Cholesterol: Get to know it; it’s sticking around for a while.

Cholesterol

It is a fairly known fact that cholesterol is something that should be monitored and regulated; that is has a very serious effect on your overall well-being, a high total of it is bad, and all that jazz. But what exactly is cholesterol? What is considered healthy? How do you keep in it check, how do you know it’s actually high, what are some things to avoid or do to insure you actually have a healthy level of it. We’ll talk about those things here briefly, along with the possibility of cholesterol reaching too low of a level.

Cholesterol levels can fall into three ranges; for adults, a normal level usually ranges from 140-200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl). Any levels that reach above 240 mg/dl are considered high, and as you probably guess any levels dropping below 140 mg/dl are considered low.

But before diving into different levels of cholesterol, and all of the topics that encompass it, let’s cover very quickly what cholesterol even is. It is a waxy, fat-like substance that occurs naturally in the body and is actually created by the liver. The foods that we eat also contain cholesterol, so as you will see momentarily that affect our levels substantially. Cholesterol is present in just about every nook and cranny of the body, including our brains, nerves, muscles, and yes most importantly—the heart.

Why is high cholesterol a concern?

Ultimately, if you have high levels of cholesterol throughout your body, you are increasing your chances at developing cardiovascular diseases, namely heart disease. While it is not good for the rest of the usual affected areas either, the heart is the most at risk here. The cholesterol will build up on the walls of the arteries that carry blood to and from your heart; if this build up gets to too high of levels, there is less blood being pumped, thus less oxygen flowing through your body. Heart attacks, stroke, and chest pain are also at risk here.  To find out your cholesterol levels, just be sure to visit your doctor and have yourself checked out. No use hiding from something as controllable as cholesterol.

heart fruits

How can I lower my cholesterol levels?

Don’t let a higher level of cholesterol scare you; your body creates it for a purpose and uses it to function properly, it’s just up to you to maintain it. That being said, there are ways to help control that pesky cholesterol, and they really are no brainers.

While such things like genetics, age, and weight are all also factors in what your levels are at naturally, actions you take can battle that. Aeorbic exercise is one of the most helpful things you can do to bring your levels down; aim for about 30-60 minutes of some type of aerobic exercise (running, swimming, biking) on most days out of the week.

Your diet is a huge contributor to the levels in your body. So it should come naturally to you that you should stop eating foods that contain high levels of fat (ice cream, cheeseburgers, fried chicken, etc.). Now you don’t need to cut it out completely, that’s nearly impossible. But start replacing those bad fats with good, healthy fats, especially monounsaturated fats. Think nuts, avocados, and other such foods.

Taking natural supplements is also a great idea, especially if your diet is not giving you sufficient nutrients and vitamins (and don’t beat yourself up over this either, a lot of people don’t get their required daily intake, so supplements are awesome!) Fish oil is an excellent one to consider; it is known to lower triglyceride levels (fatty cells, basically). Garlic is also a good supplement to take, as it is known to reduce over all levels of cholesterol on its own.

Other steps can be taken to fight high cholesterol like quitting smoking, practicing stress reduction techniques, and most importantly educating yourself on what it is you are putting in your body in the first place. Read labels, get to know the food you eat!

happy field girl

My levels are actually considered low, can this be a problem?

Low levels of cholesterol are obviously something you should strive for in terms of your health altogether; many if not almost all doctors have said there is really no huge health concern or chance of complications if your levels are below the normal level. A lot of people who are considered healthy have had extremely low levels, and never had any issues arise because of it.

However, there are always exceptions to the rules. While in general you should not worry about this, do be weary that every now and then something does come up. Your heart will be just fine, but it’s the other areas of your body that may be affected, if at all; the brain, liver, and digestive system have been known to rarely suffer from unusually low levels of cholesterol.

Some doctors have come across cases where depression and anxiety were present in people with very low levels; low levels of cholesterol can hinder the actions of serotonin. You may eventually develop higher risks of stroke; cholesterol actually helps maintain blood flow in the brain. There have also been cases of low baby weight in women who had low levels of cholesterol, and in some cases premature birth.

These are really the main concerns, and as mentioned, they rarely ever occur in conjunction with low levels of cholesterol, so do not worry yourself over it.

So, you’re saying cholesterol is not the worst thing and is here to stay?

That’s right! Cholesterol is absolutely necessary in order for your body to function properly. But, as with most things in our lives, we just need to be sure to maintain a healthy balance of it in order for it to do its job appropriately. So that of course means living in moderation and taking actions to keep yourself healthy. More than just your cholesterol is going to benefit from that!

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The Myriad Adverse Effects Of Fast Food

fast food

What is fast food? There are various definitions of fast food and different names given to it as well. Technically, any food that can be quickly prepared, cooked and served can be regarded as fast food. However, time is not the only determining factor. Had that been the case then your fruit juice back home, which takes only a few minutes to make provided your blender or grinder is setup, would have been fast food as well.

What Is Fast Food, Actually?

Fast food is any food that has been cooked quickly but also whose ingredients or all the food items going into the recipe have been precooked, prepared and stored for a while prior to the actual cooking. Another piece of detail that has become significantly relevant in today’s context is the processed and ready to cook foods.

When any food is not cooked in its traditional way, it falls under the definition of what is fast food. For instance, take the example of soup. If you make soup the traditional way by cooking the broth, boiling the vegetables or chicken and any other ingredient that you want, use salts and everything else from your kitchen, then it is not fast food. However, if you were to buy a ready to cook soup, bring it home and add the mix to water and get your soup, without doing anything else, then it is fast food.

Fast food typically applies to what you get at restaurants and takeaways where the foods are prepared long before they are cooked, the foods are processed heavily and they are mostly fried or quickly cooked in high heat ovens. Burgers, pizzas, fish and chips, sandwiches (unless using all fresh ingredients which are completely unprocessed) and even sushi and pasta are fast foods.

fast food top

Effects Of Fast Foods

Fast foods are not good for us. There can be no debate on that. Doctors, dietitians, nutritionists and scientists from every nook and corner of the world have reiterated time and again, published numerous studies and results of researches that fast foods are one of the worst curses of the modern world. If there is something that you should quit right today, then it has to be fast foods.

There are numerous effects of fast foods. First, fast foods lead to obesity. In the US and most developed countries, obesity has become the greatest health challenge today. Everywhere you look and anyone you meet, you are more likely to meet an obese child or adult and rarely would you get to see a man or woman with a healthy body, one who is fit and agile. From the perspective of obesity and fitness, you would not be able to lose belly fat if you keep eating fast foods. Fast foods do nothing positive to your energy level. Fast foods cannot be classified as healthy eating. Thus, if you want to fight obesity or weight gain, if you intend to lose weight and enjoy optimum energy level and if you wish to indulge in healthy eating then you have to quit fast foods. Obesity is one of the unavoidable fast food effects.

What Else?

Among the other effects of fast foods, a significant one is its impacts on health of the heart. Most junk or fast foods increase the cholesterol and glucose levels in our blood. Higher cholesterol is not good for your heart. Higher blood sugar levels will cause diabetes. There are millions of people living with diabetes in the US which is one of the direct effects of fast foods. Fast foods increase the blood pressure which again directly impacts your heart. If you want to avoid cardiac problems then apart from exercising, you should avoid fast foods.

Fast foods interfere with everything that is natural in our body. It hinders the natural biological growth of a child. They do not have any nutrition that the body desires. Instead, they are rich in toxins. Artificial flavors, chemicals, colors and all types of synthesized ingredients have very little nutrition to offer. They would only harm your health, in the short term and in the long term.

Once in a while indulging in fast foods can be acceptable but making it a part of your daily or even weekly diet is against the very principles of healthy eating. You would not only fail to lose belly fat if you eat fast foods, you would also fail to live a healthy life.

The effects of fast foods are not noticeable instantly. They feel good to taste and are also filling on most occasions. It is only after months of gorging on them that you would notice the first mild effects of fast foods. Most people do not pay heed to such minor fast food effects and soon enough they become a health concern.

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Why Do We Get Headaches? Get Rid Of Them!

Graziella

Headaches can seemingly come out of no where or gradually build up. What caused this pain and how can you get rid of it quickly?

Everyone has dealt with one of these suckers at one time or another. For some, it’s actually a long term problem that has to be dealt with on a regular basis. It’s estimated that 1 in 6 people have chronic headaches which makes life a little bit more difficult and even lowers work productivity since it’s hard to focus when it feels like someone is hammering inside of your head.

Contrary to what most people might think, it’s not actually your brain that hurts. You don’t have nerves or pain sensors in your brain. Instead your feeling the pain picked up elsewhere such as from nerves and muscles around the head or neck.

Primary and Secondary Headaches

There are actually two types of broad categories that doctors classify headaches into. Primary headaches which are non relevant to a preexisting or underlying health condition and secondary headaches which are affiliated with various medical conditions such as head injuries, fevers, infections, dental conditions, tumors and pressure in the skull or sinuses.

There are three main causes for primary headaches:

  • Migraine – Migraine headaches can be brought on by lower blood flow to various spots of the cerebral cortex. If you get one of these, the pulsating pain can last anywhere between 2 to 72 hours! It is believed that migraines are due to a mixture of environmental and genetic factors. Around 66% of cases seem to run in the family. Symptoms of migraines include nausea, sensitivity to light and noise, vomiting and an intense throbbing pain usually found on only one side of the head. They will also tend to become aggravated with physical activity.
  • Tension – Tension headaches are caused by muscle strain in the head and neck or even emotional stress. Tension headaches are usually steady aching pains on both sides of the head compared to migraines which almost always on one side. Sometimes tension headaches can develop into a throbbing pain which makes researchers think that migraines are closely connected. Poor vision or eye strain can trigger frequent tension headaches.
  • Cluster – Cluster headaches are headaches that occur repeatedly over an extended period of time such as weeks or even months. Cluster headache pain usually occurs on one side of the head like migraines but is more focused and centered around the eye. The causes of cluster headaches are unknown but may be related to changes in blood flow because substances that affect blood flow, such as alcohol, can trigger cluster headaches.

Too much blood flow can also cause primary headaches. For example, if you’ve read How Does Caffeine Work, you know that caffeine reduces blood flow in the brain. Some pain relievers contain caffeine to take advantage of this effect. If you’ve been taking caffeine every day and you suddenly stop, you very well might be getting a visit from an incredible headache because of the increased blood flow in your brain and sudden change in your routine.

Secondary headaches result from some other problem with your body

If you’re sick with the flu or have a particular health condition, it can bring on headaches which would then be classified as secondary. Once you eliminate the condition, you eliminate the secondary headaches.
Most headache pain can be treated with over the counter medications such as aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil) and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. If you experience chronic or frequent headache pain, see your physician as it may be caused by a underlying health problem.

man headache

How to get rid of a headache

1. The most well known cure- take some pain killers. Ibuprofen, acetaminophen, naproxen, and aspirin are some pain relievers that will give you a quick fix to an aching head. Usually it takes about 30 minutes for the pills to kick in, but it’ll save you the pain in the long run. Just make sure you don’t give aspirin to anyone under the age of 19, especially children. Also aspirin sometimes produces a deadly syndrome called Reye syndrome, so if you are worried about it try an alternative.

2. Make sure you drink your water! A headache can come on from dehydration. Dehydration can occur from simply being out in the sun too long or even vomiting. Also beverages like coffees, alcohols, and sodas-even though they are in liquid form-can dehydrate you as well. So just making sure you sip on a glass of water several times throughout the day  to avoid the dehydration headache. If the ache has already started, chug a tall glass and in no time you will start to feel better.

3. Lay down and tune out. What you may have heard for migranes helps headaches as well. Closing the blinds and getting yourself in a dark quiet environment to rest (try at least 30 minutes) can mellow out your head ache.

4. Soak a wash cloth with cold water and place it over your forehead. This might help the pain by constricting blood vessels, especially if you ache is coming from your sinus or temple area. As soon as the cloth starts to feel warm just wet it again. You can also try putting the wet cloth in a plastic bag and freeze it for a long lasting compress.

5. Everybody loves a massage, and in this case it could possibly relieve your headache. Start by gently massaging in circular motions near your temple and work outwards. It helps by relieving tension and improving circulation to hopefully relieve the pain. Another easy way to get this done and taking a little extra time massaging your scalp while shampooing in the shower. If you have someone else that can massage for you bribe them into doing it, it always feels better and more relaxing when someone else takes over.

Having the touch of someone else can definitely relieve a lot of tension. By getting someone to massage the back of your neck, bridge of nose and acupressure point on each hand where the thumb and index finger bones meet these can all relieve headaches depending where they are originating from. Another relief for sinus headaches can be done by putting two racket balls in a sock and lay on them at the back of your skull. It might hurt a bit at first but this pain should go away and start relieving the headache.

6. Have some fun in the bedroom! Sex releases oxytocin which then boosts endorphins in your body. Endorphins are a natural pain killer that’ll help out with that aching head of yours.

7. Do you have an activity or hobby that puts you in your comfort zone? Try doing some relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, deep breathing, or whatever you like best. It might distract you long enough for the pain to go away.

headache

 

I’ve always found the biggest cause of headaches for me was from dehydration to the brain so unless you’re getting them from an underlying medical condition, it’s a great idea to try and prevent a headache by drinking regular amounts of water!

Hope you liked this post! Please feel free to like, share, tweet and comment. If you want to discuss your favorite interests and make money while doing it then click here.

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