Complete Natural Health Care

Meditation: Why It’s Vital Right Now 

Tense muscles. Obsessing about the news. Anxiety about the future. Difficulty sleeping. Do all of these sound familiar? You’re definitely not alone. There’s no doubt that we are living with a lot of uncertainty right now.

How can we cope? 

Doing Nothing To Cope With Everything

The answer might be as simple as doing…. nothing. Simply sitting still and mindfully clearing your thoughts through meditation has an astounding number of benefits that are vital right at this point in history. 

In fact, fostering an ongoing meditation practice can change the structure of your brain, providing benefits that continue when you have finished meditating.

In short, meditation may be one of the best things you can do for yourself in troubled times.

The Benefits Of Meditation

Some of the many positive things that can happen when you meditate include:

Lower Blood Pressure

Meditation can decrease the “flight or fight” hormones in your body. As a result of this relaxation response, your blood vessels open up, which in turn improves your blood pressure.

Less Stress-Induced Inflammation

Excess cortisol, one of the central stress hormones, can lead to inflammation in many parts of the body – a common example of this is the gut, with digestive issues being common during times of high stress. Because meditation can lower the amount of cortisol you produce, inflammation is reduced.

Embracing Uncertainty

Despite all of the health benefits, the ultimate goal of meditation isn’t necessarily focused on physical results. It’s more a process of learning to embrace uncertainty.

A More Positive Outlook

Who doesn’t need a more positive outlook right now? Meditation has been found to actually alter (in a good way) the parts of your brain responsible for positive thoughts. As well, by becoming more aware of your thoughts, you can fend off negativity.

Reduced Anxiety And Fewer Obsessive Thoughts

It’s perfectly normal to be experiencing anxiety and obsessive thoughts when faced with a pandemic. However, those thoughts can spiral out of control and negatively affect family members as well as your health. High cortisol levels even lower your immune response, and we all want a strong immune system right now.

How Does Meditation Help With Negative Thoughts?

It can be difficult to imagine gaining control over the thought train when world events, and the changes to our daily lives, seem so overwhelming.

However, meditation teaches us how to experience and sit with those thoughts – without panicking or feeling like we need to repress them. With a little practice, you should be able to just sit with your thoughts and feelings, without judgement or analysis, and start to process them without spiralling out of control. You can be present in the moment without projecting into the future or ruminating on the past.

And right now, faced with so many unknowns, that’s particularly important.

Why Start Now?

You might feel that now is not a good time to start meditation. After all, you’re likely stuck at home and perhaps feel antsy and confined. Who wants to sit still? However, mediation has proven to be an effective mental health treatment and right now we need to be focusing  not just on our healthy body but also…a healthy mind.

How To Start Meditating

Many people find the thought of taking up meditation a bit intimidating. After all, it has had an esoteric reputation through the ages. It’s important to know that you don’t have to “master” meditation. It’s OK to be imperfect. Your mind will probably wander, and you may feel uncomfortable at first. That’s perfectly normal.

Setting Up Your Practice

The good news is that it’s surprisingly simple to get started. In basic terms, you just need to:

●      Find a comfortable place. Ideally, it will be quiet.

●      Sit in a natural position.

●      Breathe normally.

●      Focus on your breath.

Try not to overthink this: just focus on each exhalation and inhalation. It’s not necessary to force anything.

●      If your mind wanders:

(And since you’re human, there’s a good chance that it will) try to sit back and “observe” your thoughts. Don’t analyze them. And don’t scold yourself for losing focus. It’s all part of the process. They are just passing through your brain.

How Long Should You Meditate?

You may have heard of people going on week-long meditation retreats. That’s great – but it’s not really necessary. Just a few minutes a day is a good start. In fact, studies have found that just five minutes can have significant benefits.

And who doesn’t have five extra minutes?

How Often Should You Meditate?

Consistency is a key component of a successful meditation practice. Try to carve out a few minutes a day to dedicate to your mental health. Some people find that it helps to make it the same time every day.

Resources To Get Your Meditation Practice Started

There are quite a few wonderful resources available to help you get started with meditation should you need a little help – here are a few of our favourites:

Headspace

Calm

Wherever You Go, There You Are

Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics

There are many reasons to start meditation. Why not start now? Let us know how you get on – and remember that we are here to support your health and wellness.

 

 

 

Resources

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25390009

https://www.npr.org/2008/08/21/93796200/to-lower-blood-pressure-open-up-and-say-om

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0889159112004758

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0889159112004758

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/5946075_Relationships_between_mindfulness_practice_and_levels_of_mindfulness_medical_and_psychological_symptoms_and_well-being_in_a_mindfulness-based_stress_reduction_program

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0306624X19856232

https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Effects-of-Five-Minute-Mindfulness-Meditation-on-Lam-Sterling/7a7529a9e6401679016ab78f398eaaf4487aff84

https://journals.lww.com/psychosomaticmedicine/Abstract/2003/07000/Alterations_in_Brain_

and_Immune_Function_Produced.14.aspx

 

 

Top Tips to Enhance Your Lung Function

 

It’s hard not to think about our lungs and how we can keep them healthy amidst all the uncertainty of this pandemic. Seeing our economies shut down and a global health crisis is something almost none of us have had to contend with at this level in our lives.

Best Practices For Lung Health

Understanding what you can do to help your lungs function at their best will help you in more ways than one so we are sharing some top tips you can do at home.

1. Practice Deep Breathing

Did you know that we normally only use about 50 percent of our lung capacity? Increasing the involvement of your entire lungs can help keep them healthy.

How Breath Works

Let’s take a moment to really examine how our breath works – and how we can improve it. When you take a deep breath, your diaphragm, muscles and lungs work in harmony to draw in oxygen. When you exhale, you expel carbon dioxide. You’ve probably noticed that taking deeper breaths has a different effect on your body than taking short, shallow breaths. You may also notice that stress tends to make your breathing more shallow and that taking deep breaths can be relaxing.

Involve The Whole Lung

Deeper breaths require greater involvement from more parts of your lungs. That means that the lower sections (where mucus can tend to collect) are activated and mucus is dislodged. Deep breathing has shown to be an effective way to support good lung function for patients with asthma and other respiratory disorders.

Diaphragmatic Breathing

What exactly does deep breathing mean? Try paying attention to the role your diaphragm plays as you inhale and exhale. It might help if you place a hand on your rib cage or at the top of your belly.  You should feel your diaphragm rise as you inhale, and lower as you exhale. That simple awareness can help you to consciously expand your lungs.

Maintaining good posture with a straight spine will also help you do this – you want to give your ribs space to expand. As well, count slowly with each breath. It should take just as long to exhale as it does to inhale. 

As an added bonus, this breathing exercise can help you to relax – and we all need more of that right now. Deep breathing can lower the production of stress hormones such as cortisol.

2. Exercise

Moving your body requires effort, oxygen and therefore deeper breaths, which can improve your lung capacity as well as supporting your physical health. Do whatever exercise feels good to you while, of course, ensuring that you are still practising appropriate social distancing.

Interval Training For Lung Health

Some evidence suggests that interval training can be a particularly good way to boost lung function, because alternating periods of exercise with periods of rest can help your lungs recover from the exertion as you continue to work out. As always, listen to your body.

3. Stay Hydrated

Drinking enough water can help thin the mucus in your lungs. As well, proper hydration is necessary for maintaining good health overall so it should always be a priority.

4. Breathe Through Your Nose 

Protect Your Lungs From Particles

Those little hairs in your nostrils are there for a reason, they act as filters to keep the air you breathe clean, and they warm the air to minimize the shock to your lungs on a cold day. Breathing through your nose provides a buffer which helps to reduce the amount of extra “cleaning” work your lungs need to carry out.

5. Laugh More

Yes, it seems simple, but laughing truly is a great exercise to work the abdominal muscles, increase lung capacity and oxygenate the blood. And let’s face it…comedy moments are the best exercise ever!

6. Clean Cleaning

You’ve heard it before, but it’s worth repeating. If you’re not sure which products you should be using to clean your home, focus on not adding toxins into your environment but rather seeking out healthy cleaning supplies.

Natural Cleaning Products

Baking soda, vinegar and water have always been a tried and true cleaner, and there are plenty of more eco-friendly cleaning products available which use essential oils and natural ingredients. As much as possible, eliminate aerosol sprays and synthetic air fresheners which can be particularly irritating to the lungs.

7. Fresh Air Indoors

As the weather warms up, remember to open up your windows and let the fresh air in. If you live in an area that is busy with traffic, try waiting until night time to freshen up your house. Indoor air filters are another way to ensure the air quality in your home is optimal.

8. If You Smoke, Stop

Having healthy lung function is always important, but now more than ever we need to make sure our lungs and lung capacity are working at peak levels. Research shows that your lung function can start to improve as early as 2 weeks after quitting smoking.

We are living with a lot of uncertainty right now. Taking proactive steps to optimize your health is important and there are many things you can do to help improve your body’s resilience.

Wellness is achieved when the body is able to protect itself against imbalances, breakdowns, and foreign invaders. The human body has evolved powerful defense systems that help it to maintain optimal physical, mental and emotional states. Our lifestyle, past and current health issues as well as our ability to manage stress and trauma all play a role in our state of health.

Supporting our body’s innate ability to heal is not a short term solution to a problem but rather a daily plan to stay strong and resilient.

If you are looking for help to get your health optimized and work towards your unique version of resilience and wellbeing, give us a call. Xxx-xxxx we are here to help you.

 

 

References

Breathing study on adults with asthma:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32212422

Diaphragm breathing and stress: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5455070/

Benefits of deep breathing exercises: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24937500

Hydration and pulmonary problems: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14681718/

Exercise and coronavirus: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/03/200331162314.htm

Smoking and COVID-19. https://www.livescience.com/coronavirus-covid-19-risk-and-smoking.html

Effects of quitting smoking

https://www.cancer.org/healthy/stay-away-from-tobacco/benefits-of-quitting-smoking-over-time.html

 

Herbal Tea – A Protectant Against CoVid

Herbal tea can be calming and soothing, but one herbal tea really stands out as a protectant during these CoVid times.

Stinging nettle tea, which is inexpensive and easy to make, is loaded with minerals and nutrients. It also contains plant compounds that block virus docking in the lungs, reduce inflammation and interfere with the whole series of bad biochemical events in viral infection called “the cytokine storm”.

I am making a strong infusion of stinging nettle daily. Here’s how to do it:

Take 1 cup dried stinging nettle and pour over 1 liter of boiled water. Steep for at least 2 hours and strain. Take 2 cups daily. You can add mint, ginger or lemon for a flavour boost.

From Dr. Baron:

I have been listening to several professional webinars to bring the best current information to my patients. Stay tuned for my clinical pearls.

Firstly, vitamins A, C, D, B2, B6 and B12, as well as minerals iron, selenium and zinc are all needed for a competent and balanced immune response.

Vitamin C is currently being used intravenously to treat hospitalized CoVid patients in hospitals in New York and around the world, for its remarkable anti-inflammatory action. Please ensure you are getting sufficient Vitamin C every day.

Vitamin D plays a huge role in preventing respiratory infection. Deficiency of Vitamin D can contribute to the uncontrolled inflammatory response that causes serious lung damage. Make sure you keep taking your Vitamin D.

If you have questions about your health, I am available for phone consultations. Please call me at 416-385-9277 to book your appointment or order your supplements.

Natural Tips to Strengthen Your Memory

We all have momentary memory lapses. If you’ve ever searched for your lost car in a parking lot, or stumbled for a name mid-conversation, you know that feeling of having an important fact right at the edge of your mind … somewhere. Of course, as we grow older, those temporary memory blips become more troublesome because we tend to wonder if we’re experiencing normal memory problems or bigger issues.

However, it’s important to remember (see what we did there?) that memory loss doesn’t have to be a normal part of aging. You can take many steps to protect your cognitive health. And no matter what age you are, improving your memory can improve your overall quality of life and health.

A Healthy Memory

That’s because having a healthy, well-functioning memory is vital to your well-being, as well as your sense of identity. Just consider how certain scents can trigger emotional responses and memories. That process (called your olfactory memory) is an important part of the way memory manages our perception of the past (and present). In fact, studies have shown that olfactory memories have more power to create a sense of nostalgia than visual memories.

There Are Ways To Improve Your Memory

If you want to improve your memory, it’s helpful to consider the biology of memory and what can affect it. Memories are stored in your hippocampus, which is considered to be “plastic” because it is constantly changing and influenced by many factors. For example, the pathways to the hippocampus tend to lessen with age. Hormonal changes can also affect the cells’ ability to regenerate. As a result, many things can affect the functioning of your memory.

Things That Can Affect Memory Function:

Anxiety

Stress can lead to physical changes in the brain that affect memory function. It’s easy to notice this process in daily life. When you’re overwhelmed, you can feel as if there simply isn’t enough capacity in your brain to take in new information or recall important facts and tasks.

Hormonal Changes

Shifts in hormone levels, particularly the drop in estrogen that can accompany menopause, can lead to molecular changes in the hippocampus that affect memory formation.

Poor Dietary Habits

Your brain needs some “healthy” fats to thrive. However,  saturated fat and too much processed, sugary food can impair memory, in part because too many sweet treats can lead to brain inflammation.

Smoking

You can add “poor memory” to the list of reasons to stop smoking. If you’re struggling with this habit (and let’s face it, quitting isn’t easy), talk to a healthcare practitioner.

Germs

Believe it or not, even germ exposure can affect your memory. Scientists have found that exposure to some viruses (in particular, the herpes simplex 1 virus that causes cold sores) can affect memory.

Prescription drugs

Many commonly prescribed drugs can actually harm your memory. Anticholinergics (often prescribed for cold symptoms, incontinence, or allergies) and benzodiazepines (used to treat things like anxiety and insomnia) carry particularly high risk.  As always, be sure to weigh the potential negative side effects of any medication carefully.

Watching too much television

It’s true: Too many Netflix “binges” can hurt your memory. One study found that watching 3.5 hours of television a day (which is sometimes just a warmup for serious bingers) can negatively affect memory function.

Sleep problems

Recent research suggests that sleep is vital to “consolidating” memories. In other words, our brains aren’t just resting when we’re sleeping, but actually forming and protecting the memories we create during waking moments. When we’re not getting enough sleep, we lose that important processing time.

Thyroid issues

Low levels of thyroid hormone can lead to memory loss and “fuzzy thinking.”

Ways To Help Your Memory

So, how can you help your memory? The list points to potential problems that can be managed. As well, exciting research in neuroscience is pointing to some simple solutions that can help your cognitive health.

1. Practice mindfulness and minimize distractions

Regular meditation can actually alter the physical structure of your brain. Improved blood flow and the creation of more neural connections are some of the paybacks from a regular meditation practice.

However, you also want to make sure your brain isn’t overloaded during the rest of your day. Did you know that we check our phones an average of every 12 minutes? That constant shifting of attention can impact cognitive processes. If you feel uncomfortable when you’re separated from your phone, it may be time for a little soul-searching.

2. Eat for brain health

A great deal of research supports the importance of a healthy diet in protecting brain health. In general, avoid overly processed foods and focus on:

●     Leafy greens

●     Berries and other antioxidant-rich foods

●     Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, walnuts and chia seeds

●     Turmeric (studies have found its anti-inflammatory properties can slow memory loss.)

●     Coconut oil (preliminary research points to a protective effect on memory)

3. Move for memory

Exercise helps more than your physical health. It can also boost your cognitive functioning. And it doesn’t take marathon workouts for exercise to have a positive impact on your memory.  Even short workouts can boost your recall powers.

4. Train your brain

It’s possible to train your brain to be more efficient. Try some of these simple “hacks” to improve your memory.

  • Repeat important information. For example, if you’re introduced to someone, repeat their name back to them. That helps “check in” new facts.
  • Play with mnemonics. You may have learned the names of the Great Lakes through the HOMES acronym. Why not create your own acronyms in order to remember lists of items?
  • Draw maps. If you have a lot of info to keep track of, try creating a map on a piece of paper. Put the central piece of information in the middle, then draw all of the relevant connections from that point.
  • Work with your environment. Don’t hesitate to place little reminders in strategic places. Some people have luck with post-it notes, but they can be more subtle, such as placing a photograph of a loved one who has an approaching birthday beside your bed.
  • Press replay. Immediately after an event, replay the important elements in your mind. That will help imprint the things you want to remember.
  • Create a memory palace. Try picturing a room that you know very well, and associating each object in the room with an important fact you want to remember.

Note that there are many programs out there that claim to help cognitive health and improve your memory. However, this is an unregulated industry so it’s important to do your due diligence before spending any money. And talking to a medical professional first is always a good idea.

If you’d like to discuss ways to support your memory, come into the office. Together we can pinpoint potential problems and work on lifestyle changes that will boost your brainpower!

 

Resources:

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-39354-4

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080311182434.htm

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/estrogens-and-memory-loss-in-women/

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181019100702.htm

https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/two-types-of-drugs-you-may-want-to-avoid-for-the-sake-of-your-brain

https://www.ncbi.nl

m.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4330889/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4264616/

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/oct/14/the-lost-art-of-concentration-being-distracted-in-a-digital-world

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166432816301437?via%3Dihub

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3541490/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28421789

https://www.jneurosci.org/content/35/43/14426

 

Distractions: What’s the Cost to Your Wellbeing?

 

Here’s a challenge: Can you read this article from beginning to end without being distracted? And how will any distractions affect your ultimate understanding of the subject? The answers might surprise you.

We tend to think that distractions are a normal part of life, but it’s often a valuable exercise to take a step back and consider the impact of constant interruptions. Why is this important? Like most people, you have a lot to accomplish every day. You also have goals you want to reach. Perhaps you want to work towards greater health, making a bigger impact with the work you do or improve your relationships. And not being able to focus can impact your ability to reach those goals.

The Hidden Cost of Distraction

Interestingly, many people argue that they are more efficient when they are busy and multi-tasking. And in fact, researchers have found that we do actually work faster when we’re faced with a lot of distractions. That may be because we subconsciously feel that we have to overcompensate for the interruptions.

Higher Anxiety

However, studies have also found that the cost of distractions affects something far more important than your productivity: your wellbeing. That’s because distractions make you feel more stressed and anxious. And higher levels of anxiety can affect every part of your body.

Lower Accuracy

As well, being distracted can affect your accuracy. It makes sense: Your brain can only handle so much input at a time. However, what is surprising is how little it takes to derail your focus and affect your accuracy. As little as three seconds of distraction (the time it takes to glance at your phone after it beeps) can affect your focus and, in turn, your accuracy.

Distraction Recovery Time

The effects of even short distractions like that are startling. One study found that it takes an astounding 23 minutes and 15 seconds to regain your focus after an interruption. Let’s put that in perspective for a moment. How often does your phone ring or beep while you’re doing something else? If it takes over 20 minutes to recover from every notification, how much of your day is spent in “distraction recovery”? And does the loss of that time affect your long-term health and your goals?

Altered Memory Function

Consider what happens when you are looking things up while you watch a movie. Do you really follow the plot as carefully? Do you remember the details of the movie as well? Science suggests that you don’t. In fact, researchers have found that the way we remember things has changed since the advent of the Internet. Our memory functions have been altered.

How To Prevent Distractions

If you would like to minimize the impact of distractions in your life, it’s important to recognize the distinction between a needed break and a distraction. A break can be a good time to recharge and clear your mind. We’re typically more productive after we have stepped away from work for a bit. Breaks that are planned usually provide an incentive to work hard. In contrast, a distraction can come out of nowhere.

Although we tend to think of distractions as out of our control, we can take steps to reduce them.

1.   Take Control Of Your Devices

Yes, we all rely on our phones – but do we really need to be notified every single time something happens? This is a personal preference and will depend on your situation, but it helps to be aware that you can customize your phone’s notifications. For example, parents are often reluctant to turn their phones off in case their kids need them, but you can adjust your settings so that all but a few specific contacts are muted.

It’s ok to let people know that, starting now, you may not respond right away to email or text messages. If you get a lot of email at work, a good habit is to set aside specific times for checking your email, for example once every two hours or in the morning and at the end of the day.

2.   Turn Off Your Notifications

It might feel like an adjustment at first to do away with the little red dot that tells you how much has been happening on Facebook, Twitter or in the news, but you’ll soon realize that you don’t miss anything important. You simply gain more control over when and where you get information. (It might help to remember that the ultimate goal of the apps on your device isn’t to keep you informed – it’s to make money by grabbing your attention.)

3.   Schedule Your Breaks

It’s important to take a break when focused on a lengthy task. You’re less likely to be distracted and stay on task if you schedule a bit of time to relax – see it as a reward if that helps. Regular breaks can actually make you more productive! However, those breaks should mindful ones, not filled with more things begging for your attention. So take a walk, meditate, or even have a quick nap. The important thing is to clear your mind.

4.   Train Yourself To Regain Focus

Now that you understand how long it can take to regain your focus after each distraction, make a conscious effort to get back on task faster!

Does The Way You Live Your Life Make It Harder To Pay Attention When It Matters?

It’s also important to look at how aspects of your lifestyle can affect your focus. If you’re rested and healthy, distractions may not impact you as much as they would otherwise.

Simple adjustments like introducing a 10-minute-a-day meditation practice, or going to bed 30 minutes earlier, can positively impact your ability to focus and improve your response to interruptions.

Outside Influences That Can Affect Your Focus

If you have tried all the tricks and still find it difficult to stay on task it might be a good idea to check in on your health. Many imbalances such as thyroid problems, hormonal imbalances and nutrient deficiencies can lead to “foggy thinking” and slow response times.  The good news is, we can help you to uncover these issues with a proper health assessment that includes lab tests.

How are distractions affecting your health? It’s something to think about.  if you have been making efforts but still find it harder to focus than before – brain fog, forgetfulness, there could be more factors at play so give us a call!

Resources

https://www.ics.uci.edu/~gmark/chi08-mark.pdf

http://www.yalescientific.org/2013/05/is-google-ruining-your-memory-the-science-of-memory-in-the-digital-age/

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/mental-downtime/

Is Alcohol a Detriment to Your Health?

 
A glass of wine with dinner. A beer after a hard day of work. It’s not hard to integrate an occasional drink with a healthy lifestyle. Or is it?
 
In recent years, we’ve read that red wine is rich with antioxidants, and that an occasional beer can raise “good” cholesterol. But results from a new study suggest that even moderate alcohol consumption – the kind we tell ourselves is healthy – may actually be detrimental to our health. In other words, the much-heralded health benefits of drinking don’t outweigh the risks. As a result, there is no safe level of alcohol consumption.

A recently published research study looks at data collected in almost 700 studies, spanning 195 countries and territories. Some of the findings are startling:

●  Alcohol is the leading risk factor for death in the age 15 through 49 age group.
●  Alcohol use was responsible for 2.8 million deaths worldwide in 2016.
●  For women in particular, the health risks increase with age. Alcohol was responsible for over 27 percent of cancer deaths in women over 50.

The authors of the study are firm in their conclusion: “By evaluating all associated relative risks for alcohol use, we found that consuming zero standard drinks daily minimizes the overall risk to health.”

In other words, the only safe amount of drinks is none at all. This finding differs from many earlier studies, which often concluded that moderate drinking was the best approach.

Why did this study reach a more decisive conclusion than previous examinations of alcohol’s effect on health? Several factors come into play. This study was careful to consider the ways they measured consumption. For example, researchers looked at regional variations in alcohol consumption that could be attributed to things like tourism. In addition, the study looked at alcohol’s impact on 23 different health-related problems. For some of those problems (such as heart disease), mild alcohol consumption had a positive effect. But that positive effect was balanced by a greater negative impact on other health issues. Cancer is a strong example of this.

What does this mean for you? If you drink, should you stop? Alcohol consumption is a very personal decision. This study looked at the picture, worldwide. It was not studying individuals, but rather analyzing vast amounts of data previously collected, specifically looking at the risks for the 23 health issues. That data was conclusive. But it’s up to you how you apply it to your own life. This latest study can’t, for example, tell you if it’s OK to have some wine for New Year’s given your own unique genetics and other lifestyle factors.

One thing is clear: If you’ve told yourself that drinking is healthy, you may want to reconsider that rationale. That doesn’t necessarily mean you must immediately quit. However, in deciding whether or not alcohol is something you want in your life, it’s best to be realistic about the health risks.

If you’re wondering about alcohol, talk to a healthcare practitioner. And be upfront about your drinking during the visit. Many people under report how much they drink, but it’s best to be honest. You want to have an open discussion about all of your health concerns. Remember that healthcare providers aren’t looking to judge you: they want to work with you to create your best life.

You also want to look at your own medical history and perhaps check out more specific studies. For example, another recently published study concluded that alcohol is the biggest controllable risk factor for dementia. If you have other dementia risk factors that are out of your control, such as a genetic history, you may want take action on the things you can control.

Similarly, if you have a history of depression, consider alcohol’s impact on mental health. If you are trying to control your weight, the extra calories of alcohol aren’t going to help. Alcohol can also lower your judgment and keep you from making your best decisions.

Whenever you’re confused about a health issue, the best approach is to consider it from a sample study of one: yourself. That means talking to a healthcare provider about your own personal history and choices and your current health concerns. We can help you sort through all of the information you face every day and figure out what’s best for your unique body- in fact we are experts in doing just that! Give our office a call, we are here to help!
 
Sources: Source #1 Source #2 Source #3