A Navy SEAL Explains The Benefits of Ending A Shower With Cold Water

By Joe Martino

  • The Facts: Former Navy SEAL Clint Emerson, author of 100 Deadly Skills: The SEAL Operative’s Guide to Eluding Pursuers, Evading Capture, and Surviving Any Dangerous Situation, explains why it can be healthy for you to end a shower with cold water.
  • Reflect On: Little life health hacks like this can be beneficial in ways we were previously unaware of. It’s harmless, and always worth a try if interested.

There’s nothing like a warm shower when we want to relax or even warm up on a cold winter day. The idea of subjecting ourselves to cold showers can actually seem crazy at times given how luxurious it has become to enjoy hot showers. But the truth is a cold shower can provide a lot of benefits that you may want to consider.

I’ve had many cold showers in my day, almost all by choice. It all started when I was a kid and felt that the cold had a potential to heal certain things. Although I lived in Toronto, Canada, and we had cold winters, I almost never wore a winter coat from the age of 16 up until now (I’m 30). I’ve just always felt strongly about the power of the cold and what it can do for mental strength and increasing your mind-body connection on a spiritual level.

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Former Navy SEAL Clint Emerson, author of 100 Deadly Skills: The SEAL Operative’s Guide to Eluding Pursuers, Evading Capture, and Surviving Any Dangerous Situation, explains why it can be healthy for you to end a shower with cold water.

Here are 5 great reasons to have cold showers regularly.

1. Improves Immunity & Circulation

Running cold water over your body at the end of a shower can improve circulation as blood is sent throughout your arteries to surround your organs. It can be viewed in the same way we run certain systems at high performance every so often to keep it maintained and well oiled. Increased blood flow can also help certain skin and heart issues as well as lower blood pressure, help clear blocked arteries and improve our immune system.

2. Improves Hair and Skin Condition

Hot water can dry out your skin and hair. Of course, it doesn’t help that there are high levels of chlorine coming out of our showers which has a drying-out effect on skin and hair as well. If you can run your shower colder or finish cold at the end, it’s a natural way to keep your skin and hair from drying out as cold water tightens cuticles and pores. This helps to prevent natural oils on the scalp and skin to be stripped away so easily. By keeping a proper oil balance you will have soft, shiny natural looking hair. This also helps to keep the skin and scalp cleaner as well.

3. Increase Alertness

Have you ever woken up early in the morning and felt tired hopping in the shower and as you feel the warm water running over your body you want to jump right back into bed? This is where cold showers can come in handy. As cold water hits your neck it causes you to do that almost slightly shocked deep breath. This increases oxygen intake and also gets the heart rate up which pumps blood through the body faster giving the body a nice natural surge of energy.

4. Eases Stress & Depression

Cold showers have also been shown to help decrease stress levels. One study found that exposure to cold helped decrease uric acid levels and increase glutathione, an antioxidant considered to be one of the most important for a healthy body.[1] The participants swam regularly in ice-cold water during the winter months and it was found that they adapted to repeated oxidative stress.

Another study found that cold hydrotherapy (i.e. cold showers) helped to improve moods and had an anti-depressive effect with no bad side effects or creation of dependency. Subjects were tested with one to two cold showers at 38 degrees Fahrenheit that were two to three minutes long. These were followed by a five-minute gradual adaptation to make the procedure less shocking.[2]

5. Speeds Up Muscle Soreness and Recovery

A study conducted in 2009 found that people who rested or immersed themselves in cold water after their exercise saw a decrease in onset muscle soreness caused by resistance training, cycling or running. It was found that a 24 minute bath in water with temperatures around 10 – 15 degrees Celsius (50F – 59F) was most effective. Taking a cold shower after your workouts would still have a positive effect on muscle soreness as well. The longer you go the greater the benefit.[3] Research also believe that alternating hot and cold at the end of a shower after a workout may help reduce pain and speed recovery by decreasing blood lactate concentration.[4]

How To

So how do you do it? Well you turn on the water cold and hop in.. sort of. There’s actually some differing ideas on exactly how to take a cold shower and one of the ways that I’ve used most is listed below from blog.iamgary.com.

  1. Turn the water on, set to cold. Some people will tell you to start warm and decrease the temperature slowly each time you shower, then start a little colder each day. Yes, that method will eventually result in taking a cold shower but you’re going to miss out on the heart-pounding exhilaration that you only experience fully the first couple times you take a cold shower. It doesn’t have to be ice cold, just cold.
  2. Feet first. Your feet will adjust to the temperature fastest so get them under the spray and work your lower body under the water as quickly as you can. By the time the water is splashing your stomach you’ll be looking for a distraction so…
  3. Hands second. Get your hands and arms wet, then splash water over your torso. By now your legs and front should be thoroughly wet.
  4. Head under! You’re going to be be breathing heavily and involuntarily so be careful not to inhale any water through your nose or mouth. You’re going to feel alright, like hey I can do this, but you’ve forgotten part of your body…
  5. Back last. Millions of nerve fibres are routed through your spine so getting your back wet is the hardest part. You’re going to feel a lot of sensations, almost an electrical charge crackling up and down your back. Get this wet last then finish washing and scrubbing. Good job, you’ve taken a cold shower.

Article source: Collective Evolution

Joe Martino — I founded CE 9 years ago as I love inspiring others to find joy, peace and make lasting shifts in consciousness in their lives. I’ve been working to formulate a new style of media, ‘Conscious Media,’ that tells stories without polarity and division. That digs to the truth and isn’t afraid to look, and that helps viewers make change in their lives as a result of what they view.

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The Chemistry of Stress and How It Affects Your Health

Dr. Fahad Basheer

  • The Facts: Stress can have unhealthy biological consequences.
  • Reflect On: Why are we not taught as youngsters to deal with and handle stress, and other emotions?

During my general practice, I often encounter many cases that stem from stress. Gastritis is one of the common clinical presentations that come in O.P. A thorough evaluation of the patient’s day will clearly explain why he developed gastritis (stress), and most patients have no problem admitting that they had a stressful day. And so, quite often, I am treating a psychological problem which was manifested as a physical one.

In an interesting study conducted in prisoners of the World War II, it was found that the risk of developing peptic ulcer was twice higher than that of the controls. There are several other issues, like stress induced hypertension, diabetes, bronchial asthma, infections, etc., which come to an O.P. This might make one wonder why stress can cause so many clinical disorders. I will explain why this happens in this article.

In our daily life we often undergo stressful situations. There is no avoiding them. The stress that one experiences is nothing but the response of the body to its outer environment and the mind to its inner fears. These inner fears may be the result of anything, from an examination, one’s family, a job or responsibility, or an encounter with a person or situation one dislikes, etc. (1)

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Do you know what exactly happens to the body when we are stressed?

Imagine that you have met with an accident. What happens next? The adrenal gland, which is located just above the kidneys, responds to the accident by releasing an emergency hormone known as adrenaline into the bloodstream. This hormone helps in combating daily life stress by changing the body physiology. The adrenaline decreases the flow of blood to the gut and shunts the blood to the body muscles to tackle the tough situation the body is faced with. This gives your muscles more energy to combat the accident. The adrenaline produced at that time shuts down the functioning of the immune system and gut by decreasing their blood supply. This is known as the flight or fight response. This natural response is one of the greatest gifts the human body has for combating external threats that we often encounter in our daily life. This response gives us more power and energy to survive any external threats (like accidents, being chased by wild animals, etc.). (1)

This was also the case for our ancient ancestors. One flight-fight response would save their life from wild animals. This response is present in every animal to combat their enemies and to save their life from predators. Once the external threat vanishes, the flight-fight response subsides and the body restores its normal functioning. (1)

But this begs the question, why does modern man face this much stress in the absence of predators?

Normally, when an external threat is removed, adrenaline production halts and the body will restore its normal functioning. But when we are stressed and the threat is internal (negative thoughts and negative emotions), the production of adrenaline is constant. This will cause deleterious and harmful effects to the body unless the internal threat — “the stress” — is managed. In this situation, “stress” the hormone causes more harm than good. (1)

Do you know why and how exactly negative thoughts impact the body?

The latest research reveals that this adrenaline is not only produced while combating an accident, threat, or disaster, but also when we are stressed more generally. Stress is indeed the disease of modern man. It follows him wherever he goes, and research shows that “the adrenaline is even produced in the body when a person undergoes a negative thought in his mind, or even when he feels negative emotions” and “the adrenaline is produced the same moment he experience negative thoughts and negative emotion.” The fact is that “there is no time lag between production of adrenaline and negative thoughts that pass through his mind or the negative emotions he feels within.” (1)

So how badly will this adrenaline affect our body? Adrenaline causes the following:

(1) Increased blood sugar: Adrenaline increases glucose production from liver to blood and decreases the production of insulin, thereby raising blood sugar. This predisposes someone to diabetes mellitus. (1)

(2) Increased blood pressure: Adrenaline increases blood pressure by constricting arterioles and veins, thereby raising blood pressure. This predisposes someone to hypertension. (1)

(3) Increased risk of cardiac diseases: Adrenaline increases the rate, force, and contraction of heart muscles and causes arrhythmias. Concurrent stimulation of the heart due to stress can place an increased workload on the heart, leading to increased chances of getting a heart attack. Women have a premenopausal estrogen that protects them from stress related heart disease. (1)

(4) Obesity: Adrenaline can move fat from storage depots and relocate it to fat cell deposits in the abdomen. This causes an increase in body mass index and generates obesity. Obesity is one of the risk factors for developing diabetes and coronary artery disease. (1)

(5) Indigestion and chronic constipation: Adrenaline decreases blood supply to the gut, decreases peristalsis of the bowel, and increases sphincter tone by acting on its receptors. This leads to indigestion and chronic constipation. (1)

(6) Increases susceptibility to bacterial, fungal, and viral infections: Adrenaline suppresses the functioning of immune cells required to combat infectious diseases and thereby increases a person’s susceptibility to bacterial, fungal, and viral infections. Higher stress levels increase our susceptibility to H.pylori infections in the stomach and common gastritis. Chronic stress can increase the chances for Urinary tract infections in females. (1,2)

(7) Increases muscle tension: Adrenaline increases blood flow to muscles and causes increased muscle tension. This leads to tension headaches that we often experience at the end of our working days. The tight muscles can cause headache, shoulder pain, backache, and body pain. Chronic stress induced muscle tension can later predispose us to fibromyalgia, etc. (2)

(8) Decreased interest in sex: Adrenaline decreases the testosterone produced in men and estrogen in women, both needed for sexual arousal. Chronic stress can cause decreased sperm production and erectile dysfunction or impotence. (2)

(9) Altered menstrual cycle: Chronic stress can cause irregular or no menstruation. Sometimes it can cause heavy or painful bleeding. (2)

(10) Creates psychic disorders: Chronic stress is one of the fundamental causes for conditions like overeating, under-eating, and alcohol and drug abuse. (1, 2)

So what exactly is the solution for attaining health?

The answer is simple, but tough to achieve. Wipe away our daily life stress!

You might be wondering how we can avoid something which seems so ingrained into modern life. The first step is to bring uncontrolled thoughts and emotions into our control.

To do that, we can use a variety of techniques. NLP psychotherapeutics, mindfulness, and meditation are all wonderful tools we can use to achieve mastery over our thoughts and emotions.

SOURCES

(1) The Science of Emotions: Dr. Fahad Basheer

(2) The Effect of Stress On The Body: Ann Pietrangelo


Article source: Collective Evolution

Dr. Fahad Basheer is an author and a medical consultant. He is a highly influential independent researcher of consciousness, mind body continuum system and its applications in medicine. He has specialized in NLP psycho therapeutics. He is the author of the book The Science of Emotions. He has published numerous articles to different magazines and medical journals.

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Time Spent In Nature Will Save $6 Trillion Globally In Mental Health Care Costs, Claim Australian Researchers

By Alanna Ketler

  • The Facts: Spending time outdoors can have a drastically positive impact on our mental health.
  • Reflect On: How often are you getting outside? A short walk or a sit in a park is enough for you to reap the benefits Mother Nature has to offer.

Are you stressed, frustrated, feeling down, anxious, having a hard time sleeping? Then look no further, the remedy you’ve been awaiting is here to soothe and comfort you, to bring relief, calmness, and happiness. And the best part? It’s absolutely free and available to all whenever you want it. If you didn’t already know, or just need a refresher, I’m talking about the great outdoors. Here is a new study that has actually put a dollar value on the improvement in well-being simply from visiting the park.

Researchers from Griffith University, Australia have concluded that that time spent in national parks and protected areas saves approximately $6 trillion globally in mental health care costs. Lead author of the study Ralf Buckley feels that although this is a conservative estimate, it is still “10 times greater than the global value of park tourism and 100 times greater than the global value of park agency budgets.”

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How Did They Reach This Conclusion?

The researchers surveyed a population-representative sample of around 20,000 Australians from Queensland and Victoria and asked the participants involved in the study to describe their overall mental health and also how often they visit parks, recently and over the course of their lives. According to Buckley, his team then used a statistical regression technique in order to “identify what proportion of their well-being was due to park visits.”

The researchers found that 2.5 to 3 % of a person’s mental health is determined by how often they visit parks or get into nature. Although this number might seem quite low, it is about the same percentage as the effect of having additional income on a person’s mental health, the study concluded.

What researchers defined as the “health services value” was calculated to be about $100 billion for Australia’s national parks. These findings suggest that national parks contribute $6 billion to the global economy.

You can scale up by mental health factors; quality-adjusted life years; population. You can scale up by GDP. You can scale up by number of park visits. We don’t know which will prove to be the best scaling factor. Depending which of those factors we use, we get a different number. And that’s why we have that big range. –Ralf Buckley

This study adds to the abundant body of research that measures the economic benefits from simply spending time outside.

Although spending time on hikes, up mountains and in forests is amazing and feels great, especially if you can get out of the city and away from noise, pollution, and EMFs, it is not absolutely necessary. Simply spending 20 minutes in a park is enough to improve a person’s mental health.

From PRI,

Scientists have also found nature to have a psychological effect on humans’ well-being. Researchers at Chiba University in Japan pointed to the fact that of the 7 million years of human evolution, “less than 0.01% of our species’ history has been spent in modern surroundings.”

“The gap between the natural setting, for which our physiological functions are adapted, and the highly urbanized and artificial setting that we inhabit is a contributing cause of the ‘stress state’ in modern people,” the 2016 Chiba University study said. In the future, the researchers added, long-term data over days, weeks, and months will be needed to clarify nature’s impact on humans’ physiology.

“Considering the significance of quality of life in our modern stressful society, the importance of nature therapy will further increase. The therapeutic effects of natural stimulation suggest a simple, accessible, and cost-effective method to improve the quality of life and health of modern people,” the study continued.

Forest Bathing

The Japanese and Chinese seem to have figured this one out as they regularly practice what is referred to as shinrin-yoku, or forest therapies. Here is what self-proclaimed “nature enthusiast” Professor Emerita Margaret Hansen from the University of San Francisco said in regards to the practice:

“The Japanese practice is using all of your five senses. Even cupping your ears to bring in more sound of nature. Or doing some exercises to enhance your peripheral vision when you’re in nature. Smelling — taking some leaves or pine cones and crunching them and putting them up to your nose.” (source)

Final Thoughts

Sometimes the simplest solution is right under our noses. In our modern culture we have to remind ourselves how important nature and the outdoors are for our health and to actively make time for it. Our health is our greatest wealth! If you are not already getting outside regularly, perhaps it’s time for a fun little experiment to observe how your mood shifts from simply getting outside more often. Could you walk or bike to work? Go sit in a park on your lunch break? Make time for a hike on the weekends? There are lots of ways we can incorporate more nature into our lives. What are you waiting for?


Article source: Collective Evolution

Hi, I’m Alanna! My journey really began in 2007 when I began to question what was being presented to me, my path led me to Collective Evolution and I joined the team in 2010. Wow, has it been an incredible journey so far! I am extremely passionate about learning new information! I aim to have a voice for animals and animal rights, I also enjoy writing about health, consciousness and I am very interested in psychedelics for healing purposes! I strongly believe that knowledge is power, and the first step to creating change on this planet is by raising awareness. “If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.” – Jack Kornfield Questions or comments? Email me alanna@collective-evolution.com

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Yet Another Study Shows Psilocybin Significantly Helps With Anxiety and Depression

By John Vibes

More research continues to be published showing the potential impact that psychedelic compounds can have on mental health treatment.

A team at New York University‘s Grossman School of Medicine recently conducted followup research to the 2016 study which showed that cancer patients who took psilocybin noticed “significant improvements” in their levels of stress and anxiety. The 2016 study was actually a follow-up of groundbreaking research that began at John’s Hopkins University in 2012. All of the studies have had very similar results.

In the 2016 study, patients taking psilocybin along with therapy noticed “immediate, substantial, and sustained improvements in anxiety and depression and led to decreases in cancer-related demoralisation and hopelessness, improved spiritual wellbeing, and increased quality of life.”

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In the newest study, researchers found that test subjects later said that the experience led them to make positive changes in their lives. The research is published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

According to the study:

Participants overwhelmingly (71 to 100 per cent) attributed positive life changes to the psilocybin-assisted therapy experience and rated it among the most personally meaningful and spiritually significant experiences of their lives.

Researchers are still unclear about how this process works mechanically in the brain, but there are theories that psilocybin relaxes areas of the brain associated with rumination, worry, and rigid thinking.

Gabby Agin-Liebes, a lead author of the most recent study, explained:

“These results may shed light on how the positive effects of a single dose of psilocybin persist for so long. The drug seems to facilitate a deep, meaningful experience that stays with a person and can fundamentally change his or her mindset and outlook.”

With so many new studies showing the potential of these compounds for therapeutic use, steps are being made to bring legal psychedelic treatments to the market.

It was announced last year that a startup called Compass Pathways had received approval from the Food and Drug Administration to develop treatments for depression and possibly even pharmaceuticals containing psilocybin, the active ingredient in psychedelic “magic mushrooms.”

Compass Pathways launched in the UK in 2016 thanks to funding from PayPal founder Peter Thiel. While the company is just now receiving approval to run trials in the U.S., they were already approved in Canada, the Netherlands, and at their base of operations in the UK.

By John Vibes | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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Coronavirus Fears – Protect Yourself and Boost Immunity With These 10 Methods

By Dr. Scott Graves

You may have already heard the news about the coronavirus that started in Wuhan, China. It is reported that dozens of people have died from viral pneumonia and thousands more are infected. They even have quarantined cities totaling 50 million+ people.

Viral pneumonia can occur when an initial cold virus worsens and causes air sacs in your lungs to fill with fluids or pus, making it hard to breathe. Symptoms can include chest pain, cough with phlegm (yellow or green), fatigue, loss of appetite, fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and shortness of breath.

Here is what is important to know about this virus. First, let’s get some perspective. Remember the swine flu and Ebola viruses? Many people panicked and the mainstream media spread fear throughout the world. Fortunately, neither of these viruses amounted to anything at that time. Many people don’t know that on average 30,000 people die every year in the USA from complications to colds and flus leading to pneumonia. This is especially tragic with infants and the elderly (over age 65) being the most susceptible due to compromised or weakened immunity. Could the hype with this coronavirus be just that…hype? We don’t know yet, but I urge you not to buy into the fear peddled around by the mainstream media. Don’t give your inner power away to fear. Instead, be reassured that knowledge is power and there are many things you can do to be ready and to powerfully support your immune function.

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What that being said, it is very wise to be armed and ready during flu season. The worst months of flu season are January and February, historically. A coronavirus is part of a family of viruses that typically causes the common cold, but can be more severe at times. The virus is spread through respiratory droplets from coughing, sneezing and close contact. You also can be infected and not have any symptoms.

Here is my list of things to do to make sure that your immune system stays strong during this flu season.

1 – Wash your hands frequently but not obsessively (from fear). Please use organic soap. I suggest not using non-organic soaps and hand sanitizers due to them containing triclosan, parabens, synthetic fragrances, and alcohol, which are toxic and STRESS the immune system. My favorite organic hand soap is Dr. Bronners, which smells divine. Our obsession with germ-killing items has bred antibiotic-resistant bacteria around the world. We should not fear viruses and bacteria; instead, we should learn how to let go of our fears. Being in a state of fear severely weakens immune response.

2 – Many people don’t get a cold or the flu each year. Only 10% of the population gets sick with the flu every year. The flu is more severe than the common cold. An adult gets around 2 colds per year on average. What are the factors that separate people who get a cold or flu versus those who don’t? Rather than believing we “catch” a cold or flu, instead take the road of personal responsibility and realize that behaviors and habits we have (fear and stress) can lower our immunity for opportunistic pathogens to affect us. I personally am around many people who are sick every year in the clinic and I haven’t gotten a full-blown cold in 9 years.

3 – Immunity is compromised by eating foods that lower immunity, nutritional deficiencies and stress. Foods that lower immunity the most are refined sugar (even just a little), dairy products (yogurt, cow’s milk, cheese), GMO wheat, GMO corn, GMO soy, GMO canola (fried food), alcohol (even wine), pork and artificial sweeteners like Splenda. Sugar is perhaps the worst offender and can lower immune function by up to 33% for 24 hours.

4 – Make sure you are eating lots of nutrient-dense foods that support immunity including at least 3 servings (cups) of both vegetables and fruits per day and whole, unprocessed organic food. I recommend juicing vegetables with a juicer.

5 – Taking mega amounts (upwards of 30-60,000mgs per day or more) of vitamin C can often stop a cold or flu dead in its tracks. Start taking high amounts upon noticing first symptoms. This journal article outlines how to take the vitamin C. It is important to have vitamin C on hand AHEAD of time, before initial symptoms appear. The kind of vitamin C I recommend is found here. Otherwise, for an adult, it is safe to take 5,000mgs every day to prevent cold/flu and keep your immune system strong. The scientific studies they have done stating that taking vitamin C doesn’t help were done with less than 1,000mgs per day, which I can tell you will do almost nothing to cold or flu symptoms.

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6 – Taking mega amounts of zinc when you get first symptoms can also stop a cold/flu in its tracks. I suggest Good State Liquid Zinc Sulfate. Make sure you have this on hand AHEAD of time. Take 2 droppers full every four hours during the day. Repeat this for 3 days and go to one dropper full every day until symptoms disappear. You can also take a little zinc every day as a regular supplement.

7 – Taking mega amounts of vitamin D is also a powerful and inexpensive way to stop a cold/flu in its tracks. For example, one doctor reported giving his patients the vitamin D hammer who have influenza. This consists of a one-time 50,000IU dose daily or 10,000IU three times daily for 2 to 3 days. The results may be dramatic with complete resolution of symptoms in 48 to 72 hours. I have seen powerful results from this in the clinic as well. Make sure you have this on hand AHEAD of time. Most people are very deficient in vitamin D and it is very safe to take in large amounts. I recommend NOW Vitamin D3 – 5000IU. You can also take vitamin D every day as a regular supplement.

8 – Regular consumption of warming herbs during the winter can be very helpful including cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves, ginger, garlic, fennel seeds. In the clinic I also use Immuplex and Congaplex from Standard Process to boost immunity and provide support while one has cold or flu symptoms. They are very powerful tools as well. Chinese medicine also has many herbal formulas for boosting immune function.

9 – Many people don’t know that acupuncture is a powerful way to strengthen the immune system and powerfully deal with colds and the flu. Get acupuncture regularly, but especially get it when you get first symptoms (runny nose, sore or itchy throat, congestion, headache, body ache, etc).

10 – Stress is one of the main depressors of immune function, especially fear and anger. One of the best tools that can help you to deal powerfully with stress is either tapping or The Sedona Method. I highly recommend using either one. You can also meditate daily for incredible learned relaxation. I suggest listening to this guided meditation every day for the next 60 days. Meditation is life changing.

We don’t have to fear this coronavirus or cold and flu season. Eating good clean organic foods, avoiding immune lowering foods and having some vitamin C, zinc and vitamin D ready during the cold and flu season can do wonders for increasing your immune function. Also, by learning how to relax in our stressful world can do wonders for our immune system. With these tools you will be armed and ready for cold and flu season.


Note: “Links to products in this post are through Amazon’s affiliate program. Dr. Scott Graves is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. The products are exactly the same cost as you would find through a regular amazon.com search.”

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Walnuts May Slow Cognitive Decline in At-risk Elderly

Eating walnuts may help slow cognitive decline in at-risk groups of the elderly population, according to a study conducted by researchers in California and Spain.

The Walnuts and Healthy Aging Study, published this month in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that walnut consumption by healthy, elderly adults had little effect on cognitive function over two years, but it had greater effect on elderly adults who had smoked more and had a lower baseline neuropsychological test scores.

The study examined nearly 640 free-living elders in Loma Linda, California, USA, and in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. For two years, the test group included walnuts in their daily diet, and the control group abstained from walnuts.

Walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids and polyphenols, which have previously been found to counteract oxidative stress and inflammation, both of which are drivers of cognitive decline.

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Joan Sabaté, MD, DrPH, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Loma Linda University School of Public Health and the study’s principal investigator, said this was the largest and most well-controlled trial ever conducted on the effects of nuts on cognition.

“While this was a minor result, it could lead to better outcomes when conducted over longer periods of time,” Sabaté said. “Further investigation is definitely warranted based on our findings, especially for disadvantaged populations, who may have the most to gain from incorporating walnuts and other nuts into their diet.”

Sabaté and his research team at Loma Linda University were the first to discover the cholesterol-lowering effect of nut consumption — specifically walnuts — with lowering blood cholesterol. Findings were first published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1993.

Subsequently, findings from Loma Linda University researchers have linked nut consumption to lower risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Sources:

Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center

Journal article

Image: Pixabay

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Malnutrition Is On The Rise In Older Adults – How To Spot The Signs

By Taibat Ibitoye, University of Reading

While the obesity crisis is still considered the foremost public health epidemic in the west, one often overlooked condition is quickly becoming a growing concern. Malnutrition, sometimes referred to as under-nutrition, affects an estimated 3 million people in the UK alone. Globally, around 462 million adults are malnourished.

Malnutrition is a condition where a person is deficient in nutrients, such as protein, vitamins and minerals, or not getting enough calories. This has many effects on health and body function, including increased frailty, delayed wound healing, and higher mortality.

Not only that, malnutrition will cost UK health services £13 billion this year alone – and is predicted to cost £15 billion in ten years. Reports also show that it’s also two to three times more expensive to treat someone who is malnourished, compared with someone who is well-nourished. This is because they need more resources to treat them, and a range of health conditions may develop as a result of malnutrition.

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But data shows that people aged 65 years and over are more likely to be malnourished compared with any other age group. And this number is on the rise. In the UK, adults over 60 admitted to hospital with malnutrition increased from 1,405 in 2008 to almost 5,000 in 2018.

Spotting the signs

Several things might contribute to malnutrition in the elderly, including swallowing difficulties, poor dentition (such as having missing teeth), mobility issues, acute and chronic illnesses, and not meeting changing nutrient demands – such as not getting enough protein. Another reason might be because almost 93% of people who are malnourished live at home, which means their nutritional health is often not monitored. Loneliness, depression, being unable to cook for themselves, having trouble accessing shops, and low income also contribute to poor nutrition in this age group.

A person is considered malnourished if they have a body mass index (BMI) under 18.5, or have unintentionally lost greater than 10% of their weight in the last three to six months. People with a BMI of less than 20 with an unintentional weight loss greater than 5% within the last three to six months might also be considered malnourished.

But it’s not always easy to spot the signs of malnutrition. Part of this is because it can happen gradually over a long period of time or signs often being considered as a natural part of ageing. But some common signs of malnutrition in older people may include their clothing, jewellery and dentures becoming loose, having a reduced appetite, lack of interest in food and drink, tiredness, altered mood, and weakness.

Lack of appetite or lost interest in food are only some telltale signs. antoniodiaz/ Shutterstock

Healthcare providers in primary care or care homes will use screening tools to identify those at risk of malnutrition, or needing further assessment. These tools look at a person’s BMI, alongside the amount of unplanned weight loss they’ve experienced in the last six months to determine their risk. But for those living on their own, their nutritional status could still be overlooked. As malnutrition numbers continue to grow, friends and family members of older people are being urged to look for possible signs of malnutrition.

The first step in preventing and managing malnutrition is to focus on increasing calories and protein intake using a food-first approach, which aims to improve a person’s nutrition through diet alone. This includes:

  • Encouraging people to eat little and often throughout the day, such as having three small meals plus two snacks between meals.
  • Drinking more nourishing fluids, such as milk, soups, or having powdered supplements that are high in energy and protein.
  • Eating high energy and high-protein foods, such as full-fat milk, yoghurt, and cheese.
  • Frozen, ready prepared meals, or home meal delivery services might also ensure better nutrition.

But improving nutrition alone might not be the only solution to malnutrition. People might need help with eating and drinking, they may need better fitting dentures, or they might need foods that are easier to chew and swallow. For those that are lonely, eating in a pleasant environment might also be key to building their appetite. And for those with financial difficulties, they might need help accessing food items.

In some cases, people with disease-related malnutrition might need oral nutrition supplements, which will provide them with energy, protein, and other essential nutrients and mineral. But evidence shows that providing dietary advice, support and guidance with or without an oral nutrient supplement, is effective in increasing nutritional intake and weight. In severe cases, nutrition can also be provided by tube feeding, which is usually done in a hospital or supervised by healthcare professionals.

Identifying those at risk of malnutrition early, understanding how to manage dietary needs and overcoming potential barriers to adequate food intake, is essential, given the serious health and financial consequences linked to malnutrition.The Conversation


Taibat Ibitoye, Registered Dietitian and PhD Researcher, University of Reading

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Top image: Spotting the signs isn’t always easy. Toa55/ Shutterstock

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New Studies Indicate Exposure to Fluoride Affects IQ of Infants, Sleep Patterns

By Derrick Broze

Fluoride exposure may be associated with changes in the pineal gland which can affect sleep cycle regulation among older adolescents, according to new research from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Another study published in the journal Environment International found that exposing infants to increasing levels of fluoride in tap water may result in diminished non-verbal intellectual abilities, with a stronger effect found among formula-fed children.

These two studies are only the latest research produced in recent years which call into question the safety of water fluoridation.

The Mount Sinai team examined data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey looking for adolescents who had measurable amounts of fluoride in their water and plasma. The researchers were investigating the relationships between fluoride exposure and self-reported sleep patterns. The researchers state that their study is the first to explore the connection between fluoride and sleep patterns in humans or animals. A sample of adolescents at an average age of 17 who live in the United States was used for the study due to the nation’s water fluoridation program.

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While fluoride has been regarded as a major public health achievement, the toxin accumulates in the pineal gland where melatonin is produced, according to the researchers. Melatonin is the hormone responsible for regulating the sleep-wake cycle.

“The high accumulation of fluoride in pineal gland hydroxyapatite (among those chronically exposed) points to a plausible mechanism by which fluoride may influence sleep patterns. In adults, pineal gland fluoride concentrations have been shown to strongly correlate with degree of pineal gland calcification,” explained the authors. “Interestingly, greater degree of pineal calcification among older adolescents and/or adults is associated with decreased melatonin production, lower REM sleep percentage, decreased total sleep time, poorer sleep efficiency, greater sleep disturbances and greater daytime tiredness.”

The study also found that water fluoride concentrations were associated with higher odds of reports of snorting, gasping, or stopping breathing while sleeping at night. The higher water fluoride concentrations may be associated with frequent daytime sleepiness as well as an association with a later bedtime by 24 minutes and a later morning wake time by 26 minutes.

“Our findings also showed that fluoride exposure may be associated with shifts in the sleep-wake cycle, as higher water fluoride concentrations were associated with later weekday bedtime and wake time, but not sleep duration,” the researchers explain in Environmental Health. The researchers caution that additional studies must to be conducted “in order to investigate the effects of fluoride on sleep patterns and to identify windows of vulnerability for potential effects.”

Meanwhile, another team of researchers published the study “Fluoride exposure from infant formula and child IQ in a Canadian birth cohort,” examining the association between fluoride exposure in infancy and intellectual ability in children who lived in fluoridated or non-fluoridated cities in Canada. The researchers note that infants who consume formula reconstituted with fluoridated water are likely to have an excessive fluoride intake while breastfed infants tend to receive a very low intake of fluoride.

The team compared IQ scores in 398 children who were formula-fed versus those who were breastfed during infancy. They found that “IQ scores were lower with higher levels of fluoride in tap water“ and the effects were “more pronounced among formula-fed children, especially for nonverbal skills.” In an earlier version of the study the researchers concluded, “These findings indicate the possible need to reduce fluoride intake during pregnancy.”

This study is not the first to identify an association between exposure to fluoride and lower IQ in children.

In 2012, researchers from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and China Medical University in Shenyang published a meta-analysis in Environmental Health Perspectives which found strong indications that fluoride may adversely affect cognitive development in children. The authors warned that this risk should not be ignored and that more research on fluoride’s impact on the developing brain is necessary.

The Mind Unleashed will continue to monitor future findings on the health impacts of fluoride.

Background: What is Fluoride?

The substances added to municipal water supplies known by the name fluoride are actually a combination of unpurified byproducts of phosphate mining, namely hydrofluorosilicic acid, sodium fluorosilicate, and sodium fluoride. In the United States, thousands of tons of fluorosilicic acid is recovered from phosphoric acid plants and then used for water fluoridation. During this process the fluoride ion is created.

This process of taking waste from the phosphate industry and putting it into drinking water has long been criticized for its effects on human health and that of the environment. It is well known that water fluoridation has led to dental fluorosis for millions of children. This discoloring of the teeth was called “cosmetically objectionable” by the Centers for Disease Control. But beyond the cosmetic effect there have been a number of studies indicating health issues ranging from arthritisbrain problemsreduced thyroid or overactive  thyroidkidney problems, and bone cancers.

While proponents of water fluoridation have long pointed to an apparent drop in tooth decay in fluoridated nations as proof of its validity, those claims have been proven wrong by the World Health Organization (WHO). While the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has stated the fluoride in the water is directly related to better teeth quality, the WHO released its own study showing that tooth decay rates have dropped in all western nations, whether water is fluoridated or not.

The reasons for opposing water fluoridation include: fear of a variety of health concerns; the belief that it is forcibly medicating the population without their approval; financial waste; and environmental concerns related to phosphate mines where the chemical is found.


By Derrick Broze | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

Editor’s note: We may not all be scientists here at the Mind Unleashed but we are dedicated journalists willing to dig deep so you don’t have to, even on the most controversial of topics. Unfortunately there is significant controversy when it comes to the fluoridation of water despite the fact that numerous studies on the topic exist. We are committed to publishing content that is backed up by scientific evidence but we do not purport to be scientists ourselves. We are likewise committed to reporting on the topics that our audience is most interested in, including the use of fluoride. If you want to learn more about water fluoridation and the effects mentioned above please click on the scientific studies and articles linked within this article.

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Facts About Lucid Dreaming & Tips For Inducing One

By Arjun Walia

  • The Facts: When you’re having a lucid dream, you might be aware that you are dreaming and may be able to create as you go. In a sense, you can control your dream.
  • Reflect On: What is the purpose of our dreams? Can they provide any insight into our lives? Our subconscious mind and our physical material reality? Who is to say they are not real in some sense?

Lucid Dreaming is a state of dreaming where you can control your dreams, and sort of create as you go. It is a fascinating topic, and has long been spoken of in the realms of philosophy. But in recent years as scientific technology has developed, studies have allowed humanity to view what’s happening in the brain while a lucid dream is occurring. Now, this doesn’t mean that activity in the brain is responsible for lucid dreaming, although it’s not uncommon for conventional scientists to view activity in the brain as the cause of an individual’s experience, rather than a consequence of it. But indeed, there is evidence that our emotional states that are caused by something else can trigger different areas and activity generation in the brain.

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It boils down to the question of consciousness, and whether or not it’s something that comes from our physical brain, or if consciousness exists as a separate entity outside of the brain. Based on quantum physics, neuroscience, and especially declassified and emerging studies within non-material science and parapsychology, I believe that there should be no question that what we call consciousness originates and exists as something separate from physical reality. It’s time to acknowledge the existence of non-material reality.

Studies Of Lucid Dreaming

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Lucidity Institute investigated how chemicals known as acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (AChEIs) could induce or help promote lucid dreaming. The new method used in the study, according to psychologist Denhold Aspy from the University of Adelaide in Australia, one of the researchers, helped them “to be able to properly do research on lucid dreaming,” he told  New Scientist.

Lucid dreaming is a remarkable state of consciousness in which one is aware of the fact that one is dreaming while continuing to dream. Based on the strong relationship between physiological activation during rapid eye-movement sleep and lucid dreaming, our pilot research investigated whether enhancing cortical activation via acetylcholinesterease inhibition (AChEI) would increase the frequency of lucid dreams and found AChEI to be a promising method for lucid dream induction. (study)

They point out how a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine could help modulate REM sleep, and this group of chemicals (AChEls), could help by releasing a certain enzyme that in turn activates this neurotransmitter. They noted that a common drug used to treat Alzheimer’s disease, galantamine (an AChEI) could be used to induce lucid dreaming, and it worked.

These results show that galantamine increases the frequency of lucid dreams in a dose-related manner. Furthermore, the integrated method of taking galantamine in the last third of the night with at least 30 minutes of sleep interruption and with an appropriately focused mental set is one of the most effective methods for inducing lucid dreams available today.

Participants took higher doses of the drug each night, but when combined with cognitive therapy (a more natural way to induce lucid dreaming), things really started to speed up. But the study shows how increased dosage of the drug every night, combined with the steps, really did something. When the dosage was increased to 8 mg from 4 mg, lucid dreaming rose from 27 to 42 percent.

Impacts of Lucid Dreaming

Science Alert points out,

In addition to helping people enjoy fantastic dreams where they can help control what happens, the research could also help explain the links between lucid dreams and consciousness, and help people to confront their fears and process trauma while safely asleep.

A  study conducted in 2009 at the Neurological Laboratory in Frankfurt shows how lucid dreamers produce the fastest brainwave frequencies ever recorded, gamma brainwaves that operate at 40Hz +(source).  This suggests that lucid dreamers are more self-aware, and are more conscious in this state than compared to a normal state of wakefulness. We don’t operate anywhere near that frequency (with regards to brain waves) when in our normal wakeful state, and we operate at even lower frequencies during other sleep states.

Some researchers suggest that the existence of gamma brainwaves indicates a totally conscious experience, so the experience of being awake within a dream is a very real phenomenon. This begs the question, which state is actually real? Could what we perceive as being fully aware and awake be the real dream? Or are these just different aspects of reality that we are jumping to and from?

Questioning The Need For Drugs

Not to be forgotten is the fact that potentially harmful drugs were used in this study. Although they are said to have minimal side effects, prescription drugs kill many people all over the world every single year, and they are not needed as much as we are made to believe they are. There are many other methods available, but the medical industry is a separate topic in itself.

When it comes to lucid dreaming, the cognitive method has given many people tremendous success. This includes getting a good night’s sleep, and being able to record every single dream you have in a dream journal. You need to practice how to remember your dreams to start off with. Before you go to bed, do some affirmations to yourself. Tell yourself that you are going to have a lucid dream, and ask yourself throughout the day, “am I dreaming?” Visualize your dreams. Here is a list of 6 essential things you could try doing.

For scientific purposes, this study is interesting and could certainly help advance knowledge in the field:

As one of the challenges for conducting scientific research on lucid dreaming is its relative infrequency, making the state more accessible would increase the efficiency of the collection of larger datasets, which would greatly facilitate research in this field. (study)

But while this particular study was done under controlled conditions by people who knew what they were doing, it’s still important to mention that other natural methods like the ones mentioned above are giving a lot of people success.


Article source: Collective Evolution

Arjun Walia — I joined the CE team in 2010 shortly after finishing university and have been grateful for the fact that I have been able to do this ever since 🙂 There are many things happening on the planet that don’t resonate with me, and I wanted to do what I could to play a role in creating change. It’s been great making changes in my own life and creating awareness and I look forward to more projects that move beyond awareness and into action and implementation. So stay tuned 🙂 arjun@collective-evolution.com

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Air Pollution from Brake Dust may be as Harmful as Diesel Exhaust — New Study

By Liza Selley, University of Cambridge

The harmful impact of air pollution caused by diesel exhaust fumes on our health is well known. It’s responsible for causing everything from respiratory problems to dementia and even certain types of cancers. But what most people don’t realise is that exhaust fumes aren’t the only cause of air pollution. In fact, up to 55% of roadside traffic pollution is made of non-exhaust particles, with around 20% of that pollution coming from brake dust. And as our latest research reveals, these particles may be just as damaging to our lungs as exhaust fumes.

Composed of iron particles, brake dust is caused by friction between the iron brake rotor grinding on the brake pads when a vehicle slows down. This brake dust is then worn away and becomes airborne. And as recent research conducted by me and my colleagues found, brake dust triggers inflammation in the lung cells with the same severity as diesel particles.

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By adding brake dust particles to macrophages – the cells responsible for clearing the lungs of invading germs, waste and debris – we saw a nearly 185% increase in the cell’s inflammatory activity. Not only that, we also found brake dust prevented the immune cells from destroying Staphylococcus aureus – a species of bacteria responsible for pneumonia. Once again, the brake dust was found to be as toxic as diesel particles.

This discovery might mean that pollution from brake dust might be contributing to the high numbers of chest infections and froggy “city throats” that are reported by people living and working in urban areas. However, because the isolated cells that we used in our experiments can act differently to cells found in a living human’s lungs, further research is needed to confirm whether particle exposure contributes to infection risk in people.

Toxic brake dust

Intrigued by this new finding, our team wanted to know which features of brake dust makes it so toxic. Traffic pollution particles can contain many thousands of materials, including carbon, hydrocarbons and bacterial toxins. But because of the materials that modern brakes are made of, the dust that wears from them is highly metallic – including many types of metal, such as iron, copper, titanium and magnesium that studies have shown cause stress and harm to human cells.

Our team identified these metals as the culprits by blocking them chemically. This made it so that they could no longer take effect when the brake dust or diesel exhaust particles were added to the cells. With the metals out of action, the macrophages continued to destroy bacteria and did not ramp up their inflammatory signalling after being exposed to brake dust or diesel exhaust particles.

While we expected to see this cell response happen for highly metallic brake dust, we were surprised to find that metals caused the toxicity of diesel exhaust fumes as well. This is because diesel exhaust particles contain considerably fewer metallic species than brake dust – just three compared with the fourteen that we found in brake dust. Vanadium was the only metal that interacted with the macrophages and was also present in both brake dust and diesel exhaust particles. We wondered if it was responsible for causing these inflammatory effects.

Our research shows that non-exhaust particles have the potential to be as detrimental to our health as exhaust emissions. Brake dust is a major component of air pollution, contributing up to 20% of traffic-related particles. This number is only expected to increase as policies and technologies being introduced focus only on reducing exhaust emissions. While reductions in exhaust emissions are an important aim for public health, our findings show that we need ways to reduce non-exhaust pollutants, like brake dust, too.

However, many vehicles, including electric ones, contain metallic components in the clutch, engine and brakes. Designing technologies that are resistant to friction and wear may be important in reducing these harmful pollutants.

Cycling or walking more, grabbing the bus or car-sharing might reduce congestion in the areas that we live and work. Doing this might be one way of reducing the number of vehicles that have to creep along in traffic – and may also ease the strain on their clutches, tyres and brakes and ultimately reduce the pollution burden on our lungs.The Conversation


Liza Selley, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, MRC Toxicology Unit, University of Cambridge

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Image: Pixabay

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