#probiotics

My Tenth blog “Top 10 Causes of Poor Sleep”

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My Tenth blog “Top 10 Causes of Poor Sleep” – in this blog I will discuss 10 common causes of poor sleep and natural remedies you can try to help improve sleep quality.

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I have had several people in my family suffer from sleep insomnia. They just couldn’t go to sleep or they woke up frequently not being able to stay asleep. And as a result, became extremely frustrated and almost became mentally unstable as they knew the wrath they would suffer if they didn’t obtain good quality sleep. Back in the 1980’s there really wasn’t an easy way to look up remedies to this problem. Or to figure out what was causing it so you could get a better nights rest. But nowadays everything is at your fingertips. And after you understand some causes of poor sleep you can easily implement steps to fix the problem. We all have suffered through this at some point in our life. But there are some of us that have encountered it way more than we would like to admit.

So what causes poor quality sleep?

1 Pets in the bed, how to fix this is obvious, move the pet to another location.

2 Kids in the bed, how to fix this is obvious, move them back to their bed.

3 Alcohol affects the rhythm of sleep, first it acts as a sedative, but then a few hours later when blood alcohol level drops, it will wake you up again. To prevent this stop drinking 2 to 3 hours before bedtime.

4 Acid reflux, in my opinion acid reflux can be reduced by removing the food that is causing the problem. To pinpoint what it is – start keeping a food diary and write down your symptoms after you eat. Eventually you will figure out what the culprit is. Here are some foods that can cause acid reflux/heartburn:
Alcohol, particularly red wine
Black pepper, garlic, raw onions, and other spicy foods
Chocolate
Citrus fruits and products, such as oranges and orange juice
Coffee and caffeinated drinks, including tea and soda
Peppermint
Tomatoes
Fried foods or foods high in fat
Dairy

5 Pain, I will be the first to admit this one was a problem for me for a long time. Until I went off of gluten and diet soda, all the pain in my hips, legs and back disappeared! If you are suffering from pain, try switching out your soda with water and going on a gluten free diet – I bet you will see your pain reduced or maybe even go away altogether!

6 Vitamins, I will also admit I occasionally pop a few B12’s to give me a quick burst of energy, especially when I get home late from work and realized I need to do some homework for class. B6 and B12 should be taken in the am hours; they can cause some to have very vivid dreams that can wake you up in the night.

7 Eating right before you go to bed or in the middle of the night is a recipe for poor quality sleep. Why? There are two chemicals in your brain that are needed to go to sleep. Serotonin (not available as a supplement) and Melatonin (available as a supplement) a lot of Serotonin is needed to break down foods, especially foods high in carbohydrates. It takes your body 2 to 3 hours to remake the serotonin to put back what it used. This is the reason why you should stop eating 2 to 3 hours before bed. (you will see more about Melatonin in #1 in the next section)

8 Stress, this obviously can cause sleeping problems. Especially if you are a worrier. Yoga is a great way to unwind. Another great way to reduce your stress, leave work at work. Don’t take it home with you!

9 Medications can have side effects. If you take a control substance for ADD or ADHD (this will definitely keep you up if you take it too late in the day) make sure you read the side-affects before taking any medication your doctor prescribes. Or better yet, ask your doctor if the medication that he/she is prescribing will affect sleep? Don’t be surprised if he/she doesn’t know the answer. They often prescribe pills without warning you of the risks that comes with taking it!

10 Sleep Apnea, if you suffer from this try losing some weight, sometimes sleep apnea is brought on by weight sitting on your diaphragm. Remove the weight and you will likely improve this issue.

zzz-600x400If you are open to taking vitamins to add to your quality of sleep, here is a list of the ones that I have found that help aid better sleep in my household. They may also help you to understand what natural remedies are out there and what you might be deficient in.

1 Melatonin (which is both a hormone and an antioxidant) it is also a chemical in your brain that helps you fall asleep. This can be found at the health food store or online.

2 5-HTP is a compound created in the body which is used to regulate serotonin levels in brain and central nervous system. This can also be found at the health food store or online.

3 Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to excessive daytime sleepiness. You can request your Doctor to check your vitamin D levels. As we age this becomes a more common problem. The sun and a tanning bed (although you don’t want to “over expose”) are ways to get your Vitamin D.

4 Magnesium deficiency can cause insomnia. I take a Magnesium Malate supplement daily.

5 Lack of Potassium can lead to difficulty staying asleep throughout the night. If you are having leg cramps on a regular basis you could be low in potassium or it could be caused by consumption of gluten.

6 Adding a good Probiotic to your diet will help aid in the digestive process. Nothing worse than a bowl of popcorn lying in your gut for days! If you are absent a gall bladder like me I would highly recommend a good probiotic.

“In order to be as healthy as you can be, educating yourself is the key”

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My Eighth Blog “Tap Water, How Clean is too Clean?”

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tap-waterMy Eighth Blog “Tap Water, How Clean is too Clean?”  –  this blog will open your eyes to think before you drink your next glass of water.  There is a price to pay for clean water.

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After I learned drinking Diet Soda (aspartame) was cimagesIA2XFAI2ausing a lot of my symptoms, I decided to switch it out with water.  I was an avid Diet Soda drinking for the past 30+ years; drinking water was something I just didn’t like. I knew it was going to take some time getting use to this change.

On the first day off of Diet Soda, I filled up a tall glass of water from the sink and sat down at the table.  As I lifted the cup to my face, I took a deep breath in and smelled what I thought was chlorine even before I took my first sip.  So I tasted it, I could taste the chlorine.  So I thought to myself, is this actually better than drinking diet soda?  I greatly appreciate the fact that the US has good clean drinking water.  There are many people in 3rd world countries that are not as fortunate.  The human body is made up of roughly 60% water, so what better to put back in your body then water!  Good clean water!  But how clean is too clean?  In order to protect our drinking water from disease-causing organisms and pathogens, water suppliers often add a disinfectant, imagesNXD09OFBsuch as chlorine, to drinking water.

So back to the internet I went to do a little more digging on my so called “clean water”.  The EPA allows up to 4MDRL (Maximum Disinfectant Residual Level ) in our drinking water.  So I proceeded to look up the water report for my area.  And the report indicated the average chlorine in the water in my area was 1.2MDRL.  If I can smell the chlorine at 1.2, what on earth would it smell like at 4?  We all know why we use chlorine and beach, to kill bacteria and germs.  But I never actually thought about what it might be doing to the inside of my body after consuming in on a regular basis.  Little did I know that the small amount of chlorine in our drinking water was enough to slowly kill the good bacteria living in my stomach over time!  The bacteria your body needs to breakdown food.  In order to have good clean drinking water, it comes with a price, a price you can manage if you know about.  So I purchased a spring water dispenser and now have a water delivery service deliver water to my house once a month, cost me about $7.00 per each 5 gal water jug (delivered). Small price to pay to save my entire families (and dog) gut! I haven’t gone so far as to put in entire water filtration system in the house yet, but that is in my foresight!

So how do you put the bacteria back in your gut, take a probiotic daily!  Or better yet consistently eat a diet of fermented and cultured foods.  You will get a much wider variety of bacteria than you can get from a supplement.  A list of fermented foods is below for you reference.

Raw yogurt, Sauerkraut, Buttermilk, Fermented milk or kefir, Pickled fermentations of: cabbage, turnips, eggplant, cucumbers, onions, squash or carrots.  But if you are like me and rarely eat any of above listed foods a probiotic supplement is better than nothing.  Look for the highest strain you can find.  If it was cheap, it probably will not offer much.

If you struggle with any of the below listed diseases or symptoms you likely suffer from a “Gut Abnormality”, that could have been caused by chlorine or many of a number of other things. Start taking a probiotic, your Gut will thank you!

Multiple sclerosis Type 1 diabetes Rheumatoid arthritis Osteoarthritis
Lupus Crohn’s disease Ulcerative colitis Chronic skin conditions
Kidney problems Urinary conditions Allergic and atopic conditions Degenerative skin conditions
Chronic fatigue syndrome Fibromyalgia Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) Inflammatory bowel diseases

http://articles.mercola.com/fermented-foods.aspx

“In order to be as healthy as you can be, educating yourself is the key”

My Sixth Blog “Do You Look Before You Flush?”

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toilet_flushing_56th Blog “Do You Look Before You Flush?”– in this blog I will discuss how tuning into your own human waste can reveal secrets around your health.

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Ok, probably not the best blog title, but now that I have your attention and curiosity less discuss human waste and how it can tell a story about your health!   So what’s normal, what’s abnormal?  Your stool can provide you information about your health!  It can reveal signs of infection, digestive problems or even signs of cancer.

Normal stool consistency is roughly 75% water and the remainder is a combination of dead and live bacteria, mucus and fiber.  Sounds disgusting right? If we talked more freely about it we would all recognize our own health problems and remedy these issues much quicker as we would seek treatment more proactively.    Beans and nuts come out in your stool as a gel-like substance and since corn, oats and carrots are hard for our body to digest it may come out looking just like it went in.

So let’s talk about color!  Color really does matter, some foods you eat will reflect in your stool.  Reddish stool (not bloody) might be a sign of the beets you ate last night.  Green stool is typically a sign you ARE eating lots of green leafy vegetables, which is a good thing!  Certain medications might turn your stool white or clay-colored.  But lookout for jet-black stool, this could be a harmless sign, like eating black licorice or it could be a warning sign of intestinal bleeding which can indicate a more serious health problem.

 Shape is equally important!  The ideal stool is all in one piece and moderately soft. If it is breaking apart in the toilet your fiber content is probably not ideal.  Pebbly stool is a sign of constipation and pencil-thin stools, on the other hand can be a sign of rectal cancer.   If you are regularly pebbly or pencil thin I would suggest seeking a physician’s consultation.  Often times you can remedy this through diet, hydration and exercise.

odorWe have all went in a public restroom at some point in our life and walked right back out because the smell was way too overwhelming!   Pay attention to the odor you excrete!  Stool is not supposed to smell pleasant but it shouldn’t knock you out either!   Extremely strong odors that are persistent is often a sign of an infection, a strong odor could be a side effect of a stomach bug or parasite from swimming in a fresh water lake.  It could also suggest a more serious digestive condition like Celiac or Crohn’s Disease or Colitis.   Constant strong smelling stool is a sign you should closely monitor.

So what is the normal frequency for passing stool?  Everyone’s normal is different.  However, if we think about this logically and with common sense I would like to get the food out as quickly as I possibly can.  I don’t want anything sitting around more than a day in my gut, longer than that certainly won’t bring about good outcomes.  The key is consistency.  If you are going every morning and all of a sudden you are now going only once a week and barely at that, you should see a red flag.  Daily is a great habit to get your body into, if possible.  The more fiber you eat the more regular you will be.  We all know someone that takes an hour in the bathroom and others that seem to have a trap door.  I will give the blue ribbon to the person with the trap door.  The longer you sit on the toilet the more likely you will develop hemorrhoids or swollen blood vessels in and around the anus.  For the person spending an hour in the bathroom you either need to put down the kindle or add a daily probiotic and consume more fibrous foods!   Fiber comes from Fruit, Vegetables, Legumes, Grains, Nuts and Seeds.  Eat them and eat them often!

Below is a list of foods that are VERY HIGH in fiber. Split Peas, Lentils, Black Beans, Lima Beans, Artichokes, Peas, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Raspberries, Blackberries, Avocados, Pears, Bran Flakes, Whole-Wheat Pasta, Pearled barley, & Oatmeal.

So which is better, stool that floats or a stool that sinks?  A stool that sinks is the WINNER! Floating stool is a sign you may have too much fat in your diet, or it could also be a sign of malabsorption, which is a condition your body cannot absorb enough fat or other nutrients for the food you are consuming, which may be a sign of celiac disease.   So if your son or daughter leaves a floater in the toilet that you have to flush, you should immediately see they need less fat and more fiber in their diets, if it is common after a diet change, this might be a sign of a larger problem.

2probioticsYour gut is full of bacteria!  Which is essential in breaking down the food you eat; this bacteria releases gases as a byproduct from this digestive process.   Your body absorbs some of those gases into your bloodstream that eventually you breathe out through your lungs.  Which makes me wonder if an overabundance of gas in the blood stream results in bad breath?  I believe that might be a topic for a future blog.   My entire family takes daily probiotics.  Why?  Because taking a daily probiotic adds good bacteria to your gut and helps aid the digestive process.  When your gut is happy, your body, mind and sole are as well!

“In order to be as healthy as you can be, educating yourself is the key”