Home » Healthy Ways
Category Archives: Healthy Ways
Reduced Risk of Cancer – According to The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine,vegetarians are nearly 50% less likely to get cancer than those who consume meat.
Reduced Risk of Heart Disease – Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and Dr. Dean Ornish, two researchers, have suggested that those that avoid meat have a reduced risk of heart disease. Not to mention, a vegetarian and vegan diet reduces cholesterol.
Reduced Risk of Osteoporosis – Studies suggest that having too much protein in your diet can cause bone calcium loss. Meat eaters typically consumer far more protein than their bodies need.
Reduced Risk of Kidney and Gallstones – Calcium is leached from your bones because your body is constantly trying to neutralize acids that are produced by consuming too much protein. These can result in the formation of gallstones and kidney stones. (more…)
Natural remedies are the healthiest way to treat your ailments, but where do they come from? This is necessary information for any health buff!
Coconuts Fight Fat – Sri Lanka
You may have heard that coconut oil is a great way to slim your waist. Well the people of Sri Lanka figured this one out way before the rest of the world. It is reported that the average Sri Lankan eats about 116 coconuts per year, and they are half as likely as the average American to pack on the pounds. The reason is that coconut oil is packed with medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) that stimulate the liver to burn fat 50 percent faster than normal. Try having about two tablespoons of coconut oil daily (in your cooking) and you could shed up to three pounds a month!
Yoga Treats Insomnia – Austria
Although yoga is practiced all over the world, in Austria it is used solely as a stress-buster and quick treatment for insomnia. Austrians like to go all out and go on yoga retreats and holidays for up to a week, but according to research from the University of Pennsylvania, practicing yoga for just 20 minutes a day could get rid of your insomnia. The research also found that practicing yoga is just as effective, if not more, than taking a sleeping pill and it also will rid you of anxiety, stress and depression.
Ginger Controls Triglycerides – Indonesia
Indonesia is the world’s largest grower and consumer of ginger and ginger products, with locals using it in their cooking, teas, candies and breads. Their tradition has long pointed to ginger as an effective treatment for the heart, and there are studies to back them up. Triglycerides are fats that clog your arteries, and according to Stanford researchers, a daily dose of ginger could cut the production of these fats by 27 percent. Ginger is also twice as effective as aspirin at preventing blood clots and preventing inflammation.
Turmeric Steadies Blood Sugar – India
Turmeric is a flavorful yellow spice used in rice and meat dishes and even deserts, but it also has outstanding medicinal properties. Indians use turmeric to treat high blood sugar levels, a practice that has been scientifically confirmed by research at Gujarat University. They confirmed that the active ingredient in turmeric, called curcumin, switches on the genes that keep blood glucose levels stable. The compound can also help the pancreas make insulin when it is low. In order to see the benefits of turmeric, start taking about half a teaspoon daily either directly or in your cooking.
Mustard Baths Calm Muscle Pain – England
Ever heard of a mustard bath? While it may sound like a hoax, mustard baths are used heavily in England to quell tight and achy muscles. Mustard has healing plant compounds that draw out toxins through the pores to improve circulation, relax tight muscles and speed the healing of damaged tissue. For your own mustard bath, mix 2 cups of Epsom salts, 1/4 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup dry mustard in a jar. Pour only 1/4 of this mixture into a warm bath, mix the water before getting in, soak for 20 minutes and rinse.
Chamomile Tea Beats Off Bloating – Germany
What began as a simple German folk remedy has now been proven as a scientifically effective method for fighting off bloating. In research conducted at Stanford University it was found that sipping two cups of chamomile tea daily could help ease bloating and belly pain within just 24 hours. This is because chamomile calms the adrenals and the production of a stress hormone called cortisol that can interfere with digestion and produces painful gas and belly spasms. Not only does chamomile tea soothe the stomach, it also causes the brain to produce more enkephalins, or painkilling hormones that will help fight off depression and negative thoughts.
Garlic Fights Off Viruses – Russia
While garlic is used the world over to add flavor to food, in Russia they use this herb to get rid of colds, the flu or any other viral infection. It has recently been proven that this pungent natural medicine is seriously effective. At the University of Florida in Gainesville, it was shown that adding one clove of garlic to your daily diet could cut your risk of viral infections by almost 43 percent! This is because garlic is full of allicin, an immunity boosting sulfur compound that fights off the growth and spread of germs.
Acupuncture to Treat Headaches – China
Acupuncture has been used for centuries in Eastern and Chinese medicine, but now more than 80 million Chinese use this therapy to treat chronic headaches. At Taiwan’s Kaohsiung Medical University it was found that daily acupuncture treatments work much better than prescription muscle relaxants. This is because acupuncture prompts the release of powerful painkilling hormones called endorphins and relaxes the scalp muscles to soothe the overactive pain nerves.
Coffee Gets Rid of Depression – Finland
This cold Scandinavian country is actually the world’s largest consumer of coffee, drinking on average about 1,640 cups per year. Indeed, coffee was originally sold in pharmacies in Finland in the 18th century has a treatment for depression. Now research from Harvard backs up coffee’s use as an anti-depressant, finding that drinking 2 cups a day of caffeinated coffee could reduce your risk of depression by 34 percent, and if you drink 3 cups, by 42 percent. The mix of caffeine and antioxidants in coffee stimulates the brain to produce more powerful antidepressant hormones like serotonin and dopamine.
Coriander Rids of Food Poisoning – Egypt
One of the world’s oldest spices and a popular Egyptian remedy for stomach pain, new research proves the powerful effects of this ancient spice. The research suggests that coriander seeds can speed up recovery from full-blown intestinal infections by destroying dangerous bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella. This is because coriander punches holes in the bacteria’s’ protective outer membranes, effectively destroying them for good. Next time you are having tummy troubles, try adding 1 teaspoon of ground coriander to one cup of boiling water. Drink up to three cups of this mixture daily until the bug is gone.
Honey Treats Sinus Infections – New Zealand
Unpasteurized honey is one of the top treatments used in New Zealand to treat sinus and throat infections. According to research at the University of Illinois and the University of Amsterdam, the natural antibiotics and enzymes in unpasteurized honey can destroy nearly 100 percent of bacteria and viruses on contact! This includes the bugs that cause painful sinus and throat infections. For an effective remedy, mix two tablespoons of unpasteurized honey into your coffee or tea to prevent painful infections. Use darker honeys like buckwheat or wildflower for the best results.
Aloe Vera to Treat Rashy Skin – Mexico
Where the sun is hot and always shining, aloe vera is used to treat rashes and other skin problems. Researchers at the University of Texas found that aloe vera reduce redness, speeds healing, increases the skin’s moisture levels and strengthens resistance to irritants. They also discovered that aloe vera not only treats the current outbreak, but prevents further outbreaks in the same area. Other research from Malmo University Hospital in Sweden found that aloe vera cream can treat psoriasis in 83 percent of cases.
Kefir Treats Irritable Bowel Syndrome – Russia
Irritable bowel syndrome is an uncomfortable and serious condition in which the bowels do not perform as they should. However in Russia they use a tart and tangy yogurt called kefir to treat the condition with healthy probiotic bacteria and yeast. Kefir is an effective treatment for IBS because it contains five time more healthy, intestine-soothing probiotics than most regular yogurts. In research conducted by the University of Madrid it was found that having just a half-cup serving of kefir daily could trigger a ten-fold increase of healing probiotic bacteria in the digestive tract.
Arnica to Prevent Bruises – Greece
An herb that grows in the mountainous regions of Greece, arnica has been a go-to remedy since ancient times for nasty bruising and closed wounds. It has become the most popular homeopathic remedy worldwide due to its power of healing and treating the most serious of bruises. This is because arnica is a plant rich in compounds that reduce swelling by as much as 30 percent, improves circulation in damaged tissues, boosts the flow of nutrients and flushes out the blood from the wound. You and find arnica gel at your local health store or in some pharmacies. This is definitely a tube to have in your medicine cabinet!
Fish Oil May Help Preserve Brain Cells, Study Suggests
Women with high blood levels of fish oils have larger brain volumes then those with lower levels, suggesting the oils may delay the normal loss of brain cells due to aging, research found.
Those who raised their levels of two major omega-3 fatty acids by eating fish or taking supplements had larger total brain volume than those who didn’t, according to research posted online today by the journal Neurology.
As people age, their brains get smaller but the shrinkage is accelerated in those with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, the authors said. While today’s findings suggest that larger brain volumes equal a one- to two-year delay in the normal loss of brain cells, more studies are needed to look at what that means for memory, said James Pottala, the lead study author.
“Omega-3s are building blocks for brain cell membranes” said Pottala, assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of South Dakota in Sioux Falls and principal biostatistician at Health Diagnostic Laboratory Inc. in Richmond, Virginia, in a Jan. 20 e-mail. If achieving certain omega-3 levels “can prevent or delay dementia, that would have huge mental health benefits, especially since levels can be safely and inexpensively raised through diet and supplementation.”
More than 5 million people in the U.S. have Alzheimer’s disease, a number projected to triple by 2050, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. There is no treatment for the mind-debilitating disease. The only drugs approved for the condition ease symptoms for a few months while the disease continues to worsen.
Researchers looked at 1,111 post-menopausal women from the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study. During that trial, women had their red blood cell levels tested for eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA, and docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, two major fish-derived omega-3 fatty acids, Pottala said. Eight years later, MRI scans were taken to measure their brain volume when they were an average age of 78 years.
They found that those whose omega-3 fatty acid levels were twice as high, 7.5 percent, had 0.7 percent larger brain volume. Those with the higher levels also had a 2.7 percent larger volume in the hippocampus area of the brain, which plays an important part in memory and can begin to atrophy in Alzheimer’s disease before symptoms even appear.
While the study didn’t measure how much fish or supplements the women consumed, previous research showed that healthy men and women eating non-fried oily fish like tuna, salmon or herring twice a week and taking fish oil supplements had a mean red blood cell level of EPA and DHA of 7.5 percent, Pottala said.
The brain uses DHA to make anti-inflammatory compounds that may help prevent cell death. Also the brain cell membranes are made up of DHA and insufficient amounts may cause the brain matter to decline over time, he said.
More studies are needed looking at men and women at risk for dementia and whether increasing their fish oil dose until their red blood cell levels were more than 8 percent benefited them, Pottala said.
How Successful People Stay Calm
The ability to manage your emotions and remain calm under pressure has a direct link to your performance. TalentSmart has conducted research with more than a million people, and we’ve found that 90% of top performers are skilled at managing their emotions in times of stress in order to remain calm and in control.
New research from the University of California, Berkeley, reveals an upside to experiencing moderate levels of stress. But it also reinforces how important it is to keep stress under control. The study, led by post-doctoral fellow Elizabeth Kirby, found that the onset of stress entices the brain into growing new cells responsible for improved memory. However, this effect is only seen when stress is intermittent. As soon as the stress continues beyond a few moments into a prolonged state, it suppresses the brain’s ability to develop new cells.
“I think intermittent stressful events are probably what keeps the brain more alert, and you perform better when you are alert,” Kirby says. For animals, intermittent stress is the bulk of what they experience, in the form of physical threats in their immediate environment. Long ago, this was also the case for humans. As the human brain evolved and increased in complexity, we’ve developed the ability to worry and perseverate on events, which creates frequent experiences of prolonged stress.
Besides increasing your risk of heart disease, depression, and obesity, stress decreases your cognitive performance. Fortunately, though, unless a lion is chasing you, the bulk of your stress is subjective and under your control. Top performers have well-honed coping strategies that they employ under stressful circumstances. This lowers their stress levels regardless of what’s happening in their environment, ensuring that the stress they experience is intermittent and not prolonged.
While I’ve run across numerous effective strategies that successful people employ when faced with stress, what follows are ten of the best. Some of these strategies may seem obvious, but the real challenge lies in recognizing when you need to use them and having the wherewithal to actually do so in spite of your stress.
They Appreciate What They Have
Taking time to contemplate what you’re grateful for isn’t merely the “right” thing to do. It also improves your mood, because it reduces the stress hormone cortisol by 23%. Research conducted at the University of California, Davis found that people who worked daily to cultivate an attitude of gratitude experienced improved mood, energy, and physical well-being. It’s likely that lower levels of cortisol played a major role in this.
They Avoid Asking “What If?”
“What if?” statements throw fuel on the fire of stress and worry. Things can go in a million different directions, and the more time you spend worrying about the possibilities, the less time you’ll spend focusing on taking action that will calm you down and keep your stress under control. Calm people know that asking “what if? will only take them to a place they don’t want—or need—to go.
They Stay Positive
Positive thoughts help make stress intermittent by focusing your brain’s attention onto something that is completely stress-free. You have to give your wandering brain a little help by consciously selecting something positive to think about. Any positive thought will do to refocus your attention. When things are going well, and your mood is good, this is relatively easy. When things are going poorly, and your mind is flooded with negative thoughts, this can be a challenge. In these moments, think about your day and identify one positive thing that happened, no matter how small. If you can’t think of something from the current day, reflect on the previous day or even the previous week. Or perhaps you’re looking forward to an exciting event that you can focus your attention on. The point here is that you must have something positive that you’re ready to shift your attention to when your thoughts turn negative.
Given the importance of keeping stress intermittent, it’s easy to see how taking regular time off the grid can help keep your stress under control. When you make yourself available to your work 24/7, you expose yourself to a constant barrage of stressors. Forcing yourself offline and even—gulp!—turning off your phone gives your body a break from a constant source of stress. Studies have shown that something as simple as an email break can lower stress levels.
Technology enables constant communication and the expectation that you should be available 24/7. It is extremely difficult to enjoy a stress-free moment outside of work when an email that will change your train of thought and get you thinking (read: stressing) about work can drop onto your phone at any moment. If detaching yourself from work-related communication on weekday evenings is too big a challenge, then how about the weekend? Choose blocks of time where you cut the cord and go offline. You’ll be amazed at how refreshing these breaks are and how they reduce stress by putting a mental recharge into your weekly schedule. If you’re worried about the negative repercussions of taking this step, first try doing it at times when you’re unlikely to be contacted—maybe Sunday morning. As you grow more comfortable with it, and as your coworkers begin to accept the time you spend offline, gradually expand the amount of time you spend away from technology.
They Limit Their Caffeine Intake
Drinking caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline. Adrenaline is the source of the “fight-or-flight” response, a survival mechanism that forces you to stand up and fight or run for the hills when faced with a threat. The fight-or-flight mechanism sidesteps rational thinking in favor of a faster response. This is great when a bear is chasing you, but not so great when you’re responding to a curt email. When caffeine puts your brain and body into this hyperaroused state of stress, your emotions overrun your behavior. The stress that caffeine creates is far from intermittent, as its long half-life ensures that it takes its sweet time working its way out of your body.
I’ve beaten this one to death over the years and can’t say enough about the importance of sleep to increasing your emotional intelligence and managing your stress levels. When you sleep, your brain literally recharges, shuffling through the day’s memories and storing or discarding them (which causes dreams), so that you wake up alert and clear-headed. Your self-control, attention, and memory are all reduced when you don’t get enough—or the right kind—of sleep. Sleep deprivation raises stress hormone levels on its own, even without a stressor present. Stressful projects often make you feel as if you have no time to sleep, but taking the time to get a decent night’s sleep is often the one thing keeping you from getting things under control.
They Squash Negative Self-Talk
A big step in managing stress involves stopping negative self-talk in its tracks. The more you ruminate on negative thoughts, the more power you give them. Most of our negative thoughts are just that—thoughts, not facts. When you find yourself believing the negative and pessimistic things, your inner voice says, “It’s time to stop and write them down.” Literally stop what you’re doing and write down what you’re thinking. Once you’ve taken a moment to slow down the negative momentum of your thoughts, you will be more rational and clear-headed in evaluating their veracity.
You can bet that your statements aren’t true any time you use words like “never,” “worst,” “ever,” etc. If your statements still look like facts once they’re on paper, take them to a friend or colleague you trust and see if he or she agrees with you. Then the truth will surely come out. When it feels like something always or never happens, this is just your brain’s natural threat tendency inflating the perceived frequency or severity of an event. Identifying and labeling your thoughts as thoughts by separating them from the facts will help you escape the cycle of negativity and move toward a positive new outlook.
They Reframe Their Perspective
Stress and worry are fueled by our own skewed perception of events. It’s easy to think that unrealistic deadlines, unforgiving bosses, and out-of-control traffic are the reasons we’re so stressed all the time. You can’t control your circumstances, but you can control how you respond to them. So before you spend too much time dwelling on something, take a minute to put the situation in perspective. If you aren’t sure when you need to do this, try looking for clues that your anxiety may not be proportional to the stressor. If you’re thinking in broad, sweeping statements such as “Everything is going wrong” or “Nothing will work out,” then you need to reframe the situation. A great way to correct this unproductive thought pattern is to list the specific things that actually are going wrong or not working out. Most likely you will come up with just some things—not everything—and the scope of these stressors will look much more limited than it initially appeared.
The easiest way to make stress intermittent lies in something that you have to do everyday anyway: breathing. The practice of being in the moment with your breathing will begin to train your brain to focus solely on the task at hand and get the stress monkey off your back. When you’re feeling stressed, take a couple of minutes to focus on your breathing. Close the door, put away all other distractions, and just sit in a chair and breathe. The goal is to spend the entire time focused only on your breathing, which will prevent your mind from wandering. Think about how it feels to breathe in and out. This sounds simple, but it’s hard to do for more than a minute or two. It’s all right if you get sidetracked by another thought; this is sure to happen at the beginning, and you just need to bring your focus back to your breathing. If staying focused on your breathing proves to be a real struggle, try counting each breath in and out until you get to 20, and then start again from 1. Don’t worry if you lose count; you can always just start over.
This task may seem too easy or even a little silly, but you’ll be surprised by how calm you feel afterward and how much easier it is to let go of distracting thoughts that otherwise seem to have lodged permanently inside your brain.
They Use Their Support System
It’s tempting, yet entirely ineffective, to attempt tackling everything by yourself. To be calm and productive, you need to recognize your weaknesses and ask for help when you need it. This means tapping into your support system when a situation is challenging enough for you to feel overwhelmed. Everyone has someone at work and/or outside work who is on their team, rooting for them, and ready to help them get the best from a difficult situation. Identify these individuals in your life and make an effort to seek their insight and assistance when you need it. Something as simple as talking about your worries will provide an outlet for your anxiety and stress and supply you with a new perspective on the situation. Most of the time, other people can see a solution that you can’t because they are not as emotionally invested in the situation. Asking for help will mitigate your stress and strengthen your relationships with those you rely upon.