Connect with us

Health

Mental Clarity: 9 Natural Solutions That Work

Published

on

Depression can lead to a loss of concentration.
Photo Source: Wake Up World

Dr. Edward F. GroupGuest Writer

Like any part of your body, the brain can become stressed and unwell. It can also stay healthy, sharp, and clear. Your brain is an incredible machine if you think about it. That 3-pound organ contains billions of cells with trillions of connections — creating your thoughts, impulses, memories, and movements. If you nurture your brain for mental clarity, you can keep a clear, active mind. Simple exercises can help. Certain herbs can pep up your brain, as well.

This article will show you how to create better concentration, clear your head, and stay on top of your game.

What Does Mental Clarity Mean?

When your mind is clear, you can easily make decisions, and you feel sharp, alert, and aware of your surroundings.

When your mind isn’t clear, you might feel anxious, distracted, and unable to concentrate. Some people call this collection of symptoms brain fog.[1, 2]

We all experience declines in mental clarity, perhaps due to stress, diet, or lack of sleep. Temporary changes in your blood sugar, blood pressure, or hormones can affect your mental clarity. Daily stress and anxiety also affect your mental clarity. This is all the more reason to engage in these simple ideas.

How to Improve Your Mental Clarity

Mental fogginess is something you can change. At any given time, a full 25% of your blood is in the brain at any one time. Oxygen in your blood feeds all the brain and nerve cells. Getting oxygen to your brain plays a key role in keeping your mind focused. So is clearing your mind of stray and anxious thoughts.

Whether you start meditating, do a cleanse, exercise more, or try mind-clearing herbs, you can create more focus, a happier mood, and better clarity.

Read on for several simple, practical ideas.

1. Change Your Diet

You are what you eat, and that’s also true for your mind. The wholesome nutrients — or lack thereof — in the foods you eat is one of the single greatest factors affecting your mental clarity.

Eat fruits, especially berries, as well as a variety of colourful vegetables for a clear mind. They can reduce age-related cognitive challenges at any stage of life![3, 4] Nuts and seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for brain health.[4] It’s best to eliminate meat and eat a plant-based diet.

Eliminating trigger foods is just as crucial for mental clarity as feeding your body with healthy whole foods. Many people are sensitive to foods without even realizing it. Common triggers include gluten, lectins, animal foods, and nightshades. When you eat these foods, not only can they affect your digestion, but also your mind. If you can, go organic to eliminate the traces of pesticides on foods, or, at minimum, clean your veggies thoroughly before eating.

2. Try a Cleanse, Detox, or Fast

If your diet is unhealthy, you will not be able to experience the brightest, happiest state of mind. You can fix that. Engage your body’s self-healing by doing a body detox or cleanse. While there are hundreds of options, the basic concept involves eliminating all trigger foods and toxins for a period of time.

A week works well, followed by a slow reintroduction of foods. Adding various foods gradually enables you to identify how your body and mind react. If you find a drop in mental clarity, then seriously consider cutting that food out for good.

Cleansing is a great way to give up bad-habit foods, like sugar, caffeine, or excessive carbs. It’s a great way to kick-start healthy new habits. Your brain will thank you.

If you want to take it to the next level, try a juice or water fast. This involves eliminating all solid food and consuming only liquids for a period of time. Check with your healthcare provider before starting a fast, especially if you take any medications or have any health conditions. Fasting is an incredible tool for body healing.[6]

3. Use Essential Oils

Declutter your mind — and refresh your surroundings with a lovely scent — by using essential oils. Certain oils can improve your attention span and decrease stress. Add a few drops into a diffuser and allow it to work its mind-clearing magic. The best choices for mental clarity include the following:

Rosemary

This herb has a stimulating effect, which can impact brain wave activity and mood.[7]

Peppermint

Smelling peppermint oil can increase alertness and improve memory, two important facets of mental clarity.[8]

Lemon Balm

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) can increase alertness, boost mood, and even help problem-solving.[9, 10]

4. Get Restful Sleep

Sleep and mental clarity are closely linked. When you’re overly tired, your brain can’t work at full capacity.[11] Furthermore, not getting seven to nine hours per night is a cause of brain fog.[1]

When you sleep, your brain makes connections between neurons — sort of like clearing out cobwebs. Restorative sleep involves several cycles of REM (rapid eye movement), dreams, and other periods when your body and mind are healing and resting. If you have trouble falling asleep or you wake during the night, try our helpful suggestions for a good night’s rest.

5. Write in a Journal

Writing is a powerful tool to release the thoughts, worries, and distractions that clutter your mind. Some people call it a brain dump. Buy a journal that you love, or just find an old empty notebook, and get it all out. Try doing morning pages — the act of writing two to three full pages before starting your main daily activities.

Your writing does not have to be profound or even good. Just get the rambling, random thoughts from your brain onto the page! If it helps, you can also write a to-do list to get all those things you need to remember from your mind and onto a page. This clears your thoughts and allows you to stay focused on the task at hand.

6. Take Up Meditation

Meditation is one of the most profound and proven ways to clear the restless mind and have a more positive attitude, improved concentration, and relaxation.[12] If you’ve never meditated before, we have some meditation tips for beginners.

Find a peaceful spot with quiet and peaceful stimuli, such as relaxing lighting or a diffuser full of essential oils. Sit or lie down comfortably. Set a timer for 10 minutes — though you can do more or less. During the meditation period, concentrate on your breath and try to allow the extraneous thoughts that come to just pass away like clouds. Don’t worry if you don’t have a clear mind during meditation.

It takes time and practice, but your body and mind will see a difference before long. The best part? The clearer mind often comes after the meditation and can last all day long.

7. Get Your Fitness On!

Exercise, including light activity such as yoga, can also improve your mood and make you feel more relaxed.[13] Any physical activity has the added benefit of improving your sleep as well.[13]

Other than diet, exercise has the greatest impact on your health — and directly affects your mental clarity. Whether you go for long walks outdoors, engage in yoga, take a full-on boot camp, or lift weights in the gym, exercise pays dividends.

8. Try Mind-Clearing Herbs

Herbal supplements can help reduce brain fog and decrease stress. Several of these herbs have a long history of traditional use. Some can interact with other medicines, so discuss with your healthcare provider if needed.

Bacopa Monnieri

Bacopa monnieri, an Ayurvedic herb also known as Brahmi, is traditionally used to reduce stress. Scientists found that Bacopa also improves mood and your ability to think clearly.[14] The fresh leaves have a lemony, earthy smell. An organic Brahmi supplement or tea might help you reduce the clutter in your mind.

Ginseng

Ginseng is a powerful root that grows around the world, with several different varieties. In research studies, ginseng has helped people decrease stress and improve thinking.[15, 16] You can find multiple types of ginseng blended in teas and supplements. Make sure you look for organic ginseng without unnecessary fillers.

Ginkgo Biloba

Traditional Chinese medicine has long used ginkgo leaf extract as a complementary supplement for the mind.[17] Gingko supports overall brain health and healthy circulation — which affects mental alertness.

9. Take the Right Supplements

When your body doesn’t have the right balance of vitamins and minerals, your mind might feel unclear.[18] Here are a few types of nutrients that may aid in decreasing fogginess and improving mental clarity.

Probiotics

Beneficial microbes living in your gut play a crucial role in your brain health.[19] Known as probiotics, these microbes play a clearly established role in your mental wellness.[19] Support a healthy gut flora for mental clarity with a superior formula like Floratrex™, which has 25 strains and 75 billion CFU (colony-forming units). Much of the body’s serotonin is produced in the intestinal tract and depends on a healthy gut biome.

B Vitamins

There are multiple B vitamins, including folic acid or folate, biotin, B-6, and B-12. When you are not getting enough of the B vitamins, you could experience cognitive impairment, memory loss, and general grumpiness.[21] Vitamin B-12, in particular, is connected to brain health and focus. You can try a standalone B-12 or a supplement with a broad spectrum of B vitamins.[22]

Omega-3

Omega-3 fatty acids are molecules with a multitude of benefits. You can find plant-based omega-3 fatty acids such as flaxseed or algae oil.[23, 24] These important nutrients are connected to mental health and focus.[25] Make sure you eat organic, all-natural sources of omega-3.

Points to Remember

Mental clarity means that you can think clearly, concentrate, and focus. If you lack mental clarity and your thoughts are running wild, the good news is that you can make simple changes to improve your cognitive function.

The single most important thing you can do is change your diet! Eliminate trigger foods that many people are sensitive to, like gluten, animal foods, and dairy. Add more antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables! Also, exercise is probably the second most important lifestyle factor in creating a clear mind.

Beyond that, you can spend time calming the mind in meditation, or journal to brain-dump your anxious and worrisome daily thoughts. Make sure you get enough of the right supplements, like B-12, omega-3 fatty acids, and probiotics, and try mind-clearing herbs like ginseng, Bacopa, and Ginkgo biloba.

These strategies will help reduce brain fog and improve attention.

Article Sources
  1. Fibro fog. Arthritis Foundation. Accessed 13 June 2019.
  2. Cognitive changes. National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Accessed 13 June 2019.
  3. Spencer S, et al. Food for thought: how nutrition impacts cognition and emotion. npj Science of Food 2017;1.
  4. Foods linked to better brainpower. Harvard Medical School. Accessed 11 June 2019.
  5. 5 Klein AV, Kiat H. Detox diets for toxin elimination and weight management: a critical review of the evidence. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2015 Dec;28(6):675.
  6. Shojaie M, et al. Intermittent fasting could ameliorate cognitive function against distress by regulation of inflammatory response pathway. J Adv Res. 2017 Nov; 8(6):697-701.
  7. Sayorwan W, et al. Effects of inhaled rosemary oil on subjective feelings and activities of the nervous system. Sci Pharm. 2013 Apr-Jun;81(2):531-542.
  8. Moss M, et al. Modulation of cognitive performance and mood by aromas of peppermint and ylang-ylang. Int J Neurosci. 2008 Jan;118(1):59-77.
  9. Spiridon I, et al. Antioxidant capacity and total phenolic contents of oregano (Origanum vulgare), lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) from Romania. Nat Prod Res. 2011 Oct;25(17):1657-1661.
  10. Scholey A, et al. Anti-stress effects of M. Officinalis containing foods. Nutrients. 2014 Oct 30;6(11):4805-4821.
  11. Neu D, et al. Cognitive impairment in fatigue and sleepiness associated conditions. Psychiatry Res. 2011 Aug 30;189(1):128-134.
  12. Deepak KK. Meditation induces physical relaxation and enhances cognition: A perplexing paradox. Prog Brain Res. 2019;244:85-99.
  13. Penedo FJ, Dahn JR. Exercise and well-being: a review of mental and physical health benefits associated with physical activity. Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2005:18(2):189-193.
  14. Benson S, et al. An acute, double-blind, placebo-controlled cross-over study of 320-mg and 640-mg doses of Bacopa monnieri (CDRI 08) on multitasking stress reactivity and mood. Phytother Res. 2013 Jun 21.
  15. Rinwa P, Kumar A. Modulation of nitrergic signalling pathway by American ginseng attenuates chronic unpredictable stress-induced cognitive impairment, neuroinflammation, and biochemical alterations. Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol. 2014 Feb;387(2):129-141.
  16. Scholey A. Effects of American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) on neurocognitive function: an acute, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2010 Oct;212(3):345-356.
  17. Ginkgo. National Institutes of Health National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Updated September 2016. Accessed 11 June 2019.
  18. Gomez-Pinilla F. Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2008 Jul; 9(7):568-578.
  19. 4 fast facts about the gut-brain connection. National Institutes of Health National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Last modified 24 September 2017. Accessed 10 June 2019.
  20. Probiotics may help boost mood and cognitive function. Harvard Medical School. Accessed 8 June 2019.
  21. Kennedy DO. B vitamins and the brain: mechanisms, dose and efficacy—a review. Nutrients. 2016 Feb; 8(2):68.
  22. Pawlak R, et al. How prevalent is vitamin B(12) deficiency among vegetarians? Nutr Rev. 2013 Feb;71(2):110-117.
  23. Potential health benefits of plant vs. marine omega-3 fatty acids. Stanford Medicine. Accessed 13 June 2019.
  24. Dewell A, et al. Low- and high-dose plant and marine (n-3) fatty acids do not affect plasma inflammatory markers in adults with metabolic syndrome. J Nutr. 2011 Dec; 141(12):2166-2171.
  25. Okereke OI, et al. The VITamin D and OmegA-3 TriaL-Depression Endpoint Prevention (VITAL-DEP): Rationale and design of a large-scale ancillary study evaluating vitamin D and marine omega-3 fatty acid supplements for prevention of late-life depression

Originally published at Global Healing Center and reproduced here with permission.

Recommended Articles by Dr. Edward Group
About the Author

Dr. Edward F. Group III (DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM) founded Global Healing Center in 1998 with the goal of providing the highest quality natural health information and products. He is world-renowned for his research on the root cause of disease. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center earned recognition as one of the largest natural and organic health resources in the world. Dr. Group is a veteran of the United States Army and has attended both Harvard and MIT business schools. He is a best-selling author and a frequent guest on radio and television programs, documentary films, and in major publications.

Dr. Group centres his philosophy around the understanding that the root cause of disease stems from the accumulation of toxins in the body and is exacerbated by daily exposure to a toxic living environment. He believes it is his personal mission to teach and promote philosophies that produce good health, a clean environment, and positive thinking. This, he believes, can restore happiness and love to the world.

For more, please visit Global Healing Center.

Please SHARE this article with your family and friends.

Awareness

Group Drumming Synchronizes Heartbeats And Increases Teamwork, Research Shows

Published

on

Group Drumming Synchronizes
Photo Credit: Pexels

Nikki Harper, Guest Writer

If you’ve ever sat in a drumming circle or even just been moved to dance by a particular rhythm, you’ll already understand something about the power of drumming. Research is ongoing into the therapeutic and healing benefits of drumming, and into the way in which drumming can help to prolong and maintain cognitive health too. New research this year has also revealed how drumming in a group can lead to the synchronizing of heart rhythms – which in turn can lead to better group performance on other unrelated tasks.

In this latest research, scientists at Bar-Ilan University and its Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center joined forces with the department of music to explore how drumming can contribute towards group cohesion and teamwork. The study, published in May in the journal Scientific Reports involved 51 groups each with three participants, whose heart data – including the time interval between individual heart beats (IBI) was continuously monitored [1].

Each member of each group participated through a drumming pad as part of an electronic drum set shared with the other group members. They were asked to match their drumming to a rhythm which was played on speakers. Half of the groups were given a steady and predictable tempo to match, while the other half was given a constantly changing rhythm to work to. This meant that researchers could analyse the synchronization efforts between group members, while reviewing changes in IBI during the experiment, which were found to synchronize.

Each group was later asked to improvise drumming together, and it was found that the groups who had shown the highest levels of synchronization during the original task also showed greater co-ordination and synchronization during the improvisations – to a statistically significant level, beyond what one might expect randomly [1].

The researchers hypothesize that drumming together, and the behavioural co-ordination this requires, contributes to the bonding of a group, and thereby enhances their ability to perform well together as a cohesive whole. This may have important implications for human co-operation and teamwork on a larger scale [1].

Meanwhile, research elsewhere has found links between drumming, intelligence, good timing and problem-solving abilities. Neuroscientist David Eagleman conducted research with professional drummers, which took place at Brian Eno’s studio [2] – Eno having previously suggested that drummers’ brains worked differently to those of other people. Apparently, he was correct – the research showed a ‘huge statistical difference’ [3] between the brains of the drummers versus control subjects.

Could this new knowledge be used to help counter cognitive decline? Former Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart thinks so. He has been collaborating with the University of California on a project to create a drumming app which he hopes can be used to help stave off dementia and Alzheimer’s [4].

Meanwhile, we know that previous research has found numerous physiological benefits from drumming, including reducing stress levels, boosting the immune system, helping to alleviate chronic pain and even increasing cancer killing cells.

In many ways, drumming is a universal language, and almost a primal instinct. By appreciating and taking part in drumming, it seems that we can also enhance our understanding of other rhythms in life, such as human co-operation – while also keeping our brains active and healthy, and supporting our emotional instincts [5]. What’s not to love about that?

Sources
  1. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-65670-1
  2. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2011/04/25/the-possibilian
  3. http://www.openculture.com/2020/01/neuroscience-of-drumming.html
  4. https://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2018/mickey-hart-alzheimers-awareness.html
  5. https://project-resiliency.org/resiliency/the-benefits-of-druming/
About the Author

Nikki Harper is a spiritualist writer, astrologer, and Wake Up World’s editor.

Please SHARE this article with your family and friends.

Continue Reading

Awareness

3 Powerful Indigenous Herbs From North America

Published

on

3 Powerful Indigenous Herbs From North America
Photo Credit: Getty

Nick PolizziGuest Writer

Growing up, I was fascinated by the hundreds of interesting plants that grew in the forests behind my childhood home in rural Connecticut. We would wander down old forgotten trails for hours, lost in the greenery and enchanted by the timelessness of the place.

I would later come to realize that these old woods are home to one of the most extensive systems of indigenous medicine in the world.

We now know that the original inhabitants of North America were extremely advanced, far beyond what our textbooks and cowboy movies would have us believe. One need only examine the hundreds of gigantic temple mounds that still stand, from the southern Mississippi Valley all the way up into the Great Lakes region, to understand the hidden capability of these cultures. According to respected archaeologists, the first of these mind boggling earth works was constructed 1,000 years before the Great Pyramids of Egypt!

Perhaps the clearest window into the highly evolved technologies that Native American communities possess is their back-of-the-hand familiarity with the medicines of the forest. In fact, the early explorers of the new world relied heavily upon indigenous herbals and would not have survived without them.

Known for unprecedented generosity to strangers, tribal elders often shared this knowledge with European trappers and frontiersmen with little to no expectation of compensation. Plant wisdom was not seen as a possession to be hoarded or leveraged for personal gain. One’s intimate understanding of both plant and man came with a built-in responsibility to use these tools for the benefit of all – even the odd pale-skinned newcomers from the east.

A far cry from our patent-crazed The Big Pharma System of today right?

I tread very lightly on this sacred topic out of deep respect for the richness of each native tribe that lives, or has lived on this continent. Each group has their own distinct medicine tradition and too often they are lumped together under one homogenized label. We never share indigenous herbal knowledge without the express permission of the healer and their community to do so.

Also important: Because of over-harvesting and deforestation, many North American herbs including American Ginseng, are now endangered in certain regions. When seeking out these powerful plants, please make sure to source them from a conscious and sustainable outfit. For more information on how to safely harvest and protect the precious herbs of the world, visit the hard working community at United Plant Savers (www.unitedplantsavers.org)

Without further ado – the three Native American herbs below were shared with foreign settlers centuries ago and are still widely used because of their effectiveness. They are shining examples of the extraordinary contribution that the native civilizations of North America have made to herbal and clinical medicine.

“All plants are our brothers and sisters.

They talk to us and if we listen, we can hear them.”

— Arapaho Proverb

American Ginseng: Panax quinquefolius

When many of us think of ginseng our minds immediately leap across the Pacific Ocean to Asia, but an equally potent version of this plant has been used here in North America for thousands of years. The Seneca celebrate American Ginseng as one of the five most valuable plant medicines, and are not alone in their sentiments.

Like so many other herbs, French traders in Quebec quickly recognized American ginseng for its medicinal value and began purchasing large quantities back in the 1600 and 1700s.

What it’s good for:

Unlike the Asian variety which warms and stimulates the body (promoting the “yang” – or masculine forces within us), American ginseng does quite the opposite. Known for its cooling properties, American ginseng is often used to stabilize fever, reduce swelling, and flush out the digestive tract.

The Cherokee, Mohegan, and Potawatomi often dried the herb and brewed it into therapeutic teas. Known as a robust adaptogen, it has been shown to reduce many types of stress – both physical and mental.

“Panax”, the first word in its latin name, comes from the Greek word for panacea, meaning “all healing”. High praise is built right into the title!

Goldenseal: Hydrastis Canadensis

Called the “universal herb” for over 300 years, the goldenseal is a perennial that thrives in the forests of Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and West Virginia – particularly in the Appalachian region. It was most likely introduced to early colonists by the Iroquois and its use as a medicinal has spread like wildfire since then.

What it’s good for:

True to its reputation as the “universal herb”, goldenseal was used in a wide variety of applications. It was highly favoured as a diuretic, liver cleanser, and was commonly infused in cold water to treat sore or itchy eyes. The Catawbas boiled the root and drank its tea to alleviate jaundice, stomach ulcers, and cold sores.

If you’re feeling adventurous – the Cherokee were known to grind the root into a powder and mix it with bear grease to create an insect repellent. The bear grease can be substituted with other vegetable based oils!

Black Cohosh: Actaea racemosa

Also known as “black snakeroot”, the black cohosh is a tall, white flowered plant that is quite common in the woodlands of the Lake Ontario region all the way down to Georgia. The word “cohosh” comes from the Algonquin term for “rough”, which is a reference to the plant’s gnarled root structure. This subterranean portion of the plant, or rhizome, is where the medicine is in this herb.

What it’s good for:

The black cohosh has been a go-to remedy in women’s health for centuries. It is used by Native American healers to treat menstrual cramps, sooth hot flashes, and alleviate post-menopausal depression.

Lately, black cohosh has become a popular herbal supplement in health food stores and many claim it has even broader applications, although these have not been scientifically proven yet.

Interesting fact: Both goldenseal and the black cohosh are in the buttercup family!

I hope you find the herbs above to be of benefit to yourself and your loved ones. Again, we carry a deep respect for the native cultures who brought us this vital knowledge and are honoured to be in a position to pass it along to you.

Stay curious,

Nick Polizzi – Founder, The Sacred Science

Recommended Articles by Nick Polizzi
About the Author

Nick Polizzi has spent his career directing and editing feature length documentaries about natural alternatives to conventional medicine. Nick’s current role as director of The Sacred Science documentary and author of “The Sacred Science: An Ancient Healing Path For The Modern World” stems from a calling to honour, preserve, and protect the ancient knowledge and rituals of the indigenous peoples of the world.

For more, visit www.thesacredscience.com.

Please SHARE this article with your family and friends.

Continue Reading

Health

How Stress Impacts Your Body – And How To Fight Back

Published

on

stress corona
Photo Credit: Pexels / Inzmam Khan

Kate Harveston, Guest Writer

When you feel overwhelmed, your thoughts start racing through every conceivable scenario. You grow irritable, and little things that previously didn’t bother you begin to drive you crazy.

You know how too much tension affects your mind and mood, but what about your body? As it turns out, stress can have multiple adverse effects and even shorten your lifespan. Here’s what you need to know, as well as techniques to help you calm yourself. 

How Stress Impacts You Physically

You go for a hike, and you see a bear. Automatically, several physiological changes take place. Your eyes send a message to your amygdala, which then cries SOS to your hypothalamus. That gets your central nervous system in gear and triggers your adrenal glands to release adrenaline, soon followed by cortisol. Your heart rate and blood pressure increase to supply critical oxygen to your muscles to prepare you for fight or flight. This process all occurs before you start tiptoeing backward.

In a short-term crisis like the above, your body returns to homeostasis, or a normal resting state, once the threat passes. However, while you can beat a retreat before mama bear spies you, it’s more challenging to escape looming deadlines, micromanaging bosses and bill collectors. This prolonged stress keeps your cortisol levels high. 

Small doses of cortisol improve immune function and relieve pain, but your body gets used to elevated levels during periods of ongoing disquiet. As a result, the hormone loses its palliative effect and leads to inflammation. 

The current pandemic creates the perfect meltdown pot. Women, in particular, feel the crunch. While both sexes must adjust to the new reality, women tend to carry a greater sense of responsibility than their male counterparts. When it comes to juggling home-schooling the kids with telecommuting, the lioness is most likely to step up to the plate — and shoulder the burden of added stress. 

A prolonged stress response damages nearly every system in your body. Stress hormones directly impact your heart and increase oxygen demand through your body, making it pump harder. It can also interfere with the electrical impulses this organ relies on to function properly, which can lead to an attack or stroke. 

Stress also impacts your gastrointestinal system. You might recall a time when you got butterflies in your stomach before a performance review or the first day at a new job. People with autoimmune or inflammatory bowel disease often experience worsening symptoms when things grow tense. Researchers suspect this may be due to changes in your intestinal microbiota, or beneficial bacteria that inhabit the area.

Perhaps most frighteningly right now, stress can hinder your immune response. Studies in rats show that the number of T-cells, a critical type of white blood cell for fighting infection, decreases significantly when subjected to repeated tension over several days. If the mere thought of running out for groceries sends you into a paroxysm of fear about catching the COVID-19 virus, your emotions could ironically increase your chances of getting sick. 

What You Can Do to Manage Stress During Uncertain Times 

Getting a grip on your stress levels can benefit your overall health significantly. How can you do so, though, when so much uncertainty abounds, even among world leaders? Try these techniques to manage your emotions positively:

  • Meditate: You don’t need to spend a dime to learn how to meditate. All you need is a quiet space where you can sit and focus solely on your breath. As thoughts intrude, as they will, observe them neutrally. Then, let them go. Remember, the mere fact that you feel worried about something means it isn’t happening at present. If you prefer the guidance of a teacher, you can find ample meditation videos on YouTube for free.
  • Exercise: When you work out, your body releases endorphins, natural feel-good chemicals that help you to relax. For best results, keep your fitness time to under an hour. While moderate exercise decreases your cortisol levels, prolonged bouts can raise them. Save the marathon training for a less anxious time. 
  • Do yoga: Yoga unites your breath and body movement. It combines the mental benefits of meditation with the physical perks of exercise. You don’t need any equipment except perhaps a mat, and you can find ample free videos online. 
Lower Your Stress Levels and Improve Your Health

If you want to improve your physical health, it pays to start by getting a handle on your stress. By using natural, holistic techniques to tame the tension tiger, you can improve the length and quality of your years.

About the Author

Kate is a health and wellness journalist with an interest in holistic healing and all-natural living. If you enjoy her work, you can visit her blogSo Well, So Woman.

Please SHARE this article with your family and friends.

Continue Reading

Awareness

Let Food Be Your Cosmetic: Coconut Oil Outperforms Dangerous Petroleum Body Care Products

Published

on

cocont care
Photo Credit: Pexels / Artem Beliaikin

Sayer JiContributing Writer

What you put on your skin goes directly into your body. Indeed, human autopsy studies have shown that mineral oil widely permeates our internal organs; major moisturizer brands have been found to cause tumour formation in treated animals. All the more reason why we need healthy “food cosmetics” as alternatives to petroleum-derived body care products.

It boggles the imagination how most mass market body care products today are almost entirely composed of petroleum-derived chemicals, whose toxicity are thoroughly established. Take parabens as an example. These endocrine-disrupting, estrogen-like petrochemicals have been found at concentrations 1 million times higher than the estrogen (estradiol) levels naturally found in human breast tissue, leading to the highly concerning conclusion that human hormones are now being eclipsed by synthetic chemicals.

When we slather these chemical concoctions onto our skin, they enter directly into the lymphatic and circulatory systems, depositing in internal organs and body fat. And unlike things you ingest orally, there is no “gate keeping” liver there to protect you from these chemicals entering rapidly into your body through your skin. This is why, of course, you should never put on your body anything you cannot, or would not eat.

Unfortunately, major trusted brands have been found to be just as bad as more generic, cheaper ones in this respect, making it exceedingly difficult to avoid harm unless you are already wise to the issue and using completely natural body care products.

For instance, back in 2009, the Journal of Investigative Dermatology published a highly concerning study titled “Tumorigenic effect of some commonly used moisturizing creams when applied topically to UVB-pretreated high-risk mice,” wherein branded moisturizers, including Dermabase, Dermovan, Eucerin Original Moisturizing Cream (Eucerin), or Vanicream, were found to increase the rate of formation and number of tumours when applied topically to UVB-pretreated high-risk mice.[1]

Chemical industry public relations spokespersons love to point out that we are not mice, implying that preclinical research like this should not throw up a red flag. Should we be made to wait for the very industries guilty of poisoning us to voluntarily fund multi-million dollar, randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trials to determine whether their products are not also causing cancer in humans? Short of a legal mandate, self-incriminating research like this will never be performed, and not only because such a study would be highly unethical (i.e. intentionally poisoning trial subjects), but because it will reveal a truth fraught with immense legal and financial liabilities. Needless to say, a logical approach would be to apply the precautionary principle so that when animal toxicological risk assessments show harm, instead of extrapolating an Orwellian “acceptable level of harm” to humans, we take the sane step of avoiding human exposure altogether.

Crude Awakening: Mineral Oil Contaminates Everyone’s Bodies

Sadly, the reality is that we are not only immersed in a sea of petrochemical products, but we bioaccumulate them in our bodies over the decades, carrying them with us to our early graves.

As we disclosed in a previous article titled “Crude Awakening: Mineral Oil Contaminates Everyone’s Bodies,” one of the only studies ever performed on the topic of petrochemical accumulation in the human body found that 48% of the livers and 46% of the spleens of the 465 autopsies analysed showed signs of mineral-oil induced lipogranuloma (a nodule of necrotic, fatty tissue associated with granulomatous inflammation or a foreign-body reaction around a deposit of an oily substance), indicating just how widespread pathological tissue changes associated with petrochemical exposure really are.

And why should be surprised? Petroleum is everywhere. We build and power our cars from it. We implant plastic into our breasts, and we coat our vegetables with USDA/FDA-approved ‘food grade petroleum.’ Our entire global food system is driven by nitrogen urea based fertilizers, pesticides and related agrichemicals which are all petrochemical in origin. Oil derived hydrocarbons form the basis for the molecular building blocks of many synthetic patent medicines, and even some of our vitamins (e.g. dl-alpha tocopherol). Our foreign policy is largely based on invading countries for ostensibly political/ethical reasons who just happen to be sitting on ‘our oil’ (i.e. War = Resource Procurement).  It is hard to imagine how we might escape our dependence on the petrochemical industrial establishment, given how vertically integrated it is into every facet of modern life, including the very fabric of our bodies.

But there are concrete steps we can take to improve the situation, starting with our own bodies. One of those is to bring back ancient ‘food cosmetics’ like coconut oil.

In a previous post, we discussed the 13 Evidence-Based Medicinal Properties of Coconut Oil, but we did not mention its beneficial effects on hair and skin. While coconut oil has been used for millennium as food, medicine and cosmetic, only in the past few decades has scientific research emerged confirming its ancient uses.

Coconut Oil Is Superior to Mineral Oil for Treating Dry Skin

A 2004 randomized double-blind, controlled trial comparing extra virgin coconut oil with mineral oil as a moisturizer for mild to moderate xerosis (dry skin) found that coconut oil performed equally well, as far as objective measurements, and better than mineral oil, as far as the subjective perceptions of those using it.[2]

Coconut Oil Is Superior to Mineral Oil at Protecting the Hair

A 2001 study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Science found that coconut penetrates the hair shaft while mineral oil does not. This difference was attributed to coconut oil’s higher affinity with hair protein. The researchers explained their findings further:

The results show that coconut oil penetrates the hair shaft while mineral oil does not. The difference may be due to the polarity of the coconut oil compared to the nonpolar nature of the mineral oil. The affinity of the penetrant to the protein seems to be the cause for this difference in their behavior. This study also indicates that the swelling of hair is limited by the presence oil. Since the process of swelling and deswelling of hair is one of the causes of hair damage by hygral fatigue, coconut oil, which is a better penetrant than mineral oil, may provide better protection from damage by hygral fatigue.”[3]

Coconut Oil Protects the Scalp from Fungal Infections

Another study published back in 1993 in the journal Mycoses looked at the use of various commonly used hair oil preparations in India. They found that coconut oil was effective at inhibiting the skin fungi known as dermatophytes, lending a possible explanation for why the fungal infection of the scalp, a condition known as tinea capitis, is so rare in India.[4]

Coconut Oil + Anise Beats Pesticide Spray for Lice

A 2010 study published in the European Journal of Pediatrics found that coconut and anise spray can be a significantly more effective than the highly toxic insecticide Permethrin as an alternative treatment for head louse infestation.[5]

Increasingly, science confirms the value of traditional folk medicine in disease prevention and treatment. After many years of vast misrepresentation, coconut oil has gained wider acceptance not simply as a wholesome food, but as a medicinal agent capable of both nourishing and healing the body in ways that xenobiotic chemicals by their very nature cannot.

Resources
Recommended Articles by Sayer Ji
About the Author

Sayer Ji is the founder of Greenmedinfo.com, a reviewer at the International Journal of Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine, Co-founder and CEO of Systome Biomed, Vice Chairman of the Board of the National Health Federation, and Steering Committee Member of the Global Non-GMO Foundation.

For more, visit GreenMedInfo.com and Facebook.com/GreenMedInfo, osign-up for GreenMedInfo’s free e-Newsletter.

© March 12th, 2018 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for their newsletter here.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Collective Spark or its staff.

Please SHARE this article with your family and friends.

Continue Reading
Advertisement report this ad
Advertisement report this ad

Trending Now

STAY AWARE

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

You have Successfully Subscribed!