|Natural Alternatives for Your Total Health
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“The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well.” ~Hippocrates
IN THIS ISSUE:
1) TAI CHI MAY IMROVE RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS
2) SLIMMING SUPERFOODS
3) THE BENEFITS OF BASIL
1) TAI CHI MAY IMROVE RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS
Practicing tai chi on a regular basis may significantly improve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. There have been a number of studies on the benefits of practicing tai chi to improve the symptoms of osteoarthritis including joint pain, stiffness and weakness, and doing so may significantly improve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, according Patrick B. Massey, M.D., Ph.D in an article for the Chicago Daily Herald.
As medical director for complementary and alternative medicine for the Alexian Brothers Hospital Network, Massey explained that while there are a number of medical therapies proven to slow the progress of rheumatoid arthritis, such as anti-inflammatory medications, steroids and disease modifying medications specifically targeting the immune system, side effects often limit the use.
Physical therapies are beneficial and reduce the need for medication, but long-term compliance can be a problem. However, tai chi exercises often show better compliance, he explained in the article.
Tai chi is a Chinese martial art practiced primarily for health benefits, with slow, methodical and repetitive movements, which strengthen the tissues around the joints, Massey said. This can improve balance and strength, and also reduce pain. Over the past two decades, there is significant research published in the medical literature on the benefits of tai chi for arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, according to the article.
A recent medical study published in the medical journal BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders re-examined the use of tai chi exercises in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, and found there was the expected improvement in physical function, but patients also felt better, mentally, after practicing tai chi, according to the Daily Herald article. Stress levels were lower, energy levels were higher and overall mental outlook was brighter – so patients kept up with the practice because they actually felt better doing it.
“I strongly agree with the results of the study,” Massey said in the article. “In my experience, martial-art based exercises not only improve the physical condition, but in many cases have positive impact on the mental and emotional state. It simply feels good.”
2) SLIMMING SUPERFOODS
So-called superfoods are nutritional powerhouses that help build bones, prevent chronic diseases, improve your eyesight, and even keep your mind sharp. But did you know new evidence suggests these foods can also help you get—and stay—slim?
Read on for the top superfoods for weight loss, and how to pack them into your daily diet!
A cup of black beans packs a whopping 15 grams of satisfying protein and doesn't contain any of the saturated fat found in other protein sources, like red meat.
Oats are rich in fiber, so a serving can help you feel full throughout the day. Just a half cup packs 4.6 grams of Resistant Starch, a healthy carb that boosts metabolism and burns fat.
There's no reason to be afraid of eating fats—as long as they're the right fats.
Oleic acid, a compound in avocados' healthy monounsaturated fats (MUFAs), may trigger your body to actually quiet hunger. Stick to a quarter or a half of an avocado and watch that belly fat melt away. The creamy fruit is also packed with fiber and protein.
Lean sources of protein help you feel full without adding fat. However, 50% of women ages 18 to 50 don't know if they get enough of this essential nutrient.
Up your intake with salmon; it's a leaner choice than red meat and is chock-full of MUFAs to boot. A 2001 study found that dieters eating a MUFA-rich diet lost an average of 9 pounds, while their low-fat diet counterparts gained, on average,
Best known for their anti-aging effects, blueberries, while tiny, are a powerful figure-friendly eat: A 1-cup serving sets you back only 80 calories, and helps you feel full with 4 grams of fiber.
Cooked or raw, this cruciferous veggie is well-known for its cancer-preventing powers, but with a punch of filling fiber in less than 30 calories a serving, it's bound to prevent weight problems too.
Brown rice is a heartier, fiber-packed alternative to less-than-super white rice. A half-cup serving contains 1.7 grams of Resistant Starch, a healthy carb that boosts metabolism and burns fat.
Plus, brown rice is a low-energy-density food, meaning it's heavy and filling but low in calories. One study found that women who ate a higher-energy-density diet gained three times as much weight over six years than women eating a low-energy-density diet.
Just one pear packs 15% of your daily recommended amount of fiber. One study found that women who ate three pears a day consumed fewer calories and lost more weight than those who didn't. Ditch the peeler though; the skin is where all that filling fiber is hiding!
Resveratrol, the famed antioxidant found in grape skin, stops fat storage. Studies show that moderate wine drinkers have narrower waists and less belly fat than liquor drinkers. Downing a glass can boost your calorie burn for a good 90 minutes.
Even if you changed nothing else about your diet, eating half a grapefruit before each meal may help you lose up to a pound a week!
A compound in the tangy fruit can lower insulin, a fat-storage hormone, and that can lead to weight loss. It's also a good source of protein, and because it's at least 90% water, it can fill you up so you eat less.
One of several varieties of beans to make the list, red beans offer protein and fiber (more than 5 grams per serving!). Kidney beans are also rich in Resistant Starch; a 1/2-cup serving packs nearly 2 grams of this slimming carb.
Nuts are another superfood rich in healthy fats that help you slim down.
Almonds in particular can help you shed pounds: In one study, people who added a daily helping of the nuts to a low-cal diet lost more weight than people who followed the same diet but swapped almonds for a carb-heavy snack like crackers.
This steamy sip hydrates like water, which can help fill you up and shed pounds. Plus, the antioxidants in green tea will up your fat burn and calorie burn. One study found that five cups a day could help you lose twice as much weight, most of it around your middle.
Lentils are a great source of satiating protein and fiber. A half-cup serving delivers 3.4 grams of Resistant Starch, a healthy carb that boosts
Bananas are a slimming superfood at the heart of Health's CarbLovers Diet. A slightly green, medium-size banana will fill you up and boost your metabolism with its 12.5 grams of Resistant Starch. Even a ripe banana still ranks high on the list of foods containing RS, with almost 5 grams.
Eggs get a bad rap when it comes to weight loss. But the breakfast staple is loaded with protein that will curb your appetite. One study found that overweight women who ate egg breakfasts lost twice as much weight as women who started their days with bagels.
And don't worry about cholesterol: The study found that egg eaters don't have higher bad cholesterol or lower good cholesterol than bagel eaters.
Chocolate lovers, rejoice! A nibble of dark chocolate here and there can slow down digestion so you feel full longer and eat less at your next meal.
Dark chocolate is full of MUFAs; studies show eating a diet high in these healthy fats can rev your metabolism to burn fat and calories. It may also help by curbing cravings for salt, sweet, or fatty diet-wreckers.
At only 59 calories, you may not expect much from an orange, but thanks to a hefty dose of fiber, it ranks highest among fruits on a list of 38 filling foods put together by Australian researchers. Feeling full can help you eat less throughout the day.
True, potatoes are high in carbs, but they are three times as filling as a slice of white bread, and top all the foods on the same satiety index as oranges. Plus, potatoes are also rich in Resistant Starch, which helps your body burn fat.
Nut lovers don't have to stick to almonds. These tiny bites pack the same heart-healthy fatty acids that quell hunger hormones and burn belly fat. One study found that swapping healthy unsaturated ones like those found in nuts for saturated fats helped overweight people lose weight without reducing calorie intake or upping their exercise.
Plus, at only 95 calories for more than 80 nuts, you can enjoy them guilt free.
One-half cup of these fiber-packed beans contains almost 4 grams of fat-blasting Resistant Starch, a healthy carb that boosts metabolism.
Fresh goat cheese and feta contain a fatty acid that helps you feel full and burn more fat. Look for cheeses labeled "grass-fed," as those will have the highest content of this healthy fat.
The same fatty acid is found in milk, and milk's proteins can keep you feeling satisfied. The added calcium may also help; in one study, women burned more fat and calories when they had 1,000 to 1,400 milligrams of calcium per day.
Also known as chickpeas, these slimming beans pack more than 2 grams of Resistant Starch per half-cup serving. They're also a great source of fiber, protein, and healthy fats.
This starchy side makes a slimming complement to a low-cal meal by adding some satisfying fiber and nearly 2 grams of Resistant Starch in just a half-cup serving.
Another diet-friendly whole grain, quinoa is rich in hunger-fighting protein. You'll stay full longer on fewer calories and avoid overeating at other meals.
A half cup of cooked plantains packs almost 3 grams of Resistant Starch, a healthy carb that boosts metabolism and burns fat.
3) THE BENEFITS OF BASIL
By Leslie Barrie from Health Magazine
From busting stress to clearing your skin, this herb has some serious mind-body benefits.
Clear up that breakout with basil! The herb’s oil helps combat the bacteria that causes pimples, according to a study in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science.
Try this blemish-fighting fix from aesthetician Rena Revivo, chief executive officer of Spa de Soleil: Boil a handful of fresh basil leaves in 1 cup of water for 10 minutes; let the liquid cool. Dip a cotton ball into the liquid, pat it on your breakout zones, wait 10 minutes, then splash with water; repeat once or twice a day.
Note: If you’re pregnant or breast-feeding, discuss basil usage with your doc.
Feeling frazzled this summer? This herb can mellow you out. “Holy basil has antianxiety effects,” explains botanist James Duke, PhD, author of The Green Pharmacy. It contains phytochemicals that studies suggest may lower cortisol, a hormone secreted when you’re tense.
Simmer down on a hot, harried day by adding the herb to your iced tea: Add 2 or 3 leaves (per serving) while your tea is steeping. Lounge chair optional.
You may want to eat more basil during that time of the month: The herb is a super source of iron—a little more than 2 cups of chopped fresh basil leaves or 1 tablespoon dried provides 10% of your daily value, making it on par with spinach.
Eating it during your period can replenish some of the iron lost when you menstruate, says Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, author of The Flexitarian Diet. Sprinkle some sliced basil over chopped pineapple (which helps combat bloat)
If you overate at a backyard barbecue or threw back too many margaritas, break out the holy basil, which “has been found to help detoxify the liver,” says Elizabeth Trattner, an integrative health-care practitioner in Bay Harbor, Florida. The morning after, whip up some body-cleansing pesto to top your feel-better food of choice!
PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE!
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Brampton, Ontario, Canada
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