Archive for April, 2013

Osteoporosis Warning Signs: Ways you can tell if you are on your way to this dreaded disease

Osteoporosis is one of the most common ailments of adults over the age of 50 and it is definitely a problem that people do not want to live with.  Weak bones lead to fractures and many other scary problems that could leave you disabled.

Before turning into full-blown osteoporosis, osteopenia – the process of thinning bones – precedes the ailment.  There are some warning signs to look for to determine if your bones are in fact thinning.

Here are some warning signs for osteoporosis:

  • Warning Sign #1 – You’ve had more than one fracture in the past two years or a fracture that seemed pretty severe considering the circumstances.
  • Warning Sign #2 – You are naturally a small or thin person.
  • Warning Sign #3 – You have an autoimmune condition that causes you to take prednisone or another corticosteroid.
  • Warning Sign #4 – You are a smoker and have been throughout your adult life.
  • Warning Sign #5 – You drink more than two alcoholic beverages a day.
  • Warning Sign #6 – You do not drink milk or you have a lactose intolerance that prevents you from drinking milk.
  • Warning Sign #7 – You have an eating disorder.
  • Warning Sign #8 – You are an Asian or Caucasian female over the age of 50.
  • Warning Sign #9 – You have a family member who had osteoporosis before the age of 50 or before menopause.

So, what can you do to prevent your bones from thinning? Look over the warning signs and risks to determine how high of a risk you are to have osteoporosis.

Keep these tips in mind:

  • If you smoke, quit!
  • Curb the number of alcoholic drinks that you consume and drink only socially.
  • Compile a family history and be aware of the medical conditions of your first and second degree relatives.
  • Be sure to take a supplement with calcium, magnesium and vitamin D.
  • Eat a diet high in dairy and other calcium-rich foods.
  • Have a bone density test done, also called a DXA scan or densitometry, which uses a special X-ray to measure the amount of calcium and bone-hardening materials in the bone segments.  Doctors rely on the bone density tests to tell a lot about a person’s bones.  The test can tell whether your bones are porous, which make them fragile, or if they are dense and solid.

If you are concerned about your risk factors and how many warning signs that you said “yes” to, it is always best to consult your physician.  They can conduct the proper testing to determine your risk factor and also prescribe bone-strengthening hormones to help build up your bone strength, thereby lessening your risk of having osteoporosis.

Yoga and Detox, Meditating for a Healthier You

You wake up 20 minutes after you hit your alarm clock to catch a few minutes of extra sleep. You barely had had 5 hours or sleep after coming home late after a grueling day at work. You jump out of bed realizing that you only have half an hour to shower, dress up and grab a piece of sandwich for breakfast. Not exactly the ideal way to start a day, isn’t it?

If this is the typical normal morning routine for you then you should be alarmed. Today’s society is exposed to large amount of toxins from taking in loads of toxins from processed foods, prescription drugs, air pollution and everyday stress. These toxins stay in the body until it wreaks havoc on your normal body processes.

The body is blessed with natural ways of coping with these toxins. Mechanisms such as perspiration, urination and normal bowel movement are just some of the ways we could get rid of built-up toxins. But the body can only take so much so what do you do when you’ve reached this level?

Toxins and Free Radicals

Before you can appreciate how yoga can help flush out these harmful substances, it is important that we first discuss what toxins are and what harm it can do to you.

The reason why toxins are so harmful to the body is because its presence help trigger the creation of free radicals. These are molecules that have a missing electron. These unstable molecules rob electrons from surrounding electrons making them unstable. This can cause damaged cells that lead to premature aging or decay.

If cell degeneration is not stopped early, this may lead to medical conditions such as arthritis, stroke, hypertension, arteriosclerosis and other immune disorders.

Getting rid of toxins naturally

The body has its own way of naturally getting rid of toxins. This is basically done through four or our major organs. These organs are the skin, liver, intestinal tract and kidneys. When you ingest toxins by consuming food or drinks for example, your digestive system brings these into the bloodstream. Once inside the bloodstream, these are picked up by the liver deactivating them consequently. Toxins that are not picked up are captured by the kidney. The rest are flushed out as perspiration or passed out together with our feces.

Detoxification and Yoga

Detoxification is the process of removing harmful toxins from the body. Your liver, kidneys, skin and bowels are mainly responsible for neutralizing these substances but what happens when they are overloaded with toxins?

A fantastic part of a detox regimen is the practice of meditative exercises that are said to stimulate the function of your internal organs. And one of the most practiced meditative exercises is Yoga. This is an ancient practice from India. It involves the performance of a series of methods and techniques that aims to achieve optimum physical and mental health.

The branch of Yoga called “Hatha Yoga” in particular is a great exercise system for those who aim to detoxify their bodily systems. It provides detoxification by helping rid the digestive, cardiovascular, lymphatic, pulmonary and epidermal systems of toxins and waste. Hatha Yoga may also stimulate brain function and balances the nervous and endocrine system. This results in a greater sense of well-being, increased mental clarity and emotional stability.

How Yoga Detoxifies

Hatha Yoga is said to detoxify through the practice of Yoga poses or “Asanas,” breathing techniques or “Pranayamas,” hand gestures or “Mudras” and energy locks or “Bandhas.” Yoga poses of Hatha Yoga reportedly free up blockages and obstacles that hinder energy flow in the body.

Hatha Yoga may teach you powerful detoxification techniques and poses that help increase oxygenated blood flow to the brain, relax and cleanse the body and calm the mind of stress and worries. Every part of our body is turned, twisted, pulled, pushed and upended in a well-rounded Yoga practice. This is said to facilitate the removal of waste products like lactic acid, lymphatic acid and carbon dioxide that no other exercise or regimen could reach. These Yogic poses and techniques help push your body to heal itself and make it strong and pliable. Because of the said effects to healing, many health centers and spas consider it as an integral part in managing lifestyle diseases and detoxification.

Detox for a longer, more productive life

Detoxification is essential to prolong and improve the quality of life. If you live a hectic, toxic lifestyle then now is the time to change. Ask your nearest gym or fitness center for yoga classes so you could get more information about the types of Yoga practices.

As much as possible, lessen exposure to pollutants and chemicals found in processed foods, smoke, cleaning agents and the like. Stick to fresh, pesticide-free produce like organic fruits and vegetables. Avoid complicated beverages that are packed with sugars and artificial ingredients and stick with plain water or natural juices.

Train yourself to stop worrying or thinking too much about things. Approach every problem or situation systematically and if there is nothing you could do about it, then don’t stress yourself about it. Changing your outlook into a positive one contributes greatly to an effective detoxification program.

How to Strengthen Your Immune System Against Colds Naturally

Having a strong immune system is important in maintaining our physical well being. It protects you from all types of virus and bacteria that may cause infection and other health problems. Colds and flu are only two of the most common sickness that you can get if you have a weak immune system. It may sound ordinary, but it is quite common to find people suffering from colds and flu that don’t seem to go away. Hence, before you experience major medical complications, it’s wise to learn natural ways to keep your immune system healthy and well-balanced.

What should be included in your diet?

Eating the right food is the perfect answer to how you can strengthen your immune system. Although there’s nothing wrong with sodas and fries, it’s still advisable to minimize your consumption on such food and focus on the healthier ones. Green leafy veggies should be on top of your “what to eat” list. Be extra creative when cooking meals and learn different ways incorporate green leafy vegetables on your diet. It’s advisable to consume at least one meal with such vegetables.

Don’t forget dairy products, as well. Milk and yogurt are only dairy products you should consume. Yogurt does not only strengthen your immune system, but it also helps you regulate bowel movement. This means you will be keeping less toxic in your body if you will consume yogurt regularly. You should also eat enough fish or other protein-rich food to keep your body well-balanced.

Fruits can never be erased. This is the other option of those who don’t want to eat vegetables, and if you’re one of them, it’s healthy to know that you should double or even triple your fruit intake. It also wise to eat it fresh or turned into shakes, as long as limit the glucose and other flavorings. Here’s a list of the top vitamins that your immune system needs.

  • Vitamin C – this increases the production of bacteria and virus-fighting agents in your body. Papaya, guava, kiwi, orange, grapefruit, and strawberries are the best fruit sources of Vitamin C.
  • Zinc – zinc helps in the production of T-cells which also helps in fighting various types of virus. It also slows down cancer cell metastasis and tumor growth.
  • Beta carotene – beta carotene is also helpful in fighting cancer cells and balancing the immune system. It also erases the compounds that can cause aging.

Healthy habits

Living a healthy life means keeping in mind a good set of healthy habits. It may be challenging to follow all of it, but every small step can go a long way. Other healthy habits, on the other hand, sound too conventional that you may not consider it. But believe it or not, paying enough attention to such practices is a great way to spare you from cough, flu, and other health problems. Here’s a shortlist of it.

  • Wash your hands, especially before and after eating
  • Consume enough water
  • Have enough sleep
  • Regular workout
  • Stay happy and stress-free
  • Give yourself a full-body massage

What should you avoid?

A right diet is not a license that you can already keep your bad practices. Aside from eating the right food and maintaining healthy habits, you should also know the things to avoid. This will balance all the changes you want to make. Aside from that, it will also spare you from diversified health problems.

I’m talking about unhealthy practices like, smoking, drinking, or doing drugs. All these three have negative effects to your overall health. It also weakens your immune system especially if you’re doing it excessively. Drinking alcoholic liquids and smoking can be present in occasional parties, but having it a part of your daily life is a no-no. As for drugs, it’s highly advisable to completely avoid it.

Extra facts you may not know

Apart from diet and habitual actions, there are more natural ways to strengthen your immune system. Making love is one of it. You read that right, having sex a couple of times a week was proven effective in increasing your immunoglobin A. this is an antibody that fights colds and flu. Eating garlic is also another way to strengthen your body. It has anti-microbial properties that blocks infections.

Natural Health Systems: Ayurvedic Medicine

Ayurveda or the “science of life” is a system of traditional medical practices which was developed in ancient India. The practice of Ayurvedic medicine is included in the list of complementary and alternative medicine in the United States. Individual practices found in Ayurvedic medicine are applied in medical treatments such as the use of herbs, special diets, meditation and therapeutic massage techniques.

The purpose of Ayurvedic medicine is to maintain the optimum balance between the mind, body and spirit. It aims to provide a more holistic approach to treatment by not only healing the physical body but also spiritual and emotional needs of the person. This is done by a series of practices to help cleanse the body, mind and spirit to reestablish balance and harmony.

Practice in India

Ayurvedic medicine is widely used in India, 80 percent of the country’s population currently uses it with conventional Western medicine in providing medical treatment to patients. The country maintains colleges and hospitals in major cities that cater to this type of alternative medicine.

The practice of Ayurvedic medicine is mainly based on information found in two ancient books. Texts written in Sanskrit on the Caraka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita book form the basis of Ayurvedic medicine practice. The books divide Ayurvedic medicine into eight main branches which are internal medicine, gynecology and pediatrics, surgery, psychiatry, treatment of head and neck diseases, care of the elderly and rejuvenation, toxicology and sexual vitality.

Treatment and Management

The aim of Ayurvedic medicine is to ultimately cleanse the patient’s body of impurities to provide cure and relief from the different symptoms of a disease. It promotes a healthier lifestyle by restoring harmony in mind and body. This is done through the different Ayurvedic medicine practices which include the following:

  • Reducing worry and increasing harmony

The practice of Ayurvedic medicine places great stress in a person’s mental and spiritual state. Emphasis on mental and meditation relaxation techniques are done to reduce the level of stress on the person’s mind and body, allowing them to live a more harmonious life.

  • Reducing symptoms

Various lifestyle changes are introduced by the practitioner to eliminate symptoms. This includes the use of physical exercises, meditation, massage, breathing exercises, stretching and dietary changes to introduce lifelong changes in health habits. Examples of dietary changes exclusive to Ayurvedic medicine is taking in minute amounts of metals and minerals such as iron to the diet.

  • Eliminating impurities

“Panchakarma” is the method of cleansing the body by removing “ama.” This substance is described as one which interferes with the normal functioning of the body by sticking to the tissues which causes disease. “Ama” is driven out by a series of treatments and exits the patient’s body via the digestive and respiratory system.

  • Increasing resistance to disease

Decreasing the patient’s susceptibility to a disease is done with the use of a wide range of treatments. Different Ayurvedic practices include the use of tonics like proteins, vitamins, minerals and herbs to increase appetite and boost immunity.

Use of Herbs and Plants

The “pharmacy” of Ayurvedic medicine currently lists more than 600 formulas and 250 single plant drugs. They provide patient’s relief from numerous medical conditions or promote health. Plants and herbs are divided into categories with regards to their effects on the patient. Herbs and plants are sometimes mixed with metals to produce their desired effects.

Toxicity and overdose are the main dangers of using Ayurvedic medicines. Because some types of Ayurvedic medicines use metals in combination with herbs and plants the danger of toxicity is great. These medications are not considered as drugs but dietary supplements, thus they don’t fall under the scrutiny of conventional medicines.

“An NCCAM-funded study published in 2004 found that of 70 Ayurvedic remedies purchased over-the-counter (all manufactured in South Asia), 14 contained lead, mercury, and/or arsenic at levels that could be harmful. Also in 2004, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 12 cases of lead poisoning occurring over a recent 3-year period were linked to the use of Ayurvedic medications.” National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine NCCAM

Spring is in The Air…And So Are Allergens

Now that the long, cold winter is behind us, spring is in the air… as are allergens, ragweed, pollen, and mold.  For those with seasonal allergies, spring can be quite a hard season to get through.

According to a study on, the best action for fighting your spring allergies is to avoid the plants that make your coughing, sneezing, and watery eyes worse.

But many people aren’t sure exactly what combination of allergens that are affecting them.  Here is a list of some of the most popular plants and their allergens.

  • Ragweed It is common along riverbanks and in rural areas. Almost 75 percent of people with allergies are sensitive to ragweed.
  • Mountain cedarThis tree is commonly found in mountainous regions and, causes some of the most severe allergy symptoms around.
  • Ryegrass – This grass is common in dry lawns, meadows and pastures. This, along with other grasses, is often very problematic for allergy sufferers.
  • Maple – These trees are found along streams and in woods all through the eastern United States and Canada. The maple produces potent allergens.
  • Elm Common in the wetlands, these trees will most likely aggravate your allergies.

  • Mulberry – This pretty tree can be very deceiving.  Found in woods and river valleys, it is often associated with contributing to hay fever.
  • Pecan – Although it makes many good desserts, the pollen from pecan – found in woods and orchards – is second only to ragweed as the most severe source of allergens.

  • Oak It may have less potent pollen, but it produces very large quantities of it.  Avoid the woods just for this one.
  • Pigweed/Tumbleweed This common weed is found in lawns and along roadsides, but beware that it will not do your sinuses any good.

  • Arizona cypress – Found specifically in warm climates and well-drained soil areas, this tree can contribute to pollen problems almost all year round, according to the study.
  • Mold – Allergies acting up in the spring could be because of mold levels rising with wetter, warmer air.  The study contributes various types of molds to producing significant allergy symptoms throughout the United States.

While this only touches on a few possible plants and their related allergens, every day researchers are finding more and more possible allergens that people are dealing with in their lives.

Always seek medical advice when dealing with the treatment of seasonal allergies.