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Harness the power of the body’s hormones for better health

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When a hormone is out of whack, you can feel like you’re stuck in the mud or strapped to a runaway horse. Just ask someone with untreated Graves’ or Hashimoto’s disease (these are high or low thyroid levels), hypogonadism (low testosterone or estrogen deficiency), or uncontrolled diabetes. Because hormones are the chemical messengers of your body and have a direct influence on your metabolism, energy level, hunger, cognition, sexual function / reproduction and mood.

There are around 50 hormones in your body and many more hormone-like substances (brain neurotransmitters like serotonin and active vitamin D2 for example). Your pituitary is the “master gland,” it tells other glands to secrete hormones. The other hormone-producing glands are the pineal and adrenal glands, as well as the thymus, thyroid and pancreas – men also produce hormones in their testicles (testosterone) and women in their ovaries (estrogen, progesterone and testosterone). Aside, about 25% of testosterone in women is produced in the ovaries, a quarter in the adrenal gland and half in the peripheral tissue.

It only takes a tiny amount of a few hormones to make big changes in every inch of your body. Therefore, if they are out of whack, it can cause you serious problems. In America, type 2 diabetes is the most common hormone-related disease. This happens when you become insulin resistant and this hormone, which is produced in the pancreas, can no longer regulate blood sugar levels, causing a cascade of health problems from atherosclerosis to neuropathy to kidney disease.

Here’s how you can calm your hormones – and restore your health:

Eat Smartly. The endocrine glands are happy when you eat healthy fats like olive oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds; high fiber foods like fruits and vegetables; lean animal protein such as salmon; and plant-based proteins like 100% whole grains and legumes / beans. This mix of nutrients lets your appetite regulating hormones leptin (I’m full) and ghrelin (I’m hungry) signal you accordingly so you don’t overeat. Overeating and obesity regulate many hormonal systems.

In addition, a healthy diet will nourish your thyroid hormones, which also help regulate weight. Perhaps most importantly, a healthy diet regulates the work of trillions of microbes in your gut biome that help regulate hormone production and produce hormone-like substances.

Cope with stress, sleep peacefully. Cortisol is a hormone released by the adrenal gland in response to stress. When chronically elevated, it can reduce the activity of your hypothalamus, which in turn can lead to imbalances in the messenger substances that affect sleep, eating, sexual activity, and cognition and mood. Then you can get tired and gain weight. Therefore, it is important to regularly exercise, meditate, take deep breaths, hang out with friends, volunteer to help others, and / or talk to a therapist. Healthy sleeping habits are also important for reducing stress and regulating hormones. Growth hormones, testosterone, cortisol and insulin are released during sleep. And studies show a link between chronic lack of sleep and depression and weight gain. For sleep hygiene information, visit DoctorOz.com.

Reduce Chronic Inflammation. Chronic inflammation occurs when your immune response is overstimulated to conditions that interfere with the peaceful functioning of your body. This can happen if you are overweight or obese, addicted to sugar and fast foods, smoke or drink too much, or are constantly under stress. These factors can trigger hormonal changes, such as insulin resistance, low testosterone and vitamin D levels, and increased cortisol, and they power your sympathetic nervous system, increasing your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, and pupil size, and making your blood vessels narrow .

Plus: Eating healthy foods and managing stress and sleep will help reduce inflammation throughout your body and stabilize your hormones, but you can’t get real success if you’re sitting – 150 minutes or more of exercise per week is essential.

So make friends with your hormones and these powerful messengers will send you good news about your energy levels, sleep satisfaction, aging rate, and happiness.

Mehmet Oz, MD is hosting “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, MD is the Cleveland Clinic’s Chief Wellness Officer Emeritus. For the healthiest way to live, tune in to The Dr. Oz Show or visit sharecare.com.

(c) 2021 Michael Roizen, MD

and Mehmet Oz, MD

King Features Syndicate

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Are you planning to go vegan? Here’s a beginner’s guide about what to eat and what to skip

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Veganism has become a popular trend in recent years. Many people turn away from animal-based foods for ethical, ecological or health reasons. A vegan diet excludes all animal products, including meat, fish, eggs, and dairy. Scientific research has proven that a nutritionally adequate vegan diet offers several health benefits. However, vegan diets can lead to nutrient deficiencies as plant-based foods lack some essential nutrients. Veganism can be challenging at first due to the strict dietary rules. Additionally, when planning your daily diet, you should consider affordability, local availability, convenience, and enjoyment of the meal.

Here are some step-by-step guides for those who want to embrace veganism as a way of life without compromising on diet.

Important points to remember

Although veganism is growing in popularity, many people still see it as extreme. There may be criticism and resistance for a beginner, but don’t let that bother you because what you choose to eat, what lifestyle you choose to adopt is a personal choice. Optimal nutrition is your priority. Stock up on vegan groceries and plan your meals in advance.

In the beginning you shouldn’t hold back if you feel like eating non-vegan foods.

Read about the latest research on plant-based nutrition and find delicious plant-based recipes to enjoy this weekend.

to avoid eating

Knowing what not to eat is the first step in adopting a vegan diet. The list includes foods made from animal meat as well as foods derived from animals. Meat, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, dairy products and animal ingredients such as whey, casein, lactose, gelatin etc. are completely excluded from a vegan diet. When shopping or eating at a restaurant, read the ingredient list carefully to avoid buying foods that contain animal products.

Foods to include

The next step in becoming a vegan is to learn what foods to include in your diet. Plant-based proteins lack some essential amino acids, making it difficult to get quality protein in a vegan diet. However, several plant-based foods can be combined to meet daily protein needs. These foods also provide important plant-based vitamins, minerals, and other health-promoting components.

Soy-based foods: Tofu, soybeans, tempeh are excellent sources of a protein alternative to meat, fish, poultry and chicken. Protein in soy foods ranges from 12.95g to 20.1g per 100g.

Whole grains and legumes: Foods in this group like oats, quinoa, millet, beans, chickpeas, lentils, moong, and green peas are great sources of protein, vitamin B, minerals, and antioxidants. To improve the quality of these foods, sprouting, fermenting, and soaking are recommended.

Vegetables and fruits: A wide variety of colorful vegetables and leafy greens are consumed in the vegan diet. This vegetable is a source of powerful antioxidants, minerals, and fiber. Mushrooms in this category are rich sources of plant-based protein and some vitamin D2. Low-sugar seasonal fruits like guava, pears, apples, etc. are rich sources.

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Nuts and Seeds: Nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, peanuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds etc. are a powerhouse of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, magnesium, zinc, selenium and vitamin E.

Fortified foods: A A vegan diet lacks vitamin B12, vitamin D and iron, which are only found in animal products. Be sure to eat foods fortified with these nutrients to help prevent deficiencies.

Fermented Foods: Yogurt is one of the best sources of probiotics, but it’s derived from milk, so it’s not suitable for vegans. Daily consumption of probiotics is recommended to promote gut health and other health benefits. Vegans can choose a variety of plant-based fermented foods, including sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, kombucha, etc. These foods are high in vitamin C, antioxidants, probiotics, potassium, and vitamin K.

milk substitute: There are many plant-based milks like almond milk, oat milk, soy milk, etc. This milk is lactose-free, rich in calcium and other nutrients.

Watch out for malnutrition

Vegans have a higher risk of malnutrition. Vegans often lack nutrients such as vitamin B12, vitamin D3, omega 3, iron, zinc, selenium and calcium – essential for many bodily functions. Discover plant-based sources of these nutrients to ensure your daily intake. Vitamin B12 and D3 are best obtained from fortified foods. Omega 3 is found in nuts and seeds including chia, hemp, flax, sunflower seeds, walnuts and soybeans.

Some reliable sources of iron and zinc are lentils, red kidney beans, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, spinach, oats, and quinoa. Nuts and seeds also provide a good amount of selenium. Dark green leafy vegetables, soybeans, lentils, spinach, bok choy, cabbage, okra, and broccoli are high in calcium.

A regular blood test can help you find out if you have nutritional deficiencies. If you have a severe deficiency, talk to your doctor about adding supplements to your vegan diet.

bottom line

Eating homemade, wholesome plant-based foods is good for your health. The processed foods that make up a vegan diet are more harmful than beneficial. Keep this in mind when planning your vegan diet. Nutrient deficiencies are a major concern for vegans that should be carefully addressed.

(Subhasree Ray is a graduate student, clinical and public health nutritionist, board-certified diabetes educator. Follow her on Twitter @DrSubhasree)

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Published on: Sunday January 23, 2022 09:33 AM IST

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This Popular Supplement Can Help Combat Dementia, New Study Shows — Eat This Not That

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If you’re concerned about your well-being, chances are you have some supplements that you already take on a regular basis. You can take a multivitamin for your general health, you could throw in vitamin C if you’re concerned about your immune system, and you could take calcium to keep your bones strong. Here is one to add to your regime –New research suggests that taking fish oil supplements might lower your risk of dementia.

The study, recently published in the journal Clinical Nutrition, examined the nutritional information of more than 215,000 older adults without dementia over an average period of about eight years and compared fish oil supplement use to their risk of developing dementia during that time. Researchers found that use of the supplement was associated with a lower risk of dementia.

However, it’s worth noting that for this study, participants reported their own intake of fish oil supplements, which can always introduce some inaccuracies compared to measuring other indicators of how much fat was in their bodies.

“It would have been nice if they had used a validated biomarker (the omega-3 index) at baseline and throughout the study period to get a better sense of the subjects’ omega-3 status,” Doug Cook, RDN , MHSc, author of 175 Best Superfood Blender Recipes and Nutrition for Canadians For Dummies, tells Eat This, Not That! “The omega-3 index reflects the long-term intake of omega-3 fatty acids. So a person might say, ‘I took two grams of fish oil or omega-3,’ but if their omega-3 index was low, we would know that the self-reported intake was inaccurate.”

Related: The #1 best juice to drink every day, says science

Shutterstock/Robert Kneschke

Still, this research supports the importance of omega-3 fatty acids in your system. They’ve been linked to a variety of positive health effects: reducing inflammation, boosting your immune system, reducing the risk of certain types of cancer, and even helping your skin, in addition to their various cognitive benefits.

“It’s important to make sure you’re getting the antioxidant vitamins and omega-3 fats the brain needs for its protection and peak function,” says Ngaire Hobbins, APD, chair of the Tasmanian branch of the Australian Association of Gerontology and author of Brain Body Food – The Ultimate Guide to Living Successfully Later in Life and Reducing the Risk of Dementia.

“These forms of vitamins A and E are found in brightly colored fruits, vegetables and whole grains, while nuts, seeds and oily fish also provide important omega-3 fats,” adds Hobbins. While it’s best to get nutrients from the foods you eat, supplementation can help make up the difference when you can’t.

If you’re looking for more foods to help you get your omega-3s the old-fashioned way, consider adding these 26 Best Omega-3 Foods to Your Diet to Fight Inflammation and Support Heart Health.

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Should You Work Out Everyday or Is There Such a Thing As Too Much Exercise?

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Especially in old age, exercise is indispensable to stay in shape, to increase well-being and to minimize the risk of illness.

Because of these benefits, some people might find that the more exercise incorporated into your daily routine, the better.

However, there is real concern that excessive exercise and overtraining can be a problem.

Newsweek spoke to the experts about whether you really should exercise every day.

Is there such a thing as too much exercise?

There’s real concern that excessive exercise and overtraining can be a problem
Photodjo/Getty Images

Professor Philip Chilibeck of the University of Saskatchewan College of Kinesiology believes that while there is too much exercise, the exact amount depends on “a number of factors”.

He told Newsweek that the minimum amount of exercise recommended for overall health is about 150 minutes of moderate/vigorous-intensity physical activity per week, including activities like brisk walking, jogging or biking.

He said: “This equates to just over 20 minutes a day. Most people will get additional benefits by expanding this to 100 minutes a day.

“If you’ve been exercising more intensely (e.g., high-intensity cycling like going up and down a hilly route), you can maximize your benefit at around 50 to 60 minutes a day.”

According to the expert, everything that goes beyond that should not only have no additional benefit, but even lead to “impairment of performance or health”.

However, he warned that this also depends on “a number of factors”, including genetics – with some people being able to handle greater levels of exercise – as well as diet and sleep.

Chilibeck said: “Someone who exercises extensively and intensely would need to ensure their diet contains sufficient calories to replace the calories expended during exercise.

“If they are trying to lose weight for their sport, they would need to make sure the weight loss is very gradual (i.e. a small calorie deficit per day).

“The composition of the food should also be good (ie sufficient protein, high quality [complex] carbohydrates [i.e. whole-grains or legumes], and essential fats [mainly from plant sources, for example, olive oil, or fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, or trout]).”

Sleep is also described as “an important factor”. with extra rest hours recommended for those who spend extra hours in the gym.

Chilibeck said: “We typically need about seven to nine hours of sleep a night for good health. Someone involved in intense exercise training would need a lot of sleep on the high end (i.e. nine hours a night). This allows for adequate rest. “

The effects of overtraining

You should exercise every day
Whether there is too much movement depends on various factors
Yacobchuk/Getty Images

Chilibeck added that while there is a lack of adequate research on the effects of excessive exercise on both sexes, there can be very real risks associated with it.

He said: “One of the dangers of overtraining or training with insufficient calories is a decreased release of some of the hormones important to our health.

“This has mainly been studied in female athletes because their estrogen production decreases and this is reflected in irregular or no menstrual periods.

“This low estrogen production can eventually lead to reduced bone mineral density and possibly an earlier onset of osteoporosis later in life.

“In men, overtraining can lead to decreased testosterone production, but this is less studied.”

Jinger Gottschall, exercise psychologist for the Wahoo SYSTM software platform, adds that overindulging in the gym can affect other hormones.

She said: “One of the most important stress hormones involved in exercise is cortisol. In terms of function, cortisol can help control blood sugar, regulate metabolism, and reduce inflammation.

“Short-term increases in cortisol levels have beneficial effects such as building, adapting, and repairing muscle.

“Long-term elevation has negative effects such as severe fatigue, joint pain, and mood disorders, which may develop into a condition known as overexertion.”

Hussain Abdeh, clinical director and chief pharmacist at Medicine Direct, adds that another risk of overexercising is the increased likelihood of injury.

He said: “The phrase ‘Feel the burn’ is definitely true and pushing yourself a little when you train can improve endurance and performance. However, neglecting recovery time can lead to injuries such as strains.

“The older you get, the more likely this is to happen. That’s because as we age our bodies require longer recovery times, so not giving our bodies rest could do a lot more harm than good.

“Excessive exercise after the age of 50 can lead to injuries that are difficult to recover from, making it difficult to play sports overall.”

And Lucy Arnold, former personal trainer and founder of activewear brand Lucy Locket Love, points out that daily exercise can impact mental health.

She said: “You can become obsessed with it and instead of enjoying the exercise and how it makes you feel, it can become a negative thing and create feelings of anxiety and excitement.

“You should make time to take care of your body, especially when you’re sick or injured, and enjoy exercise to get fit and healthy, and not get upset about it.”

You should exercise every day
One of the dangers of overtraining or training with insufficient calories is a decreased release of some of the hormones important to our health
Kazuma Seki/Getty Images

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