Healthy Living

Heart Health in Humans & Pets

canine-cuddle

When we think of February, Valentine's Day sucks up all the holiday energy in the room. With so much attention paid to the affairs of the heart, it's no accident that February is also Heart Health Awareness Month! And while the human heart plays the star role in these holidays, many of us care just as much (and maybe even more) about the healthiness of our companion animals' heart.

Most people have a basic understanding of the risks of heart disease in humans, but when it comes to canine and feline heart health, these areas remain a tad more mysterious.

In the following FAQs, we’ll look at some of the similarities between humans, dogs and cats, hopefully resulting a better appreciation of these amazing feats of biological engineering.

1. How Widespread is Heart Disease?

Humans: In America, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Annually, about 610,000 people die of heart disease, accounting for a quarter of all deaths.

Dogs & Cats: Even though reliable statistics are not readily available for adult felines or canines, we do know that heart disease is not nearly as common as in humans. Only about 10% of dogs ever develop valvular heart disease. As with many maladies, risks for heart disease increase with age, especially for dogs over the age of nine (later for some breeds). Tracking heart disease in cats has proven challenging, as felines exhibit very few if any physical symptoms due to this condition.

2. What’s the Most Common Form of Heart Disease?

Humans: In adults, coronary artery disease is the most prevalent kind of heart disease. The main type involves accumulation of arterial plaque, which affects blood flow to the heart. As the layers of plaque thicken and harden, blood flow can be further restricted.

Dogs & Cats: The biggest difference here is that companion animals are not at-risk for coronary artery disease. While that’s good news, keep in mind they can face other medical conditions. For example, dogs can suffer from mitral valve disease or dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Mitral valve disease describes a condition where a valve on the left side of the heart fails to close properly. The problem with this is that blood pools into the left atrium, rather than exiting the left ventricle. Older, small breeds are more likely to develop mitral valve disease, a condition that can be aggravated by periodontal disease. DCM weakens the heart muscle so that it pumps less vigorously and regularly, a condition more common in large breeds. Cats, on the other hand, are more likely to experience hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). Here, the walls of the heart thicken, resulting in reduced muscle flexibility which decreases the volume of blood pumped. HCM is a genetic disease that is found in both pure and mixed breed cats.

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3. What are the Symptoms of Heart Disease?

Humans: Symptoms vary depending on the disease, but patients with coronary artery disease often have chest pain, arm pain and shallow breathing. As the condition deteriorates, there’s a risk of heart attack.

Dogs & Cats: Dogs typically exhibit signs such as low energy, general discomfort, labored breathing and even a low-pitched, chronic cough. On occasion, they might actually pass out. Cats may also become lethargic, sleeping excessively or hiding for extended periods. It's also not uncommon for cats to lose their appetite. Some may even be at risk of blood clots, which in some cases may lead to pain and possible paralysis.

4. Is Exercise Equally Beneficial?

Humans: Yes, definitely! Exercise lowers the risk of heart attack and reduces stress, another risk factor for heart disease.

Dogs & Cats: The kinds of heart disease commonly found in cats and dogs can't be avoided through exercise. But, as with people, regular exercise will improve overall health and help prevent obesity in pets, which certainly factors on heart health.

boxer-paw-forward

5. One Thing Everyone Can Agree On - Eat Healthy!

It’s hard to overstate the importance of quality food for humans and for companion animals. While significantly more research has been done on the benefits of essential fatty acid supplementation in humans, the science demonstrates similar results for dogs and cats, too.

But how can you be certain that you and your companion animals are getting plenty of omega-3’s and omega-6's? By taking an ultra-refined supplement daily! To ensure you are getting the quality you and your pets deserve, choose an omega supplement that has an IFOS 5-Star Rating. This independent, third-party testing validates that you are getting a safe and effective supplement that you can feel confident giving to any member of your family! If you're in the market for a superior supplement, look no further than Life's Abundance Fish Oil Supplement for people and Ultra-Pure Fish Oil Supplement for dogs and cats!

Take care of your heart and it'll help take care of you!

Dr Jane Bicks  

Dr. Jane Bicks

Top 5 Not-So-Healthy Trends

questionable-resolutions

Our immediate way of life calls for quick results in almost everything we do. The general rule is “Gimmie a quick and effective hack and I’m there.” Those who lead way too busy lives don’t have time to research the latest and greatest on nutritional science. As a result, the big headlines are often very enticing, but the problem is that a lot of nutritional advice goes to extremes. So before you go all out on that “I really mean it this time, I have to lead a healthier life in 2018” resolution, check out these five not-so-healthy trends. Don’t worry, we’ll make it fast and simple!

#1 Extreme Dieting: It’s time to think of the word ‘diet’ as a noun. It’s something everyone has, not something you do, or can ‘be on.’ Severely limiting calories or following a strict plan consisting of only a few foods or even liquids in the hopes to lose weight is not a sustainable way to work your way to health. While you can lose weight following one of these plans, it often throws people into the bad habits of yo-yo dieting. Depriving your body from the adequate nutritional fuel it needs to run properly can have some pretty negative results like mood swings, lack of energy, brain fog, dull skin, slowed metabolism, constipation and bloating. Yuck! Making small, positive changes to your diet over time can help you lead a healthier lifestyle, and reach your health goals, without going to extremes.

#2 Gluten-Free Eating, Just Because: Over the past several years, “gluten-free” went from a medical recommendation to a health fad to, sometimes, a marketing ploy. The truth is, whether going gluten-free is a good choice for you depends on factors like how your individual body digests gluten and your lifestyle. Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disorder where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. There’s no doubt that those diagnosed with this disease as well as those with gluten sensitivities and wheat allergies should avoid foods that contain gluten. However, many health care professionals advise against a gluten-free diet unless it’s absolutely necessary because whole grains containing gluten like wheat, rye and barley are linked to reduced risks of diabetes, obesity and other chronic diseases. In other words, for healthy people, they’re healthy, and avoiding them can actually introduce more ingredients into your diet that you should actually be avoiding, like added sugar.

#3 Cutting Out Fats: Let’s finally put to bed the thought that eating fat makes you fat. The days of low-fat or reduced-fat are behind us. Often, the products that have the fat removed have other filler ingredients added, and are often higher in sugar! Fat doesn’t make you fat! Fats are satiating and help you feel more satisfied after a meal, meaning you need less to feel full. Healthy fats like omega-3s also offer so many benefits, like brain and heart health. Whole milk greek yogurt? We’re for it!

#4 Supplement Supersizing: Adding a good nutritional supplement to your diet is a positive move, but more is not necessarily better, especially when it comes to fat soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E and K. Taking excess amounts of these vitamins can potentially lead to overaccumulation, toxicity and other negative side effects. As for water soluble vitamins? Any excess will simply be excreted in your urine. 

#5 All Raw, Vegan Diet: Adding raw fruits and vegetables to your daily diet is a smart move. However, adhering to this strict regimen can be risky because an all raw, vegan diet can often be lacking in important nutrients like vitamin B12, which can cause fatigue, constipation and appetite loss. It also often lacks calcium, an important nutrient for bone health, and vitamin D, a nutrient associated with many health-promoting benefits.

Okay, so this may not be exciting advice, but good common sense is really all that you need to make good choices when it comes to your diet. As we all know, any ‘quick fix’ diet or health trend is not the answer to better health. Focusing on real whole foods that are minimally processed, and incorporating lots of vegetables, fruit, lean proteins (and did we mention vegetables?!) into your diet can help you work your way to better health!

Keri Keri Glassman, MS.RD.CDN

3 Tips to Thrive this Holiday

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The kids are back in school and settled into a routine. Everything seems to be moving along smoothly and then BOO! ... Halloween happens and we’re in full holiday mode. In what seems like a split second, you’re planning, shopping and cooking. And by the time the parties roll around, you’re exhausted. How can you make it through the emotional roller coaster of the holiday season, avoid emotional eating and eat healthfully throughout? Try using these using these three simple steps to not only survive the holiday season, but to thrive!

1. Stay in the Moment

Yes, you could choose to go through the holidays focusing on feeling guilty for not remembering to buy your co-worker a gift, being sleep deprived because you’ve been burning the candle at both ends trying to get everything done before your vacation, stressing because the holiday cards haven’t arrived . . . and so on and so on. But you could also choose to get through the holidays mindfully. Making the choice to celebrate the company you keep, being positively in the moment and giving attention to your holiday traditions. This will keep you from feeling stressed, overwhelmed and reaching for the soothing arms of that hot cocoa with a big pile of whipped cream.

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Healthy Holiday Tip: Keep a warm mug of tea on hand at all times. It will serve many purposes. The heat and smell will soothe and relax you and your feelings, it will hydrate you, and it will serve as a reminder to keep your wellness on the forefront of your mind.

2. Stay in Control

Use the three D’s when feel out of control or are worried about emotionally eating. The first D is for delay. Slow yourself down. Don’t head straight for the food. Start with a glass of water, tea or seltzer and make a conscious decision to slow your intake. Nobody is going to rip your plate out from under you and the appetizer tray will still be there in 15 minutes. So ... slow down. The second D is for distract. You should be catching up with friends and family. That’s what the holiday season is really about. Distract yourself from emotional eating by talking to the people you care about or lending a hand to the host. The final D is for disarm. Don’t keep unwanted food in the house or place unwanted foods as far away from yourself as humanly possible. And, when at parties, don’t hover over the buffet table. These simple steps will help you stay in control.

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Healthy Holiday Tip: Going to a potluck holiday dinner? Take control and bring healthy dish you can eat so you’re not stuck with only greasy vegetable-less eats in case that’s the only foods offered. Before you head out to the office party, eat a satisfying and healthy dinner so you don’t wind up making puff pastries your meal.

3. Socialize at Parties
Focus on the fact that you’re at a party. With PEOPLE who you (hopefully!) enjoy being around. It’s not all about the food. Concentrate on talking to and reconnecting with family, friends, and coworkers. When you make an effort to socialize, you’ll not only enjoy the night a lot more, but you’ll also be too preoccupied to think about that pecan pie every 2.2 seconds.

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Healthy Holiday Tip: Be wary of “food pushers”. These are those people who refuse to take “no” for an answer when offering unhealthy treats. My advice? Keep saying no, as many times as you have to. And don’t feel bad! Or, why not say “You know, you should have another bite of this fruit cake. I know how much you love it and it’s the holidays, so you deserve to splurge!”

Use these three simple tips, add a little moderation and a whole lot of love and you’ll get through the holiday season feeling better than when you started!

Keri Keri Glassman, MS.RD.CDN

Alzheimer's Awareness & Brain Health Diets

healthy-table

Of course, we all want to maintain our best brain health throughout our lives. As we age, the more likely we are to suffer from dementia, memory loss, and more specifically, Alzheimer’s disease. With this month being World Alzheimer’s Month, we’re taking a closer look at how you can live your most nutritious life, which may help prevent this disease later on.

No cure for this disease currently exists, but medications and management strategies may temporarily improve symptoms. Evidence shows that strategies of a healthier lifestyle such as including exercise in your normal routine, eating a Mediterranean diet, or getting enough sleep might help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s or dementia.1 The best way to be proactive about Alzheimer's is to promote brain health throughout your life.

One way of doing this is to make sure we are eating for brain health. Eating a diet high in the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA can help to maintain the structural and functional integrity of cell membranes. Also important are antioxidants which may help to reduce inflammation, vitamin K which may help to reduce risk of blood clots, and choline to help maintain brain health.

While they don’t have the sexiest scientific name, the fatty acids are often referred to as “good fats” or “healthy fats,” and they should be because of how vital they are for maintaining good health.2

In the body, omega-3’s are involved in the formation of cell membranes, the production of important hormones, and regulating genetic function.3 Because of these many roles, they’ve been linked to reducing inflammation, boosting heart health, and numerous brain benefits like decreased risk of depression and sharper cognition and memory.4,5,6

We can’t make these fats in our body so we must get them from food or supplements. DHA and EPA have an anti-inflammatory effect that helps to maintain the structural and functional integrity of cell membranes, and helps prevent collagen breakdown. In other words, they help to slow the damage and breakdown of our cells.

Salmon in particular is a well known option for maintaining great brain health (and glowing skin!) due to it’s being high in omega-3’s. Grill a salmon filet with rosemary and lemon for the simplest way to implement brain health into your dinner tonight.

For vegetarians or vegans, chia seeds are a perfect option for getting a healthy helping of omega-3’s. Sprinkle them on oatmeal or yogurt in the morning, add them to a dessert like Dark Chocolate Superfood Bark, or bake them into healthy Morning Glory Muffins.7,8

Avocado is another perfectly versatile food that will provide you with omega-3’s. Throw it in a post-workout smoothie, turn it into a dip for snacking, or eat it over fish for an omega double-hitter.9,10,11

Seafood not your thing? An omega-3 supplement could be just what you need to ensure you’re getting sufficient fat in your diet. A great option is the ultra-pure, ultra-concentrated Omega-3 Fish Oil Supplement offered by Life’s Abundance.

Keri Keri Glassman, MS.RD.CDN

References:

  1. health.harvard.edu/alzheimers-and-dementia/what-can-you-do-to-avoid-alzheimers-disease
  2. nutritiouslife.com/love-fat/
  3. hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/omega-3-fats/
  4. nutritiouslife.com/inflammation-definition-health-impact/
  5. heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/HealthyDietGoals/Fish-and-Omega-3-Fatty-Acids_UCM_303248_Article.jsp#.WMrqEI61uHo
  6. umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/omega3-fatty-acids
  7. nutritiouslife.com/recipes/dark-chocolate-superfood-bark/
  8. nutritiouslife.com/recipes/healthiest-grain-free-morning-glory-muffins/
  9. nutritiouslife.com/recipes/avocado-banana-smoothie/
  10. nutritiouslife.com/recipes/mango-avocado-salsa/
  11. nutritiouslife.com/recipes/chili-lime-tilapia-with-mango-avocado-salsa/

 

Overdoing Multivitamins? Is That Even Possible?

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Almost everywhere - from Facebook to the pretty pages of your favorite magazine to the packaging of your go-to foods - you’ll read that getting your vitamins and minerals from fruits and veggies is an important aspect of living a Nutritious Life1. And, that’s spot on! 

However, we don’t live in a perfect world, so while it would be ideal to get all of the things we need from our diet, this often is easier said than done. 

Supplementing your healthy diet that’s packed with fruit and veggies (and whole grains, healthy fats and lean protein!) is often necessary. However, there is such thing as too much of a good thing.

Unlike water soluble vitamins that dissolve in water and are excreted by the body if taken in excess, fat soluble vitamins go through your digestive tract, into the lymph system, and then into the blood to be stored in fat and liver cells. Since theses vitamins can’t be excreted, over accumulation of them can lead to toxicity and negative health side effects. What’s a healthy wannabe to do? 

berry-overload

Vitamins A, D, and E are all considered fat soluble (K is too!), and should be supplemented with caution. 

Hypervitaminosis of vitamin A can cause bone pain, changes in vision, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, jaundice, and itchy or peeling skin2. If it becomes a prolonged chronic problem, accumulation of vitamin A can even lead to liver damage. 

Overconsumption of vitamin D has even been shown to cause hypercalcemia3 (too much calcium in the blood), which can weaken the integrity of your bones and cause complications in both your brain and heart. 

In one study, intake of vitamin E over 400 IU per day was associated with increased overall risk of death4, and high doses through multivitamins have been known to cause nausea, vomiting, fatigue, blurred vision, or rashes5

Fortunately, there's a simple solution. Life’s Abundance Multivitamin provides these critical vitamins and minerals, but was developed and formulated to ensure that the nourishing ingredients are in amounts you need to simply SUPP-lement the diet, not overdo it. 

Unlike some competing brands that overload their supplements, Life’s Abundance knows that more is not always more! You don’t want to bombard your body with an endless list (and amount) of vitamins and minerals that will only be excreted out, or end up causing you more harm than good. 

An extra bonus? Our proprietary spice blend and black pepper fruit extract in this multi will supply you with an additional boost of nutrition!

Keri Keri Glassman, MS.RD.CDN

References:

  1. http://nutritiouslife.com
  2. http://www.healthline.com/health/hypervitaminosis-a#diagnosis6
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3191699
  4. http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/Press_releases/2004/11_10_04.html
  5. http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-954-vitamin+e.aspx

 

The Surprising Benefits of Plant Proteins

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It's not an exaggeration to say that more people are worrying about their health (especially, their healthcare) than ever before. Some could argue that all of this increased worry is actually having a negative impact on the health of Americans! While the latest effort by Congress to change our nation's healthcare system appears to have stalled, it doesn't mean we shouldn't be taking active measures to protect our own health. So, let's try to put aside the worry - and the politics - and focus on some really exciting science!

Thanks to a long-term study supported by multiple grants from the National Institutes for Health, we could all start doing something today that could have a real, measurable impact on our long-term health. Is it a miracle drug? No! Is it the latest fitness gadget or exercise program? No! In fact, it's simply a minor change in what we eat. That’s it! To understand why the medical profession is abuzz with the radical implications of the latest news, we need to come to terms with one simple, undeniable fact. As Americans, we're eating way too much meat. So much, in fact, that it's making us sick.

Researchers at Harvard's Massachusetts General Hospital recently announced findings of a groundbreaking study, one of the largest of its kind. Nutritional scientists examined the effects of regular consumption of high levels of protein from animal sources compared to vegetarian sources. Much of the animal protein came from processed red meats. And the results were nothing short of astonishing! They indicated that heavy meat eaters had a higher mortality rate. Participants in the study whose diets had a higher percentage of plant-sourced proteins experienced a lower risk of death.

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The researchers analyzed two massive sets of data, one encompassing more than 30 years worth of information from NHS participants, and another that captured 26 years worth for HPFS participants. The combined total amount of reviewed data was a whopping 3.5 million person-years. Over the course of the data collection, more than 36,000 participant deaths were recorded. Those who perished fell into three major groups: 9,000 from cardiovascular disease, 13,000 from cancer and about 14,000 from other causes. When adjustments were made for competing risk factors, researchers found that eating protein primarily from animal sources (meat, eggs or dairy) was associated with an increased rate of death. The same adjustments were made for those whose consumption of protein came primarily from plant sources (breads, cereals, beans, legumes, etc.), and the results were highly significant … they uniformly had a lower mortality rate!

The data was unambiguous and clearly supports what vegetarians have been talking about for decades. The full report will appear in the August 1st edition of the Journal of American Medical Association – Internal Medicine (citation provided below).

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Fortunately for Life’s Abundance customers, we offer the perfect solution to this widespread dietary problem. It’s never been easier, more convenient or more delicious to boost your plant protein content thanks to our innovative supplement powders, now available in both Chocolate and Vanilla!

References:

Edward Giovannucci et al. Association of Animal and Plant Protein Intake With All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality. JAMA Internal Medicine, 2016 DOI: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.4182

sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160801113654.htm

msn.com/en-us/health/wellness/50-easy-habits-that-help-you-live-longer-according-to-science/ss-BBByzg6?li=BBnb7Kz

civileats.com/2017/06/29/eating-less-meat-is-a-prescription-for-better-health

Infographic: 5 Ways Cats Improve Your Life

If you're lucky enough to share your life with a cat, you'll know that regardless of personality, felines make life better. Whether they're low-key couch potatoes or frenetic, live-out-loud adventurers, it really doesn't matter. Each kitty finds a way to bring happiness and companionship. But that's not all! They add a fullness of experience to life, in five amazing ways which we've outlined in the following infographic!

To view the full-size PDF, simply click on the image below. And be sure to share this post with your cat-loving friends and family ... or better yet, those who still need convincing!

PDF DocumentPDF Document

Womansplaining Men’s Health

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File this post under ‘Tough Love’. Even though it’s technically addressed to women, it really is about helping men to improve their health. If you’re a guy reading this and you really do some soul-searching, you may end up not only being healthier in the long-term, but also impressing the women in your life for being totally on the ball.

Ask any woman, men are quick to offer to fix things. Guys uniformly seem willing to tackle just about any sort of problem, whether it’s plumbing, electrical or automotive. Unfortunately, this can-do spirit doesn’t always extend to emotional or health-related concerns. Because healthcare often has an emotional aspect to it, it presents a double-whammy for guys who’d prefer to ignore both. And that ends up being a big problem for men.

The problem isn't restricted to certain kinds of health issues. It’s common in the event of preventable sickness and even risk-related diseases. From incidences of heart disease and certain kinds of cancer, men have significantly higher mortality rates. In terms of life expectancy, men also get the short end of the stick, with women living on average several years longer.

Benjamin Franklin famously said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” It’s a lesson some men still have yet to take to heart. So, ladies, we’re depending on you to give some urgency to what turns out to be a global problem. But don’t worry, we’re here to help talk to that important guy in your life. So put on your flak jackets, because it’s time to drop some truth bombs.

together

What’s the number one reason why people don’t like going to the doctor? Getting bad news. Here’s the shocker … when your doctor tells you that there’s a problem, it doesn’t begin in that moment. You had that problem already! 

Is your significant other afraid of or angry at the scale because it revealed a specific number? Stepping on the scale does not cause weight gain! Powering through a bag of candy or a six-pack every few days is a much more likely culprit. Similarly, postponing a medical checkup to avoid getting bad news just doesn't make sense.

And yet, this widespread belief ends up creating the very problem people are trying to avoid! In that respect, it reinforces unhealthy behavior. "No bad news" does not translate as "I get to keep doing exactly what I'm doing." This unspoken notice can lead to other negative beliefs.

In hopes that we can change some of these unhelpful perspectives, we're offering up some simple strategies to help that special guy in your life, even if he’s incredibly resistant to change. We’ve tried to frame these positions in ways to minimize anxiety and keep the conversation moving in the right direction.

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1. HAVE “THE TALK”. It starts with a simple and direct question. “Do you want to be around for your child’s high school graduation or for your grandchild’s college graduation?” If the fellow in question doesn’t have kids, then put it in terms he’ll understand. For the most part, everyone wants to live a long life, and even those who don’t think about it expect most of their future years will be healthy ones. 

2. THE ATTITUDE. According to a comprehensive, global study by the World Health Organization, masculinity stereotypes play a critical role in the disparities of wellness between genders. Too often, men behave like their favorite fictional character, emulating risky behaviors that are perpetuated in film and television. As much as it might be enjoyable to watch heroic antics where nothing can stop the good guy from his noble task, the truth is that this ‘walk it off’ mentality is having a horribly negative effect on actual good guys.

cradling-child

3. THE HOMEWORK. In order to take preventative measures, you have to first know what might be wrong! Given the incredible advances in genetics and medicine over the last 50 years, it’s easy to make the case that by knowing something about your genetic background will go a long way to understanding yourself. Ask him to compile a comprehensive family medical history that includes parents, siblings, aunts and uncles, cousins, grandparents and great-grandparents. This is something doctors routinely ask for and most people provide a halfhearted summary. Some even just leave that section blank!

Such a review will prove immensely helpful for doctors. And doesn't your fellow deserve the best possible healthcare? And remember to preserve this homework, because someday it could play a vital role in the healthcare of future generations.

long-life

4. BE GOOD TO YOURSELF. The bottom line is this … a huge amount of suffering can be prevented, alleviated or cured by doing things we all know we should be doing. Here are four simple steps to help jumpstart healthier living for men.

Regular Check-Ups

Commitment to annual wellness exams is a great way to establish a baseline and troubleshoot any developing problems. But to get the most out of these visits, he'll need to be forthright with his doctor. We say that because men are actually less likely to be honest with their physicians regarding the extent and severity of symptoms than women!

Eat Right

If he always says “no way, Jose” to fresh fruits and vegetables but “yeppers” to beef, butter, beer and Ben & Jerry’s, then he's asking for trouble. So much has been written on the topic, there’s hardly a reason to cover good dietary choices here other than to say, eat more fruits and veggies, and avoid fatty and processed foods.

Take a Pill, Dude

The issue for men here seems to hearken back to the ‘walk it off’ philosophy. If it hurts badly or just feels wrong, see a doctor and follow directions. And, yes, that means being open to prescriptions. But it’s not enough to obtain a prescription if it’s medically necessary … it needs to be taken following the directions. Men are much more likely to deviate from prescribed dosages of medication, whether it’s skipping a dose or doubling up. Both can be much more problematic than people generally think, and can result in severe consequences.

Move More

If it’s been years since he's gone for a run or rode a bike, stamina should gradually be built up. As we age, exercise has more and better benefits when it’s done carefully and appropriately to actual ability (not based on "what I used to do"). Bottom line, don’t go overboard! Walk if you don’t have too far to go. Or, if it’s too far to walk, ride a bike instead of driving. Twenty minutes of aerobic exercise daily can make a tremendous difference not only in his health, but also in how good he feels!

embrace

If at any point the conversation starts veering off-topic, be patient but firm. If you get an outsized negative reaction as a result of sharing these strategies, try and steer the conversation away from feelings and back to fact. Finally, if they’re just too overwhelmed by the topic at-hand, leave them a copy of this post to read and reflect on.

If you’re having trouble getting through, use an analogy. For instance, remind them that just like cars and trucks require routine maintenance to perform at peak efficiency, so too does the human body. Whatever tack you choose to try and reach him, come back to the same point as many times as you need, until you get the sense that they’re on the same page about why this conversation is necessary … because they’re loved. And that you would like to have them around for a long time!

This is a problem that affects men of all ages, races, demographics, financial standings, etc. It’s not your guy in particular, and it’s not all guys, but it’s so widespread that the benefits of cultivating a proactive mindset will be better for everyone ... each individual, each family, each community, and maybe even for the world as a whole.

“The men’s health gap: men must be included in the global health equity agenda.” Peter Baker, Shari L Dworkin, Sengfah Tong, Ian Banks, Tim Shand & Gavin Yamey. Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2014;92:618-620. www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/92/8/13-132795/en/

Why Do I Need a Probiotic Supplement?

thinking-and-eating

Have you ever really thought about what it means to eat? For instance, when you ingest something, is it truly in your body? After all, the entire digestive system is essentially a long hollow tube. True, this highly complex tube is undeniably part of the body. Yet despite some of its varied functions, it’s primarily a series of sorting compartments. Moving through the digestive tract, the body determines that some substances are ‘useable’ and absorbs them, while others are lumped into the ‘non-useable’ category and are passed as waste. So, that brings us right back to asking, is something in your body simply by virtue of having been ingested?

From the perspective of your gut’s microbiome, the answer is unequivocally “no”. Indeed, one very important job of these beneficial watchmen is to keep pathogens out of your body while allowing nutrients to enter. And they do a brilliant job of it. However, these colonies can succumb to negative pressures, such as a course of antibiotics, increased stress levels or a regrettable all-you-can-eat sushi buffet. When this happens opportunistic pathogens can slip by or even overwhelm and bypass our tiny friendly helpers, entering body tissues and causing havoc.

To avoid such scenarios, you should support a happy and effective microbiome, which may be easier than you think! Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can be obtained either by eating fermented foods or by taking a high quality probiotic supplement. When these little gems are ingested and make their way to the intestines, they form a protective barrier, blocking your microbiota from onslaught and freeing it to do its important work of providing defense, fostering nutrient synthesis and absorption, and of course, reproducing.

So, when you’re hunting for the perfect probiotic supplement, consumers should look for these product attributes …

  • A colony forming unit (CFU) count guaranteed through the expiration date of the product. Some probiotics are only guaranteed ‘at time of manufacture’ and may be worthless by the time of purchase.
  • The ability to survive hazardous digestive acids is critical to the probiotic’s effectiveness. Make sure the manufacturer’s website includes information about the product’s viability.
  • Multiple strains that perform different functions and work synergistically tend to be more effective than single-strain varieties.
  • A product that is shelf stable at room temperature is not only a convenience, but may indicate higher potency. This is because there is vulnerability in relying on an unbroken chain of refrigeration from manufacture, through transit, to retail and finally to the consumer.

Even though most of us never really think about what happens to food after we eat, there’s no denying the importance of maintaining a happy GI system. If you’re looking for a supplement that hits all of the quality categories mentioned above, we urge you to consider supplementing your diet with Life’s Abundance Probiotic, a 25 Million CFU, proprietary 5-strain blend. Let’s keep your microbiome operating as nature intended!

Tune Up Your Second Brain

gut-second-brain

Gut health has been building steam as a trending health topic as more and more research points to the importance of the microbiome. Micro - what? Microbiome is a fancy word for the trillions (yes, trillions!) of microbes that live in your gut, on your skin and elsewhere.

Your gut health affects everything from your immune system, to your weight, to your brain function, so it’s really important to focus on what’s going on in your belly. Or shall I say what’s going INTO your belly.

It may sound crazy to think that your digestion controls all of the above mentioned, but actually, scientists have discovered that the microbes in your gut are engaged in a constant conversation with your mind. And that chatter could be affecting your emotions, moods and behavior in major ways.

It turns out that your gut’s got its very own nervous system, called the Enteric Nervous System (ENS). It’s so influential on your body that it’s often referred to as “the second brain.” The main job of the ENS is to regulate digestion, but it also sends up regular signals to the brain via the vagus nerve.

Think of the vagus nerve as a busy two-lane highway. Traffic is moving in both directions, but it’s much heavier headed north, to the brain. Who’s directing that flow of traffic? Your microbes, of course.

Studies have shown that changing the makeup of gut microbiota actually changed how mice behaved, affecting anxiety and cognition, for instance*. Mice raised without beneficial microbes also have been shown to be less capable of managing stress**.

Another example: 90% of the mood-balancing neurotransmitter serotonin is made in the gut, and research has shown that microbes play a critical role in its production***. So, if yours are not doing their job well, your body could end up with inadequate serotonin. That’s a problem since serotonin regulates sleep, appetite, mood, and more.

Here are four ways to take steps in the right direction towards regulating a healthy microbiome.

1. Add fermented foods to your diet. These are foods like kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi. These foods begin with a live active culture and are fermented, giving them the benefit of probiotics.

2. Eat fiber. Many fibers are considered to be prebiotics. This means that they feed the good bacteria already present in your gut. But different fibers feed different bacterium, so it’s important to get these prebiotics from multiple sources and from a variety of foods.

3. Drink lots of fluids. Our bodies need water for skin health, immunity and energy, but also to push things along through digestion. So while we need the bacteria for gut health, we also need the fluids to keep everything moving as it should.

4. Take a probiotic daily. You can think of adding this supplement as a bit of an ‘insurance policy’ to make sure that you’re balancing the bacteria in your gut every day, no matter what. I wholeheartedly recommend Probiotic Supplement, which has a proprietary 5-strain blend with 25 billion CFUs guaranteed. Plus, it's made in the USA!

Keri Keri Glassman MS.RD.CDN


Resources used for this article:

* https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25866195

** https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2674977/

*** http://www.caltech.edu/news/microbes-help-produce-serotonin-gut-46495

http://nutritiouslife.com/3-things-didnt-know-microbiome/

http://gut.bmj.com/content/47/suppl_4/iv15.full

http://nutritiouslife.com/stress-fighting-foods/