Why Should YOU Have a Daily Routine?

Although not having a schedule feels quite nice and relaxing some days, we are here to tell you why you SHOULD have a daily routine that you stick with.

  1. Structure: A daily routine provides structure as you need to schedule your days ahead of time. When one task is completed, you already know what is next on your to-do list. By having structure, you are able to keep moving forward and will not get stuck due to a lack of direction or uncertainty in your schedule.
  2. More Efficient: Habits will certainly arise out of building a daily routine and this is where the act of automation increases your efficiency and allows you to get things done without even thinking about it. Time will definitely be saved in your day by not having to make decisions regarding how to perform a task or what to do next.
  3. Good Habits: Plenty of good habits will be instilled by creating a daily routine. We must decide what are the most important things to get done each day, what makes us happy, what we must do for others, which develops fabulous habits.
  4. Motivation, Motivation, Motivation: A schedule ensures that you do not have the time to contemplate whether you want to do something. Motivation is constant once the routine is developed. Of course, it takes a lot of willpower and initial motivation to create a daily routine, but we will be here with you every step of the way!
  5. Saves Work for You Later: A routine typically does not allow work to pile up. Let’s take cleaning for example – If you spend only ten minutes a day tidying up your house, you won’t have to spend a whole day at the end of the month cleaning.

Our circadian rhythm can also positively impact our daily routine if we really pay attention to this aspect of our health. Being aware of your circadian rhythm can improve productivity and your efficiency! This rhythm is essentially a 24-hour cycle, and actually controls various vital functions such as body temperature, hormones and lung capacity, along with sleeping.

We have put together a daily schedule for you that coincides with your body’s circadian rhythm:

6am: One of the first things we all reach for as soon as we wake up nowadays is our phone. So why not knock something off your to-do list while you’re at it! Reading your emails early can help you get one task done for the day and eliminates this distraction later in the day.

Before Noon: Research has shown that you have your best focus and attention before lunch, while your brain is at its highest capacity. Make sure you complete all of your cognitive-heavy tasks before you take your lunch break… You can do it!

1pm: Be sure to schedule time for mental breaks in the afternoon. Your attention span is at its lowest, and you’re more likely to get distracted between 1pm and 4pm.

2pm: Time to take a walk, breathe, and relax! Around 2pm is usually a lull in the afternoon, so allow your body to refresh itself so that you can regain your energy.

4-5pm: Lung capacity is the ultimate best at this time of day! So is hand-eye coordination, so get that exercise in!

9pm: When we’re tired, some studies have shown that we are actually more creative, and this is the time of day when individuals find new solutions to problems. Take the time before bed to think of new ideas or creative projects, maybe even think of a solution to a tough problem.

By listening to our circadian rhythm, we can be more efficient and work at a new performance level. Develop a daily routine that you can follow to be the BEST YOU THAT YOU CAN BE!

 

 

 

 

 

Resources:

 

http://examinedexistence.com/why-having-a-daily-routine-is-important/

http://thenextweb.com/lifehacks/2014/02/24/use-bodys-circadian-rhythm-recipe-productivity/#gref

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Clean Eating for August

We clean our house, we clean our car, we clean our pets, everything seems to need cleaning. Have you ever thought about eating clean? Isn’t that just as important, if not more important than all of those other things?

Clean eating is being conscious about where your food actually comes from. How real is it? We have to become aware of how processed and refined our foods are if we want a clean diet. Here is a quick checklist to see if a food is processed:

  1. Does it have any additions? (This includes salt, fat, preservatives, sugar, vitamins)
  2. It the food in its natural form?
  3. Is any part of the food made in a lab? (Can you pronounce every ingredient in the food you’re eating?)

But, we must remember, not all processed foods are too bad for us. For example, some fruits and vegetables must be processed when they are out of season so that they are still available in our grocery stores. Those processed foods are not harmful to us like the super-processed foods that we find in fast-food restaurants or just stick in the microwave to cook for five minutes.

It has been proven that meal plans based on heavy fruits and vegetables can actually prevent various conditions and diseases that could be fatal, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. If you’ve read our previous blogs, you know that we are all about prevention! #PreventForTheFuture

Here are some examples to get your mind wrapped around the clean diet concept:

  1. Oranges
    • Clean: Orange
    • Somewhat Processed: 100% Orange juice
    • Super-Processed: Orange drink (little real juice, contains fructose and corn syrup)
  2. Corn
    • Clean: Corn on the Cob
    • Somewhat Processed: Corn tortilla chips
    • Super-Processed: Cornflakes
  3. Ham
    • Clean: Ham from a local farmer
    • Somewhat Processed: Deli ham at the grocery store
    • Super-Processed: Bologna from the deli

From this information, we are sure you can make the connections to decide what is clean and what is processed. Here is a great resource for multiple clean eating meal ideas.

http://www.cookinglight.com/eating-smart/smart-choices/clean-eating-recipes/quinoa-salad-with-asparagus-dates-orange-recipes

We want you to make it YOUR goal this month, to try and eat as clean as you possibly can (and then make this a lifestyle choice)! Even if you can change a few things in your diet to make it clean. Obviously it is very tough to have a completely clean diet, but can you thing of some things to change? Don’t forget to keep up with that exercise and drinking water as well. We are so proud of you!

 

 

References:

http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/weight-loss/plans/diets/clean-eating/?page=5

http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/23-ways-to-eat-clean/slide/3

The Biggest Prescriptions of Life Right Now-Part 3/3

SLEEP… What an incredible thing. It allows us to feel revitalized, gain enough energy to take on new challenges and is certainly therapeutic after a long day. It’s something we do every day, but do we know just how important it is?

 

Not only does sleep impact your physical health, but it also plays a large role in your mental health, safety, and all around quality of life. Sleep has the power to assist in healing blood vessels and your heart. It can also reduce the risk of kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and many other maladies. Coinciding with the rest of our blog series, sleep can actually decrease the risk of obesity as it maintains a healthy balance of hormones.

 

Getting enough sleep at night is directly related to how you function during the day. The amount of sleep you get has the ability to increase or decrease your productivity at work or at school. It can impact reaction time, how many mistakes you make throughout your work, and how long it takes you to complete a task. Have we convinced you how important sleep is yet?

 

Ensuring you receive the proper amount of sleep each night can maximize physical activity performance, can reduce calorie intake and of course, improve your immune system. Typically, when you’re lacking sleep, what is the first thing you notice? You feel under the weather, right? It’s time to kick that to the curb, because from now on, we know how important it is to get a good sleep every night!

 

Here are some quick tips to ensure you get the best beauty sleep:

  1. Stick with your sleeping schedule. That means trying your very hardest to go to bed around the same time each night, and getting up at the same time each morning.
  2. Exercise, exercise, exercise (but not close to bedtime). Cardio seems to have almost this superpower to improve your length and quality of sleep, but it can also keep you awake if you exercise too close to the time you’re going to bed.
  3. Stop the caffeine! Caffeine is the typical pick-me-up in the morning, but we don’t want it to do this at night too. Cut out the coffee and other caffeinated drinks in the afternoon to ensure a good sleep.
  4. Take the much needed time to calm down at night. We get it, it’s so hard to just flip your switch off at night. You deserve the time to wind down after that long day.

 

We thoroughly enjoyed sharing this blog series with you. Check out Part 1 and Part 2 for exercise and diet tips. Remember to keep up with that physical activity, while putting awesome fuel food into your body! Sweet dreams everyone!

 

References:

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sdd/why

https://authoritynutrition.com/10-reasons-why-good-sleep-is-important/

http://www.prevention.com/health/sleep-energy/20-ways-to-sleep-better-every-night/slide/21

 

 

 

The Biggest Prescriptions of Life Right Now-Part 2/3

All that exercise from May made me hungry! What about you?

Now that we are fully immersed in this beautiful weather, and you have been getting outside for that exercise we discussed in part 1, we can’t wait to share some amazing dietary tips with YOU!

We want you to look and feel your best this summer so here are some quick tips to help you achieve your goals:

  • The bag is dangerous!
    • While having some snacks, never eat out of the bag. Pour an appropriate portion into a bowl, because before you even realize, that bag is done.
  • Find the time to make home cooked meals.
    • This won’t only help your budget, but will moderate your calorie intake. This way, you can control the ingredients, the portion sizes and the preparation.
  • Eat those veggies.
    • One to two servings of vegetables should be consumed with each meal throughout the day to get those essential nutrients. Just watch out for the vegetables that are higher in carbs (carrots, corn, peas).
  • Take the time to read the package.
    • Find out what you are actually eating! Look at the calories, sodium, sugar, serving size and fat. Try to find the items that are low in sugar/saturated fat and high in nutrients.
  • Watch that sweet tooth!
    • Sugar barely has any nutrients, so you need to make it a point to watch your sugar intake. Eating too many foods high in sugar content, will make it difficult to put good nutrients into your body. Not to mention you’ll be eating lots of empty calories!
  • Drink H2O
    • Typically, it is recommended that you drink between six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. Water assists in hydrating the skin, making it more resilient and elastic, which decreases the formation of wrinkles. Water also increases blood circulation which detoxifies the body.

 

Good Carbs vs. Bad Carbs

Although carbohydrates are supposed to consume between 40-60% of your calories a day, there are certainly better carbs than others. Fruits and vegetables for example, are good forms of carbohydrates as they only contain natural sugars and are oozing in fibre. They contain no cholesterol, are low in fat and contain nutrients such as potassium, vitamin A and C. Canned fruit usually contains additional sugar, so fresh or unsweetened frozen fruits and vegetables are the way to go.

Additionally, food that is created with refined grains would be considered bad carbs as they typically contain sugars and are processed foods. Whole-grain foods should be your go-to! Sugar, honey and maple syrup, that are all sweeteners, would fall into the bad carbs category. These sweeteners contain lots of added sugar.

 

Good Fats vs. Bad Fats

Just like carbohydrates, there are good fats and bad fats. Here is a list of fats that can be included in your diet:

  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Nuts
  • Nut butters
  • Avocados
  • Olives

Bad fats:

  • Butter
  • Lard
  • Whole milk
  • Ice cream
  • Cream
  • Cheese
  • Bacon
  • Margarine
  • Shortening
  • Fried foods
  • Baked goods (commercially made)

 

To help get you started, check out these smoothie recipes. The ingredients and nutritional facts are listed with each recipe!

http://www.prevention.com/food/20-super-healthy-smoothie-recipes/slide/4

 

We have also found some amazing salad recipes that you can make for lunch and dinner! Give some of these a try.

http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes_menus/collections/healthy_salad_recipes

Stay tuned for part 3 coming in July!

References:

http://www.livestrong.com/blog/10-slimming-tips-to-get-you-ready-for-summer/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/311690-10-facts-for-eating-healthy/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/495609-advantages-of-drinking-water-and-skin-benefits/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/35816-list-good-bad-carbs/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/520356-a-list-of-good-fats-vs-bad-fats-for-losing-weight/

The Biggest Prescriptions of Life Right Now-Part 1/3

The snow is gone, the weather is starting to warm up, NOW is the time to start getting outside. We all know that exercise has extensive benefits both physically and mentally, but why not enjoy the outdoors at the same time?

Doctors in Canada are now prescribing exercise as opposed to medication in order to prevent and treat many different illnesses. “Prescriptions to Get Active” have become more common all over the country and have been considered one of the biggest prescriptions of life right now. Prescriptions almost have this authoritative power in which we know we should follow the instructions given to us by the doctor. Although these prescriptions are not medications, the advice to exercise is still coming from the same healthcare professional.

Everybody knows that exercise is good for them, but do we know how good exercise really is for us? Exercise can improve symptoms and reduce the risk for so many illnesses: heart disease, diabetes, depression, arthritis and cancer. But it does not just stop there. Almost every illness can be improved somehow, someway, with basic exercise.

Do you know what the best thing about exercise is (besides improving illness and health)? IT CAN BE FREE. Here are some simple ideas to get you up and moving (that are also free)!

  • Go for a nightly walk around the neighbourhood
  • Perform simple exercises such as jumping jacks, skipping, running on the spot when you have some free time in the comfort of your own home
  • Walk or bike to work
  • Discover free workout apps on your smartphone!
  • Find Youtube videos that you can follow
  • Do some floor exercises while you’re watching TV
  • Find some yard work to do (Raking, mowing the lawn, etc.)
  • Look for some open swimming times at a community pool
  • Go for a hike

More common than not pretty soon, we will be seeing doctors prescribing exercising before medication. Enjoy the outdoors this spring/summer, and GET ACTIVE!

A Touch of Care

DID YOU KNOW 1 out of 3 adults over the age of 65 fall each and every year? These falls are the most common cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries, such as head trauma, lacerations and hip fractures. Over 95% of hip fractures are due to falls. So, what can we do to help our senior population?

 

The Benefits of Physical Therapy for Seniors

  • Improves arthritis symptoms: Physical therapy can assist in offsetting any symptoms that may occur in the future while using various rehabilitation exercises to maintain usage of joints. A physical therapy program can also improve arthritis pain with specific exercises.
  • Reduces the risk of falling in the future: A physical therapy program has the ability to coach seniors and provide techniques in order to avoid future falls.
  • Maintains an active lifestyle: Even with low-demanding exercises, it allows the body to remain active and moving. Staying active also prevents weight gain.
  • Avoids prescription medication and surgery: Physical therapy has been proven to be a very cost-effect alternative to prescription medication and surgery. Physical therapy programs are catered to each individual to rehabilitate various parts of the body.

Recovery After a Hip Replacement

Following a hip replacement surgery, initial discomfort during exercise or walking is common. Although, this pain will not last long if physical therapy is maintained. This therapy assists in increasing the range of motion in the hip, and also includes balance exercises to decrease the possibility of falling. These balance exercises are very important, but so is safeguarding the home to avoid future falls. Items such as throw rugs and floor clutter should be removed to prevent tripping. Using an aid for mobility until stability is sufficient is also a wonderful prevention of falling.

Physical Therapy Can Also Be Beneficial for:

  • Vertigo
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Pain in any part of the body
  • Diabetes
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Parkinson’s
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • And many, many others!

Physical therapy can assist seniors in all areas of health. There is no better way to improve a loved one’s independence, increase mobility and allow daily tasks to become easier.

 

 

Physical Activity & Aging

What’s Best For Our Bodies As We Age?

Everyone has heard the old phrase, “Your body is your temple”, and the fact is we only get one, so treating it well is very important!  The best way to stay healthy is to stay active.  Too many people have the impression that they should drastically slow down, or even stop physical activity all together as they age, and this just isn’t the way it should be done.  If you are someone who has always been active, that is a great bonus. Try to find new hobbies or activities that include exercise that you find fun and enjoyable and try to progress as you see yourself becoming accustomed to your activity or workout. If you have very little or no experience with exercise that is ok too! Start with low impact exercises and slowly work towards a sport or hobby that you would like to participate in. The important thing to make clear is, any kind of physical activity is beneficial in some way; it will assist in healthy aging and longevity.

Here is a breakdown of what exercises can be done through the various age groups,  there is always something for everybody! Remember that we are all individuals, with our own unique set of D.N.A. that makes us who we are. Some people will always be more able-bodied than others, but do not let this define who you are, or what you can do, there is always room to do better, aim for improvement!

For people who are their 20’s :

Naturally people who are their 20’s are (more than likely) going to physically be able to do a lot more strenuous activities and sports compared to their counterparts.  The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (C.S.E.P.) recommends that young adults try to achieve 3 hours of moderate to vigorous physical activity a week. It is recommended that this be done in 1 hour intervals, 3 times a week. If finding an hour to dedicate to physical activity is too much, try to cut back to 30 minutes, 5-6 times a week.  This age group also bounces back quicker from injuries, as the healing process is faster. Here is a list of group activities that are beneficial,

  • Medium to high impact activities
  • Most or all recreational sports (basketball, soccer, tennis etc.)
  • Hiking
  • Swimming (can incorporate as a cardio workout)
  • Yoga
  • Kickboxing
  • Mountain biking
  • Running

For people who are in their 30’s :

By the time we reach our 30’s, our bodies have changed slightly.  We cannot tolerate the same level of wear and tear we did in our 20’s , and that is acceptable! Eventually our bodies change, and we need to learn how to adapt and stay healthy as we age. This age group is still young, and capable of doing most activities that someone in their 20’s does.  A tip I give heavily to any age group is be MINDFUL of what you are doing. Harsh impact and jarring motions are not good for anyone.

  • Low to Medium  impact activities
  • Walking can be one of the most important activities for this age group
  • Again, most or all recreational sports
  • Hiking
  • Yoga
  • Kickboxing
  • Mountain biking etc.

For people in their 40’s :

For adults in who are in their 40’s the body has made some more significant changes that differ from being in your 20’s or 30’s again this is NOT a bad thing!  We just need to learn to adapt and improve, and maintain what we already have.  The body also experiences a unique reaction that tells us we have or are “working” hard enough through exercise, and the response is sweat.  Our bodies produce sweat as a reaction to try to cool down the system.   People tend to become less motivated at this age, some adults even feel that their “best years” are behind them, try to find new interests and find a variety of things to do whether that be physical or cognitive activities. This is something we don’t tend to think of though, is how to target our brains. As we age we require more stimuli to stay cognitively active, to get reactions from our neuroreceptors.  It is not as difficult as you may think either, a simple walk in a new location or in nature can be enough to trigger our “senses” of sight, smell, touch, hearing, and taste.

  • Low impact exercises
  • Increase of low impact exercises (3-5 times a week)
  • Find more variety of interests (this helps trigger the neuroreceptors as well)
  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Tai Chi
  • Aerobics (low impact)
  • Dancing
  • Resistance training
  • Low impact sports;  tennis (light jogging), water polo, horseback riding

For people in their 50’s :

Most people in their 50’s tend to start getting their “life” back; kids may be in college or shortly moving out and starting to live their own lives more independently.  Although diet is always important it is even more important role during this stage of life, especially for females. With women this is generally the most common time to experience menopause.  Another factor we don’t think of is engaging our inner “nomadic ancestor”, meaning; back in the day we used to chase down our own food such as deer and gather various plant life, like berries for example.  When doing things such as, hunting and gathering, it sets off a series of neurotransmitters in our brain that helps keep us “young” and the brain active.  When we get those neurotransmitters to fire we aid in building the myelin sheath (this is what protects the neuron and axon, which is very important for the nervous system to function properly.) The way we can reproduce this in today’s setting is to go for a walk in nature, where your senses are peaked and always finding something new to look at and smell.  Memory and “thinking” games are also important to implement in one’s life to keep cognitive functions high.

  • Low impact exercises
  • Swimming as a form of cardio (good for any age)
  • Resistance training
  • Nature walks/hikes
  • Snowshoeing
  • Kayaking

For people who are in their 60’s + :

First important fact to mention is; it’s never too late to start exercise!  People 65 + tend to be the least active of all the age groups; this can be caused by many factors but most tend to be more mental than anything else.  People tend to be their own set back by “thinking they’re too old” and that’s just not true.  This is a very important point in our life where we must become proactive and make sure we are as fit and healthy as possible to stay independent longer. Participating in any type of senior style exercise class is highly recommended, however there are some people who prefer to do their exercise privately and that’s fine too, just be sure to take all safety precautions such as; making sure someone knows where you are, and where you plan to go (if you plan to go on a long walk alone), always have a phone close by in case of emergency, and don’t try to push yourself too hard.

  • Low impact exercises  (brisk walking, stationary biking, swimming etc.)
  • Try to be active for 150 min a week (this drastically reduces risk of chronic diseases and premature death)
  • Strengthening exercises/ resistance training (such as light weights)
  • Balance and flexibility exercises

Regardless of the decade, check your local leisure guide/YMCA or counterpart for physical and social activities to be a part of .  They are fun, stimulating, educational, and definitely  physically beneficial.

Universal Home Care offers seniors exercise programs though individual groups, along with Stand Up classes funded by the Ministry of Health.  We have in home Physiotherapists, Massage Therapists, and Personal Trainers to help assist in functional strength and ability training to maintain independence.  To book a free assessment, visit http://www.universalhomecare.ca or call 705-523-9100.

Remember that every decade is important, and never forget that our body is our temple!  Not everyone needs to look like Marilyn Monroe or Tom Selleck, but it is important that we try to be and become as healthy as possible so that we can do the necessary physical requirements to stay independent, healthy, and most of all happy.

The Skinny On Fat!

Don’t Eradicate All Fat From Your Diet, Some Fats Are Good!

Most people hear the term “fat” and immediately begin to scowl and mutter various terms of profanity under their breath. Too many people only think of fat as a negative thing they must get rid of. But hold on just a minute, some fats are good! Fat has many important properties that help keep our bodies functioning properly.   The importance of fat is discussed below.

Fat as an Insulator

  • One thing that fat does is keep us warm, fat as most people already know acts as an insulator. This assists in keeping the body the right temperature, especially in colder months.  For example on a cold January day you may need to make a “quick run” outside to grab the recycling bin, or get something out of the car. As your body receives the shock of the cold, your skin reacts by drastically reducing its temperature, this encourages the fat deposits to generate and release heat throughout the body to help combat Old Man Winter!

Fat Provides Energy

  • A lot of people think of carbohydrates as being our main source of energy, which is mostly true, however fat acts as a backup source once we have “tapped” into our other resources a little too much.  This is especially important in survival situations.

Fat Absorbs Vitamins

  • There are some vitamins that can only be absorbed through fat; these are known as “Fat Soluble Vitamins”. This includes some important vitamins such as; vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K, all of which are important to incorporate in our diets.

Fat as Protection

  • We have fat that surrounds vital areas throughout our body such as our, brain, heart, nerves, tissues and bones. The purpose of this is to basically act as absorption in case of unexpected impact.

Other Properties of Fat

  • Fat also helps maintain healthy hair and skin
  • Fat provides nutrients for cell membranes
  • Fat has a very key role in the development of hormones

So you may be thinking to yourself, what is healthy fat?

Healthy fat can be found within many foods. When searching for healthy fats try to find monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats, these are the healthier fats! Below is a list of foods that incorporate healthy fats,

  • Olive Oil
  • Avocados
  • Nuts (such as Walnuts, Almonds, and Cashews)
  • Seeds (such as sunflower, sesame, and Pumpkin seeds)
  • Fish (salmon, Tuna, Herring, and Trout)
  • Eggs
  • Soybean Oil
  • Tofu
  • Peanut Butter

Remember embrace the fat! Just make sure you are incorporating the right kinds of fats, and eating all foods in moderation for the best results. Try to aim for Essential Fatty Acids and Omega 3’s , commonly found in fish. Fat has a key role in the importance in our diet, helping us maintain our bodies.  Whenever in doubt turn to Canada’s Food Guide for recommendations, or consult a professional Nutritionist.

Happy Eating !

Bibliography:

Importance of Fat found at,http://www.newhealthguide.org/Function-Of-Fats-In-The-Body.html  , Paragraphs 2,3,4,5,6 , Copyright New Health Guide 2015

Good Fats found at, http://www.goodfats101.com/fats-101/good-vs-bad/  , Paragraph 5, Copyright Good Fats 101, 2015

Healthy Fats found at, http://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-eating/choosing-healthy-fats.htm , copyright Help Guide 2015

Caffeine is it Really Worth it? What it is Really doing to Your System

Caffeine is it Really Worth it? What it is Really doing to Your System  

A lot of people live to have their coffee, and most of those people who don’t get their daily fix, watch out! They will let you know! In our society it seems to be the normal thing to drink coffee to help us through our crazy work week, then to help us wake up and relax on the weekends. Does anyone really stop to think how caffeine affects our bodies? Not really, and here is why they should.

Caffeine causes lots of disruptions in the body, everything from mild headaches to extreme addiction (believe it or not, this is a real thing!). Here is a quick list of what caffeine does to our body in a negative way, keep in mind this ranges from mild to severe,

Distraction – not being able to think clearly until the caffeine has been consumed

Dehydration –  caffeine is a diuretic, long story short; it influences the body to flush through the kidneys more often, which in turn leads to frequent urination and loss of minerals and other important nutrients.  This also encourages headaches, and muscle cramps, without proper hydration.  Dehydration has the potential to lead to weight gain.  Dehydration signals the brain to replenish and typically we will reach for a snack.  Grab a glass of water first.

Irritability ever notice how some people know to treat most coffee drinkers like a wild Grizzly bear in the morning? There is reason behind that! Most true coffee drinkers, do not want to have any socialization before they have had their morning coffee due to the fact that they NEED it to function! It is nothing short of an addiction. So to make a long story short, Caffeine is a stimulant to the C.N.S. (central nervous system) , regular consumption of our favourite liquid causes dependence of caffeine. Although this is not as serious as taking high risk drugs, it is basically a mild form of drug, just with non life threatening results.

Heartburn – for some people the acid that is in caffeine can add to an already highly acidic stomach causing more acidic pressure on the cardiac sphincter, which then results in what we call “heartburn”

Nausea – just like mentioning what the acid does for heartburn, it can do the exact same thing to cause nausea, if it wears away too much at the protective mucus lining, it can even cause ulcers

Digestive Problems – consumption of daily caffeine increases acidity in the stomach which can lead to heartburn, acid indigestion, and acid reflux as well as adversely affects the stomach and intestinal linings. Because of its natural laxative effect, it can actually push food into the small intestine before it’s completely digested which in turn can cause abdominal pain.  In extreme or sensitive cases caffeine can trigger insomnia, anxiety, and even an irregular heartbeat.  These reactions can affect your digestions by decreasing the amount of blood available.

Elevates Stress Hormones and Interferes with GABA Metabolism – natural stress hormones cortisol, and adrenaline are our ‘fight or flight’ responders.  To be triggered by fear or danger.  Caffeine elevates these hormones which in turn elevate blood pressure and heart rate, essentially keeping our system ‘on’ all of the time.

Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a neurotransmitter that is naturally produced in the brain and GI tract.  It’s function is to regulate mood and stress, and to provide a calming effect on the GI tract.  Caffeine interferes with the binding of GABA to its receptors, therefore preventing the calming effect.

Mineral Absorption – Coffee also inhibits retention of magnesium, calcium, zinc, and other important minerals.  All of which play important roles in the digestive process.  For instance, magnesium plays an important role in regulating bowels and  how our bodies convert food into energy.  Symptoms such as fatigue, low energy, muscle tension, headaches, anxiousness, irritability and inability to sleep have all been linked to magnesium deficiency.

Negative Effects for Pregnancy – as we already know, everything the mother ultimately eats gets transported through the placenta to the baby. All these negative effects of caffeine will also be transmitted to the baby. Studies show that caffeine is also a mild suppressant in preventing conception!

Confusion/Hallucinations –  Yes that’s right , I did indeed say it! Hallucinations are believed to occur when there is an overconsumption of caffeine, this causes the body to become physically stressed. This is a result of high adrenaline levels brought on by caffeine

In short, drink responsibly! Small amounts of caffeine are fine, but try to restrict from drinking multiple cups a day, 2 cups is more then enough. If you are someone who just enjoys the coffee for its taste, switch to decaf. If you still feel you cannot function without the caffeine stimulant, try switching to organic teas, they include; Theophylline and Theobromine, both are healthier choices for getting that boost of energy when needed. Theophylline relaxes smooth muscles in the airway, while stimulating the heart in a much more calming way. Theobromine stimulates and improves blood flow throughout the body, also making it a healthy alternative.

Other Alternatives:

  • Chicory supports healthy GI micro flora
  • Carob
  • Roasted Barley has a soothing effect on GI tract
  • Roasted Dandelion supports healthy liver function

Soothing Teas

  • Chamomile has soothing and anti inflammatory properties
  • Marshmallow or Slippery Elm soothing for inflamed GI tract, also nutrient rich

Bibliography:

Caffeine and its affects, paragraphs 5,7,8 http://brown.edu/Student_Services/Health_Services/Health_Education/alcohol,_tobacco,_&_other_drugs/caffeine.php Copyright, Brown Education 2015

Side effects of caffeine, paragraph 1 , http://www.healthline.com/health/caffeine-effects-on-body Copyright Healthline 2015

Caffeine and its Side Effects,  

http://www.inc.com/sarah-kimmorley/19-horrible-things-that-can-happen-if-you-drink-too-much-caffeine.html  Copyright INC company 2015

Caffeine and Blood Pressure: Healthy caffeine alternatives, http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/expert-answers/blood-pressure/faq-20058543 Copyright Mayo Clinic 2015

Effects of Coffee and/or Caffeine on the Gastrointestinal Tract,

http://www.gaianaturopathic.com 2015

Coffee and Digestion – 7 Digestive Problems with Coffee

flatulencecures.com/coffee-digestion