Health and Disease, Uncategorized, Vitamins and Supplements

Benefits of Flaxseed

flaxseed

Flax Seed

In contemporary times, flax isn’t considered any less

remarkable. Rich in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, calcium, magnesium

and potassium, research supports the tremendous health advantages of the seed.

A study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention

discovered that prostate cancer patients who consumed 30 grams of flaxseed

per day had significant reduction in cancer cell proliferation. In light of the

fact that prostate cancer affects one in six men, prevention and treatment with
flaxseed is a noteworthy alternative to disease.

Likewise, Dr. Johanna Budwig created a successful protocol utilizing blended

cottage cheese and flaxseed oil to heal cancer. Cottage cheese supplies the

necessary carrier of sulphur, while flax oil regenerates the

electrical charge of cellular membranes, resulting in proper cell function and
oxygen utilization. A study at the University of Toronto
also found flax to possess anti-tumor properties when

tested on animals. The researchers believe the extraordinary levels of lignans
in flaxseed are responsible for reduced tumor growth.

But that’s not all. Flaxseed also alleviates the following conditions:

Asthma


Insulin
resistance


Arthritis
and joint pain

Fibromyalgia

Inflammation


Gallstones


Constipation


Multiple
sclerosis

Eczema
Acne

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Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Yoga Benefits Your Brain Function and Mental Healt

yoga

Yoga Benefits Your Brain Function and Mental Health

 

Low-impact exercises such as yoga have a number of benefits. Not only can it provide the physical benefits of exercise, yoga may also help stave off cognitive decline, according to a recent study of older adults with early warning signs of waning memory.

 

While I believe most benefit from high-intensity interval training (HIIT) for optimal health, there’s no doubt that yoga can also be beneficial. It has mental, emotional and even spiritual benefits that can be very helpful for those struggling with stress-related health problems.

 

Yoga can be viewed as a form of moving meditation that demands your full attention as you gently shift your body from one asana (yoga position) to another.

 

As you learn new ways of moving and responding to your body, your mind and emotions may shift and change as well. In a sense, you not only become more physically flexible, but your mental outlook and approach to life may gain some needed flexibility as well.

 

Yoga Helps Mitigate Cognitive Decline

 

Studies have repeatedly demonstrated that physical activity helps keep your mind sharp with age, and this goes for activities such as yoga as well. Overall, inactivity is enemy No. 1 if you seek to optimize your cognitive function. According to The New York Times:1

 

 

“There also is growing evidence that combining physical activity with meditation might intensify the benefits of both pursuits.

 

 

In an interesting study2 … people with depression who meditated before they went for a run showed greater improvements in their mood than people who did either of those activities alone.

 

 

But many people do not have the physical capacity or taste for running or other similarly vigorous activities. So for the new study … researchers … decided to test whether yoga, a relatively mild, meditative activity, could alter people’s brains and fortify their ability to think.3,4

 

 

They began by recruiting 29 middle-aged and older adults … who … were anxious about the state of their memories and who, during evaluations … were found to have mild cognitive impairment, a mental condition that can be a precursor to eventual dementia.

 

 

The volunteers also underwent a sophisticated type of brain scan that tracks how different parts of the brain communicate with one another.”

 

The participants were divided into two groups. One group enrolled in a brain-training program consisting of mental exercises for one hour per week. They were also asked to practice at home for 15 minutes a day.

 

The second group participated in a Kundalini yoga class for one hour per week. They were also taught Kirtan Kriya meditation, which involves the use of mantras and fluid hand movements. They were asked to practice this meditation at home for 15 minutes each day.

 

Yoga Outperforms Standard Brain Training

 

After 12 weeks, all subjects again underwent cognitive tests and brain scans. Overall, all participants had improved to some degree, but the yoga group not only fared slightly better on memory tests, they also reported improvements in their mood. As reported in the featured article:

 

 

“The brain scans in both groups displayed more communication now between parts of their brains involved in memory and language skills.

 

 

Those who had practiced yoga, however, also had developed more communication between parts of the brain that control attention, suggesting a greater ability now to focus and multitask.

 

 

In effect, yoga and meditation had equaled and then topped the benefits of 12 weeks of brain training. ‘We were a bit surprised by the magnitude’ of the brain effects, said Dr. Helen Lavretsky … who oversaw the study.”

 

Why Yoga Is so Beneficial for Your Brain

 

Over the years, a number of studies have honed in on the brain benefits of yoga. For example, studies have found that:

 

 

  • Twenty minutes of Hatha yoga improves your brain function (speed and accuracy of mental processing) to a greater degree than 20 minutes of aerobic exercise (jogging).5,6 Potential mechanisms include enhanced self-awareness and reduced stress.

 

  • Yoga helps improve mental health, including psychiatric disorders like depression, anxiety, attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and schizophrenia.7,8,9,10

 

Some of the studies suggest yoga can have a similar effect to antidepressants and psychotherapy.

 

  • Yoga helps improve teenagers’ emotional resilience and ability to manage anger. As noted by yoga educator and writer Iona Smith:11

 

 

“During adolescence, the frontal lobes of the brain (the seat of language and reason) are still being formed, leaving teens to overly rely on their amygdala (the seat of emotions) …

 

 

The brain’s malleability during adolescence marks a crucial stage in both cognitive and emotional development.

 

 

Luckily, researchers are now able to paint a clearer picture of some of the factors that allow students to thrive throughout high school and into adulthood, such as self-awareness, managing distressing emotions, empathy, and navigating relationships smoothly.

 

 

When students hone these skills, they are not only happier and healthier emotionally, but are also better able to focus on academics.”

 

  • By improving stress-related imbalances in your nervous system, yoga can help relieve a range of symptoms found in common mental health disorders.

 

Researchers also believe yoga can be helpful for conditions like epilepsy, chronic pain, depression, anxiety and PTSD by increasing brain chemicals like gamma amino-butyric acid (GABA).12

 

Other Mind-Body Benefits of Yoga

 

Other studies have demonstrated that regular yoga practice can impart a number of different physical, mental and emotional benefits, including the ones listed below.13,14,15,16

 

One explanation for yoga’s wide-ranging effects is that it actually alters genetic expression — through its beneficial effects on your mind! In fact, the relaxation response triggered by meditative practices has been shown to affect at least 2,209 genes.17

 

 

Improved immune function18

 

Improved sleep19,20

 

 

Reduced risk for migraines21

 

Lowered risk of hypertension and heart disease22,23

 

 

Lowered cortisol (stress hormone) level by down regulating hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and calming sympathetic nervous system24

 

Improved sexual performance and satisfaction in both sexes25,26

 

 

How Yoga Aids Weight Loss and Promotes Good Health

 

Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, yoga has also been shown to aid weight loss. In one study,27 overweight yoga participants lost an average of 5 pounds whereas the non-yoga group gained 13 pounds. This held true even when accounting for differences in diet. Typically, HIIT is the most effective for weight loss, and the key to its effectiveness is the intensity. So how can the effectiveness of yoga — which is the converse of HIIT in terms of intensity — be explained?

 

According to Tiffany Field, Ph.D., director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, yoga’s benefits are related to the fact that it does the opposite of more strenuous exercise. Rather than boosting your heart rate and stimulating your nervous system, yoga puts you in a parasympathetic state that lowers both your blood pressure and heart rate, and this helps promote a positive cascade of health effects.

 

This makes sense if you consider the adverse biological effects of stress. By promoting systemic inflammation, chronic stress can be a factor in everything from weight gain to high blood pressure and heart disease. It’s also been shown to trigger the onset of dementia. What’s worse, stress-induced weight gain typically involves an increase in belly fat, which is the most dangerous fat for your body to accumulate as it increases your risk for cardiovascular disease.

 

Stress actually alters the way fat is deposited because of the specific hormones and other chemicals your body produces when you’re stressed. For example, recent research28 shows that chronic stress stimulates your body to produce betatrophin, a protein that blocks an enzyme that breaks down body fat. So by reducing stress you reduce inflammation, and along with it your risk for any number of health problems, including stubborn weight.

 

A 2011 review29 of published clinical studies on yoga also concluded that yoga movements stimulate skin pressure receptors that boost activity in your brain and vagus nerve, both of which influence the production and release of various hormones. As vagus nerve activity increases, the levels of stress hormones like cortisol decrease. It also triggers the release of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that plays a role not only in your mood, but also in appetite control and sleep patterns.

 

The Importance of a Comprehensive Fitness Program

 

Yoga and other simple restorative exercises tone and strengthen your body, increase circulation and oxygen flow, energize you for the day and help you unwind in the evening. However, studies support the use of yoga to strengthen brain function and improve common psychiatric disorders (along with many other health benefits, including pain relief and increased flexibility and strength).

 

I believe it’s important to incorporate a variety of exercises into your routine for optimal results. Ideally, you’ll want a comprehensive fitness program that includes HIIT and resistance training, along with flexibility- and core-building exercises like yoga. Daily non-exercise movement is also important, and simply walking more each day can go a long way toward warding off many common health problems.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived: JM

P Carrothers

312-972-WELL

 

 

Diets and Weight Loss, Health and Disease, Uncategorized

The Number One Reason to Drink More Water This Summer

water2

The Number One Reason to Drink More Water This Summer

 

If you’re hoping for a leaner body this summer, you might want to think about increasing your water intake.

 

Although this might sound like old news, a brand-new study is backing the idea that the better hydrated you are, the less likely it is that you’ll be obese.

 

A new study published in the journal Annals of Family Medicine used data from a federal health survey to determine that the chances of being obese were 1.59 times higher for people who were poorly hydrated compared to those who were well hydrated. They also found that hydration levels were related to body mass index (BMI)—the better you’re hydrated, the lower your BMI and vice versa.

 

Is water a magic solution? Not likely, but it does help. For example, increasing water intake can help expel the water your body is holding on to, which can lead to a more desirable body weight. But what’s more likely is that water intake is often indicative of general behavior.

 

For example, people who drink high amounts of water aren’t likely to be drinking sugary sodas; they’re swapping the calorie-laden beverages for a zero-calorie drink. This instantly cuts hundreds of calories per day, depending on how much soda is consumed.

 

Hydration also improves satiety. Drinking water before meals helps induce feelings of fullness, and having a glass during the day when you feel hungry also helps to curb appetite. In fact, sometimes hunger pangs are really just your body telling you that it needs some water.

 

Lastly, people who drink enough water may live healthier lifestyles in general. Hydration is extremely important to athletic performance and safety during activity, and those leading active lifestyles are likely aware of this.

 

There is no set requirement for water intake per day, and beverages such as black coffee and even soda can have hydrating effects. Fruits and vegetables are also packed with water. But those items all have calories, and the sugary sodas have bad calories.

 

Water requirements also differ based on your age, size, and activity levels. For example, someone working in construction or running outdoors in the hot sun needs far more water to stay hydrated than someone sitting in an air-conditioned office.

 

It’s also important to note that your risk for dehydration goes up if you’re 65 or older. People in this age group tend to not feel as thirsty even if they’re dehydrated, so it’s important to make a point of sipping fluids throughout the day to keep hydration levels up.

 

The best way to see if you’re adequately hydrated is to monitor your urine. Pay attention to frequency and color. If it’s been three or four hours since your last pee or the color is dark, you need water. If your urine is a very light yellow or clear, you’re good!

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived: P. Carrothers

312-972-WELL