Do Our Lifestyle Choices Lengthen Our Life?

Jamie From Michigan Writes:

My doctor recently diagnosed me with anxiety. She wants to put me on some of the basic medications but I really don’t know if that is what I want to do. Is there anything that you know of that can help? My life is stressful and I want to be able to cope. Thanks in advance.

Dear Jamie,

I know life can be challenging at times. Responsibility increases, financial challenges, family issues, and our personal health seems to get put on the back burner. When anxiety hits we have to look at a couple of reason why this is. The main reason for anxiety is typically due to lack of the neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-amino butyric acid). When GABA gets low in the brain, anxiety can develop. 

So just take some GABA right?

Not exactly. GABA is sold in supplemental form yet it can’t cross the blood-brain barrier. Therefore we have to raise GABA in other ways from a lifestyle-based perspective. Typically benzodiazepines (Xanax) are used to treat anxiety and even most physicians will tell you that they are extremely habit-forming and to only use as needed. Many practitioners today are turning to more natural ways of supporting the body with anxiety. 

Here are some great natural ways to support healthy GABA levels in the body. 

1. Exercise
Research tells us that this can be some of the best medicine at maintaining healthy GABA levels in the brain. The activity doesn’t matter. Running, biking, weightlifting, etc. The consistency and duration is what typically helps the most. Stick to 5 days per week at about 20 minutes minimum.

2. Minimize The GABA Depressing foods.
Certain foods are known to keep GABA levels down. These foods are: almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, wheat, barley, oats, salmon, spinach, and most beans. 

3. Ashwagandha
Herbalists will call this the adaptogenic herb. It is known to help the body in stressful situations and helps to balance cortisol levels.

4. Rhodiola
Helps relieve cortisol, lowers stress, and reduces fatigue. It also help in the permeability of the blood-brain barrier which can help the body enhance the neurochemicals.

5. Vitamin C and B-Complex
These are well – known to help the body in stressful times. Many integrative specialists at the Cleveland Clinic have used these combined with adaptogenic herbs to support the body under stress and to help anxiety.

Jamie From Michigan Writes:

My doctor recently diagnosed me with anxiety. She wants to put me on some of the basic medications but I really don’t know if that is what I want to do. Is there anything that you know of that can help? My life is stressful and I want to be able to cope. Thanks in advance.

Dear Jamie,

I know life can be challenging at times. Responsibility increases, financial challenges, family issues, and our personal health seems to get put on the back burner. When anxiety hits we have to look at a couple of reason why this is. The main reason for anxiety is typically due to lack of the neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-amino butyric acid). When GABA gets low in the brain, anxiety can develop. 

So just take some GABA right?

Not exactly. GABA is sold in supplemental form yet it can’t cross the blood-brain barrier. Therefore we have to raise GABA in other ways from a lifestyle-based perspective. Typically benzodiazepines (Xanax) are used to treat anxiety and even most physicians will tell you that they are extremely habit-forming and to only use as needed. Many practitioners today are turning to more natural ways of supporting the body with anxiety. 

Here are some great natural ways to support healthy GABA levels in the body. 

1. Exercise
Research tells us that this can be some of the best medicine at maintaining healthy GABA levels in the brain. The activity doesn’t matter. Running, biking, weightlifting, etc. The consistency and duration is what typically helps the most. Stick to 5 days per week at about 20 minutes minimum.

2. Minimize The GABA Depressing foods.
Certain foods are known to keep GABA levels down. These foods are: almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, wheat, barley, oats, salmon, spinach, and most beans. 

3. Ashwagandha
Herbalists will call this the adaptogenic herb. It is known to help the body in stressful situations and helps to balance cortisol levels.

4. Rhodiola
Helps relieve cortisol, lowers stress, and reduces fatigue. It also help in the permeability of the blood-brain barrier which can help the body enhance the neurochemicals.

5. Vitamin C and B-Complex
These are well – known to help the body in stressful times. Many integrative specialists at the Cleveland Clinic have used these combined with adaptogenic herbs to support the body under stress and to help anxiety.

Bryan from Mississippi writes:

For the last year I have been dealing with constipation. My doctor has tried all of the basic over the counter items and nothing seems to be working. It seems the more stressed out I get, the less I can go.  What do you suggest?

Dear Bryan,

Great to hear from you! Constipation can be very frustrating. Many times we don’t know the root cause and it causes you to get into the rut of try this or try that. However, I have great news! So much our digestive system can be traced to the foods we eat every day, and the stress that we learn to manage. Here are some quick tips for winning the battle of being backed up. First see how much water you are drinking every day. Most people are dehydrated and don’t even realize it. The rule of thumb is half your bodyweight in ounces of water each day. So a 200lbs person would take in about 100oz per day. Next is to focus on your fiber intake. The research tells us that we need about 35-40 grams of fiber each day for proper bowel health and to reduce the chances of colorectal cancer. You can get plenty of those fiber grams if you will eat 4-5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. One of my personal favorites is to use beets. Beets have long been known to increase peristalsis in the digestive tract and get everything moving, as it should. Try a little secret of cutting up a steamed beet and placing it over some fresh greens at night before bed. This will help everything move throughout the night and can cause great movement the next day. There are other options such as prunes and teas like chamomile tea. And finally, the research all tells us that exercise is the key to healthy bowel movements. If possible, consider walking or doing some form of aerobic exercise daily.  The key is to stay consistent in all that you do. And don’t forget probiotics! They are the absolute key to a healthy gut and increased digestive health. Make sure to check out the best probiotic that I have found at Theralac.com

Selena From North Carolina Writes:
I feel like there are so many “top diseases” that are mentioned daily in the news. My family is relatively healthy and we don’t have much heart disease or cancer in our genes. With all the research pointing to various illnesses, what do you think is the toughest disease we are facing today?

 
I get asked this question frequently and this is an easy answer for me. I really don’t think the root cause is simply diabetes, cancer, heart disease, fibromyalgia, or even depression. Those are just the end result.
 
In my opinion, the greatest health challenge we are facing today is in the way that we think. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said recently that 85%  of the root cause of all disease can be found in negative emotional health. Wow! The way that we think is considered the foundation for so much of what we see people deal with in their physical bodies. We are taught and told that family history is everything. That we are our genetics. Genetics do play a role in our health, absolutely. However scientisits are finiding now in the world of epigeneticst that environmental factors can actually change our DNA cellular structure.

What did Albert Sweitzer say about most people today? He stated that people simply don’t think. We get in our routines of daily living, yet we forget about the most important tool we have to achieve optimal health…our ability to think. Many leaders, scientists, philosophers, and religious leaders, have disagreed about many ideas and philosophies in life. However, history tells us that they all agree on this one solitary principle. That we become what we think about. Earl Nightingale said that this was the strangest secret in the world. Most Bible “faith teachers” declare that our thoughts carry the power of determining favorable or unfavorable circumstances in our lives. And the Bible does say in the book of Proverbs that as a person thinks in their heart, so they will be.

So what is the reality?

Our mind is the most powerful tool given to us by God. We can actually change the way we live, including our health, by the way we think. It’s all in what we call attitude. Our attitude toward life determines life’s attitude toward us. Our attitude is our state of mind every minute of every day. No one can choose your attitude for you. Only you determine your attitude. Studies show that most people excel in life not by their skill or aptitude in a certain area. However, it is their attitude that promotes them into higher positions and promotions. People want to be around people that add to their lives…not that take away. Attitude is everything, states my good friend Keith Harrell. We may not be able to control our circumstances in life; however, we can control how we react to those circumstances. One of the keys to attaining and maintaining extraordinary health is controlling your thought life. Only about 5% of the population thinks in a positive manner on a regular basis. That means that most of the world is negative. We must come to a new level in our thinking. How is it that a patient can be diagnosed with cancer and a year later is cancer free? A miracle? Possibly…or maybe that person was determined to get well. Determined by thinking correctly, making great dietary  and lifestyle choices. You will never achieve abundant health unless you first have the right mindset. It possibly took that patient dealing with any challenging diagnosis into thinking differently by changing their diet, lifestyle, outlook, and daily routine to return to optimal health. Where did that ability come from? It started first in their mind. They wanted to get well first before it ever happened. They began to have the right attitude. Once you begin to control your thinking, then research tells us that everything else has the opportunity to fall into place.

Try thinking of how you can do things, not how you can’t. Start seeing what people do well, rather than what people are not doing. Start looking for the good instead of the bad. Try believing something can happen rather than it can’t. Your life is only as limited as your thinking. Ever notice someone that is full of life and energy? Pay attention to their attitude. I bet it is great. Zig Ziglar said it best, “A positive attitude won’t get you everything in life, but it will get you more than a negative attitude will.”

Want to lose weight? Think Better

Want to lower your blood pressure? Think Better

Want to stop taking insulin? Think Better

Want to have more energy for your kids? Think Better

I can give you the tools to achieve these goal. I can’t, however, get you to have the right mindset to achieve these goals.Your attitude (the way you think) will determine your success in every area in life. Think about it. God has more for you this year. Do you want to achieve your health goals? Then make a decision to think better today than you did yesterday.

You are worth it.

Debbie from Florida writes:

I have been dealing with low energy levels over the last six months. What do you think could be the cause?

Hi Debbie,

You are not in the minority when it comes to energy levels. So many people each day struggle to get their engines moving and to have enough energy and vitality to make it through the day. That is why coffee shops are some of the most profitable companies in this country. The key is not to put a band-aid over the issue, but to find the root of what may be going on. Typically with low energy levels you could be dealing with a host of issues. You may have low thyroid function, be anemic in either iron or B-12, or have an unresolved blood sugar issue that needs to be addressed. Regardless, if you are feeling fatigued and tired over a long period of time, it’s best to have a visit with your family doctor. You can ask them to run the regular blood tests and any nutritional tests as well. Very low vitamin D levels have been shown to cause extreme lethargy and fatigue.

Along with a deficient area that may be presiding in your body, make sure to get on a new game plan of eating healthier and exercising more. Those two areas are still “King” and “Queen” of feeling better and having the kind of vitality that we are all searching for. If you will build a solid foundation, then your body will remain a strong tower for you to thrive in.

Anthony from New York writes:

I am a 56 year-old dealing with prostate issues. My doctor has treated me for prostate infection and says it’s just a swollen prostate- no cancer. What can I do to help with performance and not having to pee so much at night?

Dear Anthony,

Not to worry. Welcome to your 50’s! Prostate issues typically go together with some of the aging process. However, not all is lost. Our primary hormone called testosterone, as we get older, affects the prostate. There is a byproduct molecule of testosterone called DHT that causes some of these challenges. It causes men to lose their hair and the prostate to swell. Many studies have shown that the prostate does well with great nutrition. The standard medications that are available have good results as well. So what can you do? Making sure that your DHT levels stay at bay should be your primary concern. There are great ways that research has said you can support this vital area.

Consider these options after consulting with your pcp:

  • Zinc
  • Pumpkin Seed Oil
  • Saw Palmetto
  • Nettle Root
  • Beta-Sitosterol (found in Avocado’s)

All of the above have great research and you can check with your local health food store to find different brands and options. There is still great debate whether too much testosterone or not enough could be the culprit. However, one area we definitely know is that reduction of DHT can yield great results in the battle to keep the prostate healthy. Also keep in mind that resistance exercise is important for healthy hormone levels and general support in all areas of our body.

Kristina from Detroit, MI writes:

I have been following a great Lifestyle Program and have lost almost 40 pounds. Recently I have been having leg cramps at night. What do you think could be the issue? I thought I was getting healthier?

Dear Kristina,

Congratulations! 40 Pounds?  You are doing GREAT! 

Exercise is one of the great tools we have to feel better, stay in shape, and stay on track with our health goals. However, if our eating habits are not in place, we can develop certain nutritional deficiencies. Typically, cramping can happen to anyone. The body needs certain key minerals and "trace" minerals, which are some of the missing links in our diet today. They fill in the blanks in many of our bodily processes. We just don’t get the needed minerals from our depleted soil anymore. The U.S Department of Agriculture recently stated that our soil has rapidly depleted itself of key vitamins and minerals since the early 1930"s. Because of this, our foods are lacking key nutrients to help our body function at optimal levels. Sure we can take multivitamins and take multi-minerals. However, most do not contain the delicate trace minerals that our bodies desperately need. From hormone balance, to bone strength, to maintaining lean muscle, to mental acuity, to proper nervous system function, to proper fertility, cardiovascular health, and digestion, trace minerals are essential to keep in our daily diet regimen. 

Recently I met with a close friend who is a physician. He is in his mid-50"s and has been using trace mineral supplementation for 15 years. With strong Italian roots, his father’s hair began turning gray in his early 40"s. However, my friend has not turned gray at all!! It is because he has kept up the trace minerals in his body. A listener on my radio show had suffered for years with chronic fatigue and lack of energy.  She recently found that her trace minerals were low through her doctor. After 2 days of taking increasing her raw fruit and vegetable intake and adding a complete mineral supplement, she said her energy levels began to climb rapidly. Why? Remember the body always seeks to be in balance. When any of our systems become altered slightly, our body will slow down in those areas to preserve what it has left. By giving the body what it needs in any area, we will secure balance, and experience the vibrant health God intended for us to have. 

So the cramping in your legs could be from the weight loss, certain dietary or nutritional deficiencies like magnesium, potassium, calcium, or others. It would be good to talk with your doctor about getting a blood test for Vitamin D. It is the catalyst that allows most minerals in the body to function properly. 

Keep up the great work on your Lifestyle Plan!

You best days are still ahead!

Stephanie From Nebraska Writes:

I am 49 and have just started having hot flashes. My doctor doesn’t want to put me on any hormones just yet. It’s driving me crazy! Is there anything that I can do to settle these down?

 

Dear Stephanie,

Hot flashes can strike at any moment when you are entering that special season of life. Many times hot flashes can be the result of underlying blood sugar issues, certain nutritional deficiencies, or thyroid dysfunction. If all of those areas have already been tested and ruled out, then there are some great ways to support your body when dealing with hot flashes. Here are some tips:

Learn Your Triggers
Many times certain stressful events or certain foods like caffeine, red wine, spicy foods, or alcohol. Keep a diary of when these certain areas may trigger a hot flash and do your best to avoid them.

Get Regular Exercise
Along with its great benefits for weight management and avoiding many of the health challenges we face today, exercise is now noted by the National Institute of Health to suppress hot flashes. They recommend 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity five days per week and 2 days of weight training. 

De-Stress
Stressful situations can increase the adrenal glands fight or flight mechanism. This can increase blood flow and trigger hot flashes. Utilize some different stress management techniques such as yoga, prayer, and deep breathing techniques. 

Hydrate
Studies show that hot flashes can increase when you are dehydrated. Aim for the standard of ½ your bodyweight in ounces of water each day. 

Take Control of Your Sleep
Getting into a regular sleep pattern is crucial for maintaining healthy hormones. When our sleep patterns are erratic, then our hormones are erratic. Consider going to sleep regularly before 11pm and getting your 7-9 hours. Also keep the bedroom at a lower temperature. Keeping the bedroom at about 67 degrees has been shown to help our core temperature be in a position to get into a deeper sleep.

Eat More Fat
Fats are the foundation of our hormones. Make sure to make your diet consists of 25 - 30% of dietary fat including nuts, seeds, avocados, coconut oil, fish oil, etc. These fats will not only lower the inflammatory response, but will help support healthy hormone production. This could be one of your secret weapons against the hot flashes.

Kathy From Montana Writes:

I have been following your anti-inflammatory diet for over 6 months with exercise and I have already lost 47 pounds. However, I still have some fat around my belly.  Is there anything else that I can do? 

Dear Kathy,

First off…Great work on losing 47 pounds! That is really great! I know it can be frustrating when it comes to losing that extra fat that is hanging around the mid-section. The fact that you are eating following the anti-inflammatory way is great. That is the foundation. Exercise at some level is a must as well. It seems that you have that in order. The number 1 reason people can’t lose the belly fat is their hormones are imbalanced. The key hormones for belly fat are found primarily in cortisol and estrogen. Cortsiol is a stress hormone that is produced by our adrenal glands. When we don’t sleep, have wrong eating habits, and are under constant emotional or physical stress, our cortisol levels can skyrocket. Also, estrogen can be a culprit. Estrogen comes in three types and they all focus depositing fat in specific areas. Estriol, estrone, and estradiol are the primary estrogens that we typically see. It is always a good idea to have all three checked if you are concerned about excessive fat deposits and getting a lean, toned body. Estrogen is the primary female hormone but men have it as well. Any overabundance of this hormone can lead to excessive fat gain. 

So what do you do? Here are some basic tips that can help support healthy cortisol levels and estrogen metabolism.

1. Eat more fat
Eating about 30% of your daily calories in monounsaturated fats has been proven to stabilize cortisol and support healthy hormone function

2. Drink Green Tea
Green tea helps cortisol stabilize and has been shown to help in a reduction of belly fat.

3. Add Cruciferous Vegetables
Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, etc all have iodole-3-carbinol which help regulate estrogen metabolism.

4. Exercise at Higher Intensity
HIIT style training at higher level of intensity can reduce cortisol long-term, and increase healthy hormones.

5.Get Better Sleep
Getting to bed before midnight increases our sleep cycles. The better we sleep, the better our hormone levels and cortisol is reduced.

Candice from Ohio writes:

I am hearing quite a bit of media coverage of the Ebola virus. It is making me concerned about my family’s safety. Should we take any protective measures? What are your thoughts on Ebola?

Dear Candice,

The Ebola virus is definitely something to be concerned about for you and your family. There is much talk about what the virus can and can’t do. Now that we have an infected person here in the United States, although contained, we still should be aware of the potential risks. As with any virus or bacteria, the goal is always to keep your body as protected as possible. Doing what you know to build up the immune system will help you gain a level of safety that you are looking for. Scientists from the University of Manchester Metropolitan University performed studies on the effects of the immune system on several viruses and bacteria with natural alternatives such as essential oils. 

They found that certain essential oils had amazing benefits on the effects of the immune system. They found that Salvia Officinalis (Sage), Anethum Graveolens (Dill), tea tree oil, lavender, geranium, and grapefruit seed extract were all beneficial in supporting the immune system. It has also widely been know that high dose vitamin c done by IV can be supportive against some of the most challenging pathogens. 

There are also numerous studies done on the benefits of ionic silver and its antibacterial and antiviral effects on the immune system. Also, there have been many studies on Vitamin D3 and the effects of maintaining a high-normal value to keep a stronger immune system. So there are many options to support the immune system naturally. You can visit our website and find many of these options available there, especially our combination immune support called Proactive Balance. The Ebola virus is currently contained and our medical and government agencies are working diligently to keep the virus at bay. 

It’s never too early to focus on building up your family’s immune system. Look at some of these natural options we have discussed today. And always consider having plenty of organic dark greens, colorful fruits and vegetables, and fermented dairy and vegetables in at least 2 meals per day. This will help develop a healthy digestive and immune system to help give you a natural shield each day. For more information about building a healthier immune system you can visit our web site or check in with our team members.

Noelle from Denver, CO writes:

My mother just got diagnosed with breast cancer and my father has dealt with prostate cancer. I want to help them learn to eat better and have a better lifestyle. Outside of their medical treatment, what can they do?

Hi Noelle,

Cancer can be a concerning diagnosis for anyone. One key that is important to understand is that the body is in a constant state of regeneration. The good news is that each day old cells die off and new cells are forming. We have an amazing body that the Great Physician designed! Our body is in a constant state of regenerating new cells. This is why our lifestyle choices make such an impact in our health outcomes. The foods we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe, the rest we get, and the environmental toxins and stress that we manage all play a role in how our body is able to have a strong immune system. Genetics do play a role in many cancers, but much of the research points to our lifestyle. That is great news for all of us. 

Research published recently in the British Journal of Nutrition discovered that cancer decreases with the increased consumption of certain pigments and carotenoids of some fruits and vegetables. The research was done in China and those who increased their consumption of alpha and beta-carotene decreased their incidence of cancer by 46 percent and 39 percent. Those that increased their intake of beta-cryptoxanthin had a 62 percent reduced risk. These super foods that can help you in this battle are:

Alpha Carotene:

1.Kale
2.Spinach
3.Dandilion Greens
4.Watercress
5.Basil

Beta –Carotene:

1.Sweet Potatoes
2.Red Peppers
3.Green Beans
4.Carrots
5.Collard Greens

Beta-Cryptoxanthin:

1.Tangerines
2.Butternut Squash
3.Punpkin
4.Parsley
5.Arugula

Don’t forget to encourage them to exercise, drink plenty of clean water, and follow a great overall lifestyle plan. You are doing great at being their cheerleader! 

Jillian From New Mexico writes:

I am 63 and have been looking for ways to slow the aging process. I keep hearing about genetics being affected by our environment. Can you please explain if we can control our lifespan by our lifestyle choices? 

 

Dear Jillian,

Great question. The good news is that we are much more in control of our lifestyle choices than we ever thought before. For many years the scientific community has told us that it’s primarily in our genes. Whatever Mom or Grandpa had in the realm of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, or arthritis, would typically be the cards we would be dealt. We are learning that nothing could be further from the truth. It is about our genes, however, our genes can be affected by the choices in our daily lives. The aspect of our DNA (which is the blueprint of our cells) that we are learning more about is called the telomeres. The telomeres are considered “long” when we are young and healthy and thought to “shorten” as we age and encounter negative lifestyle factors such as poor dietary choices, environmental toxins, stress, and lack of physical activity. 

Your doctor tells you frequently “eat a better diet and exercise.” You say, ok great! But you are really thinking, “now what do I do?” Let me show you what the research says. There was a study done with 2400 twins that looked at the components of exercising and how it affected their telomeres. Those that exercised a total of 3 hours per week (abort 30 minutes per day), actually “lengthened” their telomeres! The study was performed on those twins in their 40’s. The results were that their telomeres lengthened back to what they had in their 20’s! Ok, I am no mathematician, but that is great news! Researchers also looked at those habitual exercisers that started in their 20’s and how their telomeres looked into their 40’s. The result? There was minimal change in their overall length. We can actually put a dimmer switch on the aging process by our lifestyle choices. To even further support this, studies were performed on 400 women performed for over a year looking at their lifestyle choices. They found that their diet played the largest role in telomere lengthening. By increasing a diet full of fruits, vegetables, omega-3 fats, and lean proteins, the results were remarkable. They found that the largest indicator was the decrease in cholesterol. When overall cholesterol was lowered, the telomeres lengthened. This is great news. One of the best ways to affect cholesterol is to exercise daily, limit saturated fats, and increase omega-3 fats (fish, fish oil, avocados, nuts, etc.)

So regardless if you have beat up on your telomeres (body) for many years with poor lifestyle choices, excessive inflammation, etc., you can get it back. Our lifestyle choices really do make a difference. So stop-using excuses about your parents had this disease or that condition. You create the life that you want. Make the better choices backed by the evidence. Forget about the past, its gone, focus on today, that’s your gift, and realize, your best days are still ahead.