits of progesterone and getting your life in balance, I encourage you to take charge of improving your health today and register for my Understanding Breast Cancer webinar on Monday, October 28th. Click HERE to register.

Foods for Healthy Hair and Nails

A great diet really plays a large role in how healthy, glossy, and strong your nails and hair become.  Food is the purest way to get the vitamins and minerals that boost your health- certain foods have even been used for thousands of years in ancient beauty regimes.  While there’s no magic food that will keep us looking forever young, but diet, lifestyle, and attitude does affect how your skin looks and ages.

 

Health Fitness Revolution brings you a list of nutrients and foods to include in your diet to promote healthy hair and nail growth:

 

  • Fish and Omega-3 Rich Foods: About 3% of the hair shaft is made of these fatty acids, but your body can’t make them, so it’s important to get them through your nutrition. Salmon, herring, avocados, flax seed, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts are all great natural sources of Omega-3.
  • Chicken and other Protein:  Skin, hair and nails are mostly protein. These proteins – keratin, collagen and elastin – ward off wrinkles and provide strength and elasticity.  Get your skin-boosting protein by including at least one serving of lean meats, chicken, seafood, legumes or eggs and two serves daily of low-fat dairy products.
  • Eggs:  Not only are eggs a great source of protein, but they are also loaded with four key minerals: zinc, selenium, sulfur, and iron. Iron is especially important, because it helps cells carry oxygen to the hair follicles, and too little iron (anemia) is a major cause of hair loss, particularly in women.
  • Spinach:   loaded with iron, folate, beta carotene, and vitamin C, it helps keep hair follicles healthy and scalp oils circulating.  Other dark leafy vegetables such as kale and collard greens also offer the same nutrients.
  • Greek Yogurt:  look for low-fat options of Greek yogurt, which are high in protein, and vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid — an ingredient often seen on hair care product labels).
  • Blueberries and other Vitamin C Foods:  Blueberries are nutrient powerhouses!  Vitamin C is critical for circulation to the scalp and supports the tiny blood vessels that feed the follicles. Too little Vitamin C in your diet can lead to hair breakage.  Other foods high in Vitamin C are kiwis, sweet potatoes, strawberries, and tomatoes.

 

Obesity In Mothers Alters Babies’ Weight Through Brain Rewiring

Obese mothers are more likely to have children with metabolic disorders such as diabetes compared with thin mothers, but the underlying molecular and cellular reasons for this effect have been unclear. A study published by Cell Press on January 23rd in the journal Cellreveals that the offspring of mouse mothers on a high-fat diet are predisposed to obesity and diabetes because of abnormal neuronal circuits in the hypothalamus — a key brain region that regulates metabolism. The findings suggest that mothers who consume a large amount of fat during the third trimester may be putting their children at risk for lifelong obesity and related metabolic disorders.

“Our study suggests that expecting mothers can have major impact on the long-term metabolic health of their children by properly controlling nutrition during this critical developmental period of the offspring,” says study author Tamas Horvath of the Yale University School of Medicine.

More than one-third of children and adolescents are overweight or obese and thus are at risk for long-term health problems such as type 2 diabetes. Studies in humans have shown that mothers who are obese or have diabetes put their children at risk for metabolic problems, but researchers have not previously identified the exact brain circuits mediating this effect, known as metabolic programming. Moreover, past studies failed to pinpoint the most critical stage of pregnancy during which maternal nutrition has the greatest impact on offspring health.

To address these questions, Horvath teamed up with Jens Brüning of the Max Planck Institute for Neurological Research and the University of Cologne to develop a mouse model of metabolic programming. They found that mouse mothers fed a high-fat diet during lactation had offspring with abnormal neuronal connections in the hypothalamus, as well as altered insulin signaling in this brain circuit. As a result, the offspring remained overweight and had abnormalities in glucose metabolism throughout their adult life.

Because of developmental differences between species — neural circuits in the hypothalamus continue to develop after birth in mice but are fully developed before birth in humans — the findings suggest that the third trimester of pregnancy in humans is the most critical time window for a mother’s nutrition to have long-lasting effects on her offspring’s health.

“Given that gestational diabetes frequently manifests during the third trimester, our results point toward the necessity of more intensified screening of mothers for altered glucose metabolism, as well as tightly controlled antidiabetic therapy if any alterations are detected during this critical period,” Brüning says.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell PressNote: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Vogt et al. Neonatal insulin action impairs hypothalamic neurocircuit formation in response to maternal high fat feedingCell, January 2014

Ten Homemade Face Masks

Skin care is more than just skin deep. Because our skin is so important, visiting the skin care aisle at the local grocery store may seem intimidating due to the variety of products that line the shelves, and much of the time those products’ ingredients are chemical-based and can dry out the skin over time. Fear not, clogged pores and oily, for there are just as many homemade remedies to choose from. These homemade facial masks are all-natural products, giving you the salon style facial without the salon price!

Banana Face Mask

Rich in powerful antioxidants, phytochemicals and moisture, bananas nourish and revitalize dry skin as well as smooth rough aging skin. The lectin and zinc in bananas are also known to fight acne-causing germs.

Directions – Get 1 ripe banana, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon of honey. Mix together all the ingredients and apply to the face, leaving it on for 10 minutes. Rinse off with lukewarm water.

Oatmeal Face Mask

Oatmeal is a humectant, which means that it helps your skin retain moisture.Though oatmeal is known for its rough texture, this makes it very effective as an exfoliant. Exfoliation sloughs away dry, dead skin cells to make way for fresh, healthy ones, giving your skin that fresh, smooth feeling.

Directions- Combine ½ cup of hot water and ⅓ cup of oatmeal, and let sit for 2 minutes. Mix in 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt, 2 tablespoons of honey and 1 egg white. Apply to the face, making sure to gently rub into the skin. Let it sit for 15 minutes then rinse with warm water.

Plain Yogurt Face Mask

The zinc and lactic acid contained in yogurt promotes healthy skin. Yogurt, when applied to the skin, can remove dead skin cells, smooth out fine lines, tighten pores, hydrate dry patches, and make your skin glow.

Directions- Mix 1 teaspoon of plain yogurt with fresh juice and pulp from a ¼ slice of an orange, and 1 teaspoon of aloe. Apply to the face and let it sit for no longer than 10 minutes. Rinse with warm water.

Lemon Face Mask

Lemon juice helps remove acne marks and scars, revive dull and dry skin and aid in the removal of dead skin cells, encouraging new skin cell growth. Be wary of how much lemon you use and how often you use this mask, as the acidity of lemon can drive out the skin if used in excess.

Directions- Mix together 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, 1 egg white and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Massage into the skin gently and scrub or let rest for 10-15 minutes. Rinse with warm water and moisturize.

•Avocado Face Mask

Rich in fatty acids and Vitamin E, avocados promote overall healthy skin by hydration skin, leaving the skin looking firm, youthful and healthy.

Directions- Scoop out 1 avocado, mash, and mix with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of honey. Leave on for 10 minutes and rinse off with water.

Orange Face Mask

Natural oils present in oranges can be used to moisturize skin. Freshly squeezed orange juice is packed with zinc and antioxidants while dried orange peel is excellent for gently exfoliating dead skin cells from your face.

Directions- Get 1/2 cup steel-cut oatmeal, juice from 1 whole orange, 3 tablespoons plain yogurt, 2 tablespoons honey, and 2 teaspoons dried orange peel. Mix together and apply to face for 15-20 minutes then rinse with warm water.

Apple Cider Vinegar Face Mask

In its natural form, apple cider vinegar unblocks pores and allows skin to breathe properly.  This makes it very effective in treating acne and pimples. ACV effectively removes excess oil from your skin and helps to balance pH levels in the skin.

Directions- Put 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar into a bowl, add 2 teaspoons of cooled green tea, 5 teaspoons of sugar, and one teaspoon of honey. Mix well, massage into skin and let rest for 10 minutes then rinse off with warm water.

•Honey Face Mask

Honey helps cure acne, scars, wounds, wrinkles and even dry skin. It also protects your skin under the sun and rejuvenates the skin, helping it stay young.

Directions- Mix 3 teaspoons of raw honey and ½ teaspoon of cinnamon. Apply to the face and let it rest for 10-20 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.

Cucumber Face Mask

Cucumber is known to reduce oiliness and improve overall skin complexion. It also tightens the pores, preventing debris from soaking into the skin and clogging your pores.

Directions- Blend 1 cucumber and add plain yogurt. Apply the mixture to your face and let sit for 20 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.

Egg Yolk Face Mask

Egg yolk face masks work wonders for people with dry or flaky skin. The nutrients in egg yolks work to hydrate, nourish, and moisturize dull skin, giving it a vibrant glow and while saturating the skin,  giving it a smooth feel.

Directions- Mix 1 egg yolk, ¼ ripe avocado, and 1 teaspoon of yogurt. Apply to the face and let sit for 15 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.

Read more of our Top 10 Articles

Top 10 Healthiest Fashion Trends

Activewear is hot in the world of fashion. Sales of activewear and athletic shoes reached an astounding $36 billion in August of 2013, causing Fashionista magazine to declare that fitness is having a moment in fashion. It’s great that activewear is finding its way in to so many wardrobes, because that translates to outfits to workout in! Alongside activewear, some timeless fashion staples are beneficial to your health, which is why we’ve listed the top 10 healthiest fashion trends to improve your health.

  • Basketball shoes/trainers Basketball shoes have exploded in popularity and account for a major portion in the uptick of activewear sales. Endorsed by famous NBA players, sporting space-age designs, and in a rainbow of colors, basketball shoes are firmly entrenched in the fashion market. This is good because anyone wearing a pair of athletic trainers has proper arch support for their feet and can participate in a spontaneous game of ball.
  • Yoga Pants Like basketball shoes, this piece of workout clothing has found its way into couture fashion. Their benefits are similar: women wearing yoga pants can stop off at the gym or yoga studio after running errands without needing a wardrobe change. We promote any article of clothing that you can be active and fashionable in.
  • Wrist fitness trackers The time of the watch is over. Fitbit and other wearable activity trackers are appearing on wrists across the world. They are sold in a variety of colors and have a sleek, aesthetically-pleasing appearance, so they can be mixed and matched with outfits in the same way as a watch. Instead of keeping track of time, they track your steps, sleep, and heart rate so you can make sure you meet your exercise levels for the day.
  • Pullovers Fleeces Fleeces by outdoor clothing companies are a casual and stylish way to keep warm. They are also made with materials that wick off sweat and can be used in active outdoor activities in cooler weather.
  • Tank Tops Both men and women enjoy wearing shirts that show off their arms in the summer. These shirts help you cool down on hot days, but because they have your arms exposed they encourage you to keep them toned by hitting the weights at the gym or doing #PushUpsEverywhere. Just makes sure to apply sunscreen.
  • Clutches Small pocketbooks and wallets are a chic way to be gentle to your neck, spine, and shoulders, instead of lugging around that suitcase of a purse.
  • Choose Flats Over Pumps Skipping the stilettos is a great move for the health of your spinal cord and feet. Since most of your weight is being balanced unequally when you wear heels, it can cause some serious health problems. Try grabbing a pair of flats instead!
  • Sun Visors & Hats According to dermatologist Dr. Doris Day, for every extra inch on the brim of your hat or visor, the risk of skin cancer is lowered by 10%. This is because the protection shields your hair, eyes, and skin from the harmful UV rays of the sun. Of course you need to pair your headpiece with some oversized sunshades, and add sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher!
  • Loose Clothing Skip the risk of infections that are caused by clothing or undergarments that are too tight. If you switch to a wardrobe that has more cotton based, looser clothes than you will give your skin more ability to breathe and sweat. This is healthy because, restrictive clothing keeps moisture ad heat in, which is an ideal environment for a yeast infection.
  • Oversized Sunglasses Protecting harmful UV rays is essential to maintaining eye health. Sunglasses that have 100% UV protection filter both UVA and UVB rays, which are the most harmful. If you choose to rock oversized sunglasses, the extra coverage shields soft tissue around your eyes as well.

Top 10 Unhealthy Fashion Trends

There are many trends in fashion that may leave you much worse off than if you didn’t include them in your life at all. Is your lipstick trying to take your life? Here are the top ten outrageous rages that are terrible for your health:

  • High Heels The higher the heel; the more of your weight is placed on the balls of your feet. This can lead to pain, ankle injuries, and spinal issues. There is also research that verifies that stilettos alter the structure of muscles and tendons. Try opting for shorter pumps or elegant flats! 
  • Waist Training Along with pain, there is a decrease in lung capacity, restriction of movement, and according to some medical doctors, prolonged wearing of a waist trainer could also decrease your core strength. If you want to shed some extra weight from your midsection, ditch the corset and stick to eating nutritious foods and staying active. It may not be as trendy, but it’s healthier and effective!
  • Cosmetic Surgery Going under the knife for the sake of beauty already seems extreme, however the attraction perseveres. There can be some extremely dangerous procedures that make this one of the unhealthiest trends in fashion. There have been cases where implants placed in the breasts or buttocks have burst open, and Botox injections can cause the muscles in the face to become permanently paralyzed.
  • Color Contact Lenses If you can purchase these lenses without a prescription from a doctor, they may not be safe to put in your eyes at all. These contact lenses can cause blindness, decreased vision, scratches on the cornea, and pink eye. Always seek the advice and counsel of proper sanitation and care from a specialist.
  • Indoor Tanning Salons The Center for Disease Control states that this detrimental fad can cause skin cancers such as: melanoma, basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas. The exposure to UV radiations can also cause cataracts and eye cancers like ocular melanoma. Your skin can age prematurely, wrinkle, and acquire age spots from this as well. It also changes the texture of your skin and could blind you if you do not properly protect your eyes. So skip the salon, lather on some SPF 30 sunscreen, and hit the beach for a natural sun kissed tan!
  • Toxic Makeup It’s surprising how many cosmetics contain poisonous substances such as lead, cadmium, aluminum, and chromium. Researchers at University of California – Berkeley have found large amounts of these toxins in 75% of lipstick samples tested! Every time you apply them and lick your lips, you are ingesting toxins and they’re seeping into your pores. It is known that cadmium causes cancer, and has been found in many breast cancer biopsies. Chromium, another deadly compound found in the study, has been associated with stomach cancer diagnoses as well. Exposure to lead can cause personality changes, a decrease in IQ and irreversible damage to your brain cells. Aluminum has also been proven to cause osteoporosis, anemia, and even Alzheimer’s, among other diseases. Check out the FDA’s list of the worst culprits here.
  • Skinny Jeans Wearing restrictive clothing has been proven harmful since it restricts essential blood flow. In men, skinny jeans can lead to testicular torsion, a painful condition in which the pressure cuts off circulation and can cause loss of the testicle. Your skinnies could be constricting the sensory nerve in your pelvis too. If you have persistent thigh numbness that travels down your leg, or meralgia parasthetica, it could cause permanent damage, explains Dr. Nicholas Morrissey. Many people are suffering “tight pants syndrome”, characterized by abdominal discomfort, belching, heartburn, and other digestive problems.
  • Heavy Purses Hoarding around a heavy bag can lead to head, neck, shoulder pain that could land you in the chiropractic office. You’re better off choosing a cute clutch or wallet and keeping unnecessary belongings at home. Do you really need to carry 3 different tubes of lotion?
  • Flip-Flops Some shoe wear such as flip-flops and flats may not be providing an adequate amount support for the soles of your feet. You may need to purchase arch-supporting insoles to insert into flats, sandals, or tennis shoes that are lacking, or toss them all together!
  • Piercings Studies show that 20% of body piercings have resulted in bacterial infections. Ensuring that a professional performs a body piercing and proper aftercare is so crucial. Infections can spread to the blood and to the entire body and become fatal if untreated, and if piercings do not heal properly, scar tissue can form and skin may never return to its original state. Scar tissue that develops from nipple piercings can also limit the ability to breast feed later on.