Our culture is over obsessed with carbs, fat and protein. But what if I told you another nutrient was responsible for everything from your mental health to your weight? Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD is a health care attorney who worked with medical professionals to write Minerals The Forgotten Nutrient: Your Secret Weapon for Getting and Staying Healthy. Here are three specific ways he says minerals play a vital role in your mental and physical health.
- Minerals and your weight. Low magnesium has been associated with high blood sugar, obesity and diabetes and some research indicates a relationship to weight gain. Phosphorous has also been shown to aid in preventing and managing obesity especially in the abdominal area. A third mineral associated with weight gain is iron. Research suggests iron deficiency is related to obesity and taking it with vitamin C can help. Zinc is another mineral that can protect against the negative effects of obesity.
- Minerals and mental health. If you suffer from anxiety, increasing zinc and magnesium (Epsom salt baths are great for that) levels may relieve some of your symptoms. Stephenson-Laws also cites several studies that show relief from symptoms of depression including irritability, insomnia, hopelessness and anxiety following an increase in magnesium. Selenium deficiency is associated with an increased risk in mental disorders including depression and anxiety.
- Minerals and fatigue. If you’ve been more tired lately, you might want to have your mineral levels checked. Low levels of calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium and iodine could be the reason for your fatigue.
Why the need for minerals? These days, we’re busy, stressed out and don’t consume enough mineral rich foods. Stress prevents us from absorbing minerals and retaining the minerals we do have. Drinks such as soda, alcohol, coffee and even our drinking water all contribute to mineral deficiency.
Ayurveda is an ancient Indian practice that holds the key to greater emotional and physical well-being. In Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom, author and Vedika Global founder and spiritual director Acharya Shunya shares specific ways it can heal and transform your life. To start experiencing its holistic benefits, start with these five nourishing tips.
- Set your sleep and wake schedule. Sleep is pivotal to a healthy life. Getting to bed by 10 pm and waking up at or before 6 am sets you up for better rest.
- Stay cool. To counteract the external heat during summer, Shunya recommends cooling off with light, cool and calming foods, and engaging in cooling activities such as taking moonlit walks.
- Change your thinking. Instead of looking to Ayurveda as a way to fix something wrong or heal from illness and disease, she says it’s important to realize “your true nature, your Self, is already flawlessly healthy. So you are invited to quit thinking thoughts such as I want health. Think instead, I am health. And this Ayurveda lifestyle will simply aid me (the mind-body–based me) to live in closer proximity to this inner perfection, my true Self.” Instead of “chasing health,” she believes a change of mindset to accept our inherent perfection and body’s ability to heal plays an important role in your health and well-being.
- Eat whole foods. Processed and packaged foods are convenient, but lack many essential vitamins and minerals needed to keep us healthy. More importantly, these types of foods are considered toxic, harmful and can interfere with proper digestion.
- Skip fad smoothies and juices. It’s a trend these days to fast on liquid diets, but so-called miracle foods in frozen drinks can actually cause more harm than good by causing stomach upset and wreaking havoc on our digestion.
What’s the secret ingredient to practicing Ayurveda? Keep it simple, fresh and follow the natural flow of the seasons and your body.
What this psychologist and integrative oncology specialist wants you to know about cancer before you get it.
It’s inescapable. We don’t need to know that the World Health Organization names cancer as the leading cause of death or in 2014 the number of people who received a diagnosis reached closed to 14.5 million. We have all been touched by cancer, usually in devastating ways. But licensed psychologist Susan Barbara Apollon and author of “An Inside Job: A Psychologist Shares Healing Wisdom for Your Cancer Journey,” says cancer gave her patients surprising gifts. Here’s how you can prevent illness and live in the light of the shadow of chronic illness.
1. You are what you think so think positively.
If you believe all the complaining in your head is better than expressing how you really feel, you’re setting yourself up for illness. Apollon says negative emotions like anger, anxiety, and fear actually prevents us from fighting viruses including cancer. She calls them “low vibratory experiences,” which produce the “chemicals adrenaline, norepinephrine, and cortisol in the brain that impact their immune system negatively.” She says, “These chemicals then suppress the immune system’s ability to create the cells needed to seek out and destroy the cancer virus.” Instead of your normal dose of negativity, have a cup of positivity. “When we think thoughts that feel good, such as thoughts of love, gratitude, joy, and hope – and those that make us laugh and smile, we produce uplifting chemicals such as oxytocin, endorphins, and serotonin – all supporting a strong immune system that can fight viruses in the body.” You can do this by journaling, working with a therapist on difficult emotions, focus on what you have to be grateful for and set aside twenty minutes a day to sit in quiet or be in nature.
2. Listen to yourself.
Your body is always talking to you. When you’re feeling good, you’re in balance. When you feel ill, you’re out of balance. Your body signals what’s going on inside and you need to pay attention says Apollon. “All of us need to know that we are born with the gift of intuition and that when we learn to harness it, miracles can happen…It serves us well – when we listen – as to what is best for us to do or not do. When we do not listen to our higher guidance regarding the needs of our body and what is best for keeping our energy balanced, we become ill. When we do listen, we maintain better health.”
3. Find your tribe.
You may be one of the most popular people on Facebook or have an envious following on Instagram, but do you have a support system you can call upon when you need it most? Apollon says, “We need to be a part of a community – to relate socially – and to know others care about us. We also need to be part of a give and take of knowing that we love and are loved. Whether, it is an actual community, family or a support group, community matters to the mind and body. Those who isolate themselves tend to be more depressed and lonely and do not help themselves create well-being. In fact, they often do become ill. Furthermore, the body’s immune system is energetically supported by the chemicals released when hugging and being affection that are often a part of such communities.”
4. Follow your passion.
Did you know that people who don’t follow their passion often end up sick? “Those who have not followed their passion and who are caught up in work in which they find no fulfillment, often become ill,” says Appollon. This is why she encourages her patients to devote time doing the things they love. “Be it an instrument you always wanted to play, a job you always wanted to do, a charity you have wanted to create or be involved in – all of these help you to release the needed endorphins and needed chemicals to bolster your immune system to seek out and destroy unwanted cancer cells. So many have wanted to feel they can be of service to humanity – and choose to do something to help others. This is a function of being and giving love and compassion – high energetic vibratory thoughts and experiences which foster healing.”
5. Treat your body like a temple.
You know how you are at church or when visiting a spiritual site? You’re respectful, reverent and at peace. In stark contrast, we often starve our bodies or torture it with intense exercise. You can restore balance by treating it with kindness for all the work it does without your involvement. Do this by aiding it with foods and exercises that fuel it. Apollon says you can return to that “feel-better place by engaging in energetic modalities such as tai chi, qui gong, acupuncture, yoga, and pilates…Learning energetic tools and techniques from can help patients shift out of a depressed, anxious, grieving state to one that helps restore their sense of being balanced and more at peace.” She also recommends an “alkaline diet, which is high in veggies, fruits, nuts and legumes,” eating organic, and eliminating processed foods, dairy selections, and sugar. Especially for those with cancer, she says, “Eating cold water fish high in omega 3 fatty acids, brightly colored vegetables, beautiful leafy greens – and a multitude of fresh fruits and berries – provides your body with needed antioxidants to fight your cancer and help your chemotherapy and other treatments to work more effectively.”
Apollon says, “When you hear the three words, ‘You have cancer,’ you are at first in shock, then numb, confused – and often feel lost.” It is life shattering and your life will never be the same. But that can be the impetus to transform your life in a positive way, putting a spotlight on what truly matters.