Depression is a complex issue, with a multitude of physical and emotional causes. If you experience depression, however, or someone close to you does, you may want to consider whether dehydration could be a contributing factor. Dehydration is dangerous not just to your physical health, but also to your emotional well-being.
In Part 1 of this article, we discussed the fact that 95 percent of all low back pain (LBP) is non-specific. That means the cause is unknown, leaving back pain sufferers at the mercy of a huge industry of practitioners and drug manufacturers who frequently offer conflicting opinions and recommendations for treatment. If you are the patient, be sure to do your research.
If you are in good shape, you may not think you need to exercise. But research conducted by the University of Cambridge and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition finds that you are twice as likely to die from not getting enough exercise as from being obese. Fortunately, a little exercise goes a long way in protecting your health. In fact, the study showed that just a 20-minute brisk walk every day can keep you well.
The researchers examined the health habits of more than 334,000 European men and women. They found the death rate was twice as high for those who did not exercise regularly, as those participants who were obese but inactive. The variable was the 20-minute daily walk, or a comparable cardiovascular activity on a daily basis. According to the study results, walking can reduce your risk of an early death by up to 30 percent.
Of course, obesity does cause major health risks. If your weight falls into the obese range, you are more likely to experience cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, gallstones, gallbladder disease, gout, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, breathing issues, and some cancers. For optimal health, your best bet is to maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly.
When you spend 20 minutes walking briskly, you expend approximately 90 to 110 calories. Longer exercise sessions can help burn fat, but that 20-minimum basic program, adhered to every day, lowered the risk of premature death by a minimum of 16 percent, and as much as 30 percent. There are other benefits, as well. It reduces your risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and metabolic syndrome. Moderate regular exercise can also help you control your weight, regulate your sleep patterns, and strengthen your muscles and bones. It also delivers a boost to your mood, and helps eradicate depression.
Whether or not your weight is at an optimal level, take care of yourself with a 20-minute daily walk. It’s a regimen that delivers tremendous health benefits to people of every shape and size.
Physicians usually advise their overweight and obese patients to exercise daily. Despite the fact we all know exercise can improve our health, about one-third of people are not physically active (and that figure may be underestimated). Because of poor eating habits and lack of exercise, overweight people are at an elevated risk of blood vessel constriction, and ultimately, cardiovascular disease. However, a new study indicates there may be another approach to reducing heart disease in overweight patient, supplementation with vitamin C.
Caitlin Down, Ph.D., is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She was lead researcher on the vitamin C study. For three months, subjects in the study were divided into two groups. One took vitamin C supplements, and the other participated in aerobic exercise training. The subjects who took vitamin C did not lose weight, but monitoring of their forearm blood flow and their response to an intra-arterial infusion of endothelin-1 before and after each intervention showed an improvement in vascular health. The dose of 500 milligrams of vitamin C created a benefit equivalent to exercise, particularly walking.
Morbidly obese people are known to be deficient in vitamin D, but there has been little research into other potential nutritional deficiencies until a study conducted in Norway. In two public hospitals, 168 morbidly obese patients were surveyed, and the results showed that vitamin C deficiency was prevalent. In addition to the vitamin C deficiencies, people who are morbidly obese are vulnerable to chronic illnesses such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, and a variety of inflammatory diseases, as well as heart disease.
Research published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology (Tokyo) proves that, because of its antioxidant properties, vitamin C has beneficial effects in the following obesity-related areas:
- Modulating adipocyte lipolysis
- Regulating the glucocorticoid release from adrenal glands
- Inhibiting glucose metabolism and leptin secretion on isolated adipocytes
- Leading to an improvement in hyperglycemia and decrease glycosylation in those who have diabetes
- Reducing inflammatory response.
While it continues to be important for every person, of any body size, to participate in daily exercise, these studies demonstrate the value of supplement with vitamin C. It is useful to work with a natural health practitioner to determine how much vitamin C you may need. As a rule of thumb, the sicker you are, the greater your need for supplementation with vitamin C.
Dr. Joseph Mercola argues that depression is not a “disease.” Instead, he considers depression “a sign that your body and your life are out of balance.” While he acknowledges drugs may occasionally be appropriate, he believes antidepressant medications are seldom the best answer to depression. Instead, he recommends diet and general lifestyle changes to resolve this common mental health issue.
In a recent article by Lissa Rankin, M.D., she offers ten health questions your doctor probably isn’t asking you, but which she considers critical. Dr. Rankin is founder of the Whole Health Medicine Institute training program for physicians and other health care providers, as well as the New York Times bestselling author of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself. Ask yourself these questions:
You may have noticed people who practice yoga regularly tend to look much younger than their chronological age. A new study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine offers an explanation. Researchers found twelve weeks of yoga increased the body’s natural defenses against toxins by raising the level of antioxidants and making the immune system stronger.
The Huffington Post recently invited readers to submit their most vexing health questions to be answered by the site’s team of doctors. Here are some of the questions most often asked:
There is a lot of confusion about protein. We know bodybuilders need a lot, but what about the rest of us? What does protein do for the average woman or man who just wants to look good and stay healthy?
The answer is: a lot! Protein is the basic building block for the human body. It has been called the scaffolding on which the body is built. We must have protein to build muscle tissue.
Women sometimes worry that eating too much protein will result in building too much muscle. In fact, female anatomy and biology prevent that kind of bulking up. People who want to attain or maintain a slim, healthy body still need plenty of protein, and strong muscle tissue is also necessary to burn fat.
The most abundant protein in the body is collagen. Collagen acts as a glue to hold our bodies together. It is collagen that gives young skin its plump resiliency. Collagen is also found in bones, muscles and tendons.
After the age of 40, however, collagen levels begin to decline. This affects not only skin, but also muscles, including the heart. This is the age when consciously replacing muscle tissue becomes most important, for weight loss and maintenance as well as overall health. One pound of muscle burns 50 to 100 calories a day.
To build the body you want, choose high quality proteins like organic fish, meat and eggs. Eat a variety of legumes like lentils, peas and beans. Three grains high in protein are quinoa, spelt, and amaranth. Add a handful a day of raw nuts and seeds. You can also include yogurt and other dairy products if you tolerate them well.
Protein powder is a helpful way to get protein without cooking. Just add protein powder to a smoothie of vegetables and fruits, along with some almond or coconut milk, some ground flaxseed or chia seed, and a few ice cubes.
Adult women need approximately 46 grams of protein daily, and men need approximately 56 grams daily. Pregnant woman and nursing mothers need about 71 grams daily. If you exercise heavily, add about 50 percent more protein.