Archive for June, 2013

Juicing for a Healthier You

There’s no contesting that eating the right amount of fruits and vegetables daily is one of the best ways of keeping ourselves healthy. While this could be easy for some, the rest of us may not have the same zeal or time needed for preparing healthy dishes. Perhaps the easiest way is to simply use a juicer. It does not require too much time to prepare and we would still be getting all the nutrition we need. But is drinking fruit and vegetable juices a healthy alternative?

So what is there not to like about being healthy? You could see it in the print ads, TV commercials and almost anywhere there is space to advertise. Health has become big business that everybody has their own take on how to get that healthy body you’ve always wanted. Juicing is so simple that it does not require any culinary training and you could make your own concoction perfect for your taste. So what are the benefits of drinking fruit and vegetable juices and what makes them so popular?

Quick and easy, no need for preparing. All you need to do is shop for fresh fruits and vegetables drop it in the juicer and you’re good to go. This is perfect for busy people who just don’t have the time to prepare simple dishes. Place it in a bottle and you can have your daily fix of fruits and vegetables anywhere you go.

With hundreds if not thousands of fruit and vegetable combinations to choose from, you could create your own special health concoction. Surprise yourself by combining fruits and juices. Finding the right mix of nutrients and taste, eating healthy has never been this fun.

Searching for a quick way to cool down or replenish your energy after a tired and grueling workout? A tall glass of fruit or vegetable juice is enough to soothe down your tired muscles while replenishing your energy stores.

Heat could destroy precious nutrients and keeping fruits and vegetables as fresh as possible gives you all the health they bring. All the minerals and nutrients that each piece of fruit and vegetable is preserved, giving you the healthiest drink possible.

Green and natural, eliminate the need for plastic bottles by drinking them in your own glass. Juicing is not only healthy for your body but also keeps mother earth healthy.

The benefits might be obvious but some people still shun away from this healthy habit at home. Below are some of their reasons:

Some people consider the prospect of juicing too expensive. Of course there are also concerns about the pile of wasted produce after the process. They would rather buy juices at the grocery because it is cheaper compared to preparing one. But isn’t cooking a dish equally tedious? It may take hours to prepare a simple dish and of course there are dishes and cookware to clean after the meal.

Others say that investing in a juicer that would only be used a few times a week could be expensive. It might even end up as a dust magnet once they have already gone tired of drinking juices.

Preparing juices could be expensive especially if you have to buy dozens of fruits for your weekly consumption. This could quickly add up and you might find yourself spending a couple of dollars more at the grocery store.

This clearly shows that juicing benefits far outnumber its disadvantages. This might prove to be an investment in terms of a longer grocery list but certainly much cheaper compared to health bills. We should never gamble with our health and spending a few more dollars on fruits and vegetables is better compared to its alternative. With the rising costs of health care, juicing might just be a cheaper and healthier solution.

Tai Chi – Low Impact Exercises

Tai Chi is a popular mind and body exercise that traces its roots to Ancient China. It is a low impact activity that is aimed at promoting a person’s well being regardless of age and general health condition.

Tai Chi includes a variety of slow, gentle movements. It improves breathing, promotes better circulation and is a great way of relieving stress. Practitioners believe that Tai Chi improves the flow of energy in the body, restoring the body’s natural equilibrium and providing relief to many ailments.

Opening Position

  • Stand erect, maintaining proper posture and spine alignment
  • Spread your feet apart, and point both feet at 12 o’clock
  • Relax, drop your shoulders and let your fingers hang loose
  • Curve your hands and palms facing the sides of your body
  • Bent your knees slightly

Awaken the Chi: Warm-up Exercise

Benefits: breathing exercise, stress reduction

  • Opening position
  • Bring your hands in front of your body, with your hands slightly touching and palms facing outward, about two inches below your belly
  • Breathe in, and raise your hands upward to your breast level with the palms of your hands still facing skyward all in one continuous motion
  • Breathe out; lower your hands in a pushing movement. Synchronize releasing the air and lowering your hands with the palm of your hands facing downward.
  • Repeat the cycle 6 to 8 times and return to opening position

Balancing the Chi

Benefits: relieves anxiety, strengthens back muscles

  • Opening position
  • Bring hands in front with palms facing skyward, with the tips of your hands around two inches apart. Position your arms at the hip levels.
  • Breathe in, raise your heels and bring arms to chest level
  • Breathe out, lower hands in a gentle pushing movement. Turn your palms facing to the ground and plant heels on the ground
  • Repeat movements 6 to 8 times and return to opening position

Beautiful Woman Turns the Waist

Benefits: Loosens tight muscles, strengthens back, improves kidney function

  • Opening position
  • Clockwise
  • Position your hands at the back, with the palm of your hands pressing at your kidney area
  • Straighten knees
  • Push left hip out to left bend upper torso slightly right
  • Push hips forward and allow upper body to bend backwards slightly
  • Push right hip out to right and bend body slightly left
  • Push bottom backwards and allow body to bend forward slightly
  • Repeat movements 6 to 8 times and return to opening position
  • Counterclockwise
  • Push right hip out to right and bend body slightly left
  • Push hips forward and allow upper body to bend backwards slightly
  • Push left hip out to left bend upper torso slightly right
  • Push bottom backwards and allow body to bend forward slightly
  • Repeat cycle 6 to 8 times and return to opening position

Cloud Hands

Benefits: Improves coordination, strengthens back muscles, relieves neck tension, stress relief and enhances mind functioning

  • Breathe in, turn your left arm towards the center chest area at shoulder level with the palm of your hands facing your body
  • Drop right arm in line with your body and palm facing the side of your body
  • Transfer your weight to your left leg
  • Lock legs and turn body from your waist
  • Turn left
  • Let your arm follow the body’s side movement
  • Drop left arm in line with your body and palm facing the side of your body
  • Position your right arm over the center chest area at shoulder level with right  palm facing your chest
  • Return to center from left
  • Breathe out
  • Transfer weight to center
  • Transfer your weight to your right leg
  • Lock legs and turn body from your waist
  • Turn right
  • Let your arm follow the body’s side movement
  • Drop right arm in line with your body and palm facing the side of your body
  • Position your left arm over the center chest area at shoulder level with right  palm facing your chest
  • Return to center from right
  • Breathe out
  • Transfer weight to center
  • Repeat exercise 6 to 8 times and return to opening position

Three Steps to Detoxification

Our bodies come fully equipped with natural processes that eliminate harmful toxins in the body. But in today’s modern world, keeping our bodies free from toxins is becoming more difficult. We can’t control the world around us but there are things we could change to minimize our exposure to toxins. Instead of reaching out for medications we could help our body become more efficient by living a healthier lifestyle.

Assess your lifestyle

    Poor lifestyle habits are major factors which increase our risk of certain diseases. Choosing to live a healthy lifestyle is the first step towards achieving a healthier body. Smoking, drinking and eating unhealthy diets should be avoided to give your body its best chance of recovering from illness. Drinking or eating foods which contain chemicals defeats the purpose of detoxification which is to completely eliminate and flush all harmful chemicals and agents from a patient’s body.

    Eating Healthy

      There are many types of detoxification diets available. However, all of these promote diets which contain general food types. People planning to take a detoxification diet should always remember to keep everything natural. Great care should be taken to avoid foods containing chemicals such as those artificially prepared or preserved.

      Eating natural foods is not the only thing important to remember. But eating the right type of food is equally important. Fruits and vegetables are foods rich in antioxidants, they also contain large amounts of fiber which not only prevent some types of cancer but also aids in proper digestion. People should also drink lots natural juices which contain large amounts of natural antioxidants.

      Drink lots of water, water is the main medium for transporting toxins out of the body. They increase urine output and hasten the release of toxins in the body. Water therapy also helps to manage constipation, gastric acidity, and diabetes. Studies have also shown their benefits in decreasing the levels of blood chemicals after treatment.

      Maintaining Optimum Function of Detoxification Organs

        The liver and kidneys act as the two major organs responsible for eliminating toxins from the body. Medications all pass through the liver; this is where they are broken down before finally being released for elimination. Medications are important for treatment but they also take a toll on the liver. Taking in too much medication may cause liver damage and cause side effects.

        Blood passes thru the kidneys where they are filtered and impurities are passed out thru the urine. It is important that we keep this organs working properly. Putting great stress on these organs can impair their normal functioning. Giving these organs some rest by providing other exits for toxins. This is possible by encouraging the patient to go to a sauna or letting them do simple exercises in order for the toxins to be passed out by the skin thru perspiration.

        Free Radicals

        Simply put, free radicals are atoms which have an odd number of electrons in its outer ring. Free radicals are atoms which have unstable outer rings. These atoms react by giving off some of its electrons or gain electrons from other atoms to complete their outer shells. It is believed that thru these chemical reactions, normal cells mutate and give rise to cancer cells.

        The body normally produces these free radicals thru normal body functions such as metabolism. The danger is when the body’s antioxidants become insufficient to eliminate these free radicals. Abnormally high concentrations of free radicals in the body may also be due to exposure to some external factors. Excessive drinking, smoking and pollution are major factors in the formation of free radicals in the body. Another factor which causes high levels of free radicals in the body is age, decreasing production of antioxidants and accumulation exposes this age group to the negative effects of free radicals.

        Chinese Herbs and Treatments

        Traditional Chinese medicine has long used herbs and other types of natural treatments for maintaining the body’s optimum health. Most of these treatments have even reached mainstream medicine with alternative treatments such as acupuncture being accepted by medical practitioners. Chinese herbs play a large role in traditional Chinese medicine. Below are some of the commonly used Chinese herbs and their benefits.

        Ginseng (renshen)

        One of the most popular Asian herbs in use today, ginseng has long been used as n integral part of different herbal treatments in traditional Chinese medicine. It has also been regarded as an effective way of treating and preventing many diseases. Benefits of ginseng include stress reduction, improved memory, and it could also be used as an aphrodisiac.

        Some of the benefits of using ginseng includes improved stamina, strengthens the immune system and promotes better respiration in patients.  People who are susceptible to infections such as respiratory diseases may use this to compensate for diminished immune functions and weaker bodies. Ginseng addresses this need by boosting immune functions and promoting oxygen absorption in the lungs.

        Ginseng can be prepared in a variety of ways, but is best taken raw. Rinse and thoroughly cleanse the ginseng, slice a piece of a fresh or dried ginseng and ingest it orally just like fresh fruits or vegetables. Cooking or boiling may damage some of the compounds contained in ginseng so careful preparation should be done not to overcook the ginseng.

        Ginseng is normally served as tea; it may be taken alone or in combination with other herbs. Today, the herb comes in different form such as tablets, capsules and powder. Dosage may depend on the type of treatment it is designed for and taking in large amounts may lead to certain side effects. Known side effects of ginseng intake are nervousness and hormonal imbalances in women. Recommended dosage for ginseng intake is 0.5 to 3 grams daily.

        Rhubarb (dahuang)

        The root was one of the first Chinese herbs adopted in the West. It has been widely used as a laxative and other benefits include treatment of jaundice, diarrhea, ulcers, menstrual disorders and burns. Largely regarded as a Dietetic, the herb is mainly used for relieving symptoms of digestive conditions.

        Uses of rhubarb includes pain relief, reduced autoimmune functions, improved blood circulation and decreased chance of acquiring digestive infections. Cooking time plays a great role in the herbs preparation. Cooking the herb for more than the prescribed time decreases its laxative properties but other medical benefits are maintained. Normal intake consists of taking 0.5 to 3 grams daily. Although the herb is widely used as a way of treating symptoms of digestive disorders, rhubarb should not be taken by patients suffering from irritable bowel conditions as they lead to uncontrolled diarrhea and abdominal cramping.

        Salvia (danshen)

        Derived from the red roots of the Chinese sage plant, salvia has been used for centuries as a treatment for tissue injuries. Salvia is currently being studied as a treatment for traumatic injury, chronic inflammation, post-stroke syndrome and infections caused by some degenerative diseases.

        This herb has played an important role as a domestic herbal remedy treatment, providing relief for common symptoms in digestive disorders. It is also used as an antiseptic gargle and can heal sore throats and mouth sores. Salvia is also effective in relieving tooth pain when gargled.

        Medical properties of the herb which make them useful in relieving symptoms are its antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, stimulant, and vasodilator properties. Popular medical applications of the herb include management of excessive lactation, excessive salivation, and menopausal problems.

        The use of salvia in the treatment of TB symptoms is also well documented. Salvia has been used in the management of common TB symptoms such as night sweats and profuse perspiration. Other medical applications include treatment of some female sterility problems.

        Patients suffering from Cardio Vascular diseases may also benefit from the use of salvia. The herb is known for improving blood circulation. Other benefits resulting from the use of this herb are lower blood pressures, reduce cholesterol levels and improved liver functioning.

        However, the use of salvia in pregnant women is discouraged. Use of sage in pregnant women may result to miscarriage or abnormalities. It may be used alone or in combination with other herbs to produce desired effects. Recommended consumption is tagged at 1 to 20 grams per day, with special consideration as overdose may result to adverse side effects to the patient.

        Rei Shi (Ganooderma lucidum)

        The use of mushrooms in Chinese medicine has been practiced for centuries. These are often used in combination with other herbs to provide symptoms and even cures for simple diseases. Rei Shi mushrooms are the most widely used medicinal mushrooms in Chinese medicine.

        Rei Shi mushrooms are rich in antioxidants and polysaccharides. They help improve immune functions and facilitate the elimination of cancer causing free radicals. Herbs are often used in relieving fatigue and improving general health conditions.