HERBS FOR HEALTH MANAGEMENT

Herbs are a foundational root in medicine and health treatments, dating back thousands of years throughout every culture around the world. Modern Western herbalism comes from ancient Egypt. The Greeks developed a comprehensive philosophy of herbal medicine by 100 BCE and the Romans built upon it to create a variety of medical practices, some of which are still used today.

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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE IMPACTS PSYCHOLOGICAL HARDINESS

Psychological hardiness is an individual’s resistance to stress, anxiety and depression. It includes the ability to withstand grief and accept the loss of loved ones. Alternative medicine is a more popular term for health and wellness therapies that have typically not been part of conventional Western medical approaches but are often used along with conventional medicinal protocols.  Coping and dealing with stress in a positive manner play a major role in maintaining the balance needed for health and well-being.

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ALTERNATIVE REMEDIES FOR ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION

Interest in complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM) is increasing as consumers and health care professionals search for additional ways to treat anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders. Some of these remedies include:

St. John’s Wort.  More than 30 studies show it to be effective for treatment of mild forms of depression,…

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THE EMERGING SCIENCE UNDERLYING WEIGHT LOSS

ABOUT THE AUTHORS



This article was team written by graduate students in the Nutritional Sciences and Pharmacology Students Association within the Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Kentucky and Dr. Sara Police.

in men. TRF has also been associated with decreased blood glucose and improvements in cholesterol, thereby reducing type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome risk.


Implementing a feeding/fasting pattern such as TRF can help keep circadian rhythms on track, even if you are jet lagged or deprived of natural sunlight (typical during the winter). In addition, consistent feeding and fasting rhythms contribute to a diverse and healthy gut microbiome (good for the bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract), which is important to keep energy metabolism on track. Remember this is a new field of research; it is always a good idea to speak with a health professional before changing your eating patterns or trying TRF.


GUT HEALTH RECOMMENDATIONS FROM A REGISTERED DIETITIAN


There are many gut health fads out there, but strategies to support gut health are actually very simple. To start, beneficial bacteria in the gut thrive off foods we eat that our bodies cannot completely digest. The best example of this is fiber. Dietary fibers are a primary fuel source for bacterial metabolism, helping the beneficial microbes in the gut thrive. To increase dietary fiber, incorporate more fruits, vegetables and whole grains into your diet.

WATCH THE CLOCK FOR GUT HEALTH


The human body has an internal clockwork called the circadian rhythm. Circadian means “around a day” in Latin and refers to a cycle of about 24 hours. Your circadian rhythm helps control basic physiologic functions, from energy metabolism to the immune system. With a New Year in full stride, many people hope to leave bad eating habits behind. Forget fad diets or cutting out carbs. Instead, take advantage of your internal clock to boost energy metabolism.


During the day, the human body is primed for energy extraction (and use) from food. However, at night, the body is engineered to rest and repair. Being mindful of when you eat – and when you do not – can be beneficial to overall health. Recently, eating patterns such as time- restricted feeding (TRF) have become popular. An important aspect to consider with TRF is that the number of calories are not restricted; instead, the amount of time during the day when calories are consumed is limited. TRF promotes a feeding window of eight to 10 hours each day; during the remaining 14 to 16 hours, you will fast (i.e., consume no food or energy-containing drinks).


Recent research has demonstrated favorable outcomes with this eating pattern, including protection against obesity. In human research studies, TRF with an overnight fast of more than 11 hours caused significant weight changes, with 2-percent weight loss over a two-week period




Additional ways to improve gut health include managing stress and getting enough sleep. When stress increases and sleep is disturbed, it is common to have disruptions in bowel habits. In fact, research has shown a link between stress, sleep and a healthy gut microbiome. Finally, make sure you are eating. Skipping meals can slow down digestion while the body tries to extract all the calories it can from the food it receives. When this happens, constipation is common and may lead to disruptions of your gut microbiome. Because of this, highly restrictive and/or chronic dieting is not advised.


Use caution if you choose to try intermittent fasting (IF) or TRF. This area of research is still very new and we are still learning about these methods. Becoming restrictive and rigid with eating habits can be harmful to the mental health of some individuals. If you have a history of an eating disorder, intermittent fasting may not be the best idea for you. However, if you are in a good headspace with food and choose to try intermittent fasting, start small by implementing a 12- to 16-hour fast (for example, from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. or 8 p.m. to 12 p.m.).


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