- Strange but True Facts about the Human Body
It’s a wild world out there– large and quite mysterious– but some of the strangest things you’ll ever learn have to do with your very own body. Humans have been studying their own bodies since the beginning of time.
For centuries, most of the scientific and medicinal theories laid out were based on little fact. For instance, in medieval medicine people believed that the body’s well-being relied on the balance of four liquids or “humors.” The four humors were blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm. Physicians would seek to balance the person’s humors when they were sick with the use of either heat or cold, dry or wet.
Today we know that disease, for the most part, doesn’t just happen because the liquids in our bodies are out of whack. With advanced technology, we are able to trace back a large number of ailments to their source whether they’re genetic, viral, or bacterial. Furthermore, we know a lot more about how the body works. Believe it or not, there are multiple bizarre connections in the body. How we treat one area can have a huge impact on the functions of another.
Immunity and Your Gut
Inside your stomach is a whole ecosystem of microscopic organisms that influence your overall health. Your gut microbiome consists of different bacteria: Akkermansia, Lactobacillus, and Bifidobacterium. While the idea of bacteria inside you may make your skin crawl, the truth is you need these helpful critters for a strong immune system. The bacteria that lives within you has been there since you were born, training your immune system on how to behave. Whenever foreign bodies enter your gut, the trained microbiome is able to defend your body and prevent inflammatory responses. If your gut flora is lacking or imbalanced, your body has a much more difficult time fighting off disease. If you want a strong immune system, you want to feed a diverse population of gut flora. A good way to cultivate healthy gut bacteria is through the consumption of probiotic and prebiotic foods. If probiotic-rich foods like sauerkraut, yogurt, and kombucha are not really your cup of tea, try a probiotic supplement that supports a healthy gut and immunity.
Heart Disease and Your Mouth
When your dentist tells you to floss, they’re looking out for a lot more than just cavity prevention. As it turns out, people with bad oral hygiene experience higher rates of cardiovascular problems such as stroke or heart attack. The bacteria that grow in your mouth can easily get out of control if you do not brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day. When those bacteria infect the gums, causing gingivitis or periodontitis, they can easily find their way into your blood vessels which can lead to inflammation and damage. Once that inflammation is triggered, the entire body’s immune response can set off a cascade of damage with its first stop being the heart via the blood vessel highway. To keep your heart healthy– and your breath fresh– be diligent with dental hygiene every single day and see your dentist biannually for a check-up and professional cleaning.
Your body is an amazing machine we are only beginning to get a better understanding of in this modern age. You can have one little thing like your gut microbiome become imbalanced and it affects your entire immune system. That’s why it’s so important to focus on whole body care for both your mental and physical health. It’s all connected, so your best bet is to treat every inch of yourself with care.
Photo by Nino Liverani on Unsplash
- Common Digestive Ailments and How To Combat Them
The digestive system is made up of many moving parts. This leaves plenty of opportunities for things to go wrong. If you’ve been suffering from digestive issues and aren’t sure what might be going on, here are some ailments and typical treatments to consider.
Inflammatory bowel disease
According to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, inflammatory bowel disease is not one specific disorder but a group of chronic intestinal complications. And they can be painful. Three of the most common types of IBD are Crohn’s disease, indeterminate colitis, and ulcerative colitis. Each of these issues pops up as a response to inflammation and can have a significant negative effect on a person’s daily life.
While there are a number of treatments for IBD, a promising supplement known as CBD has garnered attention lately. CBD, which is a compound derived from cannabis, offers a number of benefits for the gastrointestinal tract. It is an anti-inflammatory that can potentially help the body regulate. This may reduce symptoms of IBS and other digestive problems. When combined with an anti-inflammatory diet and other self-help methods, CBD may be effective against IBD.
Diverticulitis is a severe form of colitis, one of the many inflammatory bowel diseases. However, diverticulitis deserves attention on its own. Left untreated, it can cause an infection that may require surgery, according to Everyday Health and medically reviewed by Dr. Kareen Sassi. Diverticulitis is essentially inflamed diverticula, abnormal pouches in the digestive tract. And it sends more than 200,000 people to the hospital every year.
Severe diverticulitis that results in infection requires medical treatment and a course of antibiotics. However, there are natural methods that can keep this condition at bay. This includes healthy lifestyle choices and the elimination of foods that irritate the gut. Dr. David Jockers of Georgia’s Exodus Healthcare lists refined sugars, grains, legumes, dairy, and corn among foods that can trigger or exacerbate diverticulitis. By balancing the gastrointestinal system, it is believed that one can effectively manage the symptoms of diverticulitis. Interestingly, there are those who claim (and studies to support) that CBD can help control gastrointestinal inflammation and heal the gut.
Gallstones are possibly one of the most painful gastrointestinal disorders. They are hardened deposits that develop within the gallbladder, which is a small – and underappreciated – organ that sits just below the liver. Gallstones cause the gallbladder to become inflamed and irritated. Fever and jaundice can occur. The American Academy of Family Physicians reports that gallstones are most common in women, those with diabetes, and people of Native American descent.
One of the easiest ways to prevent gallstones is to simply stay hydrated. Magnesium supplements, vitamin C, and fiber will also keep the digestive tract functioning in peak condition.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is an extremely common ailment that can make eating a nightmare. GERD can best be described as persistent heartburn that results in a buildup of gastrointestinal juices which are forced up into the throat. People with GERD may experience pain after eating a large meal or laying down flat.
While there are minimally invasive medical treatments, diet and exercise are perhaps most effective. Losing excess weight around the belly, which is thought to push against stomach acid, and avoiding foods that trigger heartburn, such as tomatoes, peppermint, and chocolate, can help.
Hippocrates famously said, “All disease begins in the gut.” and though he may not have had science to back him up, he wasn’t wrong. Gastrointestinal health doesn’t just affect the stomach. The body has numerous support centers that dictate overall health. The brain, heart, lungs, and stomach work in unison to keep a body healthy. When any one of these gets out of whack, everything goes downhill. Gut health is also linked to mental health and an unhealthy balance of bacteria can make virtually all physical illnesses worse.
Image via Pixabay
- Invisible Dangers: Maintaining a Healthy Indoor Environment
We are all vulnerable to microscopic bacteria that can make us desperately ill and threaten our long-term health. What makes them such a dangerous threat is that they’re present everywhere, even in our own homes and on surfaces we come in contact with every day. And that’s not all. Even common household dust, sprays, cleaning fluids and objects that make our homes smell good can combine to make us desperately ill. It’s important to be aware of how the chemicals we use to clean our homes and the tiny microbes they’re meant to control can affect our health.
Danger in the fridge
The refrigerator probably isn’t the first thing you think of when it comes to germs. Spilled liquids and pieces of rotting food that collects in trays and shelves provide ripe breeding ground for molds, which can make you very sick. The electric coils in your freezer collect dust that’s released into the air if not kept clean. Whatever you do, pay careful attention to the vegetable and fruit drawers, a potential breeding ground for dangerous microorganisms that can cause infections. A regular application of warm water and baking soda can keep this vulnerable, easy-to-overlook part of the fridge safely clean.
Your bed is supposed to be your private and personal refuge, yet it can quickly become a haven for dust mites if your bedroom isn’t properly ventilated. Mites are among the most dangerous of all household threats if you suffer from allergies, hay fever, or even a common cold. It’s recommended that you air out the bedroom every day and wash bed linens using antibacterial detergent. This will help prevent the spread of bacteria.
Watch for mold
Aided by moisture, mold can grow very quickly on a variety of household surfaces, everything from wood and drywall to wallpaper. Mold buildup is very dangerous, particularly for people who suffer from asthma and who are vulnerable to severe allergic reactions. Watch for musty smells, discoloration on the walls or ceiling, peeling of wallpaper or other instances of water damage. Mold sickness can be manifested by an array of symptoms that may include sneezing, coughing or rashes. Consider investing in a high-quality filterless air purifier to help rid your breathing air of mold, bacteria and other dangerous airborne pollutants like dust mites and mold spores.
The commercial sprays and air fresheners we use to keep our homes smelling nice contain chemicals that can, over time, make us very sick. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency has reported that plug-in air fresheners consist of petrochemicals, formaldehyde and aerosol pollutants, and essentially emit a constant flow of pollutants into the air. Formaldehyde is particularly dangerous, causing impaired breathing and cancer in lab animals. Try substituting coffee grounds, lemon peel or baking soda, natural substances that are just as effective at freshening your breathing air.
A well-regulated HVAC system
A poorly regulated HVAC system can play havoc with your body. If your body has to constantly adjust for fluctuations in temperature, it can disrupt blood supply to the heart. It can also lead to eye infections or excessive nighttime coughing. A humidifier can be helpful, as can making sure temperatures are consistent from room to room.
It’s human nature to assume that all’s well in our homes. After all, you can’t see the bacteria, mites and other pollutants that threaten your health. Make sure to clean regularly and use natural products when you clean. Your indoor air and your health depend on it.
Courtesy of Pixabay.com.