Archive for the ‘Wellness Tips’ Category

10 Facts We Now Know About Sunscreen

With summer on the horizon, we know it’s time to slather on the sunscreen and reapply, but how much do we really know about this magical lotion that’s said to protect against sunburn and prevent skin cancer? For all the mysteries that still remain about the sun and how it affects us, we can rest assured knowing that we have these 10 facts about sunscreen covered:

  1. There is No Evidence that the Chemicals in Sunscreen are Not Safe: Despite ongoing controversy over the safety of the chemicals in sunscreens, most scientists and doctors agree that there is no evidence that sunscreen ingredients are harmful to humans. The argument that sunscreen ingredients are carcinogenic, block vitamin D or alter the body’s hormone system will require further research and experimental studies before any conclusions are drawn.
  2. The Higher the SPF Number, the Smaller the Difference: It’s a common misconception that a higher SPF number means you are doubly or triply protected. A higher number does indicate more protection, but it doesn’t give you two to three times as much protection as one with an SPF 15. Sunscreens with SPF 15 filter out roughly 93 percent of UVB rays and SPF 30 sunscreens filter about 97 percent. The protection slightly increases as the SPF number gets higher, but only by one percent (98) for SPF 50 and two percent (99) for SPF 100 sunscreens. The fact is no one sunscreen will protect you completely.
  3. SPF Numbers Only Refer to UVB Ray Protection: The sun protection factor (SPF) number on sunscreens only measures protection against UVB rays, the skin-burning rays. There is no current FDA-approved rating system for measuring protection from UVA rays, which cause aging of the skin. To ensure coverage against UVB and UVA rays, you should use a "broad-spectrum" sunscreen, or one that contains avobenzone (Parsol 1789), ecamsule, zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
  4. There’s a Difference Between Waterproof and Water-Resistant Sunscreen: Sunscreens that are labeled "waterproof" or "water-resistant" are slightly different in their chemical makeup and water tolerance. Water-resistant sunscreens can maintain their SPF level after 40 minutes of water exposure, and waterproof sunscreens can maintain their SPF level after 80 minutes of water exposure, according to the FDA. If you’re plan on being in the water or participating in outdoor activities, you should choose a water-resistant or waterproof sunscreen for optimal protection.
  5. Sunscreen Does Not Cause Vitamin D Deficiency: For years, people have blamed sunscreen and dermatologists’ pleas to stay out of the sun as the leading cause for vitamin D deficiency in Americans. However, we now know that there is little to no evidence that shows sunscreens cause vitamin D deficiency, and people can get the recommended amount of vitamin D from other sources than just the sun, such as taking dietary supplements and eating foods like salmon, milk and eggs.
  6. Sunscreen is Not Fail-Safe: We now know that sunscreen is not fail-safe because it is not a guaranteed protection against all of the sun’s harmful rays. There is also no supporting evidence that sunscreens protect you from developing malignant melanoma, the deadliest kind of skin cancer. Sunscreen alone will not fully protect you from the sun or from developing skin cancer. In addition to wearing sunscreen, you should also seek shade, wear protective clothing, avoid peak hours of sun exposure and monitor the UV index.
  7. One Ounce of Sunscreen is Needed to Cover Your Body: We now know that one ounce, equivalent to a full shot glass, is the recommended amount of sunscreen needed to cover your exposed skin. You should apply sunscreen liberally and reapply every two hours, especially after perspiring, swimming or towel-drying. Sunscreen is something you definitely don’t have to go easy on. Don’t forget to protect the often-missed parts of the body, like the lips, ears, hands, feet, neck and scalp.
  8. Everyone Should Use Sunscreen, Regardless of Skin Color: People of all races and ethnicities are at risk for developing skin cancer, and should wear sunscreen to protect themselves from UV radiation. We know that people with fair skin and a large number of freckles and moles have a greater chance of burning and developing skin cancer, but people with darker skin can also burn and develop skin cancer as well. Dark-skinned individuals are also more likely to be diagnosed with skin cancer in the later stages when it is more dangerous and could be fatal.
  9. Sunscreen is Needed in All Types of Weather: Whether it’s sunny, cloudy or snowing outside, you still need sunscreen to stay protected all year long. Ultraviolet rays can do a significant amount of damage even when the sun is not at its hottest. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, people experience some of the severest sunburns because they did not protect themselves on cloudy days, where up to 40 percent of the sun’s radiation can get through. So, whether you’re hitting the slopes or riding the waves, you need to wear sunscreen in every season and every type of weather.
  10. Sunscreens Have a Maximum Shelf Life of Three Years: According to the FDA, all sunscreens have to be stable at their original strength for at least three years, unless otherwise indicated by an expiration date. Sunscreens lose their effectiveness after three years, especially when the bottle is exposed to direct sunlight, extreme changes in temperature or left open. Sunscreen is said to have a shelf life of three years. However, if you’re using the appropriate amount of sunscreen daily, you shouldn’t have bottles of sunscreen sitting around for more than one year!

Posted In:  Wellness Tips

  April 27th, 2011

10 Scariest Side Effects of Sleeplessness

We have all felt the sting of a poor night’s sleep. With endlessly busy lives full of forty hour work weeks, carpools, dentist appointments, school, family, friends, and so much more, it is nearly impossible to avoid late nights and early mornings. But there is no doubt that prolonged sleeplessness can have some very serious and very negative effects on our bodies and our minds. More and more often, individuals with chronic sleeplessness are turning to prescription sleep medications for aid. Prescription sleeping pills have increased in sale by over 60 percent in the last decade according to a 2006 New York Times article. With pharmacists filling more prescriptions for sleep aid and more and more individuals complaining of sleeplessness, concerns about the health risks of both sleeping pills and sleeplessness have elevated drastically. The following lists the 10 most severe and dangerous side effects sleeplessness can have:

  1. Death: While sleeplessness has not been proven to actually cause death, there are several factors involved with insomnia and poor sleeping habits that may. Those who suffer from sleeplessness are significantly more likely to turn to alcohol abuse and substance abuse. Moreover, individuals who regularly get little to no sleep are far more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression. With the combination of alcohol and controlled substances and depression, insomnia can have some very dire consequences. Generally, experts believe that the body would merely shut down and sleep, before an individual would actually die from not sleeping. However, there has been very little research actually performed around this hypothesis because the experiment is just too dangerous.
  2. Psychosis: One of the most troublesome side effects of severe sleep deprivation is psychosis. When an individual suffers from psychosis they are often described as having a complete break from reality. They may experience personality changes or hallucinations. When associated with sleep deprivation, psychosis is usually only temporary, but it can lead to some very serious issues. Accompanied by psychosis an individual may experience severe depression and anxiety as well. These conditions drastically impair an individual’s ability to perform everyday tasks and worsen an individual’s quality of life.
  3. Obesity: It is no secret that obesity rates throughout America have escalated into a huge problem in recent years. Many health experts are calling the current obesity trend throughout the country an epidemic. Several studies preformed over that past decade have shown that individuals who sleep less are more likely to overeat and, therefore, more likely to become obese. Furthermore, stress and depression (two side effects of sleeplessness) have been shown to contribute to an individual’s weight gain. Obesity is a very dangerous condition. Experts have calculated that obesity is not only more expensive for both the country and an individual than smoking cigarettes, but is also more deadly than smoking cigarettes. While (of course) one night of not sleeping will not make you obese, a constant lifestyle of sleeping too little may.
  4. Type 2 Diabetes: Numerous studies have shown that a person suffering from sleep deprivation is much more susceptible to developing Type 2 Diabetes than a person who gets an adequate amount of sleep each night. It is important to note, however, that this result is only associated with chronic insomnia, not just poor sleeping habits. Type 2 Diabetes is a very serious condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It is associated with several other debilitating conditions as well, including hypertension, high cholesterol, blindness, kidney failure, obesity, and many more.
  5. Suppressed Immune System: Lack of sleep affects almost all aspects of our physiological and psychological health. Sleeplessness has a negative effect on our body’s ability to heal itself. In other words, insomnia and frequent sleepless nights may lead to a decrease in your immune system’s ability to function properly. A weakened immune system (as one might imagine) can lead to several very serious complications. For example, in the study linked to above, individuals who received less than seven hours of sleep a night were almost three times more likely to develop the common cold than those who received eight or more hours of sleep. Even more worrisome, a weakened immune system can lead to chronic disease and severe infections. Several studies have put forth data that suggests a link between the production of disease-fighting cells (white blood cells) and adequate sleep.
  6. Memory Loss: Another serious side effect insomnia can have is memory loss. It is widely known that sleep is the time during which our brains process all the information that we have gathered during the day. It is during the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) stage of sleep that our brain processes this information and stores it as memory. Individuals who do not get an adequate amount of sleep at night will not enter the REM stages of sleep as often and, therefore, will not be capable of storing as many memories. Memory loss can affect several different aspects of an individual’s life, including their personal relationships as well as their ability to think and learn. While it is known that sleep deprivation has negative cognitive consequences, the mechanisms by which sleep deprivation affects brain function remains fairly unknown to scientists.
  7. Loss of Self Control: One of the more serious side effects of sleeplessness is the effects that it can have on natural hormone levels in the body. Scientists have observed that lack of sleep can suppress certain growth hormones that are naturally produced in the body. These growth hormones help promote a balanced reaction to stressors of the immune system, sex drive, and mood. This means that individuals suffering from sleeplessness may feel that they are losing self control. Researchers have observed low levels of melatonin in individuals suffering from insomnia, which regulates the sleep-wake cycle in humans by chemically causing drowsiness. Also, many studies have noticed a correlation between sleeplessness and elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
  8. Decreased Concentration: We can probably agree that trying to concentrate after getting a poor night’s sleep can be extremely difficult. Everyday endless numbers of people both young and old stumble out of bed and consume outrageous amounts of caffeine in order to stay awake and alert throughout the day. While decreased concentration is one of the tamer side effects of sleep deprivation, it can have some very dire consequences. Poor concentration due to lack of sleep can (and has) led to several automobile accidents. Every year, it is estimated that there are more than 50,000 adolescents who are involved in car accidents caused by lack of sleep. However, because sleep deprivation cannot be measured posthumously, it is impossible to determine whether it is a factor in accidents when the driver does not survive.
  9. Pain: While it isn’t all that difficult to believe that chronic pain may cause someone to have trouble sleeping, many researchers believe that lack of sleep may actually cause pain. It is widely known that individuals who suffer from sleeplessness have an increased likelihood of also suffering from severe migraines. A well-known study within the field performed in 1869, indicated that adequate sleep protects individuals from migraine attacks. According to this study, 29 percent of the participants’ migraines were actually caused by insomnia. It is also widely believed (although the science behind it is a bit uncertain) that lack of sleep causes increased pain in trigger points in the muscles.
  10. Dizziness and Nausea: As two of the more well known side effects of sleeplessness, dizziness and nausea are not the scariest consequences poor sleep can have, but they are the most common. These side effects are tangible even after only two consistent nights without much rest. While nausea and dizziness are not necessarily dangerous in themselves, they can lead to some very serious hazards throughout the day. An individual experiencing both nausea and dizziness will have more trouble focusing on the task they have at hand. Moreover, dizziness can severely impair an individual’s ability to operate a vehicle safely, making them a danger to both themselves and others.

Posted In:  Wellness Tips

  April 5th, 2011

101 Easy Ways to Cut Your Cancer Risk

By Tara Miller

Because there’s no cure for cancer yet, there’s also no surefire way to see it coming or blame the development of cancer on any specific lifestyle or diet choices. There are, however, studies that show how certain foods, habits and genetics can increase your chances of getting cancer. Read on for 101 easy ways to cut your cancer risk, just in case there is something you can do about it.

Habits to Break

Ditch these habits if you want to lengthen your life, improve your overall quality of life and reduce your cancer risk.

  1. Smoking: Smoking is one of the most dangerous habits to continue if you are serious about your cancer risk. It can lead to lung cancer, throat cancer and more.
  2. Drinking alcohol: Alcohol can increase your chances of developing ER+/PR+ breast cancer significantly. If you drink one to two drinks a day, your risk increases by 32%; three or more drinks a day increases your risk to up to 51%.
  3. Sunbathing: While a few minutes of sunlight a day is actually good for you, regular sunbathing that leads to burns can lead to skin cancer.
  4. Standing in front of the microwave: Doing it every once in a while probably isn’t too dangerous, but if you’re addicted to your microwave, take a few steps back and to the side to avoid DNA damage and cancer risk.
  5. Laziness: Cancer.org maintains that "being overweight works in a variety of ways to increase cancer risk," and increasing your level of physical activity, even if you don’t lose a significant amount of weight, can reduce your chances of breast cancer and colon cancer.
  6. Ignoring your age: While it’s important to remain active and avoid getting depressed about your age, you should also recognize that age is also a factor in increasing your risk of some cancers. Go for checkups more often and pay more attention to your body’s changes as you age.
  7. Practice safe sex: Women can develop cervical cancer from the STD human papillomavirus, or HPV.

Diet

Your diet carries a lot of weight when it comes to reducing cancer risk. Remember that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, especially, is most important.

  1. Fortified milk and OJ: Drinking milk and orange juice that has been fortified with vitamin D may reduce your chances of dying from colorectal or breast cancer.
  2. Blueberries: Blueberries are powerful antioxidants and have even helped shrink tumors in babies.
  3. Eat less red meat: Eat less red meat and less processed meat like sausage to reduce your cancer risk.
  4. Broccoli: Broccoli and cauliflower contain sulforaphane, which is said to be as effective as anticancer drugs like taxol in stopping cancer cell division.
  5. Flaxseed: Flaxseed and flaxseed oil is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids which can cut colon cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer risk.
  6. Avoid high doses of beta-carotene: Beta-carotene found in fruits and vegetables can be good for you, but consuming it in high doses can be harmful for those already at risk for lung cancer.
  7. Whole grains: Whole grains are a good source of fiber, which may lower cholesterol and reduce cancer risk.
  8. Mackerel: Mackerel is another good source of omega-3 fatty acids.
  9. Grain products with folate: Getting enough folate can reduce your risk of developing colon, rectum and breast cancer.
  10. Tomatoes: Tomatoes are rich in carotenoids, which can help minority women, especially Native American women, reduce their chances of getting cervical cancer.
  11. Lower salt intake: Very high levels of salt in your diet may increase cancer risk.
  12. Raw cabbage: Three servings of raw cabbage a month can reduce your chances of bladder cancer by 40% because of its source of isothiocyanates.
  13. Tuna: Make yourself a tuna sandwich (on whole grain bread) to get omega-3 fatty acids and cut cancer risk.
  14. Kale: Kale is a cruciferous vegetable that contains phytochemicals and can reduce cancer risk.
  15. Strawberries: Strawberries are rich in the most effective kinds of flavonoids, which can help even smokers reduce their risk of lung cancer.
  16. Citrus fruits: Citrus fruits contain biflavonoids, a phytochemical that helps cut cancer risk.
  17. Anthocyanins: Anthocyanins are found in red and blue fruits and vegetables and help fight tumors.
  18. Green and black tea: Green and black teas also have effective flavonoids that reduce cancer risk.

Tests and Check-ups

Find out what tests and check ups you need to catch cancer and risk factors early.

  1. Pap test: Women at least 18 and up should get an annual pap test to check for cervical cancer.
  2. Mole checks: Ask your doctor to check any new or changing moles. You can also give yourself a check for melanoma by reading this guide.
  3. Self breast exams: Women should give themselves a breast exam between annual doctor’s visits.
  4. HPV vaccine: Consider getting or encouraging your daughter to get the HPV vaccine, which can prevent HPV, one of the main causes of genital warts and cervical cancer.
  5. BRCA-1 and BRCA-2: You may want to get tested to see if you have ovarian cancer genes if you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer.
  6. Prostate self-exam: Give yourself a routine prostate exam if you are under the age of 50 and don’t wait to get it done at the doctor every year.
  7. Visit the doctor regularly: Visit the doctor at least once a year for a breast exam, pap test, prostate exam and other tests.
  8. Prostate screening: Men, especially over the age of 50, should receive a professional prostate screening or exam at the doctor’s office.
  9. Polyp tests: Polyp tests find colon and rectal cancer and are important for men and women over the age of 50 with an average cancer risk.
  10. Risk Assessment: Use this guide from the National Cancer Institute to evaluate your cancer risk.
  11. Endometrial/uterine cancer: Starting at the age of 35, women should get an annual screening if they are at high risk for non-polyposis colon cancer.

Cutting out Chemicals and Radiation

Chemicals and radiation can increase your chances of getting cancer, especially if you work in a harmful environment.

  1. Cleaning supplies: Some cleaning supplies and air fresheners contain terpenes, which can react with ozone to produce harmful chemicals like formaldehyde.
  2. Formaldehyde: Reduce your contact with formaldehyde, which has been acknowledged as a cancer-causing substance by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
  3. Processed food: Diets high in processed meats and cheeses and bakery products can "speed growth of lung cancer tumors," reports ScienceDaily.com.
  4. Try to cut back on CT scans and X-rays: If you’re constantly getting X-rays, talk to your doctor about how it affects your cancer risk, and find out if another procedure, like an ultrasound, can be conducted instead.
  5. Ionizing radiation: Ionizing radiation is one cause of breast cancer and has been proven to increase risk in women who received radiation therapy to treat Hodgkin’s disease and teenagers who received large numbers of diagnostic x-ray exams to treat scoliosis and tuberculosis.
  6. Diesel: Those who regularly breathe in diesel fumes may increase their chances of bladder cancer and lung cancer.

Fitness

Physical activity and a healthy physique are important to reducing cancer risk. Learn about smart fitness choices here.

  1. Make a point to stay in shape: Keeping your weight down and preventing obesity can reduce your chance of developing esophageal cancer especially.
  2. Keep track of calories: Find out how many calories you burn during a workout to make it easier to slim down and stay healthy.
  3. Know how much you need to exercise: Here, the American Cancer Society reveals guidelines for how long adults and children need to exercise per day.
  4. Get your kids involved: Help your kids prevent cancer early on by encouraging them to share in your active lifestyle.
  5. Exercise after treatment: If you have already been treated for cancer and want to prevent it from returning, exercise and continue to eat right to reduce your chances of a relapse.
  6. Yoga: If you’re not able to run or make it to a gym, try yoga for a good workout that doesn’t put too much strain on your body.
  7. Take the stairs: Taking the stairs instead of the elevator is often recommended as an easy way to fit physical activity into your busy schedule.
  8. Work out with friends: Socialize and stay motivated while you work out when you organize a group of friends to go on walks, take a dance class or play baseball.

Being Informed

Sometimes cutting your cancer risk means knowing how at-risk you are, due to your family history and symptoms. Check out these sites to learn more about cancer.

  1. Know your family history: Use a tool like this one to organize your family medical history.
  2. Know how to give yourself a breast exam: Make sure you’re giving yourself a proper breast exam and not taking any shortcuts.
  3. American Cancer Society: Learn about the different types of cancer, treatments, symptoms and more on this site.
  4. National Cancer Institute: Cancer.gov has a cancer drug dictionary, information about clinical trials, statistics, risk information, screening and testing information, and a lot more.
  5. Cancer Health Center: WebMD’s Cancer Health Center is a great guide for learning about your risks, available options and treatments, and ability to prevent or reduce your chances of cancer.
  6. New York Times Cancer: Stay on top of all the research studies and news related to cancer, cancer patients, the culture of cancer and more.
  7. Medline Plus Cancer: This government site provides information on diagnosis, symptoms, treatment and more.
  8. Susan G. Komen for the Cure: Visit this site to learn about breast cancer risk.

Environmental Factors and Tests

Find out if your environment–manmade or natural–is heightening your risk for cancer.

  1. Radon: Radon-22 is a radioactive gas that is found indoors and outdoors but has a natural source. It can cause lung cancer but can be detected with home radon kits.
  2. Asbestos: Breathing in asbestos can cause lung cancer, and your chances of getting cancer from asbestos increase if you smoke.
  3. Arsenic: Arsenic, which is found in wood preservatives, animal hides, glass manufacturing, cigarettes and other products, can cause cancer if you are exposed to it in high doses.
  4. Lead: It is still unknown whether or not lead causes cancer directly, but it has been linked to stomach and lung cancer. Metal workers, lead burners, pipe cutters, plumbers, battery makers and other workers who are exposed to lead products are at the greatest risk.
  5. Tetrachlorethylene: Those who work in dry cleaners are exposed to this substance, also called perc, which can cause cancer.
  6. Benzene: Benzene inhalation can result in a cancer risk and is especially dangerous for women firefighters.
  7. PBDEs: PBDEs, or polybrominated diphenyl ethers, are used as flame retardents and "have been identified as endocrine disruptors," according to Cornell and may act as estrogen disruptors, causing increased risk for breast cancer.

Going Organic

You don’t have to totally go organic to reduce your cancer risk, but growing your own vegetables and opting for cleaner materials and products in general is still a good way to avoid chemicals that could prove to be harmful in the future. Learn about going organic with these tips.

  1. Grow your own organic vegetables: Learn how to plant organic seeds and grow your own safe vegetables with this guide.
  2. Organic apples: The New York Times reports that "apples are…one of the most pesticide-contaminated fruits and vegetables," so buy these organic.
  3. Organic skin care: Use organic body lotions, make up and sun screen to avoid putting chemicals directly onto your skin.
  4. Organic Consumers Association: On this website, you’ll learn about all kinds of organic lifestyle issues and tips, including vitamins, clothes, raw food lifestyle and more.
  5. Drink organic milk: By drinking organic milk, you’ll reduce your chances of consuming pesticides and antibiotics.
  6. Organic cotton: Organic cotton is grown without pesticides or herbicides and is used for clothing, linens and more.
  7. 10 Good Reasons to Go Organic: Learn about the other benefits of going organic, besides helping your health.
  8. Organic baby items: Protect your babies and children from unnecessary chemicals by buying organic products for them.
  9. Eat organic meat: Eating organic meat reduces your contact with pesticides, and supporting organic farmers reduces their exposure, too.

Daily Tips

From thoroughly washing your food to avoiding secondhand smoke, these daily habits can reduce cancer risk.

  1. Wash food: Wash fruits and vegetables to remove any pesticides or harmful chemicals.
  2. Exercise: Physical activity is a must when you need to lower your cancer risk, so make it a part of your daily routine.
  3. Sleep at least seven hours a night: Sleeping for at least seven hours a night is especially critical for women who want to cut their cancer risk.
  4. Breast-feed: Breast-feeding your children for six months can reduce your chances of developing low grade, slow-growing breast cancer by 20%.
  5. Avoid secondhand smoke: Ask friends and relatives to refrain from smoking in your home or car, and try to sit in a non-smoking section of a restaurant if you possibly can.
  6. Avoid talcum powder: Some studies indicate that there may be a link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer.
  7. Monitor your environment: Be aware of second-hand smoke, sources of radiation and chemicals to decrease your daily risk.
  8. Watch the news: Watch the news to learn about the newest cancer studies and treatments.
  9. Limit alcohol intake: Limit your alcohol intake to just one drink per day to lower your cancer risk.
  10. Eat more fruits and vegetables: A diet rich in fruits and vegetables keeps your weight down and feeds your body the antioxidants, carotenoids and other nutrients it needs.
  11. Tune in to your body: The more tuned in you are to your body, the faster you’ll notice irregular symptoms and signs like changing moles or lumps.

Hormone Therapy

Consider the benefits and risks of hormone therapy here.

  1. Tamoxifen: Tamoxifen can be used to reduce the return of cancer for women whose tumors test positive for estrogen.
  2. Raloxifene: Raloxifene is another treatment that helps reduce breast cancer in high-risk women.
  3. Hormone therapy for prostate cancer: Hormone therapy for prostate cancer can be used to stop the production of testosterone and androgens, reducing cancer risk.
  4. Don’t use PHT: Hormone replacement therapy, or PHT, "definitely increases" your risk for developing breast cancer, according to Health.com. Use it only sparingly, if you must.
  5. Anabolic steroids: Merck reports that long term use of anabolic steroids, which are used to increase physical performance, "may slightly increase the risk of liver and prostate cancer."

Miscellaneous Guides and Advice

Read these guides for even more easy ways to cut your cancer risk.

  1. What to eat to lower cancer risk: MSNBC’s report stresses the importance of "veggies, fiber, vitamin D and calcium to prevent disease."
  2. Exercise plus sleep may lower cancer risk in women: Read CNN’s guide to learn about a study that claims sleep and exercise can reduce cancer risk.
  3. Limit alcohol to lower cancer risk: This guide encourages you to exercise, stop smoking, eat more fruits and vegetables, and reduce alcohol consumption to lower cancer risk.
  4. How to Lower Your Cancer Risk: These tips include "see your doctor," "be physically active," and understand that "33 percent of all cancers are related to diet and physical activity issues," as reported by The American Cancer Society.
  5. Coffee could lower cancer risk: This Japanese study found that drinking coffee may lower the risk of developing oral cancer.
  6. Antioxidants don’t cut cancer risk, study finds: Read this report to find out that antioxidant supplements may not make a difference in preventing cancer.
  7. What are the risk factors for breast cancer: Better understand your risk of developing breast cancer when you read this guide.
  8. Vitamin D can lower cancer risk: This study recently came out and claims that a healthy does of Vitamin D, even from the sunlight, is beneficial.
  9. Lowering risk for people with a personal history: BreastCancer.org gives hope to those with a family history of breast cancer.
  10. Common Questions About Diet and Cancer: Cancer.gov’s info page answers your questions about how certain foods help prevent cancer.
  11. Migraines lower cancer risk: This surprising study may be the silver lining for regular migraine sufferers.

Posted In:  Wellness Tips

  February 9th, 2009

100 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Every Disease

Living a long, healthy life is a goal many would like to achieve. Luckily, there are plenty of things you can do to help stack the deck in your favor. From lifestyle changes to good nutrition to eating specific foods, the following list will help you find out how to help reduce your risk for disease and illness. There are also plenty of suggestions to help prevent specific illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s.

Environment

Creating a healthier environment for yourself and others will help reduce your risk for cancer and other illnesses. Follow these suggestions to help prevent serious health problems.

  1. Avoid herbicides and pesticides. With plenty of natural ways to get rid of unwanted insects and solutions to eliminate weeds, you can easily avoid using these chemicals.
  2. Keep plastics out of foods. Don’t microwave plastic or put hot foods in plastic. Also, avoid using canned foods with white linings inside–these contain bisphenol-A.
  3. Drink filtered water. Whether you use a filtration pitcher or a more elaborate system for your house, switch to filtered water that has fewer impurities such as pesticides, lead, and dangerous bacteria.
  4. Choose beauty products wisely. Select beauty products that do not have synthetic fragrances or phthalates (usually found in nail polish), and don’t overuse products, either.
  5. Avoid bad air days. On days when the air quality drops below "moderate," stay indoors to avoid breathing in toxic air–especially if you have lung or heart issues.
  6. Use natural cleaning products. Cleaning your house doesn’t mean you have to fill it with toxic chemicals. Instead, use natural products that clean just as well and are safer.
  7. Use non-toxic paint. Before your next painting project around the house, do your research and find a non-toxic paint that is safer for your health.
  8. Be aware of carbon monoxide dangers. From faulty space heaters to idling your car in the garage, learn about the hidden dangers of carbon monoxide, which can contribute to heart disease and even death.
  9. Learn about environmental threats. Many people don’t realize the way our environment impacts health. Reading research-based articles such as Environmental Threats to Healthy Aging will help you stay informed about connections between your health and the environment.
  10. Live green. Whether you purchase a green-built house or just make conscious choices about the products you buy (and even how you will bring them home), by living green, you are doing your part to reduce the negative environmental effects on your health.

Nutrition

Good nutrition helps prevent a number of diseases. These tips will get you started with a better way of eating.

  1. Eat a balanced diet. Make sure your diet includes a variety of foods that include grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean meats.
  2. Get plenty of antioxidants. Foods that are high in antioxidants are an excellent choice for preventing health risks. Antioxidants work to counteract free radicals, which damage cell structure.
  3. Eat hormone-free meat. The best meat you can eat to reduce your risk of diseases such as cancer is organic meat that has not been given hormones.
  4. Avoid fish with high mercury content. Fish is an excellent choice for brain health, but only if you aren’t putting tons of mercury into your body at the same time. Find out which types of fish have the least amount of mercury and stick with those.
  5. Maintain a healthy weight. Being too heavy or too thin or fluctuating wildly between sizes puts your body at risk for plenty of health problems. Get to a healthy weight gradually and stick with it.
  6. Reduce fast foods. Reducing, making wise fast food choices, or even eliminating fast food from your diet is one of the healthiest nutritional changes you can make.
  7. Store food wisely. Follow guidelines for food storage to ensure you are not eating old food that can make you sick or contaminating your food with harmful bacteria.
  8. An apple a day. The old adage is true–an apple a day may keep the doctor away. Apples are shown to help reduce the risk for heart disease, some cancers, asthma, and Type II diabetes.
  9. Go vegetarian. Many advocate a vegetarian diet to reduce risk for many problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and some types of cancer because of the low fat and high fiber nature of a vegetarian diet.
  10. Eat organic. Eliminate unnecessary chemicals by eating organic foods that don’t have all the pesticides and herbicides the regular food does. Also, organic food is thought to have more nutrients and is not made with artificial colorings or flavorings (even more unnecessary chemicals).

Exercise

The connection between exercise and reducing risk for a number of health issues from cancer to heart disease to Alzheimer’s are well known. These tips will help you get the exercise you need to keep illness at bay. If you have been sedentary, be sure to check with your doctor before starting any new exercise routine.

  1. Do something every day. Whether you take a walk, go to the gym, or head to the courts for a little one-on-one, do something physically active every day.
  2. Park at a distance. Don’t vie for the closest parking spot, but choose a location further from where you need to go. The extra walking will add up, and you will reduce the stress brought on by fighting with other shoppers trying to get the close spots.
  3. Bike to work. If you live close enough, try to ride your bike to work at least one day each week.
  4. Take the stairs. If you work or live in a building with an elevator and you only need to go one or two flights, take the stairs. If you need to go higher, walk a few flights, then take the elevator.
  5. Get a pedometer. You may be surprised at how little you actually walk each day. Get a pedometer for a few dollars and not only determine how much you are already walking, but use it as a motivational tool to help you walk more each day.
  6. Do yard work. Between mowing the lawn and keeping your yard in top health and looking beautiful, you can really put in some exercise.
  7. Find a buddy. Find someone who will be an exercise partner a few times a week to help keep your motivation up. Choose something you both enjoy such as walking, tennis, or going to the gym.
  8. Find motivation. Whether you need a routine, a variety of different exercises, or a well-stocked iPod, find what you need to make your exercise time enjoyable and motivating.
  9. Make it easy. Learn ways to incorporate quick and easy exercises into your everyday activities and you will create an exercise habit with very little effort.
  10. Be realistic. You probably won’t be running a marathon in two weeks and you may even fall off the exercise wagon completely a few times. Realize that it takes time to get in the habit and work your way to good fitness, so set realistic expectations for yourself.

Lifestyle

From self-exams to sleeping well, find out what type of changes you can make in you life to help prevent disease.

  1. Do self-exams. Breast, prostate, and testicular self-exams are important tools that can alert you to any health issues early when treatment is more effective.
  2. Practice safe sex. Reduce the risk of HIV and other STDs by practicing safe sex.
  3. Reduce stress. Living in a constant state of stress leaves your body vulnerable to illness and disease. Eliminate chronic stress from your life to reduce health risks.
  4. Fly safely. Avoid Deep Vein Thrombosis when flying by standing up and moving around occasionally during your flight, staying hydrated, and taking aspirin.
  5. Drive safely. Always buckle up when in the car and learn to drive defensively. Safe driving habits will help prevent injury due to accidents.
  6. Drink in moderation. While one or two drinks may actually promote health, excessive drinking causes many health risks you want to avoid.
  7. Stop smoking. Not only is smoking a cancer risk, it also causes lung disease, heart attack, stroke, and a whole host of other health problems. Get help to stop smoking today.
  8. Sleep well. Getting enough sleep each night will not only help reduce stress, but studies show it may also reduce the risk of cancer in women who are also exercising.
  9. Think positively. Not only will you will feel empowered to make positive, healthy changes in your life, but many people credit positive thinking with helping them overcome serious illness.
  10. Find balance. Too much work can send your life into an unhealthy way of living. Learn to find the balance between work and personal time.

Specific Foods

While good nutrition is important for a healthy life, some foods are touted as better for preventing illnesses such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. Check out this list to see what you should be eating for preventing disease.

  1. Dark chocolate. With plenty of antioxidants as well as benefits for cardiovascular health and stress relief, this delicious treat is one you in which you can indulge with relatively little guilt.
  2. Green tea. Full of antioxidants and free of sugar, green tea is a healthy drink that is thought to help prevent cancer, lower cholesterol, boost immunity, and more.
  3. Tomatoes. Tomatoes contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that has been linked with preventing many types of cancers. Not only is this food good for you, it tastes great too.
  4. Red wine. The health benefits of red wine have gained plenty of attention recently. From heart health to cancer prevention, red wine (in moderation) is said to have plenty of positive health benefits.
  5. Salmon. This super food is high in omega-3 EFAs and protein, low in cholesterol and contains B vitamins, calcium, zinc, iron and magnesium.
  6. Blueberries. Known as a superfood, blueberries are high in antioxidants and full of vitamins C, K, fiber, and manganese.
  7. Avocado. This delicious fruit is also nutritious. Avocados have lots of B-complex vitamins and are an anti-inflammatory.
  8. Whole grains. Not only are whole grains full of vitamins and minerals, they are also touted as a preventative food to help protect you from cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and digestive problems.
  9. Hazelnuts. A great source of vitamin E, hazelnuts also offer protection against cancer and heart disease.
  10. Broccoli. High in calcium, potassium, and B vitamins, broccoli is also thought to help prevent certain illnesses such as cancer.

Preventing Cancer

Take this advice to help prevent cancer. From skin care to selenium, these tips offer great ways to reduce your risks.

  1. No tobacco. Whether you smoke, dip, or chew, stop using tobacco to help reduce the risk of lung, mouth, throat, and other cancers.
  2. Sun protection. Don’t forget to protect your skin from the sun every time you are outside. Use sun block with an SPF factor of at least 15, even in the winter, and get in the habit of wearing a hat. Also, avoid being outside at peak sun times.
  3. Get screened. Don’t skip on the recommended screenings for your age and gender. Early detection is an important defense against cancer.
  4. Know family history. There is often a genetic connection to certain cancers. If possible, know your family history to determine what your risk factors for cancer may be.
  5. Low fat, high fiber. A diet low in fat and high in fiber (preferably from fruits and vegetables) has been shown to reduce the risk of some types of cancer.
  6. Exercise. There is a strong correlation between exercise and cancer prevention. Not only is exercise important for overall health, but some say it can prevent up to 50% of cancers.
  7. Avoid the microwave. Some studies indicate that microwaving food destroys almost all of the cancer-preventing qualities of healthy food. Steam your broccoli instead of microwaving it.
  8. Avoid unnecessary x-rays. The radiation from x-rays puts you at risk for cancer, so unless that x-ray is absolutely necessary, think twice about getting it.
  9. Selenium. This supplement is thought to help prevent cancer and there are even indications that it may slow or stop tumor growth.
  10. Opt for thermography. Women, consider getting thermography screening instead of a mammogram. There is no radiation involved and may be able to detect cancer sooner than a mammogram.

Preventing Heart Disease and Stroke

Cardiovascular illnesses are certainly preventable. These suggestions will tell you what you should do to help prevent heart disease and stroke.

  1. Control blood pressure. High blood pressure is the biggest risk factor for stroke. Controlling blood pressure greatly reduces your risk for both heart disease and stroke.
  2. Reduce stress. Stress is a major contributor to heart disease. Reducing your stress levels will reduce your risk.
  3. Lower cholesterol. High cholesterol indicates that your arteries are being clogged with fat. Lower your cholesterol to improve your health and reduce your risk for heart disease.
  4. Lose weight. Obesity and being over weight leads to heart disease. A Body Mass Index of 25 or greater indicates you may be at risk for heart disease and stroke. Measure your BMI and see where you fall.
  5. Limit alcohol. Too much alcohol can create high blood pressure, which can lead to heart failure or stroke.
  6. Eat heart-healthy. A heart-healthy diet includes fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy and protein options.
  7. Get screenings. Make sure your blood pressure and cholesterol are within healthy ranges by getting screened at the recommended intervals.
  8. Reduce salt. Reducing the salt in your diet can significantly cut your risk for heart disease and stroke. Be aware that even if you aren’t adding much salt to your food, processed and fast food are heavily salted already.
  9. Take B vitamins. A good quality B complex vitamin may lead to reduced levels of homocysteine, thereby reducing risk for heart disease.
  10. Drink tea. Both black and green tea seem to reduce the risk for heart disease and stroke in studies done in Japan and Europe.

Preventing Diabetes

Type II diabetes is a growing concern in America with more and more people being diagnosed each day. Find out how to protect yourself from developing this disease with the tips below.

  1. Learn about prediabetes. For many people who are at risk for developing Type II diabetes, prediabetes is a warning sign that require changes in order to prevent full-blown diabetes from developing.
  2. Reduce weight. Many doctors recommend overweight people lose 5 to 7% of of their weight to prevent diabetes from occurring.
  3. Know about body shape. People who gain weight around their mid-section are at higher risk for diabetes and should be more vigilant in prevention.
  4. Increase exercise. Shoot for 30 minutes a day at least five days a week to insure you are getting enough exercise to reduce your diabetes risk.
  5. Learn your history. If you have parents or siblings with diabetes, your chances increase significantly for getting diabetes. Also, certain ethnic groups are at higher risk.
  6. Reduce blood pressure. High blood pressure is a risk factor for diabetes. Controlling your blood pressure will help reduce your risk.
  7. Reduce cholesterol. High cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood are risks for diabetes. Monitor and control the amount of fats in your blood to help prevent diabetes.
  8. Eat vitamin C. Eating fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C has shown to reduce the risk for diabetes. This study indicates that supplements won’t do the trick, so seek out the best produce for the job.
  9. Drink less sugar. From sodas to fruit juices, many drinks contain high amounts of sugar. Switch to water, tea, or other healthy drinks without all the sugar.
  10. Choose carbohydrates wisely. Carbohydrates like pasta, rice, potatoes, and bread get converted to sugar much more quickly than complex carbohydrates like whole grains and beans.

Preventing Alzheimer’s

As science finds ways for people to live longer, the risk for brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s grows, too. Find out what you can do to help protect yourself from developing Alzheimer’s with these suggestions.

  1. Omega-3. Many studies have concluded that getting omega-3s through foods such as salmon or though fish oil supplements work to delay or prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s.
  2. Keep your mind active. Do crossword puzzles, play chess, or participate in any other activities that keep your mind sharpened.
  3. Avoid unnecessary chemicals. Exposure to certain chemicals such as pesticides has been linked with brain disorders, including Alzheimer’s.
  4. Caffeine. One study has shown strong evidence that caffeine may prevent Alzheimer’s as well as help those who have already developed it.
  5. Vitamins and minerals. A balanced intake of vitamins and minerals can help prevent Alzheimer’s. Determine if you have a deficit and add any necessary supplements to help you find your balance.
  6. Fresh foods. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables is better for your overall health as well as reduces the amount of chemicals that are found in processed foods that may put you at risk for Alzheimer’s.
  7. Stay socially active. Being connected with others and avoiding isolation has shown to improve your chances for preventing Alzheimer’s.
  8. Stay away from heavy metals. Avoid fish and seafood high in mercury, don’t cook in aluminum cookware, avoid using deodorant with aluminum in it, and avoid lead exposure.
  9. Anti-inflammatory drugs. Taking medications like ibuprofen have been shown to reduce the nerve cell damage that occurs in those who develop Alzheimer’s. While this treatment probably won’t prevent Alzheimer’s, it does retain brain function that may have been lost.
  10. Maintain good cardiovascular health. There is a connection between good cardiovascular health and brain health, so make sure you keep your blood pressure and cholesterol down.

Preventing Respiratory Disorders

From asthma to allergies to lung cancer, learn how you can help prevent these respiratory illnesses from occurring or getting worse.

  1. Avoid smoke. If you smoke, stop now. If you do not smoke, avoid second-hand smoke and smoke-filled places like bars. Cigarette smoke is especially dangerous for those with compromised lung health.
  2. Exercise. Getting regular exercise stretches the lungs and bronchial tubes to help promote easier breathing. If you already have asthma, you may need to use an inhaler prior to exercise, but don’t let it stop you from this important element of prevention and healing.
  3. Avoid pollen. For allergy and asthma sufferers, certain pollens can trigger reactions. Stay inside on high pollen days or talk to your doctor about medications or natural treatments for allergy control.
  4. Control dust inside. Dust mites are a source of allergy agony for many people. Keeping dust cleaned up, using an air purifier, and wrapping mattresses and pillows in hypoallergenic covers can all help reduce lung problems.
  5. Get a flu shot. Those susceptible to lung problems should consider getting a flu shot prior to the flu season. Getting the flu can quickly deteriorate to a dangerous case of pneumonia.
  6. Wash hands. Keeping hands germ-free by proper washing goes far to preventing colds and the flu, which can quickly turn into a respiratory illness such as bronchitis.
  7. Reduce indoor air pollution. With simple solutions such as switching to chemical-free cleaners, using high-end air filters, and even having house plants in your home, you can improve the quality of the air in your house.
  8. Wear a mask. If you are working with harsh chemicals, sawing wood, or any other project that releases particles in the air, be sure to wear a mask over your mouth and nose to ensure you are not breathing in contaminants that may harm your lungs.
  9. Vitamin E. Some researchers have determined that vitamin E, especially in oranges, may be effective in preventing lung disease.
  10. Test for radon. Radon is an odorless gas that is emitted from the earth’s crust. Radon is not a problem when released in the open air, but when it is captured in a house, it does not dissipate as well. Breathing radon causes lung cancer, so testing for radon is an important step to prevent serious lung illness.

Posted In:  Wellness Tips

  December 11th, 2008

100 Natural Ways to Overcome Anxiety

By Tara Miller

The fast-paced lifestyle that so many lead today has resulted in a generation of individuals with high anxiety. Whether you suffer from occasional panic attacks or spend most of your day worrying, anxiety doesn’t have to be a part of your life. Skip the potentially addictive anti-anxiety medications and give these natural methods a try. With tips ranging from reducing stress to aromatherapy to changes in nutrition, you will find plenty of great natural ideas to try to reduce your anxiety.

Stress Reduction

A major source of anxiety is the stress that creeps up through daily living. Take these suggestions to reduce stress and help eliminate anxiety.

  1. Let go of control. Learn to accept that some things are beyond your ability to control. Once this expectation is gone, you will likely discover a reduction of your stress.
  2. Do one thing at a time. Slow down and stop multitasking. Doing one thing at a time will reduce stress and allow you to perform each task more efficiently.
  3. Learn to say "no". Turning away what you don’t have time to do will free you from obligations that will end up hanging over your head.
  4. Emotions. Keep in touch with your emotions. Pretending you don’t have feelings of anger, sadness, or loneliness will just push these feeling down until they come back out in negative ways.
  5. Let go of anger. Don’t hold on to anger or grudges. Instead, learn how to let go so you can focus on more positive things.
  6. Identify stressors. Realize what makes you feel stressed and do something to change them. If watching the news makes you stressed, turn it off. If driving in traffic raises your blood pressure, then find ways to change or delay driving so you aren’t in traffic.
  7. Learn time management techniques. Organizing your time and energy will help you complete tasks more efficiently and clear the way for less stress in your life.
  8. Make time for yourself. Making sure you carve out some time for yourself every day will not only give you time to do something you enjoy, but will help you relax as well.
  9. Journal. Identify stressors or just get out those negative feelings you may not want to tell other people with a private journal.
  10. Find your sense of humor. Learning to laugh at life and finding the joy every day will go a long way to reducing stress.

Herbs

Herbal medicine has been around for centuries. Take the advice of generations past and try these natural cures for your anxiety.

  1. Passionflower. Passionflower has been used for hundreds of years as a natural anxiety reliever and for insomnia. In 2001 a study showed that it was as effective as a popular anti-anxiety medication.
  2. Valerian root. Used for centuries as both a sleeping aid and as an aid for anxiety, many people rely on valerian root for relief.
  3. Chamomile. A popular tea, drinking chamomile will help reduce anxiety.
  4. Kava Kava. This plant from the South Pacific is frequently used to treat anxiety. However, those with liver problems should avoid using this herb.
  5. St. John’s Wort. Used for centuries, this herb helps combat anxiety and depression, as well as relieve muscle aches and reduce inflammation.
  6. Verbena. Also known as wild hyssop or vervain, this herb is often used to help those suffering from anxiety and depression.
  7. Skullcap. Help your nervous tension subside by trying skullcap as a tea or in one of its many other forms.
  8. Cowslip. Anxiety is just one of the many disorders this herb helps to heal.
  9. Lemon balm. Lemon balm helps reduce anxiety, especially when used with other calming herbs such as chamomile.
  10. Hops. Used to help cure anxiety and restlessness, hops is generally combined with passionflower, chamomile, or valerian root.

Therapies

From acupuncture to hydrotherapy, find a natural way to help your body heal the effects of anxiety.

  1. Acupuncture. Acupuncture generally leaves people feeling relaxed and calm and is an excellent way to control anxiety.
  2. Biofeedback. Becoming aware of your physical responses to anxiety and learning how to control them is an excellent therapy for those suffering from anxiety.
  3. Hypnotherapy. Anxiety can be successfully managed through a variety of hypnosis techniques.
  4. Craniosacral therapy. Reducing anxiety is among one of the many benefits of focusing attention to the skull and base of the spine through craniosacral therapy.
  5. Polarity therapy. This integrated approach to healing is often helpful for relieving anxiety and includes soft touch and assessment of energy balance.
  6. Color therapy. Using color and light to balance energy, this therapy is helpful in restoring balance and calm.
  7. Crystal therapy. Many people believe in the healing properties of specific stones or crystals. Try rose quartz if you suffer from anxiety.
  8. Bioelectromagnetic therapy. The manipulation of magnetic and electromagnetic fields as a source of natural healing has also been used to successfully reduce anxiety by reducing muscle tension.
  9. Hydrotherapy. Relaxing in a hot bath is an excellent way to sooth anxiety. Add herbs or essential oils to enhance the hydrotherapy experience.
  10. Reiki. Reiki is a treatment that transfers energy from the practitioner to the client and works to aid in healing and restoring the mind and spirit.

Body Work

Just about everyone can appreciate the relaxing qualities of massage, but that isn’t the only type of body work that can help reduce anxiety. Find out what else you can try from this list.

  1. Massage. Getting a massage produces deep relaxation and calms the body. Massage also eliminates toxins in the body, leaving you feeling better physically as well as mentally.
  2. Shiatsu. Working along the same premise as acupuncture, shiatsu involves using hands and fingers on acupressure points to bring about positive healing effects and relaxation.
  3. Reflexology. Typically reflexology focuses on feet and hands, but this technique with the ears can help eliminate anxiety, too.
  4. Thai Yoga Bodywork. Those who have experience Thai Yoga Bodywork love the relaxing and restorative feelings that result.
  5. Healing Touch. The gentle work of a Healing Touch therapy session is reportedly an excellent treatment for anxiety and depression.
  6. Therapeutic Touch. This form of therapy, frequently used by nurses, shows promise of reducing anxiety in certain patient groups such as burn victims and those with cancer.
  7. Myofascial trigger therapy. Working similarly to acupuncture, this type of body work that involves deep tissue pressure on specific points, can result in many of the same relaxing feelings gained from acupuncture.
  8. Alexander therapy. Learn how to perform daily tasks without the resulting muscle tension and pain that is so common with the Alexander Technique. For those with anxiety, loosening tight muscles can bring a noticeable difference.
  9. Watsu. This easy manipulation of the body in warm water brings about relaxation and a general sense of well-being.
  10. Trager work. This body work is based on the work of Dr. Milton Trager and works on the premise that through physical and emotional stress, people will teach their bodies to become stiffened. By loosening the body and unlearning the habits, the patients feel better physically and emotionally.

Mind/Body Techniques

From Tai Chi to meditation to exercise, follow these suggestions for ways to strengthen the connection between your mind and body to reduce anxiety.

  1. Yoga. An excellent way to get exercise, center your mind, and find calm, yoga is a great choice for beating anxiety.
  2. Tai Chi. This popular body movement exercise is excellent for anxiety and depression and is gentle enough for people of any age to enjoy.
  3. Self-hypnosis. Try this simple technique to see if it reduces the anxiety in your life.
  4. Sleep. Getting enough good quality sleep each night is important to help manage anxiety. Be sure you follow a routine with consistent bedtime and waking times and don’t drink caffeine or alcohol before bed.
  5. Meditation. Set aside a few minutes every day for quiet meditation. The negative thoughts that accompany anxiety are quieted through meditation.
  6. Breathing. The deep, relaxing form of breathing used during yoga practice can bring benefits to your mental health.
  7. Exercise. Getting regular exercise is not only good for your body, but it also helps keep your brain in good shape. Many professionals recommend getting regular exercise each day to combat anxiety and stress.
  8. Qi Gong. This ancient Chinese practice can help you reduce anxiety. Read these tips to find out how.
  9. Isolation tank. Those who have undergone the remarkable experience of floating in an isolation tank report a huge reduction in stress and anxiety.
  10. Guided imagery. Learn how to engage your senses to bring about a feeling of calm and promote healing with this powerful technique.

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy involves using the essential oils from plants and adding them to massage oil, bath water, in a room diffuser, or even inhaling from a tissue. Try these essential oils to find a scents to help you relax.

  1. Bergamot. Bergamot is good for raising self confidence as well as soothing frustration.
  2. Lavender. A popular scent for relaxation and soothing anxious nerves, lavender is an excellent essential oil to reduce anxiety.
  3. Jasmine. To reduce fear and help eliminate pessimism, jasmine is an excellent choice.
  4. Frankincense. This scent slows down breathing, produces a sense of calm, and sooths anxious or obsessive feelings.
  5. Lime. Lime is refreshing and uplifting and works to combat anxiety and depression.
  6. Patchouli. Frequently used against anxiety and depression, patchouli helps put you in touch with your physical self.
  7. Sandalwood. Sandalwood is great for reducing depression, tension, fear, and stress and also helps open the spirit.
  8. Ylang ylang. This scent helps calm nervous tension and eases frustration and anger.
  9. Rose. Soothing fear and anxiety, this famous scent also often brings brings happiness to those who smell it.
  10. Cypress. Cypress soothes the nervous system and restores calm when you are feeling anxious.

Nutrition

Everyone has heard about the benefits of nutrition for your physical health, but good nutrition is also important for mental health. Follow these nutrition suggestions for ways to reduce anxiety.

  1. Green tea. Not only is this powerhouse of a drink full of healthy antioxidants, it has also been shown to reduce anxiety. Drink a cup a day for great results.
  2. Avoid caffeine. Caffeine replicates the symptoms of anxiety and when paired with a genuinely stressful day, will only make anxiety worse. Skip the coffee and sodas.
  3. Multivitamin. Taking a good-quality multivitamin will help ensure that you are getting all the vitamins and minerals you need to keep your body in balance, which helps reduce anxiety.
  4. Fish oil. Fish oil has many benefits for the brain and body alike and often helps eliminate depression and anxiety. Some studies have even documented the beneficial effects of fish oil on anxiety.
  5. Mushrooms. The pantothenic acid found in mushrooms is often used in the treatment of anxiety. Give this food a try and see if it reduces your anxiety.
  6. Alcohol only in moderation. While one glass of wine may calm your nerves, too much alcohol actually increases anxiety, so avoid too much alcohol.
  7. Protein. When blood sugar levels fluctuate, you can experience anxiety and jitteriness. Eating protein helps keep your blood sugar levels stable.
  8. Avocado. High in B vitamins and magnesium, this delicious fruit is a great way to combat anxiety through nutrition.
  9. No refined sugar. Refined sugar wrecks havoc on your blood sugar levels, often leading to jittery, anxious feelings. If you are already suffering from anxiety, try natural sweeteners instead.
  10. Turkey. High in tryptophan, which boosts serotonin in the brain, turkey is an excellent way to help elevate mood and reduce anxiety.

Bach Flowers

Dr. Edward Bach developed an alternative healing system based on the essences of specific flowers that are thought to provide physical and mental relief. Give these flower essences a try to ease your anxiety.

  1. Rescue Remedy. With 5 of the 38 Bach Flower Essences in this remedy, it is specially designed to ease anxiety and stress.
  2. Red chestnut. If you spend too much time worrying about the health and safety of loved-ones, try red chestnut essence to help loosen some of that worry.
  3. Cherry plum. Help banish irrational thoughts that can easily feed anxiety with cherry plum essence.
  4. Mustard flower. If depression comes with no reason, try mustard flower essence to ease the sadness and hopelessness.
  5. Cerato. Trusting your own judgment and depending less on what others think are the benefits of this flower essence.
  6. Gorse. Find relief from hopelessness and despair with this flower essence.
  7. Rock water. Unrealistic expectations and giving too much of yourself can result in high levels of anxiety. Rock water essence will help you find a balance.
  8. Impatiens. This flower essence will help ease irritation, frustration, and impatience.
  9. Star of Bethlehem. Useful for easing the effects of shock, even from years past, this flower essence may provide relief.
  10. Mimulus. If you have specific fears you want to ease, try mimulus essence to help with this.

Naturopathic Remedies

Rather than finding the necessary herbs, oils, or other ingredients to make your own remedy, try some of these natural remedies available for purchase.

  1. Chill Pill. With Ashwagandha root extract, chamomile, valerian root, and lots of B vitamins, this vegetarian formula is sure to help you find your calm in a non-addictive way.
  2. Anxiety Relief. This homeopathic medication provides relief from anxiety and panic. The tablets dissolve without water, so you can take them anywhere.
  3. Kalm-Assure. Combining antothenic acid and GABA with herbs like passion flower and chamomile, this remedy seeks to provide relief both immediately and long-term.
  4. Kava Stress Relief Organic Tea. The kava root in this tea will help relax you and the cinnamon will taste delicious.
  5. Calming. Using multiple homeopathic formulas, this medication provides relief from anxiety as well as insomnia.
  6. Tranquilnite Plus. Sometimes anxiety can prevent a good night’s sleep. Try this formula which includes valerian root, chamomile, and lavender to help you fall asleep and stay asleep.
  7. Dr. Christopher’s Nerve Formula Extract. These herbal extracts work to help heal and strengthen the nervous system, which may help with anxiety.
  8. Calm. This formula is made specifically to ease anxiety and uses GABA, L-Tyrosine, and Motherwort to help you find your calm.
  9. Anxiety Relief. A combination of both tablets and spray, this remedy includes herbs like passionflower and valerian along with vitamins and minerals.
  10. Mood Balance. These tablets contain herbs and vitamins to help sooth your mood and help you find your balance.

Helpful Articles

Read these articles to find suggestions for natural ways to send your stress and anxiety packing.

  1. Anxiety Busting. This article offers great suggestions for nutrition, exercise, and other natural anxiety solutions.
  2. Stress Reducers. Get plenty of tips on ways to reduce stress and help eliminate anxiety in this article.
  3. Ten Ways to Reduce Stress. This article, written by Dr. Andrew Weil, outlines plenty of helpful suggestions for reducing anxiety and stress.
  4. The Connection Between Mind and Body. Find out how the mind can work as a powerful tool in healing. Reduce anxiety and improve your health with the suggestions here.
  5. Anti-Anxiety Diet. Learn how you can change your diet to help reduce anxiety from your life.
  6. Natural Supplements that Reduce Anxiety. Examining three products that can reduce anxiety naturally, this article provides an in-depth look at how they work.
  7. Natural Health Perspectives: Causes & Cures For Anxiety. Written by a naturopathic physician, this article outlines several ways to reduce your anxiety naturally.
  8. How to Make Natural Cures for Anxiety. This brief article offers some sensible suggestions for reducing anxiety.
  9. Thinking Happy Thoughts Helps Reduce Anxiety. Understand how being a positive thinker can change your anxiety levels with this blog post.
  10. Natural Treatments to Relieve Anxiety & OCD. From cognitive therapy to supplements to lifestyle changes, this article offers plenty of great ways to beat anxiety naturally.

Posted In:  Health Resources, Wellness Tips

  December 9th, 2008

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