Cancer Awareness Month: Lung

This is stunning:

Worldwide, lung cancer is the most common malignancy and the most common cause of cancer deaths in the past few decades. In 2012, a total of 1.8 million new cases were estimated, accounting for 12.9% of all new cancer diagnoses. (source: https://go.nature.com/2xPytsH) And the single most important risk factor for all these deaths, as you might guess, is tobacco use.

Cancer Awareness Month: Colon

Colorectal cancer is the 2nd most commonly occurring cancer in women, and the 3rd most commonly occurring in men (source: https://bit.ly/2xLYFEP). One key suspect in this particular cancer formation is processed meats, particularly those cured with nitrates and nitrites (current thoughts on cancer boosters and blockers here: https://bit.ly/2IKBNcc.

Cancer Awareness Month

This month, we are focused on cancer awareness. We’ll do this by providing 2 infographics each week. The first will spotlight cancer fighting foods. The second will take a deeper dive into the data around certain prevalent forms of cancer.

As always, looking forward to your thoughts!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tired of Being Tired? Go Mental!

Debilitating fatigue can have physical or mental sources, and both of them leave you feeling like you’re completely out of energy. And this sense of exhaustion will be true even if you haven’t expended any energy through the day!

One of the largest sources of mental fatigue comes from chronic stress and anxiety that are not well managed. This kind of fatigue can also accompany headache, irritability, dizziness or blurred vision, loss of appetite, short term memory problems, lack of focus, difficulty making decisions, and/or lack of motivation.

What To Do?

The most important first step is to identify the source of the stress and work to manage it. This may involve changing that source, creating routines that help keep stressors from “getting inside” where they can create the tension that can lead to fatigue.

Another useful technique shown to help reduce mental fatigue is yoga. This exercise is a perfect combination of physical stretching and mental relaxation. This study showed that even a “a 30 min programme of yogic stretch and breathing exercises … had a markedly invigorating effect on perceptions of both mental and physical energy and increased high positive mood.”

If you are a person who needs structure in your life, in order to follow through on your commitments, join a yoga class. They are now quite commonplace and span a continuum from meditative to being very physically demanding.

That said, if you are a person who can set your own routines in your own home, the routines and postures are easily found online, with plenty of instructions. Whichever one you choose, in the end you’ll be helping calm your mind, exercise your body, and energize your life in the process!

Tired of Being Tired? Here’s the antidote!

Here’s some irony for you. When you’re low on energy, you just don’t feel like being active. Maybe if you rest for a while, your energy will come back.

But it turns out that this is exactly the wrong answer. It seems like a body might need rest so it can recharge and give more energy, but just being active creates more energy within your muscles and your cardiovascular system. 

In fact, a 2017 study showed that participants with work-related fatigue improved their energy levels after six weeks of exercise intervention. This went along with an improved effort at work, sleep quality, and cognitive functioning.

Why would this be?

  1. Your cardiovascular system becomes more efficient when you are active, so it transports oxygen more efficiently through the day. More oxygen, more energy.
  2. Research shows that sleep quality is improved when you are active. How active? Just 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity over the course of an entire week. Mood is elevated as well.
  3. Activity benefits your mental energy levels as well. This study showed that 24 weeks of moderate aerobic exercise improved cognitive function, concentration, and even short term memory.  
  4. Any physical activity that elevates your heart rate can raise your energy level and give you more stamina. Aerobic exercise is the most obvious, but lower-intensity exercises like yoga have also shown benefits as well.
  5. An excellent exercise for a long term energy boost comes from resistance training. Any kind of resistance work, done consistently, can build background muscle tone. This is important because that muscle burns more calories than anything else except your brain. The effect is that it can raise your basal metabolic rate, leaving you with more energy through the day.

Tired of Being Tired? Avoid These Energy Busters

This is an easy one. Cut the sugar, and here’s why.

Eating foods high in simple sugars causes that glucose to be absorbed quickly into your digestive tract. In response, your body quickly produces a spike of insulin (which quickly ushers that blood sugar into your tissues).

In fact, this causes your body often to over-produce insulin, leaving NO sugar left in your body for energy later. This is why eating candies or cookies or coffees or indeed any high-glycemic index carbohydrates can leave you tired and hungry within 90 minutes of eating!

The nourishment you do consume just doesn’t stick around – trust me, the calories do, but the satisfaction from them does not.

Foods with a low glycemic index include whole grains, high-fiber vegetables, nuts, and healthy oils such as olive oil. In general, high-carbohydrate foods have the highest glycemic indexes. Proteins and fats have glycemic indexes that are close to zero.

Tired Of Being Tired? Try These Energy Boosters.

There are boosters of energy, and there are busters of energy. Today we’re going over the boosters.

Specific nutrients can boost your energy level in the short term, but also in the long term. The best part about these boosters is that they also happen to be delicious!

Caffeine

Everyone knows that the caffeine in coffee and tea provides a short term boost in alertness. The downside of coffee’s upside is that your body can build up a tolerance over time. In other words, if you perk more cups per day, your body will perk up less and less to that same amount. The best coffee is the one without added sugars. Also, be careful in the afternoons, because it can contribute to insomnia. Sleep deprivation will deprive you of the energy boost you were looking for by taking the coffee in the first place!

Key Minerals: Magnesium and Iron

These two minerals are active in more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body – like breaking down glucose for energy, and carrying oxygen to throughout the body! The nutrition research is clear: the absence of these two minerals leads to fatigue, and their addition can boost energy levels. A deficiency can lead to fatigue, dizziness, hair loss, shortness of breath, weakness, pale color, headaches, anxiety, restless leg syndrome, and more.

Foods high in iron are here.

Foods high in magnesium are here.

 

Another Source of Iron

It is good to introduce healthy dietary changes to include more iron-rich foods, but another easy, effective way to increase your iron levels is to use cast iron cookware.

Several studies have shown that iron can be released into foods that are cooked in iron cookware. One found that the iron content of foods cooked in iron pots/pans increase by 16.2 percent compared to those cooked in other types of pots. Another huge benefit is that they are inexpensive and with very simple care will last a lifetime!

 

Cocoa

It may sound too good to be true, but cocoa can increase your energy levels in the long term through the specific kind of antioxidants most abundant in cocoa: catechins and epicatechins. These two do two very important things to increase your muscles’ ability to create more energy for you to use. They increase the amount of nutrients your muscles have to work with, and also increase the micromolecular organelles that produce the energy itself.  

These two effects help give you more energy through the day. How much more? According to one study, cocoa epicatechins alone produce a 30% increase in fatigue resistance and a 30% increase in new blood supply. However, the increase in energy that you get from combining cocoa epicatechins with exercise amounts to a boost of 50%! In layman’s terms, that’s a huge increase in your ability to complete your exercises and to go through a normal day with increased energy.  

How long will it take for these changes to occur? It took 2 weeks for experimental animals to see a 30% increase in fatigue resistance. In a separate study, it took 4 weeks to see increased capillaries and mitochondria. And subjects with type 2 diabetes who were administered 100 milligrams of epicatechins per day for 3 months showed a significant increase in mitochondria. In fact, before taking the epicatechins, their energy-producing mitochondria had all but withered away. It was only with the addition of the high-cocoa chocolate that their mitochondria were restored.  

Tired of Being Tired? Time To Power UP in September!

How do you fight fatigue, beat the blahs, and stimulate your stamina on a daily basis? As you might expect, the causes of fatigue are all over the map, so each week, we’ll hit another fatigue factor, show what it is, and what to do about it.

Don’t expect some set of miracle cures, or upselling some crazy, revolutionary, [insert over-the-top metaphor here] set of supplements that will instantly solve the problem.

The solutions you’ll get are lifestyle oriented, based on evidence-based outcomes across categories: nutrition, activity, and mindfulness.

So PERK UP, because answers are coming each week of this month.

Next Week:    Energy Boosters

2nd Week:      Energy Busters

3rd Week:       Getting Mental

4th Week:       Getting Physical

Just Bear In Mind:

There are many possible sources of fatigue, some of which can be addressed by lifestyle choices, where others will need to be addressed by a physician. Chronic exhaustion may be a sign of a condition such as:

Acute liver failure, Anemia, Anxiety disorders, Cancer, Chronic fatigue syndrome, Chronic infection or inflammation, Chronic kidney disease, Concussion, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), Depression (major depressive disorder), Diabetes, Emphysema, Fibromyalgia, Grief, Heart disease, Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid), Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Medications and treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, pain drugs, heart drugs and antidepressants, Multiple sclerosis, Obesity, Pain that’s persistent, Sleep apnea, Traumatic brain injury

(source: Mayo Clinic)