Fish Oil and Its Fascinating Effects on Brain Health

It seems that every day there is some new research telling people about a new brain enhancing supplement or food. While most information floating around is spouted from the mouths of charlatans, there is reason to believe some information, especially when obtained through credible research and studies. 

Fish oil is not exactly new. For decades, nutritionists and scientific researchers have been touting the need to include fatty fish in human diets. The reason for the inherent need is the nutrients that are only found in fish and that are essential to healthy brain development and possible memory retention. The remainder of this article will identify the specific nutrients found in fish oil and explain how recent studies suggest memory and mental health benefits to consuming fatty fish or fish oil supplements.

Understanding Fish Oil Omega-3s

In an overwhelmingly meat-and-potatoes society, it should come as no surprise that most people do not meet the dietary guidelines for fish intake, specifically fatty fish. Fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, or anchovies, contain the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid. EPA and DHA are necessary for development and health, but they are not found in most food sources, primarily fish.

While the human body can convert another omega-3, alpha-linolenic acid, it cannot do so efficiently. Even if the body could convert more than 10% of ALA into EPA and DHA, which it can't, people tend to neglect foods with the nutrient, such as flaxseeds, walnuts, soybeans, chia seeds, soybean oil, and canola oil. Leaving the most evident way of consuming necessary omega-3s to supplement form.


Dr. Oz is shocked…

They may have found the “obesity killer”

Just 10 drops of this can melt up to 56 pounds in just a few months.


The Role of Omega-3s in Development

EPA and DHA are crucial to cardiovascular development, disease prevention, weight management, and cognitive function. While more research is needed to determine the level of the contribution these omega-3s have to the brain, early indicators suggest a connection to intake and improved memory in people experiencing minor cognitive decline. These chemicals also contribute to several developmental stages of adolescents. Unfortunately, even when consuming fish, the human body has trouble producing some omega-3s, meaning a supplement is useful.

Fish Oil Can Combat Minor Cognitive Decline and Improve Mental Health

Research shows that low levels of omega-3s, specifically EPA and DHA, can lead to accelerated brain aging, contributing to functional deficits. Fortunately, studies also show that consuming appropriate doses of these omega-3s, through a combination of supplements and dietary choices, can improve brain function in those experiencing a minor decline.

Better still, people suffering from depression might experience reduced symptoms if they add a fish oil supplement to their diet. However, the supplement formula should contain higher levels of EPA, and for the best effect, should be taken with anxiety medication.

Is Fish Oil Right for You?

In a healthy adult, the consumption of fish oil does not show any significant effect on the subject's brain, but that does not mean it is worthless. Every person needs omega-3s, specifically EPA and DHA, which you can obtain through the consumption of fatty fish or supplements. However, keep in mind that fish oil supplements can affect blood clotting, so speak with your doctor first.

Do you eat enough fatty fish or take fish oil supplements? Please leave a comment below explaining why or why not.

Which Supplement is Better for Sleep: Melatonin or CBD

According to the CDC, one in three adults does not get enough sleep. The standard requirement for adults is between six and nine hours, with seven and a half being the average. How much sleep do you get every night?

With the stresses of every day, many people find it challenging to fall asleep. That difficulty often leads to the inclusion of dietary supplements or sleep aids. However, some aids are less effective than others, and others can be addictive or dangerous.

Two potential sleep aids that have proven effective and safe are melatonin and CBD. To learn which is a possible solution for you, consider the pros and cons of each.

Providing a Natural Boost To Biological Production: Melatonin Advantages and Disadvantages

Melatonin is a hormone produced in the pineal gland. It is a chemical that helps your body regulate its sleep-wake cycles by telling your brain and system when it is time to rest. Melatonin supplements, then, help to boost your body’s natural production to help tell your brain it is time for bed.

While the sleep hormone is advantageous for travelers and people experiencing jet lag, it might not be the best option for everyone. There is evidence to suggest that some OTC supplements can have adverse interactions with prescriptions, so always talk to your primary care physician before adding melatonin to your nightly routine.

If you want to experience the most benefit from taking a melatonin supplement, you need to take it a few hours before bed. The supplement takes time to work, but unfortunately, once you take it, you will experience drowsiness after a couple of hours, which means you don’t want to get the urge to go out partying. Stay home and sleep.


Dr. Oz is shocked…

They may have found the “obesity killer”

Just 10 drops of this can melt up to 56 pounds in just a few months.


The Versatility and Quickness of CBD: Pros and Cons

If the slow build and restrictions of melatonin bother you, you might want to consider CBD. The natural supplement is still in its infancy as far as learning about adverse reactions, but there aren’t any disturbing or profound findings yet. Nevertheless, to be safe, consult your doctor before using.

One of the significant advantages of CBD over melatonin is that CBD works quickly, typically within 10 minutes. Additionally, the supplement is known to help alleviate anxiety and minor aches and pains.

Because CBD does not contain THC, you can find it at grocery stores and other locations. You can also purchase it online and have it delivered legally. Additionally, you can find it in pills, vapes, gummies, and more, meaning there is an option for everyone.

Which is Right for You

The decision between a melatonin supplement or CBD is a personal choice. While CBD works faster with limited adverse side effects, some people might feel uncomfortable taking it. While a natural hormone produced in the body, Melatonin can interact with prescriptions when found in specific formulations. Before opting for any sleep aid, it is best to consult your doctor and ask their opinion.

Do you have experience with melatonin or CBD supplements? Have you experienced any adverse reactions? Leave a comment below and help keep the conversation going. While this article only addressed these two sleep supplements, do you have any other healthy tips and tricks for people suffering from poor sleep?

These Are the Common Foods That Are Giving You Gas

Why do some people have lots of problems with gas while others can eat broccoli like there’s no tomorrow? The basic answer is that everyone’s body is different. Some people have plenty of enzymes to break down certain foods and other people don’t. If you’re having trouble with gas, one of these foods may be the reason:

1. Carbonated Beverages

With so much fizz, it’s not really surprising that soda has a high spot on our list of gas causers. Carbonation mostly affects your stomach (making you burp), but it can contribute to intestinal bloating, too.

2. Beans

Famous for causing embarrassing “tooting,” beans are filled with healthy protein, but they also have a type of sugar that the body has trouble processing. It takes the good bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract a lot longer to digest beans, peas, lentils and other legumes, which releases more gas.

3. Leafy Greens

Vitamin-rich veggies such as broccoli, cabbage, asparagus and cauliflower have tons of fiber, which is great for your digestive system. Unfortunately, they also have the same complex sugar as beans. Overdoing it with the broccoli is practically guaranteed to make you gassy.

4. Fruits

Fruit is one of the best things you can eat to boost your immune system, metabolism and energy levels. At the same time, most fruits have several gas-causing sugars, including sorbitol and fructose. Apples, bananas, pears, apricots, peaches, grapes and mangoes are the worst of the best. Dried fruit such as raisins and prunes concentrate these sugar even more, so they can definitely lead to the need to unbutton your jeans.


Dr. Oz is shocked…

They may have found the “obesity killer”

Just 10 drops of this can melt up to 56 pounds in just a few months.


5. Grains

Most whole grains contain starch and gassy sugars. At the same time, wheat, oats, corn, barley and quinoa are amazing sources of fiber for smooth bowel movements and excellent gut health. This is ironic, because it means that the same grains that help your tummy feel slimmer can also trigger bloating in some people.

6. Dairy Foods

Dairy foods such as milk, cheese, yogurt and ice cream are tough for most people (about 65% of Americans) to digest properly. This is because of a sugar called lactose. If you’re lactose intolerant, you have even more problems with dairy. Eating these foods can trigger stomach cramps, bloating, nausea and other digestive problems almost immediately.

Which Foods Should You Avoid?

Fruit, veggies and whole grains are all important for a healthy digestive system. You need fiber, even though fiber also causes gas. Don’t get rid of major food groups unless your doctor says so. Of course, if a specific food causes a lot of gas, you can choose alternatives. If broccoli is giving you trouble, try romaine lettuce or spinach instead.

What Can You Do About Gas and Bloating?

This is the tricky part. Finding the best solution to gas and bloating requires a little trial and error on your part. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Keep track of what you eat to figure out the worst gas-causing foods for you

  • Eat smaller portions of foods that give you problems

  • Take your time when you eat

  • Take supplements with digestive enzymes

Instead of avoiding fruit completely, try eating half portions. This makes it easier for the good bacteria in your digestive tract to work and you still get valuable antioxidants. Probiotics and digestive enzymes can help with gas by taking great care of your gut microbiome.

Unique Ingredients That Are Good for Your Health

Are you trying to eat healthier but running out of creative ideas for nutritious meals that actually taste good? You’re not alone. It seems like I make a resolution every year to eat healthily, but I get bored of my options about a month in and give up. This year, however, I’ve decided to make sure I don’t fall for this same mistake. Since I know that eating healthy is so important if I want to maintain a good weight, avoid illnesses and just feel better about myself, I figured out a way to stick with my resolution this year.

To help me keep my meals exciting and interesting, I decided to make a game of healthy eating. Instead of eating broccoli and chicken every night, I am challenging myself to use a variety of ingredients in my meals each week. Here are some unique ingredients I decided to try. They’re very healthy, and they might just make things interesting enough that I’ll meet my goal of eating healthy all year. You should try it with me!  At the very least, it will be an educational adventure, right?

Spirulina

OK, I have to be honest here. I’ve heard about the incredible benefits of spirulina for a while, but I tasted a tiny bit of it plain once and I never wanted to eat the stuff again. But then I found out that it’s best to mask the flavor of spirulina (which is slightly fishy because it’s a seaweed) with other ingredients. It’s especially helpful to throw a teaspoon of spirulina into fruit smoothies. You won’t even taste it, but you’ll benefit from it.

Spirulina is one of the most nutrient-dense superfoods in existence. It’s full of things like protein, vitamin B3, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, copper and iron. It’s also quite an energy booster (as I can attest to!)

Kudzu

No, I didn’t just sneeze. Kudzu is a root that’s native to Japan and is also commonly called kuzu. It has a thick consistency, which makes it a great thickener for sauces or soups. Kudzu tastes a little bit like spinach, but it’s easy to mask the flavor with other ingredients.

Kudzu is thought to strengthen the circulatory and digestive systems. It may also help relieve hangovers and minimize headaches while having a general calming effect on the mind and body. Kudzu has long been used in Chinese medicine for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. I’m planning to make a Kudzu pudding this week and experience the benefits for myself.


Dr. Oz is shocked…

They may have found the “obesity killer”

Just 10 drops of this can melt up to 56 pounds in just a few months.


Maca

Maca is a well-known superfood from Peru. It’s a cruciferous root vegetable that’s often made into a powder that can be sprinkled in oatmeal, smoothies or lattes. It has an earthy taste that lends itself well to many different dishes.

Maca provides caffeine-free energy that can help you get through your day without the typical afternoon energy crash. It may also balance hormones and enhance fertility (which is not something I need, but may be great for you younger ladies!)

Cordyceps

Cordyceps is a type of nutritional mushroom that has a wide variety of health benefits. It’s easy to add it to stir-fries, stews and salads. It also comes in powder form that makes it easier to add to smoothies and lattes.

Some studies show that cordyceps can lower inflammation and support heart health. There is even research that suggests it can help slow down cancer growth! It’s also thought to reduce fatigue and help improve sex drive. Heaven knows I could use that last benefit!

Get Healthy With Me!

These are just a few of the unusual but incredibly healthy ingredients I plan to rotate into my regular meals this year. Why not join me? Let’s experience firsthand how fun and energizing healthy eating can really be.

What Everyone Gets Wrong About Turmeric

I’m a big believer in the healing power of turmeric, mainly because I’ve experienced its effects for myself. Turmeric delivers natural pain relief that’s just as powerful as extra-strength Tylenol or Advil, but without any dangerous side effects. So, what’s the problem?

Well, with all the hype going around, most people don’t actually understand how turmeric works, so they end up using it wrong. This cancels out pretty much all of the benefits you should be getting, so it ends up being a complete waste. If you follow the instructions I’m going to tell you, I promise you will see a night and day difference.

The Real Power Behind Turmeric

When you see fantastic news articles and TV shows raving about the power of turmeric, they’re not wrong. What they don’t often explain, however, it that it’s not the yellow powder on its own that has such a huge effect. The real secret is actually a tiny antioxidant in turmeric called curcumin. This medicinal compound only makes up about 3% of turmeric.

Curcumin is the real powerhouse that shines when it comes to relieving pain. This tiny antioxidant packs a huge punch, fighting inflammation in every part of your body, from joints and muscles to veins and nerves. There are a lot of scientific studies that back up the great effects of turmeric, but most of them focus specifically on curcumin.

The Idea Most People Have

Most people think that it’s enough to add a little turmeric to meals and they’re going to magically get all of the benefits that curcumin offers. They may find a spicy banana smoothie recipe that calls for sprinkling some turmeric on top and think they’re good for the day. Unfortunately, that’s not even close to true.

To enjoy the phenomenal anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric, you need around 500–1,000 mg of curcumin a day. So, how much curcumin is in 1/2 teaspoon (1,000 mg) of turmeric? Just 50–100 mg. That banana smoothie suddenly needs a LOT more turmeric to give you any anti-inflammatory benefits.

Dr. Oz is shocked…

They may have found the “obesity killer”

Just 10 drops of this can melt up to 56 pounds in just a few months.


The Right Way To Take Turmeric

Don’t get me wrong, if you want to add turmeric to curry, or drink golden tea, or stir some turmeric into a smoothie, there’s nothing bad about it. Your food will have some extra flavor and you’ll get a small amount of antioxidants, which is better than nothing.

To really experience the benefits of this amazing Indian spice, however, you need to take a supplement. Before you buy, look at the amount of curcumin on the supplement’s label. It should have concentrated turmeric with at least 95% curcuminoids added.


One More Thing

The final thing that most people don’t know is that the body isn’t very good at absorbing turmeric on its own. Most of its antioxidants and vitamins get lost. Adios curcumin and pain relief.

I told you I was going to share all of my secrets, though, so here’s a great one that makes a huge difference: use black pepper extract, or piperine. When you pair turmeric with piperine, suddenly your body can absorb 2,000% times more nutrients! High-quality turmeric supplements should have piperine or BioPerine.

Trust me, just take a supplement. It’s so much easier than trying to think up ways to add a teaspoon of turmeric to everything. And it works!

Are You Eating the 4 Best Foods for a Healthy Immune System?

One of the most import factors in a healthy immune system is your diet. Eating plenty of vitamin-rich foods can strengthen your defenses against germs. Try these four natural-health superstars:

1. Citrus Fruits

Tangy oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, lemons and limes are a delicious way to make meals more exciting. They also give your immune system a lot of vitamin C, one of the most important vitamins for staying healthy. Vitamin C increases production of white blood cells, giving you a tiny army that searches for and destroys viruses.

Easy Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette Recipe

The next time you make a salad, instead of pouring ranch dressing on it, make your own refreshing citrus vinaigrette:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (lemon juice works also)

  • 1 or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

  • 1 garlic clove, crushed or minced

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar

All you have to do is stir these ingredients together and pour them on your favorite salad.

2. Oysters

Low on zinc? Oysters and other shellfish are a great source of this immune-boosting mineral. Zinc helps the immune system function correctly.

3. Red and Green Bell Peppers

Did you know that bell peppers have even more vitamin C than oranges? They also give your immune system extra vitamin A, an antioxidant. Vitamin A helps build your immune system and makes it react more quickly to infections.

Tip: To get the most nutrients possible, keep these colorful veggies tender and crisp. Enjoy them fresh in salads, sauté them in stir fries or char them lightly on the grill.

Dr. Oz is shocked…

They may have found the “obesity killer”

Just 10 drops of this can melt up to 56 pounds in just a few months.


4. Ginger and Garlic

Garlic and ginger are a dynamic duo for enhancing your immune response. Garlic has powerful medicinal properties. Adding fresh garlic to your meals won’t prevent you from getting sick, but it may speed up your recovery.

Ginger is an herb that can neutralize microbes. It increases some of the main lines of defense your body has against infections. This spicy root is packed with nutrients and antioxidants, so it’s not surprising that ginger is so good for you.

Zesty Garlic-Ginger Chicken Soup Recipe

Remember the chicken soup your mother used to make when you were sick with a cold? This is the same thing only even better for your immune system:

  • 2 tablespoons fresh garlic

  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger

  • 1 large red onion, chopped

  • 2 pounds skinless chicken breasts (or thighs), cut into pieces

  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots

  • 1 cup mushrooms

  • 4 cups organic chicken broth

  • 6 cups water

Sauté fresh garlic, ginger and onion in a large pan with olive oil. Cook for 3 minutes.

Add the chicken, water, chicken broth, mushrooms and carrots. After bringing the liquid to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 30–60 minutes. Add salt to taste, along with extra garlic and ginger if you want additional zing.

Enjoy a bowl of soup while it’s pleasantly warm.

The Importance of Good Nutrition for a Healthy Immune System

According to Harvard Medical School, senior adults have a higher chance of getting sick than younger people. This may be because the body produces fewer immune cells. It may also be from vitamin deficiencies. Whatever the cause, as you age, you need to stay focused on eating nutritious superfoods. Healthy foods enhance your immune system and take care of the rest of your body, too.

5 Supplements To Soothe Stress and Ease Anxiety

Supplements

Stress and anxiety can take a major toll on your physical and mental well-being and adversely affect your overall quality of life. The good news is that, while there is no magic pill for mental disorders, there are healthy and natural ways to reduce the symptoms and achieve Zen-like calm. When you pair regular exercise, good eating habits and adequate sleep with the right supplements, you can effectively combat stress and enjoy a more carefree way of living.

5 Best Vitamins and Supplements for Stress and Anxiety

If you’re serious about combatting stress naturally, give the following five supplements a try. Though the names of some are difficult to pronounce, each comes with very real, proven benefits.

Melatonin

It’s no secret that a good night’s sleep is key to combatting the effects of stress and anxiety. Unfortunately, individuals who live with either know that good sleep is hard to come by. What’s more is that insufficient sleep can exacerbate the symptoms of stress and anxiety, creating a vicious cycle.

Several studies show that melatonin — which is a hormone the human body naturally produces to regulate sleep-wake cycles — improves the overall quality of sleep in individuals who have primary sleep disorders. Moreover, it helps to decrease the time it takes to fall asleep and increases total sleep time.

Rhodiola Rosea

If your stress stems from or causes chronic fatigue or burnout, rhodiola rosea may help. Rhodiola is a natural, non-toxic herb grown in the mountainous regions of Asia and Russia. It contains properties proven to stimulate the stress response system. Short and long-term studies show that 400 mg of rhodiola extract can help improve symptoms of chronic fatigue — such as issues with concentration, short-term memory and sleep — in as little as one week. As use continued, the symptoms continued to decline. A longer study revealed relief of symptoms such as irritability, exhaustion and anxiety.


Dr. Oz is shocked…

They may have found the “obesity killer”

Just 10 drops of this can melt up to 56 pounds in just a few months.


Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha, or Withania somnifera, is an herb native to India, where citizens have been using it for its soothing properties for millennia. Like with rhodiola, ashwagandha is believed to enhance the body’s ability to resile physical and mental stress. Per one study, supplement with this herb resulted in reduced levels of anxiety, stress and depression, and even reduced morning cortisol levels by as much as 23%. The results of several other studies found that individuals who used the supplement regularly scored better on stress tests.

L-theanine

Though difficult to pronounce, L-theanine is actually quite common and found in many green teas. The amino acid is commonly touted for its ability to relieve stress and promote relaxation without causing any sedative effects. Moreover, a review of 21 studies reveals that drinking green tea with L-theanine correlates directly to improved memory and attention.

L-theanine is effective on its own, too. Per the findings of one study, supplementing 200 mg of the substance daily reduces common measures of stress, including heart rate.

Glycine

Glycine is another amino acid with stress-relieving effects. Studies show that glycine encourages a good night’s sleep by calming the brain and lowering the body’s core temperature. Findings from a few different studies reveal that just 3 grams of glycine before bedtime lead to increased awareness and decreased fatigue the next day and better overall quality of sleep.

The Bottom Line

Supplements are a great way to relieve the effects of stress and anxiety and reduce the frequency of attacks. If either impacts your overall quality of life, give one of the above five supplements a try.

Start These Six Habits Now To Prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder

Do you tend to feel down when the sun starts to set earlier in the day? Do you find that symptoms of depression go away in the summer and come back in the winter like clockwork? You might have seasonal affective disorder, commonly called SAD, a type of depression that peaks during the shorter days of autumn and winter. If you're dreading the darker days because you experience the symptoms of SAD, such as low energy, depression or sluggishness, try these six smart techniques to reduce the effects of limited sunlight on your mood.

Step Into the Light

Scientists think that the symptoms of SAD stem from a lack of natural light, so sunlight exposure is an easy way to ward off these unpleasant effects. Even if it doesn't get dark before dinner yet, get in the habit of taking a walk each day while the sun's out. Whether you prefer a morning ramble or a lunchtime stroll, time your outdoor activity to max out on sunlight. If it's covered by clouds, you should still feel the effects of light exposure. Even just 10 or 15 minutes can make a difference in your demeanor.

You should also invest in a lightbox that produces at least 10,000 lumens. These nifty appliances mimic the effects of sunlight when the day is gray.

Balance Your Diet

Having the right nutrients in your body can make a big difference in depression symptoms. For example, if you have sad, you might crave sweet foods like ice cream or starchy foods like pasta and mashed potatoes. Giving in to those urges can lead to fatigue and weight gain. Instead, boost your energy with an array of rainbow-colored fruits and veggies, healthy nuts and seeds, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy.

Save the special treats for holiday celebrations, when they'll feel more festive.

Grab a Supplement

If your depression causes you to lose your appetite, consider taking multivitamins or supplements to get the nutrients you need to function. Some researchers think that a lack of vitamin D plays a role in SAD. You can get this nutrient from fatty fish, eggs, liver and fortified foods, or from a nutritional supplement. Omega-3 fatty acid intake may also reduce depression symptoms.

Sweat It Out

Have you heard of a runner's high? Exercise helps the body produce endorphins, hormones that make us feel good and offer an energy increase. Instead of reaching for another cup of coffee when you have the afternoon blahs, try jogging around the block a few times or finding a quick dance workout video on YouTube. Try to stick to the federal recommendation of at least 30 minutes of exercise at least five days a week. When you get your heart pumping, you may find it reduces the effects of SAD.

Become a Social Butterfly

OK, so you don't necessarily have to fill up your event calendar, especially if you're not thrilled about heading out in winter weather. Just meeting a friend for coffee and conversation once a week or so can seriously improve your outlook when you're struggling with SAD. Virtual connection counts too! Schedule a Zoom call with your long-distance bestie or text a family member you haven't seen in person lately.

Know When To Get Help

Make a plan so you seek help for SAD if the symptoms get out of control despite your best efforts. If you don't notice a change in your symptoms after two weeks of these self-care measures, talk to your health care provider. He or she can recommend the best course of treatment for your seasonal depression, often a combination of antidepressants and behavioral therapy.

Sometimes, SAD can cause thoughts of suicide. Get help right away if you have thoughts about hurting yourself. Go to the emergency room or call your doctor.