Boosting Immunity for “Back to School”

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” – Benjamin Franklin

Whether you have children in school, homeschooling, or you’re kid free, it’s that time of year where the back to school germs flying around can affect us all. Grocery stores, libraries, and other public places all have the potential to spread germs. As we move into fall and temperatures drop with less sunlight exposure, our bodies could use a little immune boost.

While most public places take measures to reduce the spread of illness, with sanitization and public hand sanitizers, the best defense against germs is a strong immune system. Its common for colds and flus during winter months and we may not be able to prevent all illness, but a little preventative measures can go a long way. Diet, exercise, and adequate sleep all support strong immunity. boostingimmunity

First and foremost, a healthy diet is essential to boosting immunity. Highly processed foods, dyes, artificial sweeteners, and chemical preservatives are all things to steer clear of. Quick and easy may be convenient, but its best to avoid these things to prevent sickness. A balanced diet with whole foods will provide nutrients the body needs to fight off infection and function at its best. boostingimmunity

Unhealthy foods can cause inflammation in the body, making it harder to fight infection. Here are some foods to support a healthy body and mind:

  • Colorful fruits and vegetables
  • Organic leafy greens
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Wild-caught fish
  • Organic eggs
  • Grass-fed beef/organic poultry

Essential oils are an excellent option to boost immunity, promote restful sleep, and help calm the mind. Therapeutic grade oils provide the best results. Lavender and chamomile can be used to support a good nights rest. Sleep is essential for immunity and overall wellness. Here are essential oils to keep on hand during cold and flu season:

  • Eucalyptus – eucalyptus is an uplifting oil that promotes mental clarity and support the respiratory system.
  • Lavender – lavender promotes restful sleep and has been shown to reduce depression and anxiety
  • Peppermint – peppermint is excellent for mental clarity and opening up the airways. Its great to have on hand for sinus congestion and colds.
  • Lemon – lemon oil helps supports immunity, and promotes nutrient absorption.
  • Thieves – thieves is a blend of clove, cinnamon, lemon, eucalyptus, and rosemary from Young Living Essentail Oils. It can be rubbed on the bottoms of feet to boost immunity and diffused into the air to reduce airborne germs.

If you’re interested in support with meal planning or would like a customized oil blend to boost immunity and support your overall wellness, contact us today for your personal blend!

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assisted treatment and relationship counseling.

Laura Stewart Makin Wellness Nutrition Pittsburgh

Laura Stewart B.A., CHN

Addiction Counseling – Therapists and Counselors in Pittsburgh, PA

Who all is impacted by addiction?

People who are addicted to substances or alcohol often don’t think they have a problem. It can be so challenging to honestly recognize and admit all of the negative consequences that have resulted because of their ongoing using. They might not be at the point where they are sick , totally out of control to exhausted yet; this is why it can be hard to seek out addiction counseling. Maybe a loved one colleague or friend has noticed that their their buddy is struggling. It can so overwhelming and flat out upsetting and shameful to take an honest look at what has happened in their life.

 

Is it really possible to be treated for addiction?

We hear so many times about people wondering if it is really true that addiction can be treated. The great news is that it absolutely can. There are countless different types of lightens, styles and types of effective treatment that cane implemented.  At Makin Wellness, we offer highly individualized treatment to best fit our client’s needs.  Lots of people consider therapy to be an important part of their sobriety and find it to extremely beneficial. Combining therapy with medication assisted treatment or medical cannabis* may also be extremely effective at reducing cravings. It doesn’t matter if you used drugs for a couple months or decades; counseling helps your better understand addiction, consequences, triggers and a can help to create a concrete relapse prevention plan in order to help you stay sober. Unlike popular belief, you don’t need to be at your worst in order to start therapy for addiction. It is possible to start healing … today.Addiction Counseling Pittsburgh

What is addiction counseling and treatment like?

Addiction can be treated with counseling alone or with counseling and medication… only taking medication or medical cannabis is not enough to keep someone sober, although it does help reduce cravings. Once you are a place where you don’t have any more substances in your body, addiction counseling assists you with learning new ways of living , coping and healing from past wounds.

Where can I become clean?

Makin Wellness in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington can help you become clean. We firmly believe that evidence based and holistic therapy can help you live a happier , healthier and sober life. There are many different treatment and therapy choices for people struggling with addiction, so we custom tailor our treatment to best suit your needs and what you want from therapy. We have experienced and caring addiction therapists that will help you understand addiction, learn how to cope and progress in recovery.Addiction Counseling Pittsburgh
At Makin Wellness Addiction Counseling of Pittsburgh, we don’t think you should have to wait before you start. We offer a luxurious , safe and nurturing environment where you can work on improving yourself and get the support you need. We honor initial appointments within 48 hours or even less sometimes. Don’t like addiction steal your happiness ; schedule your session today here.Addiction Counseling Pittsburgh

If you are looking for relief , please schedule a session today  to get connected with Pittsburgh’s best therapists!Therapy Business Owners

About Makin Wellness: 

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pennsylvania’s premier therapy and coaching centers located in Downtown , Pittsburgh and New Kensington, PA. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again. Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction , trauma , medical marijuana and relationship counseling .Addiction Counseling Pittsburgh

 


Mental Health and Nutrition

 

“I haven’t had an anxiety attack in months. I’m completely off my antidepressants, which I 100 percent attribute to diet and lifestyle changes.” – Jane Green

We love hearing stories like these, where behavior changes are made to improve diet and lifestyle and positive results are clearly seen. While everyone is different and there is no one size fits all approach, research has shown the many benefits of diet and lifestyle changes for mental health. mental health

Fueling the body with nutrient dense foods supports enzyme function and serotonin levels (the happy hormone). Reduction of sugar intake improves mood and energy, while an abundance of sugar has been found to decrease a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is connected to anxiety and depression. Consider one study showing the benefits of reducing sugar intake.

In 2017 a study showed those who ate 67 or more grams of sugar (17 teaspoons) had more anxiety and depression. Those who had less than 40 grams of sugar (10 teaspoons) exhibited less anxiety and depression. Reducing sugar in the diet can be difficult at first with symptoms of headaches, feeling tired, and flu-like symptoms. It’s the body’s way of detoxing.

Nutritional counseling can be a great addition to traditional therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy. Diet and lifestyle is an important part of self-care and self-love, which is key in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). We are all worthy of self-care and incorporating tasty, nutritious foods is a great self-care habit to form.

Increasing healthy habits and reducing unhealthy ones can seem difficult at first, and does take a bit of discipline and behavior change. If you are interested in professional support in making positive changes to support your mental wellness, contact us today for a free consultation! mental health

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assisted treatment and relationship counseling.

The Psychology of Food

We eat. We work. We eat. We play. We eat. We sleep. And we eat. It’s clear to see the significant role food plays in our lives. Our culture plays a large role in our beliefs around the foods we eat. Best of all, food brings us together. What determines what we eat? More importantly, what determines how we feel about the foods we’re eating?

food
Food has long been used as a way to make meaningful connections with others. The way we think about our food is developed as early as childhood. The way our body metabolizes food is dependent on our thoughts about food. Consider the way our limbic system works. The limbic system is responsible for regulating emotions and physiological functions like hunger, thirst, temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. Therefore our thoughts in relation to our food transfers this information into physiological responses.

food
According to the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, if we’re thinking positively about our food choices, the body can better metabolize the foods and better provide needed nutrients. However, if we’re thinking negatively about our food choice, our body may not metabolize the food as efficiently, causing it to stay in the digestive system longer, possibly diminishing healthy gut bacteria and release toxins into the bloodstream.
Positive mindset is key in relationship our eating habits. If we want to receive the full nutritive power of our foods, it is vital to think positive about the foods we are eating. Instead of shaming yourself after indulging in a dessert, try incorporating positive self-talk by saying something like, “Ill be sure to take a walk and make healthy choices for my next meal.” Instead of negative self-talk, staying positive will help our mind and body move toward positive change.
Making a Diet and Lifestyle Transition
Food preference is an interwoven sense of our identity and culture. Making changes to our food choice can be difficult and even scary, in that we don’t want to lose this sense of identity and connection to culture. The good news is, taste is acquired. Transitioning to a new way of eating can be accomplished through a personalized plan, customized to your food preferences and lifestyle. Simple meal planning, food journaling, an other measurable tools can be used to effectively transition. food

If you’re interested in working with a nutritionist to support your diet and lifestyle, contact us at Makin Wellness for a free 15 minute consultation!

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assisted treatment and relationship counseling.

Anxiety & Medical Marijuana

“Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it.” – Kahlil Gibran

As human beings, it is natural to feel anxious when leaving our comfort zones. Pushing through our anxiety though, is what helps us to grow as individuals. Finding effective tools to manage anxiety, including preventative measures, is key to reaching our full potentials. When worry seems to take over day to day living, this may be a sign of an anxiety disorder. Read more about anxiety disorders here. While prescriptions medications are often used to treat anxiety disorders, they do not come without side effects. Holistic therapy and other natural treatment options are a safe alternative to prescription medications. anxiety

Health secretary Rachel Levine approved Turetts and anxiety as qualifying conditions for medical marijuana as of July 20th. Included anxiety conditions are generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), separation anxiety, social anxiety, agoraphobia, and other phobias.

Medical marijuana is not recommended to treat children, adolescents, or pregnant women with anxiety disorders due to brain and fetus development. Long-term overuse of medical marijuana can cause issues with cognition and memory loss, and the risk of psychological dependency. For best results, it is recommended to incorporate traditional or alternative therapies, and lifestyle changes during medical marijuana treatment. anxiety

Research has shown positive results with medical marijuana being used to decrease and manage anxiety, since the body’s endocannabinoid system appears to play an important role in response to stress and anxiety.

A study conducted by Washington State University showed a decrease in stress, anxiety, and depression with the use of medical marijuana. Both men and women reported a decrease in all three symptoms. Women reported higher reduction in anxiety.

According to the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute, THC, the main active ingredient of cannabis, “appears to decrease anxiety at lower doses an increase anxiety at higher doses.” Individual responses differ and there are a variety of factors to take into consideration when treating anxiety with medical marijuana. THC in combination with CBD oil can enhance benefits and reduce unwanted effects, including psychoactive affects of THC. The best approach is to start at a low dose, and monitor your bodies response. anxiety

Talking with your physician and a trained therapist can provide the needed support when deciding the right treatment for you. Makin Wellness is happy in supporting you through a natural, holistic approach to wellness, including cognitive behavioral therapy, nutritional counseling, aromatherapy, and other natural treatment options. Contact us today for a free 15-minute consultation!

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assisted treatment and relationship counseling.

 

Summer Wellness ~ Walking into Wellness

“All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.” – Friedrich Nietzsche walking

Imagine yourself stepping outside and literally walking into wellness, with a clear mind, less stress, and an overall feeling of well-being. Fresh air and nature provides a calming effect, while daily walking has shown to be a safe, gentle exercise to lose weight, clear the mind, among many other physical and mental benefits.

If the gym is not your thing, don’t despair. Consistent walking in combination with healthy eating has shown to be highly effective for weight loss, and lower risk for things like heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. Walking 30 minutes per day 5 times a week has shown to lower cardiovascular disease due to improved blood circulation. And the American Diabetes Association noted the benefits of walking to lower blood sugar levels, and lower risk for diabetes. walking

Mental benefits of walking include reduced anxiety and depression. Walking provides increased blood flow to the brain, helping the brains nerve cells to grow and work more efficiently. With improved mood and a calming effect to the nerves, this provides improved functioning of various body systems. A brisk walk produces some amount of sweat, releasing cortisol (the stress hormone). As stress is reduced, mental clarity and creativity is enhanced. Memory and concentration is also improved.

Physical benefits of walking include lower blood pressure, improved digestion, reduced joint pain and inflammation, and improved blood circulation. You can also lose weight by walking farther, faster, and more frequently. Interval walking has shown to be highly effective for weight loss. For example, walking for 15 minutes, and then increasing your speed for 2 m

inutes, helps raise the heartbeat and burn calories.

If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, try taking a short daily walk. Find a walking partner to help boost your mood and motivation. Learn more about walking for better health here!

Makin Wellness is happy to provide a personalized wellness plan including meal planning, a walking program, aromatherapy, and other natural techniques for overall wellness. Contact us today for your free 15-minute consultation!

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assisted treatment and relationship counseling.

 

Summer Wellness ~ Digital Detoxing

Technology may easily become addictive for young and old alike. Social media, games, texting, email, and endless apps to choose from can have you plugged in morning til’ night. Devices connect us to friends and family and can be quite entertaining, but we want to be sure we’re in control of our engagement, or it could end up controlling the majority of our time. If you feel your devices are taking over, a little digital detoxing may be in order. digital detoxing

A few studies have linked overuse of electronics to insomnia and poor sleep quality, since blue light supresses melatonin, which is a hormone produced by the body to promote sound sleep. Theres also evidence that children overly connected to devices are becoming less empathetic. b Lack of engagement in real life situations results in impatience, due to having instant gratification with the touch of a finger. Face to face conversation offers an exchange that can’t be replicated through technology.

Summer is the perfect opportunity to practice digital detoxing. Spending less time on devices helps reduce stress, promoting a more mindful approach by giving time and attention, and being present with those around you. A few simple ways to do this are – turning off notifications, keeping devices away from the dinner table (otherwise known as phone stacking), setting a timer when using your devices, and keeping devices turned off or out of the bedroom to ensure to optimize sleep. 

One study observed people who went on a digital detox. The observations made by neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers were quite encouraging. Participants had improved eye contact, and better posture, opening up their energy and engagement. Who doesn’t want positive energy?! Improved memory was also shown after being without electronic devices, since they could be more present and better able to store and process information. Another observation was participants had new perspective on life. Instead of wasting time on devices and using them as a crutch, they were able to think freely and evaluate their own life without distraction.

Why not try a digital detox this summer? It’s the perfect time of year to get outdoors and enjoy the warm weather, while spending time being present with friends and family. Perhaps you may find yourself happier, finding new perspective, and connecting with others face to face! digital detoxing

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assisted treatment and relationship counseling.

Laura Stewart, B.A., CHN

Cannabinoids: A New PTSD Treatment Paradigm

The PTSD treatment paradigm, currently reliant on a spectrum of medications, has been increasingly challenged for the dependence it facilitates and its artificial approach to healing a complex, integrated system. Emerging from this has been a cry for increased research on holistic alternatives, namely cannabis and/or CBD use. Legal complications have tied up the field for a while but new research should be emerging soon as a Phase 2 study on the safety and efficacy of smoked marijuana for PTSD symptoms in US veterans is completed. cannabinoids

 

In the meantime, The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine recently published the first study investigating the clinical effects of CBD for people with PTSD. It does need to be supported by randomized, controlled studies, as it was performed on a small sample of 11 patients who were also exposed to psychiatric medications and psychotherapy at the same time, but it is an optimistic opening for this field of research.

 

Over the course of 8 weeks, the study participants took CBD orally (either in pills or a liquid spray) once or twice a day. They completed the PTSD checklist (PCL-5) at the beginning of the study and again after 4 weeks and 8 weeks. The PCL-5 assesses symptom severity on a scale of 0 to 4, which allowed the researchers to study both the overall impact as well as the effect on specific symptoms.cannabinoids

 

The average baseline score for the participants was 51.82, which then dropped to 40.73 after 4 weeks and 37.14 after 8 weeks, showing an overall decrease in the severity of symptoms. Of the 11 participants, 10 experienced a decrease in their score by the fourth week, with an average of a 21% drop. While 3 of the 11 participants experienced increases in their symptom severity (an average increase of 8 points) from weeks 4 to 8, 10 of the 11 still experienced an overall decrease from the baseline, with an average of a 28% drop.

 

One of the symptoms most impacted by the study was sleep. Of the participants who responded to the question assessing “repeated, disturbing dreams of the stressful experience” with a score of 3 or higher, 50% reported an improvement in their nightmares. In all participants, 38% remarked improvement in the quality of their sleep. Other symptoms for which participants expressed benefits were anxiety, focus, and mood.

 

While more clinical studies are necessary to investigate the intricate effects of different types, dosages, frequencies, and conditions of cannabis usage on PTSD symptoms, this research sits on a strong foundation of theory. In fact, we are beginning to understand that there are innate systems in the body designed to respond to compounds found in cannabis as well as to regulate symptoms associated with PTSD.

 

The connection between PTSD symptoms and the effects of cannabis seems to be based on the compound anandamide – the “bliss molecule”. Anandamide is an endocannabinoid, meaning that it is produced internally (“endo”) and stimulates a system of cannabinoid receptors in the body. These receptors, along with the cannabinoids that stimulate them, comprise the endocannabinoid system, which maintains homeostasis through regulating appetite, immunity, memory, mood, motor control, pain, reward, fertility, and temperature regulation. Interestingly enough, there are compounds in cannabis with similar structures that can also trigger cannabinoid receptors in the body. THC, responsible for the “high” associated with cannabis, activates the same receptors as anandamide.

 

As we currently understand it, there are two cannabinoid receptors in the body – CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are mostly found in the brain and central nervous system and mediate emotional learning, stress adaption, and fear extinction. These receptors are understimulated in those with PTSD, for their signaling “deactivates traumatic memories and endows us with the gift of forgetting”.  cannabinoids

 

The use of phytocannabinoids like THC and CBD to stimulate CB1 receptors shows promise in balancing the endocannabinoid system and restoring its ability to regulate fear, anxiety, and joy. By allowing the system to have breaks from the constant stress it finds itself in when experiencing PTSD symptoms, cannabis use can reeducate the body to respond to stress as it does to acute stress. While endocannabinoids are broken down under chronic stress, under acute stress they are actually released to allow for return to baseline stress levels. What this means in terms of concrete response to symptoms, only the clinical trials will tell us, but there is reason to believe that cannabis users will become better equipped to respond to the stressors and symptoms that come with PTSD. cannabinoids

 

Although alternative treatments like CBD and medical marijuana still need conclusive evidence, our current approach to PTSD treatment has also yet to show any meaningful, consistent impact. In fact, PTSD United has shown that “in the past year alone the number of diagnosed cases in the military jumped 50%”. Many movements have emerged to raise awareness and funding for the cause, but, as organizational theorist Kenichi Ohmae recognized, “rowing harder doesn’t help if the boat is headed in the wrong direction.” The structure toward which this increasing energy is being devoted must be willing to evolve. We must seek new methods, challenge our current understanding, and form a more nuanced approach to treatment that includes a variety of techniques and is responsive to individuals and their unique needs. We will never know what could be achieved unless we open our minds and try it.

 

“If you want something you have never had, you must be willing to do something you have never done.” – Thomas Jefferson

 

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assisted treatment and relationship counseling.

 

Alex Brooks, Psychology Intern

Makin Wellness

10 Summer Essential Oils to Work into Your Summer Routine

There are a variety of benefits and ways to use essential oils to support summer wellness. Calming the mind, cooling the body, and soothing the skin after long hours in the sun, are just a few ways essential oils can be used to support the mind and body. summer

Therapeutic grade oils provide the best benefit and can be used in the form of diffusing, inhaling, or applying topically. The skin is our biggest organ, therefore applying topically can have a vast range of benefits internally. Citrus oils, like lemon, need to be used sparingly in summer since they are photosensitive – meaning they can lead to sun damage when applied topically.

Inhaling and diffusing essential oils helps to purify the air, providing healing effects to the mind and body. Oils like eucalyptus can be diffused into the air to support lung health.

Here are 10 essential oils you can easily work into your summer routine: summer

Lemon

Lemon citrus oils are loaded with antioxidants, can be used as a antiseptic, antidepressant, and diuretic. Lemon oil can also be used to reduce cellulite when diluted with a carrier oil.

Grapefruit

Grapefruit helps to balance mood, heal wounds, relieve water retention, and support liver function. Adding a few drops of therapeutic grade oil like Young Living Essential Oils, to your water can provide various benefits to the mind and body.

Lavender

Lavender can be used as an anti-anxiety, sleep aid, and antibacterial for wounds and burns. It can be used topically for bee stings, insect bites, dry skin, and eczema.

Patchouli

Patchouli can be used to boost mood and confidence and to support dry or cracked skin. One drop is all that’s needed with this highly concentrated oil.

Peppermint

Applying peppermint oil can provide sinus support, reduce fevers, and provide a cooling effect after a workout or long hours in the heat.

Geranium

This oil helps to release toxins through sweat ducts, helps support the liver, and reduces cellulite. It also helps balance female hormones, and reduces menstrual pain.

Frankincense

Frankincense is known as the king of oils, creating a grounding effect, and providing support for skin and immunity. Using this oil with lavender can support the skin after spending a lot of time in the sun.

Tea tree

Tea tree can be used as a bug repellent. It can also be used as an antiseptic, and to provide relief after a bee sting.

Palmarosa

Palmarosa gives a cooling effect, is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and has cellular regenerative properties. It can be used with peppermint to cool down or patchouli to reduce redness.

Cypress

Cypress is anti-inflammatory, supports digestion, sinus congestion, and provides relief for sore muscles. If you live an active lifestyle, cypress is one oil to keep on hand!

Makin Wellness uses therapeutic grade essential oils to provide support for overall wellness, offering custom made essential oil blends. Contact us today to purchase essential oils to support your wellness and feel your best this summer! summer

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assisted treatment and relationship counseling.

 

Overcoming Oxidative Stress

Given the amount of psychological and physiological stress to which many of us are exposed, it’s no shock that dis-ease runs so rampant in our population. What is often puzzling, however, is from where exactly these conditions emerge and what we can do to combat them without combing every part of our lifestyle and environment. One process that can explain both is oxidative stress, the imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants. Since it is dependent on these two forces, it has the potential to be both degenerative and restorative. Understanding of this process provides insight both into the danger of excessive free radicals in the body as well as to the healing powers of antioxidants. oxidative stress

 

Oxidative stress refers to the overabundance of free radicals, unchecked by antioxidant levels. The danger of this imbalance is that free radicals are highly reactive molecules. Because they have an unpaired valence electron, they travel the body searching for an electron with which to pair. However, they often achieve this stability by pairing with an element in an already stable compound, leaving that compound as a free radical itself. This process is called oxidation – free radicals oxidize compounds in the body. It is the same process by which metal rusts and becomes brittle and by which fruit browns and loses nutritional value.

 

Free radicals are produced naturally by the body through functions like breathing and digestion and even serve a constructive role when in balance, acting as a part of the immune system. However, they are also produced by exposure to radiation, pollutants, medications & antibiotics, overtraining, emotional & physical stress, and dietary factors (like oxidized fats, processed sugar, pesticides, herbicides, and additives). When unchecked, free radicals will damage DNA, cell membranes, lipids, and enzymes. By this process, oxidative stress leads to an array of diseases such as diabetes, atherosclerosis, inflammation, high blood pressure, heart disease, neurodegenerative disease, cancer, and aging.

 

The hero of the story is the antioxidant. Antioxidants donate electrons to free radicals, stabilizing them and terminating this otherwise lengthy and exhausting process. Some antioxidants are produced by the body, but there is a large dietary burden to consume plants that produce antioxidants of their own. Of highest importance are vitamins A, C, and E, as well as beta-carotene, selenium, zinc, and more. These are plentiful in the following sources, some combination of which is absolutely necessary for human vitality:

  • berries
  • grapes & red wine
  • citrus fruits
  • dark leafy greens
  • broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, and all brightly colored fruits and vegetables
  • olives
  • fish (primarily cold-water fatty fish) and nuts
  • green and white tea
  • cocoa
  • ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, oregano, rosemary
  • onion, garlic

 

For those of you that feel constant fatigue and poor recovery, it may be as simple as this: you may not have enough warriors fighting for you! Nourish these antioxidant warriors with lifestyle choices like eating high-antioxidant foods, exercising (without overdoing it), watching out for exposure to harmful chemicals (and, if you can’t, following a protocol like the heavy metal detox), and getting plenty of sleep. So treat yourself to some red wine, chocolate, and a summer nap and listen to the balance it brings.

 

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assisted treatment and relationship counseling.

 

Alex Brooks, Psychology Intern

Makin Wellness

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