Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Health Benefits of Matcha

 



Matcha comes from green tea leaves that have been stone-ground to create a fine powder. In Japan and China, matcha is found in all sorts of food and drinks, from hot tea to a variety of desserts like mochi. It’s used extensively in Asian medicine and self-care, and is also a component of some facemasks.

Of course, it has become popular for many different reasons including its beautifying properties, as well as its many health benefits. Here are just a few reasons why you try matcha.

1. Matcha is rich in antioxidants
A paper published in the Chinese Medicine Journal noted that green tea in general has high amounts of catechins which are natural antioxidants. These compounds are known to prevent cellular damage that occurs due to the presence of harmful chemicals in the body or toxins. Matcha can help lower the risk of several chronic illnesses, such as cancer and diabetes.

2. Matcha protects the liver
The liver is responsible for flushing out toxins and keeping the body protected against damage. Some experts believe that matcha or green tea can help people with liver problems such as a fatty liver, inflammation, or cirrhosis that is a result of substance abuse or hepatitis—due to its catechin content.

 

3. It boosts heart health
Green tea lowers the amount of LDL cholesterol in the body. This substance, AKA bad cholesterol, is present in a lot of meat, dairy, and processed food. Matcha contains epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which prevents plaque building up in the arteries. As a result, it helps lower blood pressure and reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and strokes.

4. Matcha improves brain function

Matcha and other forms of green tea consumables also have the potential to improve cognitive function. A research team from the Third Military Medical University in China found that EGCG produces more neurons or brain cells. The more of these you have, the more synaptic connections you can make, which translates to better memory and improves the ability to process information.

5. Aids in weight loss
Matcha, or green tea in general, boosts metabolism and helps you manage weight better. It’s a great option when you want to have a smoothie.


Of course, don’t start filling your entire cupboard with matcha just yet! Moderation is key, as you shouldn’t consume too much of it, 1/2 teaspoon of matcha a day is enough to keep health problems at bay. Going overboard can decrease the amount of iron the body absorbs or even liver damage.

Matcha is gaining more traction here in the West because of the many health benefits associated with it. As a society, we are starting to understand the effects of our lifestyle on our overall health; and diets and superfoods are a huge part of it. 


Thankfully, most of the claims are backed by ongoing research like the ones mentioned above. It helps that a lot of high-profile doctors and dietitians have also come out in support of matcha. It's important for fledgling healthcare professionals to be at the forefront of promoting trends like this.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Optimists Live Longer

 



New studies show that optimism is linked to living longer and those who feel younger rehabilitate from injury faster.


Health research has always been overwhelmingly focused on risk factors that may predispose people to disease and premature death. The ever-growing field of positive psychology, however, is focused on those positive attributes and behaviors which can, on their own, promote health and longevity.


One such recent study, by the Harvard Chan School of Public Health, looked at the trait of optimism, as experienced by a group of women ages 50-79, over the course of several decades.

The study was unique in that it studied a large cohort of people across a variety of racial and ethnic groups to understand whether optimism is affected by such social structures.

At the completion of this multi-year study, findings showed that the 25% of participants who displayed the most optimism were likely to have a 5.4% longer lifespan and a 10% greater likelihood of living beyond 90 years than those who were the least optimistic.


These results were found to have no correlation with race or ethnicity, and researchers found that lifestyle factors such as regular exercise and healthy eating, accounted for less than a quarter of the optimism lifespan association.   

 

Dr. Hayami Koga, lead author of the study commented, “we tend to focus on the negative risk factors that affect our health… it is also important to think about the positive resources such as optimism that may be beneficial to our health, especially if we see that these benefits are seen across racial and ethnic groups.”


The trait of optimism also seems to be at play in another recent study. In this investigation, researchers set out to study whether subjective age or how old people feel, is connected to how well they heal.


The study, conducted by Bar-Ilan University in Israel, tracked nearly 200 seniors undergoing rehabilitation from osteoporotic fractures or stroke.

Patients were interviewed about their subjective age. The findings revealed that those who felt younger at hospital admission had considerably better physical outcomes at discharge one month later.


Researchers also found that those who felt younger recovered better because they were more optimistic about their outcomes.


Most surprising is that subjective age was the strongest predictor of positive outcomes, even more so than patients’ chronological age and other health conditions.


Study lead professor Amit Shrira stated to Science Daily, “Those who feel younger can maintain their health and functioning for longer periods, and as the current study shows, can recuperate better from disability. Therefore, by perceiving themselves to age successfully, people may preserve a healthy and vigorous lifestyle.”


The study findings will hopefully lead to the design and implementation of mental health strategies to positively affect peoples’ subjective age and are a reminder that how you think, goes a long way to affecting how you feel.

 

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Simple Home Remedies For the Cold and Flu

 



1. Honey

Honey is one of the most powerful remedies for treating the common flu. It's packed full of antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that help your body to recover from the flu. To enjoy this delicious home remedy, mix a tablespoon of honey with a warm glass of water. Drink the mixture a few times a day. Optionally, you may add a few drops of lemon juice for a healthier kick. Lemon juice is also soothing for the throat and promotes mucus flow. It's important to know that honey shouldn't be given to children under the age of one.

2. Lemon

Many people consider lemon to be one of the best ways to treat the flu. Lemon is known for its potent antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties. Plus, this citrus fruit is also anti-inflammatory. The resulting combination is a powerful weapon against the common flu as well as its symptoms. To use lemon against the flu, squeeze the juice of half a lemon and mix it with a warm glass of water. Drink the mixture several times a day until symptoms weaken. You may also mix the lemon with some honey to make it more appetizing.

3. Ginger

For centuries, ginger has been the go-to remedy for the common flu. Many cultures across the world find this root to be a powerful aid against the flu. Its strong anti-inflammatory characteristics and its warming effects make ginger a reliable ingredient for fighting the flu. Also, ginger also helps to strengthen the immune system, helping to ward off other infectious diseases. To use ginger, you can make tea by mixing grated ginger with boiling water. You can also drink ginger juice diluted with orange juice. If you can stand the strong taste, you may also eat it directly.

4. Garlic

Researchers often sing the praises of garlic as a healthful ingredient and super food. It's no surprise that millions of individuals use garlic to treat various ailments. Because of its natural antiviral and antiseptic properties, garlic makes for a great helper in the fight against the common flu. As an added benefit, the immune-boosting components of garlic help to strengthen the body's natural protection against infection. To reap the benefits of garlic, consume a few cloves of minced garlic per day. You can add it to soups, sauces, or other foods. It's a good idea to buy pre-minced garlic as an alternative to chopping it yourself.

5. Steam

Steam is a relaxing yet effective treatment for different ailments. The heat from the steam helps to get rid of the toxins in your body, allowing it to heal you from the flu. To get the most out of steam, step into your shower and let the warm steam open the pores of the body as well as help mucus to become runnier. You may also pour boiled water into a large bowl. Then, place your face above the water, and put a large cloth over your head, making sure that the steam doesn't escape. You can breathe in the steam for immediate relief.

6. Salt Water Sprays

One of the most popular ways to treat the unpleasant symptoms of the flu is by using salt water sprays. Salt water sprays work by thinning the mucus in the nose and mouth, helping you to feel rejuvenated. These sprays also make it easier to breathe as the nose becomes congested. One of the biggest advantages is that the spray removes virus particles and bacteria from the nose, ensuring a quicker recovery. You can purchase saline sprays at many pharmacies, and they are safe for use.

7. Neti Pot

Neti pots are one of the most effective treatments for many flu symptoms. You can readily cure a stuffy nose by using a neti pot. What's even better is that neti pots can be purchased inexpensively at many pharmacies and health food stores. To use this innovative instrument, fill the pot with a saline solution. Then, tilt your head and pour the water into one of the nostrils, allowing it to clear the passages. It's important to use sterile water, preferably distilled. If your symptoms don't go away, consult your doctor.

9. Soup

This remedy is one of the yummiest ways to treat the flu. To make your soup even more powerful in its fight against the flu, add cayenne pepper or garlic to the mixture. This will provide for an antioxidant-rich soup that will help fight off infections. Moreover, the warmth of the broth will help calm a sore throat. The spiciness is excellent for thinning the mucus, making your cough a bit more tolerable. Lastly, the immune system boost is great for increasing your body's white blood cell count. Any warm soup can be taken as a remedy for the flu.

10. Fluids

When you have a cold or flu, you may not feel like drinking or eating anything. However, it’s important to drink fluids to help push the virus out of your body. Drinking plenty of water will also help you prevent dehydration. While water is always the ideal choice when it comes to hydration, you can also drink black or green tea, ginger ale, or a beverage that contains healthful electrolytes.

Thursday, January 12, 2023

The Power of Breathwork

 



What exactly is breathwork and how do you do it?


There are many types of breathwork techniques, and each form of breath has a unique purpose and creates a different effect. As you breathe, you will become aware of thoughts, feelings, memories, and patterns that are not aligned with love and self-love. Even though many of us have processed childhood, beliefs, patterns in psychiatry, therapy, coaching, or healing, breathwork offers an opportunity to release any energy that has been unconsciously residing in the body or energetic system. Once those energies are released, there is more space for your inherent life force to flow through you.


There are little-to-no rules when it comes to establishing your own breathwork routine: You can practice in person with a teacher (in a group or solo setting), tune into a digital session, or guide yourself through a breath sequence from home or in the middle of your workday.

 

While meditation is an extremely useful form of self-reflection because it allows us to see the pace, substance, and truth of our thoughts, it also keeps us stuck in our mind, while many people are seeking to get out of their own heads. Meditation is a slow and steady practice that over a period of time will shift our perspective. But many people are seeking relief now, and meditation does not bring the relief they are looking for.  Breathwork, on the other hand, can be easier to drop into when you are seeking more immediate feedback. It's a great tool to pull out when you're feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or off-center.

 

Who can benefit from breathwork?

 

There is a misconception that healing arts are for individuals who are struggling or suffering. And yes, breathwork is very supportive for stress, tension, overwhelm, anxiety, depression, fear, grief, sadness, anger, trauma, insomnia, etc. But breathwork is also nourishing for someone who is doing well and feels ready for the next opening—the next layer of love, peace, gratitude, clarity, connection, and insights.


Doing breathwork with a teacher? Here is what to look for. 

 

There are different ways that breath work can be facilitated based on the guide who is leading you. If you are new to breath work and want to connect with a healer to get started, look for a practitioner who has completed all levels of the training, who has been guiding others and has experience, and who has a presence that makes you feel comfortable. 


Your experience will vary depending on the type of breathwork your practitioner is teaching, but no matter what, you can expect to actively breathe throughout the session. As you're breathing, your teacher might speak to you through the journey. You may follow their guidance, or have your own unique experience. Trust the breath will take you to where you need to go for the deepest level of healing available to you at that time.

Some thoughts, feelings, or sensations that might come up during a breathwork session.

Some of the side effects that someone might experience during breathwork include tingling, buzzing, warming, cooling, or tightness in certain parts of their body. They may see colors or images or have downloads and insights. No matter what, whatever is happening is supposed to be happening. Your body has an innate intelligence and wisdom and it will support you in releasing what no longer serves you.

 

3 reasons that breathwork is so powerful.

 

You'll tap into your inner knowing.

The first benefit of breathwork is that the innate wisdom of your breath and life force knows exactly where to go for the level of healing that is available for you at any given time. As the breath opens meridians and channels and aligns your body with its inherent and Universal energy, healing happens. There is no need to think, process, or figure anything out after a session. To know you can receive clarity and peace without thinking is revelatory.

 

You'll feel empowered.

In a breathwork session, you do not need to imbibe an external substance, so there is an inner empowerment that comes from you. Your breath can become the source of answers to questions, insights to challenges, freedom from feeling stuck, and downloads to what's next for you, your life, and your work in the world. 

 

You'll gain a new perspective on life's challenges.

Breathwork supports so many of the challenges everyone experiences. It reduces stress, creates feelings of openness, love, peace, gratitude, clarity, communication, and connection. Breathwork also helps release trauma or mental, physical, and emotional blocks, as well as anxiety, depression, fear, grief, and anger. Last, it can help people receive insights from ancestors and loved ones who have transitioned, as well as downloads about work, creativity, finances, relationships, or health conditions.

 

The science behind breathwork.

 

Look at all the research that continues to come out supporting the benefits of breathwork. Something as simple as making your exhale longer than your inhale has been shown to1 send the body into a more parasympathetic state, lowering blood pressure and cortisol levels, while coherent breathing, a type of long, slow breath, has been associated with a decrease in depressive symptoms2. Over at the Huberman Lab for neuroscience out of Stanford University, they study how the breath impacts emotional states and how it can actually change the way the brain reacts to fear. On the other side of the world, in the Netherlands, researchers at Radboud University Medical Center are looking into how the Wim Hof method—a breathwork, meditation, and cold therapy protocol—can reduce inflammation and increase pain tolerance.

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Small Healthy Habits To Implement in 2023

 



1. Prioritize sleep 

Going without sleep is a lot like expecting your phone to run all day on a 12% battery. Your body needs time to not just rest and recharge, but also to do important work like learn new things and solidify memories. 

Adults should get at least 7 hours of shut-eye each night. If this is a challenge for you, turn to your circadian rhythm. This is your body's natural process that should help you fall asleep, stay asleep and wake up feeling refreshed.

How do you use your circadian rhythm for better sleep? Go to bed and get up at the same time every day.

2. Walk more 

Heading out for a stroll boosts your physical and mental health, so it's well worth adding to your list of healthy daily habits. 

On the physical front, regular walking supports your immune system, reduces joint pain and makes it easier to maintain a healthy weight. 

Any exercise helps your mental health, and that includes walking. If you want to shift your daily habits to combat symptoms of depression or anxiety or to boost your mental wellness in general, make it a point to lace up your walking shoes each day. 

3. Read for 30 minutes 

Feeling stressed? Crack open a book. One study found that half hour of reading can have the same stress-busting effect as known sources of calm, like yoga and humor. 

Reading also does a lot for your brain, strengthening connections there. That study showed that diving into a book has both short and long-term benefits for your brain health. So to maintain the boost, make reading one of your daily habits When you do, you'll also be actively working to fight cognitive decline as you age.

4. Meditate 

Another stress reducer and mental health booster, meditation gives you a way to tune into the present moment. In our busy, hyperconnected world, this can go a long way toward not just keeping yourself healthy, but also protecting your happiness.

Starting meditation could be as simple as doing a little reading on it and setting a timer for, say, 5 minutes each day. But there are also plenty of good apps to guide you. You can even incorporate a meditative mindset into your regular activities, such as mindful eating.  

5. Spend time in nature

Getting into nature can help us soothe ourselves. It offers an effective counterbalance to all the screentime built into most of our days. In fact, an expanding body of research that time in nature can:

  • Improve our cognition
  • Increase attention span
  • Lower risk of mental illness
  • Increase empathy and social connectedness

You can combine this with other healthy habits, like your daily walk. Ideally, aim for green (like a forest) or blue (like bodies of water) spaces during your time outdoors. 

6. Eat more plant-based foods 

You probably already know that eating nutritious food makes you feel better. As an overarching concept, though, healthy eating habits can feel a little vague.

So let's be specific: work to get more plants onto your plate. A plant-based diet helps you maintain healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels, and reduces your risk for some chronic conditions. Plants are full of the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients we need to keep our bodies working optimally.

Try to incorporate more fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes into your daily meals. It might be helpful to keep a produce bowl on your kitchen counter so you can grab things as a quick snack, too.

7. Drink more water 

This is one of those areas where it's easy to see how healthy habits help. Since we’re mostly water, it makes sense that we would need to continually replenish our body's supply. Getting enough water helps your body flush waste and keeps your joints lubricated, while acting as a shock absorber for your spine and helping your digestive processes. 

To build healthy habits around water, start carrying a reusable water bottle with you. Whenever you're bored, take a sip. Your body will thank you. 

8. Reduce alcohol intake

Reducing the alcohol you consume does a lot for you, especially if you used to binge drink. It:

  • Lowers risk of high blood pressure, depression and other conditions
  • Decreases symptoms of those conditions
  • Helps your body better absorb nutrients
  • Improves sleep and minimizes fatigue
  • Supports liver health

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that men have two drinks or fewer each day, while women stick to a max of one drink per day. To help yourself out here, figure out a non-alcoholic beverage you like a lot. Soda water, bitters and a lime can scratch the cocktail itch without adding another alcoholic drink to your daily total. 

9. Quit smoking 

Does this come as any surprise? Smoking is bad for your heart and lungs, and it's also bad for your longevity. Long story short, if you want to live a longer, healthier life, kick the habit. 

As you're figuring out how to be healthier, don't turn to vaping. It might be less harmful, but it's just as addictive and still comes with health risks.

Smoking is one of the hardest daily habits to ditch. Fortunately, the CDC and the American Lung Association  have resources to help.

10. Spend time with those you love 

If you're pursuing healthy habits to feel happier in 2023, hang with your people. Social connection goes a long way toward boosting our moods.

If you already have a group of friends or family, let this be a reminder to hit them up. Call someone you haven't talked to in a while or invite a few people over for a game or movie night. Check how you feel afterward. Better? We thought so.

If you don't have a social circle, make 2023 the year you intentionally work on making connections. That could mean striking up a conversation with a coworker or getting to know your neighbors. 

11. Take a break from electronics 

Screen time takes its toll. In fact, studies directly link it with lower psychological well-being.  Fortunately, the reverse is true. A digital detox:

  • Improve your sleep
  • Boost your focus and productivity
  • Reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety
  • Support real-life social connections (see the point above)

You could try going off social media apps for a while and see how you feel. But if you want to incorporate this into your healthy daily habits, carve out time each day where you're screen-free. For better sleep, maybe make that the last hour before bed.  

12. Take on a new hobby 

Your healthy habits can also be fun and rewarding. What have you always wanted to do? Your answer to that question might point you toward a new hobby to explore in 2023. And getting into it can help you reduce stress and boost mental well-being.  

Plus, some hobbies can get you moving, supporting both your physical and mental health. Maybe you get into playing pick-up soccer at the park, or you explore yoga. 

Ultimately, you've got a lot of options for healthy daily habits you could incorporate into the coming year. You can pick one or two, or go big and go for the full dozen. Either way, you'll be moving yourself toward a healthier, happier 2023. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Intention Going Into The New Year


Now the game, to be played correctly, and for the Universe to fully understand what it is you want, what you want to create and how you want to show up in 2023 requires this one small thing …

 

YOU HAVE TO WRITE IT DOWN

 

So go get a pen and paper and begin:

 

2022 Completion Questions

  • What was the smartest decision you made in 2022?
  • What one word best sums up and describes your 2022 experience?
  • What was the greatest lesson you learned in 2022?
  • What was the most loving service that you performed in 2022?
  • What is the biggest risk you took in 2022?
  • What else do you need to do or say to be complete with 2022?


2023 Creation Questions

  • What would you like to be your biggest triumph in 2023?
  • What advice would you like to give yourself in 2023?
  • What brings you joy and how are you going to have more of that in 2023?
  • Who or what, other than yourself, are you most committed to loving and serving in 2023?
  • What one word would you like to have as your theme in 2023?
  • What about are you most committed to transforming and improving in 2023?

 

Hang on to these and read them come 2024 and see who and what you were able to create. Its extraordinary every time I do this, I am shocked as to how the intentions I set for the year to come has a way of unfolding perfecting into my life. 

 

Wishing everyone a fabulous 2023!

 

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Take A Break During The Holidays



Take a “break” before your day gets underway. If you feel like your whole day is spent on work or chores, try getting up a little earlier to do something for yourself. Wake up an hour earlier to work out or take a walk, meditate, make a healthy breakfast, journal, or any other activity that you find restorative.

Exercise as a release. You’ve likely heard this many times before, but exercising and moving more can really help improve your mood, energy levels and sleep quality!

Need a quick pick-me-up?  Spend a few minutes focusing on your breathing. Close your eyes and focus your attention to each slow inhalation and exhalation. Let any anxious thoughts just drift like passing clouds.

Make sure to take your breaks and go on lunch. Step away to refresh yourself and prevent burnout. Avoid taking breaks and eating lunch at your desk or while you’re working.

Take real time off from work. Even a half day spent doing something restorative can help you reset.

Try something new. Winter is a great time to experiment with a new hobby or activity that can help you break out of a rut and feel like you’re doing something for yourself. Find a craft or art project, try cooking new-to-you cuisine, or listening to new music.

If your go-to break when you’ve finished a work or home task is to scroll through your phone or turn on the TV, trade it for stepping outside. Developing the “nature break habit” has many proven benefits for better health and well-being.

Do nothing! Sit on your couch and look out the window, spend a few minutes enjoying your outdoor space, or lie on your bed and practice deep breathing—there are countless options.  Try dedicating 10 minutes at the end of your day to taking a break to see if you notice a difference in your mood.

Take time to unplug. Spend time free from technology and screens by simply savoring a quiet moment with your eyes closed. Take it even further by creating tech-free zones in your house. Pick a drawer or other out-of-sight place to stash your devices, and enjoy the peace and quiet.

Cuddle with your spouse, kids or pet. Whether it’s people or pets, physical interactions with those you love can release oxytocin, a feel-good hormone!

Taking time each day to do simple activities that calm your body and mind is a powerful way to short-circuit stress, restore a sense of well-being and protect your health!