Mindless Eating

beta glucanWhen you get hungry, what do you reach for? A pack of crisps? A chocolate bar?

A lot of the time when you go hungry, the first thing you reach for is usually packed full of sugar and fats.

This is because your body is telling you that you need to boost your energy, and sugar is a quick and easy way to do this, despite being unsustainable.

You see, when you reach for that chocolate bar, you are giving yourself instant energy, and what your body craves, but this energy gets burnt up quickly, leaving you hungry again and leading you to eat more and more unhealthy foods.

One way to beat this, and help you to maintain a healthy and more sustainable diet is to plan for when you get hungry.

This does sound a little counterintuitive, you wouldn’t be reaching for the chocolate or crisps at odd times if you could plan what you eat exactly.

However, something as simple as carrying with you high value foods such as nuts and seeds can help your hunger, and help you to sustain a more balanced energy level throughout the rest of your day.

Secondly, make sure that you have healthy food around. By having healthy food instead of unhealthy food around, you will make sure that the options that you are choosing are good for you and are nutritionally suitable for your lifestyle.

It’s easy, but true, when the temptation is removed from sight, you stop being tempted.

And finally, think about what you are eating and why you are eating it.

What you put in your body has a massive impact on how you feel about yourself, your energy levels and more.

Sometimes it’s fine to eat a chocolate bar or a bag of crisps, but when you’re hungry you need a bit more and the food you need to put in your body needs to give you sustainable amounts of energy.

A Problem Shared

beta glucanHave you ever felt like you could cry and scream and punch something all at the same time?

Like there is a fire burning inside of you that you can’t escape and almost it feels like your heart will pop out of your chest?

These are probably the times that you least want to talk to someone, where you least want to let someone else in.

However, they are also the times where this will probably help you the most.

When having a cup of tea and a chat with a close friend or family member can help you to look at the things that you are struggling with objectively, and sort through them in a productive way.

Sometimes, your friends don’t even have to say anything. More often than not, just speaking about what is bothering us and what we are struggling with helps us to find the solutions ourselves.

Yet, when we are unable to find the solutions, sometimes we do need another person there, who can guide us and help us to see things from a different perspective.

Talking about your problems not only helps you to sort through what is going on in your head but it also helps with stress.

Stress is one of the main things that causes your immune system to slow down, so avoiding and reducing high-stress situations is important not only for your mental well-being, but for your physical well-being too.

By sharing how you feel and sorting through the things on your mind you may not get rid of the problem altogether, in fact, a lot of the time the only thing that you will really do is find a different perspective to the problem which helps you to relieve it in your mind.

Not only is talking to an effective way to help you de-stress, but it is natural, free and helps build intimacy too.

Who said talking about things was bad?

Getting Outside

beta glucanAs the days begin to get shorter, and the air turns cooler, it can seem all too tempting to curl up inside and hide from the world.

However, getting outside can be a great way to boost your energy, as well as your mental and physical health. More than that though, it can also help boost your immunity.

In 2009 a study was completed and published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, stating that the closer that people live to nature (streams, woodland, grass land), the more healthy you are and the less likely that you are to be depressed or have high levels of anxiety.

Primarily it is thought that this is because by exposing yourself to nature and being outside you are increasing your vitamin D levels, and because of the natural light, the more time that you spend outside, the more you are able to regulate your body clock.

By regulating your body clock, you are helping your body to fall asleep naturally, which in turn helps you to recharge and feel more healthy and awake. This is good news for your immunity too.

By taking time out of your busy schedule to go outside and take in the environment, you are also taking time for yourself.

This gives us a break from technology and the hectic nature of our every day lives and lets our minds breath.

It might not seem very important but it is in these brief moments when we are alone and are able to get in touch with what is around us, where we are able to reflect on what has happened in our lives as well as the future without getting caught up on worrying that we are able to become centered.

Being centered helps to focus the mind and the body, helping you to become more healthy and helping you to decide that is what you want to be.

Are You Suffering From Anemia?

beta glucanIf you’re on this page then you may be concerned about your health and worried that you or someone that you know has anemia.

Whilst this blog post can act as a guide to anemia, if you are worried that you are suffering from it be sure to visit your GP or a health professional as many of the symptoms discussed can also be applied to other illnesses.

Remember, the Internet is a great resource, but it doesn’t stand in as a substitute for a check-up!

What is anemia?

Anemia is simply another way of saying that you have a deficiency in iron.

Iron is a mineral that our bodies need to carry oxygen around the body.

This is why when people suspect that they have anemia one of the first things that they say is a symptom is paleness.

What are the other symptoms?

As the lack of iron means that our bodies are essentially carrying less oxygen around the body.

This results in symptoms such as tiredness, lack of energy and even dizziness, heart palpitations and shortness of breath.

If you are feeling a combination of these things, or even one or two, the next step is a visit to the doctors. There they will take a blood sample and be able to diagnose it in no time.

What can you do about it?

The main way to combat anemia is through diet change, and adding in foods that have high iron content such as spinach.

However, once it has been confirmed that you have anemia your doctor will probably also recommend that you take iron supplements.

Iron supplements can have side-effects though, so if you really want to be back to normal and feel energized instead of sleepy, try to tackle the problem at it’s root.

This way you will be getting a lot more than just an increase in iron.

Exercise Safety

beta glucanWe all know that exercise is good for you, but when you exercise there is always the risk that something will go wrong, such as a sprained ankle or torn cartilage.

However, there are some things that you can do to help yourself, and to make sure that whatever type of exercise it is that you do, you exercise without putting yourself at risk from either traumatic or cumulative injuries.

Here are just a few that you can put into practice right away regardless of the type of exercise that you are doing:

Make sure that you warm up – Lot’s of injuries are caused by exerting too much power on the bodies muscles and tissue before they have been properly warmed up.

Warming up the muscles is important as it helps them to gain in flexibility meaning that breaks, tears and strains will be less likely.

It also helps you to be able to push yourself that little bit further, which is great for personal satisfaction.

Use the correct technique – If you have only just started exercising, you should perhaps take advantage of the gym and the starter classes so that you know that you are exercising correctly.

All too often people jump straight into exercising without the proper technique and it can lead to injury.

Don’t train too often – Although exercise is great, you can in fact exercise too much.

When you exercise too much and too frequently you don’t give your body the adequate time to recover.

This leads to tiredness and weakness that can affect ability and judgement as well as the overall strength and effectiveness of your work out.

Remember, resting is just as important when it comes to exercising as training, reps and the warm up. It can even help you to become even fitter.

Positive Thinking

Although it hasn’t been scientifically proved, lots of people believe that it is actually possible to think yourself well using positive thinking.

Despite the lack of evidence to back this statement up however, there may be some truth to it.

You see, when you are thinking positively, you are usually happy and content with your life how it is. You have less trouble sleeping, and are probably in a space where you are free to express yourself, and have a high sense of wellbeing and consciousness regarding your health. This will lead to you noticing what your body is doing quicker.

If however, you are thinking negatively you are probably under lots of stress, your health is probably one of the last things that you are thinking about, and you may not be getting the correct amount of sleep nor nutrients that you need.

Thinking positively or negatively by itself is not going to make you the healthiest or unhealthiest person alive. But to some extent changing your thinking and focusing on what your body needs can, particularly if you can recognise the patterns.

This leads on quite well from last week’s blog post regarding self-care. If you want to be healthy, to an extent, you have to choose to be. Of course, this doesn’t include things like depression and other long-term illnesses, but if you are feeling negative and run down then a change of diet or increasing sleep can have a big impact in terms of attitude and wellbeing.

Having a positive attitude also has a lot to do with how you deal with things. The more positive and content that you are, things stress you out less and you can deal with things more easily. Yet, when you are in a negative headspace, the littlest thing can have the biggest impact, and things pile up easier.

Having a positive or negative attitude therefore does not make you healthy or unhealthy. It just puts you in a different place, and means that you deal with health issues differently. The more positive you are, the more you may be looking after yourself so that you may recover quicker.

Choose Health

beta glucanWe all know that it’s important for us to exercise. The government have even given out guidelines that specify exactly how much exercise we should all be doing.

However, deep down, we already know what the government is telling us. We know that the more regularly you exercise, the healthier you are, the more energy you have and the more resilient you are when it comes getting sick.

Yet, when work and family and one hundred other commitments get in the way it can be a lot more difficult to fit in exercise, or anything else for that matter. So, what can you do?

Apart from the obvious, (taking the stairs instead of the lift, getting off of the bus a stop earlier and even swapping the bus commute for a bike commute instead), there is another option. Choose to exercise.

It sounds ridiculous, but when you actually make time for exercise, regardless of all of your other commitments, it is actually proven to boost not only your health and well-being, but your happiness levels too.

By taking time out, and actually focusing on your health it will help you to de-stress and help you to get back to your own personal equilibrium.

By choosing to exercise you are not just saying that exercise is the most important thing that you can do, but you are giving yourself an opportunity to look after yourself, admit that your health is important and to promote self-care.

Self-care is important as whatever else goes on in your life that may hinder your progress, if you take on the responsibility for looking after yourself and making yourself feel good you will be able to make these good emotions last longer.

Obviously exercising and looking after yourself isn’t going to guarantee a lifetime of happiness, but it certainly helps. Sometimes looking after yourself is your bodies best defence.

Insomnia

beta glucanWhen you don’t get a good night’s sleep you can find yourself becoming irritable, rundown and generally ‘off’.

However, what if it was not just one night’s sleep that was missing?

What if, like 30% of the current population of the UK right now, you suffered from insomnia.

Insomnia, according to medical definitions can include anything from 7 days to three weeks of sleepless nights, or nights where sleep is continuously disturbed without the full sleep cycle being completed.

After this period, professionals usually start to recommend medication to help you to sleep.

Primarily this is because sleep is needed for your body to operate properly.

Without sleep, insomnia can lead to relationship breakdowns, emotional issues and the increased likelihood of illness.

When you look at the statistics, 30% doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you think that this applies to 1 in every 10 people that you meet, and that they haven’t slept properly in around three weeks, the seriousness of insomnia is apparent. However, there are some things that can help.

Before doctors give out medication, they usually try other things, and ask you to try other things too.

Some things are as simple as asking you to create a sort of bedtime ritual, so that you do the same thing every night before getting into bed.

This helps your brain to get ready for bed, the same as your body, and is a lot more effective than watching TV right before sleep and then expecting to fall into a deep slumber.

In fact, cutting out any TV/ computer/ phone use for an hour before bed is also recommended.

Sometimes our brain really does need to just switch off. Cognitive behavioural therapy may also be used to treat insomnia, to override whatever it is that is stopping you from sleeping.

Sleeping is an important function, and plays an important part in our bodies’ immune system.

The more sleep that we get, the healthier we are, and the more living we can actually do!