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19 Amazing Benefits and Uses of Strawberry Fruit

19 Amazing Benefits and Uses of Strawberry Fruit

Most of us love strawberries because of the fact that they are a treat for the eyes and taste buds. But these amazingly delicious fruits are also packed with nutrition. The strawberry is a red, juicy, conically-shaped fruit belonging to the rose family. In fact, technically, it is not a berry but an aggregate accessory fruit, composed of several small fruits, each with one seed known as achene. It is the only fruit whose seeds are visible from outside.

Strawberries are available in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors, ranging from deep red and pink to off white or yellowish. There are several varieties of strawberries such as the Virginia, Chilean and European Alpine strawberry. Generally the smaller varieties are sweeter and more flavorful than the larger ones which are often watery. Because of their delicious flavor and attractive appearance, strawberries are widely used in ice creams, mocktails, cakes, smoothies and other desserts. They also form a part of several recipes and salads.

Strawberry Benefits for Health:

Strawberry has been hailed as “the queen of fruits” because of its rich nutritional value which offers a range of health benefits as given below:

1. Anti-inflammatory Properties:

The rich variety of antioxidants and phytochemicals in strawberries help fight inflammatory disorders like osteoarthritis, asthma, cancer and atherosclerosis. According to research conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, strawberries can lower the blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) which is responsible for causing inflammation. It was observed that women who ate 16 or more strawberries per week were at a 14% less risk of having elevated levels of CRP.

2. Cardiovascular Health:

Strawberries are great for heart health. They contain ellagic acid and flavonoids which improve heart health through their antioxidant effects. They also counteract the effects of low density lipoprotein or LDL (the bad cholesterol in our blood which causes plaque build-up in the arteries), thus lowering the risk of heart disease.

3. Blood Pressure:

Strawberries contain potassium which regulates blood pressure and prevents high blood pressure by counteracting the negative effects of sodium.

4. Weight Loss:

Strawberries are low in sugar, calories and sodium, and fat-free. The natural sugars contained in strawberries are extremely low with 4 grams per serving. They also contain nitrates which promote blood flow and oxygen throughout the body, resulting in weight loss. Nitrates also prevent the muscles from becoming too tired after exercise.

5. Bone Health:

Strawberries contain potassium, magnesium and Vitamin K which are beneficial for bone health. It is shown to bring down bone loss and therefore prevents bone breakage that begins with age.

6. Eye Health:

Consumption of three or more servings of strawberries can lower the risk of macular degeneration, which results in vision loss. The antioxidant properties of strawberries help in preventing cataracts, a condition characterized by clouding over of the eye lens which can lead to blindness in old age. Vitamin C in strawberries helps in strengthening the eye’s cornea and retina and also protects them from the harsh UV rays which can damage the protein in the lens.

7. Immunity Booster:

Strawberries are a rich source of Vitamin C which is a powerful immunity booster as well as an antioxidant. One cup of strawberries can provide about 100% of the daily requirement of this vitamin.

8. Cancer Prevention:

Vitamin C in strawberries helps in cancer prevention by boosting our immunity. They also contain a phytochemical called ellagic acid which has anti-cancer properties such as suppressing cancer cell growth. Some studies have proved that dried strawberry powder can help prevent human esophageal cancer.

9. Pre-natal Health:

Strawberries are a good source of folate, a B vitamin required by pregnant women or those trying to conceive. Folate is vital in the early stages of pregnancy for the development of the baby’s brain, skull and spinal cord, and for the prevention of certain birth defects like spina bifida.

Strawberry Benefits for Skin:

Apart from being great for your health, strawberry is a treat for your skin. Both consumption and topical application of strawberry provides the following benefits to your skin:

10. Anti-ageing:

Strawberries are rich in Vitamin C which is involved in the production of collagen. By fighting the free radicals, it provides anti-ageing benefits, thereby reducing fine lines and wrinkles, and minimizing blemishes.

11. Anti-pigmentation:

Strawberry fruit extract, being rich in ellagic acid, helps to lighten hyperpigmentation caused by UV rays by inhibiting the synthesis of melanin, the chemical that imparts color to your skin.

12. Good Cleanser:

The presence of Vitamin C, salicylic acid and antioxidants in strawberries make them fabulous skin cleansers. Salicylic acid removes dead cells from your skin as well as tightens pores and brightens your skin. Ellagic acid prevents skin damage, thus making your skin look young and fresh. Strawberries soothe and exfoliate your skin, remove impurities and keep your skin soft.

13. Anti-acne:

Being rich in Vitamin C, Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA), salicylic acid and flavonoids, strawberry is effective in clearing acne and reducing oil. All you need to do is mash ½ cup of sliced strawberries with 1 tablespoon sour cream and apply it on your face for 10 minutes. This will clear the acne as well as blemishes.

14. Eye Puffiness:

Strawberries can reduce puffiness and circles beneath the eyes. You can place a few strawberry slices under your eyes and relax for 10 minutes. Then moisturize as usual.

15. Effective for oily skin:

If you have oily skin, you can mash equal amounts of fresh strawberries and plain unsweetened yoghurt. Apply it on your face for 10 minutes and then rinse off.

Strawberry Benefits for Hair:

Strawberry occupies the fourth position among fruits in terms of its antioxidant capacity. The rich variety of antioxidants, ellagic acid and vitamins make it beneficial for your hair as well. It offers the following hair benefits:

16. Hair loss and Thinning:

The high content of ellagic acid in strawberry protects your from thinning or falling. It also contains folate and Vitamin B6 which help to combat the problem of hair loss.

17. Strawberry Conditioner:

You can prepare a strawberry conditioner to get glossy, silky and lustrous hair. Mash 8 fresh strawberries with 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise. Massage this mixture into damp hair. Cover with a shower cap for at least 10 minutes and then shampoo as usual.

18. Cure for dandruff:

Combining strawberry with tea tree oil or thyme oil enhances its antifungal effects due to its high content of copper and manganese. This is effective in curing dandruff.

19. Hair Moisturizer:

Due to its antioxidant effects, strawberry protects the membranes of the cells of the scalp and prevents the formation of a hydrophobic layer on the scalp’s surface, thus preventing scalp insulation. Combining egg yolk with strawberry is a great way to moisturize your hair.

Strawberry: Nutritional Value

Strawberries have a rich nutritional value comprising of vitamins, antioxidants, flavonoids and other vital nutrients. Let us now have a glimpse at strawberry nutrition facts explained in the chart given below.

See the table below for in depth analysis of nutrients:
Strawberries (Fragaria X ananassa),
ORAC Value 3577, Nutrition Value per 100 g.
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Principle Nutrient Value Percentage of RDA
Energy 32 Kcal 1.5%
Carbohydrates 7.7 g 6%
Protein 0.67 g 0.1%
Total Fat 0.30 g 1%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 2.0 g 5%
Vitamins
Folates 24 µg 6%
Niacin 0.386 mg 2.5%
Pantothenic acid 0.125 mg 2.5%
Pyridoxine 0.047 mg 3.5%
Riboflavin 0.022 mg 2%
Vitamin A 12 IU 0.5%
Vitamin C 58.8 mg 98%
Vitamin E 0.29 mg 2%
Vitamin K 2.2 µg 2%
Electrolytes
Sodium 1 mg 0%
Potassium 153 mg 3%
Minerals
Calcium 16 mg 1.6%
Iron 0.41 mg 5%
Magnesium 13 mg 3%
Manganese 0.386 mg 17%
Zinc 0.14 mg 1%
Phyto-nutrients
Carotene-ß 7 µg
Lutein-zeaxanthin 26 µg

Calories and Fat: A one cup serving of strawberries provides about 50 calories, 1 gram protein and 11 grams carbohydrates. They are free of fat, cholesterol and sodium. They also contain 9 grams of natural sugar mostly in the form of fructose.

Vitamins: Strawberries are an excellent source of Vitamin C with one cup of strawberries providing 160% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of this vitamin. They also have a high content of folates.

Minerals: Strawberries are a rich source of potassium with one cup serving contributing about 170% of the RDA. They also provide 2% of the RDA for calcium and iron.

Source: http://www.healthbeckon.com/

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13 Amazing Benefits of Drinking Lemon Water

Lemon is a common, inexpensive, easily available and most widely used citrus fruit. Its characteristic flavour and refreshing smell make it a popular fruit for drinks. It is used in lemonade, soft drinks, cocktails and tea. It has a long list of benefits. In India, it is used as medicine for many health problems. Thus, lemon is a popular citrus fruit that can be used in various ways. It can be used with other beneficial ingredients like honey, salt, etc. toenhance its benefits.

Nutritional  Properties of Lemon Water:

As we all know, lemon is a good source of vitamins and minerals which are essential for healthy and proper functioning of the body. It has low calories (29 cal /100gm), low cholesterol and low saturated fat. Like most citrus fruits, it is a very rich source of vitamin C which is an amazing antioxidant. It also contains vitamin A, vitamin B6 and vitamin B1 (thiamine) in lesser amounts. Minerals present in lemon include copper, calcium and potassium. Copper possesses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Calcium is good for bones and teeth while potassium helps maintain PH and water balance.

It is this wide array of beneficial nutrients that makes lemon water and other lemon drinks extremely beneficial for health. So we are going to focus on the various benefits of drinking lemon water and lemon juice.

 

Benefits of Lemon Drink:

Listed below are the amazing benefits of lemon water that you can consume in various forms.

Warm Lemon Water:

Warm lemon water is an extremely beneficial drink with innumerable health benefits given below.

 

1. Digestion:

Proper Digestion plays an important role in overall health. Poor digestion can lead to several health complications. Hence warm lemon water is a simple, quick and effective home remedy for digestive issues. Start your day by supping warm lemon water on empty stomacheveryday. It is the best and the healthiest morning drink. Daily consumption of lemon water treats indigestion issues like bloating, belching, heartburn, etc. It treats constipation by helping in waste elimination. Many digestive disorders take place because of poor pH level and lemon water helps restore pH level and helps in digestion.

 

2. Strengthens Immune System:

Our immune system protects our body by combating illness. Weak immune system makes our body susceptible to illness and infections. Warm lemon water has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties which fight harmful bacteria, fungus, and virus that cause diseases and infections. Its antioxidant property helps eliminate toxins from the body.

 

Lemon Water in the Morning:

Your health and energy levels for the day depends upon what you eat in the morning. A glass of warm lemon water gives a healthy, energetic and refreshing start to your day. Daily intake of lemon water early in the morning works wonders for your health, providing you the following health benefits.

 

3. Oral Health:

A cup of lemon water in the morning is good for oral health. Its anti-bacterial property eliminates mouth bacteria which is responsible for causing bad breath. It soothes toothaches and many oral diseases like gingivitis. It also helps in teeth whitening as lemon is a natural bleaching agent. Ensure to gargle with plain water after lemon water intake to avoid tooth enamel damage.

 

4. Good Mood:

Bad mood spoils everything. Starting your morning with lemon water enhances your mood. This quality can be attributed to its revitalizing mood enhancing smell. It also minimizes anxiety and depression. Vitamin C in lemon is a natural stress reducer.

 

5. Natural Diuretic (promotes urine production):

Lemon water prevents urinary tract infections. Being a natural diuretic, it increases urination and hence, eliminates bacteria which causes urinary tract infection. Lemon water is effective in the prevention and treatment of kidney stones as it contains citric acid, which does not allow stone formation by breaking it. In case of kidney stone, you can drink lemon water 3-4 times a day for better results.

 

Lemon Water With Honey:

Lemon and honey helps in fighting many health issues because of their antibacterial, anti-viral and anti-oxidant properties. Thus, the combination of lemon water and honey gives you additional health benefits given below.

 

6. Aids Weight Loss:

Honey and lemon water is a popular and effective remedy for weight loss. This drink has formed a part of several weight loss programs. Both are beneficial for health. To lose weight, take a glass of warm water, add 1 teaspoon honey, squeeze 1 lemon to it and drink it on an empty stomach daily in the morning. It increases the metabolism rate which burns calories fast. Stimulated metabolism uses fat as an energy source, causing you to lose weight. Lemon water with honey also boosts your energy level. Pectin fibre present in lemon reduces hunger cravings and makes you feel full. The combination of all these functions goes a long way in promoting healthy weight loss.

 

7. Treatment of Cold and Flu:

Honey and lemon is an age-old home remedy for treatment of cold and flu. Just add two teaspoons each of honey and lemon juice in a cup of warm water. Its consumption eases discomfort. Cold and flu are also caused due to virus. Both lemon and honey have anti-viral property which fights infectious bacteria. Lemon has lots of vitamin C in it which boosts the immune system. Honey soothes sore throat and treats cough. This combination of honey and lemon also treats nasal congestion by eliminating unwanted mucus.

 

Lemon Water and Salt:

Lemon water when taken with salt can be beneficial for your health in the following ways.

 

8. Great Detoxifier:

Lemon diet or the master cleanse diet is a popular weight loss program that involves both lemon juice and salt water. The name itself suggests that having lemon water with salt helps cleanse your system by removing those unwanted toxins accumulated in your body. The result is, of course, visible in the form of reduced weight, glowing skin and better digestion.

 

9. Maintains pH Balance:

Lemon water with salt is an effective way to restore your body’s pH levels. A pH level above 7.0 is alkaline and below 7.0 is acidic. Lemon is acidic, but when it goes inside our body, it turns alkaline and salt is alkaline in nature. Your body should be more alkaline than acidic. Maintenance of pH balance is important as poor pH balance can cause health issues like digestive problems, skin diseases, osteoporosis, arthritis etc. Proper pH balance helps in nutrient absorption, digestion, toxin elimination, etc. Thus, if you are suffering from these problems, consider taking lemon water with salt as these may be caused due to improper pH balance.

 

10. Improves Mineral Absorption:

Our body needs minerals for overall health. It cannot produce these minerals on its own sothese have to be supplied to our body through food. Proper absorption of minerals is necessary for performing important functions like maintenance of pH balance and healthy nervous system, acting as a co-factor for enzyme reactions, formation of bones and teeth, metabolic stimulation etc. Intake of lemon water with a pinch of salt 2-3 times a day improves the absorption of minerals like magnesium, iron, potassium etc. Thus, it helps prevent health issues like osteoporosis (calcium deficiency), anaemia (iron deficiency), muscle weakness and abnormal heart rhythm (magnesium deficiency).

 

Lemon Juice:

Lemon juice is also not far behind as a refreshing and healthy drink. In fact, it is one of the most widely used ingredients. Apart from direct consumption, lemon juice is used as a preservative as well as an ingredient in recipes to impart its sour flavour. But what makes it more valuable is its health promoting qualities as given below:

 

11. Heart Health:

Heart is a vital organ and so its health and care is extremely important. Lemon juice consumption has been found beneficial for healthy health. Potassium present in it controls high blood pressure while vitamin C lowers cholesterol level and prevents blood clotting within vessels. Lemon has antioxidant property which eliminates harmful toxins and keeps blood purified. It also prevents strokes, heart attacks and other serious heart problems.

 

Sweet Lemon Water/ Lemonade:

Lemonade or sweet lemon water is lemon water with sugar sweetness. It is a great option to satisfy your sweet tooth in comparison to other sugary foods and beverages which are nil in the nutrient – quotient. Besides being a tasty and refreshing drink, it is beneficial for your health.

 

12. Beneficial for Skin:

Lemonade is a wonderful drink for your hair and skin health. Having a glass of lemonade daily helps treat hair and skin issues. The high amount of vitamin C in lemonade eliminates free radicals which are responsible for causing wrinkles and ageing. Vitamin C also heals damaged tissues, lightens dark spots, prevents acne and blemishes and helps in reducing sun damage. Lemonade intake provides you with a glowing flawless skin.

 

13. Beneficial for Hair:

Apart from maintaining skin health, vitamin C in lemonade also helps in treating and preventing hair problems like split ends, dry hair and dandruff etc. Its antibacterial property fights bacteria, thus preventing several scalp issues.

Hence, lemon water and lemon juice are more than just refreshing drinks. So give up all those sugary and canned beverages and switch to simple homemade lemon drinks for a boost in your health and energy!

 

Source: healthbeckon.com

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Breathing Techniques to Enhance Your Workouts

Breathing Techniques to Enhance Your Workouts

With every fitness regimen the body is used in different ways. Some workouts require power and strength; others require endurance and resistance; still others require flexibility and mobility. While it’s important to know how muscles function and adapt during exercise, understanding your breathing is another powerful factor that can make or break your workouts. Breath control is an effective tool to help workouts reach their full potential. By utilizing breath properly, you can steadily improve performance in any discipline. Regardless of the fitness type – whether yoga, running, cycling, or lifting weights – proper breathing can help the body adapt to the various challenges that arise when exercising. Just as different muscles are used during different types of training, certain breathing techniques better apply to different workouts. Here are some specific breathing exercises to complement your workout regimen. Yoga Breath awareness lies at the core of any yoga practice. Breathing techniques vary depending on the style of yoga being practiced. They fall into two basic categories: the relaxation breath and the active breath. In general, if a yoga class is gentle or restorative, it is appropriate to employ the relaxation breath. For a more vigorous class (like a vinyasa flow or power yoga), utilize the active breathing technique. In yoga, students are encouraged to breathe in and out through the nostrils. Relaxation Breath This is the breathing technique that is closest to a natural breathing rhythm. When inhaling, imagine the belly filling with breath (hence the term belly breathing). Then when exhaling, allow the exhalation to be long and slow. If the inhalation is a four- or five-count, for example, the exhalation should be a five- or six-count. This breathing technique is best learned while lying down, because the body is able to completely relax when in a supine position. As a result, there are no restrictions or physical tensions to inhibit deep breathing. Once the relaxation breath is mastered lying down, it’s easier to practice it in a seated position. While practicing gentle or restorative yoga, this breathing technique helps maintain focus on relaxation. If you start to hold the breath or feel breathing become labored, return to the relaxation breath and allow the body to adapt accordingly.

breathing-001

Active Breath

This breathing technique involves the deepest abdominal muscle, the transverse abdominus, and the pelvic floor muscles. The transverse abdominus wraps around the torso like a thick seatbelt and engages, along with the pelvic floor muscles, as the major player in a full, active exhalation. There are additional muscles at work, such as the spinal muscles and other abdominal muscles, but the transverse abdominus and pelvic floor muscles are the most important in facilitating an active breath. When inhaling, envision breathing into the lower belly, the ribs, and the chest. During the exhalation, draw up the pelvic floor muscles, engage the transverse abdominus (imagine a thick seatbelt tightening around the torso,) and push the remaining breath out of the body. Since the transverse abdominus and the pelvic floor muscles are key stabilizers for the spine and pelvis, utilizing this breath during a vigorous yoga class helps maintain a stable body when moving through the postures. The active breath assists with the development of a strong core, supports each movement, and keeps the focus on the body during yoga practice.

breathing-002

Running or Cycling

Running and cycling encompass a variety of workouts and intensity levels. Some workouts involve maintaining a steady pace, while others require speed or hill work. We’ve focused on two breathing techniques that apply to a steady-paced training session or to hill or speed training.

Counting Breath

The steady counting breath is a technique that facilitates an even-paced breath. When inhaling, breathe in to the count of four (or five, or six) and then exhale for the same length of time. Aim for breaths that come in and out with relative ease. This breathing rhythm supports a steady running or cycling pace that corresponds with strides or cadence. When running, breathe in for two, three, or four paces, and exhale for the same number of paces. The same technique can be employed to maintain an even inhalation and exhalation on the bike. Controlled breathing keeps the heart rate down, which maximizes the ability to run or cycle efficiently. The counting breath helps to maintain a steady pace. By developing breath control in this manner, you can increase the breath count, or adapt it as necessary for each workout.

breathing-003

Counting Breath Variation

Training on the road, a treadmill, or bike inevitably involves hill or speed work. These workouts can throw off pace, test breathing rhythm, and challenge muscles differently than training on flat surfaces. For these workouts, adapt the steady counting breath to focus on a slightly longer exhalation. The breathing count will naturally be shorter than a steady counting breath because of the demands these workouts place on the body. For the counting breath variation, breathe in for a count of one and breathe out forcefully for a count of two. Running or biking places the body in a position that allows an easy inhalation, but takes abdominal strength and breath control to manage exhalations. When this variation of the counting breath is practiced, the abdominal muscles are trained by controlling the exhalation more than the inhalation. When running, for example, inhale for one stride, but focus on a two-stride exhalation. By concentrating on maintaining a breathing rhythm with a more powerful exhalation, which will vary according to the pitch of the hill or the pace of our speed work, we can use the breath as a constant source of energy to propel the body forward and get us up those hills.

breathing-004

 

Strength Training

When lifting weights, the body needs power, stability, and focus. It is common for people to hold their breath when lifting. Unfortunately, holding the breath reduces potential strength, because the full energy of the core and breath doesn’t underlie each movement. This breathing technique will energize and power the body throughout your repetitions. Power Breath The power breath is a combination of the active breath described above in the yoga section and the counting breath variation, with a focus on exhalation described in the running/cycling section. To practice the power breath, inhale deeply and then pause at the end of the inhalation. During this pause in the breath, mentally prepare to lift the weight, be it dumbbells, kettlebell, barbell, or machine. With a powerful exhalation, engage the transverse abdominus and the pelvic floor muscles at the same time as lifting, pressing, or pulling the weight. By using the power breath – which involves core stability and a focus on long powerful exhalations – it’s possible to maintain a stable torso, which is essential for safe lifting. A stable torso also helps protect the spine and back by utilizing the core muscles to support a strong, balanced body. The power and focus of the exhalation energizes the muscles when lifting.

breathing-005

Employing the relaxation breath between sets allows the muscles to relax and regain energy for the next set of repetitions.

One Last Breath

Regardless of the type of exercise, conscious breathing can give you a greater awareness of your body and its signals. It can help you recognize when you are not working hard enough or overexerting yourself. Whether it’s on the mat, on the trails, or at the gym, being in tune with your breathing for every inhale and exhale can enhance your workout.

WRITTEN BY
ANNABEL FITZSIMMONS

Annabel is a writer, yoga and Pilates instructor, health and wellness speaker, playwright, runner and triathlete. She combines her enthusiasm for wellness with her love of words to encourage healthy and whole living.

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4 Simple Things You Can Do To Improve Your Mental Health

4 Simple Things You Can Do To Improve Your Mental Health

These are four easy things you can do to make yourself more mentally and physically well:

1) Upgrade Your Diet:

What we put into our bodies is the fuel that we use to run on. Just as there are different octanes of gasoline available at the gas station, you, too, can fuel yourself with higher-octane foods.

Step 1: Cut out fried foods, excessive carbohydrates, sweets and prepackaged foods high in preservatives to improve your energy and health.

Step 2: Eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats, which make you look and feel better.

The Result: When you take the time to pick out fruits, veggies and meats and prepare a well-balanced meal, you are investing that time in yourself. The process makes you feel accomplished and the upgrade to your diet will make you feel even better.

Pro Tip: If your schedule does not allow nightly food preparation, consider using a crockpot that can stay on and cook food while you are at work or preparing multiple meals for the coming week during the weekend.

2) Improve Your Fitness:

Exercise improves your physical and mental health. Physical activity can decrease stress, depression, and anxiety symptoms. If aerobic exercise is not part of your daily routine, you are not feeling as good as you have the potential to.

Step 1: The key to exercise is to pace yourself. If you have not been active in some time you should to take small steps and set goals that are realistic. When you ease into fitness it can be both enjoyable and highly motivating to achieve your goals. If you set the bar too high you can injure yourself and become increasingly frustrated by lack of progress. Even 30 minutes of walking can improve your health and decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke. No matter how cold it gets this winter, you can go to your local mall and walk! Start by walking from one end, to the other end, and back. Next time do this twice. You can walk around your block, bike around the neighborhood or join a local YMCA or another gym.

Step Two: Increase the intensity or frequency of your routine.

Pro Tip: If you are have trouble sleeping, burning calories and working out during the day can burn excess energy and lower stress levels, both of which can improve sleep.

3) Maintain Hygiene:

Taking care of yourself physically can make you feel more comfortable and confident, which can improve your mood. Many times when people are depressed they neglect common things such as shaving, getting haircuts or manicures, and bathing can become more infrequent, as can doing laundry.

Step 1: Take an inventory of how well you are caring for yourself right now.

Step 2: Getting a haircut or manicure can help you to feel better because you are investing in yourself. If you put care into how you look, others will take notice, as well. When you take the time to shave, wear clean and ironed clothes, you will feel better.

4) Create Achievable Goals:

Checking things off of a to-do list and achieving personal goals can be very rewarding. Maybe your goal is to get through a long-neglected pile of mail, return a long overdue phone call or to pay the bills on time this month. Each time you complete a challenge you will feel better and more empowered.

Step 1: If you find yourself in a rut, it is important to set goals that you can realistically achieve. Setting a goal to clean out a box in the garage is likely much more realistic than the goal of cleaning the entire garage. Once you accomplish your first goal and cross it off the to-do list, you will feel good.

Step 2: Now you can build on that momentum and take on a larger goal. For example, you can aim to clean out two more boxes. Before you know it you will have accomplished several small goals which add up to cleaning out the entire garage. Once you begin to achieve your goals it will become part of your routine and you will soon find that that the rut you were in is now a thing of the past.

As you improve the fuel you put into your body, your fitness, the way you take care of yourself and start accomplishing your goals you will begin to feel better. Your new behaviors will become a new healthier lifestyle. Activating these four areas of your behavior, and investing the time and energy in yourself, will improve your physical and mental wellness.

Dr. Goldenberg has written numerous articles about mental health and addiction topics. You can follow Dr. Goldenberg at docgoldenberg.com and http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/how-food-affects-your-moods on Twitter:@docgoldenberg.

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Wellness in the Workplace: Digital Eye Strain

Wellness in the Workplace: Digital Eye Strain

By Mike Daley

Many office dwellers who work in front of computers for extended periods of time know there are unintended health consequences like increased risk for obesity and cardiovascular disease that come with 40+ hours of sitting each week. However, individuals with computer-oriented jobs often neglect to understand how a constant use of technology can impact eyesight and vision health.

Too much screen time can result in a temporary discomfort known as digital eye strain, which is characterized as the temporary physical eye discomfort felt after two or more hours in front of a screen. Marked by symptoms such as red eye, irritated or dry eyes, blurred vision, eye fatigue, back and neck pain and headaches, digital eye strain isn’t the result of one single issue —several environmental factors can contribute to it, including personal vision health, posture, lighting and personal device use habits.

A new report from The Vision Council finds nearly one-third of adults (30%) spend more than half their waking hours (9+) staring at digital devices and a majority of Americans experience symptoms of digital eye strain as a result.

Faced with hours at the computer, coupled with harsh LED or fluorescent lighting that emit blue light, office environments are increasingly becoming hot spots for digital eye strain. It has been estimated that as many as 70 to 75 percent of computer workers experience eye discomfort from high screen use.

The good news is that our workforce doesn’t have to live with this discomfort and can utilize tools and techniques to protect eyes. Computer eyewear is designed to increase individuals’ field of view, bring mid-distance objects into focus, reduce reflection from indoor and outdoor lighting and absorb blue light.

In addition to computer eyewear, below are some other tips that can help relieve digital eye strain in the office:

  1. Remember the 20/20/20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break from the screen and look at something 20 feet away.
  2. Build an optimal workspace to mitigate outside stressors like lighting, screen glare and computer set-up.
  3. Increase the text size on your devices to better define the content on your screen.

Preventative eye care, like an annual comprehensive eye exam, can help preserve vision and identify other health issues early on in disease progression ensuring lifelong vision health. If you have digital eye strain, your eye care provider can discuss eyewear options or lifestyle changes to protect eyes. By taking action, individuals can enhance their vision when using digital devices.

For better or for worse, digital devices have changed the way we receive and process information. It is important that human resources professionals recognize the toll prolonged use of technology has on vision, employee productivity and health and understand solutions are available to address this emerging health issue in the workplace.

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http://www.weknownext.com/blog/wellness-in-the-workplace-digital-eye-strain

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Forget Counting Calories, Focus on Nutrient Density

Forget Counting Calories, Focus on Nutrient Density
by Erin Sparrold | January 20, 2015

Most of us have reduced the value of the food we eat to a simple number: How many calories it has. True, the number of calories is a valuable bit of information about a food, but there’s so much more to it than that. If you’re just talking calories, you’re missing the very important bigger picture.

What’s a Calorie?

A calorie is a unit of measurement that tells us how much energy a gram of protein, carbohydrate, fat, or alcohol gives us. Clinically it’s a useful measurement but over the past few decades, calories have been assigned too much importance. Food is far more dynamic than just the simple energy it gives us.

The Problem With Counting Calories

You may have heard the phrase “Calories in and calories out.” The idea behind it is that if you take in fewer calories than you burn, you’ll lose weight. There are all sorts of apps, graphs, computer programs and food journals out there to track calories. And many people get frustrated when their tracking method shows a calorie deficit and they’re still not getting weight loss results. Plus, they feel deprived and hungry.

The solution is to stop focusing on a calorie range and start focusing on how each meal supports and sustains your health. It can be life changing! It not only will help slim your waistline, but it will improve overall health, vitality and emotional well-being. You’ll lose weight and feel satisfied with plenty of energy and without cravings. It’s empowering!

Nutrient Density vs. Calories

Here’s How It Works: Calories only measure the amount of energy a food gives you. But our bodies require so much more than just energy for health and vitality. We need a vast array of both macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates and fats) as well as micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, plant pigments, essential fatty acids and antioxidants). Our bodies are programmed to seek out these nutrients to grow, repair, protect and support many functions. When we eat food low in nutrient density, our bodies aren’t satisfied, and they us signals to continue to seek out food and nutrients. If you consume a diet low in nutrient density, your hunger pangs may not completely stop, and you could overeat. So the goal is to have a diet that meets energy requirements as well as nutrient needs.

What Are Nutrient Dense Foods?

Nutrient dense foods are naturally rich sources of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, plant pigments, polyphenols, fiber, essential fatty acids and essential amino acids. Fortified processed foods don’t count! Instead, nutrient dense superstars include a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, organic grass-fed meats and wild caught fish. Variety is very important to getting a full balanced spectrum of nutrients.

How to Go Nutrient-Dense

The next time you’re evaluating your food, don’t ask yourself, “How many calories are in this?” Ask yourself a much more important and empowering question: “How is this going to nourish and benefit my body?”

– See more at: http://www.fitnessrepublic.com/nutrition/healthy_eating/forget-counting-calories-focus-on-nutrient-density.html#sthash.0I0e8RIg.dpuf

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http://www.fitnessrepublic.com/nutrition/healthy_eating/forget-counting-calories-focus-on-nutrient-density.html

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Healthy Eating Without Breaking the Bank

Healthy Eating Without Breaking the Bank

Healthy Eating Without Breaking The Bank

By Alexa Angelo, Bachelor of Science Dietetics

Feeding your family healthy, nutritious meals while staying on a budget can seem overwhelming. Most people even dread going to the grocery store. Sticking to a few simple tips can help make grocery shopping more enjoyable and cost effective.

Money Saving Tips
Successful grocery shopping starts at home. Before heading to the store, take an inventory of the foods you already have so that you are not buying multiples of anything. Create a menu for the week based on the foods in your inventory. Make a shopping list and stick to it! Grocery stores strategically place ‘companion’ items throughout the store to encourage impulse buying. For example, stay away from the caramel dip placed next to apples. Only stray from your list if it is a healthy item. Shop alone! Friends and children can add food to your cart that is unhealthy and out of the budget. You can spend 10- 40% more when shopping with a friend or family member.

Healthy Shopping
When arriving at the store, start around the perimeters. This is where the whole foods are placed. Start with the fruits and vegetables and work your way around, eventually making your way to the dairy section. Try to stay away from the middle sections of the store. This area is primarily loaded with processed foods. Also, don’t sample products if you are not going to purchase them. This not only adds to that day’s calorie count, but could entice you to purchase something you don’t need.

If venturing to the middle of the store for the healthier items such as canned tuna and vegetables, be aware of the strategically placed items. For example, grocers place appetizing, unhealthy options such as high sugar breakfast cereals at eye level in order to grab children’s attention. Usually the healthier options are at the very top or bottom. Remember, food companies pay for the shelf space at eye level so your kids will bug you to buy the yummy-looking cereals.

Aisle by Aisle
1.    Produce. Spend the most time in the produce section, which is usually the largest section in the store. Choose all colors of the rainbow in your assortment and don’t be afraid to try new fruits and vegetables every now and then. Also, don’t forget to do your research and buy what produce is in season. This is when the produce is the most fresh and inexpensive. For a great resource, go to http://healthymeals.nal.usda.gov/features-month/whats-season

2.    Dairy. Dairy is a great source of calcium and vitamin D which helps build strong, healthy bones. There is a large assortment of dairy in the form of yogurt, milk, and cheeses (low fat and high fat options) which can help you meet your daily calcium consumption.

3.    Breads, cereals, and pastas. These items should be chosen in the least processed form. Whole grains are the best option because they are the least processed. Whole grains also contain fiber which aids in the movement of waste through our digestive system. Whole oats, 100% whole wheat pasta and 100% whole wheat bread are the best options. Choose cereals with at least 4 grams of fiber and the least amount of added sugars possible.

4.    Frozen foods. Frozen fruits and vegetables are a great and convenient way to keep up on produce when it is not in season. If budget is a concern, frozen fruits and vegetables are just as nutritious as fresh fruits and vegetables and very budget friendly. Frozen fruits are perfect for smoothies and frozen veggies add bulk to soups and other easy dinners.

5.    Canned and dried foods. Keeping a variety of canned vegetables such as beans make great additions to soups and side dishes. Choose no salt added variations of vegetables and canned fruit packed in natural juices with no sugar added. Also, have a variety of olive and canola oils as well as different vinegars for a well stocked pantry.

About Medi-Weightloss®
A division of Mirabile M.D. Beauty, Health & Wellness, Medi-Weightloss of Overland Park is owned by on-site physician, James Mirabile, M.D. Our medical team works closely with patients to help them lose weight and keep it off. Our program uses real foods purchased in the grocery store, not pre-packaged or powdered meals. The combination of our exclusively formulated Signature Supplements, vitamin and mineral based injections and FDA approved appetite suppressants (if prescribed) work together to enhance your metabolism, manage appetite and keep you feeling great during your weight loss process. Since opening the Overland Park Medi-Weightloss in 2010, our patients have collectively lost 30,000 pounds! Dr. Mirabile’s Medi-Weightloss team consists of a Physician Assistant, Nurse Practitioner, Registered Dietitians and Nutritionists. Your nutrition and exercise plan will be developed based on your individual needs including your lifestyle and medical history.

Alexa Angelo,
Bachelor of Science Dietetics
Alexa graduated from Miami University of Ohio with a Bachelor’s Degree in Dietetics. She recently moved to Kansas City from her hometown of Youngstown, Ohio. Alexa is passionate about nutrition and taught community nutrition workshops throughout her undergraduate career.

Article from:

http://kchealthandwellness.com/healthy-eating-without-breaking-the-bank/

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Friendship is good for your health

If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, the time change in the fall can throw off your healthy schedule, leaving you tired and blue. Barbecues and fresh fruit snacks turn into pasta and potato meals. After-dinner walks or runs are replaced with time on the couch as darkness sets in. For many, late fall means driving to work in the dark and coming home to the same. It’s no wonder you feel out of sorts at the changing of the seasons.

Perhaps the best way to stave off the blues is to schedule time with friends and family. Keeping in close physical contact with the people you love during these darker and colder seasons will help you stay warm inside.

Friendship needs frequent expression to remain alive.

“We are all human, with frailties, foibles, and insecurities. We each need to be appreciated for the uniqueness that makes us individual, and we need to be told that we are appreciated.

Maintaining friendships requires effort and persistent expression, both in word and deed. Tell your friends often how much you appreciate them. Remember occasions that are important to them. Congratulate them upon their achievement(s) and let them know you are there for them whenever they need you.”

~Napoleon Hill

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What is Integrative Medicine?

Integrative medicine is the practice of medicine that focuses on the whole person and makes use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches, healthcare professionals, and disciplines to achieve optimal health and healing.

It combines state-of-the-art, conventional medical treatments with other therapies that are carefully selected and shown to be effective and safe. The goal is to unite the best that conventional medicine has to offer with other healing systems and therapies derived from cultures and ideas both old and new.

Integrative medicine is based upon a model of health and wellness, as opposed to a model of disease. Whenever possible, integrative medicine favors the use of low-tech, low-cost interventions.

The integrative medicine model recognizes the critical role the practitioner-patient relationship plays in a patient’s overall healthcare experience, and it seeks to care for the whole person by taking into account the many interrelated physical and nonphysical factors that affect health, wellness, and disease, including the psychosocial and spiritual dimensions of people’s lives.

Many people mistakenly use the term integrative medicine interchangeably with the termscomplementary medicine and alternative medicine, also known collectively as complementary and alternative medicine, or CAM. While integrative medicine is not synonymous with CAM, CAM therapies do make up an important part of the integrative medicine model.

Because, by its very nature, the components of integrative medicine cannot exist in isolation, CAM practitioners should be willing and able to incorporate the care they provide into the best practices of conventional medicine.

For example, CAM therapies such as acupuncture, yoga, meditation, and guided imagery are increasingly integrated into today’s conventional treatment of heart disease, cancer, and other serious illnesses—and scientific evidence supports this approach to health and healing.

Coordinating all of the care given to a patient is a cornerstone of the integrative medicine approach. Your primary care physician will work in tandem with your integrative health coach.

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