Sunday, September 18, 2011
Next time you want to sweeten your oatmeal, should you use molasses, or brown sugar? If you're watching your waistline, the answer may be molasses.
In a recent animal study, researchers discovered that adding molasses extract to the diet could help keep both body weight and body fat under control.
In the study, scientists fed two groups of test animals the same high-fat diet, adding 4 percent molasses extract to just one of the groups. At the end of 10 weeks, the molasses group had lower body weight and lower body fat than the other group. It doesn't appear that the molasses extract decreased hunger -- both groups continued to eat the same number of calories. But the researchers speculate that molasses may reduce the amount of calories the body absorbs and that the polyphenols in molasses may somehow help reduce body fat. (Related: Find out what three health risks you can reduce with one sweetener switch.)
More study is needed in humans to determine whether molasses has any weight loss benefits for people. But scientists are hopeful. And in the meantime, molasses as a sweetener has plenty of attributes going for it. This byproduct of sugarcane not only is chock-full of disease-fighting polyphenols but also is a good source of iron and calcium. Ready to use molasses in new and different ways!
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Y awning is something we mostly stifle—after all, it can be embarrassing to yawn in front of someone. It’s as if we are announcing that we didn’t get enough sleep or, worse, that we’re bored. It’s a shame—because researchers have discovered that the humble yawn is a major contributor to mental alertness... keeps our brains properly cooled (literally)... and helps us to shift from one activity to another, even to adjust from one time zone to another. For example, yawn soon after awakening to rev up your brain for the day or at night to help calm yourself down and promote sleep. To find out how to consciously use yawning as a tool to make life better, High Energy for Life turned to Patt Lind-Kyle, a psychotherapist based in Nevada City, California, and author of Heal Your Mind, Rewire Your Brain (Energy Psychology Press).
THE SCIENCE OF THE YAWN
Most people believe that we yawn to bring oxygen from the air into the body, but that’s wrong, said Dr. Lind-Kyle. She calls yawning an "exercise for the brain" based on the growing number of studies that have found that it facilitates mental efficiency. Yawning does its magic by literally forcing extra blood directly to the brain. When you yawn, your facial muscles broadly contract and then relax, and this action pushes oxygen-rich blood into the brain’s prefrontal cortex, the location of the "executive function" that covers planning, organization, decision-making, personality expression and many other crucial activities.
The yawn also sends blood to stimulate an area called the precuneus, which is involved in consciousness, memory and motor coordination. A study conducted a few years ago at State University of New York-Albany found that performing difficult mental tasks, such as processing lots of information, actually increases brain temperature. Though we’re all familiar with the way ongoing mental labor can trigger yawning, it’s not because it is tiring. The blood that the yawn sends to the brain helps to curtail the brain’s rising temperature. This, in turn, helps to maintain mental efficiency. Interestingly, both yawning and body thermoregulation seem to be controlled by the same area of the brain, the hypothalamus.
HOW TO BRING ON A YAWN
We think of yawns as automatic, but it’s surprisingly easy to make yourself yawn...
Focus thoughts on yawning. Yawns are not only contagious from person to person—even thinking about a yawn can help trigger one, said Dr. Lind-Kyle. Close your eyes and picture a yawn, or say the word "yawn" repeatedly to encourage one.
Fake a yawn... or two... or three until a real one sets in. Dr. Lind-Kyle said that she generally gets a real yawn after one or two fakes, but however long it takes, stick with it—it will happen.
Consciously slow your breathing. The decreased oxygen may help trigger a yawn—flaring your nostrils as you breathe in may make this happen faster.
And finally, the best yawn is one you fully experience, Dr. Lind-Kyle said. So go all the way—open your mouth wide, scrunch your face fully, and take a deep, full breath. Just be ready to explain yourself if you’re in company!
PUTTING YOUR YAWNS TO WORK
Now that we know that yawning can increase our efficiency in a number of areas... how can we take better advantage of this? Here are some situations in which Dr. Lind-Kyle suggests adding a yawn...
To stimulate better thinking. When you are preparing for an exam, a presentation or an important conversation, you can enhance your performance by yawning several times first. During an exam, don’t be shy about yawning when you find yourself losing focus or starting to stumble in your thoughts—it will help.
To reduce jet lag and reset energy levels. At 20 weeks gestation, fetuses start to develop a wake/sleep pattern and as part of the process, they yawn... a lot. Dr. Lind-Kyle said that we can consciously use yawning to help reset our wake/sleep patterns, including when suffering jet lag. To start, yawn five times or so as soon as you get off the airplane. When you’ve experienced how well this refreshes you, Dr. Lind-Kyle said you may soon begin to do it intuitively—you’ll find yourself yawning whenever you feel yourself starting to drag. She said that yawning can be used in this manner to help you acclimate to high altitudes and to reset your energy level as you switch from one activity to another, such as from sleep to wakefulness.
To improve your mood... and, possibly even your relationships. Yawning is associated with increased levels of dopamine, the neurotransmitter released from the hypothalamus that is associated with pleasure, motivation and sociability. Dr. Lind-Kyle said that when two people yawn together, it can help diminish tension in the relationship. If nothing else, a shared yawning session should make for a few ice-breaking laughs.
For relaxation. Curiously, although yawning serves to stimulate the brain, a deep yawn and wide stretch also relax the body. Dr. Lind-Kyle, who leads meditation classes, always starts with a healthy yawn, which she says gets people relaxed quickly. She said that bringing on a few deep yawns at bedtime may help you get to sleep.
Yawn away! Have a great day everyone!
Friday, September 16, 2011
Thermography is a high technology tool that specifically measures inflammation in the body. This test is particularly good for assessing active areas of cancer cell formation. It is more effective and is significantly less invasive than mammography.
Research has shown that the major mechanism involved with all degenerative disease is inflammation. Most medical testing searches for disease processes that have already developed. They are looking downstream to the effect rather than upstream at the underlying cause. More advanced health care practitioners use instruments and technology that search upstream for the cause of physiological abnormalities in the body.
Thermography is a scanning device that measures your body surface temperature and presents the information as a digitized image. This tool makes a digital map of your body and very accurately illustrates heat patterns. These patterns may detect some abnormal condition such as cancer cell growth or active infection.
Mammograms look for anatomical changes in the breast such as masses or lumps. Thermograms analyze for vascular changes in the breast. Increased blood into certain regions of the body increases the heat of that region. Areas of inflammation, cancer cell formation and active infection have elevated circulation. Thermal imaging has a great ability to detect subtle physiological changes that accompany pathology.
The body should naturally have thermal symmetry. Areas of asymmetry can indicate problems and are analyzed specifically for underlying pathology. Cancer cells divide very rapidly and demand increased blood flow and nutrient delivery. The metabolic processes in the body cannot differentiate between cancer cells and healthy cells. This results in increased formation of blood cells around these active cancer cells.
Thermography picks up this abnormal blood supply well before the cancer gets large enough to be noticed as a lump on a breast exam. Thermography can see cancer formation at the size of 256 cells, roughly the size of a pinhead. Mammograms can`t detect cancer until there are roughly 4 billion cells clumped together. It is estimated that thermography can detect cancer formation 6-10 years before mammography can identify a tumor.
The breasts do not normally generate much heat. Healthy breasts appear purple during a thermographic exam. This indicates very low heat levels. Red, orange, or yellow spots that appear during a breast thermograph may indicate the presence of cancer and should be analyzed more closely.
Thermography has been studied in detail for over 30 years. The data base is over 250,000 women that have been included as study participants. These large, long-durational studies have shown an average sensitivity and specificity of 90%. The studies show that a persistent abnormal thermogram carries with it a 22 time higher risk of future breast cancer.
Unlike mammograms, thermograms emit no harmful ionizing radiation. Mammograms are one of the more dangerous medical tools due to the very high amounts of ionizing radiation. Thermograms use infrared technology that is completely safe. They also do not compress the breast tissue like mammograms. This compression that takes place during mammograms can cause cancer cells to break off and to create a malignant spread through the blood stream.
The first session one receives provides the baseline reading. Many practitioners call this the `thermal signature.` A second reading is typically recommended 3 months later to test for any changes. After these initial 2 patterns are analyzed the patient is recommended to receive yearly thermographs to detect any subtle changes in vascularity and blood flow dynamics.
Thermograms are a very reliable and accurate tool that provide precise and objective data of thermal information. This information can be used for successful diagnosis, treatment, & prognosis. They are quick (15 minutes), non-invasive and completely painless.
Friday, September 16, 2011
Advantages of Eating Organic Raw Foods
by Jeri Spencer
Eating organic raw food is as old as the human race. Long before cooking food was even considered, man ate the food God provided in its natural state. Genesis 1:29 states: "Then God said, ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food." Long ago man learned that cooking some foods, especially meats, extended the time in which it was safe to eat it without becoming sick. This became the first step to processing and preserving foods.
As the population of the world grew, providing food to the masses living in the city became a problem to be resolved. The development of freezers and chemical preservatives extended the shelf life of many foods. Super markets came into being and a revolution in eating habits took place. Unfortunately, along with the change in food choices also started the deterioration in health and the beginning of chemically preserved foods, pharmaceuticals and western medicine.
The human race learned long ago that cooking meat before eating helped keep them from getting sick. Since then, the practice of cooking has expanded to include all types of foods and is now considered an art. Very few Americans eat meals which include raw elements, except for the leafy green salad, and it is usually made of iceberg lettuce. In a country where ketchup is considered a vegetable in school lunches, it is time for another revolution in eating habits.
Eating organic raw food brings Nature's intentions into focus. Eating raw refers to fruit, nuts, and vegetables, in their natural state, direct from tree, bush or vine.
It isn't easy to simply abandon years of tradition and revert back to 100% raw food. Margaret Mead once said, "It is easier to change a man's religion than to change his diet." Those looking for better heath can begin by incorporating more organic raw foods into their daily lifestyle. Following are several advantages to eating organic raw food.
Raw foods are complete foods and come packaged with their own digestive enzymes; therefore you do not need to eat as much to satisfy your nutritional needs. The heat of cooking depletes vitamins, damages proteins and fats, and destroys enzymes which benefit digestion.
Organic raw foods do not put chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides into the body reducing the stress on the liver.
You can lose weight. As your percentage of raw foods increases you feel satisfied and have more energy on smaller meals because raw food has the best balance of water, nutrients, and fiber to meet the body's nutritional needs.
Raw foods have more flavor than cooked foods so there is no need for additional salt, sugar, or other processed condiments that can irritate the digestion system.
Even a child of 5 or 6 can prepare most of the items for breakfast, lunch or dinner. This gives children a sense of self-esteem and independence, not to mention the break it gives Mom and Dad.
Eating a diet of organic raw foods can reverse or stop the advance of many chronic diseases, including heart disease and cancer. Remember, cooking creates free radicals, which are the major cause of cancer. Chemicals also increase free radicals. When you lower the number of free radicals your cells are bombarded with, you lower your risk of cancer.
Eating organic raw foods eliminates the processed foods and chemicals typically found in American diets which can create inflammation and clog the arteries.
An organic raw food diet can protect you from acute diseases such as colds, flu, allergies, etc. Raw foods maintain a nutritionally sound, healthy body and with sufficient nutrition the body will not become diseased. Elimination of chemicals reduces mucus production and allergies.
Heartburn, gas, indigestion and constipation are eliminated. As long as you combine raw food properly, eating fruit alone, digestion improves and the food no longer sits for long periods in the digestive system fermenting and rotting.
Elimination and absorption are improved. With the increased ability to digest food, the body is able to utilize nutrition betters, absorbing nutrients into the blood stream instead of the toxic chemical overload from processed foods. With the better digestive ability of raw food, the colon cleanses itself and after all the old foul smelling garbage is cleaned from the colon and eliminated, bowels move easier and no longer stink up the restroom (or whole house).
Eating raw saves you money on doctor bills, drugs, and health insurance.
So don't waste your food, yourself, and our planet by cooking what you eat. Fruits, nuts, and vegetables which are whole, fresh and raw are brimming with life and have the ability to transmit their life force directly to you.
Changing your lifestyle to include raw, organic whole foods is the first step on the road to a healthier body. Take charge of your life and choose to have a healthier body and lifestyle today.
I try and eat organic and raw wherever I can. Feel much better for it. I know organic is a bit pricey but not so much for the veggies. So I usually get them organic and some fruits. Also dairy.
Have a great day - nice to have a bit of time to post a thing or two! Donna
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Hi, I thought I would start this and you can add on everyday what you are thankful for. Might get us out of our negative thinking or make crappy days better.
I will start - grateful for all my Spark People friends. Also, grateful that I have a gym at work that I can go to whenever I want.
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