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Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Laughter the best Medicine

7 Health Benefits of Laughter

One of the best feelings in the world is the deep-rooted belly laugh. It can bring people together and establish amazing connections. Everything from a slight giggle to a side-splitting guffaw can change the temperature of a room from chilly unfamiliarity to a warm family-like atmosphere.

There is so much to love about laughter that it seems greedy to look for more, but that’s exactly what researchers Dr. Lee Berk and Dr. Stanley Tan at the Loma Linda University in California have done. These two doctors have researched the benefits of laughter and found amazing results. Get ready to get your giggle on!

1. Laughing lowers blood pressure

People who lower their blood pressure, even those who start at normal levels, will reduce their risk of strokes and heart attacks. So grab the Sunday paper, flip to the funny pages and enjoy your laughter medicine.

2. Reduces stress hormone levels

You benefit from reducing the level of stress hormones your body produces because hormone-level reduction simultaneously cuts the anxiety and stress impacting your body. Additionally, the reduction of stress hormones in your body may result in higher immune system performance. Just think: Laughing along as a co-worker tells a funny joke can relieve some of the day's stress and help you reap the health benefits of laughter.

3. Fun ab workout

One of the benefits of laughter is that it can help you tone your abs. When you are laughing, the muscles in your stomach expand and contract, similar to when you intentionally exercise your abs. Meanwhile, the muscles you are not using to laugh are getting an opportunity to relax. Add laughter to your ab routine and make getting a toned tummy more enjoyable.

4. Improves cardiac health

Laughter is a great cardio workout, especially for those who are incapable of doing other physical activity due to injury or illness. It gets your heart pumping and burns a similar amount of calories per hour as walking at a slow to moderate pace. So, laugh your heart into health.

5. Boosts T cells

T cells are specialized immune system cells just waiting in your body for activation. When you laugh, you activate T cells that immediately begin to help you fight off sickness. Next time you feel a cold coming on, add chuckling to your illness prevention plan.

6. Triggers the release of endorphins

Endorphins are the body’s natural pain killers. By laughing, you can release endorphins, which can help ease chronic pain and make you feel good all over.

7. Produces a general sense of well-being

Laughter can increase your overall sense of well-being. Doctors have found that people who have a positive outlook on life tend to fight diseases better than people who tend to be more negative. So smile, laugh and live 

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Reasons why Walking is Great for Health

1. Walking strengthens your heart

Reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke by walking regularly. It’s great cardio exercise, lowering levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol while increasing levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. The Stroke Association says that a brisk 30-minute walk every day helps to prevent and control the high blood pressure that causes strokes, reducing the risk by up to 27 percent.

2. Walking lowers disease risk

A regular walking habit slashes the risk of type 2 diabetes by around 60 percent, and you’re 20 percent less likely to develop cancer of the colon, breast or womb with an active hobby such as walking.

3. Walking helps you lose weight

You’ll burn around 75 calories simply by walking at 2mph for 30 minutes. Up your speed to 3mph and it’s 99 calories, while 4mph is 150 calories (equivalent to three Jaffa cakes and a jam doughnut!). Work that short walk into your daily routine and you’ll shed the pounds in no time.

4. Walking prevents dementia

Older people who walk six miles or more per week are more likely to avoid brain shrinkage and preserve memory as the years pass. Since dementia affects one in 14 people over 65 and one in six over 80, we reckon that’s a pretty great idea.

5. Walking tones up legs, bums and tums

Give definition to calves, quads and hamstrings while lifting your glutes (bum muscles) with a good, regular walk. Add hill walking into the mix and it’s even more effective. Pay attention to your posture and you’ll also tone your abs and waist.

6. Walking boosts vitamin D

We all need to get outside more. Many people in the UK are vitamin D deficient, affecting important things like bone health and our immune systems. Walking is the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors while getting your vitamin D fix.

7. Walking gives you energy

You’ll get more done with more energy, and a brisk walk is one of the best natural energisers around. It boosts circulation and increases oxygen supply to every cell in your body, helping you to feel more alert and alive. Try walking on your lunch break to achieve more in the afternoon.

8. Walking makes you happy

It’s true – exercise boosts your mood. Studies show that a brisk walk is just as effective as antidepressants in mild to moderate cases of depression, releasing feel-good endorphins while reducing stress and anxiety. So for positive mental health, walking’s an absolute must.


Just as herbs hold their medicinal qualities, flowers have been found to have positive effects on our emotions.
Naturopaths can formulate you a flower essence remedy to assist with anything from fear, overwhelm, grief or neurosis.
It's no suprise that the scent of a flower and the beauty they withhold don't hold that secret power. 

Monday, 20 June 2016

Five powerful reasons why we eat slower

One of the problems in our daily lives is that many of us rush through the day, with no time for anything … and when we have time to get a bite to eat, we gobble it down.

That leads to stressful, unhealthy living.

And with the simple but powerful act of eating slower, we can begin to reverse that lifestyle immediately. How hard is it? You take smaller bites, you chew each bite slower and longer, and you enjoy your meal longer.

It takes a few minutes extra each meal, and yet it can have profound effects.

You may have already heard of the Slow Food Movement, started in Italy almost two decades ago to counter the fast food movement. Everything that fast food is, Slow Food isn’t.

If you read the Slow Food Manifesto, you’ll see that it’s not just about health — it’s about a lifestyle. And whether you want to adopt that lifestyle or not, there are some reasons you should consider the simple act of eating slower:

Lose weight. A growing number of studies confirm that just by eating slower, you’ll consume fewer calories — in fact, enough to lose 20 pounds a year without doing anything different or eating anything different. The reason is that it takes about 20 minutes for our brains to register that we’re full. If we eat fast, we can continue eating past the point where we’re full. If we eat slowly, we have time to realize we’re full, and stop on time. Now, I would still recommend that you eat healthier foods, but if you’re looking to lose weight, eating slowly should be a part of your new lifestyle.

Enjoy your food. This reason is just as powerful, in my opinion. It’s hard to enjoy your food if it goes by too quickly. In fact, I think it’s fine to eat sinful foods, if you eat a small amount slowly. Think about it: you want to eat sinful foods (desserts, fried foods, pizza, etc.) because they taste good. But if you eat them fast, what’s the point? If you eat them slowly, you can get the same amount of great taste, but with less going into your stomach. That’s math that works for me. And that argument aside, I think you are just happier by tasting great food and enjoying it fully, by eating slowly. Make your meals a gastronomic pleasure, not a thing you do rushed, between stressful events.

Better digestion. If you eat slower, you’ll chew your food better, which leads to better digestion. Digestion actually starts in the mouth, so the more work you do up there, the less you’ll have to do in your stomach. This can help lead to fewer digestive problems.

Less stress. Eating slowly, and paying attention to our eating, can be a great form of mindfulness exercise. Be in the moment, rather than rushing through a meal thinking about what you need to do next. When you eat, you should eat. This kind of mindfulness, I believe, will lead to a less stressful life, and long-term happiness. Give it a try.

Rebel against fast food and fast life. Our hectic, fast-paced, stressful, chaotic lives — the Fast Life — leads to eating Fast Food, and eating it quickly. This is a lifestyle that is dehumanizing us, making us unhealthy, stressed out, and unhappy. We rush through our day, doing one mindless task after another, without taking the time to live life, to enjoy life, to relate to each other, to be human. That’s not a good thing in my book. Instead, rebel against that entire lifestyle and philosophy … with the small act of eating slower. Don’t eat Fast Food. Eat at a good restaurant, or better yet, cook your own food and enjoy it fully. Taste life itself.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Health Benefits of Marigold Flowers
Not all marigolds are created equal. The National Institutes of Health explains that the marigold you find in most home gardens is of the tagetes variety, which are purely ornamental. The marigold variety that delivers health benefits is calendula. The flowers of the calendula marigold have been used for centuries for their health benefits.
High Antioxidant Content
Marigolds contain numerous antioxidant carotenoids that give the petals their bright orange and yellow colors. An antioxidant is a compound that helps protect the cells from damage caused by free radicals, or hazardous molecules. Free radicals are the by-products of normal body functions or environmental factors such as cigarette smoke or pollution. Free radicals can damage cells to the point that they damage DNA, and can lead to disease and various forms of cancer. High intake of antioxidants helps combat free radical damage. The primary carotenoids in marigolds are lutein and zeaxanthin, often paired together, and lycopene. The Linus Pauling Institute reports that lutein and zeaxanthin are the only antioxidants that are found in the retina of the eye, where they protect the eye from the development of cataracts and macular degeneration. Lycopene is reported to reduce the risk of prostate cancer and heart disease.
Cancer Protection
The antioxidants in marigolds help fight and prevent cancer, according to a study in the October 1998 issue of The Journal of Nutrition. In this study, researchers from Washington State University examined the effects of lutein, an antioxidant extracted from marigolds, on breast cancer tumors. The results of their study show that lutein not only reduced the number of tumors in the breast, it also prevented new cancer cells from developing. Researchers found that even in small dietary amounts, the lutein from marigolds had a positive effect. Marigold has also been found effective against leukemia, colon and melanoma cancer cells.
Wound Healing
One of marigold's folk uses has been in the area of wound healing. Rubbed on burns, scrapes and irritated skin, marigolds provide relief. When tested on rats, researchers in Brazil found that one of the mechanisms for wound healing comes from marigolds having the ability to promote the growth of new skin tissue, as well as new blood vessels that feed the skin. In the February 2011 issue of the Brazilian medical journal Acta Cirurgica Brasileira researchers also state that marigold acts as an anti-inflammatory due to the presence of other compounds, including triterpenes and steroids.

How To Use
Calendula marigold petals can be dried and used as a spice in place of saffron, steeped in hot water for a tea or used fresh on salads. Keep in mind that marigolds are an herbal product, and as with any herb there is a risk of adverse reactions or side effects. If you are currently being treated for a medical condition or are on any medications, speak to your doctor before consuming any herbal products, even marigolds.

Rose Tea Health Benefits

Rose tea, also sometimes known as rose bud tea, is made from whole, dehydrated rose blossoms. These delicate pink flowers make a fragrant brew that is light-tasting, fruity and low in calories. In some cases, rose tea is made from whole petals of mature roses, which are also dried and used as the sole ingredient in rose tea. Rose tea can help relieve menstrual cramps and is rich in natural antioxidants.

Menstrual Cramps

Rose tea can help relieve some of the symptoms of menstruation, namely cramping, according to the 2005 study published in the “Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health.” Scientists studying adolescent women in Taiwan found that drinking rose tea over a period of six months led to less cramping during menstruation, as well as relief from the psychological stress associated with cramping during periods. Scientists concluded that drinking rose tea could provide welcome and necessary relief from menstrual pain without any adverse side effects or safety concerns.

Contains Vitamin C

Rose petals are a natural source of vitamin C, according to a review published in the "Iranian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences." Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant which can block some of the damage that can result from exposure to toxins and free radicals. Such damage can lead to increased rates of aging. Vitamin C also provides support for your immune system, and it aids in the production of collagen, a protein essential for healthy skin and hair.

Rich in Polyphenols

Rose petals are rich in polyphenols, which are water-soluble. A 2007 issue of "Zeitschrift fur Naturforschung" found that rose petals were high in polyphenols as well as a range of other antioxidants, including ellagic acid and quercetin. A 2005 review on polyphenols published in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" discussed the role of polyphenols in helping prevent cardiovascular diseases as well as osteoporosis and possibly even cancer. While polyphenols are recognized for their general health benefits, however, more research is needed before polyphenols can be recommended as a treatment for specific conditions.

Making Rose Tea

You can make rose tea from fresh or dried petals. For dried petals, use 1 to 2 teaspoons of leaves for 1 cup of water that has been heated to just before boiling -- 194 to 203 degrees Fahrenheit. Allow the tea to steep for two to three minutes. For rose tea made with fresh petals, use 2 cups of fresh rose petals -- remove the white portion at the base of the petal as it has a bitter taste -- and combine with 3 cups of water. Heat the water and petals at a gentle simmer for five minutes, and then strain. You can sweeten rose tea with some sugar or honey or drink it plain.


TeaCuppa: Pink Rose Bud TeaPound of Tea: Rose Petal TeaIranian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences:

Friday, 17 June 2016

Experience of Herbs, Halo for Health.

Herbs, those fragrant culinary delicacies, offer so much more than just flavoring and garnishing our food.  Whether you buy them at the grocery store, a farmer’s market or grow your own, these tender plants harbor a wealth of health benefits just waiting for you to discover.
Since ancient times, herbs have been used for medicinal purposes concentrated in teas and tinctures.  More recently, herbs health properties have been realized due to the various nutrients and polyphenols they provide.  Think of herbs as an extension of fruits and vegetables – we all know the magnitude of nutrients they provide.  Whenever we use herbs to spruce up the looks of a meal or flavor food helping us use less salt and fat, we gain big time in nutritional value.
Herbs can be used fresh or dried.  Fresh herbs are perishable – wash with cold water, wrap in a paper towel then place upright covered with a plastic bag in a jar of water placed in the refrigerator to help extend their life. Dried herbs are easier to keep and their nutritional strength is sometimes more concentrated than fresh herbs, but they should be used within a year as their flavor potency will wane.  
Following is a list of herbs and what nutritional advantages they offer.  If you’re new to using herbs, use the suggestions on what types of food they pair best with.  However, don’t be afraid to experiment and test your culinary skills. As with any food item, some herbs may interact with certain medications or cause allergic reactions.  Use them in moderation and watch for any unusual symptoms. 
Parsley –
·         Rich in vitamins C, B12, K and A.  Keeps immune system strong, improves bone health, helps flush out fluid from the body supporting kidney function and can help control blood pressure.
·         Add to scrambled eggs, quiche, smoothie, homemade salad dressing or use as a garnish for just about any food.
·         Due to its high content of vitamin K, anyone using a blood thinner such as Coumadin (warfarin) should use it sparingly.
Cilantro –
·         The leaves of the plant are referred to as cilantro and the seeds are referred to as coriander. 
·         High in the antioxidants beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, all good for preventing macular degeneration and better brain functioning.  Also helps clear heavy metals such as lead and mercury from the body by attaching itself to the metals, carrying them out of the body.
·         Pairs particularly well with Mexican dishes and can also be added to vegetable dips or used as a garnish for soups and salads.
Rosemary –
·         Good source of anitoxidants and anti-inflammatory agents that may boost the immune system, improve blood circulation, digestion, and eye health, enhances memory and concentration, and may reduce the formation of cancer-causing substances.
·         This herb pairs well with chicken or lamb and often used in Mediterranean cooking.  Can be used to flavor soups, baked vegetables, salads and meat dishes.
·         Pregnant women should use it in moderation as it may cause miscarriages if consumed in large amounts.
Basil –
·         Rich in vitamins A, C and K, magnesium, iron, potassium and calcium
·         May help treat arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, reduces inflammation, can help prevent harmful effects of aging and is rich in antioxidants.
·         Can be used in pesto sauces, salads, pizza, soups, and fish and seafood.  When cooking with basil, put in at the end of the cooking process as heat can reduce its flavor.
Mint –
·         Contains menthol, a natural decongestant helping to break up phlegm and mucus during a cold and can relieve a sore throat when combined with tea. It can also soothe an upset stomach and indigestion.  Contains the antioxidant rosmarinic acid which may help relieve seasonal allergies.
·         Mint pairs great with fresh fruit, Middle Eastern dishes like lamb, soups and salads, or combine mint with water and cucumber slices.
·         If you have GERD, do not use mint to relieve symptoms as it may make them worse.
Oregano –
·         Rich in vitamin K and antioxidants, it also contains iron, fiber, vitamin E, iron, calcium and omega fatty acids.
·         It has been used to treat urinary tract disorders, menstrual cramps, respiratory tract disorders and gastrointestinal disorders.
·         Often used in Italian cuisine, it can also be used in many other dishes for a bold flavor such as pizza, sautéed vegetables, chicken, beef or lamb, toasted or flatbread or added to a vinaigrette.
Thyme –
·         Contains thymol, an essential oil which has antiseptic and anti-fungal properties. The leaves are packed with potassium, iron, manganese, magnesium, vitamins C, A, K and E and B-complex vitamins.
·         Thyme tea may help relieve coughs, sore throat and bronchitis symptoms.
·         Its distinctive, intense flavor should be used sparingly in recipes.  Can be used to flavor soups, sauces, marinate chicken, fish and meat. 

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Depressed? Turn up the heat!

There's nothing quite like a warm bath or hot spa treatment to cure what ails you, even -- perhaps especially -- if what ails you is dementia.
It's not a new idea. For many years medicine has danced around the ballroom with the notion that hyperthermia – application of heat, basically – had some legitimately curative effects on mental illness. Then, in 1917, the Austrian doctor Julius Wagner-Jauregg began treating dementia patients with injections of blood from malaria patients. His thesis was that their dementia would be curbed by the heat from the malarial fever. Not only was he right, but he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his efforts.
Unfortunately for Dr. Wagner-Jauregg and fortunately for society, the medical community shortly thereafter came to its senses and realized that giving the mentally ill malaria didn't have quite the risk/reward ratio Hippocrates had in mind when he drew up his famous oath.
But although medicine has spent the better part of a century distancing itself from how the good doctor's “fever therapies,” the theory itself has persisted. Now the idea has returned in a new clinical trial suggesting that the spa-like experience of lying back while your body is heated for an hour or two acts as a mood enhancer so powerful it can rapidly curb symptoms of depression.
The study, out of the Psychiatry Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, involved 30 people with mild depression. About half the group went through a body-warming treatment that elevated their body temperature to about 101.3 degrees Fahrenheit for a little over an hour. The other group went through a procedure that was staged to look similar, but didn’t heat their bodies quite as much.
Upon subsequent psychiatric evaluations, the group who received the full hyperthermia treatment scored at least five points lower than the control group each week on the Hamilton Rating Scale, a questionnaire-based evaluation that reflects the severity of depression symptoms.
Researchers cautioned that the group of volunteers represented only those with mild depression. The mileage for patients suffering from more severe illness is likely to vary.