Author: Greg Gillette

Diabetes and High Blood Pressure

Diabetes and high blood pressure are very common health issues in our society.  Diabetes and high blood pressure can be managed properly and sometimes healed with proper nutrition. In regards to diabetes, type 2 can often be healed with good nutrition, and type 1 can be better managed with good nutrition.

The following article is written by Kate B. Forsyth of Be Healthy Today.

Diabetes and high blood pressure usually go hand in hand. If one is present, the other is bound to be there as well. In fact, around 25 percent of people with type 1 diabetes and 80 percent of people with type 2 diabetes also have high blood pressure. Nowadays, many Americans suffer from these two conditions.  

Here are some healthy and yummy smoothie recipes that can help you fight diabetes as well as high blood pressure. Drinking one of these smoothies a day will most definitely have positive results.

Healthy Smoothie Recipes

Healthy portions of fiber, protein, and healthy fat should be present. In addition, smoothies for diabetes should also have ingredients with a low glycemic index.

For smoothies for high blood pressure, make sure you get ingredients with carotenoids. Potassium is also very effective in lowering high blood pressure.

Oatmeal Breakfast Smoothie

Oatmeal is fat-free, sodium-free, and cholesterol-free, which makes it perfect for diabetics and those with high blood pressure. Along with flaxseed, they both have a high level of dietary fiber.

Ingredients:

2 small bananas, frozen

2 tablespoons flaxseed, ground

1 cup uncooked oats, ground

3 seed milks

Procedure:

Place all the ingredients in a blender. Blend until a smooth and creamy consistency is reached.

Good Morning Smoothie

This recipe has ingredients that stabilizes blood pressure. Also, beets and spinach have a good amount of iron, nitrates, magnesium, and vitamins A and C that open up the blood vessels and lowers the pressure of the blood flow.

Ingredients:

1 cup beets, chopped

1 cup strawberries, chopped

3 cups baby spinach

1 orange, peeled and deseeded

1 banana

8 ounces almond milk

Procedure:

First, pour the milk in a blender. Add in the rest of the ingredients. Blend until smooth.

Berry Delicious Nutty Smoothie

Almonds reduce the rise in glucose and insulin levels. Plus, the berries in this recipe are great for diabetics since they are jam-packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber.

Ingredients:

½ medium banana

1 tablespoon almonds

4-5 medium strawberries

½ cup unsweetened raspberries, frozen

½ cup kale leaves

seed milks

1 tablespoon natural peanut, walnut, or almond butter

½ cup ice cubes

Procedure:

Place all ingredients in a blender, except the ice. Blend thoroughly. Add the ice last for the thickness you want.  

Leafy Green Carrot Smoothie

The antioxidants in the ingredients reduce diabetic complications and protect pancreatic beta-cells from glucose toxicity. Also, the antioxidants help in the overall management of diabetes.

Ingredients:

½ cup unsweetened peach slices, frozen

½ cup red or green grapes

½ cup fresh spinach

1 medium carrot, chopped

½ cup green cabbage, chopped

1 tablespoon flaxseed

½ cup nut milk

½ cup ice cubes

Procedure:

First, place peach slices, grapes, spinach, carrot, cabbage, and flaxseed in a blender. Blend. Next, add the milk. Continue blending until completely smooth. Finally, add the ice cubes until desired thickness is achieved.

Peachy Keen Smoothie

Peaches are a great source of potassium. They also have a low sodium content, which lowers high blood pressure. In addition, carrots normalize your blood pressure as well.

Ingredients:

2 medium carrots, chopped

2 peaches

2 apricots, pitted

1 head butter lettuce

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

ice cubes

Procedure:

Blend all solid ingredients completely. Next, add in the vanilla extract. Blend again. Finally, gradually add in the ice cubes for desired consistency.  

Green Berry Smoothie

This smoothie for diabetes has some superfood ingredients. It also has no added sugar.

Ingredients:

1 cup spinach or kale (or both)

½ cup berries of your choice, frozen

1 small orange, peeled but leave most of the pith

½ cup Greek yogurt

½ cup unsweetened almond milk

Procedure:

Mix all the ingredients in a blender until desired consistency is achieved.

Pineapple-Beet Blast

Dietary nitrate found in the beets aids blood flow. In addition, celery has properties that regulate the blood pressure.

Ingredients:

1½ pineapple chunks, frozen

½ cup cooked beets, sliced

¼ cup celery leaves

½ cup fresh orange juice

1 cup vanilla almond milk

Procedure:

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Purée until smooth. Serve and enjoy.

Pomegranate-Apple Green Smoothie

Pomegranate juice has a positive effect on cholesterol and blood pressure.

Ingredients:

2 cups baby spinach

1 banana

1 apple, cored

8 ounces pomegranate juice

Procedure:

Add all ingredients in a high-speed blender. Blend everything completely.

Matcha Green Tea Smoothie

Green tea lowers the hemoglobin A1c level in people with borderline diabetes.

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons matcha green tea powder

3 tablespoons hot water

1 banana

1 cup nut milks

1 cup crushed ice

Procedure:

Mix the green tea powder with hot water until it forms a paste. Next, add the rest of the ingredients (except the crushed ice) into a blender. Blend until fully incorporated. Lastly, add in the ice for desired consistency.

Guava Green Smoothie

Guava fruit reduces cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Ingredients:

8 ounces unsweetened coconut milk

1 banana

2 large guavas, deseeded

1 small orange, peeled and deseeded

2 cups baby spinach

Procedure:

Place the guava, banana, and orange in the blender. Mix until they are broken down into little chunks. Next add the coconut milk. Continue blending until a little smooth. Then add the spinach. Finally, blend everything together until completely smooth.

Lean and Green Smoothie

Kale is a non starchy vegetable. It adds fiber and other nutritional benefits.

Ingredients:

2½ cups kale leaves

1 cup pineapple, cubed

¾ cup apple juice, chilled

½ cup seedless grapes, frozen

½ cup Granny Smith apple, chopped

Procedure:

First, place all ingredients in a blender. Mix everything until smooth.

Blueberry-Banana Smoothie

Blueberries contain antioxidants that restrict the production of nitric oxide, reducing the inflammation of the blood arteries. This smoothie is great at stabilizing blood pressure levels.

Ingredients:

1 cup blueberries, frozen

1 banana

1 cup plain yogurt

1 cup baby spinach

Procedure:

Dump all the ingredients into a blender. Mix thoroughly. For last, you can add ice to have a thicker consistency.

Author Bio:

Kate B. Forsyth is a writer for Be Healthy Today, who specializes in health and nutrition. Her passion is to help people get an overall transformation of health that lasts a lifetime. In her blog posts, she goes beyond research by providing health-concerned citizens doable and simple tricks to achieve a healthier lifestyle.

Earthing and barefoot walking improves overall health

Earthing and barefoot hiking

Earthing

It’s time to get back to nature by taking off your shoes and walking on the earth: grass, sand, dirt, on the beach, etc. Barefoot walking is making a come back and for good reasons. It’s called Earthing! It means living in contact with the Earth’s natural surface charge. You are grounded when you are Earthing. By barefoot walking or by just placing your bare-feet on the ground while sitting, you will receive negative electrons from the Earth and your body will feel more relaxed. Inflammation and sore muscles will decrease and your state of mind will be more joyful. There is something magical about barefoot walking on Mother Earth.

Earthing is both a timeless practice and a modern discovery. When you are grounded to the Earth, you receive healing powers from Mother Earth. Our Mother is here to help us heal.

As a kid, I remember going barefoot in the back yard and when I was at the beach. It felt good, but I did not know of the benefits and neither did anyone else. I discovered the re-born aspects of Earthing from a book, called, “Earthing: The most important health discovery ever!” The authors are Clinton Ober, Stephen Sinatra, MD and Martin Zucker. Clinton and thousands of other people, many who are documented in the book, have seen their health rebound from Earthing. It makes sense as humans for millions of years were connected to the Earth by being barefoot or by wearing shoes that connected to the Earth. Shoes of the past were made from natural plant fibers or animal hides and these shoes had the Earthing connection. Since the invention of plastic shoes, and high-heeled shoes, narrow toe box shoes, etc., the health of humans has declined with aching  joints, bad posture, back pain, foot pain, muscle soreness and overall inflammation. Inflammation is a driving component in illness and disease.

When you start to do some Earthing, take your time and just stand on the Earth’s natural surfaces. Later on, you can walk and before long, you might even go barefoot hiking. The more you do it, the better you will feel from being grounded to the Earth. Even when the weather gets cooler and eventually, cold, you can still do some Earthing. I know as I Earth in all types of weather. Your body will adapt to the ever-changing weather of Mother Earth. I have found when it’s chilly or cold, just stand in place and your bare feet will slowly warm up the ground. Strive to Earth for about 20 minutes or longer if you can. I have felt the best benefits when I Earth for at least 20 minutes, but any amount of Earthing has healing benefits.

Many people who Earth have experienced many awesome healing benefits. Here is a list of some of the health improvements that people have reported: Improved Posture, reduction and sometimes, elimination of back pain and foot pain, better sleep, increase in mental focus and power, healthier immune system, reduction in arthritis, reduction in blood pressure, reduction is stress levels, including a reduction in cortisol, increase in libido, increase in energy, healthier skin, healthier metabolism, and much more.

What are negative electrons and why does the Earth contain them? According to science, atoms are made of extremely tiny particles called protons, neutrons, and electrons. Protons and neutrons are in the center of the atom, making up the nucleus. Electrons surround the nucleus. Protons have a positive charge. Electrons have a negative charge. The natural frequencies of the Earth are made up of waves of energy and the motions of subatomic particles called free electrons cause these waves. Electrons have a negative charge. These electrons give the Earth’s surface a natural, negative charge. There is a constant flow of electrons to the Earth’s surface from rain and lightning strikes. By grounding, we receive and absorb these negative electrons into our bodies. These free negative electrons reduce free radicals in our bodies and reduce chronic inflammation and bring a state of homeostasis to our bodies. Our body’s natural electric state is restored.

Here is some more wonderful information about Earthing. Information!

Best Carbohydrates to Eat for Great Health

Although there are different opinions on how many carbohydrates are needed per day and which types of foods contain the best carbohydrates, from my research over the years, here is a list of what I feel are the best carbohydrates to eat for great health. Before I mention the list, some folks do very well on a very low carbohydrate diet (ketosis) and some folks do not. A lot depends on the health of your endocrine system, especially your adrenal glands. Another interesting point is that if you engage in anaerobic exercise, such as sprinting, intense cross fit or other quick and high intensity movements, your body has to be able to access energy from carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates provide good energy for the body and mind and carbohydrates help with brain focus, digestive health and hormonal health. Once you are in touch with your body and mind, you will know how many carbohydrates and which ones to eat on a daily basis. 

What are the best carbohydrates to eat for great health.?

  1. Fresh vegetable juice: Use celery or cucumber as the base and add some carrots, beets, parsley, ginger root, etc. Fresh vegetable juice contains a lot of vitamins and minerals and it will provide for good energy levels and oxygen. Buy a good juicer and make your own juice.
  2. Fruit: Fruit is a fun food to eat and it contain a good amount of vitamins and minerals. Strive to eat fruit in season and buy fresh when possible. Frozen berries are acceptable. Eat fruit with some protein or fat to keep your blood sugar balanced.
  3. Raw Honey: Packed with enzymes and vitamins and minerals, raw honey is a super food, if eaten in small amounts. Eat anywhere from 1tsp to 2tbs a day. Raw honey aids in healthy digestion and a healthy immune system.
  4. Raw or lightly steamed or sautéed vegetables: salads, broccoli, kale, collards, etc. Drizzle with olive oil, pastured butter or coconut oil, add good sea or celtic salt and other spices. Vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals and other phytonutrients.
  5. Potatoes: for when you need a starch, potatoes are great. They are much easier to digest than grains, beans or bread. Eat russet, yukon gold, red, sweet, etc. Add plenty of pastured butter or coconut oil and enjoy. 

 

Need Motivation? There’s an App for that!

Smart Watch for Motivation

Motivate with a Smart Watch

It seems like there is an app for just about everything; and fitness is no different. Many of the latest fitness apps combine things like GPS technology with being able to connect with friends in real time to not only improve your workout but also give you a boost in motivation. Give one of these apps a try the next time you need a bit of a push to get through your next workout.

Runkeeper

This app can be found at the top of many runners’ lists as far as their go-to running apps are concerned. Not only can you use the GPS data to map out a route anywhere, the app collects data including times for each route so you can track progress. One of the most motivating features of Runkeeper is the fact that your friends can send you virtual kudos during your run to encourage you.

FitStar

As with many of the apps, the basic service is free, but the subscription services are where the best advice comes from. The app helps to build workouts based on your personal health and fitness levels so you are the star of your own workout. One of the bonus features as a paid user is the coaching and pep talks from none other than former NFL star Tony Gonzalez.

Charity Miles

This app allows you to find a wonderful motivation to run or log in miles of walking. You can earn real rewards in the form of donations to a charity of your choice. Imagine being able to watch a donation add up during a long run; or tracking each month just how much your efforts have contributed to a great cause.

Endomondo

For basic subscribers, the app can help gather, track and organize data about each workout and the progress made over the course of each month. For those who pay for a subscription, the app turns into a virtual coach you carry with you while you work out. The premium service gives users valuable tips and motivational goals on demand.

Zombies, Run!

Nothing motivates you to keep running than something chasing you! This app turns your daily run into a top-secret mission as you dodge zombies and push your skills to pass the next level. This app shot to the top of the charts as far as the best new fitness apps and it continues to be one of most downloaded fitness apps for the entertainment factor alone.

Spotify Running

The right playlist can be just the boost you need to get through a tough workout or to finish the last mile of a run. As a member of the popular Spotify family, this app takes workout soundtracks to the next level. Instead of searching endlessly for songs to mix into your own playlist, the app uses your own pace and heart rate to match you with songs of the same pace to keep you going.

Freeletics

If you are looking for new workouts that can be done anywhere and that only require you to use your own body, this is the perfect app. It has hundreds of workouts on demand that go from the most basic to advanced. Many find motivation is being able to exercise in unique ways on the go, which this app encourages

Pact

Money and competition can be very motivating for some users. If that is you, then this is the app for you. The basic idea is you make a commitment to go to the gym a certain number of times each time period and the app tracks your progress towards that commitment via a GPS feature that also measures the time you spent at the given location. The catch is if you follow through with the commitment, you win cash rewards, but if you do not follow through the cash goes to other users. This is competition at its best.

Motivation comes in a variety of forms. You may find it in an app that has zombies chasing you through an afternoon run or via miles adding up to a donation to your favorite charity. No matter what the motivation for you is, there more than likely is an app for that too.

This article was written by Paige Johnson with LearnFit.   She can be reached by email: p_johnson@learnfit.org

 

 

 

Holistic Nutrition in Denver

Holistic Nutrition

Holistic Nutrition

If you have reached your limits in searching for the answers from modern medicine, change your focus on holistic nutrition. Nutrition is a part of everyone’s daily life. Everyone has to eat, but most people are not eating healthy and a lot of the food consumed in our society is not real food, but food like substances. I coined that term last year. (FLS)

Holistic nutriton is nutrition that is based on real food that can heal the body and mind. The universe created all the real food that we need to be healthy. Unfortunately, most of the food in the grocery stores and in the restaurants is not healthy and this unhealthy food is the main contributing factor in the alarming rate of illness and disease around the world. 

Holistic nutrition is also about using natural nutritional supplements and herbs when needed and using laboratory testing when needed. Laboratory testing is a wonderful tool to show what is going on in various systems of the body. Holistic nutriton is a way of life and it looks at the underlying issue of health challenges, illness and disease. Sadly, the majority of the time, modern medicine takes a superficial look at the symptoms and not at the underlying issue. It’s wonderful to alleviate troublesome symptoms, but no real healing will take place until the underlying causes are addressed.  The majority of people who are suffering from ill health are not getting the answers from modern medicine and they are not getting any healthier. 

Hopefully, these people will start to question modern medicine and a light bulb will turn on and they will see the ray of hope and healing through holistic nutrition.

Gillette Nutriton is all about holistic nutriton and a holistic way of living.  Contact Gillette Nutriton to get on the path to amazing health.

Super Foods for Super Health and Vitality

Super Foods seem to be the big rage these days. It seems that many nutritionists and other natural health practitioners are talking about super foods. The issue I see is that all these super foods being promoted are vegan. Some vegan foods are super healthy, but from the research I have done, the best diet for most people includes animal proteins and animal fats. 

These vegan super foods are healthy, but one can not live on them and they are lacking or are deficient in several vitamins and minerals found only in animal foods such as Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Vitamin B-6, Vitamin B-12, Iron and Zinc. 

The vegan super foods most talked about are spirulina, chlorella, turmeric, raw cocoa, wheat grass, beets, lemons, apple cider vinegar, moringa leaf, matcha green tea and maca. As I stated above, these foods are wonderful and healthy, but for most of us, we need a mixture of super foods from plants and animals. 

Chlorella is a top notch super food. Follow this link to read a wonderful article about Chlorella, written by Kate Forsyth. Super Chlorella! 

Some of my favorite super foods that will give your body and mind the key nutrients to be full of energy and vitality include the following: grass fed red meat, pastured eggs, wild fish, oysters, raw honey, avocados, cod liver oil, fresh vegetable juice, raw butter, raw olive oil, bone broth, and berries. All these foods need to be organic, hormone free, GMO free and pastured raised to ensure that you are obtaining the best and most nutritious foods available. 

Start off with eating more pastured eggs and making fresh vegetable juice. Later, incorporate some wild fish and grass fed red meat. Eat one tablespoon of local raw honey every day. Make some bone broth and find a source of raw butter. Make my favorite power smoothie/pudding: one avocado, a cup of berries and 2-3 raw eggs, all blended together in a blender. This smoothie/pudding is a power house of nutrition!

 

Constipation can lead to serious illness

Constipation is a very common health issue in our society. It can be an acute issue or a chronic issue and if it’s a chronic issue, it can lead to serious health problems. Why is constipation so prevalent? What are the main causes of constipation? 

The number one cause of constipation is the processed food that most folks are eating. This processed food is not food, it’s food like substances. (FLS) I coined this phrase last year while talking to a friend and expressing my concern and utter shock at all the FLS around us. This processed food is not recognized by the body and it’s void of any good bacteria, enzymes, and vitamins and minerals. The body has a hard time digesting this processed food and this leads to an imbalance in the micro-biome or bacteria in your gut. The bacteria are largely responsible for creating the perfect environment for creating and forming a health bowel movement. When the micro-biome is weakened, constipation sets in.

Other causes of constipation are stress, low stomach acid and taking too many pharmaceutical drugs. Stress can put your body in the sympathetic nervous system and this causes your body and mind to be on high alert for danger and this shuts down the digestive system and revs up your adrenaline, your heart rate and your respiratory system. Sadly, many people are in this sympathetic state most of the time and this hampers the digestive system.

Chronic constipation can lead to immune system problems, auto-immune diseases, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, etc., headaches and migraines, fatigue, brain fog and many other health issues.

The best solutions to end the unhealthy cycle of constipation are to eat real food, reduce stress levels, decrease or eliminate pharmaceutical drugs and to move your body in a way that you enjoy. Best foods to eat: avocados, coconut oil, olives and olive oil, pastured raised meats, eggs, steamed green vegetables, home made vegetable juice, sauerkraut, fruit, but not too much fruit and kombucha tea. Nutritional supplements consisting of probiotics, enzymes, digestive bitters and if needed, HCL with Pepsin will be helpful. Gillette Nutriton offers an amazing Probiotic/Enzyme supplement called B-Pro. Here is the link to B-Pro.

Contact Gillette Nutriton for a free evaluation on your digestive issues.  Here are more Gillette Nutriton Blogs on digestive health. Digestive Health!

Crohn’s Disease

Digestive health issues are a huge epidemic in our society and one of the of most alarming digestive diseases is Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s disease is growing at a fast rate and unfortunately, modern medicine does not and will not have the answer or cure. Why are many people suffering from Crohn’s disease?

Crohn’s disease is classified as an Irritable Bowel Disease and it is a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract. Crohn’s disease is also classified as an autoimmune disorder where the body attacks itself. It mainly occurs in the last part of the small intestine, called the ileum and the beginning of the large colon. However, Crohn’s disease can occur anywhere along the entire gastrointestinal tract, from the mouth to the anus and it can affect the entire thickness of the bowel wall. 

Some of the most common symptoms of Crohn’s disease include the following: persistent diarrhea, rectal bleeding, an urgent need to move bowels, abdominal cramps and pain, a sensation of incomplete evacuation and constipation. Other symptoms can include fever, loss of appetite, weight loss, fatigue, night sweats and a loss of normal menstrual cycles. 

The main cause of Crohn’s disease is a poor diet made possible from our modern society with the large processed food companies, fast food restaurants, agricultural chemical products in the form of pesticides and the ever increasing genetical modified organisms (GMOs) in the food supply. All of these modern applications to our food supply wreck havoc on our entire digestive and immune systems by greatly weakening the body’s ability to generate proper levels of stomach acid (hydrochloric acid), the body’s ability to absorb nutrients within the small intestine and the body’s ability to keep the proper balance of bacteria, mainly in the large intestine, but throughout the entire body. When these functions of the body are weakened or destroyed, disease sets in and one of these diseases is Crohn’s disease. Simply put, Crohn’s disease is the inability of the digestive system to digest, absorb and assimilate the nutrients necessary for a healthy body and mind. This sets the stage for the body to start attacking itself because the body sees the undigested food in the blood steam as a foreign invader. Couple the undigested food with the chemicals from food and body care products and the stage for general war against the body is set. 

The best way to mitigate or cure Crohn’s disease is a complete lifestyle change, beginning with healthy food. The most healing diet includes the following foods: grass fed beef, pastured chicken, wild fish, pastured eggs, oysters, avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, cod liver oil, bone broth from pastured animals, raw pastured butter, raw cow or goat milk, raw cow or goat yogurt and kefir, homemade vegetable juice, steamed vegetables, raw apple cider vinegar, raw honey and perhaps, some fruit here and there. All of these foods need to be hormone free and organic. Each person with Crohn’s disease will be at a different stage in their dealing with this disease and the above listed foods will vary from person to person. Some folks will be able to eat some fruit and cooked vegetables and some will not. Some folks will be able to digest raw milk and some will not. Some folks will have to eat a completely raw primal diet to ensure the best path to healing. Grains, beans, pasteurized dairy, nuts, seeds, added sweeteners, starches and raw vegetables need to be avoided to ensure the best healing of the digestive system. Avoid all processed foods, fast foods, GMO foods and pesticide laden foods. 

Certain supplements will be helpful and these supplements will vary from person to person. These supplements include the following: HCL with pepsin capsules, digestive bitters, digestive enzymes, probiotics, raw cod liver oil, whole foods based vitamin C, whole foods based zinc, other whole foods based vitamins and minerals, adaptogenic herbs, terramin clay and other supplements. 

Besides a radical change in diet, other lifestyle changes include the following: using very little body care products and these body care products need to be organic, getting outside as much as possible and soaking up the sunlight, following circadian rhythm, doing some Earthing (putting your bare feet on the Earth), engaging in moving your body, deep breathing, emotional expression and healing, reducing stress levels, spending time with loved ones, and standing up for yourself. Of course, there are other healthy lifestyle changes to incorporate into your life and it will vary from person to person.

Crohn’s disease is a challenging and sometimes, a major life altering disease. If we are going to see any reduction in Crohn’s disease with the hopes of curing it, we start with what we eat and we eat foods that have healing energy and properties; and from there, we start to radical change the way we live on every level of life: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. 

Mother Nature is healing!

Mother Nature is just outside waiting for you to embrace her healing benefits. Too many people have lost their way with connecting with Mother Nature. Getting outside and moving your body has many health benefits such as vitamin D production from the Sunlight, improved cardiovascular health, improved mental health and improved joint and muscle health. Spending time with Mother Nature triggers a good balance in various hormones and neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin and cortisol. When your hormones and neurotransmitters are in balance, you feel wonderful, in body and mind.

The following article goes into more detail about the benefits of spending time with Mother Nature. Here is the link to the article. Get Outdoors! Here is the link to the Author, Amy Whitley. 

Here is the full article about getting outside and spending time with Mother Nature.

The mental health benefits of exercise are well documented, known to reduce stress and increase “feel good” hormones like dopamine. But many of us seeking better mind-body heath overlook the benefits found in simply spending time outdoors. It turns out the age-old adage is correct: fresh air is good for you! While outdoor physical activities such as jogging, trail running, and hiking combine both physical exercise and the outdoors for a mental health boost jackpot, according to both the National Institutes of Health and Harvard Medical School, simply spending time in nature in any form can improve your mental outlook, in addition to providing physical benefits. How refreshing!

Ways in Which the Outdoors Boosts Mental Health

Getting outside and taking a stroll truly can clear your head while also boosting your immune system and elevating your sense of well-being. If you can get outdoors regularly, you can trade seasonal light therapy boxes and artificial indoor lighting for natural light, which floods your body with vitamin D and immediately improves your mood. Just 15 minutes of natural sunlight per day is known to reduce depression and anxiety levels. Perhaps even more importantly, vitamin D and all that natural sunlight helps you sleep better at night. A study out of the Saint Louis University School of Medicine noted that natural sunlight helps set our body’s internal clocks. And the better rested we are, the better our mood and mental state.

But stepping outside does more than offer sunshine. Studies show that those living in urban environments have to contend with sensory overload on a daily basis, causing what researchers call cognitive fatigue. Finding green space or stepping into a park or garden can give the brain a break from urban stimuli. A recent epidemiological study has shown that people who move to greener urban areas benefit from sustained improvements in their mental health, according to Frontiers in Psychology. In fact, a recent Scandinavian study found that office workers with even views of trees or nature had lower stress levels than those who had city views.

Nature improves concentration as well, helping both children with attention deficit disorders as well as elderly citizens combating dementia or Alzheimer’s. Without the rush of man-made stimuli, the human mind is freed up to be more creative, and having lower stress levels allows us to focus on the task at hand better. This is why you might get your best ideas during a day fishing on the lake, or make that breakthrough on a work-related problem while on a walk in the woods.

How to Make it Happen: Getting into Nature

Getting your daily dose of nature doesn’t have to involve traveling long distances or taking up extreme outdoor sports like backpacking or kayaking. While a daily walk or bike ride is ideal, any green space can boost your mood and lower your stress and anxiety levels. Even sitting outside on a patio or balcony can give you access to sunshine and, at the very least, a skylight over your work or living space can provide natural light. Consider walking or biking to work each day, taking a new route through a green space or park instead of along city streets, or opting for the scenic commute instead of the freeway.

While outdoor sports such as hiking, fishing, kayaking, and skiing successfully combine exercise with outdoor stimulation, any form of outdoor living will elevate your mental health. Simply walking through a forest has been proven to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol and reduce blood pressure and heart rate. So take a daily walk, try your hand at fishing, or simply sit and read in a garden to see benefits.

Attention Restoration Theory

Capitalizing on the restorative properties of peaceful outdoor settings doesn’t mean city life is all bad. Living in an urban environment is a happy reality for many who have chosen to live and work in urban centers, and has many upsides. This is where Attention Restoration Theory (ART) comes in.

The thinking behind ART is that urban settings can have an excess of stimuli (car horns, sirens, people) that demand our attention whether we are consciously paying attention to them or not, whereas natural settings require our attention but also reward us with feelings of pleasure and help restore our attention. For urban dwellers, visiting a setting such as a park can feel like an oasis, in that it provides the feeling of “getting away” even though you may only be minutes away from your office.

Getting outdoors to feel happier and healthier is both intuitive and backed by medical science! Make yourself a promise to spend just 15 minutes or more in a natural environment per day to reap the rewards.

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent Fasting is becoming quite popular these days, and for good reason. What is Intermittent Fasting? For starters, it’s not true fasting, when you abstain from all food and beverages, except water, for a day or two or longer. Intermittent Fasting is when you abstain from all food and beverages, except water, for a period of 16 hours of the 24 hours that make up a day. 

It may sound crazy or impossible to do, but when you are able to do it, Intermittent Fasting will do wonders for your body and mind. It will enhance brain power and focus, decrease any inflammation in the body, allow the digestive system to relax and repair and allow the endocrine system to relax and repair. Other benefits will be experienced based on each individual’s lifestyle. 

Most folks graze all day long, putting a lot of pressure and burden on the digestive system and on the endocrine system. When these systems are tired, inflammation, digestive upsets and hormonal imbalances will occur. 

The best way to ease into Intermittent Fasting is to reduce the amount of carbohydrates you consume and increase the amount of fat and protein, especially fat. This is the only way you will be able to fast for 16 hours as your body and mind will have enough calories from fat and protein to sustain your body and mind. When you eat too many carbohydrates, blood sugar greatly increases and in turn, insulin and cortisol greatly increase causing blood sugar to drop. With this cycle being repeated, you end up eating every 2-3 hours and causing too much work for the digestive and endocrine systems.

For Intermittent Fasting, choose the best 8 hours for you to consume your food for the day. For example: 9am-5pm; 10am-6pm, 11am-7pm or 12-8pm. On your first attempt, if you can’t make the full 16 hours of fasting, it’s okay. Do not force yourself to fast the entire 16 hours if your blood sugar drops. Eat something and attempt it again, another day. 

Some folks see huge benefits from Intermittent Fasting and they do it every day. For other folks, 2-3 days a week is perfect. Experiment and discover what the best plan of Intermittent Fasting is for you.

For more information, watch this video.