The Relationship Between Anxiety and Insomnia

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Anxiety and insomnia often go hand in hand. Each can be causes of the other which can lead to a vicious cycle that may seem impossible to break. Chronic insomnia increases your odds of having anxiety disorders. So, treating chronic insomnia may be one way to alleviate feelings of anxiousness.

Although many people have suffered insomnia in certain periods of their lives, chronic insomnia is characterized by one month or more of having trouble falling asleep, waking up too early or overall poor quality of sleep. It affects 10 percent of adults in the US.

To fight chronic insomnia, first check with a doctor to ensure that certain conditions like heart disease, diabetes, epilepsy, pregnancy, menopause or arthritis aren’t the cause of the problem. Certain medications may also negatively affect healthy sleep.

Seek any psychological factors that are affecting your rest. For example, one major sign of depression is not being able to go back to sleep after waking up too early. So, in this case, treating your depression may also help with your insomnia.

One way to deter both anxiety and insomnia is to cut down on caffeine and alcohol. Coffee is the obvious culprit when it comes to too much caffeine but you also want to avoid tea, soft drinks, chocolate and certain medications. While you may fall asleep quickly after drinking alcohol, your sleep will be light and fragmented. Calcium enhances sleep, as do B vitamins and magnesium.

And then there’s smoking. . .nicotine increases blood pressure, speeds up the heart rate and stimulates brain activity. . .not what you want when you’re trying to get a good night’s sleep.

Another way to kick the insomnia is by getting exercise. You don’t have to jump head-first into a gym or athletic club, though. Just a 20 minute walk every day (or even 3-4 times a week) can help. The best time to exercise is in the late afternoon. Do not exercise just before bed, that would be counter-productive as exercise stimulates your body.

The right environment and position is also conducive to sleep. Your room should be as dark as possible. Any kind of light, and especially blinking, flashing lights or lights from the TV, are disruptive to sleep. You can also try wearing a mask to block out light although some find this to be uncomfortable. A white noise maker is a way to block out bumps in the night or other sounds that could wake you up. Temperature is also important. Make sure that your thermostat is set at a comfortable position for you when you’re covered in blankets.

If you’ve tried everything and you still can’t sleep, try not to get stressed out about it. This just makes matters worse. Try to do something calming like reading or taking a warm bath and go back to bed as soon as you start feeling sleepy.

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Four Steps to Outsmart Fat

by Dr. Don Colbert

Dr. Colbert's Health Tips and News

Four Steps to Outsmart Fat

Build Muscle

The increased calorie burn from muscle helps you lose more fat than you would otherwise. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism, even while you are sleeping! All forms of exercise help build and sustain muscle, but calisthenics, weight-lifting and resistance band-exercises target muscle building more fully.

Every year after the age of thirty people began losing muscle mass. This loss of muscle results in your body burning fewer calories year after year. Through strength training and exercise you can keep your metabolism working at youthful levels and keep your body looking and feeling great too. I recommend fifteen to thirty minutes of focused muscle-building exercises every other day.

Add High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Do not be scared away by the words high intensity. There are levels of HIIT for everyone. HIIT consists of exercising vigorously for 20 to 30 seconds to raise your heart rate, then resting for 90 seconds. You can do HIIT in the form of walking, running, biking or any exercise where you can perform intensely for up to 30 seconds, and then slow down to a restful pace for 90 seconds.

You should start your HIIT with a 3 minute warm up, repeat the training segment 8 times, then end with a two-minute cool down. The total workout lasts about 20 minutes. This trend in exercising has proven to be effective for weight loss.HIIT can be practiced twice a week. I want to caution you on making HIIT part of your daily exercise routine.

You might be tempted to use this form of training regularly in an effort to sprint to the weight-loss finish line. In my experience, those who practice moderate-intensity activity regularly tend to stay with it longer. So establish a moderate-intensity exercise routine, and then add HIIT on occasion.

Eat More Fiber.

As I have been saying for years, soluble fiber covers a multitude of dietary sins. As soluble fiber moves through the digestive track it binds with fats, sugars and toxins and escorts them out the other end, preventing them from becoming absorbed by the body. Soluble fiber also helps decrease your appetite and lower your cholesterol and blood sugar. If you want to outsmart fat, concentrate on getting at least 38 grams of fiber per day for a man and at least 25-30 grams per day for a woman.Good food sources of fiber include beans, peas, lentils, apples, citrus, oats and flaxseeds. You can also supplement with fiber. Natural fiber supplements should be taken before you eat with 16 oz. of water.
Mindful Eating and Stress Reduction
Stressful circumstances can cause cravings for carbohydrate-rich foods, especially those of the simple carb type like sweets and processed flour. Stress hormones, triggered during stressful circumstances, also increase fat storage.A study performed at the University of California proved mindful eating and stress reduction alone can result in weight loss. The women in the study were divided into two groups. The first group was taught mindful eating practices and relaxation techniques, while the second group was not. Those women who mastered the techniques reduced their levels of stress hormones and, consequently, their amount of abdominal fat.Mindful eating means being aware of what and how much you are eating. Mindful eating means sitting down to relax while eating, rather than rushing through a meal while multi-tasking. Mindful eating means savoring each bite of food so you can determine when you are satisfied. Eating out of a bag or box while watching TV is a good example of mindless eating.

http://www.lef.org/news/LefDailyNews.htm?NewsID=12002&Section=Nutrition&utm_source=DailyHealthBulletin&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Nutrition&utm_content=Body+Title&utm_campaign
=DHB_111227

Four Easy Ways to Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease

by Dr. Don Colbert

Dr. Colbert's Health Tips and News

Lifestyle and diet changes are critical when it comes to reducing your risk of heart disease. If you haven’t already done so, here are four important changes you should consider.

Exercise
Exercise is critical to almost every level of well being. A recent study showed that just 15 minutes of exercise per day will add three years to your lifespan, even if you already have heart disease. An additional 15 minutes further reduced mortality by an additional 4%.

Insulin resistance is an underlying factor in almost all chronic diseases that shorten life, including heart disease. Exercise is crucial to longevity because it promotes healthy insulin levels. In a culture like ours that consumes far too much sugar and other refined carbohydrates, daily exercise is crucial.

Vitamin D
Still, as important as exercise is, it only comprises about 20% of a healthy lifestyle. The other 80% involves nutrients.

Study after study continues to link heart disease with a lack of vitamin D. In other words, the less sunshine you get, the greater your risk of heart disease. Sunlight, due to the vitamin D it produces in your body, increases your body’s natural anti-inflammatory response, decreases vascular calcification and also decreases vascular smooth muscle growth. All this leads to a healthier heart.

Some recent studies are even challenging the links between the sun exposure and skin cancer. Most Americans don’t receive adequate sun exposure, especially during the winter months, and are therefore deficient in vitamin D. It is important to have your doctor check your vitamin D levels to determine if supplementation may be required.

Avoidance of High Glycemic Carbs
Several studies show a link between high consumption of simple carbohydrates and heart disease. A recent study showed that women who eat high amounts of high glycemic carbs, such as white rice and white bread, are twice as likely to develop heart disease compared to those who eat the least amounts.

A diet high in refined sugars and grains, such as bread, pizza, pasta, pancakes, bagels and rice, increases insulin resistance which is harmful to your heart.

Pomegranate
Finally, as I continue to promote prevention rather than just treatment of symptoms, it’s important to recognize the power of pomegranate in avoiding the numerous pathological changes related to heart disease. Scientists believe pomegranate has important antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that fight the growth of undesirable muscle cells in blood vessel walls as well as lower LDL, or bad cholesterol. In one study, pomegranate juice outperformed numerous other antioxidants, including grape juice, blueberry juice and red wine, in reducing the damaging effects of free radicals. Other studies have suggested pomegranate may not just help prevent heart disease; it may even help reverse it.

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/09/23/lower-your-risk-of-heart-disease-in-as-little-as-15-minutes-a-day.aspx

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2005/12/13/how-vitamin-d-protects-your-heart.aspx

http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2007/may2007_report_pomegranate_01.htm? source=search&key=pomegranate

What Every Chocolate Lover Needs to Know

by Dr. Don Colbert

Dr. Colbert's Health Tips and News

You might consider chocolate a guilty pleasure, but it doesn’t have to be. The type of chocolate you eat determines whether the chocolate is good or bad for you.

Many Americans have never eaten “true” chocolate. Most chocolate found in the supermarket or in specialty candy stores is processed and harmful for your body. Do not be fooled by price. I have seen many brands of expensive chocolate that are highly processed and loaded with toxic ingredients.

You can find processed chocolate in all sorts of candy, cakes and muffins, ice cream, cookies and more. When chocolate is processed with high temperatures and high pressure, it loses its health benefits. Processed chocolate is also loaded with sugar, oils and dairy that reverses any benefit the chocolate originally had and makes it highly addictive. I never recommend conventional chocolate.

The good news is there is a form of chocolate that is very good for you.

Chocolate comes from the cacao bean. The cacao bean is considered a superfood because of its rich antioxidant content. If the natural properties of the cacao bean are still intact in your chocolate, you can experience a wealth of benefits.

  • Cacao is rich in flavanols, powerful antioxidants that help protect the body from disease-causing free radicals.
  • The potent antioxidant content in cacao helps maintain healthy brain function.
  • Cacao can help lower blood pressure.
  • Cacao has been shown to help lower cholesterol.
  • Studies show cacao can improve insulin resistance.
  • A recent study shows eating an ounce and a half of cacao-rich chocolate every day for two weeks lowers stress hormone levels. Study participants placed in the “high anxiety” group also reported feeling less anxious after eating the chocolate.
  • Cacao is associated with lower incidence of cardiovascular disease.

Choosing the Right Chocolate

To ensure you are treating yourself to the right kind of chocolate, look for a cacao content of 60% or more. It will usually specify the cacao percentage on the label. The sugar content should be very low (somewhere around 4 grams). It should be organic and contain no dairy ingredients. One to three ounces per day is okay. More than that can add unwanted calories to your diet.

Like the many who eat chocolate in its natural form, I hope you find it to be decadent and satisfying.
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2007/03/06/can-chocolate-benefit-your-brain.aspx

http://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/HEALTHbeat_030309.htm#art1

http://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/HEALTHbeat_030309.htm#art1

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2005/03/23/chocolate-part-three.aspx

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/12/12/Dark-Chocolate-The-New-Antianxiety-Drug.aspx

http://www.lef.org/newsletter/2010/0402_Eating-More-Chocolate-Associated-with-Fewer-Cardiovascular-Events.htm?source=search&key=chocolate

Superfoods for Your Heart

by Dr. Don Colbert

Dr. Colbert's Health Tips and News

When compared to other countries, Americans have significantly more heart disease and for one reason alone: the toxic state of the Standard American Diet. What you eat is the single most important factor when it comes to your health. While God created many foods to nourish and protect our bodies, a few stand out when it comes to heart health.

Pomegranate – One of the most amazing foods when it comes to helping protect the heart is the pomegranate. The pomegranate has unique properties allowing it to help protect the inner walls of the arteries from damage. More and more research is showing pomegranate may even have the ability to reverse atherosclerosis. I recommend 2 ounces of quality pomegranate juice per day. Supplements are also available.

Blueberries – When it comes to harnessing the power of antioxidants, blueberries rank number one when compared to other fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants help neutralize the damaging effects of free radicals that can lead to numerous diseases including heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s. Specific to the heart, the antioxidants in blueberries work to help reduce your cholesterol, decreasing your risk for heart attack and stroke. I recommend a cup of organic fresh or frozen blueberries every day.

Salmon – Oily fish like salmon contain beneficial amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, or “good fat.” Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce your level of triglycerides. Triglycerides are “bad fats” in the blood increasing your risk of heart disease. Omega-3s also help keep the blood thin, reducing the risk of clots from sticking to arterial walls, a primary cause of fatal heart attacks. Omega-3’s also help reduce the occurrence of dangerous heart arrhythmias.

The American Heart Association recommends eating 3 to 6 ounces of oily fish at least twice per week. I recommend a good fish oil supplement as well. When it comes to fish and fish oil, it is very important to make sure it is clean. Cold water, wild fish and fish oils are less likely to contain harmful doses of antibiotics and toxic mercury. Steer away from farmed fish.

Spinach – Dark, leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, swiss chard and collards offer high levels of heart-healthy vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Similar to in blueberries, these nutrients help reduce your risk of heart disease.

Spinach, in particular, is also high in folate. Folate helps reduce homocysteine, an amino acid produced by the body usually as a byproduct from consuming meat. When homocysteine is present in high levels in the blood it is associated with hardening and narrowing of the arteries, increased risk of heart attack, stroke and blood clots. I recommend at least one cup a day of dark, leafy green vegetables.

Walnuts – While nuts in general are a beneficial part of a healthy diet, walnuts contain almost twice the antioxidants as other nuts. Walnuts also contain high amounts of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is associated with lower risk of heart attacks and blood clots. Nutrients in walnuts are also known for their vascular reactivity, or the ability of blood vessels to respond positively to changes in the environment.

Other heart-healthy superfoods deserving honorable mention include black beans, kidney beans, tomatoes, citrus fruits, oatmeal, cinnamon, green tea, flaxseed.

http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2007/may2007_report_pomegranate_01.htm?source=search&key=pomegranate

http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2011/aug2011_Walnuts-A-Wealth-of-Health-Found-in-Walnuts_01.htm?source=search&key=walnuts

No-Cook Herb Marinara Sauce

by Dr. Don Colbert
Adapted from What Would Jesus Eat? by Dr. Colbert

Dr. Colbert's Health Tips and News

Add one can of organic low-salt tomato sauce to:

  • 2-3 fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh basil
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

The sauce does not need to be cooked. Enjoy the benefits of raw garlic, onion and herbs. Serve over wild salmon for a heart-healthy meal, or over brown rice noodles. Organic ingredients are preferred.

Read about the benefits of marinara sauce here: http://www.livestrong.com/article/394604-is-marinara-sauce-good-for-you/

Benefits of Living Omega 3 from Dr. Colbert

Living Omega is a totally natural source of the omega-3 essential fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), concentrated from cold water fish oil.

• Cardiovascular Health Including Blood Pressure, Lipids and Clotting
• Reducing Inflammation of Joints, Skin, Other
• Reducing Back and Neck Pain
• Support for Mental Health/Behavior
• Support for the Reduction of Allergic-type Response
Glucose and Insulin Homeostasis