3 Truths about E-Cigarettes You Need to Know

 

The safety and viability of using electronic cigarettes is up for debate right now. This has made a lot of confusion with regard to how e-cigs or vapes work. Therefore, it is important to filter all the information about this product, and hopefully help you truly grasp what these devices can do for your health. Learn more about vapes with these 3 truths about e-cigs that you need to know.

Vaping is a good alternative

While the health concerns surrounding vaping, or the act of using e-cigarettes or vapes, are still up for debate, one thing is for sure – it helps smokers quit cigarettes and tobacco use. The bigger question is how it actually helps. To know this, you should first know how e-cigarettes work.

Technically termed as vaporizer, the vape is made as a device that electronically delivers vapor to a user through inhalation. It is made up of three main components, namely, a tank, an atomizer, and the battery.

The tank is where you put the e-juice or e-liquid. This is the part where the mouthpiece is also located, where you inhale the vapor out.

The atomizer is responsible for heating up the e-juice so that the vapor is produced. It is powered by the battery attached by electronic circuitry inside the vape. Right now, a variety of vaporizers exists in the market. Concentrate vaporizers allow you to use concentrates or e-juice to produce vapor, and dry herb vaporizers offer an excellent way to keep it traditional with a more authentic experience while still racking up the benefits of smokeless vapor.

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Now that you understand how vapes work, how it really helps smokers is the more important query. The big element that makes vapes stand out is the e-juice. E-juice, or e-liquid or vape juice, is the flavored liquid put into the vaporizer’s tank that gets heated and turns to vapor which is then inhaled by the user.

E-liquid comes in a wide variety of flavors to match every taste, from traditional tobacco to sweet desserts and custom blended flavors. The e-liquid can also contain nicotine, and most vape juices offer a wide range of nicotine levels to allow people switching from smoking to maintain, reduce, or totally eliminate their usual nicotine intake.

It is known that one of the initial steps for quitting tobacco use is reduction. The American Cancer Society notes this as one of the important phases in quitting smoking. Indeed, quitting tobacco use is a gradual process that takes time. This is where vapes make their biggest contributions.

Woman stubbing out cigarette

You are now aware that e-juice may or may not contain nicotine, which is the chemical found in tobacco that makes it addictive. Reducing intake of nicotine through e-cigarettes is a logical approach because the nicotine levels in vape juice can be modified according to the desired or prescribed level.

Vapor is less dangerous

As mentioned above, it is important for you to understand the fact that vapor is less harmful to your body compared to cigarette smoke in the long run. To back up this claim, it is important to discuss a few statistics that look at the big picture in the smoking versus vaping debate.

At the end of the day, one of the challenges with smoking is the ingestion of nicotine. As any smoker can tell you, nicotine is a remarkably addictive drug. Only about 7 percent of people who try to quit smoking on their own last at least one year.

Nicotine is one of the most heavily used addictive drugs in the U.S., and the leading preventable cause of disease, disability, and death. Cigarette smoking accounts for 90 percent of lung cancer cases in the U.S., and about 38,000 deaths per year can be attributed to secondhand smoke. Most cigarettes in the U.S. market today contain 10 milligrams (mg) or more of nicotine. The average smoker takes in 1 to 2 mg nicotine per cigarette when inhaling.

Take note of the numbers and how they compare to vapor. Remember that e-juice allows you to choose the nicotine levels you want. Choosing an e-liquid that matches your current nicotine level requirement is essential for your initial switch. Start at the amount that matches your current tobacco product, and then just reduce the level gradually over time, as it feels right for you.

With the right reasoning, you can say that vapor is indeed safer. If proper logic isn’t enough for public health officials to understand this, a study published in “Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology” has revealed what exactly is hiding in e-cig vapor compared to the contents of cigarette smoke.

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The researchers specifically looked for eogjt toxins in this study: carbon monoxide, carbonyls, phenolics, volatiles, metals, tobacco-specific nitrosamines, polyaromatic amines, and polyaromatic hydrocarbons. It was no surprise that tobacco cigarette smoke was full of poisonous chemicals. However, researchers were shocked to see that the toxins in e-cigarette vapor were quite similar to the normal toxins found in regular room air. In fact, there was no major increase in toxins between normal air and e-cig vapor.

Instead of deadly toxins, the e-cig vapor only contained propylene glycol, water, and small traces of flavoring and nicotine additives. In order to register any degree of toxicity, the scientists had to use 99 puffs from an e-cig to get even the tiniest measurement of 0.18 milligrams of HPHC’s. To put that in perspective, a single puff of a Marlboro Gold cigarette measured 30.6 milligrams. In a puff-to-puff comparison, the cigarettes had 2000 times more toxins than the e-cigs.

Second-hand vapor is safer too

As second-hand smoke is an issue to cigarette smoking, public officials showed the same speculation and reluctance to secondhand vapor. However, as much as many cigarette companies and public health administrators would want to subject vapor to condemnation, many researchers have found out the exact opposite of their claim.

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Various researches have provided enlightenment regarding the potential effects of secondhand vapor. Although it would not be safe to have people as lab rats, there are many attempts to discover the long-term effects of vapor compared with what second-hand smoke does to your body. The overwhelming consensus is that the long-term effects of secondhand vapor are not only safer versus the latter, but some believe that it is even, and some claim effects are non-existent.

A January 2014 study, published in BMC Central has confirmed these beliefs when examining the idea of second-hand exposure in the workplace and beyond. In their findings, they share that there is no evidence of potential harm when exposed to e-cigarette users that would warrant attention. In fact, they predicted that secondhand exposures would be less than 1 percent of the threshold limit value that is placed on workplace air quality. While this study sees little harm in vapor, the researchers still advise that more research should be done on first-hand exposure. The researchers conclude by reaffirming the safety of second-hand vapor emission.

Later in 2014, another study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health looked at the phenolic and carbonyl compounds that are found in e-cigarette vapor. Both of these chemical compounds can cause health problems in users who are overexposed to them. However, they do not seem to be a concern for second-hand exposure, finding that, “exhaled e-cigarette aerosol does not increase bystander exposure for phenolics and carbonyls above the levels observed in exhaled breaths of air.”

5 Reasons Pets Are Good For Your Health

Pets can help you both physically and mentally more than you know. They can elevate your mood and make you healthier in terms of your mental well-being. Also, you may not notice it, but they can help you with your physical health, too. A walk in the park with your dog gives you a lot of exercise even without you realizing it. There are many other ways that pets can be good for your health.

Pets get you outside.

Walking your dog, for example, is not just about you letting your pet loose around the park. It’s also about you getting outside and experiencing all the healthy stuff that the outdoors can offer. Make sure that you take your dog for a walk regularly, or bring your cat outside, or bond with your pet in the outdoors. You never know how much healthier you can be when you engage outside with your pets.

Doing these outdoor activities like walking your dog, playing fetch, or tossing a Frisbee gives you a natural energy boost. It also allows you to let off steam and bring your heart rate to a healthier level. Additionally, doing so makes you more physically fit than you would otherwise be, strengthening your muscles and bones, and helping not only your body, but also your self-esteem.

Studies have shown that animal owners, both adults and children, generally have lower blood pressure, as well as lower cholesterol and triglycerides, which may be in part attributed to the more active lifestyle pets promote. Pet owners also have been noted to have better blood circulation, and a lower risk of experiencing major cardiac issues. Ultimately, when your body feels stronger, you are less susceptible to mental health issues.

In the same way, fresh air from the outside can help you by elevating your mood, while sunlight gives you an extra dose of vitamin D. Vitamin D exposure helps fight physical and mental conditions which includes depression, cancer, obesity, and heart attacks. Also, when you go outside with your pet, you are engaging with nature. Try taking a moment to listen to the trees rustling, feel the wind rushing past, and the sun upon your face. The sounds of nature can be incredibly calming.

Pets help lower blood pressure

Companion animals are also scientifically proven to improve heart health by lowering blood pressure and regulating the heart rate during stressful situations. Scientists measured in a study the changes in heart rate and blood pressure among people who had a dog or cat, compared to those who did not. Based on its results, when participants were under stress (performing a timed math task), people with a dog or cat have had lower resting heart rates and blood pressure measures at the beginning of the experiment than non-pet owners.

Of course, having a generally lower blood pressure is definitely good for one’s physical well-being.

In the same study, scientists also found out that people with a dog or cat were also less likely to have spikes in heart rates and blood pressure while performing math tasks, and their heart rates and blood pressure returned to normal more quickly. They also made fewer errors in their math when their pet was present in the room. All these findings indicated that having a dog or cat lowered the risk of heart disease while lowering stress, which, overall, led to the improvement of their performance.

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In a similar manner, children who have pets early on have shown to be healthy and less likely to develop mental illnesses. Children’s exposure to companion animals may also ease anxiety.

For example, one study measured blood pressure, heart rate, and behavioral distress in healthy children aged 3 to 6 at two different doctor visits for routine physicals. At one visit, a dog (unrelated to the child) was present in the room and at the other visit the dog was absent. When the dog was present, children had lower blood pressure measures, lower heart rates, and less behavioral distress.

Pets can help lessen allergies and asthma, and build immunity.

This one may sound counterintuitive, but children who grow up in homes with furry friends are actually less likely to develop common allergies.

Studies have shown that children who were exposed to two or more dogs or cats as babies were less than half as likely to develop allergies, including dust, grass, ragweed, and pet allergies, and were at a lower risk for asthma. Compared to babies born into cat-free homes, those who grew up with cats were roughly half as likely to be allergic to them as teenagers, the study found. Growing up around a dog reduced the risk of dog allergies.

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Furthermore, allergies can cause people to become lethargic, apathetic, and suffer from insomnia, which can make them more vulnerable to mental health issues, such as depression.

In terms of mental health, pets can surely lessen loneliness.

If you don’t like to be alone, pets can be great domestic companions. Often, pets are very intuitive and will seek you out when you’re feeling down. Sometimes, they go as far as to refuse to allow you to be alone. Just make sure you can fully care for and love a pet before you take a dog or cat home.

Knowing your pets is more than just creating custom pet tags for them. It’s also about having that intimate relationship where you can really connect with the emotions of your pet.

Scientific findings suggest that the social support a pet provides can make a person feel more relaxed and less stressed. Social support from friends and family can have similar benefits, but interpersonal relationships often cause stress as well, whereas pets may be less likely to cause such emotional strain.

The social support provided by a pet might also encourage more social interactions with people, reducing feelings of isolation or loneliness. For example, walking with a dog has been found to increase social interaction, especially with strangers, as compared to walking without a dog.

They can also help in being distracted from additional stress. Being present and engaged with your pet takes your thoughts off of the issues that are currently plaguing you. When you are fully in the moment, you are not worrying about the past or the future. It’s just you and your pet. Another way to keep yourself distracted and present with your furry friend is to take photos or videos of his or her cute antics.

Pets can also help give you a sense of purpose.

People suffering from certain mental illnesses may find lacking a sense of purpose to be a gateway to even bigger and more depressing mental problems. This is highly possible for people at a young age. However, having a pet and being responsible for its wellbeing could give a high sense of purpose for humans. This then helps build up the confidence that one needs when growing up.

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Having a pet to care for can also give you a feeling of purpose, which can be crucial when you are feeling really down and overwhelmed by negative thoughts. By caring for your pet, or another person or animal in need, you are focusing on something other than yourself and your life. Your good deeds, and your pet’s positive response, can give you a feeling of instant gratification.

3 Workout Tips for Athletic Training

With weightlifting and core exercises proving to be effective ways to improve your physique and get fit, an athletic workout has presented a whole new level of strength training. Regular bodybuilding improves your physique by shedding away fat and putting specific muscles under varying stresses. On the other hand, athletic training amps up the usual sets and weight to increase the performance for people who play sports.

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Training for athletics and training for size have some important differences that you should understand. If you plan to train for either, you need to use the best methods that could get you the results that you want. The vast majority of those who are involved in athletics would spend some time during the off-season and, in some cases, during the on-season as well, in the weight room. Building up muscle tissue helps them with their power, speed, blocking ability and even agility and flexibility, depending on the training you wish to undertake.

If you are aspiring to have that athletic body, then you should prepare your body not only for intense workouts, but also for the mental fortitude needed to get you to the level you have always desired. Although this sounds all too much, being athletic can come easier by following these tips to make your muscle build-up program a little more manageable.

Pre-Workout Routine is Key

You might have heard this before, but the things that you do before the actual workout is as important as what you would do during the actual session. Pre-workout stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy. You also need the flexibility to maintain a range of motion in the joints during your workout. Without it, the muscles shorten and become tighter. As such, when you call on the muscles for activity, they tend to become weak and unable to extend all the way. This puts you at risk for joint pain, strains, and muscle damage. You need all the comfort you can get for that intense training that comes after.

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The next thing to take note of is nutrition. The food you take before your workout can make or break not only your performance in the gym, but also in your planned gains of those rock-solid muscles. The first few things that generally come to mind when thinking about nutrition are the term “whey protein,” “creatine” and of course, the notorious “post-workout anabolic window.” There’s no question that your post-workout nutrition is critical to your success.

However, what many people often overlook is the vital importance of pre-workout nutrition for long-term muscle-building goals. A sound nutrition regimen, if followed correctly, can help you experience dramatically noticeable gains in muscle size and strength. To visualize the importance of pre-workout supplementation, picture your body running on an empty stomach while training. You may feel a little sluggish and your performance may suffer. If you’re lucky, you may still achieve a little bit of a pump. Then again, what you may not realize is that you’re experiencing a dual negative effect.

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As a general rule, your pre-workout nutritional regimen should be broken down into two phases. The first phase consists of having a meal one to two hours before working out (depending on your metabolism). The second phase takes place 15 to 30 minutes before working out and consists of supplements that you should consume to further fuel your workout. For best pre-workout supplements, you can check the best ones in the market at http://supplementyouneed.com/top-5-best-pre-workout-supplements/ and get the ones that you need for your program.

Start Pumping with Cardio Exercises

Cardio exercises, as the name implies, primarily trains the cardiovascular system. It makes your heart a more efficient machine, which is important for your sport and for long-term health. You can maximize the positives and minimize the negatives of cardio by following one simple rule: Make your cardio exercises specific to your sport. Try to simulate the endurance demands that your sport places on your body by keeping the work-to-rest ratio similar.

Ditch the steady-state cardio workouts and start a more structured strength, power and anaerobic fitness routine. In order to gain maximum strength and muscle, you need to move heavy weight, and increase the load and intensity of the workouts. Lift heavy and work out hard for short bursts of time – pushing your body harder, but for short durations. Cardio is necessary, thus upgrading slow steady-state cardio for intensive cardio gets the heart rate high and keeps it there for a short time, followed by an equal amount of recovery time.

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It is suggested that you use the heaviest weight that you can manage to lift with correct form for a total of 5 repetitions. Focus on the large muscle groups that function as prime movers, such as quadriceps, hamstrings, chest, and back. Alternate cardio days with sprint intervals at 85% of you max heart rate (220 – your age), and use a heart rate monitor to ensure you’re working at the correct intensity.

Interval running is a good way to complement your cardio exercise. It consists of intense running or sprinting for short distances, followed by walking or complete rest. For instance, you can mimic the energy demands of football by doing an exercise intensely for 3-5 seconds and follow it with 20-40 seconds of rest. This is like the format of a game, where you work hard during a play, and then have a short recovery period before the next play.

Pushing or pulling a weighted sled is also a great way to prepare for the conditioning needs of sports like football and wrestling. It’s especially great to do it in a group of four to six athletes. One athlete can push (or pull) the sled a short distance. He or she can then recover while the other athletes take their turn. Repeat 10-12 times or alternate a push set with a pull set.

Choose 8 to 12 exercises that engage a variety of muscle groups. Perform 10 reps of an exercise, and then partially recover while moving to the next station/exercise. Repeat the circuit after a long rest period.

Never Skip Leg Days

All strength and power sport athletes need to develop high levels of leg strength for optimal performance. Leg strength contributes to speed, power, balance and agility, key components in almost all sports. Traditional resistance training programs typically overlook single-leg exercises due to their difficulty and awkwardness. This is unfortunate because single-limb training is extremely important in developing sport-performance skills, as well as being of assistance in the development of muscle size and strength.

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In addition to training sport-specific muscle actions, the advanced athletic leg-training program is highly demanding on sport-specific energy systems. Therefore, a high-volume of training combined with short inter-set rest intervals can be used as a metabolic conditioning aid and for the alteration of body composition.

Most of the programs you’d see for legs are strictly for mass building or putting up powerlifting numbers. These workouts serve their purpose, and if your goal is to get bigger or put up huge numbers, go for it

Increase the volume, use eccentrics, hit those higher reps sets and don’t waste precious energy on anything else. Lunges diagonally, backward and to the sides can help the lower muscles be trained completely. Bench extensions and 1-leg squats can help improve muscle power in the legs.

3 Aspects to consider in choosing the perfect life insurance for you

Life is a chain of unexpected circumstance, and many people have already recognized this fact. Add in the inevitability of these unforeseen events and life has become more uncertain as ever. Banking on this reality, life insurance companies have devised various plans to accommodate practically every scenario. Thus, the insurance industry has established, and greatly emphasized, the importance of this investment for a large part of the world population, if not all.

protect your family

In the United States alone, 2/3 of the population have already acquired their life plans because of the emphasis of the government. These plans have proven to be a useful tool to help a person and his family minimize the financial problems that may occur in the long run.

Generally, life insurance is a protection against the loss of income that may result if the insured pass away. The main purpose of life insurance is to deliver a measure of financial security for a person’s family after he or she has passed. So, before purchasing a life insurance policy, one should consider his or her financial situation and the standard of living one wants to maintain for his or her dependents.

life insurance policy

In this regard, it is proper to be knowledgeable in choosing the best insurance provider. Insurance companies and their plans may seem all too similar. However, getting the right match for specific requirements might just be that one decision that could mean financial protection or tragic bankruptcy.

Price is Right

One of the most upfront elements of any life insurance plans is the amount needed to pay to keep a policy enforced. Usually, the plan’s premium may be predetermined or computed, depending on how much an applicant wants to invest in and/or how much the benefit is worth. Then again, choosing the life insurance plan should be one that best suits a person’s current economic status and coverage requirements.

Before determining which price is the most suitable, one should understand first how life insurance plans prices are established. According to the Department of Financial Services, the premium rate for a life insurance policy is grounded on two fundamental concepts – mortality and interest. Often, a third variable comes into play – the expense factor, which is defined as the sum that the company adds to the cost of the policy to cover operating costs such as selling insurance, investing the premiums, and paying claims.

things that affect your insurance price

Mortality. In essence, life insurance is based on the sharing of the risk of death by a large group of people. As such, the amount at risk must be known to predict the cost to each member of the group. Mortality tables are used to give the company a basic estimate of how much money it will need to pay for death claims each year. By using a mortality table, a life insurer can determine the average life expectancy for each age group.

Interest. The second factor used in calculating the premium is interest earnings. Companies invest premiums in bonds, stocks, mortgages, real estate, etc., and project earnings at a certain rate of interest on these invested funds.

Expenses. The third consideration is the expenses of operating the company. The company estimates the expenses of processing a policy such as salaries, agents’ compensation, rent, legal fees, postage, etc. The amount charged to cover each policy’s share of expenses of operation is called the expense loading. This is a cost area that can vary from company to company based on its operations and efficiency.

Now that a person understands the concept of pricing in the life insurance field, he or she can now be able to pinpoint what factors affect the prices. With the large number of companies offering plans, it is paramount that a person compares these prices to one another. A good practice is to get several quotes from various insurance companies. This creates a pool of options, allowing a more informed decision.

Also, if a person intends to get a cheaper life insurance, the applicant may opt to avoid policy riders and additional insurances such as option to purchase child policies or more insurance at a future date without going through medical exam process.

Policy is Perfect

With several company quotes at hand, there are easy comparisons as to how much the total sum would be. However, it is also an important factor to inspect the coverage of these life insurances since not all cheap policies are good.

Insurance coverage is the amount of risk or liability that is covered for an individual or entity by way of insurance services. Insurance coverage, such as auto insurance, life insurance – or more exotic forms, such as hole-in-one insurance – is issued by an insurer in the event of unforeseen occurrences

People should understand first that there are multiple types of life insurance coverage. The two basic types of life insurance are term and permanent. The one that’s right for a person depends on many factors highlighted by the amount of coverage a person need and the length of time the coverage will last.

Term insurance provides protection for a limited period of time and pays a death benefit if the insured passes away during the specified period. Term coverage can meet a wide variety of business and personal needs, and is a practical way to provide the most coverage for the premium.

coverage needed

On the other hand, permanent policies can provide valuable protection for one’s family. They offer the potential not only for guaranteed lifetime protection but also to build cash value. How the cash value grows is based on the amount of premium paid and the death benefit option selected.

A person hoping to avail a life plan must always take note on what type of insurance he or she will avail. Since the coverage varies depending on type and depending on each company, a person must always base his or her decisions in favor of what is REALLY needed. For example, if a person might prefer a life insurance policy that stresess the importance of medical coverage; an applicant may prefer an insurance company that provides a pathway for a personal touch in life plans that focus on health conditions and medical problems.

Trust is Wealth

With the increasing demand for more diverse life insurance plans, many companies have established themselves at the forefront of providing the best policies. Whether a person prefers the best or the cheapest, it all boils down to trusting the reliable companies.

insurance agent

The best insurance companies for life insurance are those that offer a wide range of plans that can give applicants what they need at the best price. A company should be able show stability and a strong financial foundation. Applicants would be more confident when the company they entrust their financial security in is ready to execute any deals as the need arises. Factors which should be put in mind in choosing a trustworthy company are Financial Strength, Type of Company, Type of Agent, Level of Service, Premium and Risk Tolerance.

Choosing a company that will be outlasted by its own product is not one a person wants to deal with. While it would be nearly impossible to sit down and rummage through the financial documents of all the possible companies, it is possible to get a good idea of where they stand financially by reviewing their financial ratings through independent rating agencies.

An individual must also consider what type of company he will trust. There is more than one type of life insurance companies, and it’s the internal structure and operating personnel which make them different. One type of company is called a mutual life insurance company, and the other is a stock held life insurance company.

3 Tricks to Be Physically Fit for the Unmotivated Soul

Knowing how important physical fitness and exercise are is one thing. To actually go out there and do what needs to be done is another. The fact is that many people today are finding it hard to be motivated to go out and exercise.

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According to statistics, less than 5% of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day; only one in three adults receive the recommended amount of physical activity each week; more than 80% of adults do not meet the guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities; and more than 80% of adolescents do not do enough aerobic physical activity to meet the daily exercise requirements for the youth.

This is an alarming fact because exercise should be something that is regularly observed by everyone. Unfortunately, many find more reasons not to engage into a fitness regimen than to actually getting into one. This comes from various factors including discrimination in the gym, not getting results as expected, and problems with self discipline.

From this standpoint, it is essential that every person take simple steps in order to boost motivation and entice themselves to go out and work out.

Compile a Work out Playlist

Music has a way of penetrating one’s mind in a very unique way. It influences the human mind to various feelings and even memories. This may be the reason why many people feel inclined to listen to music for productivity in school and in their career.

In working out, the same effect is true.

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Tuning in to music when a person hits the gym to workout is not exactly a new concept. The bigger picture lies in understanding how one’s favorite tunes heighten their exercise. Numerous studies constantly find that listening to music distracts athletes from their “bodily awareness”. While the study suggests there is more to it than distraction, working out with music does make participants less aware of their exertion.

Keeping one’s mind out of the physical strain can actually improve athletic performance by up to 15 percent. The faster the music, the better the exercise becomes. According to Webmd, upbeat tunes have more information for the brains to process, which takes one’s mind off of that side stitch. Furthermore, recent physical health research points out that the positive effect of tuning in to music is related to creating a music playlist that fits the timing of one’s pace as it creates an associative effect on the person’s workout regimen.

Everyone has that go-to song that gets them “in the zone,” and there is science to why it works. People associate certain songs with memories, often relating to the context in which they originally heard them, such as the first time they watched Rocky and got their first motivation juice flowing. Channeling that memory, or even just the emotion of the singer, boosts the motivational power of the song, and has been shown to improve physical performance.

Also, the rhythm of a person’s workout music stimulates the motor area of the brain as to when to move, thereby aiding self-paced exercises such as running or weight-lifting. Cueing into these time signals helps people to use energy more efficiently, since keeping a steady pace is easier on human bodies than fluctuating throughout a sweat session.

Work out with a Buddy

History has proven that anyone can achieve something great if he or she has someone to do it with. Say for instance, a person can definitely finish a job if he has someone to help him out. A group project is easier accomplished in school if every student is seen working on it.

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In the challenging road towards fitness, it proves true more than ever.

A person can get a serious workout, without actually being “serious” – it is okay to have fun! In fact, the more fun a person’s workout routine is, the more they are going to look forward to and be committed to them in the long run. There is absolutely no doubt that the right workout buddy can make one’s workout more fun.

Many people are also more motivated if they are in a competition. Putting health in the equation, a truly healthy competition is a good thing for the unmotivated because it makes one perform better.

One study had interesting findings on this: participants performed better when they were paired up with a workout partner who was fitter than they were. Furthermore, the study found out that to maximize the motivation of one’s workout, their buddy should be about 40% better than they were; it served as a challenging, yet inspiring “personal goal” for them to achieve.

When a person pairs up with a partner who is fitter than him or her, it produces an effect known as the Köhler Effect, or simply put: the “don’t want to be the weakest link” effect.

If a person is not that competitive, one can also embrace the mindset which makes both people go for the same goal. Psychology tells that when a person has a fitness buddy, both have a goal to be physically fit after each session in the gym. This is why each person in the buddy pair becomes more motivated to reach their full potential mainly because they have someone to reach the goal with.

If one can’t find a Fitness buddy, hire a Fitness Coach

The evident work in getting fit is fueled by the drive to go to the gym, and burn those carbs. Then again, going to the gym proves to be a major challenge for many, as one’s motivation faces a huge obstacle in a form of social discrimination to newcomers.

The answer is quite simple. Hire a gym instructor. There are various benefits of getting a personal trainer in going about a person’s workout. Not only do they guide people in being buff and fit, they have so much more in store. Here are ways how hiring a fitness instructor can be of benefit to all.

The major problem for newcomers and aspirants is that most of the time, they don’t have an idea on how to operate on the machines that are placed in the gym. When they put to work, they are prone to wrongfully operating on these apparatus, which can be very embarrassing. The same goes with what specific workout is most effective on their body types.

proper-pushups

All instructors are required to have certain degree of experience in handling gym equipment, body building, and healthy living. Who else better to teach than the ones who are constantly on top of their health and has years of practice to back it up? Instructors are best fit to help a person not only in introducing equipment used in the gym, but also specific steps to be followed in order to get a head start. They offer some really good tips in order to bring the best out of a person in their first day.

Inside the gym, an instructor would always test a person to their limits. They are accountable to a person’s success physically and mentally, that is why they keep track of their trainees’ objectives and make sure that it is achieved.

At this point, an aspiring gym-goer should just face the obstacles, and go to the gym. Once there, accommodating gym instructors are ready to give support to those who are ready to be fit and fab. It is their job to make sure every person who aims to be a fitter version of themselves makes it. Just like what JPS Health & Fitness says – get results, not promises. At the end of the day, it is their duty, obligation and commitment in the first place.

4 Most Popular Alternative Treatments: What They Are and What They Can Do For You

Alternative Therapy or Alternative Medicine generally refers to any health treatment that is not a standard medical practice. Then again, it’s rather difficult to define what alternative therapies specifically are, mainly because the field is so diverse: this discipline encompasses practices such as diet and exercise changes, hypnosis, chiropractic adjustments, and poking needles into a person’s skin, just to describe a few.

herbs

Technically, “alternative” treatments are used in place of conventional medicine. When used alongside standard medical practices, alternative approaches are referred to as “complementary” medicine. Here are four of the more widely-used alternative treatments in recent years.

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is as easy as what the name suggests. Aromatherapy uses essential oils (concentrated extracts from the roots, leaves, seeds, or blossoms of plants) to promote healing. The oils can be inhaled, massaged into the skin or taken by mouth (in very rare events). Each oil has a specific purpose: some are used to treat inflammation or infections, while others are used to promote relaxation.

hair-oil

Some of the health benefits of aromatherapy include its ability to reduce anxiety, ease depression, boost energy levels, and even speed up the healing process of various forms of injury. It also helps eliminate headaches, boosts cognitive performance, and induces sleep. Generally, aromatherapy strengthens the immune system and improves digestion to aid in circulation and pain management.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture might just be the most famous of the alternative therapies that most people have seen and may have tried out. Though hearing the word acupuncture may immediately bring needles to mind, this alternative therapy is actually more inclined to an array of procedures that stimulate specific points on the body.

acupuncture

The best-known variety consists of penetrating the skin with thin needles controlled by a practitioner. This treatment is quite popular, with millions of Americans opting to undergo the procedure to find help in treating chronic pain and depression. In fact, its widespread reach and massive following have created opportunities for job growth in many states.

Chiropractic

Chiropractic treatments are the most widely-accepted alternative treatment by medical doctors. Since it’s completely backed up by modern science, it qualifies more as a complementary medicine than an alternative one.

chiropractic

Chiropractic practices focus on disorders of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems, including pain in the back, neck, joints, arms, legs, and head. The most common procedure performed by chiropractors is spinal manipulation which involves applying controlled force (typically the chiropractor’s hands) to joints that have become hypomobile: the idea is that the joints’ movements become restricted when surrounding tissues are injured either during a single event (tweaking a muscle during a weightlifting session) or through repetitive stress (sitting with poor posture for extended periods).

Chiropractic adjustments of the affected area are intended to restore mobility and loosen the muscles, allowing the tissues to heal and the pain to resolve. Studies of chiropractic generally affirm its efficacy, with research suggesting the practice can decrease pain and improve physical functions.

Homeopathy

Many claim that Homeopathy practices function in much the same way as a vaccine: it’s based on the principle of treating like with like, meaning a substance that can cause adverse reactions (when taken in large doses) can be used to treat those same symptoms.

Homeopathy is a system of natural health care that has been in worldwide use for over 200 years. Homeopathy treats each person as a unique individual with the aim of stimulating their own healing ability. A homeopath selects the most appropriate medicine based on the individual’s specific symptoms and personal level of health.

homeopathy

It is recognized by the World Health Organization as the second largest therapeutic system in use in the world. While it is most popular in India and South America, over thirty million people in Europe and millions of others around the world also benefit from its practice.

Adderall: The Notorious “study drug” and How to Find a Safer Alternative

Adderall and other stimulant use has become widespread nowadays, and with that rise has also come the rise of dangerous side-effects. Certainly, this “study drug” is known to increase focus, memory retention and attention to detail. However, when used improperly, it is also known to have detrimental side effects that may include liver damage, mental effects such as nervousness and restlessness, and some other effects such as drug dependence.

If you’re looking for the best nootropic solution (perhaps for an upcoming exam or a public speaking engagement that would require a huge mental boost), it’s best to look for a safer alternative to Adderall.

Adrafinil

Adrafinil is known as a synthetic nootropic supplement that primarily acts as a central nervous system stimulant. It focuses on preventing fatigue and increasing energy and wakefulness. However, Adrafinil does more than just fight sleepiness; it has also been shown to enhance mood, motivation, and reaction time, and its potential cognitive benefits include improved memory, better focus over longer periods, and even increased learning capacity.

adrafinil

It also acts on the adrenergic system – this is the part of the nervous system that releases adrenaline. Typically thought of in terms of the “fight or flight” response, a rapid release of adrenaline consequently boosts energy and increases alertness. While not all of Adrafinil’s actions are completely understood, it is believed to replicate the positive effect of an adrenaline release due to its effects of amplifying adrenergic neurotransmitters.

Adrafinil is actually a synthetic prodrug or precursor, which means that is initially pharmacologically inactive but is converted to an active form inside the body through a normal metabolic process. Adrafinil is metabolized in the liver, where it is converted to Modafinil, a USFDA-approved treatment for wakefulness disorders sold under the brand names Alertec, Modavigil, and Provigil. The pharmacological effects of Adrafinil are virtually identical to those of Modafinil (another famous nootropic).

User reviews on Adrafinil support that its greatest effects are on cognitive performance and memory. They say that Adrafinil significantly increases the cognitive performance – as expected – and sharpens the user’s memory. Other benefits of Adrafinil include an increase in appetite, promoting healthy sleep, and improving alertness and wakefulness.

However, Adrafinil is known to have side effects when taken beyond prescription. Since Adrafinil is metabolized in the liver, heavy dosages of the drug can cause liver damage. Other Adrafinil side effects include increased blood pressure and heart health problems. Unlike most nootropics, adrafinil has some worrisome side effects that should be closely monitored.
worrying

To avoid long-term liver damage, individuals should not take more than 600mg-1.2g of adrafinil three times a week for a maximum of five months. Drinking milk thistle could be a solution, and it has a much wider range of dosages. A standard starting dosage is 150mg, but dosages as high as 600mg are common.

Phenylpiracetam is an excellent alternative to both Adrafinil and Modafinil. It provides a major boost in energy as well as cognition without the liver damage and other side effects. It also will not make you jittery as higher caffeine dosages are likely to do. Anecdotal evidence suggests phenylpiracetam is actually stronger than Adrafinil, but this has not been scientifically tested.

In using this drug, individuals should take 100-200mg of Phenylpiracetam 2-3 times per day. Phenylpiracetam works best when taken only when needed (such as before a major exam or when you absolutely must stay awake for an extended period in time) rather than daily.

What is Adderall?

Adderall is defined by the FDA as being a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant with a single-entity amphetamine product combining the neutral salts of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. It is a drug that’s more commonly known as a treatment for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), however, it is infamous for having many side effects.

adderall

The efficacy of Adderall in combating symptoms of ADHD/ADD by augmenting its user’s attention is well known and is, currently, the reason for its primary indication for prescription. A study produced these results: In children, Adderral has been shown to increase IQ scores in 100% (over a period of a year) of the children that participated in the study compared to no change in IQ in children not taking any medication. Its stimulant nature also makes it widely used for patients suffering from conditions of hypersomnolence such as narcolepsy.

Depending on one’s goals, whether treating ADHD/ADD or some other indicated use for Adderall, there seems to be a real benefit to using Adderall over other amphetamines in its quicker onset and longer duration of action. This effect seems to be directly related to the use of a racemic, rather than pure, mixture of amphetamines.

Surely, Adderall has the components of nootropics. People then started to use it as a smart drug. It has been reported that it can increase stimulation, arousal, and promote hyperactivity. Users also say that they have increased alertness, awareness, and wakefulness along with more energy and endurance. There are also reports of enhanced attention, focus, and concentration. However, Adderall has many adverse side effects.

Safe and effective nootropics nowadays should have little to no side effects at all. However, Adderall has reported side effects that include nervousness, restlessness, headaches, anxiety, agitation, tremor, blurred vision, sleep problems (insomnia), dry mouth or unpleasant taste in the mouth, stomach pain and nausea, fever, hair loss, loss of appetite, and weight loss. Blood pressure and heart rate may increase, and patients may experience heart palpitations. More importantly, Adderall is habit forming and chronic use may lead to dependence.

personalities

It would be best to try some alternatives to Adderall if you’re looking for a smart drug. Keep in mind that there are several different types of smart drug that can induce improved concentration. Thus, it may be more beneficial to choose other nootropics that can provide the same effects on your ability to focus.

The Caffeine and L-Theanine combination is one of the more famous nootropic solution. It is one of the most studied nootropics currently being sold in the market. Caffeine can stimulate higher focus, concentration and motivation while the L-Theanine negates the drawbacks (such as increased heart rate and blood pressure).

Most importantly, L-Theanine improves the concentration aspects of caffeine while removing jitters and anxiety. Numerous studies show how useful this combination is over that of each individual ingredient alone. It can also improve memory (through BDNF) by 25%.

Another option is to choose Aniracetam. Originally intended to treat memory disorders, Aniracetam is currently one of the Racetams that many people use for improving concentration and focus; Aniracetam has the function of stimulating certain (AMPA and Glutamate) receptors in the brain. The slight structural difference from other Racetams makes Aniracetam a fat soluble compound that has different properties in the human body.

This compound is effective for improving neurological connections to improve concentration, as opposed to stimulating hormone secretion. As an alternative to Adderall, there is no strong dump of neurochemicals (dopamine), but instead, you can experience a more steady clarity.

Racetams are also a family of drugs that has a lot of research done on them already. There have been decades of studies showing it has few side effects on neither animals nor humans. Like Adderall, Aniracetam has mood-enhancing effects, but they are created in a sustainable way. Taking a dose of 750 mg twice per day is a good starting point to replace Adderall.

3 things that you can do to cure tooth decay

Growing up, you were probably told about the idea that having cavities in your mouth was an irreparable situation. If you did not brush your teeth often enough or floss properly, you could end up with cavities and plaque (which is very true), and you might need to take a trip to the dentist to drill your teeth because you just can’t deal with the cavity on your own anymore. Once you have those small cavities, it is believed by many that they are only going to get bigger, and that their development is irreversible.

cavity graphic

Tooth decay certainly takes a heavy toll on a human’s tooth once it has already started. The worst part is that most people only notice it when it’s too late. As such, people are left at a position where the only solution is to have the dentist perform a dental filling. While it is a good solution and an effective one, it is simply not true that drilling away cavities and parts of the tooth that are affected is the only way to go.

The truth is, there is a way to cure tooth decay. Essentially what you need to do is to “reverse” the effects of tooth decay by understanding just how teeth decay and then developing long-term discipline towards better oral health. Here’s how:

The Cause of Tooth Decay

Tooth decay happens to everyone, especially when you’re young and still relatively ignorant of the truth of tooth decay. You can only do so much to clean your teeth with diligent brushing and flossing. Then again, you can upgrade your personal dental arsenal, especially now that dental technology is on the rise. Yes, it is true that  electric toothbrushes have many benefits. However, the main factor that causes tooth decay is not so much related to cleaning.

It has to do with your diet.

lone cavity

Some time ago, one of the most well known dentists and dental education pioneers named Dr. Weston A. Price established the American Dental Association (ADA) and began a plethora of research between the correlation of diet and dental health. Weston Price traveled the world attempting to discover what causes tooth decay. Dr. Price found a common link between eating modern foods and cavities. Throughout his medical pursuit, he witnessed that many indigenous isolated tribes had perfect teeth and little tooth decay. However, once they were exposed to a Western diet, they experienced tooth decay, bone loss and chronic illness.

Tooth decay occurs when foods containing carbohydrates (sugars and starches) such as milk, pop, raisins, cakes or candy are frequently left on the teeth,” said Weston Price who started this study in the 1900s. He added, “Bacteria that live in the mouth thrive on these foods, producing acids as a result. Over a period of time, these acids destroy tooth enamel, resulting in tooth decay.”

After a few more years into research and studying, ADA and Dr. Price found out that they pinpointed only one of the four main things that promote tooth decay. The real four major contributors to tooth decay are:

tooth pain

  • Lack of minerals in the diet (calcium deficiency, magnesium deficiency and phosphorus deficiency)
  • Lack of fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K, especially vitamin D deficiency)
  • Too much consumption of phytic acid-rich foods
  • Too much consumption of processed sugar

Reversing Tooth Decay

In addition to brushing and flossing daily, there are several ways you can reverse cavities naturally and maximize your oral health without resorting to taking dental fluoride. Here are just a few ways to reverse cavities naturally for you to consider:

Eliminate Phytic Acid

Phytic acid (phytate) is basically a “mineral blocker” and “enzyme inhibitor.” They are found in grains, nuts, seeds and beans that can cause serious health problems in your body.

The main reason phytic acid has become a medical issue today is because people have stopped ancient food preparation techniques, such as sprouting or sourdough fermentation, which kills off the phytic acid.

For one, a diet high in phytic acid creates mineral deficiencies similar to osteoporosis. About 80 percent of phosphorus in grains and beans is bound to become or create phytic acid.

In addition to blocking phosphorus availability in humans, these molecules bind minerals necessary for oral health, such as calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc – thus causing them to be unavailable for proper utilization. Consuming foods high in phytic acid decreases magnesium absorption by 60 percent and zinc by 20 percent. Phytic acid not only prevents you from absorbing minerals in your food, but it also leaches minerals out of your body, bones and teeth.

nuts and seeds

So, the best rule of thumb to follow is to limit your grain consumption and stay completely clear from unfermented soy products. Some preparations like soaking and fermenting can reduce the phytic acid content and should be practiced if the foods are going to be consumed, but in many cases, it is better to avoid these foods completely.

Remove Sugar

Sugar is the greatest culprit of tooth decay. For anyone who desires healthy and cavity-free teeth, sugar should be minimized, if not completely avoided. It’s very hard to follow, but it will pay dividends.

Not only does sugar feed oral bacteria that prevents a healthy flow of dental fluids, but it’s highly acidic and can literally decalcify or demineralize the structural content of teeth, eventually leading to dental decay.

This means you need to stay away from soda, candies and baked goods with sugar. Alternatively, use raw honey and maple syrup, and drink juices sparingly, as too much sugar can contribute to cavity formation. Be careful of artificial sweeteners because of their health risks as well.

Consume Raw Dairy Consumption and Focus on Nutrient-rich Foods

Raw dairy is filled with the vitamins and minerals that contribute to a healthy dental fluid flow and help maintain strong teeth and promote oral wellness. Thus, consuming them can help you keep your teeth cavity-free.

healthy smile

Loaded with calcium, vitamin K2, vitamin D3, magnesium, phosphorus and fat-soluble vitamins, it’s a good idea to consume raw dairy products at least weekly. Eating goat milk kefir, raw cheeses and organic butter are highly recommended.

Remember, if you’re going to beat tooth decay, you need to increase your fat-soluble vitamin and mineral intake.

There was a study on a woman who was able to fully reverse her tooth decay by “remineralizing” her teeth through disciplined diet. Her diet, along with other well-studied recommendations, look like this:

  • Rich in animal foods like bone broth, meat, fish and eggs.
  • Raw and cooked vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables.
  • Raw dairy like kefir, cheese and grass-fed butter.
  • Fruit, one piece daily early in day.
  • Vitamin D — get plenty of sunshine, and days not in sun supplement with 5,000IU daily of D3.
  • Foods high in healthy fats like coconut oil, avocado, olives, and fish or fermented cod liver oil.
  • Fermented grains only and in moderation, such as true sourdough bread (or even better no grains at all). You can buy raw flours and breads.
  • Nuts, seeds and beans only that have been sprouted.
  • NO processed foods, packaged foods or fast food.

There is still many ways to naturally cure tooth decay. Follow these disciplines and you might not need another trip to your dentist. Being mindful of your diet not only helps you with your dental hygiene. It also helps you live a healthier life that you’ve always wanted.

Power Plants – 4 Herbs to Strengthen your Lungs

Definitely, the lungs are among the most important organs in the body. As such, it is also among the most compromised. On your way to your daily job alone, the busy streets can gradually – but surely – cause deterioration of the lungs because of the endless source of pollution – from car emissions to second-hand smoking.

lung diagram

Sometimes, taking medicine for the lungs is too much to ask. They can be very expensive, or may be too uncommon to find. These are just some of the reasons why people opt to switch to alternative medicine, such as tapping the healing wonders of herbs. Since these healthier options are natural products, they are safer, cheaper and can be more potent.

When it comes to taking herbs for medicinal purposes, especially from respiratory conditions, the common belief is that they are not as effective and as such, not worth taking. While the effectiveness of herbs has not been studied deeply to determine how well they work across the entire population, the healing effect of these natural alternatives has held up to most pharmaceutical drugs.

Taking herbs as an alternative medicine may not cure serious health condition like asthma, but it can aid in providing comfort from the ailment when taken religiously before harsh diseases happen.

Much of the time, pharmaceutical drugs attempt to mimic a compound that occurs in nature (like herbs), but often bring the risk of side effects in the process. While it is important to note that herbal medicines can be harmful in extreme doses, it appears their safety is much greater than that of pharmaceutical drugs.

So, if you’re looking to improve the quality of life through strengthening your lungs, here are the four best herbs to get the job done:

Licorice

Licorice is one of the most widely consumed herbs in the world. In fact, in traditional Chinese medicine, it occurs in more formulas than any other single herb. This is due to the fact that it is thought to harmonize the action of all other herbs.

licorice

Licorice root contains many anti-depressant compounds. As an herbal medicine, it has an impressive list of well documented uses and is probably one of the most over-looked of all herbal wonders.

Taking licorice gives a highly soothing sensation as it softens the mucous membranes of the throat and especially the lungs and stomach. At the same time, it cleanses any inflamed membrane that needs immune system support.

Furthermore, it can reduce the irritation in the throat. It contains saponins that loosen the phlegm in the respiratory tract so that the body can easily expel the mucus. Compounds within Licorice help relieve bronchial spasms and can also block the free radical cells that produce the inflammation and tightening of the body’s airways.

Meanwhile, licorice can also enhance immunity by boosting levels of interferon, a major immune system chemical that fights off harmful viruses. It also contains powerful phytoestrogens that can perform some of the functions of the body’s natural estrogens, which is very helpful for people in the phase of menopause. Glycyrrhizinic acid is also found to stop the growth of many bacteria and viruses such as influenza A.

more licorice

Eucalyptus

You may have associated this powerful plant as the favorite snack of koalas. However, it has more to it than its refreshing aroma. Eucalyptus greatly helps in improving the health of the respiratory system, starting off from soothing the throat to clearing the trachea airway.

The eucalyptus essential oil, derived from the crushed leaves of the tree, has made its own mark as one of the more potent natural medicine. Its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties have been used throughout centuries for cosmetic and dental use, to ward off insects, and to treat a wide range of respiratory problems.

Just the scent alone from the oil from its leaves makes the eucalyptus highly effective in helping respiratory problems. It leaves you relaxed and in tune with nature. Just imagine having a whole house air purifier in your home, which renders your home aromatically pleasant and therapeutically soothing.

eucalyptus

Usually present in products that offer soothing relief from respiratory discomfort, eucalyptus is a common ingredient in cough lozenges and syrups. Its effectiveness is due to a compound called cineole. Cineole has numerous benefits — it serves as an expectorant, can ease a cough, fights congestion, and soothes irritated sinus passages. Plus, since eucalyptus contains antioxidants, it supports the immune system when having a cold or any other similar illness.

Furthermore, it can help regenerate lung tissue, and aid in the whole breathing process. It stimulates the red blood cells to function more effectively, increasing the oxygen supply to every cell in the body. This explains why it is helpful during practically any disease. To treat respiratory ailments, inhale the vapors from the essential oil through a vaporizer, a humidifier, or an aroma lamp.

Peppermint

Peppermint (Mentha × piperita) also known as M. balsamea Willd, has been used medicinally for thousands of years. It has a pleasant taste and is a popular flavoring for food and drink.

The expectorant action of peppermint oil can help clear symptoms of upper respiratory congestion that may stem from allergies, asthma, cold, flu, bronchitis, and the other breathing-related abnormalities. For this reason, it’s often used as an ingredient in therapeutic lung cleansing balms that are rubbed on the chest. This allows for vapors to be almost directly inhaled through the nasal passages and cut through congestion. Unlike prescription medications and even certain OTC therapies, peppermint oil is not associated with drowsiness or other common adverse side effects.

mint

Peppermint and peppermint oil contains menthol — a soothing ingredient known to relax the smooth muscles of the respiratory tract and promote free breathing. Dried peppermint typically contains menthol, menthone, menthyl acetate, menthofuran, and cineol. Peppermint oil also contains small amounts of various healing compounds including limonene, pulegone, caryophyllene, and pinene.

Oregano

Oregano is one of the healthiest herbs out there, and also the most common. Although oregano contains the vitamins and nutrients required by the immune system, its primary benefits are owed to its carvacrol and rosmarinic acid content. The best thing about this herb’s content is that both compounds are natural decongestants and histamine reducers that have direct, positive benefits on the respiratory tract and nasal passage airflow.

According to the Global Healing Center, “Oregano has direct, positive benefits on the respiratory tract, coughing reflex and nasal passage airflow.” Oregano’s rosmarinic acid content reduces fluid buildup and even swelling during an allergy attack, making it a natural histamine-reducing compound.

When pollen, dust, mold, chemicals, fungus, and bacteria are invading your body, it releases a chemical called histamine which causes a reaction similar to allergic reactions — nasal congestion, increased mucous production, and sneezing. Histamine-reducing herbs like oregano aid in counteracting histamine and may help reduce these uncomfortable reactions.

basil

Oregano can be taken topically, sublingually, through capsules or more alternatively through inhalation. To fight sinus infections, colds and allergies, add a few drops of oregano oil to a small pot with boiling water. Cover you head with a towel, close your eyes and put your face over the pot (but not close enough to get burned); inhale the steam. Repeat several times to clear the throat and nasal passages.

Oregano oil also fights off the dangerous bacteria Staphylococcus aureus better than the most common antibiotic treatments. Oregano has so many health benefits that a bottle of organic oregano oil should be in everyone’s medicine cabinet.

What you need to know about keeping healthier lungs

You may not notice it, but for quite some time now, you might have actually taken your lungs for granted. The moment you walk down the street together with the surrounding smoke from vehicles passing by, you’ve already incurred damage to your lungs. The moment you smoke even just a single stick of cigarette even once a month, you’ve already shortened your lungs’ lifespan. The moment you got a respiratory infection due to poor hygiene, you’ve already polluted your lungs.

lung diagram

The lungs are vital organs that play an important role to everyone’s body. Note that the lungs never take a rest since its role is to deliver oxygen inside your body for you to keep on breathing even when you’re asleep. Did you know that in a day, a healthy person inhales and exhales up to 25,000 times? It also has a natural defense system to keep off dirt and fight unwanted germs inside. However, due to various circumstances that a person encounters every day, a lot of harmful substances enter the body, causing the lungs to weaken and work improperly.

Types of Lung Diseases

A lung disease is any abnormality experienced by the lungs which causes them to working improperly. There are three main classifications of a lung disease:

a.)    Airway Disease: This type of ailment happens when the airways or tubes inside your body that carry oxygen or other gases in and out of your body are hampered. Common kinds of this disease include asthma, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. A person who experiences this illness feels like he or she is struggling to breathe through a straw.

b.)    Lung Tissue Disease: The inflammation or scarring of the lung tissue is what causes this disease. In return, it hinders the lungs from fully expanding, making it difficult for the lungs to transport oxygen and release carbon dioxide. According to people experiencing lung tissue diseases, they seem to feel as if they are wearing extremely tight vests or jackets, and as a result, they are unable to breathe deeply. Examples of lung tissue diseases are Sarcoidosis and Pulmonary fibrosis.

c.)     Lung Circulation Disease: This type of disease mainly affects the blood vessels inside the lungs. Due to clotting, inflammation, or scarring of the blood vessels, the lungs are unable to take up oxygen, and at the same time unable to release carbon dioxide. It may also affect the heart function of a person. An example of this type is the pulmonary hypertension.

Note that several lung diseases involve a combination of the aforementioned types. Some other common lung diseases include atelectasis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pneumonia, pulmonary edema, pulmonary embolism, tuberculosis, and lung cancer.

Pointers for Healthy Lungs

There are various ways to ensure that your lungs stay strong and protected from harmful substances around. Some highly beneficial tips fall under the changes in your diet, lifestyle and hardly restrained habits. Below are a few things to remember in order to keep your lungs healthy and your breathing invigorating:

1.)    Say NO to Smoking: With cigarette smoking, you allow thousands of harmful chemicals which are capable of bringing various health problems. As a matter of fact, smoking is the leading cause of COPD and lung cancer. When you are already suffering from any form of lung disease, saying no to smoking can help you in immensely so be determined to quit such an unhealthy vice and turn to a specialist to get professional medical advice.

cigarette smoke

2.)    Keep Away from Secondhand Smoke: Secondhand smoke is highly toxic which is very alarming to one’s health. In order to avoid inhaling these toxins, you should definitely avoid public places where smokers are rampant. Don’t tolerate anyone who smokes inside your house, your car or even in your workplace.

3.)    Avoid Exposure to Pollutants: Other than cigarette smoke, some other noxious pollutants are present in the atmosphere like the smoke coming from factories and automobiles. Also, synthetic fragrances coming from several laundry products and air fresheners used in a lot of areas are responsible for injuring your lungs’ health.

4.)    Enhance Indoor Air Quality: Getting the best air purifier for your home improves the quality of air when you start your day and before you retire for the night. Also, you may want to consider having indoor plants inside your household. According to studies, various houseplants are considered healthy air purifiers. They can filter volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which include benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene. Some indoor plants you may want to keep are aloe vera, fern, peace lily, spider plant and bamboo palm.

5.)    Perform Daily Deep Breathing Routines: By doing so, you can strengthen your lungs as it helps you detoxify the body, cleansing your airways and improving the functions of your lungs. To do this, pick a quiet place where you can fully relax, close your eyes and deeply inhale through your nose for about 5 seconds. Hold it for just a few seconds then release it slowly. Repeat this process for about 6 to 8 times every day.

6.)    Get Busy Playing Wind Instruments: Playing a flute, saxophone, mouth organ or any other wind instruments are actually beneficial to your lungs. Using these instruments helps your to get a regular lung workout, and as a result, strengthening them in the process. Singing can also provide a similar result as it makes your diaphragm work and keeps your lungs healthier.

7.)    Have an Exercise Regimen: Doing regular full-body workout exercises makes it easier for your lungs to have its own workout as well, keeping your heart and muscles “fed” with oxygen-rich blood. Cardiovascular exercises are a good way to start since they strengthen the muscles surrounding your lungs. You may also want to try aerobic exercises like walking, dancing, biking, or even swimming.

man running

Right Foods to Consume

You might think that what you eat doesn’t affect your lungs directly. In reality, with the right food and regular exercise, you have healthier lungs, ultimately getting an even healthier body. The best foods to get you started are fresh and raw foods which contain enzymes, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. The following is a list of the essential foods with their corresponding advantages in your lungs’ health:

fruit and vegetables

1.)    Water: The very essence of water intake is to cleanse the body. It is also essential for good blood circulation to and from the lungs. By drinking clean and pure water, you tend to keep your lungs hydrated and help the mucus inside it flowing. The mucus is significantly needed with the right consistency for the cilia to move it, while bringing harmful microbes and toxins out of your body.

2.)    Ginger: Ginger contains anti-inflammatory properties. It also supports the elimination of pollutants in your lungs.

3.)    Pomegranates: Pomegranates posses a lot of antioxidants such as ellagic acid, which is highly favorable for cancer patients, researches show. Also, pomegranate juice helps in slowing down the growth of lung tumors.

4.)    Apples: Apples are rich in Vitamins E and C, and flavonoids, which all help in improving your lungs’ performance.

5.)    Oranges: Oranges are also known to contain high amounts of Vitamins C and B6, both of which are essential for the lungs’ oxygen transfer.

6.)    Nuts, Beans, and Seeds: These contain rich amounts of magnesium and healthy fatty acids which are good for the cardiovascular system.

3 Tips in getting relief from Allergic Rhinitis

For the nth time, you wake up in the morning with an uncomfortable and uncontrollable desire to sneeze. Once you open your teary eyes and massage your reddened face, your initial reaction is to get to your bedside tissue box and grab a handful of sheets. Weird as it may sound, you feel the need to sneeze has vanished.

You let it go and start to go back to sleep, then…achoo!

man blowing his nose

This is your constant sneeze battle every day.

Truth of the matter is that it’s not a battle you endure every morning. The increasingly annoying sensation corrupts your whole day. From sneezing your brains out to twitching your nose endlessly, you try to get relief from your nasal congestion. When the itch strikes your nose, all you can think of is to put every ounce of you to find the best way to breathe properly and bring back the comfort in your life.

If you are experiencing what could only be described as a nasal nightmare, you might be suffering from allergic rhinitis.

child blowing his nose

Allergic rhinitis is a condition that wherein you nasal cavity swells up as an overreaction to inhaled foreign materials that irritate your body. The most common allergy triggers, or allergens, are dust, animal dander and pollen. If you are prone to getting allergic reactions from the slightest of irritation, you might experience continuous sneezing due to runny or stuffy nose, and a puffy feeling around your nasal area due to your itchy, red and watery eyes.

Avoid the discomfort that is allergic rhinitis. Learn how to get relief from this condition, and finally achieve a more comfortable life that you’ve been searching for.

Make sure to clean your nasal passages daily

To ensure you get a clear, unblocked nasal cavity, make it a habit to clean the area properly. Nasal douching is an effective way of ensuring your nasal passageway is healthy and unclogged. You may clean your nose using salt water solution in order to make sure that your nose is free from irritants.

You can create your own homemade salt water solution for the nasal irrigation. Just mix the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup (240 mL) distilled water. If you want to use water from the tap, make sure to boil it and let it cool down until lukewarm;
  • ½ tsp (approximately 3g) salt;
  • ½ tsp (approximately 3g) baking soda

When properly mixed, make sure to put the solution in a clean container. Kept in room temperature, you can store the saline solution for up to three days.

saline solution

Then again, if you want to save yourself from the hassle of making homemade salt water solution, you can buy ready-made saline solution from your local pharmacy.

With the solution ready, you need to use a medical syringe (preferably 10 cc) as the vehicle for the irrigation. As a gentle reminder, do not use a needle in running the solution through your nose. Also, for sanitary purposes, as much as possible, do not reuse any syringe.

With everything all set, you may now start cleaning your nasal passage. First of all, you need to stand over a sink or have a basin ready to catch the flowing fluid. Using the syringe get a small amount from your saline solution and gently flush the content inside your nose through one of your nostrils.

Make sure that the solution passes through the nose by excreting them either through your mouth or out the other nostril. Do not be alarmed if you swallowed some of the solution. It is natural and safe. Then again, if you have the chance, spit it out any extra solution to relieve any discomfort. You can also gently blow your nose to expel some of the liquid, given that your doctor allows you to blow your nose at all.

Repeat the process several times a day as needed. Generally, you could perform the douching process before using your prescribed nasal medicine. Also, to ensure efficacy and comfort, warm the solution first.

Consider herbal medicine and natural alternatives

Herbal medicines have been around in the medical field for a long time. There are studies that prove herbal medicine as an effective way of curing diseases and other health conditions, including allergic rhinitis.

herbs and flowers

However, be mindful of what herbal medicine you sue for your allergies. Make sure to ask for assistance and medical opinion from your licensed alternative medicine doctor or herbal medicine practitioner.

Below are some of the more accepted alternative and natural herbal medicines that have brought relief to those suffering from allergic rhinitis:

  • Butterbur – Butterbur is known for curing asthma and bronchitis. As such, it can also help your allergic condition since this herbal medicine can reduce the amount of mucus in the nasal cavity. It is advised to intake 500 mg per day to cure allergic rhinitis. The measurement still depends on the degree of your condition.

According to scientific studies, the extract of butterbur is effective in treating hay fever and allergy. The catch is that recent studies cannot still determine whether it is safe to intake butterbur longer than 12 weeks. You have to take note of the side effects: headache, drowsiness, and stomach ache. Also, the extract of butterbur is not suitable for pregnant and breastfeeding women, and children.

  • Stinging nettle – Taking 600 mg of stinging nettle per day has been declared as an effective way of giving comfort from allergic rhinitis. Unlike butterbur, stinging nettle is already known in curing the ailment even before scientific findings backed it up.

The herbal medicine is good for addressing the symptoms of allergic rhinitis since it prevents you from having intense allergic reactions. However, it is not advised for patients who have diabetes, high blood pressure, and any form of kidney conditions.

  • Tinospora cordifolia – Taken 3 times a day, 300 mg tinospora cordifolia is enough to help treat your allergic rhinitis. Scientific studies have already been done to support the efficacy of the herbal medicine in curing the condition.

One study concluded that the use of tinospora cordifolia within eight weeks can lessen the occurrence of the symptoms. However, it is advisable not to intake the herbal medicine if you have diabetes, and arthritis.

  • Astragulus – Astragulus can aid in the cure of your allergic rhinitis if you take 160 mg two times a day. Unlike other herbal medicines, there is a certain standard measure to make it effective.

In every 160 mg of Astragulus, there should be 40% polysaccharides. This polysaccharide is what addresses the symptoms of allergic rhinitis. If you have arthritis, Crohn disease, and any autoimmune disease, then you should reconsider taking the herb as a cure for the condition.

Change your lifestyle to improve your condition

There are certain measures which you can you do to get better results with regard to your allergies. Generally, living a healthier, cleaner life can help improve your condition.

healthy lifestyle graphic

  • Consider using an air purifier in your home and in your car. This is to make sure that you are free from irritants, especially. Get the best air purifier for allergies to lessen the presence of air-borne allergens, thus lessening the chance of acquiring any discomforting allergic reactions.
  • Start removing your carpets or any upholstered furniture. Your carpets are prone to harbor dusts especially if you do not wash it regularly. If you still want to keep them. Make sure they are regularly and frequently cleaned

This includes washing your bedding every week. Also, lessen, if not completely remove, the stuffed toys you put around you, especially if you start to experience worse allergic reactions.

  • Clean your home regularly and effectively. See to it that your appliances, fixtures and other materials are not forming any mold or building up dust. Your air conditioning units, refrigerators, and dehumidifiers are prone to mold formation and heavy dust accumulation so be mindful of these items.

Fact or Fiction – Debunking 5 Myths on Herbal Medicine

Nowadays, herbal medicines have been gaining popularity because of its efficacy and competitive price as compared to modern medicine in the market. Its use definitely has its merits. Along with this, the caveat still remains.

There has been a time when herbal medicines have been regarded as the one true way to effective healing. Shamans, health gurus and tribe doctors of the past have been the first and final resort to treating their tribe’s sick and wounded.

herbal medicine

However, at this day and age, is it still effective? How much do you really know about this alternative cure?

Know more about the truths and myths behind herbal medicine. It might just save your life. Literally.

  1.   Herbal medicine is an example of natural medication. Therefore, using herbal medicine is entirely safe.

You always carry the stigma about herbal medicines that since they are natural, they are already safe. You may want to think again.

Remember your first trip out of state? When your mom was looking through hotels in Vernon, you went wandering out, stumbled upon a green, exotic mushroom and tried to eat it to get an “extra life?” Instead, your luxury trip became an emergency trip to the nearby hospital.

This case serves as a reminder that despite the fact that something is natural, it may still harm you.

There are existing herbal products in the market that, when taken incorrectly, can be detrimental to your health. Yes, natural ingredients are found in almost every dietary supplement in the market. However, you need to keep in mind to always check whether the supplements are approved by the government. The dietary supplements that are not safe can harm you, starting with your liver or kidney. If you choose incorrectly, it is possible that you end up paying more rather than saving money with this option.

  1.   If you are sick and you opt to have herbal therapy, it is fine not to discuss it with your family doctor.

You have access to herbal medicines anywhere. You can go to the mall, and you can already see a great number of stalls that sell herbal medicine. Similarly, it is easy for you to locate herbal medicines in your town market. From dried roots and barks to freshly ground leaves and encapsulated powdered flower of an exotics shrub, these herbal shops offer the widest range of natural medicine for almost every health need.

 

One of the factors that set them apart from medical pharmacies is that the herbal medicine stores do not ask for prescription by your attending physician. In this regard, the public’s mindset have evolved to self-diagnose and self-medicate in order to avoid the cost and hassle of a professional medical doctor

On the contrary, if you do opt to incorporate this alternative cure, your doctor should still be in the know.

doctor and patients

When your doctor is monitoring your health due to any ailments, it is just proper (and responsible) for you to discuss to your doctor your decision to include herbal therapy in your treatment. As stated above, not all herbal medicines are good for your health. If the herbal therapy has an effect that can cause bodily harm in conjunction with your prescribed medicines, your doctor can, and most likely will, misdiagnose you. Furthermore, if an adverse reaction occurs, it would be more difficult for you to recuperate from your initial ailment. At the end of the day, you just have to keep an honest relationship with your doctor for your own good.

  1.   Herbal medicines are based on primitive methods and old beliefs. Scientific evidence does not support herbal medicine.

Scientific research supports many natural products for several health conditions. In essence, clinical medicines that medical doctors prescribe you are practically the result of science trying to solve the mysteries behind Mother Nature’s gifts. Almost all medicine, from the most basic aspirin to the most powerful antibiotic, is a result of the technological advancement trying to maximize the use of natural ingredients to help mankind.

One good example is the spearmint. According to research, spearmint can improve blood circulation and elimination of toxins in your body. It also protects from infections, helping wounds heal faster.

herbs

Lemon extracts and essential oils serve as an excellent natural first aide medicine, especially ailments related to the digestive tract. Stomach cramps due to indigestion and constipation are common ailments that lemon oil can help cure.

Kava is also another example. There is a scientific research that says it can reduce anxiety, stress, insomnia and depression. Furthermore, it has a curative effect on the liver.

There are many herbal medicines that science supports, giving you more options for your health. Remove your idea that herbal medicine is just based on folktales. More often than not, they are based on olden experiences of curing various ailments. The knowledge is handed down from one generation to the next.

At this point, herbal medicines are still in the process of determining its potency and use to treat diseases. Studies are still needed in order to determine the safety, effectiveness and proper dosage of herbal medicines, regulating the herbal medicines that are rapidly saturating the 21st century market.

  1.   The secret behind herbal medicine’s effectiveness is its bad taste.

You cannot deny the fact that there are herbal medicines that just simply taste unpleasant. Sometimes, you cannot even find the right word to describe the taste. Then you ask yourself begin to question why Mother Nature produce such bitter tasting natural medicine.

However, there are herbal medicines that, surprisingly, still taste good! Thus, the effectiveness of herbal medicine has nothing to do with its taste.

take your medicine

Peppermint gives off a mild minty fresh taste when taken as tea. Obviously, citrus fruit-based curative ingredients leave that tangy sweetness that even kids would appreciate. Berries have that bittersweet essence that in spite of the lingering bite on the taste buds, they still leave a mildly pleasurable flavour with every intake.

Herbal medicine does not need to be bitter in order to be effective. There are herbal medicines that taste sweet, yet it is good for you digestive system. Every time you think that the foundation of herbal medicine is the taste, try to remember cinnamon, mint, ginger and even liquorice. You can use these natural ingredients as herbal medicine, and still enjoy their naturally appealing flavours.

  1.   Herbal medicines do not have a place in conventional medicine. In other words, conventional medicines are of a different league from herbal medicines.

Half of the clinical drugs that the industry is using right now are based from herbal medicines. Nature is still the best source of medicine. In fact, for the past decade, dozens of new drugs have already been derived from plants and microorganism.

doctorsresearch

Medical technology has been on the limelight in terms of advancing society’s need for better health care option. It is in this regard that scientists and researchers have returned to Mother Nature for alternatives and improvements in what is already working.

There are notable examples that you can recognize that use herbal medicines as basis for their chemical formulas. The opiate painkillers, such as morphine and oxycodone, are good examples. These painkillers were derived from the latex sap of the opium poppy. The foundation of aspirin also comes from herbal medicines. Aspirin is a derivative of salicylic acid, which you can find in willow.

At the end of the day, the objective of both forms of medicine is to improve the lives of humans, creating better options to address various diseases and health concerns.