Are you sleeping well? Insomnia is not only frustrating; it can affect your health. In a therapy program at Stanford University Medical Center, the participants were taught simple mindfulness techniques used in meditation, such as focusing on breathing and bodily sensations. Within six weeks, the participants were sleeping better. John Kabat-Zinn PhD, is responsible for bringing mindfulness practices into mainstream medicine and society. Mindfulness meditation may be something you’d like to try…
How many times have you heard the phrase, “take a deep breath”? Practicing regular, deep breathing can be calming and help decrease your stress level. There are many different techniques, but starting with slow, deep belly breathing is a great start. Breathing is something we can control and regulate in the midst of chaos. The key is practice. In a crisis, it is difficult to effectively deep breathe if you never use this technique, but if you do, you can tap into it at any time. In my March newsletter, I will be discussing a very effective technique. Send me an email if you’d like to receive a copy.
Did you wake up this morning, rush through the morning routine, grab a coffee on the way out the door? Do you know what you are having for lunch? Do you have dinner tonight planned or will you start to think about it as you leave work? The key to successful, healthy eating is preplanning and shopping in advance for the right foods. If left to chance and circumstance, we will grab the easiest, quickest food, not necessarily the best for us. It can be another “to do” until it becomes part of your practice, but you’ll be amazed how easy it actually makes mealtime.
Olive oil is one of the heart protective monounsaturated fats and an antioxidant found in extra-virgin olive oil may help prevent Alzheimer’s. According to a study at Northwestern University, oleocanthal is the antioxidant, but you won’t get much from regular olive oil. Extra-virgin olive oil has the higher concentration and is also the least processed. Enjoy on salads, saute veggies in it, put in oil spritzer and use in place of Pam. Enjoy and be healthy…
Eating more whole grains may help you to lose abdominal fat, but only if you cut out the refined grains. According to research from the Framingham Heart Study, people who ate 3 or more servings of whole grains (such as 100% whole wheat bread, brown rice, oatmeal) had significantly less abdominal fat compared to those eating no or few whole grains. Of note, the whole grains had no benefit in people who ate 4 or more servings of refined grains (such as white bread, white rice, white pasta).
After the age of 50, we lose 0.4 pounds of muscle each year- unless we lift weights. We can gain an average of 2.42 pounds of lean mass (mostly muscle) after 20 weeks of strength training. This would compensate for the 0.4 pound annual loss if we were to remain sedentary, according to a report published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. They suggest that we increase the amount of weight we lift or the number of sets to promote and maintain muscle mass.
Were you the recipient of Valentine’s chocolates? If you were lucky enough to get dark chocolate, enjoy without guilt! The polyphenols in the chocolate boost levels of HDL (good cholesterol) and lower LDL (bad cholesterol), according to Japanese researchers. We do know that the phenols and flavonoids offer some protection against heart disease. For all the chocoholics, this is good news. Just remember that the recommended amount is 1 ounce per day, dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa for the highest benefit.