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.

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  • 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.

The Endocannabinoid System Explained

Cannabinoids and the Endocannabinoid System

Your body has a variety of systems in place to keep it running. The cardiovascular system pumps oxygen and other nutrients to your tissues. Your respiratory system brings air into and out of your lungs. Your digestive system helps you break down food and utilize their precious nutrients. Each system plays a critical role in keeping you healthy.

But did you know your body also has an endocannabinoid system?

Even though most people are unaware of this system, it has a huge impact on your mental and physical health. In fact, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is regarded as “the most important physiologic system involved in establishing and maintaining human health” (1).

Bold statement, but it’s true. This is partly why hemp oil supplements with CBD have become so popular—because evidence suggests they support the endocannabinoid system (2).

Once you learn about how the ECS works and how it affects your body, taking cannabinoid-rich hemp oil becomes a no-brainer.

How CBD Oil Works with the Endocannabinoid System

What is The Endocannabinoid System?

The endocannabinoid system is a complex network of receptors, receptor molecules, and enzymes. Components of the ECS can be found throughout your entire body. This includes your immune system, brain, gut, and central nervous system.

Parts of the Endocannabinoid System: The endocannabinoid system consists of three primary components:

  1. Cannabinoid receptors: Structures found on the surface of cells. When activated, they stimulate the ECS.
  2. Cannabinoids: Molecules that specifically bind to and activate cannabinoid receptors.
  3. Enzymes: Breaks down cannabinoids once they’re no longer needed.

Cannabinoid Receptors

Cannabinoid receptors can be found all throughout your body. They are embedded in the membranes, or surface, of your cells. Receptors are like the ignition of a car. If you have the key that fits, you can start the car and drive. In this case, when a cannabinoid comes along (the key), it binds to the cannabinoid receptors and stimulates the ECS (i.e., starting the car).

Endocannabinoid Receptors in the Body

The two primary cannabinoid receptors are CB1 and CB2. There are other cannabinoid receptors, but these two are the most well-studied. CB1 receptors are primarily found in the central nervous system which includes your brain and spinal cord (3). As such, the CB1 receptor is thought to regulate anxiety, stress, learning, memory, and your overall mood (4).

CB2 receptors are predominantly found in cells that are part of the immune system. Which means they primarily affect immune system homeostasis. But they have other roles as well.

Cannabinoids

Cannabinoids are the molecules that “turn on” the endocannabinoid system by binding to cannabinoid receptors. There are two primary types of cannabinoids that control the ECS: endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids.

How Cannabinoids Work in the Body

Endocannabinoids

Endocannabinoids are molecules naturally produced by your body. Specifically, your cells produce them on an as-needed basis. The two most prominent cannabinoids are anandamide and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG). Both of which have a long list of scientifically supported benefits (5). 

Anandamide

Anandamide is a neurotransmitter that’s produced in the brain. Due to its effects on the body, anandamide has earned itself the nickname, “bliss molecule.” That’s because elevated levels of anandamide are often associated with feelings of happiness and well-being. Anandamide is also shown to encourage the growth of new brain cells (6).

2-Arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG)

2-Arachidonoyl glycerol, or 2-AG, binds to the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system. Scientists believe that 2-AG specifically plays a large role in suppressing inflammation by modulating the body’s immune response (7).

Phytocannabinoids

Unlike endocannabinoids, phytocannabinoids are not produced in the body. Instead, they are found in cannabis and hemp. Because they stimulate the endocannabinoid system in a similar way to endocannabinoids, hemp oil supplements have become incredibly popular.

Furthermore, evidence suggests that phytocannabinoids exert a wide range of beneficial effects. Studies indicate that cannabinoids may:

  1. Fight temporary inflammation (8)
  2. Ease the effects of stress (9)
  3. Calm joint discomfort
  4. Support restful sleep (10)
  5. Promote heart health (11)
  6. Act as an antioxidant (12)
  7. Support exercise recovery (13)

They are truly impressive molecules to say the least.

The most common phytocannabinoids include THC, the famous CBD (cannabidiol), cannabichromene, and cannabigerol. While endocannabinoids may provide similar benefits, phytocannabinoids are helpful if your body doesn’t produce enough endocannabinoids on its own.

Enzymes

Enzymes are tiny structures that break down substances in the body. They are an essential part of countless biochemical reactions in the body. For the ECS, enzymes disassemble cannabinoids when they’re no longer needed. This ensures that the ECS isn’t “overstimulated.”

Enzymes that Break Down Cannabinoids in the Body

While there are several enzymes involved with the ECS, the two most important ones are FAAH and MAGL. FAAH, or fatty acid amide hydrolase breaks down anandamide. MAGL, or monoacylglycerol lipase, deconstructs 2-AG (14).

With this in mind, the ECS can have a greater effect if these enzymes are temporarily shut down. This is the case with phytocannabinoids like CBD. Scientists believe CBD inhibits the FAAH enzyme which causes the ECS to act with a greater balancing force (15).

The Role of The Endocannabinoid System

Because the ECS is such a vast system, it affects countless systems in the body. It’s like the big boss that controls all of the other systems in your body. The master system, so to speak.

The endocannabinoid system has to be vast in order to carry out its primary role: maintaining homeostasis.

The Endocannabinoid System Balances the Body

The ECS and Homeostasis

Homeostasis is the continuous process of achieving a state of balance. Think of yin and yang or a set of scales. Homeostasis is all about finding that perfect sweet spot so your body can function in an optimal state.

Maintaining homeostasis, or balance, is key to living a healthy life.

  • If your blood pressure is too high, it can lead to heart problems. But if it’s too low, your blood won’t circulate as it should.
  • If your skin produces too much oil, you might get acne. When it doesn’t produce enough, it can get dry.
  • If your immune system is too weak you will get sick. But if it’s too overactive, it may result in autoimmune disease.

The point is, maintaining homeostasis is incredibly important. And the ECS is the invisible hand that controls homeostasis. To drive the point even further, here are some examples of how the endocannabinoid system helps the body stay in a balanced state.

Example 1: The ECS and Your Brain

Your brain has about 100 billion neurons (16). These neurons control basic functions with chemicals called neurotransmitters. This includes functions like talking, moving, breathing, and learning.

Much like any system in the body, your neurons perform best when they are in the homeostatic sweet spot. When the balance of neurotransmitters goes haywire, things can easily go wrong.

For example, an excess of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine can result in chronic stress or anxiety (17). Low levels of norepinephrine, on the other hand, can result in extreme fatigue, a lack of concentration, and a poor mood (18). This is where the endocannabinoid system comes into play.

According to Dr. Ethan Russo, neurologist and medical scientist, the endocannabinoid system regulates “neurotransmitter function … if there’s too much of one kind of neurotransmitter it will bring it down, if there’s too little it will bring it up.” (19)

Example 2: The ECS and Inflammation

Inflammation is your body’s natural response to infection or physical injury. In low amounts, it’s beneficial for healing damaged tissue and fighting dangerous microbes that cause illness or disease. Once the infection is eliminated or the injury is healed, the inflammation goes away. Your body then can return to a healthy, balanced state.

But things don’t always go as planned. Sometimes inflammation can persist well after it’s needed. When this happens, it’s called chronic inflammation. Over time, it can wreak havoc on your body (20).

Too much inflammation is harmful, whereas too little will leave your body vulnerable to germs. Much like your brain, evidence suggests the endocannabinoid system helps to control inflammation homeostasis. Or more specifically, the balance of your immune system.

Scientists have found that endocannabinoids regulate the immune system by limiting the immune response (21). It regulates the immune system by signaling the apoptosis of activated immune cells while simultaneously suppressing proinflammatory cells like cytokines and chemokines (22).

Simply put, the ECS may combat chronic inflammation by preventing the immune system from becoming overactive. When the immune system is no longer needed in a given area, cells produce endocannabinoids which tell the immune system to back off.

Example 3: The ECS and Stress

Imagine homeostasis as a pendulum, depicted at the beginning of this guide. When it swings to the right, you’re stressed. When it swings to the left, you are completely chill.

Maintaining a balance between these two ends of the pendulum is essential. If you’re constantly stressed, it can send your body haywire. On the flip side, if you’re content to stay in your comfort zone, you won’t accomplish much in life. A small amount of stress is actually beneficial.

Evidence suggests that the endocannabinoid system encourages stress homeostasis by playing a role in stress adaptation (23). Adaptogenic herbs like rhodiola rosea work in a similar fashion.

Simply put, the ECS helps you become more resilient to the effects of stress. That way you can quickly return to a state of balance after a stressful event. Researchers have even found that when the ECS is weak, chronic stress will likely follow suit (24).

Endocannabinoid Deficiency

So, you now know how the endocannabinoid system plays a role in homeostasis, which in turn has a massive impact on your well-being. But what happens when your endocannabinoid system doesn’t work as it should?

Over the past several years, scientists have discovered that the endocannabinoid system can be in a weakened state. When this happens, they call it an endocannabinoid deficiency.

When your body can’t maintain homeostasis due to an endocannabinoid deficiency, it can result in a long list of health issues from headaches, to muscle discomfort, to digestive problems (25). This supports the idea that maintaining homeostasis is absolutely essential for a healthy mind and body.

How Does CBD and Hemp Oil Tie into All This?

Hemp oil is an extract of hemp that contains phytocannabinoids like CBD and cannabichromene. Most companies use specific strains of hemp that are rich in CBD to create their oil.

Hemp oil products have become increasingly popular because of their proposed benefits, supplementing the endocannabinoid system with phytocannabinoids (26). While most phytocannabinoids are thought to have beneficial effects, CBD has gained the most attention.

According to the latest research, CBD inhibits the FAAH enzyme, which deconstructs anandamide (15).  As a result, taking CBD may increase the amount of anandamide in the body, which can stimulate the ECS. This may explain why hemp oil has such a wide range of benefits.

The Bottom Line

The endocannabinoid system, or ECS, is a complex network of cannabinoids, receptors, and metabolic enzymes. Its primary role is to help the body and mind maintain homeostasis. In doing so, it keeps countless systems in balance. That way, nothing becomes underactive or overactive. It’s an absolutely essential process for maintaining optimal health.

The problem is, the endocannabinoid system can become weak. When this happens, scientists have predicted that it may result in the development of health problems. This is why phytocannabinoid-rich supplements like hemp oil have become popular, and are projected to become increasingly in demand. The phytocannabinoids affect the ECS, which could result in a wide range of effects due to how the ECS interacts with the body.

Researchers are still trying to fully understand the ECS, how it works, and how cannabinoids affect the body. While phytocannabinoids show promise for their therapeutic effects, this does not mean they are a magic bullet that will cure anything. That being said, hemp oil still remains as an excellent choice for supporting your general health.


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Best Home Workout to Burn Fat and Get Lean

With stay-at-home orders and social distancing in place, the number of people doing home workouts has soared. The good news is that you don’t need to access a full gym to be able to get a great workout. There are a number of exercises that can be done right at home that will help you get lean, burn fat and support your health.

It’s well established that working out can improve your mood, slow down aging, decrease your risk of many diseases, and support a healthy immune system. But while any form of exercise has benefits, not every type is best for burning fat.

If you want the most results for your effort, research suggests that HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, is the one to turn to for burning fat and getting lean. Plus, you can easily do it at home, with minimal to no equipment.

What is HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training?

High-intensity interval training is a workout that involves intense short bursts of exercise followed by brief rest or intervals of low-intensity exercise. Notice the emphasis on intense. To make up for the intensity, the sets are usually short—between 20 to 90 seconds.

HIIT sessions can last anywhere from 10-30 minutes. This short duration is ideal for people with busy schedules because it provides more benefits than moderate exercise in less than half the time!

Courtesy of HomeGym101.com

What Does a HIIT Routine Look Like?

HIIT is one of the most effective training methods to sculpt your body. An example of a 20-minute HIIT routine (courtesy of HomeGym101.com) would consist of rounds of 4 minutes, with 40 seconds on the exercise and 20 seconds of rest before the next move:

  • Squats (aim for a 90-degree angle with thighs parallel to the ground)
  • Jumping Lunges (or standing lunges if jumping is hard on your knees)
  • Burpees (standing to plank position then jump or step back to standing)
  • Plank (elbow plank to ease pressure on your wrists)
  • Repeat the above round 5 times

More advanced routines include a variety of exercises including weighted squats, deadlifts, box jumps, sprints, dips, push-ups and pull-ups.

5 Key Benefits of HIIT for Home Workouts

The magic of HIIT lies in the short intervals of intense exercise. This specific type of exercise triggers a surge of reactions in the body that make it ideal for getting lean. Research shows that HIIT can specifically…

1. Burn More Calories

When you burn more calories than you consume in a day, your body begins to use fat as energy. Over time, this can result in a lower body fat percentage. Research suggests that HIIT burns 20-30% more calories compared to moderate forms of exercise (1). This alone is a reason to give HIIT a try.

2. Encourage Lipolysis (Fat Burning)

What makes HIIT so effective is that it encourages your body to burn fat (lipolysis) through multiple mechanisms. Under normal circumstances, your body prefers to use glucose (sugar) as an energy source. But HIIT encourages your body to use fat as an energy source instead.

One of the reasons why this happens is because HIIT causes your body to release a cocktail of compounds including catecholamines and human growth hormone (23). The result is that HIIT has been found to significantly reduce body fat compared to moderate exercise (4).

3. Regulate Blood Sugar Levels

Blood sugar control plays a huge role in weight management. When your blood sugar levels are chronically high, it signals your pancreas to produce more insulin. This constant stimulation of insulin can cause your body to store the extra sugar in your blood as fat (5).

This is why managing your blood sugar levels is important if you want a lean body. A big part of that is moderating your intake of sugar and refined carbs. But research also suggests that HIIT can both reduce blood sugar levels and improve insulin resistance more than regular exercise (6).

4. Increase Muscle Tone

When you want to get a lean and trimmed body, losing fat shouldn’t be the only goal. In addition to fat loss, you should also look to improve your muscle tone. Two people can have the same body fat percentage, but if one is more toned, that person will look leaner.

This is another reason why HIIT is so effective. It’s a hybrid of cardiovascular exercise and weight training that work better together. The intense cardio aspect helps you burn more fat, whereas the weight training tones your muscles (78).

5. Perfectly Suited for Home Workouts

Best of all, this type of training doesn’t take long, just 20-30 minutes a session, you can fit it in even on a busy schedule. Most of the exercises use minimal to no gym equipment so they can be done anytime and anywhere. This makes HIIT the ideal home workout.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to burning fat and getting a lean body, most people resort to cardio—lots of it. The problem is, cardio will only get you mediocre results. If you’re okay with that, then keep going. It’s still really healthy. But if you want to skyrocket your progress, evidence suggests that HIIT is the absolute best option to get lean, burn more fat and tone muscles.

HIIT can be a fantastic tool for your fitness goals and takes considerably less time than standard workouts. But don’t overdo it. Aim to work your way up to 2-3 times per week. Since HIIT is so intense, your body requires a longer period of time to recover. You can also support exercise recovery and muscle health by making sure you get enough lean protein in your diet or by supplementing with an organic plant-based protein. Then balance HIIT with rest days or other exercise so you can experience the greatest benefit.

Matcha Vanilla Protein Smoothie

Matcha Protein Smoothie

Slightly sweet with notes of Matcha green tea and aromatic vanilla bean, this fast and flavorful smoothie comes with 18g of plant protein and powerful antioxidants to fuel energy and recovery. It’s organic, vegan, gluten-free and delicious.

Matcha Vanilla Protein Smoothie

1 cup (8 oz.) unsweetened organic vanilla almond milk
½ cup frozen banana slices (about half a banana)
1 tsp. organic matcha green tea powder
2 scoops Organic Super Protein

Instructions

Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy. Enjoy!

The Good Inside

The antioxidants in Matcha green tea are good for your heart and brain with studies showing that tea is protective against cognitive decline.

Not only do these antioxidants help speed recovery after a workout, EGCG in green tea gives your metabolism a boost too, for natural energy (1).

Organic Super Protein provides 18g of plant protein sourced from organic superfoods including pea, hemp and gluten-free ancient grains.

These proteins combine with energizing MCTs from organic coconut to help satisfy cravings and optimize metabolism. Organic omegas round out the blend, supporting heart health.

Easy to make and a delight to drink, this tasty protein smoothie satisfies your sweet tooth and nutrient needs all in one. Whether you have a tough workday or a tough workout, turn to this tasty shake to power through.

Recipe by Jen Hulett. Touchstone Essentials’ Chief Creative Officer takes her creativity into the kitchen to create tasty recipes full of goodness.

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The Participation Marketplace®

rNetwork is a next-generation Participation Marketplace platform powered by proprietary software and Payment Engine technology. We are uniquely positioned to disrupt the advertising and online marketplaces for products and services in 2020 and beyond.

rNetwork’s participation marketplace is a buying collective made up of thousands of tiny individual networks consisting of Charter Members and FANNs.

The bigger the network grows, the better the savings, discounts and earnings are for the Company and for the Charter Members who participate.

For the first time rNetwork is giving the profits and savings back to the individual and creating a participation marketplace where everyone wins.

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Your donation will benefit and reward our true heroes.

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Donate Today…any amount will help!

Watermelon Lime CBD Spritzer

Take the heat out of summer with a delightful seasonal refresher. Hydrating watermelon hits your sweet spot, while fresh lime cuts through with citrus zing, finishing with minty notes of full spectrum CBD oil. Together it makes this spritzer a fast way to shed any stress so you can savor the best of summer.

Watermelon Lime CBD Spritzer

  • 2 cups seedless watermelon
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1 mL (one dropperful) Calm Advanced+ CBD Oil
  • ½ cup sparkling water

Instructions

Roughly chop two cups of seedless watermelon. Blend with the juice of one lime. Add a dropper of full spectrum CBD oil.

Pour over ice, top with sparkling water and stir well for an effervescent, limey refresher. Garnish with fresh lime slices and enjoy!

The Good Inside

True to its name, watermelon is about 92 percent water! That makes it a delicious way to stay hydrated during hot summer months. And its sweet taste comes with the goodness of the antioxidant lycopene. Your immune system also gets support with vitamin C from limes.

CBD (cannabidiol) is a cannabinoid in the hemp plant. Research suggests it has a long list of health benefits for body and mind. Calm Advanced+ CBD Oil features cannabinoid-rich, organically-grown hemp with a refreshing organic peppermint taste.

Mix up a batch of this healthy spritzer to stay hydrated while enjoying long summer days. Not only will it keep you cool, but the splash of CBD will also help you to chill, bringing health and happiness to summer.


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Strawberry Mojito CBD Mocktail

Strawberry Mojito Mocktail

Revive your senses and instill a sense of calm and relaxation with this CBD mocktail inspired by the classic mojito. Slightly tart berries blend perfectly with the minty notes of premium CBD oil and fresh herbs. In just minutes, you’ll feel stresses melt away and be ready for whatever comes your way.

Strawberry Mojito CBD Mocktail

2-3 roughly chopped organic strawberries
3-4 loosely torn fresh mint leaves
½ tablespoon organic raw honey
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 mL (one dropperful) Calm Premium CBD Oil
½ cup ginger beer (or your favorite fizzy mixer)

Instructions

Add strawberries, mint, honey, lime and CBD oil to a glass and muddle well. Add ice, top off with low-sugar ginger beer and stir well for an effervescent, calming mocktail. Garnish with fresh mint and strawberries. Enjoy!

The Good Inside

CBD (cannabidiol) is a cannabinoid found in the hemp plant. Research suggests it has a long list of health benefits for body and mind. Calm Premium CBD Oil features cannabinoid-rich, organically-grown hemp and is specially formulated to have zero THC, with a refreshing organic peppermint taste.

Strawberries give a boost of vitamin C for the immune system, while raw honey has enzymes, vitamins, and minerals that bolster natural immunity. The digestive system also gets support from antioxidant-rich mint leaves and natural ginger helps to settle and soothe the stomach.

Mix up a tall glass of calm for every occasion with this refreshing healthy mocktail. A splash of CBD makes this mocktail the perfect way to unwind. Soothe away everyday stress with the minty goodness of broad spectrum CBD oil and feel your best.

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7 Ways Heavy Metals Damage Your Brain

How Heavy Metals Affect the Brain

Every time you breathe, eat, drink, and touch certain materials, you are exposed to tiny amounts of toxic heavy metals. One day of exposure certainly won’t cause harm. But these heavy metals can accumulate in your body over time and cause substantial damage to your health.

Chronic heavy metal exposure can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, cause organ toxicity, and promote inflammation. But what most people don’t know is that exposure to heavy metals can have a huge impact on your brain as well—on everything from your mood to memory.

1. Heavy Metals are Neurotoxins

Many heavy metals are what scientists called neurotoxins. This means when they get into your body, they kill nerve and brain cells. The blood-brain barrier normally prevents dangerous compounds from getting to your brain, but heavy metals such as mercury can break through this protective wall.

Once mercury gets into the brain, it causes oxidative stress and inflammation which ultimately can kill off healthy brain cells (1). Scientists have also found that several other heavy metals can kill off brain cells, including lead, cadmium and arsenic (2).

2. Impacts Poor Memory

Your memory affects nearly every aspect of your life. It helps you remember important dates, key information related to your job, precious memories, and it’s essential for learning new skills.

This is one of the many reasons why it is important to detoxify heavy metals from your body. Several studies have found that exposure to heavy metals can damage your memory.

Adults who are exposed to lead are shown to have significantly lower learning and memory scores (3). Chronic exposure to lead also appears to result in a progressive decline in memory (4). Arsenic exposure is also linked to deficits in verbal intelligence and long-term memory (5).

3. Increased Mood Disorders

Have you ever noticed how much your mood impacts your day-to-day life? When you’re in a great mood, you tend to be more productive, have healthy social interactions, and have more energy. But when you’re feeling down, the exact opposite can happen.

While external events often drive your mood, researchers have found that heavy metals can have a surprising impact on how you feel.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, mercury exposure can cause mood swings, irritability, nervousness, and excessive shyness (6). Scientists have also discovered that higher levels of lead or cadmium in the blood are associated with depression and anxiety (78).

4. Decreased IQ & Intelligence

IQ ratings are the hallmark of cognitive intelligence. Experts agree that you can improve your IQ if you nourish your brain through learning new skills, and getting proper nutrition.

But IQ is not a one-way street. Your IQ can also decrease over time. One way your IQ can be negatively impacted is through chronic heavy metal exposure, especially during childhood.

One study in China, for example, found that children who had higher levels of heavy metals in their blood had significantly lower IQ scores compared to children with fewer heavy metals in their system (9). Other studies clearly show the negative impact of lead exposure on intelligence (3).

5. Compromised Executive Function

Executive function is a term used by scientists to describe several important cognitive functions in the brain. If your executive function is weak, you likely have a hard time paying attention, organizing, controlling your emotions, and resisting distractions.

There are several tactics you can use to strengthen your executive function, with meditation as one of the best methods (10). Another effective strategy is to avoid things that weaken executive function, such as heavy metals. Research has revealed that even low levels of arsenic or lead exposure can compromise your executive function (11, 3).

6. Sloppy Fine Motor Skills

Your brain and nervous system control fine motor skills. This includes skills that require dexterity like writing, playing musical instruments, texting on a smartphone, or even simple things like turning the pages in a book.

Since heavy metals are known to kill off healthy nerve cells, it makes sense that heavy metals can negatively impact your fine motor skills. Research shows that with mercury exposure, adults typically experience muscle weakness and a loss of overall coordination (12).

But when children are exposed to mercury, it becomes much more problematic. Multiple studies have shown that children and unborn babies can experience developmental delays in fine motor skills when they are exposed to mercury (13).

7. Deteriorates the Brain

Mild cognitive decline is a process that typically happens as a result of normal aging. It is most often characterized by decreased memory, language skills, and an impaired ability to think.

Cognitive decline can become much more severe if your brain is chronically inflamed and under constant oxidative stress as it is with heavy metal exposure. When this happens, the symptoms of cognitive decline are magnified, and the brain eventually stops working as it should.

One study suggests that aluminum-contaminated drinking water can intensify cognitive decline and lay the foundation for brain diseases like dementia (14). Another study found that long-term lead exposure is associated with cognitive decline in the elderly (15).

Heavy Metals Can Damage The Brain

How to Protect Your Brain from Heavy Metals

Now that you know how heavy metals can damage your brain, it’s only natural that you want to avoid this fate. To protect your brain from heavy metals, become aware of the different ways you are exposed to heavy metals.

In addition to avoiding heavy metal exposure, it’s just as important to detoxify heavy metals from the body. Heavy metals remain in your body for exceptionally long periods of time. Cadmium, for instance, stays in your kidneys for up to 38 years (16). 

This is why it’s important to detoxify on a regular, even daily basis. That way you can remove accumulated heavy metals from your body so they can no longer cause you harm.  

While some foods support detoxification, the best way to target accumulated heavy metals is with the natural mineral zeolite. The zeolite Clinoptilolite is renowned for its ability to selectively bind to toxic heavy metals as it quickly passes through the body. This can provide a simple, effective way to take out toxins on a cellular level, so you can stay sharp in the years ahead.

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5 Tips for Living Life Filled with Purpose

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Everyone wants to live a purposeful life. One that doesn’t feel like you’re lost at sea, drifting aimlessly. Having a strong sense of purpose gives your life direction. It gives you confidence, happiness, success, and helps you feel fulfilled.

Chances are, you’ve already caught glimpses of what living with purpose feels like. This tends to happen when your passion is allowed to shine. It’s that electrifying feeling when your passion is freely applied to yourself or the world.

For some doctors, this may be helping people heal. For an entrepreneur, it may be having their product make a difference in the world. Or for parents, it may be nurturing their child and seeing them thrive.

Whatever gives you that gut feeling of fulfillment is going to give you a sense of purpose. The challenge is knowing how to cultivate that sense of purpose so it doesn’t get drowned by busy everyday life. Here are 5 top tips for keeping that sense of purpose alive and strong.

1. Dream Big (Really Big)

Do you ever doubt your ability to accomplish a dream or goal because it’s viewed as too ambitious? If you want to live a purposeful life, follow your dreams with conviction, no matter how grand they may be.

More often than not, the big dreams or goals that you come up with are strongly aligned with your passions. It doesn’t matter if you’re not able to accomplish these goals in the short term. The pursuit of these dreams can set you on a path to a life with purpose.

Dreaming of traveling around Italy? It might take time to save up for a once-in-a-lifetime vacation. But in the short term, you can take an Italian cooking class, or start Italian lessons on the weekends to bring yourself closer to your passion and have a greater sense of purpose.

2. Don’t Let Fear Dictate Your Life

Fear is the ultimate suppressant of life. It holds you hostage, keeping you away from progress and self-improvement. This is why living a life with purpose is impossible with fear in the equation.

So, if your dream is to open your own business, you might drag your feet because you’re afraid of failure and the unknown. These things can be intimidating, there’s no denying that.

But this is your life. You only have one. Don’t risk the regret of looking back on your life wondering what it would be like if you had pursued your dream. In most cases, the fear itself is much bigger than any challenges you will face.

No matter what your dreams or passions are, the same principle holds true. Fear can keep you from living a life of purpose. To overcome it, start with small steps towards your goals to build your self-confidence.

3. Live in the Moment

“What day is it?”, asked Pooh.

“It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.

“My favorite day,” said Pooh.

While Winnie-the-Pooh was written for children, there’s a surprising amount of wisdom in his approach to life.

He doesn’t focus on worries of the future or the regrets of the past. He simply enjoys the moment as it is. This quote from Pooh perfectly captures the essence of what it means to live in the moment with contentment.

When your life is controlled by thoughts attached to past events and future outcomes, it’s difficult to find a sense of purpose. Your mind will be too preoccupied with regret, worry and other negative emotions.

This is the opposite of living in the moment—the opposite of Pooh. But if you can live in the moment, it will bring more happiness, focus, and productivity into your life. The building blocks of life are filled with purpose.

Read MoreThe Benefits of Taking Short Breaks from Technology

4. Keep a Journal or Vision Board

People often have a hard time picturing what a life of purpose would involve. That is to say, what kind of journey would provide the greatest sense of fulfillment? It’s completely normal to be unsure.

But if you don’t have a general idea of your destination, how do you know where to begin? This is where journaling comes into play. Journaling is a great way to dive deep into the workings of your mind and distill what fuels your sense of purpose.

Try committing to a strict journaling routine. Every morning or night, write down three things you’re grateful for and then write a page on where you want your life to go. Explore what path would provide you with the greatest sense of purpose. Get into the details.

5. Let Go of Negative Emotions

How often has worrying, anger, or any other surge of emotions gotten in the way of your life? More often than you would like to admit, right? When you’re faced with a stressful situation, emotions often take over.

The cost of not being in control of your own emotions is high. For instance, let’s say you were waiting for test results on whether you had a Thyroid issue. You worried the whole day over the results, forgetting important details about a client presentation, and end up losing the account. At the end of the day, your phone rings and you find out that the test results are negative after all.

When you aren’t in control of your emotions, it can quickly derail you. That’s why it’s important to practice living your life free from the control of negative emotions. The next time you become worried over something, stop for a second and question the worry.

“Does it serve a purpose?” No. “Will this worry negatively affect my life?” Possibly. Then focus on the moment and breathe through any negative emotions that surface. With practice, you will become a master of your own emotions rather than them controlling you.

Living a life full of purpose can bring joy, fulfillment and focus. But it takes a commitment to finding what matters to you, and being prepared to pursue your passion.

To have an easier time finding purpose in your life, dream big, break free from fear, live in the moment, keep a journal, and let go of negative emotions. In doing so, you can easily bring more happiness, focus, and a greater sense of fulfillment into your life.

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Blueberries Help Lower Blood Pressure

Blueberries for lower bloodpressure

According to the World Health Organization, 40% of the world’s population is estimated to have high blood pressure or hypertension (1). This is a huge problem affecting both men and women since high blood pressure can significantly increase your chance of developing cardiovascular disease or having a stroke.

There are many dietary and lifestyle factors that can help you achieve a healthy blood pressure. You can exercise every day, avoid processed foods, take steps to reduce inflammation, and eat plenty of greens.

But new research suggests there is yet another way to easily and effectively manage blood pressure. And this method also happens to taste great.

Eating Blueberries Daily Could Lower Blood Pressure

A study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics revealed that regular consumption of blueberries is a powerful tactic to lower your blood pressure (2).

For the study, 48 women with hypertension (high blood pressure) from Florida were recruited. The women were then split into two groups.

Scientists instructed one group to consume 22 grams of blueberry powder (equal to about one cup of fresh blueberries) daily. The second group received 22 grams of a placebo (plain) powder.

At the end of the eight-week study, the women who consumed the blueberry powder experienced a significant decline in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure while the placebo group had no reduction in blood pressure.

Researchers also noted that the blueberry group had increased nitric oxide levels—a beneficial compound that allows your blood vessels to stay flexible and relax.

Another more recent study published in 2019 echoed these findings (3).

Researchers from King’s College London gave 40 healthy volunteers a drink containing 200g of blueberries or a placebo drink. Then they were instructed to drink the beverages once a day for one month. At the end of the study, the researchers discovered that the blueberry drink…

  • Improved blood vessel function two hours after consumption.
  • Reduced blood pressure by around 5mmHg, which is equivalent to the effects of many blood pressure lowering medications.
  • Improved endothelial function, which plays an important role in regulating blood pressure.

The study’s lead researcher Dr. Ana Rodriguez-Mateos explained, “If the changes we saw in blood vessel function after eating blueberries every day could be sustained for a person’s whole life, it could reduce their risk of developing cardiovascular disease by up to 20%.”

That means simply eating a cup of blueberries every day as a snack could dramatically cut down your risk of heart disease and stroke. Improving your health doesn’t get much easier than that.

It’s the “Blue” in Blueberries That Lowers Blood Pressure

Now you may be wondering after reading about these studies, “why do blueberries have such a powerful effect on blood pressure?”

The research points to a blood pressure-lowering compound in blueberries called anthocyanins. This plant compound belongs to a family of antioxidants called flavonoids. Anthocyanins give blueberries their distinct blue color.  

Anthocyanins are also found in other deeply colored fruits such as strawberries, blackberries, cherries, and grapes. Studies on anthocyanins found that they, much like blueberries, can lower blood pressure. But how do anthocyanins result in lower blood pressure?

Scientists found that anthocyanins lower blood pressure by fighting oxidative stress and boosting the body’s production of nitric oxide (4).

There’s evidence that other antioxidants produce similar benefits as well. But only if you get the antioxidants through plants. In the blueberry study, a control drink that contained isolated vitamins had no effect. So, just taking a multivitamin won’t work.

Just Watch Your Fruit Sugar Intake

There’s no denying that blueberries can have an impressive impact on blood pressure regulation. But there’s a catch. If you go overboard and consume too much fresh fruit, you could end up raising your blood pressure. 

That’s because too much sugar can increase your blood pressure. One study found that a diet high in sugar leads to an increase in blood pressure of around 7mmHg/5mmHg (5), similar to that of a diet high in salt.

The take-home here is that if you choose to consume blueberries for their health benefits, eat them in moderation, up to a cup per day. And opt for organic blueberries to make sure you avoid toxic pesticides.

To get plenty of plant-based antioxidants in your diet without a spike in sugar intake, an organic green juice powder would be your best bet.

The Bottom Line

Research suggests that consuming around a cup of blueberries per day could help lower your blood pressure. This beneficial effect is due to the fact that blueberries are a rich source of a type of antioxidant called anthocyanins.

Anthocyanins lower blood pressure by increasing the body’s production of nitric oxide and protecting cells from oxidative stress. To maximize these benefits, choose organic blueberries or wild blueberries as they have the highest levels of anthocyanins.

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