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      VitaNews

      Squelch the Flames of Inflammation

      You've probably seen the headlines or heard the news stories about inflammation inside our bodies. This can be a tough concept to grasp, because you can't necessarily see the inflammation. It's not like a cut that becomes inflamed with infection or a sprained ankle that's swollen and inflamed. But there are signs of chronic, internal inflammation if you know what to look for. 

      Chronic Inflammation

      Acute inflammation is a very normal reaction that takes place in your body when there's been an injury or illness (like that sprained ankle or when you have a virus). It's simply your immune system's way of removing something in your body that is harmful or just shouldn't be there. 

      Chronic inflammation, however, is another story. 

      Sometimes, the body is unable to overcome or repair the damage. This can lead to the body slowly building up an internal inflammatory response that can last months or years. Scientists now believe that inflammation is behind many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, allergies, COPD, chronic kidney disease, Alzheimer's, irritable bowl disease, and arthritis.

      So while you might not be able to see signs on the outside of the body, there can be signs and symptoms that you experience as a result of chronic inflammation, including:

      • Body pain
      • Chronic fatigue and insomnia
      • Depression, anxiety and mood disorders
      • Gastrointestinal complications like constipation, diarrhea, and acid reflux
      • Weight gain or weight loss
      • Frequent infections (Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK493173/) 

      Stop Fanning the Flames of Inflammation

      The good news is that you can calm the inflammation inside your body. 

      • Reduce your processed sugar intake. This doesn't mean avoid sugar at all costs, and it definitely doesn't mean avoid natural sugars found in fruits and vegetables! But if your normal go-to's tend to be highly processed foods with added sugar, maybe consider swapping them for something more sustaining and less inflammatory, like whole grains, fruits, and veggies with a protein or healthier fats (like avocados and tuna). Side note: Beware assuming that "healthy" food is healthy for you. Even healthy foods can react in unhealthy ways inside your body. Get into the habit of paying attention to how you're feeling after you eat and as the day wears on. Do you feel bloated and "puffy"? Inflammation could be a culprit. 
      • Move Your Body. Studies show that consistently moving your body can help decrease inflammation. The type of exercise matters, though. When you engage in high intensity exercise without giving your body ample time to recover, it can increase inflammation and deal your immune system an unhealthy blow (we do have a solution for those of you who like your high intensity exercise, so keep reading...).
      • Get your ZZZZs. You may be laughing right now, especially if you have little ones, but sleep deprivation is no laughing matter. Getting the sleep you need (ideally 7-9 hours/night for adults), will help in the long run. It's during sleep that human growth hormone is produced (hence, why it's also important for your little ones to be getting the shut eye they need, too), and your body heals and regenerates new cells (among a host of other things!). Create a bedtime routine for both you and your kiddos. You'll all be happier...and less inflamed. 
      • Master your stress. Have you read the VitaMom Club blog post on stress? If not, go read it now. Chronic stress is one of the leading contributors of chronic inflammation and can lead to depression, heart disease, and decreased immunity. 

      Lastly, chew on this. Turmeric (curcumin) has been shown to have major anti-inflammatory properties. But here's the thing. It's difficult to get enough of the curcumin that's found in turmeric to really make a difference in inflammation. That's why we've packaged it in a yummy gummy (sorry, couldn't resist that rhyme haha). We include black pepper in our formulation, because our bodies absorb curcumin better when it's combined with black pepper. 

      While it's impossible to fully avoid inflammation, it's important to start taking control of it where you can. Include daily self-care--no matter how small--as practicing consistently is what produces progress. Here's to you mom! xo

      Ugh! Since I had my baby, my libido is in the pits. What can I do to help get my mojo back?

      Ugh! Since I had my baby, my libido is in the pits. What can I do to help get my mojo back?

      We hear you on this one!

      First, cut yourself some slack! You’ve housed and birthed a human being (and yes, sex is what put you in that position to begin with, but still…). And if you’re breastfeeding, you may feel like your breasts’ purpose has changed from sexual to baby feeding vessels. OK, they kind of have, but they can be both (hear us out…).

      For women especially, libido (a.k.a. sex drive) is part mental. If your head isn’t in the game, your body won’t be either. For example, one recent study suggests that for women, getting sexually aroused or “turned on” starts in the mind. As you start thinking about sex, what you’d like your partner to do, what you’d like to do to them…your body in turn becomes aroused.

      (Cue a skidding car…) But let’s get real. You have young children. You might have older children. No matter how old your kids are, life with them brings stress—and plenty of it. And stress is one obstacle to a budding libido.

      Decreasing your stress is important—for many reasons—but you don’t have to get rid of your kids to get rid of the stress (although some days…). There are many things you can do right now, including blasting your favorite music and dancing around like a mad woman (add a vacuum and microfiber cleaning cloths to your performance and you could be accused of multi-tasking and having a clean house…but I digress…), sipping on some green tea, and locking yourself in the bathroom with your earbuds in (so you can’t hear the pounding and “Moooommmy!” on the other side of the door) with some soothing music and just…breathe…

      Joining stress is fear—as in fear of getting pregnant again. If you had a high-risk pregnancy, if this whole pregnancy and baby situation has just been plain stressful on every aspect of your life, or if you just hated being pregnant…the thought of doing the act that put you in that position in the first place can seem freaking scary, undesirable, and impossible to relax enough to enjoy it. There are many ways to address your fears and anxiety, so try them out.

      Experts will also tell you that being physically and mentally exhausted is also detrimental to libido, so make sure you get a good night’s sleep.

      (Crickets…)

      OK, so right now you’re rolling your eyes or laughing your butt off, but as difficult as a good night’s sleep might be at this point in your life, it’s still important to do what you can to get one. Kids have bedtime routines. Adults need bedtime routines, too!

      Start preparing your body an hour or so before you plan on hitting the hay. Lower the lights in your house—darkness is good, because it allows your body to produce melatonin, the hormone necessary to get and keep you asleep.

      Get off your devices! Not only do they blast light in your face (read the previous tip), but they’re also stimulating. C’mon! Your brain needs a break! If you insist on being on a device, use the nighttime setting or blue light glasses to relieve the eyes from the type of light that keeps you up. Try to stay away from news stories, conversations, or movies that rev you up.

      Use bedtime to show a little gratitude. Writing down what you’re thankful for in a journal at bedtime has several benefits, including falling asleep faster and staying asleep longer. This is a great exercise to start with your kiddos, too…even on those days when the baby wouldn’t stop crying, the kids wouldn’t stop fighting, the laundry and dish bombs went off in your house, and you were on your fourth day with no shower…there is still something to be thankful for.

      Making sure you’re eating a well-rounded, balanced diet (and not just the “mom diet” of foraging off your kids’ plates…) goes a long way in helping boost your sex drive, too. Adding a little insurance with a vitamin supplement won’t hurt, either.

      Exercise has also been shown to help improve a woman's libido. Of course, if you have an aversion to it, it might seem about as appealing as having sex right now. But exercise has also been shown to help you better deal with your stress, sleep better, and improve body image. Our tip: avoid exercising to burn calories and lose weight (seriously, it makes it more of a chore). Instead, do it for the other reasons, including healing your body after pregnancy and delivery, and staying strong enough to carry the infant carrier, diaper bag, 10 bags of groceries, and the pizza for tonight's dinner all at once...and still be able to open the door with your teeth.

      Birth control and other medications, including antidepressants, can also send your libido to MIA status. I remember going on one form of birth control and thinking, “Wow, this is some amazing stuff! No worries about getting pregnant. I have no desire to have sex at all!” 

      Lastly, consider your beliefs about your body. Have they changed—for better or worse—since having a baby? Do you feel sexy? Do you feel desirable? How has your body changed? Do you now have stretch marks or varicose veins? Are your boobs leaking milk? Do you feel anything but a sex machine?

      Pssst…it’s all normal!

      Try having a conversation with your partner about how you're feeling regarding your body. Chances are, they'll help put your mind at ease.

      Show your body—the one that houses, births, and feeds other human beings—some respect! Seriously! Stop hating on it and honor it by taking good care of it. Self-care is not selfish! Even super heroes need a little time to recharge—including a little action in the sack when you feel like getting back in the game.

      *As always, we recommend seeing your healthcare provider if this really becomes an issue for you and your relationship. 

       

       

       

      Vitamins: What Are They and Why Do We Need Them?

      Vitamins: What Are They and Why Do We Need Them?

      Vitamins, nutrients, minerals, macros... We’ve all heard these terms but many of us don’t know the difference between them or what the heck they’re for! What most of us do know is that we need them for our bodies to work the right way and to feel our best.

      We get most of our nutrients from food, because our bodies don’t make them—or can’t make enough of them for us to be strong and healthy. But what exactly are they and what happens if you don’t get enough? Can you get too much? Here’s a quick nutrition 101 to get those questions answered!  

      First up, macronutrients. Macronutrients, also called “macros”, refer to the carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in your food. All food consists of different amounts of these components. Macronutrients are what gives your body energy, also known as calories (here at VitaMomClub, we prefer the term energy!).  

      Food also contains micronutrients, which are the vitamins and minerals you need to keep your body running smoothly. Without them, you may end up with nutritional deficiencies, which can interrupt growth and cause some serious health conditions. Each nutrient has specific jobs and each one is very important for different parts of your body. For example, Vitamin C helps hold parts of your body together, while some minerals, like calcium, help with bone health.  

      Can I get everything I need from food? 

      While getting most of your nutrition from a variety of food choices is recommended, vitamin and dietary supplements are exactly that—supplements to your nutrition from food. They are especially important if you’re deficient in nutrients, or if there’s a possibility of being deficient in nutrients due to your eating style, where you live, or different health conditions.  

      Does ‘‘getting too much of a good thing” really apply when it comes to vitamins and minerals?

      Sometimes it can. Our bodies are usually able to get rid of most water-soluble vitamins (Vitamin C and all of the B Vitamins) when we get too much, but very high doses can sometimes cause problems long-term. Fat-soluble vitamins, Vitamins A, D, E, and K, have a higher risk of vitamin toxicity because they stay in our body’s tissues. Minerals can be toxic in high amounts as well, especially in children. 

      But, not to worry! Vitamin and mineral toxicities are not very common and taking supplements is ‘Generally Regarded As Safe’, or GRAS, by the FDA (GRAS means that a group of experts agreed that a particular product is safe when used per manufacturer instructions).  

      Bottom line, supplements are a great, safe way to support overall health and nutrition! Remember to always check with your healthcare provider about taking supplements and to keep them in a safe place, away from children.

      Do I really need vitamins?

      Do I really need vitamins?

      Um yeah, of course you do!

       (Did you really expect us to say you don’t?)

      Okay, seriously, though… Yes, you want to be getting as much of your nutrition as possible through the foods you eat. But let’s face it, the typical “mom diet”—foraging off your kids’ plates—probably doesn’t score high in nutritive value. And even if you eat according to what the "experts" say you should be eating, there is still no guarantee that you’re getting the full amount of nutrients your body needs.

      For example, research suggests that the longer produce is stored after it’s harvested, the more nutritional value it loses. This nutritional loss happens even faster when it’s not stored at ideal temperatures for that particular food.

      Studies also suggest that the soil our fruits and veggies are grown in is slowly being depleted of vitamins and minerals. And since produce gets its nutritive value from what it’s grown in, the fruits and veggies we eat today might have fewer vitamins and minerals in them than the fruits and veggies our parents and grandparents ate.

      We don’t give you this information to discourage you from eating fruits and vegetables! It’s actually a reason to eat more of them! And the positive reasons for eating produce far outweigh the negative ones, so keep eating those delicious, colorful plants as much as you can, and invest in a high-quality vitamin to bridge any nutrition gap that might exist from these other reasons.

      Remember, vitamin supplements should not replace eating. They are simply a little extra insurance to make sure you’re getting the nutrition you need, whether it’s a “five fruits and veggies” kind of day—or a “pick off my kids’ plates” kind of one.