Surprising Causes of Migraines

People suffer from migraines know how much it can interfere in their life. Many sufferers are unable to function with it. Prevention is the best way to deal with it. Most sufferers find that keeping them away is much easier to deal with than trying to get them to go away when they are in pain. That’s why understanding the causes of a migraine is so important. That way you can decrease the episodes and severity of them.

Causes of Migraines

Genetics and environment are usually the causes of migraines. People who are genetically predisposed to migraines often are more sensitive to the environmental causes of them.

When a migraine starts, the changes in the brainstem tap the trigeminal nerve. This is a pain pathway, which is what causes so much discomfort.

Many studies have found that imbalances in brain chemicals such as serotonin lead to the onset of migraines. There’s not much more that is known about serotonin and other brain chemicals at this point, so there’s a lot of research that still needs to be done to understand their role in migraines.

What we do know is serotonin levels decrease during attacks. When this happens the trigeminal nerve releases neuropeptides, which then go to the outer covering of the brain. That’s what causes the pain. In addition to the neuropeptides, calcitonin gene-related peptides also can travel to the outer part of the brain to cause pain.

Triggers

Now that you know what causes the pain, it’s important to know what triggers it.

  • Hormonal changes – When estrogen levels rise and fall with a women’s menstrual cycle, migraines are much more likely to attack. Pregnancy can also increase the chances of a migraine. Some women find hormonal medication such as oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy causes migraines, as well.
  • Foods – Certain foods can cause migraines such as cheese, processed foods, and salt. Some people find they suffer from migraines when they skip meals.
  • Sweeteners and MSG – These additives have been found to cause migraines for some people. Some people have no idea that is the cause of their migraines until they eliminate them and see a reduction in attacks.
  • Caffeinated or Alcoholic Drinks – Caffeine and alcohol can alter brain chemicals, which can lead to migraines. Limiting those types of drinks can help with migraine management.
  • Stress – Stress is a common cause of migraines. Many people only suffer from migraine attacks when they are dealing with a highly stressful situation.
  • Strong Sensory Stimuli – Loud sounds, bright lights, and strong smells can spark a migraine attack for some people. This can hard to avoid, but trying to limit exposure as much as possible is wise.
  • Sleep Disturbances – Changes in sleep patterns can bring on migraines, especially when not getting enough sleep or trying to stay up all night and sleeping during the day. It’s best to stick to a sleep schedule and changing that schedule a little bit at a time when you have to have a different one.
  • Changes in Weather – Some people suffer from a migraine when the weather changes or there is a drastic rise or fall in barometric pressure.

People who suffer from migraines usually have a family history of them. Their first one occurs in childhood or adolescence. People often see the worst of their attacks in their 30s, and they usually decrease in frequency and severity after that age. Women usually find an improvement in their migraines after menopause.

Prevention Treatment for Migraine Headaches

Prevention can be much easier than treating migraines already underway. Speak to your doctor about possible prevention medications available. Many migraine sufferers take medication daily to avoid migraines.

A migraine journal can be helpful in identifying what causes them for you. Detailing exactly when you suffer a migraine, what you ate, what you did, and where you are in your menstrual cycle (if you’re a woman) can help you know when another one will hit, so you can at least ward off the pain and inconvenience of the headaches. Treatment is usually much more effective if taken before the headache has started.

Speak to your doctor about your migraines before trying any of the advice above. A physician is the best source of information for prevention and treatment of migraines.

 

 

How to Boost Weight Loss Hormones

Don’t you hate how you try so hard to lose weight, but it doesn’t quite work? It’s not easy.

There is one thing you can do – boost weight loss hormones.

Hormones can make you do things you don’t want to do, such as eat an entire pint of ice cream. However, when you can boost your weight loss hormones, you’ll be much more likely to put it down and walk away.

Leptin and Ghrelin

Leptin manages how full you feel when you’re having a meal. Increasing the leptin hormone means you’ll feel full faster, which means you’ll consume less food.

Some people suffer from leptin resistance. When this happens, people don’t know they are full until they feel sick. If you’ve ever left a buffet feeling like you’re in your third trimester of pregnancy or you’re about to blow, that’s how people with leptin resistance feel every time they eat.

This causes them to feel hungry more often and yearn for more and more food, even while eating. The good news is it’s possible to turn resistance around.

Ghrelin is another hormone you need to consider. It’s the hormone that tells you that you’re hungry. When you eat, ghrelin levels go down. As time goes on, levels go back up, and that’s what makes you hungry.

Understanding how to increase leptin levels and keep ghrelin levels low, you will be able to manage your weight better.

Ways to Boost Weight Loss Hormones

Pay attention to these ways to increase leptin and decrease ghrelin hormones.

Sleep

Sleep deprivation significantly affects hormones, according to the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Many people with sleep issues such as insomnia and sleep apnea are overweight for this reason.

To avoid leptin resistance and increase leptin levels, it’s important to get at least 6.5 hours of sleep at night. Too much sleep can be bad too, so aim for waking up after 8.5 hours.

It’s also important to go to bed and wake up around the same time each night and morning, too. Your body likes habits because then it knows when it’s time to shut down and recuperate from the day.

Muscle Mass

Muscle mass is important to leveling your hormones. The more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn throughout the day even during resting state.

Muscles also increase testosterone in the body. Low testosterone levels store calories as fat. When you can raise your testosterone levels by building muscle mass, your body will use calories more efficiently.

You don’t have to hit the gym to increase muscle mass. Do some squats, push-ups, and core strengthening exercises. They will use muscle fibers and boost your testosterone levels.

Eat the Right Combination of Foods

Your body needs fuel. The best fuel for your body is protein, fat, and complex carbs. You don’t want to overeat these types of foods, but you should be sure to get enough of them. Each meal should contain 20 grams to 25 grams, especially breakfast.

A great breakfast that includes all of the types of foods you need is an omelet with vegetables, avocado, and a piece of whole wheat toast.

Eat More Seafood

When people don’t get enough iodine in their diet can end up with a malfunctioning thyroid. You can get iodine from fish such as cod, tuna and shrimp. If you like seaweed, that’s the best source of iodine.

If you notice you’ve been gaining a lot of weight and your hair is thinning, you may be suffering from thyroid disorder. Make an appointment with your physician to be tested for it. If you can have it controlled, you will be better able to manage your weight.

Space Out Your Meals and Snacks

You should eat three meals a day and three snacks. You should keep your meals around 300-400 calories and snacks around 100 calories. Your metabolism is like a slow burning fire. You must kindle that fire to keep it burning calories. By eating throughout the day, you can do that and it will help you use calories efficiently.

These are the best ways to control your hormones. It can take some time to see the effects of sleeping more, eating the right foods, and increasing your seafood intake, but before you know it, you may see how much easier it is to keep your weight in check.

 

 

How to Increase Fluid Intake Without Drinking Plain Water

Did you know our bodies are made up of approximately 60% water? Our entire body functions on water each day. Without it, our body can’t move the way we need it to, and that can cause us to feel ill. In severe cases of dehydration, it can cause serious health conditions, hospitalization, and even death. The good news is that it’s not too hard to get enough water into your body each day. Many people believe they need to drink glass after glass of water, that’s not entirely true. You can get the fluids you need from many other sources besides a glass of water.

Fruit

Fruit has a lot of water in it. Actually, a watermelon has as much as 90% water. Oranges and grapefruit also have a high concentration of water in them. It’s great to turn to fruits during the summer months because they give you a boost of hydration AND they can stave off hunger.

Vegetables

Vegetables don’t have as much water as fruits, but they do contain some. The best vegetables to eat for hydration are celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, and lettuce.

Water Based Foods

Don’t forget all of those foods you consume that were made with water. For example, soup, oatmeal, and smoothies. All of these foods contain water, so you while you aren’t getting as much as you would drinking a glass of straight water, you are getting a decent amount of fluid in each serving.

Milk

Milk comes second to water as being the best choice for hydration. You may not feel like drinking milk in the summer heat, but if you throw some ice cubes in it, you may find it much more refreshing.

Soda

You’re probably thinking this is completely wrong, but actually, it is somewhat hydrating. Soda is made from carbonated water, which is…, well, water. The caffeine in it is a diuretic, but there still enough water in it to count as a fluid.

Juice

Juice may not be completely made of water, but it is mostly water. Reach for juice when you really need a drink but can’t stand to drink water straight. You can always water it down if you find it to be too sugary.

Coffee/Tea

For many years, people avoided coffee and tea because they thought it dehydrated you. This myth is no longer valid. It is now believed that it is better than nothing is when you need to hydrate yourself. It is a diuretic, but the water in it can help you become severely dehydrated.

What to Avoid When Dehydrated

The worst thing you can drink when you are dehydrated is alcohol. This may come as a major surprise and a bummer because many people like to have a few drinks on the beach, poolside, or wherever they are relaxing under the sun’s heat. Unfortunately, alcoholic beverages are highly dehydrating, so you could end up really sick if you don’t chase it with water. You should try to keep your alcohol to water ratio at least a one-to-one. This way you counteract the effects of the dehydration of the alcohol.

How to Drink More Water

Many people complain water doesn’t taste good or like anything at all. They say this is what keeps them from drinking as much as they should. You can help the taste of water simply by adding a flavoring to it. The healthiest flavoring is fruit. You can add lemon, limes, strawberries, raspberries, or any other fruit you like to the water.

You can also try to combine different fruits to make the water more flavorful. For example, you can do a lemon-lime water just by putting slices of lemons and limes in it. You can add mango and oranges to the water for an orange mango flavor. The options are endless, so you’ll never get bored with your water again.

Before you start guzzling water, it’s important to know, your body does better using the fluids if you take it in slowly. For instance, instead of drinking an entire glass of water in one sitting, sip on it every few minutes. This way you have a constant flow of fluids going through your body to keep all of your organs hydrated to work hard for you.

Cheers!

 

Why You Need a Running Journal and How to Use One

Running is an exercise that people either love or hate. Those who love it have either made themselves run until they’ve liked it, or they were born loving it. In any case, running emotions can ebb and flow. Some days, you’ll be able to take on 10 miles without even looking at your watch, while other days, 3 miles seems like a full marathon.

Journaling is an awesome way to figure out what is really going on with your running. It can help you figure out what is making you feel better about it one day, and not so good the next. There are reasons you go up and down, and knowing what they are can help you avoid some of the causes of it.

The other reason you should keep a running journal is that it can motivate you to push yourself to the next level of running. When you just run, you usually run slower than your body can really run. Pushing yourself just a little more will help you build that muscle you want, burn calories, and get a good workout. When you write down what you do, you’ll know how much more to do.

Now, you know the reasons you should keep a running journal. What you need to know is how to keep one.

You’re probably thinking all you have to do is pick up a notebook and start writing down how far you run, for how long, and that’s it. Sure, you can do that, but it won’t do you much good. A running journal is much more in-depth than that, and it has to be that way to be effective. The following are what you should include in your running journal:

  • Date
  • Time of run
  • Food eaten before the run
  • Food eaten the day before the run
  • How much water you drank the day before
  • Length of run
  • Speed
  • Route
  • How you felt before the run
  • How you felt during the run
  • How you felt after the run
  • Thoughts you had during the run
  • How those thoughts affected your run
  • What you did during the run (listened to music, listened to podcasts, etc.)
  • Level of energy from 1-5
  • Goals achieved
  • Plan or goals for next run

Each day, you should jot down notes for all of these and end with a plan for your next run. When you run, try to remember those goals you wrote down, so you can work on them. Pay attention to your thoughts, feelings, and what you’re doing during the run. This all affects how well you run and how much you can push yourself. When you’re done with the run, write down some notes again.

Using Technology for a Running Journal

There are many ways you can start a running journal using a phone or tablet. Download a writing app or an organization app such as Evernote. You can even start taking pictures of yourself and your surroundings if you would like. It will be great to look at someday, as you reflect on how far you’ve come over the years.

Some apps will allow you to connect with others on social media. Depending on how comfortable you feel sharing your information with others, this may or may not be something you want to use for your journal. On one hand, it may inspire others to start running, but on the other hand, you may not want to be so open about how well you’re running. It’s up to you, but it’s good to know there’s an option.

Another idea is to blog about your runs. You don’t have to include your name in the blogs, so it would be anonymous. You can then simply write blogs based on each run. People will likely find the blog and start following your progress. It will likely motivate them and motivate you when you see how people are coaching you to achieve your goals.

Get Started Today

You can start journaling your runs today. Just get out there, run, and then write what it was like. Over time, you can look back and see how much you’ve improved. That will propel you to try to start running even more, which will greatly help your health and life is many ways.