Bone-Boosting Foods: Do They Prevent Osteoporosis?

Bone-Boosting Foods: Do They Prevent Osteoporosis?

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Weak bones are a growing concern as you get older. Your bone tissue naturally thins out and loses strength over time. Among adults over the age of 50, about one out of 20 men and one out of five women have osteoporosis or weakened bones.

There are several types of medications and lifestyle changes that can help strengthen bones or slow down bone loss. In particular, the things you eat have a major impact on the health of your skeleton. Good or poor diet choices may help determine whether you experience pain or falls due to bone loss.

What Is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a condition that leads to fragile bones and an increased risk of experiencing a bone fracture (broken bone). You may have this condition if you lose too much bone mineral density (the amount of minerals found in your bones). You may also be diagnosed with this condition if you have broken bones in the past, and your doctor thinks you are at risk for breaking another one.

How Do You Know If You Have Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is often considered to be a “silent” disease — it doesn’t often cause symptoms. In some cases, people with osteoporosis may notice certain changes. Their height may shrink, they may not be able to stand up straight, or their spine may curve until it forms a rounded hump at the base of the neck.

Your doctor can measure your bone mineral density with a special X-ray scan that measures the thickness of your bones. Your bone density is compared to the density of an average healthy, young adult. The more different your bones are from a young adult’s, the lower your bone density and the higher your chances of breaking a bone.

You should start undergoing regular screening tests to measure your bone density starting at age 65. However, it may be a good idea to start undergoing testing at age 50 if you have certain risk factors, such as a parent who has previously broken their hip. Ask your doctor if bone mineral density testing might be helpful for you.

The Many Causes of Osteoporosis

Some people have a higher chance of developing this disease. Some risk factors include:

  • Being a woman
  • Being white or Asian
  • Older age
  • Having a low body weight
  • Having a family history of osteoporosis
  • Not getting enough physical activity
  • Drinking a lot of alcohol
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Experiencing hormone imbalances such as low levels of estrogen or testosterone
  • Having certain medical conditions that cause inflammation or impact the kidney or liver
  • Using certain medications, such as proton pump inhibitors, glucocorticoids, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), or cancer drugs

Diet also plays a large role in the health of your bones. Not getting enough of certain nutrients can cause bone loss. Additionally, the foods and drinks you consume can have an impact on other osteoporosis risk factors, such as hormone levels and inflammatory diseases.

The Best Nutrients for Preventing Osteoporosis

When you want to strengthen and protect your bones, it is a good idea to make changes to your diet. Several vitamins and minerals are important for maintaining the normal processes that help your body build up bone. Making sure that you are eating enough foods that contain these nutrients is an important part of maximizing your bone health.

In order to find out how much of each nutrient you are getting from your diet, check the Nutrition Facts labels on your foods and drinks.


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Calcium is a mineral that supports healthy nerves, muscles, and blood vessels. Without this substance, your cells and tissues wouldn’t be able to properly function. The body needs to keep calcium levels within a certain range in order to stay healthy.

The body can’t make its own calcium, and relies on the things you eat and drink in order to get the calcium it needs. As the body absorbs calcium from the diet, it stores extra calcium in the bones.

Calcium is part of a delicate balancing act called bone remodeling that helps the body maintain bone tissue. During this process, osteoclast cells break apart the old bone and the body reabsorbs and recycles any nutrients, such as calcium, that are released. Next, osteoblast cells will add new bone using collagen and various minerals. If you don’t eat enough calcium, the body will take it from the bones but won’t be able to replace it with new, strong bone tissue.

In order to keep up with the body’s calcium needs, experts recommend that adults get at least 1,000 mg of calcium each day. Older adults who have an increased risk of bone loss should get even more — women over the age of 50 and men over the age of 70 should aim for 1,200 mg daily.

Find calcium in foods and drinks like:

  • Milk
  • Dairy products like cheese, yogurt, sour cream, and ice cream
  • Canned, bone-in sardines and salmon
  • Green vegetables such as kale, spinach, collard greens, broccoli, and bok choi
  • Chia seeds
  • Tofu
  • Canned pinto beans
  • Certain cereals
  • Drinks that have added calcium, such as fruit juice, almond milk, and soy milk

Calcium is also available in supplement form or as part of a multivitamin. Some supplements, including antacid tablets, contain calcium carbonate, which should be taken along with food for optimal absorption. Other supplements that have calcium citrate can be taken with or without food and may be more easily absorbed, especially by older adults.

Vitamin D

Although the body relies on the diet for its calcium needs, the digestive system doesn’t absorb this mineral very efficiently. Only about 15 to 20% of the calcium in your foods and drinks is taken up by the body. However, vitamin D helps the body absorb more calcium.

Within the body, vitamin D becomes activated to form calcitriol, a hormone. Calcitriol interacts with cells in the intestines and kidneys to stimulate these organs to absorb more calcium for the body to use. When you don’t get enough vitamin D, your body doesn’t absorb as much calcium and your bones may weaken.

Your skin makes vitamin D when it is exposed to sunlight. However, sun can also speed up aging of the skin, leading to wrinkles, uneven skin tone, and spider veins. Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun are also the main cause of skin cancer. Therefore, it’s best for your overall health to protect your skin from the sun and to rely on getting vitamin D from your diet instead.

Adults should aim to get 15 micrograms (mcg) or 600 international units (IU). Those who are in their 70’s or older should be getting 20 mcg or 800 IU in order to protect their bones and help prevent osteoporosis.

Vitamin D can be found in foods like:

  • Fatty or oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel, trout, tuna, or sardines
  • Cod liver oil
  • Beef liver
  • Egg yolks
  • Mushrooms
  • Milk, which usually is usually supplemented with vitamin D
  • Other foods that contain added vitamin D, such as certain types of soy milk, almond milk, oat milk, yogurt, cereal, and orange juice

Vitamin D supplements can also help increase your intake of this nutrient. Your body can better absorb vitamin D supplements when it’s eaten along with foods that contain some fat.


Although calcium and vitamin D likely have the biggest impact on bone health, recent research has also started identifying other nutrients that can play a role in osteoporosis and bone loss.

Carotenoids are antioxidants that help neutralize molecules that cause damage within cells. They are important for keeping the eyes healthy and for protecting against conditions like cancer.

These molecules help encourage osteoblasts to create more bone, and prevent osteoclasts from removing bone. Studies show that people who eat high amounts of carotenoids are 46% less likely to experience a fracture.

There are a few different types of carotenoids that can help keep bones strong. Lycopene is a carotenoid found in red fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit, apricot, and guava. It can also be found in other non-red foods such as parsley and asparagus. The carotenoid beta-carotene comes from yellow, orange, and green produce, including carrots, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, spinach, and broccoli. Green vegetables, pistachios, and eggs also contain high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin, additional carotenoids that help prevent bone loss.

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Vitamin C

Vitamin C is also an antioxidant. It supports immune system health and helps the digestive system absorb iron. The body also uses this nutrient in order to help form new osteoblasts and osteoclasts and to produce collagen, a protein that provides structure for the skin, cartilage, and bones, and helps these tissues work properly.

Studies have found that vitamin C could help protect against osteoporosis. In particular, the more vitamin C men consume, the less bone loss they experience. Men who took vitamin C supplements were 69% less likely to break their hip in one study. Some studies have also found that this vitamin can help women maintain bone density as they get older.

You can get more vitamin C through supplements. It is also found in most multivitamins. Foods that contain higher levels of vitamin C include:

  • Citrus fruits like oranges or grapefruits, as well as juice from these fruits
  • Kiwi
  • Strawberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Tomatoes and tomato juice
  • Bell peppers
  • Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage
  • Baked potatoes

One of the best ways to make sure you’re getting enough vitamin C is to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables each day. Experts recommend eating five servings of fruits and vegetables each day in order to support health, reduce risk of chronic health conditions, and live longer.

Vitamin B12

When older adults don’t get enough vitamin B12, they are more likely to have high homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is a molecule that helps control bone remodeling. Too much homocysteine can increase risk of osteoporosis, so eating more vitamin B12 may be good for the bones. People who have low levels of vitamin B12 in the blood tend to have less bone density.

Adults need at least 2.4 mcg of vitamin B12 each day for optimal health. You can find this nutrient in animal products, such as meat, poultry, seafood, milk, and eggs. If you don’t eat much meat, you can also get vitamin B12 in foods like tempeh and cereal that has had this vitamin added in during the manufacturing process.


Some research has found that women who drink red wine may be more likely to have better bone health. Experts think that this effect might be because red wine has resveratrol, a substance that helps protect tissues from damage. Additionally, men who take resveratrol supplements are more likely to have greater bone density in the spine.

It is important to note that drinking too much alcohol can be bad for the bones, so you should drink wine in moderation. In addition to red wine, resveratrol can also be found in grapes and nuts.


Cutting Out Foods That Lead to Weak Bones

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Some foods can make it harder for your body to keep calcium levels high. Eating too much protein or too much salt can trigger your kidneys into getting rid of calcium. It’s best to eat moderate amounts of protein and follow a low-salt diet if you are worried about your bone health, especially if you think you may not be getting enough calcium from your diet.Additionally, one study found that a diet high in processed foods was connected with lower bone mineral density. For this reason, it’s better to reach for: 

  • Whole grain products instead of refined grains
  • Fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables rather than canned ones
  • Whole chicken or fish rather than processed meats like sausage, bacon, and deli meat
  • Freshly-prepared meals rather than microwave meals or fast food

Putting It All Together

There are several nutrients that can help contribute to bone health, and many different food choices that can provide these vitamins and minerals. In general, eating a variety of different foods from all of the different food groups will be enough to give you all of the nutrients you need.

However, if you are worried about your bone health, talk to your doctor. You may be able to undergo blood tests that can identify any nutritional deficiencies and pinpoint any vitamins or minerals that you need more of. Additionally, you may want to talk to your doctor about whether you should undergo screening to measure your bone density, or make any other lifestyle changes that can help support the health of your bones. It is important to visit your doctor to discuss a plan for healthy bones. Make an appointment with Dr. Connor to find out what approaches are best for you.

90+ Signs You’re Mentally and Emotionally Exhausted (According to Experts in an Up Journey Article)

90+ Signs You’re Mentally and Emotionally Exhausted (According to Experts in an Up Journey Article)

90+ Signs You’re Mentally and Emotionally Exhausted (According to Experts)

Possible ways to cope with mental exhaustion include some obvious and some not-so-obvious steps one can take: take a break, exercise regularly, take care of basics, and be grateful.  Read the entire article in Up Journey and find out what Dr. Connor adds to the discussion.

To further discuss, make an appointment with Dr. Connor.

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Superfoods for Super Sperm (Part 10 of my Superfoods series)

Superfoods for Super Sperm (Part 10 of my Superfoods series)

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Your diet can impact many aspects of well-being and it can be an important aspect in understanding male infertility. You may know that the things you eat affect your physical health and even your mental health, but do you understand how food can influence your sexual health?

Adding superfoods to your diet may be a good way to increase the health of your sperm and boost your fertility. While there’s no scientific definition of what makes up a “superfood,” this label is often given to foods and drinks that contain a lot of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that boost health. While superfoods generally can’t cure conditions like fertility, they can be an important part of optimizing your sexual health to be the best it can be.

Why Is Sperm Health Important?

In order to naturally conceive a child, you need to have enough healthy sperm. Sperm are cells made by the testicles in the male reproductive system. They combine with egg cells made by the ovaries in the female reproductive system to result in an embryo. Multiple types of hormones, including testosterone, help control the production of sperm.

There are a few components to sperm health, including:

  • How many sperm cells your body makes, usually measured by how many sperm cells are found within a certain quantity of semen
  • The ability of sperm cells to move rapidly
  • The sperm cells’ shape and size

If your body doesn’t make enough sperm, or if your sperm cells are abnormal, you may have a hard time getting your partner pregnant. When a couple is unable to conceive after at least one year of regular sex, they are said to be infertile. Infertility has multiple causes that can affect men and women, and there are several possible medications, surgical procedures, and lifestyle changes that can help treat this condition.

Boosting Sperm Health Through Superfoods

Men who eat certain superfoods may produce healthier sperm cells and be less likely to experience medical conditions that impact fertility. The more health-boosting superfoods you can add to your diet, the more you can optimize your sexual health.


Oysters are a fantastic source of zinc. One serving of this seafood provides 673% of the recommended daily intake of this mineral. You can also find zinc in superfoods like pumpkin seeds, yogurt, chickpeas, and oatmeal.

Zinc is a very important nutrient for fertility in men. Tissue in the prostate gland as well as the fluid portion of semen contains high amounts of zinc. When zinc levels drop too low, your body may make less sperm, or the sperm may be shaped abnormally, die more quickly, or not work properly in order to fertilize an egg cell. Zinc also helps the body make hormones like testosterone. Some cases of male fertility problems have been linked to low levels of zinc within sperm cells.

Oily Fish

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Oily or fatty fish like salmon, trout, mackerel, and sardines have a lot of omega-3 fatty acids — molecules that can help fight inflammation and cell damage. Eating more foods that contain this nutrient can help the cell membrane (outer layer) of sperm cells function properly and may boost sperm health.

Omega-3 fatty acids are good for your health in other ways, too, making them a popular choice among people looking to eat more superfoods. For example, these molecules can help boost heart and eye health, reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, and may protect against conditions like cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Additionally, oily fish contain coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), also called ubiquinone. This molecule is an antioxidant, helping neutralize reactive oxygen species (ROS) — chemicals that can cause damage within cells and tissues. CoQ10 can help prevent ROS from building up in the semen, which helps sperm live longer and stay healthier. CoQ10 may also help the body make additional antioxidants that protect sperm health.

Cod Fish

Cod is a type of whitefish. It’s not an oily or fatty fish that has a lot of omega-3 fatty acids. However, it does contain a lot of carnitine, an amino acid-like molecule that helps cells process fat to be used as fuel.

Sperm cells need a lot of energy in order to be able to swim around more effectively. Carnitine helps supply sperm with the fuel they need for proper movement. It also supports the growth and development of new sperm cells.

Carnitine is also present within animal products such as beef, but too much red meat can be detrimental to your sexual health. Supplements containing carnitine are also available.

Brazil Nuts

Brazil nuts contain a lot of a nutrient called selenium. When your body doesn’t have enough selenium, you may be more likely to have problems with infertility. Like CoQ10, selenium is an antioxidant that gets rid of damaging ROS chemicals that can kill sperm.

Eating more Brazil nuts may help boost your sperm health. Just a one-ounce serving (about 6 to 8 nuts) provides nearly 1000% of your recommended daily intake of selenium! This nutrient can also be found in fish and seafood like tuna, halibut, sardines, and shrimp.

couple of clinical trials have tested how nuts can impact male fertility. These studies found that men who eat more nuts produce more sperm and have sperm cells that move around better, are shaped more normally, and live longer.


Oatmeal is a whole grain that provides a large helping of fiber — a type of carbohydrate that provides many beneficial effects for the body. Eating a lot of fiber may reduce levels of estrogen, a hormone that could prevent the body from producing enough sperm. Oats and other grains can lead to healthier sperm and increase the chances that an egg will implant in the uterus after being fertilized by sperm.


Your digestive system contains about 100 trillion microorganisms, including bacteria that help you stay healthy and digest your food. Eating high-fat foods can feed the “bad” bacteria, leading to chronic inflammation, a higher risk of several health conditions, and problems producing healthy sperm.

On the other hand, you may be able to increase the number of “good” bacteria in your gut by eating foods that contain probiotics (live microorganisms), such as yogurt. These foods can help improve your digestive health, which in turn has wide-ranging impacts throughout the body. You can also find probiotics in foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir.

Organic Fruits and Vegetables

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When you eat produce, it may be worthwhile to reach for organic options. Fruits and vegetables are often grown using pesticides and insecticides, and these chemicals can lessen the health of sperm cells.

Foods that are certified organic have to meet certain standards as they are grown and harvested. In particular, organic fruits and vegetables come from plants that have been grown without the use of certain synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. Avoiding these chemicals may lead to higher-quality sperm. Look for the label “USDA Organic” while grocery shopping.

Fruits and vegetables also contain a lot of prebiotics — substances like fiber that can help feed the “good” bacteria in your intestines. Produce like leafy greens, onions, artichokes, and bananas may have particularly high levels of prebiotics.

Furthermore, produce generally contains a lot of antioxidants such as vitamin C, tocopherol, and lycopene that help prevent the early death of sperm cells. Overall, fruits and vegetables work on multiple fronts to help boost sexual health and sperm quality, especially if they are organic.

Diet Plans to Improve Sperm Health

Adding more individual superfoods to your diet may help improve your fertility. However, studies have also found that men who more closely stick to an overall pattern of healthy eating produce more sperm.

Men who follow the Mediterranean diet are more likely to have higher sperm counts and to produce sperm that can move more quickly. The Mediterranean diet is also well-known to provide other health benefits, including lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels and a reduced risk of conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. This diet emphasizes:

  • Using olive oil instead of other fats like butter
  • Eating more nuts, seeds, and beans
  • Consuming large amounts of fruits and vegetables
  • Choosing whole grains or whole wheat products over refined grains
  • Eating plenty of fish, moderate amounts of chicken, and very little red meat
  • Drinking moderate amounts of red wine

Another diet plan that has been studied in relation to sperm health is the Prudent diet. Following this diet can boost sperm counts and help the body produce higher-quality sperm. The Prudent diet is a modified version of the Mediterranean diet in which you eat more fish, chicken, vegetables, fruit, beans, and whole grains.

Foods and Drinks To Avoid for Better Sperm Health

Studies show that some foods can lead to poor semen quality. In particular, a western diet can be detrimental to sexual health. Men who struggle with infertility are more likely to eat diets that are high in fat or calories.

In particular, you may want to limit or avoid:

  • Red meat like beef or lamb
  • Processed meat such as sausage, hot dogs, bacon, and deli meat
  • Foods that contain a lot saturated fats or trans fats, including processed foods, fried foods, cheese, and sugary foods and drinks
  • Caffeine, found in coffee, black tea, and soda

Alcohol can lead to hormone imbalances, including reduced testosterone levels, that lead to lower sperm levels. Men who drink heavily may be especially more likely to experience fertility problems. Infertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) also tend to be less successful when men drink in the week leading up to giving a sperm sample.Some people believe that soybeans and soy products such as tofu can negatively impact male fertility. This is because soy contains molecules called phytoestrogens that are similar to the estrogen hormone made by the body. High levels of estrogen can lead to lower sperm counts. However, studies have found that men who eat moderate amounts of soy aren’t more likely to have unhealthy sperm, low testosterone levels, or other infertility problems. In fact, at least one study has found that eating some soy can actually lead to higher-quality sperm, so there is no reason for men to avoid soy-based foods.

Lifestyle Changes for Sperm Health

woman with a salad and tape measure
In addition to following a diet that provides your body with a wide range of nutrients, you can make other lifestyle changes that can boost your sexual health.

Some studies have found that physical activity can help boost sperm counts and sperm health. Likewise, men who spend more time watching television and those who lead sedentary lifestyles are more likely to produce less sperm.

Smoking cigarettes can also reduce sperm health, so quitting tobacco products may help improve infertility problems. Additionally, marijuana and other recreational drugs can prevent the body from making healthy sperm and can impact sexual health.

Changing your daily routine by eating more superfoods or creating other health-building habits can increase your sperm health. However, if you continue to struggle with infertility, your doctor can help you learn more about potential causes and recommend treatments that may increase your chances of conceiving.

If you are planning a family and would like to consult with Dr. Connor, please make an appointment.

Is Stress Really the Silent Killer?

Is Stress Really the Silent Killer?

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Stress — that feeling of extra pressure or strain when something bad or unexpected occurs — can be uncomfortable. However, it can also change or harm your body and have lasting effects on your health. This has led some to call stress the silent killer. Taking steps to minimize stress may reduce your risk of future medical conditions and improve your well-being. Preventing and dealing with stress more effectively is an important part of living a healthy lifestyle.

Types of Stress

Feeling stressed before a big work presentation isn’t likely to have a major impact on your health. This type of worry, called acute stress, only lasts a short while. In some cases, it can even be a good thing. It may help you perform better under pressure or react to a potentially dangerous situation. On the other hand, chronic stress sticks around. It may stem from big life changes such as leaving a job, getting married, going through a breakup, having a child, or being diagnosed with a new health condition. It may also develop from ongoing challenges such as financial worries or problems at home or work. You can’t avoid acute stress. It’s a normal part of life. However, you can work to reduce your levels of chronic stress to protect your health.

How Stress Affects Your Body and Mind

Stress is more than just a feeling — it’s a physical change that affects other processes in your body. When you find yourself experiencing a stressful event, your brain responds. It churns out two key hormones: adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline is responsible for kicking your body into fight-or-flight mode, while cortisol controls your body’s stress reactions. These molecules travel around the body, causing changes that help you react to whatever is triggering the stress:

  • Your airways open up wider, helping you take in more oxygen
  • Your body sends more blood and oxygen to the tissues that need it most, such as the brain and muscles, and less to other areas like the digestive system
  • Your body starts pumping more sugar around your body, which your muscles use for energy
  • Your muscles tense up
  • Your heart starts pumping faster
  • Your immune system is activated

These processes are meant to be short term. They can help you get yourself out of a dangerous situation. When responding to acute stress, you’re more clear-headed, you feel less pain, and you have more physical strength. However, adrenaline and cortisol can cause problems if they stick around. For example, increased blood sugar levels boost your energy in the short term, but increase your risk of diabetes in the long run.

Health Conditions Caused by Stress

Chronic stress raises your risk of several conditions, including:

Preventing chronic stress may help you avoid some of these problems down the road. If you have already been diagnosed with one of these conditions, controlling stress may reduce your symptoms.

Warning Signs of Too Much Stress

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There are several symptoms of stress, including:

  • Aches and pains, including headaches, back pain, neck pain, or jaw stiffness
  • Low energy levels
  • Acne
  • Rashes or other skin changes
  • Nausea or indigestion
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Blurry vision
  • Feeling sick more often because of a weakened immune system
  • A lower sex drive
  • Menstrual period changes such as a shorter or longer cycle or increased symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Insomnia or sleeping problems
  • Light-headedness or dizziness
  • Worry or nervousness
  • Restlessness or jitteriness
  • Problems thinking, focusing, remembering, or feeling motivated
  • Using alcohol or drugs more often than usual or in unsafe ways

It may be time to talk to your doctor if you are experiencing signs of stress. This is especially true if you feel like stress is overwhelming you or getting in the way of your ability to complete your responsibilities at work or home. It’s also important to tell your doctor if your stress is giving you panic attacks. During a panic attack, your heart may feel like it’s beating too hard or too fast, you may struggle to take a deep breath, or you could experience chest pains, stomach pain, shaking, or dizziness.

How to Prevent and Manage Stress

To some extent, stress is part of being human. However, feeling stressed on a regular basis is not normal or healthy. Fortunately, researchers have identified several strategies that can help reduce your stress levels and avoid stress-related health problems. To be in your best health, make time for activities that help you relax and recharge.

Take a Deep Breath

Deep breathing exercises can cause physical changes within your body. They shut off your sympathetic nervous system (the part of your nervous system that controls your fight-or-flight response) and activate your parasympathetic nervous system (the part of your nervous system that makes you relax after you experience stress). Not only can deep breathing lower stress levels, but it can also help treat anxiety and migraines, reduce blood pressure, improve lung function, and help improve well-being for people with chronic conditions like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and cancer. One of the simplest forms of deep breathing, known as diaphragmatic breathing, can help fight stress. To practice this, the American Lung Association recommends the following steps:

  1. Sit in a comfortable position or lie down and place your hands on your stomach. Relax your body, including your shoulders, arms, and neck.
  2. Take in a deep breath of air, making sure that your belly rises.
  3. Slowly breathe out, feeling your belly fall back into its original position.
  4. Make your exhales at least twice as long as your inhales. For example, breathe in while counting to four and breathe out while counting to eight.
  5. Repeat for 10 minutes.

There are many other types of deep breathing exercises. Try searching for deep breathing videos or apps that guide you through the process. Some types of deep breathing are also forms of meditation or yoga.


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Meditation can undo the effects of stress at the molecular level. It reverses some of the changes caused by stress within your cells, minimizing damage and helping prevent premature aging.

Meditation may also reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Additionally, it can lower pain levels, improve sleep, and boost overall mental well-being.

There are many types of meditation practices to explore. When it comes to fighting stress, you may want to practice mindfulness meditation by:

  • Using a smartphone app that focuses on mindfulness
  • Watching a YouTube video that guides you through a mindfulness exercise
  • Listening to a mindful meditation podcast
  • Looking for a mindfulness center or meditation center in your city
  • Taking a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) class at a local medical center, yoga center, or athletic club, in which you take an eight-week class that teaches you mindfulness exercises
  • Enrolling in an MBSR class online
  • Finding a therapist who specializes in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy to learn meditation exercises and closely examine how your thoughts and habits affect your mental health

You can also try simple mindfulness meditation practices on your own. The Mayo Clinic suggests performing a body scan meditation. Start by sitting or lying down on your back. Focus on your toes and notice any discomfort, itching, heat, tingling, pressure, or other sensations. Don’t judge the sensations or any thoughts that run through your mind; just notice that they’re there. Next, move your focus to your feet and pay attention to any other sensations. Slowly focus on each part of your body in turn, working your way to the top of your head.

If you regularly practice body scan meditations, you may find that your mind is increasingly able to stay focused in the present moment and that physical or mental signs of stress don’t bother you as much.

Analyze Your Coping Mechanisms

Many people turn to unhealthy habits as a way to escape their stress. Try to notice if you’re doing the same — do you feel like you need a drink after a trying day at work? Have you been reaching for cigarettes more often? Are you tempted to binge on unhealthy snacks when you’re feeling the pressure?

These habits can be symptoms of stress, but they can also worsen your mental state. Try to be honest with yourself about whether you’re relying on coping mechanisms that could negatively impact your health. Try to not only avoid these activities but also replace them with some of the healthier habits listed here.

It’s often easier to break bad habits with outside support. You may want to look into programs to help you reduce or stop your drinkingquit smoking, or eat mindfully. Working with a mental health professional can also be a very effective way to develop healthier habits and address the root causes of your stress.

Stretch Your Muscles

When you feel stressed, your muscles tend to tense up. Stretching exercises can ease this physical stress symptom. Research has also found that stretching can lower levels of stress hormones and turn on relaxation processes in your brain.

Yoga and tai chi are both types of physical activity that combine breathing exercises, meditation, and stretching. Regularly practicing one of these activities may help you avoid the effects of stress and avoid anxiety and depression.

Get Moving

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Stress and physical activity can affect each other: you’re more likely to avoid exercise when you’re stressed, but you’re also more likely to feel stressed when you’re not moving around enough.

Other types of workouts besides stretching, yoga, and tai chi can combat stress. Exercise encourages your brain to make neurotransmitters that boost your mood and train your body to fight stress-related health problems.

You’re more likely to stick with an exercise program if you start slow and do something you enjoy. Anything that gets you moving can help boost your health!

Take Your Vitamins

Vitamins and minerals help your mind and body function at their best. In particular, your brain uses many types of B vitamins to produce neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) such as serotonin and dopamine that help control your mood and thinking abilities. These neurotransmitters also play a role in conditions like anxiety and depression.

Several studies have found that vitamin B supplements can help reduce stress symptoms and boost mood. Those who don’t get enough nutrients from their diet may be the most likely to benefit from taking more vitamin B.

Omega-3 fatty acids may also help treat depression and reduce stress-related inflammation. You can get more of this nutrient by taking fish oil supplements or by eating more seafood, nuts, and seeds.

Many people with high stress levels also have low magnesium levels. Magnesium could help control cortisol levels and play a role in whether you turn to unhealthy behaviors to manage stress.

Eating a balanced diet containing many different types of whole foods helps you ensure that you are taking in all of the nutrients you need to support your mental health.

Set Aside Self-Care Time

It’s always important to take the time to relax.

Finding time to relax can feel hardest when we’re stressed, but this is when it’s most important to make the time. Try keeping your mornings just for you — do some deep breathing or meditation, step outside for a few minutes, or drink a cup of coffee while reading a book you like. Alternatively, you may find it easier to wind down in the evening with a warm bath or calming music. Take breaks throughout your day to go on a walk or spend time talking to loved ones.

Talk to a Professional

woman with a salad and tape measure

therapist or counselor can help you deal with ongoing stress, whether you’re experiencing a little more anxiety than usual or you’re completely overwhelmed. They can also teach you tools that help you avoid or deal with stress in the future.

Therapy comes in several forms. You may choose to meet with a mental health professional individually or as part of a group. A therapist may teach you deep breathing exercises, analyze your beliefs or behaviors, understand where your emotions are coming from, problem-solve a specific issue, or help you with something else based on your needs.

Living a Life With Minimal Stress

Although it may not be easy, it’s possible to make lifestyle changes that help you feel less stressed. Even small steps may go a long way when you commit to building healthy habits that fight stress.

If your stress levels feel too high to manage on your own, bring it up with your doctor. You may want to seek additional suggestions, ask about medication that fights anxiety or depression, or get a referral to a mental health provider who can better help you.

How Pysicians Can Pick the Best Financial Adviser

How Pysicians Can Pick the Best Financial Adviser

“Doctors should look for someone who truly understands a physician’s life, loans and constraints,” says Brynna Connor, M.D., owner of a family practice in Austin, Texas, and health care ambassador at “We have specific needs that many other professions don’t, and our financial advisers should be well versed in how to best serve those needs.” Read the entire article from here.

Restless Sleep man awake in bed

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