The Top Five Threats To Your Health

There are a lot of things which compete for your time and attention these days. In an effort to manage all the demands on your time, you may be tempted to let your health take a backseat. Yet, your health is one of the most precious things you possess and it's vital to your being able to successfully meet the challenges at hand. Here are five areas where your health could be at risk and some steps you can take to counter those threats.

Top Five Threats To Your Health

1. Stress:

You've probably guessed that stress would figure in somewhere on this list. Well, it ranks as number one. What puts stress at the top of the list is the fact that all of the other 4 threats to your health are influenced by the amount of stress in your life.

Nearly everyone is affected by stress, including kids. Sadly, prolonged stress may even start to feel "normal" to you, but there is nothing normal about its effects on your health. When it comes to a dangerous, life-threatening situation, the stress response - that fight, flight or freeze reaction - is healthy and key to your physical survival. But when every day is filled with physical, financial, social or work challenges, the stress response itself becomes a threat to your health and overtime, stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol start to break down your body.

If the cause of stress in your life is not modified or removed, it can lead to chronic illness. As shown here, every part of your body is susceptible to the effects of ongoing stress:

  • Digestion: Irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, constipation, weight gain

  • Lungs: Asthma, bronchitis

  • Heart and Circulation: High blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, heart attack, stroke

  • Musculoskeletal System: Arthritis, fibromyalgia

  • Nervous System: Depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder

  • Cognition: Dementia

  • Reproduction: Infertility, erectile dysfunction

  • Immune System: Chronic fatigue syndrome, autoimmune disease

The causes of stress in your life may be easy to pinpoint, like work, finances or family. They may also be less apparent, but may nevertheless leave their mark by making you feel tired and weak or by adding some weight to your waistline. Here's a list of some common stressors:

  • Psychological: Family, finances, work, school/university, major life events

  • Physiological: Infection, accidents, surgery, pain (acute & chronic), repeated intense sports, poor sleep

  • Environmental: Exposure to chemicals & toxins, allergens, mold, noise & air pollution

  • Metabolic: Nutritional deficiencies, prescription medications, inflammation, diets high in fats, sugar or salt, impaired ability to clear toxins

Life is stressful, but the good news is you can counteract stress. Your body is resilient and capable of recovery. Here are a few ways you can start to reduce the ill effects of stress on your health:

  • Get more sleep. Your body repairs itself while you sleep. Adequate sleep - 7-9 hours each night - will enable you to better cope with the stressors in your life.

  • Take just a few minutes to breathe from your belly. Deep breathing increases your oxygen intake, releases tension, and directly counteracts the negative impact of stress on your nervous system. Do this for five minutes each day for 2 weeks and you will have developed a habit that will increase your stress resilience.

  • Take time to eat three healthy meals each day.

  • Take a break from your work or whatever challenge you may be facing and go for a walk or bike ride. Movement, coupled with some fresh air can help you focus more effectively on the challenges at hand.

When faced with too much to do and too little time, you might be tempted to skip meals, workouts and even getting enough sleep. But these three things - along with the breathing exercises - are among the most important ways you can combat stress. Taking time to look for ways to build them into your schedule and keep them there is key to transforming stress.

2. Inflammation:

You don't get far in life without getting a few bumps and scrapes. When your body suffers injury, your immune system quickly jumps into action and produces the familiar signs of acute inflammation: swelling, pain, redness, and heat. This acute inflammatory reaction is a good thing - a normal and necessary part of the healing process. Sometimes, however, the inflammatory response continues unabated. It's then that too much of a good thing becomes a bad thing, resulting in a state of chronic inflammation which can wreak havoc with our health without our even knowing it. Overtime, this can lead to serious conditions like heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, and cancer.

The ugly truth about chronic inflammation is the fact that our lifestyles play a major role in the development of this serious condition:

  • Prolonged stress

  • Smoking

  • Poor dietary habits

  • Too much alcohol

  • Obesity

Even things like too little exercise or too much exercise - overexertion - can negatively impact our bodies' ability to resolve acute inflammation properly.

Overtime, these things add up and then interfere with the normal immune response so that the inflammation never stops.

Food allergies also cause low-grade inflammation which overtime can damage the lining of our gut. Similarly, prolonged use of antibiotics can disturb the normal balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut, resulting in an inflamed and leaky gut lining. Once the lining of the gut is inflamed, it can become more permeable. Important nutrients aren't absorbed while toxins, pathogens, and other undesirable substances are absorbed and go on to cause inflammation in other parts of the body.

Since chronic inflammation is often silent, it's important to be aware of it's signs. Here are a few common signs:

  • Digestive problems

  • Insomnia

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Weight Gain - especially increases in your waistline

  • Always feeling hungry

  • Headaches

  • Poor concentration

  • Dazed feeling when you wake up

The good news is that you can heal from chronic inflammation and can take steps to prevent it from rearing its ugly head. Depending upon your symptoms, your health care practitioner may order blood tests to clarify the source of the inflammation. Since chronic inflammation is often caused by more than one factor, true healing necessitates a holistic approach that takes your health, your diet, your relationships, as well as your home and work environments into account.

Many people turn to over-the-counter, anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, Ibuprofen, Advil or to prescription medications like steroids for relief. While they all reduce inflammation, they have side effects and fail to treat the underlying cause of the inflammation. Here are a few key changes you can make to reduce inflammation:

  • Cut out inflammatory foods: fast food, sugary foods, high glycemic carbohydrates, processed meats, meats with low quality fat, and foods high in pro-inflammatory fats like Omega 6.

  • If you aren't already taking Omega 3 supplements, do so. But choose a high quality fish oil, one without environmental contaminants. Omega 3s from plant sources are also available if you can't tolerate fish oils.

  • Cook with healthy oils that can withstand high heat like coconut, red palm, and rice bran oils. It's best to use extra virgin olive oil or flax seed oil on salads or after food has been cooked. If you do cook with olive oil, don't overheat it.

  • Limit your red meat consumption and eat only grass fed beef.

  • Eat wild caught fish. Preferably, salmon, mackerel, sardines.

  • Eat lots of vegetables, but limit your intake of starchy vegetables.

  • If you don't eat fresh fruit, add it to your diet, but stick to fruits low in fruit sugar like apples and berries.

  • Exercise! Even just adding a walk to your daily routine will help.

  • Get enough sleep. Our bodies regenerate while we sleep.

  • Look for ways you can reduce your level of stress. This may mean saying "no" to some activities, but the benefits to your health will be well worth it.

  • OmegaGenics SPM's are formulated to help your immune system resolve inflammation by removing the debris in your tissues - something Omega 3 oils don't do - so that healing can take place.

3. An Unhealthy Gut

Did you know that your gut is one of the key components of your immune system, not to mention your overall health? Your gut contains over 11 trillion bacteria that line the walls of your gastro-intestinal tract and act to help you properly digest and absorb nutrients from food, synthesize vitamins, as well as inactivate and eliminate toxins and other unwanted organisms.

An imbalance in the various types of bacteria (good and bad bacteria) that populate your gut can have far-reaching consequences on your health. When the healthy balance in your gut is disturbed, the lining of your gut becomes inflamed and no longer functions optimally. The result is a leaky gut and the potential for a myriad of health problems:

  • Food allergies & intolerances

  • Nutritional deficiencies

  • Disruption of normal metabolism via the absorption of partially digested proteins which can inhibit the normal process of hormone and neurotransmitter metabolism.

  • Overgrowth of yeast and bad bacteria that can travel through the leaky gut lining and cause problems in other parts of your body.

  • Absorption of metabolic wastes and microbial toxins which would normally be eliminated via the gut, but end up entering your blood stream. This increases your body's overall toxic load, putting more stress on the liver which works to detoxify your blood.

  • Increased stress on the immune system as chronic inflammation of the gut forces it to constantly react to substances that come into contact with and can be absorbed through your leaky gut.

  • Greater potential for developing allergies, asthma, and auto-immune illnesses.

  • Greater risk of developing anxiety, depression, autism, and ADHD from neurotoxins produced by the overgrowth of bad bacteria are absorbed into the bloodstream and affect the brain.

Over the course of your life, many things can impact the balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut:

  • Being bottle-fed as a baby

  • Stress

  • Use of antibiotics

  • Medications like antacids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antidepressants, and the Pill

  • Diet high in carbohydrates, refined sugars

  • Drinking chlorinated water

If you've been struggling with health issues, your gut is one of the first places you should look to for answers. Healing and sealing a leaky and inflamed gut involves several steps:

  • Identifying the type of bacterial imbalance

  • Taking probiotic supplements based on your bacterial deficiencies

  • Identifying any food allergies/intolerances and adjusting your diet accordingly

  • Nourishing the good bacteria in your gut by eating adequate amounts of fiber

  • Eating foods that contain lots of healthy bacteria like yogurt, kefir, kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles, tempeh & miso soup

  • Targeted nutritional support for your gut

  • Drinking enough water and exercising to facilitate regular bowel movements

4. Toxic Overload

In today's world, toxins come in many forms. Environmental pollutants affect the air you breathe, the water you drink, the food you eat, and the products you use. Then there are the toxins produced within your own body as a result of medications, an unhealthy gut or the impaired ability of your own body to get rid of toxins naturally. Alone or in combination, these toxins can mount an attack on your physical and mental health. But what about your relationships, your work environment, and your own thought patterns? Toxicity in any of these areas can also negatively affect your overall well-being.

The symptoms of toxicity are as varied as the organs that are affected. Here are some of common symptoms associated with toxicity:

  • Allergies

  • Anxiety

  • Brain fog

  • Chronic fatigue

  • Depression

  • Digestive problems

  • Fertility problems

  • Headaches

  • Joint pain

  • Kidney dysfunction

  • Learning disorders

  • Lethargy

  • Memory loss

  • Mineral imbalances

  • Multiple chemical sensitivities

  • Panic attack

  • Skin problems

  • Tinnitus

Here are some of the chronic illnesses associated with exposure to toxins found in commonly used fast food packaging, personal care products, household cleaning products, cookware, dental fillings, and pesticides/insecticides:

  • Cancer

  • Diabetes

  • Obesity

  • Parkinson's Disease

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis