Natural Treatments for Common Pains

By: Joe Fleming, co-founder of Vive Health

 image via webmd (1)

image via webmd (1)

For many of us, pain is a part of everyday life, whether due to a fitness injury like shin splints, or a chronic condition like arthritis.  Because we all live such busy lives, we understandably want the pain to go away as quickly as possible and there are plenty of opioid painkillers that will do just that.

Unfortunately, these pills often come at a great price... and not just in terms of money.  They are extremely addictive.  It is easy to get hooked and almost impossible to quit.  Even worse, opioids are often gateway drugs to heroin or something even worse.  At some point, the cost simply becomes too high.

The good news is that there are a number of natural remedies that can either eliminate pain altogether, when coupled with time and some other things, or at least greatly reduce our pain pill consumption.

Arthritis

Most people know arthritis is chronic, degenerative, and incurable.  In other words, the underlying condition is always there, usually gets worse, and never gets better.  As a result, many people think that prescription painkillers are the only way to get through the day.  However, in many cases, that’s simply not true.

People successfully dealt with arthritis pain long before prescription painkillers came along, and what worked then will work today. Some ideas include:

  • Weight Loss: Obesity worsens arthritis in the ankles, knees, and other joints in the lower extremities, simply because of the extra pressure and stress.  Even just ten pounds should make a noticeable difference.

  • Exercise: Somewhat similarly, exercise increases flexibility and muscle mass, thus reducing discomfort.  Targeted exercise usually improves arthritis not only in the legs, but in other parts of the body as well.

  • Yoga: In addition to physical exercise, yoga provides a few minutes of quiet meditation.  There is considerable evidence that meditation decreases pain, if for no other reason than you are thinking about something else for a period of time.

  • Dietary Supplements: Turmeric, a common Indian spice, reduces joint inflammation.  Other proven supplements include S-adenosylmethionine (SAM-e), fish oil and Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA).

Depending on the individual, these techniques may make a night and day difference or they may not have any effect at all.  However, nearly everyone sees enough improvement to either reduce the use of prescription pain pills or replace them with analgesics, like Motrin.

Back Pain

While back pain is usually curable, that cure may entail spinal fusion surgery or some other radical procedure.  So, for many people, the goal is pain management, as it is with arthritis sufferers.

Exercise is usually the best way to address back pain, and there are a number of activities and stretches that may work well.  Alternating hot and cold therapy, with a heat pad and ice pack, is also effective in many cases.  Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) has also shown to help reduce low back pain.

Fitness Injury

These injuries are usually quite painful but easily curable.  In the instance of fitness injury, pain-masking opioids may be an even worse idea than normal, because people might feel better before they actually are and re-injure themselves.  The RICE method is usually a great approach immediately after a fitness injury.

  • Rest: Talk to a doctor or trainer about how long you need to walk on crutches, wear a boot, or otherwise avoid using the muscle.

  • Ice: Twenty minutes of cold therapy not only reduces swelling, but also reduces discomfort.

  • Compression: An ACE Bandage will do in a pinch to decrease inflammation, but a specially-designed wrap, like a calf shin support, will usually help people get better faster.

  • Elevation: Keep the injured muscle above your heart.

About halfway through the recovery process for a fitness-related injury, cross-training is probably okay, to stay fit and help ease injury-related depression.  But be sure you talk to a doctor or therapist first.

The bottom line is that there are options other than addictive painkillers to decrease the discomfort associated with many everyday illnesses and injuries.

Sources

(1) A. Cassoobhoy.  (December 15, 2015).  What is low back pain?  WebMD.  Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/back-pain/ss/slideshow-low-back-pain-overview

How to Achieve That Perfect Thigh Gap

...Throwing light on the facts.

By: Eric Olesen from Fitness Goals

 photo via favim.com

photo via favim.com

If you’re someone who has always had big thighs, you would know the importance of a thigh gap.  

A thigh gap is the clear space right under your crotch and in between your middle and upper thighs.  

A small gap within your thighs is an ultimate symbol of a well-toned female body according to most media today.  

It appears that in order to have a minimum thigh gap, your thighs should be totally devoid of fat.  

However, as every woman knows, the inner thighs are outrageously difficult to curb fat and hence for all dieting women, inner thighs remain the Mount Everest of their body.

Debunking a few myths on thigh gaps

The extent to which some girls have gone in order to try and bring that gap in between both thighs has made it an extremely controversial topic.  

This has raised a bunch drama around the thigh gap... so what are the few myths and facts surrounding this topic?

Myth #1: Anyone can easily get a thigh gap like the supermodels

Under optimal situations, the female bone structure and the way in which the femur bone is spread out naturally forms a thigh gap.  

Since every woman is different, there are some who can never ever achieve a slight gap in between their thighs, no matter how much toned and thin their thighs are.

This is simply a matter of bone structure and it is okay if you have a body type that doesn't allow for a thigh gap.  

While the majority of women can obtain a thigh gap with enough dedication, it may not be healthy.  

It requires low body fat percentages that many people cannot maintain.  

And always remember: even if your bone structure doesn't allow the gap, there are still many other benefits to remaining healthy and fit.

Myth #2: You require being skinny like a supermodel to get a thigh gap

The absence or appearance of a gap within thighs is usually due to a layer of fat within your inner thighs.  

The less fat that you have, the more likely you are to have a gap.

This automatically means that the skinnier you are, the easier it will be for you to get that gap in between thighs.  

But again, as every woman is shaped differently, the structure of your body plays a big role in deciding the gap that you can have.

Myth #3: You can’t build leg muscles if you want a gap

Unless you’re working out like a man with heavy weights and doing squats with 225lbs, plus eating enough to put on tons of muscle, it’s pretty unlikely that you will get quads which block the thigh gap.  

Nevertheless, if you still want to do leg exercises with weights to ensure that you have streamlined legs, you have to ensure that you stick to lower weights to create strong, but lean, muscles.

Best exercises to help you get the much-desired thigh gap

Though it is true that losing those extra pounds through a proper schedule of diet and exercise is the best way in which you can get a thigh gap, yet there are 5 exercises which can speed up the long-muscle building process.

1.     Pile squats

2.     Pilates leg lifts

3.     Bridge raises

4.     Inner leg lift

5.     Lateral lunge

Once you keep doing these exercises daily, along with proper diet, you will be able to accomplish your dream of having a gap in between your thighs and feel like a supermodel (assuming, again, that your bone structure allows it).

To know more on this, you can check out www.fitnessgoals.com

Resources:

http://thighgaphack.com/how-to-get-a-thigh-gap/

http://upcominghealth.com/how-to-get-a-thigh-gap/

Photo: https://favim.com/image/2690410/

3 Food Hacks that will Improve Skin Health for Men

By: Aron James

Introduction

For men who want to take care of their skin, it can be somewhat daunting to walk through the beauty aisle at your local grocery store while attempting to find the product that is just right for you. While certain skin creams can help to improve skin blemishes and other skin-related problems, one of the most overlooked (yet utterly important) parts of skin care is what you eat.

Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on high end skin creams, cleansers and exfoliants, you might very well be able to get rid of those excess pimples and oily skin simply by avoiding that mid-afternoon stop at the local fast food joint.  Choosing to eat a diet that is rich in natural, wholesome and organic foods is one of the best ways to improve the skin on any man's face.  Below I offer three food hacks that will help improve your overall skin health while helping you avoid breaking the bank on expensive skin care treatment products.

 photo via mash men (2)

photo via mash men (2)

Eat a Diet Rich in Antioxidants

Even if you are not a nutritionist, chances are that you have heard of antioxidants.  It may seem like every other week you read a newspaper article or post on Facebook about some type of food that is high in antioxidants and thus great for your health.  Antioxidants, among other health benefits, help to slow the process of aging.

One recent study titled Diet in Dermatology: Present Perspectives (1), concludes that foods that are high in antioxidants have a high photo-protective potential, which is a fancy way of saying that these foods will help protect your skin from signs of premature aging caused by exposure to the sun and other elements.  So, be sure to add an extra cup of blueberries (high in antioxidants) to your cereal in the morning, and don´t worry about eating that dark chocolate bar as it has high levels of flavonoids, a potent antioxidant.

Eat a Well-Rounded Diet

While this should be common sense for anyone, nutritional deficiencies that come up because we have been avoiding fresh fruits and vegetables can lead to several skin health problems.  For men who consider skin care an essential part of their grooming regime, you might want to spend more time in the produce section of your local supermarket.  Or better yet, visit your local farmers market to find fresh, wholesome, organic produce that will give you the vitamins and minerals your skin needs to stay healthy. 

Trade Out Sugar for Honey

Too much sugar is never a good thing for your teeth, your blood sugar levels, or for your skin.  By using honey to sweeten your morning coffee, you will be getting a good dose of antioxidants.  The high level of magnesium in honey is also essential for good skin health.  Real men should be concerned about protecting their skin.  Whether you are spending time in the wilderness to embolden your prepper mentality or simply want to look good for a first date, these three changes to your diet will help keep your skin looking young and refreshed.

About the Author

Aron James is the founder of StubblePatrol.com.  Stubble Patrol is a site on male grooming.  He loves to write about his personal experiences.

Sources

1.     K H Basavaraj, C Seemanthini, R Rashmi(2010, Jul-Sep).  Diet in Dermatology: Present Perspectives.  Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2965901/

2.     n.a.  (2017).  Men health care - cosmetic surgeries for better skin.  Mash Men.  Retrieved from: http://www.mashmen.com/2015/11/17/men-health-cosmetic-surgeries/

Glycemic Index: What is it and how can your health benefit from it?

This is a guest post courtesy of Needak Rebounder for Flabs to Fitness.

 photo provided by needak rebounder.

photo provided by needak rebounder.

The Glycemic Index is a valuable tool that has become a staple concept within health and fitness circles. When used intelligently and responsibly, the glycemic index can be used as a powerful mechanism for improving health, reducing the risk of certain diseases and reaching healthy weight goals.

What is the Glycemic Index?

The Glycemic Index - commonly referred to as “GI” - is a scale that ranks the way different carbohydrate foods affect your blood glucose (also known as “blood sugar”).  The GI is represented as a number, with the highest value being 100 which is equivalent to pure glucose and corresponds to the effect pure glucose would have on blood glucose levels.  So, if you were to consume a tablespoon of glucose, or sugar, you can imagine the effect it would have on your body: your blood sugar level would rise very fast seeing as glucose does not need to be broken down by your digestive system.  You might feel hyperactive, jittery or a suddenly energetic.  The glucose would cause a very rapid and high rise to your blood glucose level.

The higher the GI of a particular food, the more rapidly it is digested and absorbed by your body and the more dramatically it increases your blood sugar.  Foods that are low GI foods take longer to digest and absorb, which creates a gradual increase to blood sugar

 image provided by needak rebounder.

image provided by needak rebounder.

In other words, low GI foods release the energy content of food slowly and steadily over a longer period of time unlike high GI foods, which provide quick-release energy within a shorter time span.

Can low GI diets help with weight loss?

One of the most significant and noticeable effects of low GI foods is their effect on appetite.  Due to their slow digestion, low GI foods last longer in your system and therefore keep you satiated for a greater period of time.  By steadily releasing energy to your body, you feel full for longer and experience hunger pangs less often than on high GI foods.  Therefore, when it comes to weight loss and weight management, the natural hunger-suppressing quality of low GI foods means you can stick to a healthy diet more easily and focus on feeding your body only as much as it needs

Research also shows that low GI foods encourage your body to burn stored fat and assists in lowering cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol levels. 

What are examples of low GI foods?

Generally, carbohydrate foods are divided into three GI categories:

Low GI: 1 to 55
Medium GI: 56 to 69
High GI: 70 and higher

When we talk about low GI foods, we refer to foods that are within the 1-55 GI range.  Below are some examples of low GI foods – as you will see, there are plenty of different foods that fall within the low GI range.  Creating your own low GI diet is not difficult when you know what to choose from!

Cereals: oat bran; rolled oats; natural muesli; porridge.

Breads: soya and linseed; wholegrain pumpernickel; heavy mixed grain; whole wheat; sourdough rye; sourdough wheat.

Vegetables: frozen green peas; frozen sweet corn; carrots; eggplant/aubergine; broccoli; cauliflower; cabbage; mushrooms; tomatoes; chillies; lettuce; green beans; red peppers; onions; yams; sweet potatoes.

Fruits: cherries; plums; grapefruit; peaches; apples; pears; dried apricots; grapes; coconut; coconut milk; kiwi fruit; oranges; strawberries; prunes.

Legumes (Beans): kidney beans (canned); butter beans; chick peas; haricot/navy beans; red lentils; green lentils; pinto beans; black eyed beans; yellow split peas.

Grains: brown rice; pearl barley; buckwheat; white long grain rice; spaghetti.

Eating low GI foods does not mean you need to forego your tastebuds or flavourful foods.  There are plenty of delicious low GI recipes easily found through Google.  The Glycemic Index Foundation is a good place to start – they provide breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack recipes that all look tantalizing and many of them take less that 20 minutes to whip up! 

 photo provided by needak rebounder.

photo provided by needak rebounder.

Are there any benefits to consuming high and medium GI foods?

High/medium GI whole foods such as bananas, pineapples, watermelon and dates are advantageous sources of quick energy for times when your body requires rapid fuel replenishment.  For example, after performing a rigorous workout it’s important to refuel your body so that your muscles can properly recover and rebuild.  In such instances, eating a natural high/medium GI food in order to provide your body some immediate sustenance until your next meal can assist with muscle recovery

Other health benefits of low GI diets:

There is a significant body of clinical research which describe various health benefits of maintaining a low GI diet.  One of the most notable areas of research is the effect low GI diets can have in reducing the risk of diabetes.  High GI diets create unhealthy surges to insulin levels.  If you maintain a high GI diet for long enough, your body develops insulin resistance, which is a precursor to Type 2 Diabetes.  Conversely, low GI foods do not spike your insulin levels and assists your body in maintain proper regulation of insulin and blood glucose levels.  Proper Low GI diets can also help with managing and improving diabetes symptoms by improving blood glucose levels, reducing insulin resistance and improving blood cholesterol levels.

Other benefits of maintaining a low GI diet include being at a lower risk of developing heart disease and age-related adult macular degeneration

Final thoughts:

Given all the evidence supporting the benefits of low GI foods, it makes a great deal of sense to switch to a predominantly low GI diet.  Low GI diets can markedly assist with reaching and maintaining healthy weight and significantly lessen the the risk of developing serious diseases.  Furthermore, combining regular exercise activities with a predominantly low GI diet can maximise weight loss and promote overall well-being.  And you don’t need to overwhelm yourself with strenuous high impact or heavy duty exercises or heavy duty exercise to maintain good health.  There are numerous low impact options such as walking, rebounding, swimming, strength training which you can tailor to fit your individual needs and requirements.

About Needak

Needak Rebounder is an official retailer of the bestselling rebounder in the world.  Their fitness device is focused on alternate forms of in-home cardiovascular health, and their blog features many articles which focus on this and how it relates to the sport of rebounding.  Visit Needak.com if you are interested in exploring the Needak Rebounder and the revolutionary sport of rebounding.