12 Foods that can help you sleep

12 Foods That Can Help You Sleep

Sure, you don’t want to gorge yourself on dinner and snacks before bed time preventing you from your much-needed beauty rest and possibly cause insomnia…but don’t starve yourself either, having the right foods in small quantities before retiring to bed could be just what the doctor ordered…the sleep doctor, that is.

1. Walnuts – They are full of tryptophan that can help your body make more serotonin and melatonin, which tell your brain that it is time to go to sleep. Additionally, one study even found that walnuts have their own separate source of melatonin. All in all, this nutty snack will help you go to sleep quicker and sleep better too.

2. Almonds – These nuts include high amounts of magnesium. People who do not have enough magnesium in their body will have trouble staying asleep. Additionally, this mineral, or a lack of it for that matter, can aggravate restless leg syndrome. Almonds can help ensure you get quality sleep and prevent insomnia.

3. Lettuce – This leafy green contains something in it called lacturcarium. It can actually work as a sedative and studies have shown that it can have a similar effect on the brain as opium (without the dangers or addictive qualities). You can even make a lettuce drink to help you sleep. Just simmer a few lettuce leaves in water for about 15 minutes, add some mint and sip.

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11 Foods and Drinks to Never Have Before Sleeping

11 Foods and Drinks to Never Have Before Sleeping

It’s only natural that you may have a little rumble in the tummy close to bedtime…and as we have mentioned before in our post “Mistakes to Avoid Before Bedtime to Avoid Insomnia”, it is never a good idea to go to bed too hungry nor too full. So, if you absolutely must get a snack in to satisfy your cravings it is best to avoid these eleven foods and drinks right before bedtime…otherwise you could be in for a long night of restless sleep causing insomnia.

Some of these are seriously no-brainers, but others may come to be quite surprising;

1. Milk

Unless you are a baby, which I am guessing you are not as you are able to read this post, you should try and avoid milk for a couple reasons;

  • If you happen to be lactose intolerant and you don’t know it, then a glass of milk before bed could leave your digestive system upset. As a result, you may not get to sleep because you have to run to the bathroom throughout the night.
  • If you are glucose intolerant (and one in three people are), then milk can lead you to have a blood sugar crash in the middle of the night. As a result, you may wake up starving at two in the morning.

Whether you are lactose or glucose intolerant or not, you simply don’t want to take the chance. Just avoid milk before bed and ensure it doesn’t keep you awake so you can avoid insomnia.

2. Chocolate (I know, this one may hurt a bit)

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Diet, Lifestyle and the Right Supplements Can Reduce Symptoms of Lightheadedness

Diet, Lifestyle and the Right Supplements Can Reduce Symptoms of Lightheadedness

Have you had experience of feeling lightheaded?  That strange feeling of trying to stand up, only to fall back down on the chair can be frightening.  When you find yourself knocked back down on your butt, and are startled from the lack of control, it can cause some anxiety.  This is one of the many symptoms of hypoadrenia, which is more commonly known as adrenal fatigue.

Adrenal fatigue is the result of underperforming adrenal glands. The adrenal glands are actually quite small – the size of a walnut – but they can contribute to some bothersome health issues, which may affect us in our day-to-day lives.

Here’s why. When we experience chronic stress, the adrenal glands react to this stress as a perceived threat and, in essence, initiate the fight-or-flight response. The adrenals – in response to stress – cause a rise in blood pressure, increase the body’s ability to clot blood, suppress the immune system, and transfer blood to your extremities. These processes serve a vital purpose; they enhance our ability to fight or flee during a challenging situation

This fight-or-flight response is meant to be short lived, but this isn’t always the case. Why? Quite simply, the adrenal glands cannot distinguish between perceived danger and real danger, and that’s why they can become compromised when we encounter long-term stressors. When the adrenal glands are compromised over a long period of time, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Decreased Sex Drive
  • Irritation and Anxiety
  • Lethargy
  • Arthritis
  • Depression
  • Frequent influenza
  • Reduced concentration
  • Serious injury or illness
  • Reduced memory function
  • Insomnia
  • Difficulty losing weight with extensive effort

The good news is that there are ways to assist your adrenal glands in functioning more efficiently, and it’s easier than you may think. Consider changing your diet. In fact, dietary changes can go a long way toward regulating your body’s functions.

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What’s the Right Amount of Water to Consume?

What’s the Right Amount of Water to Consume?

Drinking enough water for maintaining adequate health is important – make that essential.  You need water to keep your overall metabolism running smoothly.  Water is involved in every type of cellular process, so without adequate water all of the cells in your body begin to perform sluggishly.

You’ve probably heard it many times – drinking enough water throughout the day is essential to your body’s wellness and maintaining a healthy metabolism. But if you’re struggling with health concerns – if your body is waging a battle against degenerative disease or chronic symptoms – you may wonder if you’re getting enough water throughout the day … or if there’s even such a thing as “too much” water in your daily intake.

Although there is such a thing as water intoxication, it’s very rare and usually seen only in cases of infants or athletes that are pushing their body to extremes. Conventional medical wisdom used to be that everyone needed their eight 8-ounce glass of water each day.  But that conventional wisdom has evolved into a more personal approach based on your size.

However, even if you’re simply waking up every morning and turning on the television and sitting on the couch until you go to sleep each night, your body would excrete up to 2.5 quarts of water just through your body’s typical baseline functions.

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What to Learn from People Living the Longest, Happiest lives

What to Learn from People Living the Longest, Happiest lives

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your warm and enthusiastic response to my last letter. In case you missed it, I started an open conversation with our Optimal Wellness Labs community about how you experience aging—whether you see it as a good thing or a bad thing.

I cited an emerging body of research that revealed those of us who wake up in the morning with a purpose tend to live an additional 7-10 years longer. I was truly overwhelmed and grateful for the outpouring of heartfelt stories I received in reply. Many of you graciously shared your purpose in life, and I learned a great deal.

Here’s just a few of the many, many inspiring stories you shared with me:

Steve, Age 66: Active in work, family, community and church. City council water board and theater board; married 42 years, 11 grandchildren; loves golf and yard work; believes happiness and engagement with life reduces stress.

Bob, Age 74: Great health; daily walking, hiking, climbing hills and mountains; swims in ocean; manages farms and gardens; leads project helping school for under-privileged Filipinos; enjoys a happy, healthy life.

Maxine, Age 72: Scuba instructor; photographs underwater sea life in Kona; swimming; fun, thrilling life by the sea.

John, 85: Works on vintage aircraft; pilot, takes hunting trips; takes a lot of vitamins and supplements.

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Should You Use Fish Oil as Your Source for Essential Fatty Acids?

Should You Use Fish Oil as Your Source for Essential Fatty Acids?

Recently there has been a debate about how to supplement our diet to get the essential fatty acids (EFAs) that we need.  This debate is centered around the notion that fish oil is a less effective source of EFAs than is what has been called “Parent Essential Oils” or PEOs for short.

Is it true that PEOs are a more beneficial source of EFAs rather than traditional sources of Omega 3 such as fish oils?

The reality is most of what you’ve heard about PEOs is simply marketing hype – yet another “latest and greatest” product touted as a more “proper” way to benefit the body.

The whole issue with essential fatty acids boils down to one thing – the quality, reliability, and safety of the processing of the supplement you’re consuming.

What’s important here is not so much where the EFAs come from – it’s how they are handled and processed.

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Sea Salt vs. Table Salt

Sea Salt vs. Table Salt

Should you use sea salt or table salt? This has been the subject of debate for years. While it’s often a matter of personal preference, we recommend sea salt. Here’s why.

Sodium Levels: Sea Salt vs. Table Salt

Regardless of the choice you make, sea salt and table salt are comprised of the minerals sodium and chloride. However, if you look beyond this similarity, there are some distinct differences between the two.

With all the harsh warnings regarding consuming too much salt, you may think that sodium is bad for you. This is simply not true. Too much sodium is bad for you.

According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most Americans ingest twice as much their daily recommended sodium requirement. Adults need 1,500 mg. per day to maintain good health. Canned goods and restaurant foods are the big sodium culprits, adding unhealthy levels of sodium to our diets.

Many people think that sea salt has less sodium than table salt. This is a misconception. By weight, both salts contain approximately 40 percent sodium. The difference, however, is in the crystal size.

Because sea salt crystals are often larger than table salt, you’ll get fewer crystals on the spoon. When you measure a spoonful of sea salt and compare it to table salt, you’ll find less sodium in sea salt because there are fewer crystals. A teaspoon of table salt contains 2,300 mg. of sodium, whereas a teaspoon of sea salt may contain 1,840 mg. of sodium.

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Soy: the Good, the Bad, and the Confusing

Soy: the Good, the Bad, and the Confusing

Soy. We love it. We hate it. We don’t know what to do with it.

The information we get about soy is so confusing that many of us don’t know whether to embrace soy products or to steer clear of them.

Because this popular bean causes confusion and controversy, it’s a good idea to know the facts before you consume it.

What is Soy?

Soy is simply a legume – a bean – that was originally grown in East Asia. Due to its popularity, large-scale growth and production of soybeans is now common in the United States.

When consumed raw, soy is poisonous. That’s why soybeans are processed into products such as tofu, miso, soy milk, and meat alternatives. Edamame is an immature soybean left in the pod.

Here’s the good news. Soy is a rich source of protein, manganese, fiber, iron, and folate. For vegans and vegetarians, soy products are often an integral part of a balanced diet.

Here’s the “somewhat” bad news. Regardless of your dietary choices, there’s a good chance you’re consuming soy without knowing it.

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How Food Intolerance becomes the REAL Cause of Weight Gain

How Food Intolerance becomes the REAL Cause of Weight Gain

Here’s a question for you: If you wanted to be your leanest, fittest self and follow the healthiest diet in the world, what would you eat?

You’re probably thinking egg-white veggie omelets, maybe some Greek-style nonfat yogurt, low-calorie whey protein shakes, and perhaps a soy-based veggie burger on a whole-grain bun.

Here’s the real bummer: These so-called healthy foods could be holding your health and your weight hostage.

Sadly, you might be eating these and other foods regularly. You probably don’t even like some of them and only choose them because you are “supposed to.”

How disappointing to discover you’re doing everything “right” yet nothing is working!  The scale won’t budge, your pants won’t zip, and you frequently feel tired, moody, and achy.
The Virgin Diet
According to my good friend, Celebrity Nutrition and Fitness Expert JJ Virgin, foods you think are healthy could be sabotaging your weight-loss efforts. She says food intolerances become the hidden source of weight loss resistance for many people.

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Caffeine and Estrogen Imbalance

Caffeine and Estrogen Imbalance

Do you kick-start your day with a hot cup of coffee? Perhaps you indulge in tea, soda, or energy drinks instead.

Unfortunately, that caffeine kick you crave to get through the day may be wreaking havoc on your estrogen levels.

Here’s how.

The Caffeine/Estrogen Connection

Estrogen plays a number of roles in women’s bodies, particularly sexual and reproductive health. Estrogen also promotes breast cancer tumor growth, which is why lowering estrogen levels or blocking estrogen production is often used to prevent or slow cancer reappearance post-surgery.

Additionally, estrogen prevents bone loss. When combined with calcium, vitamin D, and other hormones and minerals, estrogen builds strong bones.

There’s more:

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