7 Effective Ways to Beat Holiday Stress

Tips for holiday stress management

There are plenty of things to love about the holiday season. But the holiday season isn’t all cupcakes and unicorns for everyone, especially since many people may be spending the holidays apart. Whether you have a socially-distanced gathering, or organize a large Zoom feast, it can all add to holiday stress.

Things don’t have to be that way though. With some simple tips, you can minimize dreaded holiday stress and savor the holidays, no matter what they look like this year.

1. Have Realistic Expectations

The holidays aren’t about perfection, and things probably won’t be the same compared to years past, so abandon any sky-high expectations you might have. They’re not worth the disappointment.

Instead, try to distill any plans down to what matters most, and focus on one or two special activities. Then, strive to live in the present moment. Enjoy the things that are right in front of you as they unfold.

2. Keep Up Your Self-Care Routine

“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day – unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour.” –Old Zen Proverb

Self-care is essential, especially when you’re too busy for it. When your schedule is overflowing it’s easy to cut corners on self-care, but making time for the things that refresh and rejuvenate your spirit are essential.

A good self-care routine is an antidote for stress. But if it seems impossible to cut back on a packed day, consider adding CBD Oil to your routine, to help ease the effects of stress.

3. Exercise (Even Just a Little)

Speaking of self-care, regular exercise is an essential part of stress reduction, especially during the holiday season, helping to maintain a healthy mood.

In fact, according to Michael Otto, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Boston University, “usually within five minutes after moderate exercise you get a mood-enhancement effect.” This means you’ll feel better and be more resilient to stress, even if you only have time to go for a short walk (1).

Furthermore, exercise can also help improve the quality of your sleep, enhance your energy levels, and encourage mental alertness. All of which are great ways to gain the edge you need during your busy holiday season.

4. Get Some Sun (or Sunshine Vitamin)

Sunlight triggers a release of serotonin in the body—the hormone that’s associated with an elevated mood, tranquility, and focus (2). This means you will be less likely to get overwhelmed with stress.

Plus, sunlight is one of the best ways to get vitamin D, an essential nutrient for fighting off stress effects (3). However, the sun can be in short supply over the holidays and northern latitudes make it next to impossible to make vitamin D. So, opt for a plant-based vitamin D supplement to get your sunshine vitamin.

5. Take Care of Your Immune System

Stress can decimate your immune system, at a time when you need it most. So, protect yourself by bolstering your immune system. Stronger natural immunity makes it less likely you’ll get sick. Some of the best ways to take care of your immune system include:

6. Remember to Breathe (Deeply)

One of the best tactics to quickly melt away stress is to stop whatever you’re doing and take several deep breaths. Focus all of your attention on these breaths. Nothing else. Continue until you feel that stress has lost some of its grip over you.

Remarkably, scientists have found that this simple strategy is exceptionally effective. One study, for example, found that deep breathing can drastically improve your mood and reduce stress (4). Deep breathing was also found to lower cortisol, the body’s stress hormone.

7. Unplug & Recharge

Whether you’re aware of it or not, your phone can cause a surprising amount of stress with its constant notifications. Research shows the average Apple phone user checks their phone up to 80 times per day!

According to David Greenfield, Ph.D., founder of the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction, “smartphones put us in an ever-increasing state of hyper-vigilance, where we’re always feeling compelled to check our calls, texts, social media alerts, email, and more. This keeps the adrenals constantly activated and cortisol levels elevated.”

Try setting aside blocks of time each day to turn off your phone, especially at meals and before bed. You may be surprised at how much it has an effect on your peace of mind once you get past the constant urge to check your phone.

Plus, taking breaks from technology can also boost your sleep quality, improve your mental wellbeing, and help increase your motivation.

The holidays should be a time for loved ones, and immersing yourself in positive energy and relaxation. But this busy time can create a lot of holiday stress. Use these strategies to reduce the effects of stress, so you can have a happy and healthy holiday.

Protecting Yourself from Toxic PFAS

Toxic chemicals. Rising cases of sickness. A shocking cover up. It has the makings of a Hollywood movie. Indeed, the release of the blockbuster film Dark Waters had all of these gripping plot points, based on the true story of how a toxic chemical called PFOA contaminated a West Virginia town’s water supply.

Thanks in part to the movie and increased media attention about toxic chemicals, more communities across the U.S. are discovering their drinking water may be contaminated by PFOA or one of the other related chemicals in a category called PFAS (perfluoroalkyl substances).

Whether you know it or not, it’s likely you already have PFAS in your body. The CDC estimates that as many as 97% of Americans have detectable levels of PFAS in their blood (1).

Most PFAS are Toxic Forever Chemicals

Scientists have found that PFAS never degrade or break down (2). For this reason, PFAS are dubbed “forever chemicals.” This means once PFAS get into the environment, they persist virtually forever. And research shows that it takes years before any PFAS starts to leave your body (3).

The problem is that this issue has been undetected for decades. For the past 60 years, industrial companies used PFAS for a wide range of applications. This includes carpet protectants, food packaging, pesticides, non-stick cookware, waterproof textiles, stain repellants, and pesticides.

Companies had the public convinced that these chemicals were completely safe. But it turns out that multiple organizations have suppressed the truth about PFAS to protect their profits (4).

Thanks to several independently funded studies, researchers have now uncovered the cold hard truth: PFAS have poisoned the environment on a global scale and are a serious threat to virtually every person on this planet.

The Pervasive Reach of PFAS

Once PFAS get into the environment, they readily make their way into the food chain, going from the factory floor to drinking water and even the dinner table with ease.

PFAS leach into the environment from a wide range of sources. This includes landfills, factories, and military bases. From these sites, PFAS contaminate the air, soil, and water.

Due to the fact that PFAS are water soluble, they readily leach into groundwater and travel far. One report in the prestigious scientific journal Nature revealed that “PFAS were found in the drinking water of more than 16 million Americans in 33 states” (5). And experts believe that due to a lack of data in many states, these numbers are grossly underestimated (6).

But you don’t even have to have PFAS in your water supply to be exposed. People often turn to bottled water either for convenience or because they have concerns about the quality of their tap water. Yet recent tests show that many bottled water brands tested positive for PFAS (7).

Unfortunately, water isn’t the only way you can get exposed to PFAS. These forever chemicals can also make their way into your body through eating food cooked in non-stick cookware or from the dust within your own home.

Even worse, PFAS have invaded the food chain. Research shows that food wrappers used in take-out or fast-food packaging have PFAS, meaning you get a dose of toxic chemicals with every bite (8).

The Alarming Health Effects of PFAS

PFAS chemicals are readily absorbed by your gut. And when they get in the bloodstream, they stick around for a very long time. Some of these toxins are shown to stay in the body for up to 15 years before they are excreted (9).

Reports published by the National Center for Environmental Health have also found PFAS in samples of human blood, urine, breast milk and even in umbilical cord blood (10). This means these chemicals are, without a doubt, making their way from the environment into humans.

Once these chemicals make their way into your system, they can cause a great deal of harm (11). Scientists have found that exposure to PFAS is linked to:

How Can You Minimize the Risks from PFAS?

It’s clear that PFAS are bad news. To make matters worse, it’s virtually impossible to completely avoid exposure. But there are steps you take to minimize the risks from PFAS and support your body’s detoxification efforts.

Avoid exposure to PFAS by ditching non-stick cookware, avoiding packaged food when possible, using an air filter in your home, and opting for organic cleaning products since standard cleaning chemicals can contain PFAS as well.

Since one of the most likely exposure points is drinking water, avoid bottled water when possible, and drink water that has been filtered. The most effective filtration system to remove PFAS is reverse osmosis, but that can be expensive. The next most effective system is an activated carbon filter (14).

Activated carbon filters work through adsorption. Basically, the PFAS stick to the surface of the activated carbon and are therefore filtered out.

Detoxifying with Natural Zeolite

Much in the same way that activated carbon filters out PFAS in water, natural mineral zeolite can act as a filter for toxins in the body. The natural zeolite Clinoptilolite is a powerful yet gentle detoxifier for long-term daily use.

A natural mineral formed from volcanic deposits, zeolites have long been used for their ability to attract and trap toxins. When cleansed and nanosized for optimal absorption, this zeolite can detoxify the body to a cellular level.

Zeolite detoxifies the body in two key ways. As a negatively-charged mineral, it works through cationic exchange. Like a magnet, it attracts positively-charged toxins and holds them within its crystalline structure. It also works via adsorption, where toxins stick to the outside of the zeolite, before passing through the body.

While studies are limited, evidence suggests that zeolite adsorbs PFAS, working to remove toxic chemicals from aqueous solutions (1516). Long renowned for its ability to remove heavy metals, zeolite may also be a safe and simple way to potentially reduce your exposure to PFAS.

Given that PFAS lingers in the body for years, and has known damaging health effects, it’s vital to reduce your exposure to these toxic chemicals. Seek out information from your local water supply and reduce exposure through using a water filter and avoiding PFAS-laced food packaging. Adding nanosized natural zeolite is another way to help reduce your body’s toxic burden and optimize your well-bein

CBD Oil’s Stunning Impact on Your Brain

CBD oil is rapidly becoming one of the most popular supplements in the world. To date, hundreds of scientific studies have looked at the benefits of CBD (cannabidiol) oil. Research has consistently found that CBD oil soothes the effects of temporary inflammation, combats stress, eases joint discomfort, and even promotes a healthy heart.  

But the benefits don’t end there. Scientists have recently discovered that CBD can cross the blood-brain barrier(1). What does this mean for your brain?

CBD oil has the ability to directly impact the health of your brain. Most compounds are limited in their benefit because they do not cross the blood-brain barrier. However, CBD has huge potential for enhancing the function of your brain. There are five specific ways CBD can benefit your brain.

5 Ways CBD Oil Benefits the Brain

CBD Enhances Neurogenesis

For decades, neuroscientists believed that once you reached adulthood, the brain stopped making new brain cells. But new research has proven them wrong (2).

Your brain is capable of producing new cells throughout your life in a process called neurogenesis (3). This process is critical for maintaining a healthy brain, learning, memory, and preventing diseases of the brain like Alzheimer’s (4).  

The challenge is that neurogenesis slows down as you grow older (5). Eventually this creates a deficit in new brain cells and compromises the function of your mind. In certain cases, this is the reason why some people experience cognitive decline in their old age.  

The good news is, animal studies suggests that CBD can stimulate neurogenesis by increasing the levels of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor or BDNF (6).

In addition to stimulating the production of new, healthy brain cells, CBD may also prevent the decline of neurogenesis caused by stress (7). Due to these effects, taking CBD oil could help keep your mind young, quick, and healthy.

CBD Protects Your Brain

One of the ways CBD produces its beneficial effects is by delaying the reuptake of the neurotransmitters anandamide and adenosine (8). This, in turn, increases the amount of anandamide and adenosine in the brain.

Scientists believe that the elevation of these neurotransmitters results in a neuroprotective effect (1). In other words, CBD could protect the brain from harm. What kind of harm?

Your body and brain are constantly under attack from environmental toxins, inflammatory foods, and oxidative stress. All of which can result in damaged nerve cells that can compromise the function of your brain. Substances with a neuroprotective effect like CBD can negate this damage to help keep your brain healthy and strong.

CBD Alleviates Stress

Chronic stress is a sworn enemy of a healthy functioning brain. Stress impairs your memory, your ability to learn new skills, and can also increase forgetfulness (910). Studies have also found that chronic stress increases the risk of developing mental illnesses like depression and anxiety (11).

So, if you want your brain to function at an optimal state, managing your stress levels will make all the difference. A growing body of research suggests that CBD is one of the easiest and most effective ways to alleviate stress.

According to Dr. Ethan Russo, a neurologist and medical scientist, CBD stimulates the endocannabinoid system (12). This system plays a critical role in your ability to cope with stress (13).

When the endocannabinoid system is underactive, you’re more likely to experience high levels of stress (14). But when it’s stimulated with CBD oil, the opposite effect can occur—you become more resistant to the effects of stress.

This would explain why CBD oil supplementation is shown to decrease the amount of cortisol (the stress hormone) in people who experience high amounts of stress (15).  

CBD Can Improve Your Mood

By altering the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain, CBD can elevate your mood to new heights. One way which CBD can lift your spirits is through its ability to manage your stress levels (as explained above).

Think back on the last time stress got the best of you. How was your mood? When you get stressed to the point of being overwhelmed, it sabotages your happiness and replaces it with anger, frustration, or hopelessness. So, when stress is kept at bay with CBD oil, you can expect to have a more stable mood.

Animal research has also shown that CBD can increase the amount of serotonin in the brain (16). Serotonin is called the “happy chemical” due to the fact that it significantly impacts your mood, overall sense of well-being, learning, and several other feel-good sensations (17).

CBD May Ease Neuroinflammation

Neuroinflammation, as the name implies, occurs when your nervous system or brain becomes inflamed. In small doses, neuroinflammation is helpful for encouraging tissue repair and fighting pathogens.

But when neuroinflammation becomes constant, issues arise. It can damage or kill brain cells, accelerate brain aging, and compromise how well your brain functions with basic tasks (1819).

One scientific review of over 110 studies, for example, noted that CBD may help by increasing the amount of anandamide in the brain (20). Another animal-based study found CBD can help to reduce neuroinflammation after a stroke (21).

The Bottom Line

CBD oil is becoming one of the world’s most popular wellness supplements. Scientific studies have discovered that CBD has a wide variety of beneficial effects. This explains why so many people swear by CBD oil for easing joint discomfort, muscle aches, and temporary inflammation.

But the benefits go well beyond these common uses. Most people don’t realize CBD oil has a powerful effect on your brain as well. It protects your brain cells from damage, it encourages the regeneration of healthy brain tissue and enhances your mood. In doing so, CBD oil can help you become the best version of yourself by unlocking your true biological potential.

The Most Important Vitamin for Breast Cancer Prevention

Woman getting vitamin D from sun for breast cancer prevention

Breast cancer is a merciless disease that knows no bounds. It afflicts mothers, daughters, sisters, and best friends. In fact, breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer among women worldwide. In the U.S. alone, it’s estimated that 1 in every 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer at some point in their lifetime (1).

With decades of research, scientists have identified common risk factors for breast cancer, including excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, a lack of physical exercise, and obesity (2).

But emerging evidence suggests that a lack or deficiency of one particular vitamin is a critically important risk factor. That means there’s a simple method you can use that may decrease the risk of breast cancer, and increase your chance of survival.

The Low Vitamin D and Breast Cancer Connection

Research suggests that women who have low levels of vitamin D have a significantly higher risk of developing breast cancer (3). In ways that are not fully understood, having a higher blood level of vitamin D is protective against breast cancer.

Studies show that women with the highest levels of vitamin D (> or equal to 60 ng/ml) had an 80% lower risk of breast cancer than women with the lowest levels of vitamin D (<20 ng/ml) (4). These studies even adjusted for age, weight and smoking status and still found this remarkable reduction in the risk of developing breast cancer.

Why is it so vital? Vitamin D regulates the transcription of more than 60 different genes, which have antiproliferative, prodifferentiating, antimetastatic, and proapoptotic effects on cells (3). In other words, vitamin D controls genes that play a pivotal role in preventing the growth of cancer.

Due to vitamin D’s unique effect on genes, vitamin D deficiencies are also linked to increased risk of several other forms of cancer, including colon, ovarian, and prostate cancers (5).

The Link between Vitamin D and Survival Outcomes

Vitamin D doesn’t just play a role in reducing risk, it may also increase the likelihood of surviving breast cancer.

In a study published in Anticancer Research, researchers reviewed five studies covering 4,400 women with breast cancer. They discovered that women with high levels of vitamin D were twice as likely to survive as women with low levels of vitamin D (6).

The research team went so far as to recommend that vitamin D should be added to the standard of care for women diagnosed with breast cancer.

And research on mice has shown that a deficiency in vitamin D can lead to metastasis—the spread of breast cancer (7). Yet another study found that women with low vitamin D levels were more likely to be diagnosed with triple-negative tumors, a type of breast cancer that is exceptionally difficult to treat (8).

As you can see, vitamin D can make a huge difference in the prevention and survival of breast cancer. So, it’s critical to get enough every day, especially since 40% of adults are estimated to be deficient in vitamin D (9).

How to Get Enough Vitamin D Every Day

Getting enough vitamin D is a no-brainer if you want to improve your overall quality of life and reduce your risk of many types of disease.

There are a few ways to ensure your body is getting the vitamin D it needs. The most effective method is to have your body naturally produce vitamin D through direct sun exposure.

Note the emphasis on direct sun exposure. Your body won’t make vitamin D if you’re sunbathing in the office or during your morning commute—sun exposure through windows doesn’t count.

And it’s not enough to be outside. You are unlikely to make vitamin D from exposure to your face. The best chance is for direct sun-to-skin exposure on your torso, arms or legs. If you have a light complexion, about 10 to 15 minutes a day in midday sun during summer months will do the trick.

However, if you live in northern latitudes, it becomes practically impossible to make vitamin D from sun exposure from about November to March—even on a sunny day—because of the angle of the sun to the Earth. That’s where supplementing with vitamin D-rich foods becomes a must.

Superfood Source for Vitamin D

Unfortunately, most vitamin D supplements contain cholecalciferol, which is typically sourced from irradiated lamb’s wool. This isolate is rarely blended with the co-factor nutrients needed for absorption. That means most vitamin D supplements are low-quality and poorly used in the body.

The best type of vitamin D supplement comes from the only plant that can make vitamin D the way humans do, from the sun. Mushrooms that are exposed to the sun produce and retain high levels of vitamin D.

When you combine vitamin D from mushrooms with probiotics and mineral-rich greens, it helps improve the absorption of the vitamin D, so your body can make the most of every nutrient.

If you’re on a plant-based diet, eat more mushrooms like maitake, portobello, and chanterelle. If you’re not on a plant-based diet, consider eating more eggs, organic dairy (in moderation) and wild fatty fish for extra vitamin D.

The Bottom Line

New evidence is emerging to suggest that vitamin D plays a critical role in the prevention and survival of breast cancer. And being deficient in vitamin D can greatly worsen the outcome of breast cancer.

Studies have found that it’s possible to reduce the risk of breast cancer through diet and lifestyle factors. And now, the simple step of getting enough vitamin D may reduce the risk of breast cancer even further.

But, as you may have noticed, there aren’t many sources of food-based vitamin D. That’s why food often isn’t enough and supplementing may be the best option. Because getting enough vitamin D should be part of your daily routine year-round due to its life-changing impact.

20 MINUTE BODY

No more worrying about finding time to go to the gym or even finding 30 minutes in your hectic day. With his approach, you’ll sweat, you’ll get excited, and you’ll be amazed at the results you’ll see with just 20 minutes a day. That’s the same time it takes to read one chapter of your favorite book.

20 Minute Body is more than just workouts, but mind over body and finding your fitness from within. Learn more about all the workouts included in the 20 Minute Body.

20MB Trilogy Product Image
  • HIIT: High-Intensity Interval Training workouts are shorter, more challenging, and unleash a host of fat burning hormonal changes from the inside out that allows you to cut your training time in half.
  • Zero to 60: By combining HIIT workouts with Functional Training (FT) and Cardio-Strength Training (CST) exercises, your body can safely progress from zero to 60 without injury or too much muscle soreness which are two of the main reasons why people quit training.
  • The “Afterburn” Effect: The more you push your nervous system in short, timed intervals, the more energy or calories your body has to burn to come back to a normal state of equilibrium and rest. The scientific principle behind this concept is called EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption), which creates an Afterburn effect where your body and metabolism are literally burning more calories for hours after a workout to return to a state of rest.
  • Go Lean, Go Green, Go Clean: Proper nutrition that you actually enjoy and will cook, is more than half the challenge when getting in-shape. The program includes delicious 20 minute recipes and healthy nutrition tips that will help you go lean, green and clean.
  • No Gym Necessary: With either your own bodyweight or minimal equipment, you can do the workouts at home or on the road…no gym, no excuses.
  • Five Moves To Fit: Each workout has an average of five Big-Bang exercises, which use multiple muscles and burn the most amount of calories. These exercises are divided into Strength, Cardio or Core and Brett has also added a little Brazilian flare by adding some moves from the Brazilian martial art/dance capoeira. The moves are easy to learn, fun and sequenced in a specific order to optimize fat loss.

7 Reasons Why You Need More Deep Sleep

Have you ever woken up in the morning feeling completely exhausted even after a full night’s sleep? More often than not, this isn’t because you need more sleep. It’s because you aren’t getting enough deep sleep. But what counts as deep sleep and how much should you get each night?

While you’re sleeping, you cycle through several different stages of sleep. One of these stages is deep sleep. Some scientists also call it slow-wave sleep, or non-REM stage 3 sleep.

The thing is, very few people get enough deep sleep. Technology, modern-day stresses, caffeine, and unhealthy eating patterns all decrease the amount of deep sleep you get and can result in chronic sleep deprivation.

Many wearable devices now track your sleep patterns, showing the amount and type of your sleep. While not fully reliable they can help indicate if you’re reaching the optimal level of 1.5 to 2 hours of deep sleep each night.

Getting enough deep sleep can make a huge difference in your life. Here are 7 of the most important benefits of deep sleep, followed by ways you can improve your chances of more restful sleep.

1. Enhanced Immune Function

All stages of sleep are essential for a properly functioning immune system. When you are sleep deprived, your immune system is weakened (12). This makes you much more likely to get sick.

Scientists are still trying to figure out what each stage of sleep accomplishes for the immune system. So far, they have discovered that deep sleep plays an important role in the formation of immunological memory (3).

In other words, deep sleep helps your immune system develop a “memory” for bacteria and viruses you have been exposed to, which can help ensure you don’t get sick from the same pathogen again.

2. The Brain Cleans Itself of Toxins

Research has found that the brain removes toxins during deep sleep (4). “It’s like a dishwasher,” explains Dr. Maiken Nedergaard, a professor of neurosurgery at the University of Rochester.

During the deep phases of sleep, the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the brain increases. CSF circulates nutrients and removes waste products or toxins from the brain.

Since the blood-brain barrier prevents the passage of most molecules, CSF is a vital component of the brain’s detoxification process because many of the compounds washed away via CSF are toxic to brain cells.

Beta-amyloid plaque, for example, is a sticky compound that accumulates in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. Normally, CSF can help shuttle amyloid plaques out of the brain (5).

Just a single night of sleep deprivation can result in higher levels of beta-amyloid in the brain. Can you imagine what can happen with years of chronic sleep deprivation? Experts believe it may help explain the link between sleep disorders and Alzheimer’s disease (6).

3. Increased Energy Levels

When you are in deep sleep, your body undergoes countless processes to rejuvenate you on a cellular level. As such, deep sleep is often one of the biggest reasons why people either wake up feeling rested or exhausted (7).

Researchers have even found that chronic fatigue syndrome is associated with compromised deep sleep (8). That’s why you can get 8-10 hours of sleep and still feel completely exhausted if you didn’t have enough deep sleep.

4. May Boost Cognitive Function with BDNF

Limited evidence suggests that deep sleep is involved in the production of a compound called brain-derived neurotrophic factor or BDNF (9). Several studies have found that BDNF may:

  • Stimulate the production of new brain cells (10)
  • Enhance learning and memory (11)
  • Aid in the prevention of neurodegenerative disease (12)

Levels of BDNF tend to decline with age. So, deep sleep is even more important as we get older. If you’re under a great deal of stress and eat too many processed foods, that can also negatively impact your BDNF levels (13).

5. Enhances Memory

A bad night’s sleep can have a dramatic effect on your memory the next day, making it difficult to retain and recall key details (14). Research has also found that when you don’t get enough sleep it can impair long-term memory, decision making, and your ability to focus (15).

The connection between memory and sleep is well established. Scientists previously believed memory consolidation (forming and storing memories) happened during REM sleep—the dream stage of sleep (16).

It turns out, deep sleep is just as important for memory consolidation. Studies have found that increases in deep sleep can improve learning, information retention, and task performance (17).

6. Eases a Stressed Mind

Have you ever gone to bed while feeling stressed out? If you were able to get a good night’s sleep in, it’s likely you woke up feeling much better.

According to researchers from the University of California Berkeley, deep sleep reorganizes connections in the brain that result in reduced levels of stress and anxiety (18). Deep sleep provides an overall stabilizing effect on a person’s mood the next day.

On the contrary, they also found that a single restless night can raise anxiety levels by as much as 30%. So, if you ever find yourself stressed out or in an emotional slump, try improving the amount of deep sleep you get.

7. Tissue Repair and Regeneration

A good night’s rest is called beauty sleep for a reason. During deep sleep, levels of growth hormone increase significantly (1920).

Growth hormone is involved in the regeneration of new cells and promotes the breakdown of fat (2122). On top of all that, it also encourages muscle tissue repair and growth.

So, if you’re an athlete or involved in physical activity in any way, getting plenty of deep sleep could help boost your recovery process (23).

How to Fast Track Deep Sleep

There are a variety of simple steps to improve sleep quality. These include reducing your exposure to blue light at night, sticking to a consistent sleep-wake routine, avoiding caffeine in the afternoon, and getting regular exercise. Studies suggest that exercise during the day can significantly increase the amount of deep sleep you get (24).

CBD Oil is also increasingly being looked at as a natural way to support restful sleep (25). To gain the full benefits of CBD Oil for sleep, seek out a broad spectrum oil with at least 25mg of CBD per serving and take it 30 minutes before bedtime.

In addition to easing stress (which negatively impacts sleep), a scientific review of CBD (cannabidiol) found that it reduced the time it takes to fall asleep, prevented disrupted sleep, and improved daytime alertness, all signs that point to beneficial deep sleep (26). With CBD Oil benefits that include calming stress and restoring sleep, you may find yourself waking up in the morning feeling fully refreshed.

5 Mushrooms to Balance the Immune System

Mushrooms are one of the most underestimated foods on the planet. They are nature’s way of recycling, breaking down organic matter into fertile soil. Mushrooms also contain incredibly powerful compounds that can bolster your health and balance your immune system.

These compounds fight inflammation, destroy infectious microbes, slow down aging, and even help regenerate nerve cells.

Most of all, mushrooms are immune powerhouses. They strengthen your immune system when it’s too weak and downregulate it when it’s too active—such as with autoimmune issues.

This is particularly important to realize because our immune system needs more help than ever. The rates of autoimmune disease are at an all-time high and steadily increasing (1).

Modern eating habits and overuse of antibiotics have also damaged our gut. Since close to 80% of immunity is linked to gut health, this makes our immune systems weak.

Mushrooms are one of the best ways to give our immune system a helping hand. But not any mushroom will do the trick. Here are five of the most effective immune-regulating mushrooms known to science.

1. Turkey Tail Mushroom

The turkey tail mushroom is one of the most studied medicinal mushrooms due to its ability to fight disease and bolster your immune system.

This amazing mushroom contains bioactive compounds called beta-glucans. When consumed, beta-glucans can stimulate the immune system by enhancing macrophage and natural killer cell function—two types of cells that play an important role in your immune system (2).

Studies also suggest that beta-glucans can help the immune system slow the growth of tumors and protect your body from the effects of cancer-causing compounds (2). One NIH-funded study in 2011 even showed improved immune response in breast cancer patients (3).

Turkey tail also contains prebiotics which feed the good bacteria in your gut, supporting overall immunity. Since turkey tail is so effective at enhancing the immune system, many people consume it during the cold and flu season.

2. Tremella Mushroom

Tremella mushrooms are rich in vitamin D, dietary fibers, and contain compounds that protect the liver. And most importantly, tremella mushrooms are powerful immune-regulators.

For instance, there’s evidence that tremella mushrooms can help your body fight infection and it has long been used an immune tonic (4).

Tremella is also gaining renown in anti-aging skincare for its ability to draw moisture to itself—in a process similar to hyaluronic acid—plumping up and smoothing out the skin.

3. Maitake Mushroom

Maitake mushrooms are most commonly known as “hen of the woods” by mushroom foraging communities because it resembles the fluffed tail feathers of a nesting hen.

Like turkey tail mushrooms, maitake contains beta-glucans that support macrophage and natural killer cell activity (5). Research also suggests that maitake can support healthy blood sugar.

They’re a rich source of antioxidants, vitamins B & C, and several minerals. Maitake mushrooms are highly sought after for both their delicious flavor and immune-regulating effects.

4. Shiitake Mushroom

Shiitake mushrooms are a common staple of Asian cuisine. They have a meaty, yet versatile flavor.

Animal studies indicate that shiitake mushrooms can fight obesity (6) and support a healthy heart (7). And human studies show it may significantly improve your immune system.

Specifically, the American College of Nutrition found that shiitake mushrooms can improve the efficiency of the immune system, improve gut immunity, and decrease inflammation (8).

And lab tests on human cell lines show shiitake mushrooms can prevent malignant tumor growth. It does this by signaling tumor cells to lyse (burst) in a process called apoptosis (9).

Lastly, shiitake mushrooms may have potent antimicrobial properties, making it an effective natural antibiotic. What makes them even more amazing is that a study showed it only killed disease-causing (pathogenic) microbes, leaving beneficial bacteria unharmed (10). On the contrary, prescription antibiotics kill off both beneficial and bad bacteria in your body.

5. Cordyceps Mushroom

Cordyceps mushrooms are well-known among professional athletes for their ability to improve physical performance and energy levels. But what most people don’t realize is, cordyceps can also benefit your immune system.

According to a publication in the National Center for Biotechnology Information, cordyceps can help improve your body’s innate immunity (11).

Cordyceps is so effective in modulating immunity it has even shown benefits in studies on those with moderate to severe asthma (12).

Evidence also suggests that cordyceps can help autoimmune issues and decrease the number of harmful bacteria in the gut. This is a perfect example of how mushrooms can balance out your immune system.

Opt for Mushroom Extracts for Immunity

While some mushrooms, such as shiitake and maitake, can be easily incorporated into healthy meals, others are less likely to top your plate.

That’s because turkey tail, tremella and cordyceps are fungi not known for their taste, and are not readily found on food shelves so you’ll want to supplement instead.

Above all, make sure mushrooms are certified organic. As nature’s recyclers, mushrooms are masters of absorbing the matter they are grown in, whether good or bad. By choosing certified organic, you’ll gain access to the highest quality mushrooms, free of pesticides and herbicides.

For optimal immune support, supplement with powdered extracts. Since each mushroom can support immunity in different ways, opt for a blend of several varieties for maximum benefit.

Since buying individual extracts or a specific mushroom blend can be pricey, consider choosing a superfood green juice powder that comes with organic mushrooms without any extra cost. With 5 types of organic mushrooms you can bolster your immunity every day.

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Refreshing Antioxidant Smoothie

Refreshing Antioxidant Smoothie

Power up your day with this flavorful, refreshing smoothie. It’s packed full of plant-based antioxidants that rehydrate your body fast. In just minutes you’ll feel refreshed, reenergized and have the superfood nutrition you need to stay strong.

Refreshing Antioxidant Smoothie

½ cup (4 oz.) organic coconut water
½ cup organic apple sauce
½ cup mixed frozen organic berries
1 scoop Super Green Juice

Instructions

Blend everything together until smooth. Enjoy!

The Good Inside

This super smoothie comes with hydrating minerals. Pure coconut water gives you potassium and other natural electrolytes to reenergize the body fast.

Sweet apples combine with tart berries for a refreshing taste that is full of healthy nutrients including quercetin. The antioxidants found in berries (called anthocyanins) have also been shown to support brain health, and protect your cells from daily oxidative stress.

A scoop of tasty Super Green Juice powder provides 44 organic superfoods. Inside are vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes, and probiotics for a nutrient infusion that delivers a near instant lift of energy and vitality.

Fast and flavorful, this refreshing antioxidant smoothie is easy to make and is a natural energizer for morning or night. And all the superfoods inside give a big nutrient boost that helps to keep you healthy.

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Calming an Overactive Immune System

Most reporting done on the immune system has focused on ways to strengthen or stimulate immunity. The hope is if you bolster the immune system you can fight off illnesses better or avoid getting sick altogether. Especially during cold and flu season. The full story on immunity is more complex.

A healthy immune system is a balanced immune system, one that is not too weak and not too strong. In reality, it’s important to regulate immune function, not just strengthen it.

Just like the immune system can become weak—making you susceptible to getting sick—it can swing in the opposite direction and become overstimulated, leading to an attack on your own body. A hyperactive immune system is just as dangerous as a weak immune system, but for different reasons.

Effects of an Overstimulated Immune System

When the immune system becomes overactive, it can start indiscriminately attacking your own healthy cells leading to autoimmune issues (1). An overactive immune system can damage the body and result in a wide range of concerns including…

  • Inflammation
  • Joint pain
  • Fatigue
  • Achy muscles
  • Hair Loss
  • Digestive distress
  • Skin rashes
  • Swollen glands

Calming an Overactive Immune System with CBD

Early evidence suggests that a compound extracted from hemp called CBD (cannabidiol) oil can exert immunomodulatory effects on the immune system. In doing so, CBD may balance the immune system and help prevent it from becoming overactive (23).

CBD is one of many cannabinoids found in the hemp plant, and research shows that cannabinoids have a number of beneficial effects on the body, including in the areas of sleep, stress, joint discomfort and immune health.

While scientists still haven’t entirely figured out the details, they believe that CBD exerts this immune-regulatory effect and other benefits by acting on the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

What is the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)?

The ECS is a relatively recent discovery. It is a complex network of receptors, enzymes, and cannabinoid molecules that help your body maintain homeostasis or a state of balance.

The Endocannabinoid System Balances the Body

In this case, when the immune system becomes overactive, the ECS can help normalize immune function (4). This helps ensure that it does not attack your own cells or cause chronic inflammation.

One animal study, for example, found that the endocannabinoid system helps maintain a balanced immune response in the gut and pancreas (5). It does this by modulating the activity of specific macrophages and T cells in the gut.

How CBD Affects the ECS

CBD has a wide range of direct and indirect effects in the body, including research that shows cannabidiol has significant antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (6).

Current research suggests that CBD inhibits the FAAH enzyme which degrades anandamide—a natural endocannabinoid in the body that stimulates the ECS (7). When the FAAH enzyme is inhibited, less anandamide is broken down. This effectively increases the amount of anandamide circulating in the body. The increased anandamide levels, in turn, then stimulate the ECS.

How Cannabinoids Work in the Body

This means CBD may indirectly stimulate the ECS by increasing the amount of anandamide in the body. Research is ongoing into how cannabinoids work in the body and interact with the endocannabinoid system (8).

Why does the Immune System Get Overstimulated?

Scientists still haven’t uncovered a specific cause for an overactive immune system. In reality, it likely has many different causes. So far the evidence seems to suggest that diet, toxic chemicals, gut health, and genetics are among the most influential factors (910).

Why does this matter? Environmental toxins have saturated the planet and many processed foods contain gut-destroying additives.

As your ECS attempts to regulate the immune system it uses compounds called endocannabinoids as fuel. However, if your immune system is constantly stimulated, the ECS may run out of fuel and lose its capacity to downregulate immune activity. When this happens, scientists call it an endocannabinoid deficiency.

While more research is needed, CBD appears to be a promising compound for the immune system by stimulating the body’s own balancing system, the endocannabinoid system.

More Ways to Bring Balance to the Immune System

Beyond taking a quality CBD Oil, research suggests that there are other strategies that can help keep the immune system in good working order. Here are more ways to keep your immune system balanced and healthy:

The Bottom Line

With an abundance of environmental toxins, poor nutrition, and genetic influences, the immune system can become overactive and attack the body’s own healthy cells.

As such, regulating immune function is more important than ever. Early evidence suggests that CBD Oil may be a helpful strategy to prevent the immune system from becoming hyperactive.

For a healthy and robust immune system, CBD Oil shouldn’t be your only strategy. A balanced and strong immune system is achieved with a healthy lifestyle that includes good sleep, stress management, daily detoxification, vitamin D, and making sure you eat plenty of nutrient-rich fruits and veggies. The immune system impacts every part of the body, and needs a whole-body approach to keep it in good shape.

7 Superfoods that Support Healthy Joints

Natural Remedies for Health Joints and Joint Discomfort

Having painful, stiff, or swollen joints is a huge burden in life. It prevents you from doing the things you love the most. Whether it’s hiking, arts & crafts, or working on your next DIY project to improve the house. Seeking relief, many people will talk to their doctor.

He or she may recommend strategies like physical therapy, exercise, and a daily regimen of anti-inflammatory drugs. What most people don’t realize, however, is there’s something else you can do to support joint health.

It involves eating specific superfoods that can fight inflammation, reduce pain, and even reduce joint swelling. Here are the 7 best superfoods to relieve your overworked and achy joints.

1. Ginger Root

If you’re already experiencing joint discomfort, eating ginger can offer much needed relief. Ginger is known for helping the body to manage inflammation and control pain.

In fact, one study discovered that people with osteoarthritis experienced a 30% reduction of pain simply by consuming ginger on a regular basis (1).

Several scientific reports also strongly support that gingerols found in ginger are potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds, helping to support and maintain joint health (2).

2. Turmeric Root

Turmeric contains a powerful compound called curcumin. It’s the key component responsible for many of turmeric’s incredible benefits.

Curcumin actually inhibits inflammation at the molecular level, by interrupting NF-kB (nuclear factor kappa beta), a protein that turns on inflammation in cells. The journal Oncogene published a study in 2004 showing curcumin even matched the effectiveness of some well-known anti-inflammatory drugs, without any negative side effects (3).

Because turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory, it provides relief for achy and stiff joints. Another pilot study on rheumatoid arthritis patients showed curcumin performed better than an anti-inflammatory drug (4).

To maximize joint relief, take ginger root and turmeric root together, either in a tasty smoothie, or in a supplement formulated for joint support.

3. Tart Cherry Juice & Cherries

Researchers have found that tart cherry juice and cherries are one of the best foods out there to support healthy joints.

One study, for example, found that drinking cherry juice twice a day for 21 days reduced joint pain and inflammation caused by osteoarthritis (5). Cherries support joints in another way as well.

Scientists have discovered that consuming cherries can help reduce uric acid in the body (6). This is important because when uric acid builds up in the joints, it causes considerable pain, and can lead to gout, a type of arthritis (7).

4. Seeds Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are beneficial for your heart, brain, skin and more. These healthy fats work by helping to reduce inflammation, and research shows them to be effective for joint pain (8).

What makes these healthy fats so essential is that your body can’t make them, so you have to seek out food sources. The essential fatty acids to look for are alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3) and linoleic acid (omega-6).

Seeds are some of the best sources of joint-soothing omega-3 and omega-6. These include hemp seeds and hemp seed oilflax seedsborage seed oilchia seeds and pumpkin seeds.

5. Cannabidiol (CBD) Oil

While hemp seeds are rich in two essential fatty acids: omega-6 and omega-3, other parts of the hemp plant also have special beneficial compounds.

Hemp is now cultivated for its cannabinoids, and in particular cannabidiol (CBD), which is extracted into an oil that has remarkable health benefits.

Research shows that cannabinoids target temporary inflammation by working with the body’s endocannabinoid system, thereby helping to relieve discomfort and promote healthy joints (9).

For maximum relief, consider a CBD oil combined with hemp seed oil to get both cannabinoids and essential fatty acids. And for targeted relief, apply a topical hemp balm to any trouble spots.

6. Cruciferous Vegetables

If you’re looking to preserve the health of your joints, then cruciferous veggies are a must. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower contain an amazing compound called sulforaphane.

Among its many benefits, sulforaphane protects the health of your joints. One study specifically found that the sulforaphane in broccoli can help prevent the degradation of cartilage (10).

Why does this matter? Well, your joints are primarily made up of cartilage. This cartilage can break down over time, eventually causing the bones to scrape against one another resulting in joint pain, stiffness, and discomfort.

7. Pineapple

The juice and core of pineapples contain bromelain, which is a proteolytic enzyme that helps to break down excess proteins in the body.

Over the years, studies have suggested that bromelain provides an impressive range of health benefits including its ability to reduce allergy symptoms (11) and prevent muscle soreness after exercise (12).

But what makes bromelain really shine is its effect on the joints. Evidence suggests that bromelain may relieve osteoarthritis, ease joint pain, reduce swelling, and alleviate inflammation (13).

If you want to take full advantage of these benefits, consider taking a supplement that contains bromelain. That’s because bromelain works best as a proteolytic enzyme when taken in-between meals. Supplements also deliver a high potency amount of bromelain for optimal benefit.

Whether you’re experiencing joint discomfort from wear and tear, an old injury or strenuous exercise, these superfoods have beneficial compounds that can help restore and protect the health of your joints. Consider adding or supplementing these foods for the next several months to start seeing more spring in your step.