Consider the Health of Your Liver

Did you know that not only is the liver the second largest organ in our body, it is in fact very tolerant too? If no disease were to occur to affect the functioning of the liver, it would in fact work optimally right into old age. Considering the health of your liver now will do you great benefits in the long run, especially as many liver diseases can go unnoticed for a prolonged period of time, until it is quite far into the disease. To help you better understand how to loko after your liver, we will first look at what the liver does.

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Liver Health – What is its function?

The liver is responsible for a huge number of different functions. It is amazingly the only organ that can repair and re-grow itself when damaged. Firstly, the liver is responsible for processing, eliminating and detoxifying the toxins and foreign matter that enters and builds up in our blood stream. It plays a crucial role in the digestive process and is important in producing bile. Bile is the cornerstone to breaking down fats – helping to prevent obesity for example. The liver helps to filter the blood of old red blood cells, any bacteria and other infectious organisms that should not be in our system. The liver also helps to regulate our blood sugar levels and is able to store any surplus sugar in a way where is able to be released quickly when needed. The liver also produces an excessive number of important proteins, hormones and stores vitamins A, D, E and K.

 

Liver Health – What can go wrong?

As mentioned earlier, liver health does not deteriorate due to old age but rather through illness and disease. Liver health can be compromised from external factors such as pollutants, lifestyle choices – fatty foods, alcohol, smoking and lack of exercise or side effects from certain medications.

Conditions that can result due to liver damage include:

  • Hepatitis
  • Viral hepatitis A, B, C and D
  • Autoimmune hepatitis
  • Cirrhosis
  • Alcohol liver disease
  • Gallstone and gallbladder disease

Symptoms that can result due to liver damage include:

  • Jaundice (Abnormal yellow discoloration seen on the skin and in the eyes)
  • Dark urine
  • Light-coloured stools
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Abdominal pain
  • Itching of the skin
  • Vomiting blood or bloody/black stools
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of libido

Liver Health – What can you do?

If you ignore the health of your liver and problems start to arise – serious irreversible damage can occur if left untreated. A damaged liver that has no way of repairing itself can have debilitating effects on the quality of your life. There are not many effective treatments that can alleviate liver disease. The best medicine is prevention so start taking steps to ensure the health of your liver now. Use a holistic approach by eating fresh, healthy food; limiting your alcohol intake, no smoking or other drugs and exercise often. These measures go a long way to warding off many ailments including liver damage. Be your liver’s friend and with good support, you can help it work optimally throughout your life.

Understanding Your Cholesterol Health

How often have you heard talk about the dangers concerning cholesterol? No doubt more often than not! Alongside other regularly mentioned conditions such as high blood pressure and thyroid problems, there is a lot of emphasis on maintaining cholesterol health. What is cholesterol, what is the difference between good and bad cholesterol and what can you do to look after your cholesterol levels? We help to answer these questions so you are better equipped to keep yourself in good health.

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Cholesterol Health – What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a fatty-like substance that is produced mainly by the liver and taken from the fatty foods we eat. This fatty-like substance is in fact in integral part of the functioning of our body; it is when these levels go in excess that problems can occur.

Cholesterol Health – ‘good’ versus ‘bad’ cholesterol

Cholesterol plays a variety of important functions from building cell membranes, helping to produce bile, allows our cells to be flexible and fluid across large temperature ranges and is an integral part of healthy conception. As mentioned previously, it is when high levels of cholesterol occur that physical ailments can start occurring. Having elevated levels of this fatty-like substance, known as hyperlipidemia, in our bloods increases our chances of suffering from a stroke or heart attack. These high levels can also result in blocked arteries, which can lead to a condition known as atherosclerosis.

In order for this fatty-like substance, known as lipids, to be transported around the body it needs to be carried around through our blood stream by lipoproteins. There are two groups; low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL). LDL is potentially seen as the ‘bad’ cholesterol as this is the cholesterol that is taken from the liver to the cells that require it. If there is too much a build up can occur in the arteries. HDL on the other hand carries cholesterol away from the cells and back to the liver, where it is passed through body as waste or broken down. This is thought to be ‘good’ cholesterol. So essentially, lower levels of LDL and higher levels of HDL are desired.

Cholesterol Health – What should you eat?

Cholesterol is found in many of the foods we eat from a day to day basis. This includes eggs, diary products, meat and poultry. Fish general has limited levels of cholesterol; however shell fish on the other hand has high levels. All plant foods contain no cholesterol and these will include fruit, vegetables, grains, cereals, nuts and seeds. You can begin to understand why everyone places so much emphasis on the goods and fruit and vegetables.

Remember that do not judge a foods cholesterol content by their fat content as this is not an accurate measurement to go by – liver for example contains no fat but is in fact high in cholesterol.

Looking after your cholesterol health is important to ensure your arteries and blood circulation does not become affected. High cholesterol is one of the leading causes of cardiovascular problems, so start now and adopt a healthier lifestyle that your body will love you for.

Looking After Your Emotional Health

Looking after your emotional health is as important as eating breakfast in the mornings and going for the regular jog. Society today has put a lot of emphasize on how we are on the outside while perhaps not realizing fully how it is the health on the inside that determines the health on the outside.

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Our emotional and spiritual health determines the choices and paths we take in life and this can in turn affect how we cope and feel on a physical level. So how much stock do you take of your emotional wellbeing? We can so easily cover up how we really feel about things in our lives, that what was perhaps a molehill has become a mountain of feelings too daunting to even contemplate walking up and over. So what should you incorporate into your daily life o ensure you are emotionally aware, balanced and in good health? Follow some of these tips and see how you respond to them;

Emotional Health Tip #1 – Be open with how you feel

Human beings are emotional and yet we have been brought up to understand that controlling these emotions is the way to conquer them. Yet this sense of control only causes our emotions to simmer and bubble, eventually erupting in a burst of stinging hot fumes that not only singe our nerves but usually hurts whoever was unlucky enough to be in its path. When feelings come up; be it anger, hurt, sadness, worry, anxiety to name but  a few be conscious of it. Understand that you are feeling this and try to understand why. Sometimes it is our own issues that are being sparked and other times it is a direct reaction to what someone has said. Or usually a combination of the two just to make it more complicated! In the right time and place, open up to those close to you. Talking about what is going on for you emotionally will help to being new insight into the situation and will also guarantee to lighten your emotional load.

Emotional Health Tip #2 – Be your own therapy

You are your own great healer. You have the capacity to understand yourself more than anyone else can. How well would you say you know yourself? Knowing yourself is a life long journey and is not something accomplished over night – but it is exciting to know that as a personal you are like a well with infinite depths to explore. How do you begin exploring yourself?

Spend time with yourself first of all. Being comfortable with your own company is a positive step. Involve yourself in activities that mean something to you. Start a journal; journaling is a uniquely beautiful way to explore who you are and why you do things, feel or behave in certain ways. If you are more visual, try painting or hobbies such as photography. If you like the outdoors, explore nature on your own sometimes. Experiment with different ideas such as meditation, yoga, visualizations. Becoming aware of your spiritual self is part of the journey.

Emotional health is a complex web of so many different threads from our personalities, character, what we have experienced and how we feel as a result. It is not easy to be in tune with but start now and you will find your journey become strangely more enlightening and insightful as you begin being who you really are.

Which Foods Are Really Good for Your Health?

Most of us are all too familiar with the phrase, ‘five fruit and veg a day,’ and while some of us will be conscious to match this in our diet everyday it can also become confusing knowing what is actually good for us. Which foods are in fact good for our health and which have high nutritional value. We have explored this question and come up with the following foods which tick all the right boxes. These foods are not only nutritious but versatile and easy to keep!

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Health Foods #1 – Brown Rice

Brown, unrefined rice that has had the least amount of polishing and refining contains a vast quantity of nutrients. These nutrients include fiber, folic acid, potassium, zinc, magnesium, manganese, panthothenic acid, pyridoxine and low amounts of sodium. Rice is wonderfully easy to incorporate into a variety of dishes.

Health Foods #2 – Seeds and Nuts

Seeds and nuts are a great source for protein, good fats, some fiber and a host of minerals. A good note here is that the nutrients within nuts and seeds can be difficult for the body to absorb. However when combined with food high in vitamin C, then absorption is much easier.

 

Health Foods #3 – Garlic

Garlic is a long history in medicinal medicine due to its potent antibacterial properties. More recent research has uncovered garlic to be an effective treatment against heavy-metal poisoning. Other conditions that garlic is known to be good for include sinusitis, bronchitis and catarrh just to name a few. Remember the old wives tale of wearing a string of garlic around your neck to prevent getting sick with the flu? Not such a farfetched story in fact! Garlic is best when eaten raw and the nutrients are still intact. When adding to cooked meals try adding it just before serving to help keep its beneficial properties intact.

Health Foods #4 – Raw Honey

Raw honey is rich in nutrients including vitamin C, D, E and a few vitamin B’s as well. Honey also has a long line of traditional uses both medicinally and culinary; being particularly effective in treating coughs and colds. Recent studies have noted how honey has healing properties and can be useful in reducing scars and promote healing after an operation.

Health Food #5 – Cacao

Believe it or not be cacao in its pure form is known as a super food due to its high antioxidant properties – in fact it contains one of the highest amounts of anti-oxidant properties. Cacao provides other valuable nutrients such as mineral magnesium, some B vitamins and mono-oxidase inhibitors; these inhibitors allow for our feel good hormones, serotonin and dopamine to stay in our blood stream for a prolonged period of time. So the crack about chocolate making you feel good is in fact true! So to get the most out of cacao go for dark chocolate, preferably nothing less than 75%.

These are just a few examples of which foods are great for our bodies. Try incorporating these and other known health foods into your daily diet. It won’t be long before you start feeling the benefits of better health!

Heart Health – Prevention Is Better Than Cure!

Cardiovascular health is so important – and we are told this by most health professionals. Go to your doctor, your nearest health store or other health care practitioner and they will all tell you the same thing; heart health is vital and like everything else prevention is always better than cure. However, as much as we understand this in our minds, being proactive about incorporating such preventative measures into our daily lives is a different story. Most of us have a tendency to say ‘we will start tomorrow!’ and then tomorrow always becomes the day after that. So what is it that you can do to change have a health lifestyle and hence a health heart? We look at some of the things you can do below;

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Heart Health #1 – Quit smoking!

Ah, how many times have we heard this and yet how many of us take head to the importance of this? Although smoking itself is a complex addiction which although we may fully understand the implications of what we are doing to our bodies, we still crave the need to smoke; physically but mostly psychologically! If you are a smoker and struggling to quit then take some steps to put yourself in the right direction. Join a support forum – there are numerous on the website, read up on what smoking actually does to you, and start being aware of what your relationship is to smoking. Start a smoking journal to help you work through your thoughts and feelings about why you smoke in the first place – aside from the nicotine addiction.

Heart Health #2 – Be open to affection

There is scientific evidence to support the health benefits of love and affection. A study was conducted that revealed those who gave and received a loving touch can significantly lower heart problems than the control group. So being open to affection, love and kindness really will do the health of your heart wonders.

Heart Health #2 – On your marks, go!

We all know this but not all of us carry it through; exercise, exercise, exercise! One can never over-emphasize the infinite benefits that exercise gives us both physically and mentally. Go into the fresh air, involve yourself in jogging, swimming, walks, hikes, sports… there are so many choices you are bound to find one that suits you. This will keep your heart working optimally now and when you get older. So what are you waiting for?!

Heart Health #3 – Indulge in fruit and vegetables

We all know the mantra of eating our fruit and vegetables but these foods provide such vital nutrients that our body needs. In terms of heart health, it has been shown that the more colourful the vegetables the more they contain heart protective antioxidants; particularly vegetables that are yellow, green, red or orange. Go wild with whole grains, fish, beans, seeds and yogurt. Seaweed and garlic are also known to control blood levels while supporting overall cardiovascular health.

So when in comes to heart health the best way is to lead a generally healthy lifestyle that will go a long way to preventing heart problems while keeping you in shape both inside and out for years to come!