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Saturday, 27 September 2014

What’s the Best Sleep Position?

It makes sense that your sleep position can have an impact on your overall health, right? We’ve all woken up from time to time with a crick in our necks or a weird leg cramp, and it is no fun at all. Spending eight hours on your side or on your back puts pressure on nerves and muscles, and we can feel the effects of a wonky sleep position the next day.

If you deal with chronic pain or conditions like acid reflux, your sleep position can have an even more powerful impact on your comfort. Finding the best sleep position can make the difference between restorative rest and a night of
tossing and turning.

To alleviate back and shoulder pain, you can combine a beneficial sleep position with some strategic pillow placement to give your body extra support while you snooze. Pillows can help you sleep through bouts of acid reflux, too. And if foot pain is keeping you awake, just tucking your sheets more loosely can make a difference.

The graphic below looks at a handful of aches, pains, and conditions that can keep us from getting a good night’s sleep along with tricks to overcome them. You can click the image to view a full-sized version, if you’re having trouble reading the small text. You can also scroll down for a summary of this infographic’s helpful sleeping tips.
Neck Pain
Keep the neck in a neutral position. Avoid sleeping on the stomach. Too many pillows can put your neck in a bent position. Keep your pillow above your shoulders. Some experts suggest using a rolled up hand towel to support the neck.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea & Snoring
Sleep on your side or stomach to avoid impaired breathing. One way to keep from rolling onto your back is to sew a tennis ball into the back of your pajama top.

Acid Reflux
Use pillows to elevate your head or use bricks to elevate the front legs of the bed. Otherwise, sleep on your side.

Shoulder Pain
Don’t sleep on the shoulder that causes you pain. Or, if you do, place a pillow next to you and place your arm over it — almost as if you’re hugging another person.

Back Pain
The best sleep position for back pain is generally on your back with a pillow under your knees or a rolled up towel under the small of your back.

On your side, put a pillow between your knees for extra support. This is also good for people with hip and knee problems. A fetal-like position can help with lumbar spinal stenosis.

Sleeping on your stomach can be hard on your back and neck. But if you must, put a pillow under your back and lower abdomen to relieve strain.

Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar Faciitis is an inflammation of the tissue on the bottom of the foot caused by running or poor arch support. Keep your ankles and feet in a relaxed position. Avoid tucking in the sheets too tightly.

Boost Metabolism Naturally

If you’ve been overindulging on the alcohol or skimping on the workouts, your metabolism may be lagging. What’s worse, you may feel ever so slightly under the weather, which is no way to live. But remember: your health is in your control. If you are feeling a little sluggish and off track, try these 8 simple tips to boost your metabolism and regenerate your energy.

Sleep well. Your sleep habits and your metabolism are undeniably intertwined. According to a study published in the International Journal of Endocrinology, sleep deprivation can have stark effects on metabolism, including an increased risk for Type II diabetes. Lack of sleep or sleep dysfunction also increases appetite due to increased leptin production. If you have trouble falling asleep at night, try nixing the electronics for an hour before bedtime. The light from televisions or computer screens can stave off melatonin production and keep you awake.

Drink (moderate) caffeine. Green tea and black coffee both have proven metabolic benefits. Research has shown time and time again that both green tea and coffee offer metabolic benefits as well as ample antioxidants. Just don’t overdo it, as being wired all night can outweigh the benefits.

Surprise your body. Still doing the same old workout video from 5 years ago? Your body and your metabolism reap serious benefits when you switch it up. Try taking up a new workout hobby, like kickboxing or swimming, to contrast with your current regimen. Better yet, try HIIT (high-intensity interval training) if you’re really looking to get fit. Even though these workouts are shorter, they are more intense. The contrast of intensity to rest periods skyrockets your metabolism through the roof as you continue to reap benefits for hours to come.

Hit the weights. More muscle mass means a better resting metabolic rate. What does that mean exactly? Well, the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn when you’re doing absolutely nothing. How do you build muscle? Weight training. No, you don’t have to be a muscle-head at the gym to use weights. Start off with many reps of light weights to challenge your existing muscles, and work your way steadily heavier over time to help them grow.

Drink water. It seems obvious, but most people don’t drink enough water. How is your body supposed to function properly if it is lacking in its most essential substance? It doesn’t. As far as metabolism is concerned, a study showed that drinking 500 mL of water increased metabolic rate for about an hour by 30% in subjects, which is quite significant. Be aware that the standard 8-cups-a-day rule may not be enough. If you workout with any intensity, you’ll need more. Drink regularly throughout the day, and especially when you’re thirsty, to keep your body at peak levels of hydration. Also try incorporating a big, room temperature glass into your early morning routine. Drinking 2 to 3 cups (16-24 oz.) first thing in the morning after a dehydrating sleep revs your body up for a fantastic day.

Get spicy! Spicy food not only reduces your appetite and increases satiety, but it also actually boosts your metabolic rate by about 8%. Stop eating bland chicken and sprinkle a chile rub on! Both your taste buds and waistline will benefit.

Eat smart. Certain foods are known to boost metabolism, like coconut oil, certain fruits, and especially proteins. Fill your diet with these healthy foods instead of processed, sugary alternatives to properly fuel your body. Note, if you overeat, this small boost in metabolism won’t compensate. Eat only when you’re hungry and until you’re 80% full to ensure maximum benefits of your metabolism-boosting snacks.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Why Women Should Eat More Potassium

What do baked potatoes, bananas, white beans, tomato paste, and dried apricots have in common?
Yes, they taste great. But more than that, they are all rich sources of potassium.
This vital mineral has long been known to help reduce high blood pressure. A recent study conducted by Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York highlights another important health benefit of dietary potassium: its effectiveness in preventing stroke in women after menopause.

The 11 year study of 90,137 postmenopausal women, ages 50 to 79 established that women who ate the most potassium were 12 percent less likely to suffer stroke in general and 16 percent less likely to suffer ischemic stroke than women who ate the least. All of these women were stroke-free when the study began, and each one consumed potassium through their diet, not supplements.

“Potassium is a vital component of cellular function,” says Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, who led the research. “It affects endothelial cells which line blood vessels, so perhaps it may provide more blood flow to critical areas.

But are we getting enough potassium in our diet? Far from it. According to the American Heart Association, the recommended daily intake of potassium for an average adult is about 4,700 milligrams per day. But The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that less than 2% of American adults consume the recommended daily intake of potassium. This means that too many of us are depriving ourselves of a mineral that builds muscle, strengthens bones, protects the heart, and also guards against stroke.

6 Wonderful Ayurvedic Home Remedies

Aaah, My tooth Aches
Chew on a clove slowly, letting the juice penetrate the affected area. Clove has been used since ancient times as a star treatment for dental problems. It contains a healing compound called eugenol that soothes inflamed nerves. But remember: your tooth is hurting because there is an infection somewhere. Clove will bring you relief from the pain, but do see a dentist soon.
Never Can Say Goodnight
Can’t sleep? You’re not alone. Thanks to the modern lifestyle, entire nations are groaning under a Sleep Debt that grows heavier by the night!
Try these two simple remedies:
Blend one cup of warm milk with four to five dates and a pinch of cinnamon powder. Sip at bedtime.Dates balance the nervous system, and milk contains a natural compound that promotes sleep.
Just before you get into bed, massage your palms and the soles of your feet with a good-quality warm oil, such as sesame oil. Relaxes the nerves and muscles beautifully.
Ouch, I’m a Sitting Duck!
Piles can be a painful problem. And coupled with constipation…the ouch factor can get agonising.
Drink buttermilk spiked with freshly crushed black pepper and roasted and powdered cumin seeds.
Take two teaspoons of triphala churna or psyllium husk stirred in a glass of lukewarm water at bedtime, for easy bowel movement.
Uh, Uh, I’ve Got A Persistent Cough
Mix a little ginger juice with honey. Take this thrice a day for relief from cough. Ginger stimulates mucus to come out, and honey soothes the throat.
Can’t Stand this Muscle Pain
Make a poultice of heated mustard oil and turmeric with a pinch of salt. Apply to the aching or injured area and leave on for about two hours. Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory and antiseptic. Mustard oil, with its warming nature, improves circulation and is a natural anti-bacterial agent.

How Can You Balance Body Fat?

With all the knowledge about body fat on our weight and health, we tend to adopt weight loss programs and do not stop till we get rid of the last strain of fat from our body. But in spite of having bad reputation, fats are essential to protect vulnerable parts of our body. They also disseminate vitamins A, D, E, and K, that keep the hair and skin healthy. They play a major role in maintaining warmth in the body. However, they can also lead to increased levels of cholesterol and heart disease, and possibly cancer and weight gain as well. What to do then? Just balance you body fat but before knowing the tips for balancing body fat, first make the basics clear- know what are the types of fat so that you can keep the good ones and leave the bad ones.

Many Types of Fats
There are many types of fats- Saturated Fats, Monounsaturated Fats, and Polyunsaturated Fats.

Saturated Fats: In them, carbon atoms are saturated with hydrogen atoms. They raise the level of cholesterol in your blood which leads to heart disease and stroke. They mainly come from animal sources, like meat and dairy products including fatty beef, lamb, pork, poultry with skin, beef fat, lard and cream, butter, cheese etc. Some plant foods like palm oil, palm kernel oil and coconut oil also contain saturated fats, but they do not contain cholesterol.

Monounsaturated Fats: are simply fats having one double-bonded (unsaturated) carbon in the molecule. They can have beneficial effects on your health but when taken in moderation. They help in reducing bad cholesterol levels in blood and lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. They also provide nutrients needed for growth of body’s cell and have high levels of vitamin E. Foods high in monounsaturated fats include vegetable oils such as olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil and sesame oil. Other sources include avocados, peanut butter, and many nuts and seeds.

Polyunsaturated Fats: have more than one double-bonded (unsaturated) carbon in the molecule. They too can have beneficial effects on health, reduce cholesterol levels in blood and lower the risk of heart disease, if eaten in moderation. They have certain fats like omega-6 and omega-3 required by body but can't be produced by itself. Vegetable oils, including soybean oil, corn oil and safflower oil, as well as fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and trout, some nuts and seeds like walnuts and sunflower seeds are high in polyunsaturated fat.

How to Balance These Fats?

Eating foods that contain a higher level of unsaturated fats than saturated fats can lead to reduced blood cholesterol levels.

Limit the consumption of saturated fats to less than 7% of total daily calories. If you need about 2,000 calories a day, only 140 of them should come from saturated fats.
Replace foods high in saturated fats with foods high in monounsaturated and/or polyunsaturated fats. Eat foods made with liquid vegetable oil and avoid tropical oils. Eat fish and nuts. Replace considerable amount of meat with beans or legumes.
Eat more of those foods that are naturally low in fat, such as grains, fruits and vegetables.
Avoid fried, spicy, junk and processed food items as well as bakery food.
Avoid tinned food. If eating them, check the label to find their saturated fat content which should not exceed 20 %.
Ensure you take only one-teaspoon of oil for a meal.
Exercise regularly. Practice of Yoga is good for over all health and not only for balancing body fat.
If you have already gained a lot of weight then try these Low Carb Diet Plan

How to understand your child’s emotions better

If you thought all that skin-to-skin contact, hugs and kisses, cuddling during infancy and toddlerhood was enough to establish the bond between you and your baby, and then probably you have missed something about parenting. Remember trying to connect with your growing baby is a continuous and conscious process. Young children need you more than you ever thought of, even if you think they can manage themselves well enough on their own.
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Getting to the core

Growing up is fun and entertaining; it is also tedious, confusing and frustrating all at the same time. Young children are not only being exposed to the whims of the society every minute of their life, they are also being introduced to a whole new world of feelings that they develop and try to deal with, in the best possible way they can – the jumble of emotions.

‘Children like adults face the same emotions such as disappointment, rejection, envy, happiness, love, anger, satisfaction and a host of other emotions. The little souls might not always know the best way to deal with them or even express them. They would look up to their parents for the same,’ informs Effath Yasmin , founder-director of Nourish & Nurture Lactation Care & Parenting Education and an International Board Certified lactation Consultant.

Every emotion, whether in a child or an adult, is actually a rising energy which needs to be disbursed and chanelledin the right way. Pent up emotions would lead to certain negative behavior like anger, aggression, repulsiveness, depression etc. Though as adults it’s may be easier to deal with the same, children are left baffled if not helped to channel their emotional energyinthe right way.

What Can You Do

Know how you can help your baby deal with emotions:

Acknowledge emotions: If you see your child being grumpy, upset and sad just after losing a match or having a fight with her best friend don’t expect that she would get better in no time and be her happyself soon. Instead try and talk it out with her. But before you start a conversation, be very sure about the words you use as Yasmin shares, “Instead of using words like ‘What’s wrong with you?’ or ‘Why are you so sad?’ try saying ‘You seem upset would you like to talk to me about it?’ These gentle words can help your baby start the conversation with you and talk it out.” Just talking about what makes her upset can help her deal with the situation better. Remember directly addressing the situation can at times make your child repulsive to express.

Don’t lose touch: Don’t keep hugs, kisses and pats reserved for the big occasions and for achievements. Instead make the practice a daily custom. The physical warmth and gentle touch of a parent can go in a long way to help one deal with emotions head on.

Give enough space: There are going to be times when your child might not want to talk about what is bothering her. Though this can be a matter of concern but it makes sense to leave her for a brief period on her own to deal with the situation. Probably if she feels better you can gently initiate a conversation. It’s imperative that you respect her space as that’s the foundation of effective dealing of a child’s emotions.

Acknowledge emotions: One common mistake parents do while dealing with an upset child is to bribe her to be happy. Remember that’s the worst way to handle emotions or a situation that upsets her. Instead get to the core of the situation by simply talking and explain her that being happy or sad is a part and parcel of life. Give her emotions a name. With toddlers help them to understand if they are happy, sad, afraid or just upset. With little older children label their emotions with specific words like disappointment, disagreement or embarrassment. this makes it easier for them to deal with it.

Teach the child by example and empathy: While your child might become wired out after a rough experience telling her that it happens with everyone may makeher feel she is not alone in feeling so. Give her examples, tell her how you felt when you were upset, tell her about your disappointments or mistakes. Children learn learn more from you when you share with examples from your life. This will help her learn to be empathetic and probably deal with her emotions in a better way.

How does it help

While you can decide on how you want to deal with your child’s emotions, here’s what you can gain from acknowledging the emotions better:

Better bonding between a parent and a child: Dealing with emotions in a subtle way helps your child release the pent up energies. This in turn makes your child calmer and also more receptive. This receptiveness makes the bonding process with the parent and child stronger and viable.

Initiates better co-operation: We all know that parenting is not a one way process; it needs co-operation from the child too. But a child who seldom gets attention from the parent when in need probably wouldn’t be the one who would co-operate with the parent. Anger might not work here; instead it will just ruin the relationhip more. Getting to the core of your child’s emotions just by talking and spending some time together can make her more co-operative with you.

Makes your child a sensitive individual: Dealing effectively with a child’s emotions in the growing yearshelps one transform a child into a sensitive individual too.

Opens new channels of communication: “The most common complaint that parents have is that their children hardly listen to them.This is because the basis of communication hasn’t been established in an effective manner which is trust. Children are very sensitive and yet receptive. If a parent deals with the various emotions of a child efficiently that follow the principles of respect, autonomy and guidance rather than unintentional sense of control, dismiss and love withdrawal, then the spirirt of cooperative atmosphere begins to flourish at home,’ says Yasmin.

Builds Skills along with intuition and love: Yasmin supports her view of empowering the parents to be who they hope to be for theirchildren by emphasizing that, “All parents have love and warmth for their children and always the best intentions , however the challenges that parents have to deal with in everyday life is not to do with lack of love, it is lack of skills.”

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Benefits Of Rising Early,and How to do it

Greet the day. I love being able to get up, and greet a wonderful new day. I suggest creating a morning ritual that includes saying thanks for your blessings. I’m inspired by the Dalai Lama, who said, ” Everyday, think as you wake up, ‘today I am fortunate to have woken up, I am alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others, to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings, I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others, I am going to benefit others as much as I can.’ “
Amazing start. I used to start my day by jumping out of bed, late as usual, and rushing to get myself and the kids ready, and rushing to drop them to school and come in to work late. I would walk into work, looking rumpled and barely awake, grumpy and behind everyone else. Not a great start to your day. Now, I have a renewing morning ritual, I’ve gotten so much done before 8 a.m., my kids are early and so am I, and by the time everyone else gets in to work, I’ve already gotten a head start. There is no better way to start off your day than to wake early, in my experience.
Quietude. No kids yelling, no babies crying, no soccer balls, no cars, no television noise. The early morning hours are so peaceful, so quiet. It’s my favorite time of day. I truly enjoy that time of peace, that time to myself, when I can think, when I can read, when I can breathe.
  • Sunrise. People who wake late miss one of the greatest feats of nature, repeated in full stereovision each and every day — the rise of the sun. I love how the day slowly gets brighter, when the midnight blue turns to lighter blue, when the brilliant colors start to seep into the sky, when nature is painted in incredible colors. I like doing my early morning run during this time, and I look up at the sky as I run and say to the world, “What a glorious day!” Really. I really do that. Corny, I know.
Breakfast. Rise early and you actually have time for breakfast. I’m told it’s one of the most important meals of the day. Without breakfast, your body is running on fumes until you are so hungry at lunchtime that you eat whatever unhealthy thing you can find. The fattier and sugarier, the betterier. But eat breakfast, and you are sated until later. Plus, eating breakfast while reading my book and drinking my coffee in the quiet of the morning is eminently more enjoyable than scarfing something down on the way to work, or at your desk.
Exercise. There are other times to exercise besides the early morning, of course, but I’ve found that while exercising right after work is also very enjoyable, it’s also liable to be canceled because of other things that come up. Morning exercise is virtually never canceled.
Productivity. Mornings, for me at least, are the most productive time of day. I like to do some writing in the morning, when there are no distractions, before I check my email or blog stats. I get so much more done by starting on my work in the morning. Then, when evening rolls around, I have no work that I need to do, and I can spend it with family.
Goal time. Got goals? Well, you should. And there’s no better time to review them and plan for them and do your goal tasks than first thing. You should have one goal that you want to accomplish this week. And every morning, you should decide what one thing you can do today to move yourself further towards that goal. And then, if possible, do that first thing in the morning.
Commute. No one likes rush-hour traffic, except for Big Oil. Commute early, and the traffic is much lighter, and you get to work faster, and thus save yourself more time. Or better yet, commute by bike. (Or even better yet, work from home.)
Appointments. It’s much easier to make those early appointments on time if you get up early. Showing up late for those appointments is a bad signal to the person you’re meeting. Showing up early will impress them. Plus, you get time to prepare.

Freeze-Dried Strawberries Significantly Lower Cholesterol Levels:

The consumption of flavonoid sources such as strawberries, blueberries, apples, dark chocolate, and red wine have all been shown in population studies to be associated with a significantly reduced risk for heart attacks and strokes.
For example, data from the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) II of 93,600 women showed that a combined intake of >3 servings a week of blueberries and strawberries was associated with a 34% decreased risk of having a heart attack compared to those consuming the berries once a month or less.
The major benefits of consuming strawberries and other flavonoid sources in protecting against cardiovascular disease (CVD) is largely due to their effects on improving the function of the cells that line the blood vessels (endothelial cells). The endothelial cells play a pivotal role in the regulation of vascular tone and structure as well as vascular inflammation and clot formation. The lesions of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) first begin to develop with damage to endothelial cells. Flavonoids, particularly the proanthocyanidin types found in berries, and also those found in other flavonoid-rich foods have all been shown to protect and improve endothelial cell function.
In addition, strawberry consumption also improved platelet function, which is a key factor in preventing the formation of blood clots that can break off and cause a heart attack, stroke, or pulmonary embolism.