Treating Eczema

beta glucanEczema can be a horrible affliction, especially when it continues well into adulthood.

Usually a skin condition that affects children, eczema affects patches of skin, usually behind the knees, on the elbows and around the eyes and ears.

As well as causing the skin to become inflamed and red, be very dry, and often cracked it can also be incredibly itchy.

When you take into consideration that this skin problem is around already sensitive areas such as the eyes and ears, you can only imagine the discomfort.

However, it can be treated, and statistics show that in 65% of all childhood cases of eczema clear up by the time the individual turns 16.

This is great news for any parents that are worried about their children with eczema.

We know that your immune system gets weaker when you are under a lot of stress, are eating badly and in an unfavorable environment, but it’s lesser known that eczema can be triggered by  hormonal changes and even genetics, although it hasn’t yet been discovered why it is genetic yet.

However, once you have undergone a consultation with your GP they should be able to give you some cream to help clear it up, and if it’s serious they may give you some oral medication too.

Yet, there are some natural things that you can try too. These include:

  • Eating more probiotic foods like yoghurt, ginger beer, and miso.
  • Using a thin layer of coconut oil to treat the affected area (if you are not sensitive to coconut oil that is!)
  • Take cod liver oil supplements at least once per day.
  • Try not to scratch the affected area, it will make it more inflamed and may break the skin.
  • Try to find out what is irritating your skin (if there is anything) and avoid it the best you can, sometimes the best cure is prevention!

Alzheimer’s Disease

beta glucanAlzheimer’s Disease can be incredibly scary, not only for the person who is going through it, but also for the people around them.

However, it doesn’t need to be.

When your health deteriorates, even if it is because of age, there are still things that you can do to help relieve the symptoms.

Even if you are the friend or family member of the person that has it, it is important to remember that there are also things that you can do to not only increase your understanding of what is going on, but to help with controlling symptoms and the health of the affected individual.

When disease attacks the brain there is no knowing how the individual affected will respond.

Sometimes they may understand what is going on, and actively try to pursue a ‘cure’, but other times they may be confused and not really understand what is going on.

It is during these times that the people around them and the people that they love are needed the most.

Unfortunately there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but there has been a lot of improvement in slowing down deterioration in the past few years.

Some studies even suggest that coconut water could be a natural way of helping the individual with Alzheimer’s disease to reduce their levels of confusion and even lessen their rate that they deteriorate.

Of course, this hasn’t been proven yet, but it does offer some hope that a cure will be found in the future.

One of the main things you can do to help your friend/ family member who has Alzheimer’s is to be there for them.

When they say and do odd things, don’t question it.

When they mix up words or fall asleep in random places simply smile and wake them up gently if need be.

It’s an awful, awful disease, but there is support out there such as the Alzheimer’s Association in the USA or the Alzheimer’s Society in the UK.

Don’t be scared to get help.

Period Pain and How to Relieve It

beta glucanSome women have a hard time when it comes to their time of the month.

Not only can it cause lots of pain and discomfort, but it can also cause a loss of time at work and school.

Of course, not all women suffer from period pain to the same extent, however, regardless of the amount of pain felt, it is important to realize that it is a normal part of the cycle, and part of the way the body works.

When you come on to your period, mild contractions start to pass through your womb.

When this happens, the blood vessels in the womb get cut off, stopping the flow of blood and oxygen from flowing freely to your womb like it would usually.

When this happens, the womb begins to release chemicals that trigger pain throughout your body, including your back, legs and tummy.

Sometimes, when these pain triggers are particularly strong, they can have the effect of making some women physically sick with the pain. At this point it is probably time to see your doctor.

Yet, if you do suffer from bad periods and don’t want to rely on painkillers, there are some things that can help you to fight it naturally….

  1. Exercise: It’s probably the last thing that you want to do when you’re on your period, but it can help to ease the pain and relax your muscles.
  2. A warm bath: A warm bath has a similar effect to exercising in that it relaxes your muscles. This is important as the more relaxed your muscles are, the less constricted the blood vessels become, meaning that less pain inducing chemicals are released. A warm compress such as a hot water bottle can also help.
  3. Yoga and meditation: The more relaxed you are when you are on your period, the more relaxed your muscles become, making the pain easier to deal with.

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.