Chamomile extract. This extract, which comes from a flower, has long been used as a therapy for anxiety. Anxiety often goes hand in hand with sleeplessness, so its no surprise that chamomile is also often recommended as a sleep aid. Many people drink chamomile tea, but taking a supplement may be more convenient (and require fewer latenight trips to the bathroom if taken before bed). Studies have found that people who took chamomile supplements saw a significant reduction in anxiety when compared with people who took a placebo. Typically, it’s best to start by taking one 220-mg capsule daily. Look for one that contains 1.2% of a substance called apigenin.
The ancient Chinese practice of tai chi is becoming widely recognized as one of the most powerful ways to improve both physical and mental health.
• Better Balance: Studies show older adults who did tai chi one to three times a week were 43% less likely to fall, and they cut their risk of injury in half!
• Pain Relief: Tai chi offers significant relief from back, neck, arthritis, and fibromyalgia pain
• A Sharper Mind: It’s shown to help reduce agerelated cognitive decline … and even slow dementia!
• Better Heart Health: Tai chi may reduce your chances of developing heart disease — even if you have risk factors
• Improved Mood: In 82% of studies, tai chi greatly improved mood and lowered anxiety. It’s also an effective treatment for depression
3. Be Aware of Thyroid Disease
Many people diagnosed with a thyroid condition are surprised that such a tiny gland can have such a profound impact on overall health and well-being. But thyroid gland plays an enormous role in human health. Throughout life, this busy gland is constantly producing hormones that influence metabolism. When disease causes your thyroid gland to slack off and underproduce thyroid hormone, or overwork and produce too much of it, you’ll know something isn’t right.
If you’re always cold or tired, you can’t lose weight, you have brittle hair and fingernails, or you have other unexplained health issues, the answer may be “yes.” Untreated, a thyroid disease that produces less hormone can make you feel lousy. It can also increase your odds of having high cholesterol, developing atherosclerosis, and having a heart attack. On the contrary, if thyroid starts producing excess hormone, you start losing weight in spite of increased appetite and increased food intake; become intolerant to warm temperature and suffer from constant anxiety, nervousness and lack of sleep.
Fortunately, new tests are making it possible to give you a precise account of how well your thyroid gland is functioning and help determine the cause of the problem. Then, for many forms of thyroid disease, treatment is usually a matter of taking the correct amount of medication. You can go on with your life with your disease in check.
4. Slow down—and try mindful eating
When was the last time you enjoyed a quiet, peaceful meal without interruption? If you can’t remember, you’re hardly alone. These days, eating a leisurely meal is a rare luxury. Sadly, for many people, eating on the run has become the norm. They gobble down meals while they text their friends, catch up on their favorite TV shows, or check to see who’s posting on Twitter and Facebook. Yet research reveals that the very act of eating in a hurry may contribute to overweight and obesity.
Here’s how: As you eat and drink, your stomach fills, activating stretch receptors in your stomach. These receptors send satiety messages to your brain via the vagus nerve, which connects the brain to the stomach. Then, as food enters your small intestine, appetite hormones are released, sending additional fullness messages to your brain. This process doesn’t happen immediately, though. It can take 20 minutes—or longer— for your brain to realize it’s time to put down your fork. Eating too quickly doesn’t allow this intricate system sufficient time to work, making it easy to overeat without even realizing it.
There’s another downside to distracted eating that has nothing to do with speed. Eating while you’re busy doing other things robs you of the opportunity to fully enjoy your food, so you may not feel completely satisfied—and may keep on eating in an attempt to gain satisfaction.
Mindful eating is the act of fully focusing on your food as you eat. It encourages you to pay closer attention to the tastes, smells, and textures of your food as well as your body’s hunger and satiety cues. As basic as it sounds, this practice is surprisingly powerful. In one small study, 10 obese volunteers enrolled in weekly mindful eating classes that focused on listening to their feelings of hunger and fullness. They also paid close attention to their cravings and emotions. Not only did the participants drop an average of 9 pounds by the end of the three month program, but they also reported less hunger, stress, anxiety, depression, and binge eating.
A drug made from a highly purified form of EPA (an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish) appears to help reduce plaque in the heart’s arteries, according to a study published online Aug. 29, 2020, by the European Heart Journal. The findings may explain why the drug, icosapent ethyl (Vascepa), lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke by 26% in people at high risk for those serious problems.
The study included 80 people with fatty plaque in the arteries of the heart (coronary artery disease). Most of them had diabetes and were taking a statin. Their triglycerides were elevated, ranging from 135 to 499 milligrams per deciliter. Half were randomly assigned to take 4 grams of icosapent ethyl daily; the other half received a placebo.
After 18 months, imaging tests showed that compared with the placebo group, the group taking the drug had less unstable (dangerous) plaque. The total volume of plaque was also lower among those taking the drug.