Constitutional Health Network:
Feel Energized

I’ve been saying it for years: the answer to most of our chronic disease isn’t drugs, it’s changing the way we live. Study after study shows that lifestyle changes nearly always trump drug treatment for our biggest health problems like heart disease and diabetes and now there’s yet another study to add to the list. Researchers at the University of Helsinki in Finland have just given us one more reason to make sure we get enough sleep. Their study found that just one week of insufficient sleep raises your cholesterol. And more than that, it actually changes how the genes that regulate cholesterol work. Sleep isn’t self-indulgent, it’s vital to your health We’ve known for some time that lack of sleep makes you gain weight. We’ve known that it causes system-wide inflammation. Not long ago researchers showed that it causes beta-amyloid plaque to build up in your brain, just like it does in Alzheimer’s brains. The list of ...

Have you ever been torn between "what your head is telling you" and "what your heart is telling you"? If so, you might be surprised at just how much your heart does have to say. It's a little-known fact outside of scientific circles, but your heart actually contains some 40,000 neurons — the same cells which make up the bulk of your brain.    And they don't just respond to directions from the brain. The heart also sends messages to the brain — messages that go beyond basic messages like pain signals and other unconscious data. It also sends messages to the parts of the brain which process thoughts and emotions. This means that your heart really can affect your decisions and feelings.    The phrase "listen to your heart" takes on a whole new meaning when you consider this information.  Exploring the "heart mind" The term "heart mind" was coined in 1991 to describe ...

We'd all like to have more energy. Eating real food, not overloading ourselves with chemicals, and keeping active are a good start. But there's fast and simple way to give both your physical and mental energy levels an extra boost all day long. It doesn't cost anything, and it doesn't take any special equipment. You can do it anytime and almost anywhere. What is it?  Yoga I know what you're probably thinking. I'm not flexible enough to do yoga. Or maybe I'm not doing yoga! That's for old hippies and New Age wierdos. Fortunately, neither of these things is true.  Yes you CAN do yoga, and here's why you should try it The health benefits of yoga would take up more room than I have in this newsletter. It builds your core strength. It increases your flexibility, which makes you less likely to be injured if you take a fall. It makes your bones stronger. It lowers your stress levels, boosts your immune system, and improves your ...

After a heart attack, you might think that the last thing you need to do is exercise. After all, your heart’s been injured, right? And when you injure a muscle, the best thing to do is to let it rest and recuperate. …Right? In the case of your heart, no.   For decades, doctors prescribed bed rest immediately after a heart attack. Heart patients were advised to avoid physical activity, often for weeks or even months. Today we know better. The evidence is overwhelming - exercise is one of the best ways to help heal your heart and prevent a second heart attack. And the sooner you start doing it, the better. Can exercise mend a broken heart? You have a heart attack when blood flow to your heart is cut off. This leaves part of your heart muscle starved for oxygen, and the cells start to die. Once heart cells die, they’re not restored - your body fills in the damaged areas with scar tissue. These areas of scar tissue are thinner and ...

While I’m the first to agree that the prescription for health for most of us is to eat better and exercise more, there’s another important message that seldom gets airtime. That being: when it comes to exercise, more isn’t necessarily better. It’s true that the average person today probably doesn’t get the exercise they need. However, being active and fit doesn’t mean you have to work out at the gym for two hours each day or run a marathon. In fact, doing either of those things could very well harm your heart rather than helping it. It’s true that most of us are far more likely to under-exercise than to over-exercise. But for the truly fitness-minded a word of caution is in order. While working out up to an hour per day has huge health benefits, going beyond that hour doesn’t have much of an additional effect. And if you have a grueling cardio training schedule, you could actually end up with scar tissue in your heart. This ...

Advice urging us to exercise, exercise, exercise is a constant drumbeat in the background of most health advice today. It's good advice, of course. As our jobs and lifestyles have changed over the past few decades, we've come to a point where most of us get a fraction of the exercise we need.  There's another message woven through much of this advice, though. It's seldom stated outright but the subliminal cues are there. It's the idea that "exercise" has to some sort of special project that you take time out for.    You might not notice it, but there's a real bias toward "commercial" types of exercise. There's a subtle message that if you're not going to a gym or maybe running, you're not "really" exercising. There are tons of articles and blog posts on the importance of making time for exercise or how to carve an hour out of your busy day to get some gym time ...

The guidelines on what “healthy” blood pressure is are all over the place. For decades, “normal” blood pressure was accepted as whatever your age was plus 100. So a twenty-year old was expected to have a BP no higher than 120/80. A forty-year old, 140/90. And if you were 60, a top number of 160 was considered perfectly acceptable. But medicine changes its mind more often than most of us change our socks, and today some doctors are trying to push blood pressure lower and lower. Many consider a BP of 140 “high” and prescribe drugs no matter what your age. And a growing number want to “aggressively” treat anything higher than 120/80, often using three or more drugs in the effort. This is not a good thing. Not only is there no evidence showing that aggressive treatment like this lowers your risk for heart disease, the side effects from the drugs can be profound. And here’s what no one is telling you: most people can lower ...

In the first part of this series we talked about how losing weight—and keeping it off—is about more than just counting calories or following a special diet for a set time. Of course these things can help you lose weight. However, as studies show us time and again, losing weight this way tends to be a temporary fix. People who “diet” generally put the weight right back on—and often gain more than they lost in the first place. The bottom line is this: diets simply don’t work in the long term. If you want to lose weight, diets just set you up for failure. Why? Because they only change your eating habits short-term. They don’t address what lies beneath your eating habits—your beliefs about and relationship to food. To lose weight and be successful, this is what has to change. Now here’s the part you probably don’t want to hear—the reason so many try fad diets and ultimately fail: this kind of change doesn’t ...

When you hear the phrase “heart disease,” what springs to mind is probably coronary artery disease—plaque buildup in the arteries of your heart. In reality, “heart disease” isn’t any single disease but a catch-all term that includes a lot of different conditions from coronary artery disease to congestive heart failure and more. Most of us know that chest pain and pain down one arm might mean we’re having a heart attack. We probably know that sudden weakness on one side of the body could indicate a stroke. But the signs and symptoms of many types of heart problems can be much more subtle. Some are easily overlooked. Some can be mistaken for other conditions. The issues below fall into this category. They might not be anything to worry about. But depending on the state of your health—and especially if you’re suffering from more than one of them—they just might be a sign that something is going on with your ...

You’ve probably heard it before. It seems like everyone from part-time gym rats to professional fitness trainers is telling us we shouldn’t do it. “You shouldn’t exercise at night, because…” The “because” might be any one of a dozen things, but the most common I hear are: “It releases endorphins.” (True, but that’s not a bad thing.) “It increases your adrenaline levels.” (Also true, but not a reason to not exercise at night as long as you don’t do it too close to bedtime.) “It raises your core temperature for several hours.” (True. Exercise does raise your core temperature for 5-6 hours afterward. Is that a reason not to exercise at night? Maybe, maybe not.) “You won’t sleep as well.” (Not necessarily true—the evidence is conflicting.) What you won’t hear is the REAL reason you shouldn’t work out at night. It’s ...

After a heart attack, you might think that the last thing you need to do is exercise. After all, your heart’s been injured, right? And when you injure a muscle, the best thing to do is to let it rest and recuperate. …Right? In the case of your heart, no. For decades, doctors prescribed bed rest immediately after a heart attack. Heart patients were advised to avoid physical activity, often for weeks or even months. Today we know better. The evidence is overwhelming—exercise is one of the best ways to help heal your heart and prevent a second heart attack. And the sooner you start doing it, the better. Can exercise mend a broken heart? You have a heart attack when blood flow to your heart is cut off. This leaves part of your heart muscle starved for oxygen, and the cells start to die. Once heart cells die, they’re not restored—your body fills in the damaged areas with scar tissue. These areas of scar tissue are thinner and weaker than the ...

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