How do I avoid migraines?

By Brooke Strickland

Migraines are a very common problem that plague thousands, if not millions of people every day. They are excruciating, and often debilitating. A new study suggests that migraines are a largely unrecognized cause of productivity in the workplace. [1] If you are a chronic sufferer of migraines, there are some tangible ways to help reduce your chance of developing one of these types of headaches.

*Exercise: Exercising is not only important for the overall health of your body, but it also helps keep hormones in balance, which is often a trigger for migraines.

*Stress: Some people are more hard-wired for stress than others. While this may be true, minimizing the amount of stress that you have in your life is an important factor in reducing your chance of creating an onset of a migraine.

*Allergens: Minimize exposure to things you know you are allergic to. Specific foods, pollens, sweet treats, pet dander, or other known allergens play a key role in migraine headaches.

*Regular sleep patterns: Having a regular sleep pattern is important, and disrupting your natural sleep pattern can serve as a factor in migraine development.

*Caffeine: Indulging in your favorite coffee drink in the morning can be a culprit to migraines. Limit your caffeine intake and see if this helps.

*Lights, lights, lights: Lighting is a huge issue in headache development. Exposure to extremely bright lights, as well as working in environments that do not have enough light can be harmful.

*Keep a headache diary: Keep a diary of when you get a migraine, what your symptoms are, and what you think the trigger was. This will help you see a pattern, if there is one, and will help you better describe your migraines to a doctor should you decide you need medical attention.

Migraines are some of the worst things you can experience. Following some of these steps will help ease your pain.

[1] Migraines Reduce Workplace Productivity. Accessed on the Web November 29, 2009.

[2] How to Avoid Getting Migraines. Accessed on the Web November 29, 2009.

How to have a healthy colon

By Brooke Strickland

Colon health is extremely important and keeping it healthy might be a little easier than you might think. A recent study completed by a PhD student and her co-investigators at Maastricht University found that eating fruits and vegetables, and regularly drinking tea and red wine has the ability to offer overweight men and normal weight women some protection from developing colon and rectal cancers. [1]

A healthy colon can translate into full body health. So, here are some other ways to keep your colon healthy.

*Eat substantial meals and try to avoid snacking on small things throughout the day.

*Drink lots of water and eat foods that are rich in water content.

*Add fiber into your diet.

*Make sure to supply your body with enough Vitamin A

*Make sure you are eating healthy fats, keeping your diet clear of too many saturated fats.

*Try to avoid unnecessary stress.


*Don’t smoke!

All of these things can help your body functioning regularly and will give you a tool to fight off colon cancer, one of the leading cancers in America today. So make sure to try some of these tactics to give your body the chance to thrive and live life to the fullest.

[1] Eat and drink your way to a healthy colon? Accessed on the Web on November 21, 2009.

[2] How to Keep your Colon Clean and Healthy. Dr. Ben Kim. Accessed on the Web on November 21, 2009.

How do I avoid high cholesterol?

By Brooke Strickland

A recent study completed through the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that a high percentage of adults are living with undiagnosed high cholesterol. The study also found good news, though: between 1999 and 2006, the number of adults in the U.S. with artery-clogging LDL cholesterol decreased by approximately one-third. [1]

So what are some ways to avoid becoming one of the millions of Americans that suffer from high cholesterol?

*Limit the amount of high cholesterol foods you eat, such as eggs, liver, or desserts with high fat content.

*Avoid eating fried foods. Broil or bake instead.

*Trim fat off of the meat you are eating before cooking it.

*Use egg whites instead of whole eggs in recipes

*Choose to use fat free dairy products.

*Make sure your diet is high in soluble fiber. Some of these foods include oranges, oats, apples, carrots, and pears.

*Grains, grains, grains!! Eating at least three servings a day of grains (breads, cereals, crackers, pasta, and rice) can give your body antioxidants to help keep your body strong in fighting high cholesterol.

*Work out! Exercise is always good for you, so make sure to incorporate at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity into your daily routine. This has been proven to help reduce high cholesterol and make your body stronger in many other ways!

Try not to worry if you are diagnosed with high cholesterol. There are many tools to help manage it and keep it lower; it just takes a bit of effort to make sure you are eating well, exercising, and minimizing stress in your life.

[1] High cholesterol under treated in many Americans. Accessed on the Web on November 21, 2009.

[2] How to avoid high cholesterol foods. Accessed on the Web November 22, 2009.

How do I stay energized for the holidays?

By Brooke Strickland

The holidays are officially now upon us. For many, it means endless Christmas parties, social events, get-togethers with friends and family, and of course, lots of eating delicious holiday meals and treats. This oftentimes means fatigue and burn out. So, this year, why not try some new ways to get and stay energized during the busy holiday season?

*Limit caffeine intake: this is often an energy-buster rather than an energy-booster. So limit how many caffeine beverages your drink every day, and replace some of them with good old fashioned water. Being hydrated will help fight off sluggishness and will give you an added boost of energy.

*Eat! Do not go without food. Even though the holidays are rich in delectable foods, be sure not to over-indulge in greasy, fatty, or sugary foods, as these are all factors for contributing to sluggish behavior. Snack on healthy fruits, vegetables, or whole grain crackers, and make sure to eat full, healthy meals that are low in carbs and sugar, and rich in vitamins and antioxidants.

*Exercise: Do some cardio by running or doing some intense aerobics at the gym on a regular basis.

*Breathe deep: Smell your Christmas tree. Breathe deep, and then exhale. Sing a holiday tune. Read a book. Take a bubble bath. Drink some hot cocoa by the fire. Basically, just relax. Try not to worry about money, all the events you have to attend, or what the next thing on your list is to complete. Try to simplify your life and manage all of the stressors that you possibly can.

*Rest: Rest is important to optimum functioning. So master the “power nap,” and try to get enough sleep at night.

Fatigue can affect us in a negative way, zapping our energy and positive attitudes. These natural ways of energizing yourself will help bring balance into your daily routine and will allow you to enjoy this holiday season.

It really is a joyful time of year so do your best to get your rest, enjoy your friends and family, and reflect on what this time of year is all about.

[1] 10 Healthy Ways to Keep your Energy Up During the Holidays. Accessed on the Web November 24, 2009.

Am I stressed?

Stress is a killer. It can creep up on us gradually, and make us extremely ill. The more we know and learn about stress, the more we will be able to avoid it, and stay healthier for longer.

The current money worries that many Americans are facing each day are making them more and more stressed. These increased stress levels can cause blood pressure levels to rise, can lead to anxiety issues and depression, and in some extreme cases it can cause strokes and even massive heart attacks. This is why it's so important for us to know all about stress, what it is, how to avoid it, and how to reduce it.

In the early stages, and in less severe cases, stress can be hard to spot. But, as the symptoms worsen, and as people become more stressed out, it's easier to diagnose. When we think we're coping well mentally, we often overlook the fact that our bodies are suffering from pressure. Below is a list of some of the most common signs of stress, which have been divided into mental and physical symptoms.

Mental stress symptoms -

- Loss or appetite / increased eating

- Anxiety or panic attacks

- Depression
- Mood swings, including uncontrollable anger and sadness

- Concentration issues

Physical stress symptoms -

- Insomnia and difficulty falling to sleep

- Excessive sweating

- Reduced sex drive

- Chest pains, or a tight feeling across your chest

- Numbness, muscles spasms and cramp [1]

Unfortunately, many people, men in particular, ignore these symptoms, which can cause irreversible damage to your health. So, the sooner you spot these symptoms, the better. Even if you're only experiencing one or two symptoms from the lists above, you should seek advice from a medial professional. Getting a check up from your doctor should pick up on any stress related health problems you may have. You may also wish to ask your doctor about support groups or even counselling, both of which could help you to reduce your stress levels.

If you're stress is left untreated it could lead to any of the following conditions:

- Asthma

- Ulcers

- Arthritis

- Hypertension

- Over-active thyroid

The best way to treat stress is to prevent it. Our lives seems to grow more and more stressful each and every day. The financial crisis is now pushing peoples stress levels to breaking points. So, you have to make sure you know your own stress limits - what you can handle in terms of stress, and what you can't. Some people thrive under pressure and enjoy challenging careers, whilst others prefer calmer working environments that involve few challenges and demands. So, make sure you only choose careers that you can handle. If instead, you're home life is particularly stressful, you will need to make some changes. The quality of your home environment can have a profound effect on your health and well being, and can cause severe stress. Making simple changes to your home and work environments, and reducing your financial worries, may be the key to helping you live a stress free life for longer. [2 & 3]

References -

1 - Am I stressed? - Accessed Sept 05, 2009.

2 - Top 10 stress tips – Accessed Sept 05, 2009.

3 - Preventing stress – Accessed Sept 05, 2009.