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Tag Archive | "stress"

Five tips for good gut health during the holidays

Both the stress and the fun of the holiday season can take a toll on gut health. Take extra steps this season and beyond to feel your best. Photo (c) Revelant - Fotolia.com

Both the stress and the fun of the holiday season can take a toll on gut health. Take extra steps this season and beyond to feel your best. Photo (c) Revelant – Fotolia.com

(StatePoint) The holiday season can be one of the most stressful times of the year and you may have noticed you’re more prone to colds and upset stomach when you’re stressed. Stress tends to slow the digestive process. What’s more, 70 percent of the immune system lies in the digestive system, according to findings reported in “Clinical & Experimental Immunology.”

Unfortunately, one of the most stressful seasons coincides with one of the most indulgent. To help, Vincent Pedre, MD, author of the new book, “Happy Gut: The Cleansing Program to Help You Lose Weight, Gain Energy, and Eliminate Pain,” is offering useful tips to lessen digestive upset and keep your gut healthy over the holidays.

• Pack healthful snacks. When traveling, people tend to grab unhealthy foods for convenience. Pack nutritious foods like carrots, apples, almonds and frozen yogurt to keep the body strong. Foods like yogurt, which contain probiotics, not only address digestive issues, but are said to help stave off colds. One study found that those who took a probiotic supplement with Lactobacillus rhamnosus, a type of healthy probiotic bacteria, recovered earlier and reported less severe symptoms.

• Eat mindfully. Eating in a hurry is a major no-no for good gut health, and makes you more likely to overeat, since it takes the brain about 20 minutes to recognize when you’re full. Plus, eating quickly can cause gas, acid indigestion and bloating.

“When we stop and really enjoy what we’re eating we’re less likely to overdo it, and we’ll avoid issues like emotional eating,” says Dr. Pedre.

• Relieve stress. Take some “me time.” Maintaining an exercise routine and practicing deep breathing relaxation techniques can do wonders for mental and digestive health, and help alleviate stress’ negative effects on the digestive system, such as gas, acid reflux and stomach cramps.

• Maintain a sleep routine. Get an adequate night’s rest of at least eight hours nightly. Your body and gut like predictability. Plus, staying up late could make you more likely to visit the fridge and eat that piece of chocolate cake that’ll lead to an upset stomach.

• Help your body naturally. Overeating or drinking is easy to do this time of year, but it can cause stomach distress. Check out local natural product retailers, which offer homoeopathic medicines like Nux vomica to relieve nausea, heartburn, acid indigestion or fullness associated with overindulgence of food or drink. While these uses have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration for efficacy, Nux vomica is one of the most popular homeopathic medicines. It’s also easy to take. The pellets are quickly absorbed under the tongue without water, as opposed to being absorbed through the stomach, which may not be functioning at its peak. As a homeopathic medicine, it has no known side effects such as constipation, diarrhea, gas or drowsiness.

To learn about relieving a variety of acute stomach issues, explore the Boiron Medicine Finder app. This free resource, available on Android and iOS devices, allows users to find the right homeopathic medicine for many everyday conditions.

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Eight tips for a healthy pregnancy


(BPT) – Did you know that every single minute in the United States a baby is born too early? That’s approximately 450,000 born too early each year. A pregnant woman’s good health, both physical and emotional, is essential to the health of her baby. You can boost your own chances of having a full-term pregnancy and a healthy baby by following a few tips and by learning more about the important development of your baby, even during the final weeks of a full-term pregnancy.

1. Get early prenatal care

Early prenatal care is important for you and your baby. As soon as you find out you’re pregnant, contact your health care provider to schedule your first prenatal visit. During that appointment you’ll get advice for a healthy pregnancy and be screened for risk factors associated with preterm birth.You can also visit GrowthYouCantSee.com for a checklist of risk factors and example questions to bring with you to help guide the conversation with your health care provider.

2. Make every bite count 

What you eat is a key part of pregnancy health. Your baby absorbs everything you eat, so good nutrition is not only essential for your own good health but also for your baby’s growth and development. Make sure you eat a well-balanced, healthy diet and drink plenty of fluids to help ensure both your good health and your baby’s.

3. Manage stress

Bringing a baby into the world is no easy task. Pregnancy can be nerve-wracking and it’s normal to feel stressed. However, too much stress can cause health problems and increase a woman’s chances for preterm birth – delivering a baby before 37 weeks or more than three weeks prior to the due date. Taking care of your emotional health by learning to manage stress makes for a healthier pregnancy and is an essential part of taking care of your baby.

4. Exercise regularly

Maintaining a regular exercise routine throughout your pregnancy is important for your general health and can help you prepare for labor. Exercise is also a great way to reduce stress and help you feel your best. The American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most, if not all, days of the week, unless you have a medical or pregnancy complication. Talk to your health care provider about your fitness routine during pregnancy to keep you and your baby safe.

5. Get plenty of rest

When you’re pregnant, discomfort can make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. Maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and managing stress can all help improve sleep during pregnancy. Relaxation techniques, such as yoga or a warm bath before bed, may also help you fall asleep. If you’re unable to sleep well at night, try resting more during the day.

6. Change your habits

Healthy lifestyle choices directly impact the health of a growing baby and certain habits can cause lifelong health problems for your baby. In particular, smoking, drinking alcohol and using street drugs (also called illegal or illicit drugs) can restrict a baby’s growth and increase the chances for preterm birth. Avoiding substances such as nicotine, alcohol and other street drugs during pregnancy gives your baby the time he or she needs to grow and develop. If you need help to quit, talk with your doctor.

7. Learn about the signs and symptoms of preterm labor 

Help protect your baby by familiarizing yourself with the signs and symptoms of preterm labor, which can lead to preterm birth, so you can proactively discuss them with your health care provider. Visit GrowthYouCantSee.com to learn more.

8. Enjoy this special time 

Forty weeks sounds like a long time, but you won’t be pregnant for forever. Enjoy this special time in your life with family and friends.

There’s a lot of growth that happens in your baby, even in the last few weeks of pregnancy leading up to your due date.

For more information on the risks of preterm birth and the benefits of a full-term pregnancy, visit GrowthYouCantSee.com.

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Did You Know? Holiday Stress Can Make You Fat

(c) Shutterstock Reducing stress in your life may help you keep off extra weight.

(c) Shutterstock
Reducing stress in your life may help you keep off extra weight.

(StatePoint) During the holidays, it can be all too easy to overeat. But there’s more at play when it comes to packing on pounds this time of year. Another holiday tradition that can affect your weight is stress.

Here are some important things to know about your body’s response to stress:

Stress Hormones

We all have a built-in stress response. It’s a complicated set of physiological reactions that help keep you alive during dangerous situations. Here’s how it’s supposed to work:

You experience an acute stressor. Thousands of years ago, this could have been a tiger trying to eat you. Today, it could be the in-laws coming to stay with you over the holidays. In response, adrenal glands release the stress hormone cortisol into your bloodstream, initiating an increase in blood sugar used for immediate energy to fight, run or slam on your car brakes.

Once the stressor is dealt with, the cortisol leaves your system and things return to their normal metabolic state. But unfortunately today, many of us are constantly stressed, causing significant metabolic imbalances.

Chronic Stress

From when we wake up to when we go to bed, the average person deals with hundreds of low-grade stressful events, like rush hour traffic, projects with impossible deadlines, troubles with kids, spouses or pets.

According to Michael A. Smith, M.D. host of “Healthy Talk” on RadioMD.com and senior health scientist with the Life Extension Foundation in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, this state of affairs is chronically elevating cortisol levels, which means blood sugar is constantly being mobilized for energy.

“And when you don’t burn the sugar, it gets stored as body fat,” says Dr. Smith. “This is just one of the metabolic imbalances caused by too much cortisol. There are many other problems caused by chronic stress that can pack on the fat.”

For example, too much cortisol, which results in a drop in serotonin, can drive sugar cravings and significantly increase appetite.


New research shows that white kidney beans can suppress appetite. So if you’re craving a snack, have a serving of kidney beans instead of reaching for holiday leftovers or a bag of potato chips.

Feeling tense? Try some stress reduction activities, like jogging, meditation or breathing exercises.

Also, consider adaptogenic herbs, which have long been used for their mood balancing and stress reducing effects. For example, a number of clinical trials demonstrate that repeated administration of rhodiola extract exerts energizing effects that increase mental focus.

For more information about reducing stress and suppressing appetite, visit www.LEF.org/appetite or call the toll-free number 1-855-840-4615.

You may not be able to stop your in-laws from visiting, but understanding how stress affects your body can help you prevent weight gain this holiday season.


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How Jesus handled stress

TheSpringsPastor Barry Briggs

The Springs Church

135 N. Grant, Cedar Springs

Nobody carried greater stress in life than Jesus. Not only did He carry the weight of being the Savior of the world on His shoulders, but there were constant demands on His life. People wanted to see Him. People were trying to trap Him. People were trying to kill Him. Nobody has ever experienced greater stress than Jesus did.

Yet, if you look at His life, He doesn’t seem to be bothered by it. He handles all the pressures with peace. In fact, we never see Jesus in a hurry, even though He had the most important assignment in life. No matter what the world threw at Him, He handled it with grace.

I want to learn how to do that. I want to learn how to be at peace under pressure. I want to learn how to handle stress. Fortunately Jesus gave us a model. And if you will follow Jesus’ example, your stress will go down and your fulfillment and joy in life will go up.

So how did Jesus handle stress? He did it in three ways: By getting alone, by getting away, and by getting together. Let’s unpack those.

First, the Bible says if you want to learn to be stress free like Jesus you need to get alone with God. Mark 1:35 (NIV) is the secret of stress relief.  It says, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed.”

What’s Jesus doing? He’s having a quiet time. He’s getting alone, getting quiet, and spending time with God. Over and over in the Gospels we see Jesus doing this. Look at Luke 5:15-16 (NCV), “News about Jesus spread even more. Many people came to hear Jesus and to be healed of their sicknesses, but Jesus often slipped away to be alone so He could pray.” Notice it says Jesus did this often. You need to do this often too. You need to have a quiet time every day to reflect, renew, and recharge.

Next, if you want to reduce the stress in your life you have to take time to get away. Trust me, Jesus had more important work than you or I do. But He frequently took the time to relax, to go to parties, go to weddings, to kick back and have fun. Jesus said, “I, the Son of Man, feast and drink…” (Matthew 11:19 NLT).

The Pharisees accused Jesus of being a party animal. They said this guy’s always going to parties, always eating and drinking. Do you want to be Christ like? Go to a party. Enjoy life. If you’re too busy to take your vacation time, you’re too busy. If you’re too busy to pray, you’re too busy. And if you’re too busy to relax, you’re too busy. Life is meant to be enjoyed, not merely endured.

Jesus lived a stress free life because He would get alone, get away, and finally because He would get together.  Look at Matthew 26:38 (NIV), “[Jesus] said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with Me.”

The night before Jesus went to the cross He went to a place called the Garden of Gethsemane. He went there to pray, but He didn’t go alone. He took His friends with Him. Even Jesus needed a group of friends to help Him through the tough times, and He was perfect. Like Jesus, when we’re going through stressful times we need friends to be there with us too.

Stress is increasing in our culture. So you’ve got to take some intentional steps to combat the stress in your life. What are the steps? Jesus modeled them for us: get alone, get away, and get together. Do this often and it will reduce your stress.

Hear the full sermon at thespringschurch.info. Click on media.





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Main Street

So long, Steve, and thanks

The paper you’re reading was produced on a Macintosh computer. By “produced,” I mean typeset, proofed, designed, and sent out of town to the printer directly from the Mac. Steve Jobs’ invention changed publishing in ways that are nearly indescribable. You had to have been there, and I was.
The Post and Squire have at least a dozen Macs and we couldn’t do a paper without them. Personally, I’ve owned five or six Apple computers.
The early electronic computer was “Eniac,” built at the University of Pennsylvania and put into operation in 1945.  It occupied a whole floor of the Engineering building and weighed 30 tons. Steve Jobs had not been born.
In 1976, as you’ve probably been hearing this week, the Apple Computer was invented in Steve Jobs’ parents’ garage.  Steve was 21 yrs old.  From then on he took control of the company, imagining things he would like to have and then making them.
My own first computer was an Apple II, a desktop model. You had to hook it up your TV because there was no monitor. There was also no hard drive.  You got a manual that told you how to write your own programs. You could save your programs if you bought a “floppy drive” and “floppy discs” (which were actually floppy). My Apple II was great. It had a mouse!
Steve Jobs went on to imagine and produce the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. All have been extremely popular.
Steve is gone now, too soon at age 56. Let’s hope that somewhere there’s another communications genius driven to think up products we might like to have—only to discover that we couldn’t do without them.

High stress

The doctor remarked on a new patient’s extraordinarily ruddy complexion. “High blood pressure, Doc,” said the man. “It comes from my family.”
“Your mother’s side or your father’s?”
“Neither,” replied the patient. “It’s from my wife’s family.”
“Oh, come now,” said the doctor. “How could your wife’s family give you high blood pressure?”
The man sighed. “You oughta meet ‘em sometime, Doc!”

Best try

“Dad,” said Marcus, “I’m late for football practice. Would you please do my homework for me?”
The father said, irately, “Son, it just wouldn’t be right.”
“That’s okay,” replied Marcus, “but you could at least give it a try, couldn’t you?”

Primary education

A second grader came home from school and said “Mom, guess what? We learned how to make babies today.”
More that a little surprised, the mother said, “That’s interesting. And how do you make babies?”
“It’s simple,” replied the girl. “You just change ‘y’ to ‘i’ and add ‘es.’”


These sentences were composed  on a Macintosh computer. No animals were killed or injured in the preparation of this column.

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A Healthy Relationship with Stress

Stress is your body’s natural response to demand or pressure. While periodic stress
is normal and can be good for you—helping you to act quickly, overcome challenges, and boost your immunity—ongoing stress can lead to a number of health problems.
Unfortunately, being “stressed out” is a feeling that many Americans are all too familiar with. During the holiday season, it’s easy for the everyday stressors such as work, family obligations, and the poor economy to seem amplified.
Stressors are everywhere. Traffic con-gestion, arguing with your partner, losing your job, divorce, the death of a loved one, personal illness or injury, being a caregiver, and major life changes such as getting married, having a baby, or moving to a new city—all are common sources of stress.
When exposed to a stressor, your body releases a surge of hormones that causes your heart to beat faster and your blood vessels to narrow, which, in turn, raises your blood pressure. Though temporary, stress-related spikes in blood pressure may be damaging to blood vessels if they occur too often and can lead to long-term high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.
Every person has a different reaction to stress. Some people experience physical, mental, or emotional symptoms which may include headaches, fatigue, insomnia, stomach problems, anxiety, depression, irritability, crying spells, forgetfulness, poor concentration, low productivity, and confusion. Others may isolate themselves socially, feel lonely, lash out, have a lowered sex drive, or make less contact with friends. Negative habits that some use to handle stress, such as overeating, smoking, or alcohol or substance abuse, can also lead to obesity, addiction, and other serious health problems.
The way you cope with stressful events may be the key to avoiding long-term damage and improving your overall wellness. Try to identify the events or occurrences that make you feel stressed and who or what in your life they are related to (eg, family, friends, work, traffic). Take note of the physical and emotional changes—such as muscle tension, headache, or problems with decision making—that occur when you are under pressure, and use them to gauge your stress level. Plan healthy ways of dealing with stress—take a walk, breathe deeply, practice yoga or meditation, listen to music, or connect with a friend—and apply them when you start to feel stressed or anticipate a stressful situation.
If you feel overwhelmed by stress, your doctor can provide you with further information on counseling and stress management techniques.
For more information, go to www.apa.org/topics/stress/index.aspx.

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