Women Must Make Their Own Eye Health a Priority

Over 3.4 million Americans age 40 and older suffer from visual impairment, and 2.25 million are women. In fact, of the four leading causes of blindness in older Americans- age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataract, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy, the rate of women’s cases outnumbers the men in all four categories.

Women are more prone than men to AMD in particular, which destroys central vision, with 1 million of the 1.6 million cases diagnosed to females, according to the Vision Problems in the U.S. report by Prevent Blindness America (PBA) and the National Eye Institute. Cataract, a clouding of the eye’s naturally clear lens, affects 20.5 million Americans age 40 and older. Almost 13 million of those cases are women. Glaucoma, a disease that causes the degeneration of cells that make up the optic nerve, continues to plague the population. Close to 60 percent of glaucoma cases are women. Diabetic retinopathy, where blood vessels in the retina can break down, leak or become blocked, affects more than 5.3 million Americans, with women making up over 2.8 million cases. I am very familiar with the affects of glaucoma. I was diagnosed with advanced stage glaucoma in 2003. I lost complete sight in one eye and partial sight in the other.

The total number of eye disease cases is steadily on the rise. The increased longevity of our aging population is one attributable factor. As the life expectancy rises (now at 76 years of age), the natural progression of low vision occurs. And because women on average tend to outlive men, the numbers of visual ailments increases. Obesity, also on the rise in the U.S., is a major contributor to diabetes, therefore increasing the rate of diabetic eye disease. PBA has dedicated April as Women’s Eye Health and Safety month and encourages women to make their own health a priority. Many women may feel they need to put the health of their children and spouses in front of their own, but need to be reminded that they are just as important. Scheduling eye appointments for the entire family, including themselves, is one way to make sure women are getting the care they need.

Besides early detection, Prevent Blindness America offers other ways for women to keep their eyes healthy:

Eat Healthy and Stay Fit- The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that the risk of cataracts can be lowered by eating 3 1/2 servings of fruits or vegetables a day. Green leafy vegetables especially contain loads of nutrients for the eye. Pairing a healthy diet with exercise will reduce the risk of obesity, leading to diabetes.

Take Supplements- Antioxidants have been shown to actually reduce the progression of some eye illnesses, including AMD. Vitamin A, riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin C and zinc are good sources to help maintain eye health.

Quit Smoking- Besides the typically known side effects of smoking including cancer, lung disease, etc., it also increases the risk for eye diseases.

Wear UV Eye Protection- When venturing outdoors, Prevent Blindness America recommends wearing brimmed hats in conjunction with UV-rated sunglasses (labeled: absorbs 99-100 percent of UV-A and UV-B rays). UV rays are extremely dangerous for the eyes.

Know Your Family History- Genetics plays a key role in eye disease. Research your family’s health history and notify your eye care professional of any eye diseases that run in the family.

The Three Foundations For Optimal Health

Optimal health. We all want to have it, but very few of us are anywhere close to achieving it. This is because, sadly, health is not a high priority for most of us. Even more so, most of us don’t even know how to define optimal health. Our medical model teaches us that health is the absence of disease. I can guarantee you that health is much more than this. There are millions of people who don’t have a diagnosable disease, but are still in poor or mediocre health.

Interestingly, there are also many people who do have a disease but are in good to excellent health. And how is this possible? Because I define health in a much uncommon way than our medical model does. I define health as the absence of addiction, not disease. Health is about living spontaneously. In Chinese medicine, the character ziran symbolizes both health and spontaneity.

Now, this may seem strange to you. But think about it. People who are free of destructive habits and addictions generally radiates peace and contentment. I am referring to both inner and outer habits here. For instance, coffee, sex, gambling, food, cocaine, etc. are external habits. Inner habits include belief systems and perceptions that are habitual, rote, and stuck. We get lost in what we think we know about ourselves and our lives. To achieve optimal health, we must be free of addictions of all kinds. The day by day habits are what get us in trouble.

Sometimes we wonder if there really is something wrong with us. Symptoms such as these show us that the wind is blowing in the wrong direction, especially if there is a family history of degenerative illness or cardiovascular disease. If we look at the following statistics, it is obvious that, as a society, we have a ways to go before most of us are optimally healthy. Sixteen million people in USA have diabetes

– Over 30% of America are obese, 4 million Americans carry over 300 pounds
– We each have a 1 in 3 lifetime risk of getting some form of cancer
– 23 million Americans have some kind of heart disease (1 in 12), 44 million have arthritis (1 in 6)
– 38 million have anxiety and depression
– 5 million have Alzheimers

The following three foundations of optimal health have become obvious to me after working with such a diverse array of people and health concerns. These five foundations have spiritual, emotional, and physical connotations, each of which is an integral part of healing. Each of these must be met with this quality of spontaneity that optimal health depends upon.

1. Mindfulness, Passion, and Purpose: For most of us, embarking on the path to optimal health will entail making some lifestyle changes that are conducive to this pursuit. To do this realistically, we have to start with a healthy psychological orientation toward making changes. This means that we initiate our healing without using will power. Instead, we use mindfulness, passion, and purpose to guide us through change. We identify with the deepest part of ourselves what is already complete and we set an unwavering intention to allow this to surface as we embark on healthy living. We are not making changes out of guilt or ‘should’. This will always backfire because will power comes in limited supply. Contrarily, we have a burning desire to discover who we are and to fulfill our potential. Our health is crucial to and inseparable from this process. This is the most important foundation because it is crucial for the success of any of these other foundations.

2. Nutrition: Ok, now that we have identified what we are seeking out to do, we need to eat in a certain way to be healthy. Food is an exceedingly important influence in our mood, attitude, energy level, and how comfortable we feel in our skin. The key is to strip away what you have been taught about food through your upbringing, the media, or what you see around you. Food is either poison or medicine and we have to start working with it medicinally if we wish to use it as a gateway to optimal health. Eating an organic whole food diet is a superb first step to take in this regard.

3. Chinese medicine: Consequently, how does alternative medicine fit into achieving optimal health? Well, I think it plays a big role even if we aren’t suffering with explicit health problems. In China, acupuncture is considered to be a primary part of the average person’s lifestyle. It keeps the internal workings of the body balanced and often improve one’s mental well being as well. The truth is, unless you are already optimally healthy, acupuncture and herbs can take you very far in that direction. Other forms of medicine such as Ayurveda can also be included in this category, as can the skillful application of drugs and surgery in Western medicine.

In order to initiate the lifestyle choices that reflect a high degree of wellness, it is important that you take action NOW. We are incredibly gifted when it comes to putting off things of this nature. We convince ourselves that it’s simply not a good time to even think about this. Each of us has a passion for self-care and optimal living that is masked within us. How are you going to find it in this moment? Perhaps the first step is making a personal responsibility to live in accordance with health and balance rather than stress, drama, and denial. Yes, it’s easier said than done, but it can certainly be done. The choice is yours and yours to decide upon.

Best Thyroid Health – 3 Minerals That Help In Boosting Your Nutrition

Since thyroid problems are what many people throughout the world face, a lot want to know what to do to obtain the best thyroid health. Millions of people have to deal with low thyroid function or hypothyroidism every day. They have to suffer symptoms such as minimal energy and weight gain. What these people may not know is that thyroid problems can be remedied through the use of some simple alterations of nutrition intake.

How to Improve Your Body’s Nutrition for Best Thyroid Health

There are ways in which you can improve your body’s nutrition to achieve optimum thyroid health. Many of these means only require you to modify your diet and eating habits and are not as complicated as you may think. The three nutrients you need to incorporate in your diet and food to help keep the thyroid in top condition are iodine, selenium and zinc. By having a regular intake of these minerals, you are on your way to keeping the thyroid healthy.

# 1 – Iodine as a Thyroid Health Booster

The most common and essential nutrient which helps the thyroid function well is iodine. This is because of the fact that our thyroid hormones are produced around an iodine molecule. Therefore, if our body is deficient of this nutrient, the thyroid gland surely cannot produce the hormones required to normalize the fat storage in the body. Likewise, without iodine, our body may not be able to regulate how much fat should be burned.

If you want to incorporate iodine in your diet, you may want to eat kelp, which is a kind of seaweed. Kelp is considered as the richest natural source of the nutrient. However, since kelp is not normally a part of the diet of westerners or those whose countries are not close to the sea. If this is the case, you may purchase a kelp supplement which will help improve the iodine levels in your body. On the other hand, this type of supplement may not work well for other people because their bodies could not absorb the nutrient which is in the kelp supplement form.

# 2 – Using Selenium as a Thyroid Health Booster

Another essential nutrient which can help obtain optimum thyroid health is selenium. This nutrient is known as an antioxidant, which aids in triggering thyroid hormones found in the liver to function. A deficiency in selenium would mean a decrease in the functioning of thyroid hormones. To feed your body with selenium incorporate foods such as Brazil nuts, broccoli, cashews, eggs, fish (especially tuna), and whole grain cereals in your diet. You may also use a selenium supplement if you want.

# 3 – Incorporating Zinc as a Thyroid Health Booster

Zinc is an important nutrient, especially if you want to improve the thyroid function in your body. Aside from this benefit, the nutrient can also aid in digestion and immunity. Foods like beef, egg yolk, lamb, ginger, liver and yeast are rich in zinc and should therefore be added to your diet. For people who like to take supplements, there are zinc enhancers which can be bought in the market.

There are still a lot of nutrients which may help you acquire the best thyroid health. However, iodine, selenium, and zinc are the three most essential ones which can help in the production and function of thyroid hormones. With these three nutrients, you are assured to resolve many thyroid problems and dysfunctions.