Health Tips - Issue 6

  1. Here's a tip that will help you to experience more energy throughout the day. First, get in the habit of going to bed and getting up in the morning at the same time each day. This will help your body to program itself to more easily fall asleep while at the same time making it easier for you to get out of bed without feeling tired. To create further benefits, as soon as you get up in the morning, try to expose yourself to sunlight for 30 minutes. You can do this by taking an outdoor stroll or by simply sitting by the window while you have breakfast. (If your job requires you to get up before sunrise, you can gain similar benefits by using a light therapy box, which mimics natural sunlight.) By exposing yourself to light each morning, you will be helping your body's hypothalamus gland, which governs the 24-hour cycle known as your circadian rhythms, to provide you with energy throughout the day, and then prepare you for a restful night's sleep. Try this for a few weeks and you may be surprised by the positive difference it can make in your energy levels.

  2. Did you know that the best time to drink coffee is not in the morning? It's actually in the afternoon, which is when your body first starts to produce signals that can make you drowsy. Feelings of drowsiness are produced by a chemical in your body known as adenosine, which accumulates as the day progresses. Coffee blocks the effects of adenosine, which generally reaches its peak in the body by mid- to late afternoon. So having a cup of java in the afternoon should keep you more energized.

  3. Want more energy? Then don't skip your meals. More importantly, try to eat your meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) at the same time each day. Doing so will help supply you with the calories you need to sustain energy during the various other daily rhythms that your body goes through. Skipping meals, or eating at different times from day to day, throws off these daily rhythms. This, in turn, not only results in lack of energy, but can also cause unhealthy overeating due to increased feelings of hunger.

  4. Here's a health tip that will make you happy if you are always on the go. While science has long known that daily periods of meditation provides a host of health benefits, until recently, it was believed that these benefits could only be achieved after at least 20-30 minutes of meditation each day. Finding that amount of time to meditate can be difficult. The good news is that researchers have now found that as little as 3 minutes of meditation once or twice a day can provide the same health benefits, which include decreased stress, improved blood flow, and increased production of endorphins (hormones that make you feel happy and energized). If you aren't used to meditating, try this simple exercise: Find a quite place and sit comfortably in a chair with your back straight. Close your eyes and begin breathing gently and deeply. Pay attention to your breathing as you inhale and exhale. At the end of three minutes (more if you can spare them), take a deep breath and imagine yourself inhaling energy throughout your body. Then open your eyes and get on with your day.

  5. Do you regularly find yourself feeling tired in the afternoons? If so, take a ten-minute break and take a walk outside. Being outside in sunlight and breathing fresh air can do wonders for "recharging your batteries" whenever drowsiness comes calling.

  6. Did you know that the best time to wash produce is not right after you get home from the grocery store or market? Doing so leaves your produce moist, which makes it easier for mold and other microorganisms to grow on it while it is stored in your refrigerator. To prevent this from happening, get in the habit of washing produce right before you are ready to eat it.

  7. Do you suffer from arthritis pain? If so, you might benefit from spicing up your meals with turmeric. Turmeric is a popular spice in India and other Asian countries and is a main ingredient in curry. The reason that turmeric can help arthritis and other aches and pains is because it contains curcumin. Curcumin has been shown to act as a powerful natural antioxidant. It also acts similar to COX-2 inhibitor drugs, such as Vioxx and Celebrex, but without the risk of serious, and even fatal, side effects that those drugs pose. COX-2 is an enzyme that is involved in arthritis pain and swelling and research shows that curcumin inhibits its production. As an added benefit, research has also shown that turmeric may also prevent certain types of cancer, as well as Alzheimer's disease.

  8. Do you suffer from high blood pressure (hyperglycemia)? If so, the answer to your problem might be in your kitchen. According to a recent study, researchers found that cinnamon, a common household spice, can reduce blood sugar levels by an average of ten percent. For best results, it's recommended that you use one gram of standardized cinnamon extract once a day (you can find it at your local health food store), but similar results can often be achieved using cinnamon itself.

  9. Here's a fun way to help keep your brain healthy as you age. Learn a new language. In a recent study conducted in Canada, researchers found that people who speak more than one language were able to prevent the onset of dementia an average of four years longer than people who only speak one language.

  10. Looking for the perfect exercise. For many people, the answer is swimming. Not only does swimming provide excellent aerobic benefits, it can also help increase your body's flexibility because of the rhythmic motions that it involves. For best results, try to swim in chlorine-free pools, since chlorine can dry out your skin and has been linked to cancer.

  11. The next time you are feeling stressed out, here's and easy and effective way to literally breathe away your tension: Close your eyes and inhale slowly and deeply for a count of four. As you finish inhaling, hold your breath for another count of four, then slowly and completely exhale to a final count of four. Repeat this entire process for another four times. As an added benefit, you may find that performing this exercise also provides you with more energy.

  12. Did you know that spending a few minutes each day to experience gratitude can improve your health? That's the message from researchers in the field of mind/body medicine. In one study in this field, participants had their blood drawn while they were in a neutral emotional state, to measure the amount of immune cells. This measurement was used as a base. The participants were then asked to close their eyes and recall a happy experience in their past for which they were grateful and told to imagine it as it if was happening in present time. Then minutes after the conclusion of this exercise, their blood was again drawn. They were then asked to close their eyes and recall an unpleasant experience from their past, again as if it was happening in the present. Once more their blood was drawn. The researchers found that, after the participants recalled their happy experiences, their immune cells increased significantly, indicating greater immune function. But what surprised them was that recalling their unpleasant experiences depressed their immune cell levels significantly below the levels found when they were in a neutral emotional state. This research demonstrates how much control we have over our health via our thoughts and emotions. By spending a few minutes every day to feel gratitude for the blessings in your life, you will not only feel better emotionally, you'll also be boosting your body's physical health.

  13. If you want to minimize your risk of developing heart problems you may be able to do so by adding cayenne pepper to your diet. Research shows that when cayenne pepper is consumed on a daily basis, it helps to strengthen, tone, and stimulate the heart and to improve blood circulation. Cayenne has also been shown to calm heart palpitations. You can easily achieve these benefits by using cayenne as a spice on soups and meals. You can also add a pinch or two to eight ounces of water or juice and drink it as a tonic. For best results, use an organic grade of cayenne and, if you are not used to it, start slowly and increase your dose over time.

  14. Blueberries - a perfect health food: By now we've all heard that free radical damage is one of the primary causes of premature aging, as well as many serious illnesses, including cancer. To prevent and reverse free radical damage, our bodies require nutrients known as antioxidants. There are many such nutrients available at your local health foods store, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, alpha-lipoic acid, etc. But did you know that you can provide your body with a rich supply of antioxidants simply by regularly eating blueberries? It's true. In fact, studies show that blueberries have ten times as many antioxidants as most other fruits and vegetables. Also, unlike most other fruits, blueberries release the natural sugars they contain at a slow rate. This means that they do not cause the insulin spikes associated with eating other fruits.

  15. For a healthy pick-me-up, mix a variety of nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts) with organic raisins. Nuts are a rich source of essential fatty acids and raisins contain high amounts of potassium. Eaten together, they can provide you with a quick and sustained boost of energy, making this combination a perfect between-meals snack.

  16. If you need to lose weight, don't try to shed it all at once. Research has consistently shown that people who shed weight at more than two pounds per week invariably regain it all, and often more, within one year after they complete their weight loss program. The reason for this is that losing weight rapidly tricks your body into believing it is starving. Therefore, once the weight loss program is finished, the brain signals the body to start eating again, just as it would do following an actual period of starvation. So, when trying to lose weight, let the motto 'slow but surely' be your guide, and try to keep your weight loss to no more than 2 pounds per week. Doing so may take you longer to achieve your ideal weight, but it will also greatly increase the likelihood that you will keep the unwanted pounds off.

  17. If you are prone to suffer heartburn after you eat, try avoiding lying down for at least three hours after your meal. This will help keep your body's esophageal valve closed so that the highly acidic contents of the foods being digested in your stomach don't spill back up into the esophagus. Needless to say, also be sure that you don't overeat during your meals.

  18. Did you know that the health of your body's immune system depends in large part on a mineral that the vast majority of Americans are deficient in? That mineral is magnesium. Magnesium is vital for proper immune function in two ways. First, it is essential for the production of white blood cells from which most immune cells originate. Secondly, magnesium also helps to prevent immune cells from attacking other healthy cells and tissues in the body, which is what occurs in cases of autoimmune disease. To help ensure that your body has enough magnesium, be sure to eat magnesium-rich foods on a daily basis. These include brown rice, halibut, mackerel, spinach, tofu, and wheat germ, as well as almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds.

  19. If you have trouble falling asleep, a number of herbal remedies may be able to help you. Before going to bed, try drinking a cup of one of the following herbal teas: chamomile, fennel, hops, rosemary, skullcap, or valerian root. For best results, drink a cup of tea nightly on a consistent basis and try to go to sleep at the same time each night.

  20. If you live or work in buildings that are dry, overheated, or highly air conditioned, you need to drink more water throughout the day. That's because such indoor environments can significantly increase the rate at which your body loses water, leading to chronic low-grade dehydration.

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