Sunday, February 22, 2015

HEALTH Tip- 10 Pain-Fighting Foods

by Adam Bornstein

Your body is under attack -- but you probably don't even realize it.

You have no symptoms. You feel fine. Everything seems to be operating normally. So what's the problem?

Inflammation. It's a normal process that is designed to help your body recover, which causes the occasional ache or pain. In small doses, this is fine. But if you're constantly putting your body under stress --whether from work, illness, or even exercise -- your body flips into protection mode. The inflammation that's meant to protect you instead causes your body to fight against itself. The system breaks down, and you become more vulnerable to injury or even disease.
But the process of healing your body can be improved with several small, simple changes. For example, many foods contain anti-inflammatory compounds that can alleviate pain and swelling, and help protect your body. We asked Amanda Carlson-Phillips, the vice president of Nutrition and Research at Athelete's Performance, which foods provided the most powerful boost to your body's ability to regulate and reduce inflammation. Here are her top 10:
Once considered more precious than gold, cinnamon is one of the world's oldest and most coveted spices. Research has shown that cinnamon not only reduces inflammation but also fights bacteria, assists with blood sugar control, and enhances brain function. Sprinkle cinnamon over yogurt, cereal, or oatmeal or add it to a smoothie or a glass of low-fat milk.

This flavorful root is available all year and used in everything from soda to stir-fries. Ginger contains several anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols, which may relieve joint pain, prevent free radical damage, protect against colorectal cancer, and increase immunity. Ginger is also a natural anti-emetic, often used to alleviate motion sickness and morning sickness. Steep a couple of slices of ginger in hot water for ginger tea or blend it with soy sauce to top a stir-fried dish.
Onions are packed with sulfur-containing containing compounds, which are responsible for their pungent odor and associated with improved health. These widely-used and versatile vegetables are believed to inhibit inflammation and linked to everything from cholesterol reduction to cancer prevention. Try using onions as a base for soups, sauces and stir-fries. Other foods with the same benefits include garlic, leeks, and chives.
Tart Cherries
One of the richest known sources of antioxidants ,, tart cherries are an anti-inflammatory powerhouse. New research suggests that tart cherries offer pain relief from gout and arthritis, reduce exercise-induced joint and muscle pain, lower cholesterol, and improve inflammatory markers. Drink a glass of tart cherry juice in the morning with breakfast or combine dried tart cherries with nuts for a snack.

Walnuts are one of the healthiest nuts you can eat. They're loaded with anti-inflammatory, heart healthy  omega 3 fatty acids and provide more antioxidants than Brazil nuts, pistachios, pecans, peanuts, almonds, macadamias, cashews, and hazelnuts. Walnuts are also a great source of protein and fiber. Top yogurt or salad with a handful of walnuts or eat raw walnuts as a snack.

A mustard-yellow spice from Asia, turmeric is a spice often used in yellow curry. It gets its coloring from a compound called curcumin. The University of Maryland Medical Center found that curcumin can help to improve chronic pain by suppressing inflammatory chemicals in the body. Make a homemade curry with turmeric or mix it into other recipes once or twice a week.
This tropical yellow fruit contains the enzyme bromelain, which is helpful in treating muscle injuries like sprains and strains. According to a study in the journal Inflammatory Bowel Disease, this enzyme may also help to improve digestion along with aches and pains associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Add pineapple to a smoothie or salad to help improve your body's tweaks and twinges.

Flaxseed is packed with omega-3 fatty acids which can help to reduce inflammation in the body. The Harvard School of Public Health reports that omega-3 found in flaxseed may help in blocking pro-inflammatory agents. Grind flaxseed to release the oils, and then add a spoonful of it to your salad, oatmeal, or yogurt. For more omega-3-rich foods with anti-inflammatory benefits, eat soybeans, extra-virgin olive oil, and fatty fish like salmon and tuna.
Colorful orange carrots are rich in carotenoids, a group of phytochemicals  known to help protect cells from free radicals and boost immunity. They also help regulate inflammation, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center. Add carrots to your salad or cook them as a side dish for any meal. Other carotenoid-rich foods include apricots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, and pumpkin.
Dark, Leafy Greens
Dark, leafy greens like spinach and kale are packed with flavanoids, a phytonutrient that boost heart health and may help ward off cancer. According to the Alzheimer's Association, flavonoid-rich foods may also reduce inflammation in the brain, possibly slowing the progression of Alzheimer's disease. Eat a spinach salad a few days a week for a powerful punch of flavonoids. Other good sources are kale, soybeans, berries, tea, or even a glass of wine.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Happiness Tip -6 Things All Happy People Do

We all want one simple thing: to be happy.
If you ask people what they want out of life, most would reply that they truly desire to be happy and healthy.
We also express wishes for happiness to friends and loved ones with greetings such as “happy birthday,” “happy anniversary,” “happy new year,” and so on.
So the question is: if most of us wish for happiness, then why do so many of us report being unhappy?

Short answer: because life happens. Many situations and events occur throughout our life that may be out of our control (i.e. death of a loved one). Many of these events go hand-in-hand with the grieving process.
Although some life events can derail our plans for full happiness during certain periods of time, you can—and should—take action to maintain some degree of happiness.
In order to be truly maintain happiness throughout your life, you need to practice certain habits consistently, especially through the most challenging life events.
Here are six habits of happy people, backed by scientific evidence and expanded upon in my book.

What Happy People Do

1. Feel positively…
Research has found that happy people work at creating and experiencing greater positive feelings and emotions than unhappy people. Positive emotions have also been shown to improve resilience, one’s ability to bounce back from setbacks, and overall life satisfaction.

Experiences that create positive feelings and emotions don’t have to take a lot of time. For instance, taking focused time out to linger in a garden, petting animals, listening to music, or watching a sunset may not take much time, but can result in positive emotions.
Longer bouts of positive experiences that create positive feelings and emotions, like taking an extended vacation with your family, taking a day off to go to a spa, or meeting friends for a day of leisure and laughter can certainly re-charge your well-being and improve happiness.
2. …and think positively
One of the most essential habits of happy people is to monitor and, if necessary, restructure thoughts to improve happiness and overall well-being. Happy people generally experience more positive thoughts than unhappy people.

We all have automatic thoughts when we are facing a situation or event. To improve happiness, it is important to monitor your automatic thoughts and re-structure them if necessary.
For example, when you wake up in the morning, if your automatic thought is “Today is going to be a stressful day at work, I just know it,” you may want to restructure that thought to improve your happiness.
Re-structure your thought to something like, “It’s a beautiful day today, it’s good to be alive, and I will see today’s challenges as opportunities; all is good.” It’s a proven academic theory that happier people work at creating happier and positive thoughts.
3. Engage in life!
Being completely present in life has been shown to improve happiness. Happy people work at focusing on each and every moment, engaging their senses, and are more mindful.

For example, when eating dinner with your family, ensure you are completely engaged in the moment. Try to clear your mind, flush the day’s events from your thoughts, and focus on who you are with and where you are now.
Engage all your senses, taste the food, listen to the tone and inflection in your children’s voices, smell the food, feel the texture of the bread, and look in the eyes of your loved ones.
If you practice being more mindful, present, and engaged in life, you will be happier!
4. Make your relationships positive
One of the founders of Positive Psychology, Christopher Peterson,once stated that “positive psychology, which includes the study of happiness, is simply about other people.”

 we think back on all our experiences related to positive emotions, relationships, meaning and accomplishment, they most likely include other people.
To continue your “happiness journey”, think about how you can plan more positive experiences with your friends and family, or perhaps how you can cultivate new friends and deeper positive relationships.
5. Strive for a meaningful life
Dr. martin Seligman a researcher who studies happiness and well-being, describes “meaning” as “belonging to and serving something bigger than the self.”
Meaning can be expressed in practice of spiritual or religious beliefs, or through pursuit in an active cause that you believe in that can benefit others and or the greater good. Dr. Seligman, along with other researchers who study the construct of “happiness”, found that happy people strive to live more meaningful lives.

6. Work towards accomplishments
Accomplishments that provide meaning and purpose improve happiness and well-being. Accomplishments are most valuable when they are pursued for intrinsic (internal motivations) verses extrinsic motivation (financial benefit).
The happiest people strive for accomplishment, not for money or fame, but because they believed in what they were striving for, a “cause,” passion, or belief, and that is what motivated them to succeed or even excel.

Research  reports that people who are happier achieve better life outcomes. These outcomes can include financial success, meaningful relationships, emotional health, effective copying abilities, physical health, and longevity.

The Takeaway

The evidence is clear on ways to achieve true happiness. Practicing the above six habits of happy people is a great start. Finally…don’t worry, just be happy!