Sunshine is good for you in many ways. Obviously, we need to be cautious with the danger of skin cancer. Here are some wonderful benefits of partaking of the gift of sunshine:
1. We get a large portion of our Vitamin D from the sun. Vitamin D is essential for absorbing calcium; in essence it helps keep bone and teeth healthy.
2. Sun can boost our level of serotonin, which is a happy hormone. Mayo Clinic explains serotonin here.
3. The higher serotonin levels due to sun exposure help suppress appetite.
3. Being outside in sunshine warms your muscles which can reduce pain and stiffness.
4. A small amount of sun exposure (5 -15 minutes) unprotected can aid in later protection from sun rays.
5. Sun rays can aid in treating jaundice.
6. Sun helps the kidneys through the elimination of waste with sweating.
7. Studies have shown that lowered levels of Vitamin D can cause a rise in Cholesterol levels.
These are some pretty wonderful reasons to get outside! I have only listed a few of the many great health benefits of the sun. Remember to be cautious of the damaging effects of the sun.
My husband and I feel so proud of ourselves when we get our 15 or so minutes of sunshine!
Amazing Brain Dendrites
Amazing Dendrites can help the body’s ability to remember and perform.
One of the coolest things about these dendrites is that you can build them so easily. By doing something new, or out of the ordinary for yourself, you strengthen and help build them. Things as simple as crossing your legs opposite of what you are used to, stretching your brain by learning a new subject, trying a new skill, taking up a sport you haven’t ventured to do, learning in a new way (such as learning visually or hands-on, for instance), all promote dendrite growth.
Try painting, skiing, yoga, writing, singing, basketball, card tricks….the list is endless!!
Below is a link to some great information on dendrites.
In lab animals of all ages, environmental enrichment has been related to dendritic branching, spine density, and overall number of synapses. In addition, skill training has been shown to lead to the formation and stabilization of new spines while destabilizing old spines, suggesting that the learning of a new skill involves a rewiring process of neural circuits. Since the extent of spine remodeling correlates with success of learning, this suggests a crucial role of synaptic structural plasticity in memory formation. In addition, changes in spine stability and strengthening occur rapidly and have been observed within hours after training.
Note: As with most things, there is debate on this topic.
Honey by Hillary Stein
The other day I was reading about natural honey (since I love sweets!) and came across some really cool facts I thought I would share. Natural honey is wonderful as a food and also as a medicine. There are many different grades of honey, depending on factors such as where it is sourced and what containers it was stored in.
- While honey is sweet like white sugar, it is unique in that it also has small amounts of nutrients our bodies need for healthy living including: calcium, potassium, magnesium, and folic acid.
- Honey is a source of antioxidants which aids in protecting against some diseases. The quality of the antioxidants depends partially on the floral source of the honey. The darker honeys are known to have a higher antioxidant content.
- Honey is a great sports activity enhancer because of its high energy boosting ability. Plus, it is a lot cheaper than commercially sold sports bars and drinks. Because honey is in a pre-digested form it is directly absorbed into the body unlike refined sugar which needs to go through normal digestion.
- A recent study showed there is an antibacterial property to honey which makes it a better choice than refined sugar when it comes to tooth decay. Fruit juice starts to erode the tooth enamel ten minutes after consumption. Honey showed a delayed reaction on the teeth of 30 minutes, and the prominence of the erosion was less.
These facts make it highly worth substituting honey in some foods for other sweeteners. So for that next peanut butter sandwich opt out of jam and bring on the honey!
Because of the possible presence of botulinum , infants under 1 year old should not be feed honey.
Living healthy and looking at the whole picture is more than just exercise and eating right. Those two are certainly key, but there are other areas to consider. We want a healthy physical life but also emotional, mental, and spiritual. Sleep is a major contributor to our feeling great or feeling crummy. Our bodies repair system kicks in during sleep. Basic information about sleep can be found on the websites I have below. We have REM sleep, where dreams occur and Non-REM sleep, where body repair occurs. We need both. Check out the sites below:
This website has tons of information on sleep.
This website has an interesting test you can take to see if you may have a sleep disorder.
At the same time, over 100,000 billion of cells restore themselves in their 7-year cycle. Growth hormones are released, cells are actively replaced and muscular tissue is built up through protein synthesis. Mineral losses are replenished. Wounds heal. Corticosteroid hormones build up our resistance to infections and tiredness. We become immune again to all kinds of diseases. White corpuscles surround and destroy bacteria. In the lymph glands and the spleen, they remove bacteria from the blood.
During the deep stages of NREM sleep, the body repairs and regenerates tissues, builds bone and muscle, and appears to strengthen the immune system. As you get older, you sleep more lightly and get less deep sleep. Aging is also associated with shorter time spans of sleep, although studies show the amount of sleep needed doesn’t appear to diminish with age.
It is worth exploring ways to improve your sleep!
SO MANY BENEFITS! IT IS WORTH LOOKING INTO.
I am not sure why it has taken me so long to post about yoga. It’s a love of mine. The incredible sense of wellbeing after I attend a yoga class is almost addictive. Let me mention some of the benefits:
1. Deliberate breathing to match movement enhances the sense of wellbeing.
2. Yoga is strength training. Yes, it strains the muscles. I used to think of yoga as poses that looked like a human pretzel. It is that for some, but there is much more to it.
3. Part of yoga practice includes balance. With patience in yourself and practice, the balance comes. Balance manifests itself in many things in life. My husband marvels at my balance as I maneuver my bike around tricky areas where he has to get off of his bike.
4. I love the stretching portion of yoga. It doesn’t matter how flexible or not you are. Practice shows improvement. In turn, this helps guard against injury.
5. Perhaps my favorite part of yoga is practicing calming my mind…a difficult task in this whirlwind life. Also, you can have a deeper sleep because of the relaxation that accompanies yoga practice. Yes!
Find a class! It is difficult at first, so give it time and I think you will end up loving it too!
Grains that I have tried and really liked:
- Spelt Pricey, but delicious in bread, use in cookies but you need a little more flour than if you use wheat flour. (grind)
- Quinoa Considered a perfect food–I put a small amount of quinoa in with rice every time I cook rice.
- Kamut Use in coffee cake, muffins or bread. (grind)
- Oats The less processed the oats are, the better they are for you (for instance, rolled oats are better than quick).
- Buckwheat Use in small amounts because of the strong taste. (grind)
- Wheat Substitute out some white for wheat flour in most everything you cook. Use White Wheat, it is more alkaline (which is what you want), Red Wheat is more acidic. (grind)
- Corn Try ground corn in corn bread with spelt flour. (grind)
- Brown Rice Cook a little longer than white rice.
- Barley Use whole barley for sprouting.
Add grains in SLOWLY if you are not used to them. If you don’t, you may end up with a stomach ache.
Alkaline or Acidic?
What is pH?
“A quick chemistry lesson: pH is a measurement of acidity or alkalinity. The pH scale runs from 0-14 with 7 in the middle being neutral. Everything below 7 is “Acid”, the lower the number the more acidic and everything above 7 is “Alkaline”. Most experts agree that ideal health exists when the pH of the general body fluids is around 7 or slightly above.”
If you are eating too many acidic foods you may be setting yourself up for illness. Here is a list of alkaline and acid foods. Lists don’t always agree but this list will give you a general idea of what you need to be eating more of. You may be eating all the wrong foods.
You can balance out higher acidic foods by eating more of the alkaline foods within reason. Just remember a healthier diet consists of more alkaline foods.
It is amazing how much better you feel when you eat more alkaline foods.
Image by Janielle Beh
I have discovered a powerful means of achieving a high sense of wellbeing. Would you believe that it comes through breath? I first started to experience this when I began doing Yoga. Yoga consists of a breathing technique.
Take a deep breath!
http://www.runnersworld.com/running-tips/running-air-breathing-technique the following is a quote from this webpage:
“From the Belly
Before learning the rhythmic patterns that will take your running to a new level, you must first become a belly breather, that is, learn to breathe from your diaphragm. When you inhale, your diaphragm contracts and moves downward, while muscles in your chest contract to expand your rib cage, which increases the volume in your chest cavity and draws air into your lungs. Working your diaphragm to its fullest potential allows your lungs to expand to their greatest volume and fill with the largest amount of air, which of course you need for your running. The more air you inhale, the more oxygen is available to be transferred through your circulatory system to your working muscles. Many people underuse their diaphragm, relying too much on their chest muscles and therefore taking in less oxygen, which is so important to energy production. The other downside of breathing from your chest is that these muscles (the intercostals) are smaller and will fatigue more quickly than your diaphragm will. To rely less on your chest muscles to breathe, you’ll want to train yourself to breathe from your belly, that is, with your diaphragm. Practice belly breathing both lying down and sitting or standing, since you should be breathing diaphragmatically at all times—whether you’re running, sleeping, eating, or reading a book. Here’s how to learn the technique:
• Lie down on your back.
• Keep your upper chest and shoulders still.
• Focus on raising your belly as you inhale.
• Lower your belly as you exhale.
• Inhale and exhale through both your nose and mouth.”
There is so much more I want to say on this subject but will save it for a later post.
I love the essential oil ‘Frankincense’. It smells wonderful combined with wild orange and peppermint. When I feel a headache coming on I use a drop of Frankincense, peppermint and lavender, rubbing it on my temples and the back of my neck. The above video clip gives a more information on this oil.