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Here are some easy tips for eating healthy

featured10 - Here are some easy tips for eating healthy

In our previous post we looked at some of the benefits of eating healthy. We established that in as much as people want to eat healthy, it’s never easy. That’s why we thought it wise to share with you some tips for eating healthy.

These are easy things which require your deliberate effort and will and the often you do them the more habitual they will become.

Here we go.

Always stay hydrated

31 - Here are some easy tips for eating healthy

One of the tricks to conditioning your body to eat healthy is by staying hydrated. When you are always hydrated, you tend to feel less hungry thereby you will encounter less cravings. This way, you are likely to reduce snacking on junk and restrict yourself to the three important meals of the day. Just ensure that the meals you actually take are healthy.

Don’t skip your meals

32 - Here are some easy tips for eating healthy

Part of conditioning your body to eat healthy is forming a habit of not skipping meals and this can be achieved through forming a habit of eating at the same time every day. When you have such a routine and you ensure that you are consuming full meals you can be guaranteed that within no time you will have adopted healthy eating.

Get as active as possible

33 - Here are some easy tips for eating healthy

When you get active through either regular exercises or physical activities that ensure your body gets just the right amount of physical exertion, it will help you develop a mindset of eating better as well. The more conditioned your body is to a healthy lifestyle such as exercise, the easier it will be to also condition it to adopt a healthier diet.

Find a healthy alternative for your cravings

34 - Here are some easy tips for eating healthy

Cravings are normal, and we mostly crave not the food itself but a component within the food. It’s therefore advisable to try and find out exactly what it is we crave for in our favorite food then figure out a healthy alternative for it. Also get to know exactly when your cravings kick in so that you can always be prepared.

Don’t beat yourself up when you slip up

35 - Here are some easy tips for eating healthy

Conditioning yourself to adopt healthy eating is a process that will take time and will be full of slip ups, this is a point you need to understand so that you avoid beating yourself up whenever you slip up from your diet regimen. Beating yourself up will more likely bring about depression and this might lead you to fully revert back to your old ways.

As you make the decision to start eating healthy, be sure to make it a fun process so that you can enjoy the journey to adopting healthier living.

5 important reasons for eating healthy

featured9 - 5 important reasons for eating healthy

Eating healthy is never an option that is up for debate if you desire a healthy life free from health complications. However, many people find it a difficult practice to adopt. It’s for this reason that we thought it wise to share with you a couple of benefits that are associated with eating healthy. We trust that they will inspire you to adopt better eating habits.

Let’s take a look at 5 important reasons for eating healthy.

It will help you become healthier

This is a rather obvious point but we just had to mention it. Eating healthy will make you healthier. It’s however import to point out that thin doesn’t mean healthy neither does overweight mean unhealthy, what usually matters is the composition of what you eat. The better the quality of food you eat the better your ability to improve the quality of your health.  You must find the perfect balance between all the nutritional elements that your body needs.

You will live longer

The reality is that save for natural disasters or any other unfortunate accidents, if you eat healthy and you are healthy, you will definitely live longer. Being healthy will keep you safe from many life threatening diseases that many people are exposed to thereby increasing your life expectancy. This is a fact that has been proven by numerous studies.

You will be more productive

The more good care you give your body through eating right, the more your body undergoes proper development because every part of you from your brain to your toes is getting the right balance of nutrients to enhance its development. This makes you healthier and stronger, and the healthier and stronger you are, the more productive you will be both at work and in your personal life.

It will save on your medical costs

Many people who are unhealthy tend to make visits to health facilities more often than those who are healthy. The trick to getting yourself healthy and reducing your visits to a medical facility and by that reducing your medical costs is eating right. Being healthy will enable you form a natural resistance to many illnesses thereby making frequent visits to the hospital unnecessary.

It will help enhance your mood

When you eat right and are healthy and in good shape, you will realize that you will always have the benefit of being in a good mood. Whereas it has not been determined which foods specifically promote good mood, studies have proven that healthy eating has a direct impact in stimulating the part of the brain that is responsible for mood.

There you have it. We trust that this has been enough to convince you to take up healthy eating.

These are the 4 major risks of homeopathy

featured8 - These are the 4 major risks of homeopathy

Whereas homeopathy medication is natural and has proven to have many advantages to patients, it’s also prudent for us to mention some of the major risk of homeopathy as an alternative form of treatment. These risks are based on well documented and very practical scenarios which need to be given due consideration.

We take a look at 3 major risks of homeopathy.

Homeopathy is not a solution for all medical conditions

21 - These are the 4 major risks of homeopathy

Proponents of using natural solutions such as homeopathy to address their health problems need to keep in mind that natural solutions such as homeopathic medicines don’t work in all medical situations. For instance, a patient may be in need of surgery, or may require a treatment that offers immediate relief, or may simply need lifestyle changes in order to restore their health. It would therefore be ill-advised to try and use homeopathy for all types of illnesses without taking into consideration other conventional medicine alternatives that may be more effective.

Homeopathy is not a solution for emergency situations

22 - These are the 4 major risks of homeopathy

When it comes to emergency medical situations, there is no data to support the use of homeopathy medication therefore it’s advisable to stick to conventional medication during such times. Emergency medical situations are those that are life-threatening and require immediate treatment such as asthma, meningitis, and other emergency situations that will require fast acting conventional medication to prevent death of the patient.

Lack of patient’s response to homeopathic treatment

23 - These are the 4 major risks of homeopathy

Just like any other form of medicine, there is always a likelihood that a patient will not respond to treatment for one reason or another. In a situation where it involves a homeopath, they are likely to assume that they are not giving the right medication therefore they will take their time to try and figure out what the right medication is and this treatment could end up taking months. This will likely result in the illness getting worse or even another additional illness developing thereby making it more difficult to treat the patient.

Having looked at and analyzed the above major risks, it’s safe to say that though homeopathy is very good for your health, it’s not a 100 per cent replacement to conventional medication and it’s therefore important to consider it on a case by case basis. You must always ensure to consult a professional health practitioner to advice you on when you can and can’t turn to homeopathy. And most importantly know when the correct choice is turning to conventional medicine.

5 Steps To Beating A Drug Addiction – Rehab Clinics

Addiction Treatment 1024x684 - 5 Steps To Beating A Drug Addiction – Rehab Clinics

Drug addictions can take many forms and while people will instantly assume a drug addiction means a heavy drug it can be something like smoking as well. Yes, smoking is usually seen as a separate addiction to drugs, but many people do classify it as one all the same. Beating your drug addiction is something that can be achieved in a number of different ways you could join a rehab clinic like those listed on detoxofsouthflorida.com, but it’s not just that simple is it?

Rehab clinics are often misrepresented in the media, TV shows and movies aren’t really all that concerned with the facts, are they? Well not all of them anyway which is why many people have a very flawed understanding of how rehab clinics actually work. Let’s get one thing cleared up straight away rehab clinics can’t do everything for you.

You could go to a rehab clinic for months and still not kick your addiction if you want to beat a drug addiction it will require a lot of inner strength. Rehab clinics can help you a lot and will provide support, but they alone can’t beat your addiction for you. So, you need to understand that the progress you make is down to you.

The other big mystery many people face is how they get into rehab in the first place, you can’t just commit yourself, can you? Well actually you can, and many people actually do, you can also be referred to a rehab facility by a medical professional and sometimes in emergency situations, you can be court ordered to attend a rehab facility.

Finally, the last big concern is money, staying in a rehab facility can be costly however you will in the majority of circumstances be able to work out a payment plan for your treatment. Some states will also have funds that can help support you as well depending on the nature of your addiction.

So, that’s the basics covered what about when you get to rehab how do you beat your addiction? It will take time and you shouldn’t expect an overnight miracle just because you’re in a rehab facility but being there can help. Let’s look at the five steps to beating a drug addiction once you’re in rehab and after you’ve left.

Step 1 – Realize The Need For Change

If you don’t realize or admit the need for change then your stay at rehab will not be a success will it? However, admitting you have an addiction is difficult and many people will happily live in denial about it. The good news is if you have already made the decision to commit yourself to a rehab clinic then it’s highly likely that you have already come to the realization that you need to make a change. 

However, if you have been ordered to attend rehab then you could quite easily still believe you don’t have an addiction and find the whole thing pointless. People like this can be very hostile because of their situation, so in order for rehab to help you beat your drug addiction, you need to be open to change. 

Step 2 – Attend Support Sessions

Once you’re in the rehab facility you will need to actively engage with it, this means you will need to carry out the treatment plan that has been made for you. One of the most difficult areas of rehab will be the group support sessions if you are asked to attend these sessions make sure you do and take part in the discussion.

Step 3 – Attend Therapy/ Counselling

This is another difficult part of the recovery process when you’re in rehab you’ll often need to attend therapy and counseling sessions. When you’re in the rehab clinic you will usually get into the habit of doing this which is good the challenge comes when you leave rehab.

No one stays in rehab forever, do they? Which means it’s up to you to keep up the therapy and counseling when you leave. Rehab can help a lot, but the battle isn’t over once you leave so ensure you continue therapy/ counseling if you feel you need to once you leave. 

Step 4 – Avoid Triggers/ Temptations

This is another difficult part of the recovery process especially today when the phrase “trigger” has been so often debated. But what does it mean exactly? Thankfully it’s relatively self-explanatory and simple triggers are like temptations and are things that could cause you to fall back into your old habits.

For example, if you’re recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction you might want to avoid pubs and clubs or media that features a lot of drinking like tv shows or movies. Some recovering addicts will be able to see these things without issue but not everybody will, which is why it’s important that you try to avoid triggers/ temptations if you think they could cause you to relapse.

It might sound silly to you but trust me triggers are very real and are a big risk to your recovery process so avoid them if you think you need to.

Step 5 – Seek Out Continued Support Once Leaving 

The journey to beating your drug addiction isn’t over once you leave rehab, you’ll thankfully be in a much better situation and have a healthier state of mind, but the battle isn’t over. Once you leave rehab it will be your responsibility to continue the fight but remember you don’t have to go it alone.

You might not be in rehab anymore, but you can still get support from friends and family as well as professionals like counselors and support groups. Once you feel like you have made enough progress you could even use what you have learned to help other people. Many of the people who work in support groups will have battled their own addictions in the past.

So, that’s the five steps to beating a drug addiction, the battle might be hard, but you can do it and committing yourself to a rehab clinic can be the first step towards a better life.

Health – The 5 benefits of homeopathy

featured7 - Health – The 5 benefits of homeopathy

In today’s world where people are moving further and further away from organic solutions to health and instead adopting synthetic solutions.It therefore goes without saying that homeopathy remains a very important health option.

We take a look at the 5 benefits of homeopathy in the restoration of your full health.

Homeopathy is essentially natural medicine

Homeopathy works through making use of natural substances found in plants, animals and minerals to stimulate the body’s abilities to self-heal. It’s 100 per cent natural with not traces of synthetics introduced to the body. It’s for this reason that this type of treatment is effective, fast and has no side effects, and is one of the most recommended natural treatment regimens.

Homeopathy helps in building resistance

Homeopathy treatment works through introducing natural substances from plants, animals and minerals into the body which are then meant to stimulate the body’s natural self-healing ability in order for it to fight off the illness. This method of treatment in essence helps the body build resistance to illnesses because once the antibodies have been formed they will remain in the body for an extended period of time.

Homeopathy works in patients of all ages

Because of the fact that homeopathic medicines are natural and have been proven not to have any side effects, this means that they are perfect for patients of any age, from infants to the elderly, as well as pregnant or lactating women. This is especially significant considering the fact that conventional medication is responsible for thousands of deaths annually due to patients’ reaction to medication.

Homeopathy has proven to be safe

Homeopathic medicines which have been derived from plants, animals and mineral substances which are naturally occurring are usually introduced in the body in very small amounts which in most cases have been diluted and filtered out to leave only the healing properties. This means that no harmful substances capable of causing harm will find their way into the body. This therefore makes these medicines very safe.

Homeopathy medication is fast acting

Research has proven that homeopathic medicine acts just as fast as conventional medication if not faster and this applies to a wide range of illnesses. The fact that it’s fast acting means your full health is restored much faster therefore the patient can go back to their normal routines in record time.

With such benefits in place, there is no excuse for you as a patient not giving homeopathy a try. People who have used this form of treatment will attest that this is definitely the best health decision you will ever make for yourself and your family.

info3 - Health – The 5 benefits of homeopathy

Infographic by: perioimplants.us

The 4 myths about homeopathic medicines

featured6 - The 4 myths about homeopathic medicines

Doctors who have administered homeopathic medicines and patients who have received them will attest that this is a really effective treatment method because it’s safe, and has no side effects as compared to conventional medicine. However, there are critics who keep insisting that this form of medication is not as good as is reported.

It’s for this reason that there are a number of myths that have come up which we can refer to as untruths regarding homeopathy.

Let’s take a look at the 4 myths which we will attempt to demystify.

Diseases usually get worse after treatment is administered

11 - The 4 myths about homeopathic medicines

There is a common myth peddled by critics as they claim that diseases will usually get worse after treatment has been administered. This is actually false information. The fact of the matter is that once the initial treatment has been administered and starts acting on the ailment, the patient might end up presenting as though they are getting worse but it’s actually the opposite, as this is typical of the process of getting cured.

The effectiveness of homeopathy is limited to chronic conditions

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There is a common myth or rather misconception that homeopathic medicine will only work for chronic ailments and not in cases of acute ailments. This can’t be further from the truth. The reality of things is that homeopathy works both for acute and chronic diseases and is very effective in both situations. As long as the patient gets the right dosage and combination of medication, they can be assured of full recovery.

Homeopathic medication acts slowly

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Critics and people who don’t have a proper understanding of how homeopathy works claim that these medications act slowly on the patient. This is not true. As a matter of fact, homeopathy medicines have been proven to act in the same speed if not faster than conventional medication. This has been proven in cases like diarrhea, cough and fever, among many others. In chronic diseases, it may appear slow acting but this is not actually the case as the medication usually seeks to address the root cause of an illness as opposed to providing superficial relief.

You can’t administer homeopathic medication with conventional medication

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There are other critics who claim that you can’t administer homeopathic medication together with conventional medication and this is absurd. The fact is that patients who want to switch from conventional medicine to homeopathic medicine are usually encouraged to take both forms of treatment especially during the transition period because if they all of a sudden stop taking the conventional medication, their symptoms will get worse in spite of taking homeopathic medicine. It’s therefore advisable to take both but gradually reduce the dosage of the conventional medication.

All in all, homeopathy has proven to be a good natural alternative to conventional medication however before you make the switch, be sure to consult a reputable medical provider.

The 5 Hidden Dangers of Swimming Pools

family hotels - The 5 Hidden Dangers of Swimming Pools

Love that feeling of weightlessness as you float in the water? Or is it the adrenaline rush you get from being able to do fifty laps in the pool without stopping that excites you? Whatever it is, if you answered yes to either or both of the questions above, then you are a water baby just like us! After all, summer is almost upon us. There is nothing quite like a rejuvenating dip in the pool on a hot summery day. Those of you who are fortunate enough to live near the seaside, a lake or a clean river where you can go and plunge directly into the heart of nature-cherish those moments. The rest of us have to make do with public swimming pools-which are not a bad option but don’t retain the charm of oceans or lakes.

Now, you may think that you are swimming in a controlled environment where safety parameters have been enforced (what are lifeguards for?) and are regularly monitored. However, according to Willsha Pools who provide specialist pool decking you will be surprised to learn the number of security violations that took place at public swimming pools areas.

Chlorine

We all are aware of this chemical present in swimming pools. It has a particular smell that can cause allergic reactions among swimmers such as red eyes and has been linked to cancer as well. Chlorine has the power to kill bacteria and germs, stops algae and manages any organic waste generated from swimmers’ body oils and sweat. However, given its disadvantages, it is imperative that you perform the following steps if using a public swimming pool.

  • Protect your eyes whilst swimming and underwater to protect them from any potential redness. The best thing you can do is to invest in a pair of water goggles and make them your new best friend in the pool.
  • Remain hydrated by drinking plenty of regular water that has been filtered and does not contain any form of chlorine.
  • Try to indulge in this activity within a swimming pool that is located outside.
  • Change your bathing suit the minute you get out of the swimming pool and take an immediate shower. Why must you do that? Simple, really. As we go about our normal days, we tend to use makeup, perfume, lotion, sunscreen and shampoo. Our bodies contain residue of all these products. If they interact with the chemicals utilized to disinfect pools, it can become detrimental to our health.

Cloudy Waters

If you are about to take an impulsive dive into the public pool, you may want to just take a quick look and check the level of water transparency. If you cannot see the bottom, do not swim in it. We repeat, do not swim in it. If you do, you could put yourself at risk for illnesses that could be contagious. There could be algae near the surface of the swimming pool. It is a slimy substance that you must stay far away from. What you can do is take a stick and stir it into the swimming pool’s surface, if it doesn’t show anything strange, and has clear water-go jump in and have fun!

Overcrowded Pools

If your community swimming pool is overflowing with people, you may want to think about either visiting a less crowded one or taking a beach holiday. Pools that have too many people within its premises will be the breeding ground for bacteria, fungi and other forms of viruses. High volumes of chlorine and other disinfectants may be ineffective in eradicating the pool of such issues.

Ear Infections

After you are done with your swimming, there is a bit of pool water usually left over in your ear. It could lead to the formation of an infection known as “Swimmer’s Ear” or otisis externa infection. This illness can have an adverse impact on your ability to hear and will cause both irritation and pain. The signs include but are not limited to your ear swelling up, redness, pain if pressure is placed on your ear, and any kind of ringing that you think you hear. To prevent such unpleasant situations, you may want to consider the following:

  • Wear a swim cap whilst swimming and put in tiny ear plugs to keep your ears as dry as possible
  • Turn your head right and left after a swim to let any remaining water out
  • Dry your ears properly with the help of a towel
  • Use a hair dryer to heat up any water. Use the dryer at the lowest temperature and fan speed.
  • Don’t utilize any cotton swabs or ear sticks.

Eye Infections

Chlorine tends to irritate the eye and could lead to conjunctivitis. Depending on the kind of conjunctivitis you have, it could blur your sight or cause pain and redness in your eye. If you feel that your eyes are bothering you, do not wait and go to your doctor at once.

Digestive System Infections

The implementation of filtering systems across sundry pools is a common practice in the field of swimming pools. Mixed water flowing in from different swimming entities increases the risk of infection spread across pools present in its ecosystem. Diarrhoea microbes can journey through the pool’s filtration network and create a higher probability of sickness. To avoid this, you must shower before and after using the pool and do not swallow any water. Also, if you do not trust the pool’s level of hygiene, just don’t go in.

As stated earlier, you must change your bathing suit the minute you step out and take a shower. Take a few minutes and give yourself a good dry rubdown. Make sure you have a pair of special slippers to walk to and fro from the dressing room in your pool vicinity and you must not enter the pool in any shoes that you wore on the street or road. Do not let your toddler swim in the pool as his or her’s immune system is still being developed and isn’t as strong as you would like it to be.

Should we be looking to the Orient to utilise more of their alternative health systems?

chinese herbs table manuscript 900 - Should we be looking to the Orient to utilise more of their alternative health systems?

We’ve already taken it upon ourselves in the Western world to adopt a selection of the Traditional Chinese Medicine therapies and exercises but should we be taking things further by utilising those left that we’re still yet to grasp with both hands?

Adoption into Western culture

It wasn’t until the 1970s that Eastern practices which were said to aid both mental and physical health started to gain popularity in Western culture and were brought under scrutiny to research their effects. The advantages of practicing meditation, yoga, acupuncture and Tai Chi became more mainstream to a point where they are now synonymous with relaxation and positive mental health. Other counterparts from the same holistic system of cupping and coining, herbal medicines and moxibustion to name a selection of the others have yet to be embraced with the same enthusiasm.

A complete holistic health care system

Traditional Chinese Medicine is outlined as a completely natural holistic health care system that has been in use for over two thousand years.

It is said to consider all aspects of a patient’s lifestyle as opposed to treating a specific ailment or symptom and is believed to do this by stimulating the body’s own natural healing to encourage better health and minimise disease.

This is achieved via the body’s network of meridians where its ‘vital energy’ or Qi connects and stimulates the major organs, so that working on specific paths will help in curing the problems relating to each of them. We have readily accepted the use of acupuncture, which works on those very same meridians and is said to regulate the Qi (or chi) and has been shown to greatly reduce chronic pain from a variety of health problems.

The sum of their parts

Designed to work alongside each other as a complete package are we therefore missing a trick by only employing the techniques we’ve so far managed to accept as useful? The complete system after all is supposed to analyse the patient’s lifestyle and environment, manage their stresses and emotional well being, while also improving their physical existence by way of nutritional diet and regular exercise. So why have we accepted some sections and not others if they’re supposed to work as a complete plan?

Elements more and less accepted

Acupuncture

A method of regulating Qi by inserting fine needles into the skin along the body’s meridian pathways. This method is now acknowledged to combat pain, stress and also improve hormonal balance. It is used to treat such pain as migraine and headache, digestion issues of nausea and vomiting, emotional disorders of anxiety and depression, and also in degenerative diseases and rehabilitation such as arthritis and in personal injury.

Cupping

Recently making more of an impact into popular culture due to its promotion by celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Justin Bieber and Victoria Beckham, each of these has been seen sporting the small round welts where blood has been pulled up through the skin from the placement of air-tight cups, designed to remove harmful toxins by promoting an increased blood flow to energy points on the body. With similar suggested benefits to acupuncture as pain management, improved immunity, and better digestion should we be seeing more of this method being performed alongside its acupuncture associate?

Aromatherapy

These oils aren’t used solely in stress management of psychological issues. Through inhalation or passing through the skin via massage these essential oils not only provide a pleasant smell but can also provide respiratory disinfection and work as a decongestant. The molecules from the oils are passed through the lungs to other parts of the body. On reaching the brain they are active in our limbic system that controls emotion, heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory and stress. This may have a simple and subtle effect on our body but one we have accepted as a positive action nonetheless.

Chinese herbal medicines

As one of the major parts in Traditional Chinese Medicine the herbal medicines are overlooked in Western culture. Perhaps because of the way a herbalist decides which of the vast array of herbs will make up your own personal assortment to best aid your well-being and heal your specific malady? It may come across as a bit of a dark art, one we still look upon it as something not to be taken too seriously, yet is it too far removed from our own health practitioners picking other mixtures of ingredients from a pharmacy or supermarket shelf we’ve been taught to trust will have the desired outcome?

Combining each of its parts for the greatest benefits

Nutrition

The system is best utilised when combined as a full health package. We should be feeding our nutrition needs by incorporating this system’s diet outlined to regulate detoxification, improve energy levels and prevent deficiencies. We should understand the importance of diet already; sadly it’s a part of our culture we so often get incredibly wrong, with obesity becoming a national problem, especially amongst our children. Perhaps this is an area where we should be listening harder?

Exercise

Yoga and meditation are more universally accepted than the Chinese counterpart of Tai Chi (or Qi Gong) although each work within similar methods of concentration, flexibility and strength through posture and movement. We understand the benefits of general exercise but the manner in which Chinese exercise works and how it develops strength and flexibility through fluid motion means that it doesn’t strain or stress the body giving it a much healthier and low risk way to achieve results.

Massage

Soft tissue massage will stimulate blood flow and increase healthy circulation. Both acupuncture and acupressure will add to the balance and restructuring of your meridians or energy lines. Each of these physical manipulations is set to bring about better natural resistance to illness and disease.

Herbal medicine and moxibustion

The historical use of these natural ingredients whether induced by mouth, airways or through the skin, have been a huge part of the Chinese holistic system for thousands of years. These additional methods that once again are encouraged to add to and improve the body’s existing healing systems have been accepted and utilised by Eastern culture could have an impact on our own approaches if we readily accept them as part of the whole instead of just one small part.

The benefits

It is suggested that by accepting the full system and living by the ways promoted in Chinese culture we can stand to reduce chronic pain, alleviate headaches, balance hormonal problems, improve fertility, enhance the health of each of our major organs, promote and protect our cognitive health, lower our levels of physical and mental stress, and increase our muscle strength, flexibility and balance.

It all sounds incredibly beneficial and with the peace of mind knowing that all the ingredients to the system are natural and organic, when we’re looking for a rounded and wholesome way to achieve a better state of good health, this is surely a system we could do well to consider.

Superfoods – fact or fiction?

20 Slimming Superfoods 1240x820 - Superfoods – fact or fiction?

It’s fact. And it’s fiction. And it’s also sat somewhere in the middle.

Let me explain.

All unprocessed foods are valuable to your body’s health. That’s the somewhere in the middle bit. Some foods however, are so packed with the essential vitamins or the fats and proteins we need to absorb easier them that they perform much higher than other foods that don’t. Super.

The fiction element of the argument is that by eating just these superfoods, merely labelled as such by cunning marketeers, is that they’ll have incredible properties and offer amazing results. It’s purely a marketing tactic to encourage you to buy those products producers want to sell.

There is no single food that will fly into a burning building and rescue victims trapped in the fire, and by the same standards there is no single food that will prevent cancer, reduce your blood pressure, or soak up the free radicals that damage our cells.

So what’s the answer?

The answer clear and simple is the same as it always has been.

Balance.

Eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, don’t put your body under too much strain but put it under just enough to keep it performing at the rate it requires to keep it performing at its best.

Back to the foods

So what does your balanced diet look like?

If you want to remember that none of the so-called superfoods will remove the risk or damage done by eating the foods that aren’t part of your healthy diet then that’s a good place to start. It’s a cruel world that the foods we crave the most, the ones that seem the most unhealthy, (go on, think about it, the high in fat chocolate, the sugar rich creams and alcohol laden wines, beers and whiskey, ice cream, donuts, burgers and chips…) then those are the ones you should try to avoid or eat in moderation. Nobody expects you to be live like a monk, but if you want to be healthy and look after your body, then you need to really limit your intake of fuels that aren’t very good for you.

Below are a few examples of the so-called superfoods. They’re not magical, but they’re pretty super all the same. The reason being is that they perform above and beyond a normal food type. Every food will contain an amount of some vitamin or mineral that your body needs to function. Some have tiny amounts of those ingredients and some, our so-called superfoods, have them in abundance. Putting together your balanced diet then, it would make sense to choose foods that not only provide you a full range of everything your body needs to function to it’s peak performance but to do it efficiently we should choose the ingredients where we hit our daily recommendations without having to overdo the eating.

Five-a-day?

This phrase has been banded about forever and for good reason. Five different types of fruit or vegetables will pretty much go a long way to providing the nutrients we need. It’s a good start. To make our job of deciding which we should eat a little easier here’s are a few suggestions not limited to fruit and vegetables but are in the list of ‘superfoods’ and why they’re such key players.

Almonds

Ok, nuts are full of fat. Bad right? Not necessarily. Almonds provide the richest source of calcium of all nuts and have an incredibly high level of Vitamin E. They’re full of protein and vegan friendly. Just keep an eye on how many you eat. Fat is still fat and those calories need a limit too.

Avocado

Full of monounsaturated fats (a good fat – one to help your body absorb Vitamins A, D, E and K) that helps protect your cardiovascular system. But be careful, one avocado contains as many calories as a Mars bar, and we know what too many Mars bars will do to your figure…

Brocolli

What? Broccoli isn’t super? It’s just, well, broccoli! As we’ve said, the superfood marketing boom concentrated on the things that the producers wanted to sell to you at hiked up prices. Our superfoods are ones that perform above and beyond other foods. Broccoli is one of the most nutrient heavy vegetables (or even foods) you’re likely to find. Full of potassium, iron, calcium and fibre and topped off with good doses of Vitamins A, C and K then if you’re not including this hero in your meals already, you really should be. The combination of such elements help to combat aging, strengthen your bones, lower your blood pressure and can help reduce swelling. The antioxidant lutein, also found in broccoli, is known to protect your retina. Another little bonus right there.

Eggs

The old school thought that eggs weren’t healthy, that they were bad for your cholesterol levels, has been overtaken by the fact that we know now that they’re full of protein, essential minerals and vitamins. Eggs provide a source of EVERY vitamin apart from Vitamin C. They are especially high in B12 and K, providing a third of the RDA of K for women.

Kale

Back to one of those foods featured on the hipster friendly marketeers list. Kale is rich in fibre, packed with minerals and vitamins. High in Vitamin A, B6 and C kale is great for your skin, and like its green brother broccoli it also contains that lutein that’s so good for your eyes.

Having said that, don’t buy in too heavy on kale being an extraordinary vegetable. Many of your less glamorous and regular supermarket buys will provide just as many of the benefits and often in larger quantities. Carrots will provide you with more Vitamin A, spinach will provide bigger doses of iron, magnesium and potassium, and good old brussels sprouts will supply more fibre. As we’ve said already, it’s about variety. And balance.

Our body’s sweeter friends

Looking for a way to feel like you’re eating a treat but still promoting good health to your system?

Pomegranate seeds are rich in antioxidants, Vitamins B, C and K, fibre and potassium. Drinking its juice will promote blood flow and lower blood pressure.

Similarly blueberries also contain antioxidants known to absorb free radicals that will damage healthy cells.

Goji berries have been utilised in Chinese medicine for thousands of years and contain Vitamin A (an antioxidant), Vitamin C (also an antioxidant that builds collagen to promote healthy skin), and also iron (aiding the manufacture of blood cells).

And so many more…

The list goes on and on. Beetroot, seaweed, salmon, sweet potato, seeds, cinnamon and pumpkin; all brimming with the things our bodies need. And there are more and more, it’s what makes nutrition such an endless and complicated topic, yet you don’t have to be an expert to make what you eat count for you. We gave you the golden rule right at the beginning. Variety. Eat a good balance of fruit, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds and you’re half way there. Keep an eye on those calories and you’re really on it.

For those of you not sure how to mix them into your daily diet? Don’t despair! Our marketing friends are onto that too. You can find hundreds of recipes in books and online that will guide you through every step of the process; suggesting recipes, food diaries and more to keep you superfood fit. So what are you waiting for? Go eat yourself healthy, but in between those runs in the countryside and long walks by the sea of course!

An introduction to meditation

Meditation Goleman - An introduction to meditation

Modern meditation and mindfulness seem to go together hand in hand in today’s society where positive mental balance and a healthy mind-set are becoming one of our main goals in living up to the current lifestyles we are all striving to achieve. Anxiety and depression have become openly accepted as pitfalls from living in a high-stress world, where the conventionally programmed achievements for what society deems an achievable quality of life are becoming harder and harder to realise.

So meditation has become the buzzword for inner peace and tranquillity yet it all sounds just a little bit too hippy doesn’t it? Well it shouldn’t. Not anymore.

Years before the art became known of and popular within Western culture it was the religions of Asian countries that were using meditation as an integral part of their own practices. Buddhists in China were responsible for teaching their own forms of the practice to Japanese monks who introduced it as their ‘Zen’ state. This all happened back in the 8th Century when at a similar time Jewish practices were introducing their own types of meditation into traditions such as their Kabbalistic practice, Islam introduced chanting their God’s names and breathing control and Eastern Christians were repeating set prayers in meditative postures.

The act of meditation’s appearance throughout Europe or America didn’t happen until the mid-90s where studies and research was carried out into proving the benefits of the practice. Since then it has grown in popularity, gathering momentum as a positive psychological process to help balance our minds and our emotions, to better understand how and why we feel the things we are feeling in order to process them healthily instead of pushing them down and denying their consequences, in turn creating a better mental and physical well-being for a rounded complete health model.

We are taught that good mental health is achievable for all if we exercise and eat properly, if we make friends with our demons, and if we recharge our minds in the ways they need for us to have the best chances of a healthy head and a healthy heart.

But how?

Here’s a simple introduction on how to start practicing meditation and how to develop into a state of practice that can help you in your daily life.

  1. Relax. Sitting or lying down is a great place to start. Turn off all those distractions; turn off the radio, the TV, turn off your phone, and so to start the process create a peaceful and relaxing environment. Relax your limbs. Relax your posture. Relax.
  2. Breathe. And concentrate on your breathing. It doesn’t have to be any different to your normal healthy breathing pattern but be aware of the air entering your body, and then leaving it. Focus on that breathing pattern. Focus on your breathing alone. Use it to remain calm and peaceful.
  3. Be mindful. From this point every one of your everyday thoughts are going to try and invade your mind and interrupt the process. That’s fine. Your mind isn’t used to shutting down. It wants to be useful so it’s bringing things it needs to correct into a place you can do something about them. The difference here is that instead of stewing on them, trying to figure them out in the heat of the moment, you have to accept them for what they are, let them go, and move back to concentrating on your breathing.

That’s it. Well, it’s not completely it but that’s where it all begins. Once you’ve mastered taking control over those interfering thoughts you can begin to understand why your brain won’t let them go when you’re trying to relax. It’s your task then to understand how to process them so you can stop the causes of those thoughts interfering not only with your meditation but also your day-to-day life. It’s about gaining awareness and finding solutions instead of letting them eat at you and making your stresses worse.

Mindfulness

The act of meditation isn’t going to buy you inner peace from the outset. That will come with practice and understanding and what will happen from regular practice is gaining an understanding of how to exist simply in that moment. That will give your mind some calm to recharge, it will give you some time for yourself that doesn’t contain worry, stress or problems, and by looking into the invading thoughts that interfere with your process and asking why your mind doesn’t want to let them go you have an opportunity to understand where they come from, what emotions and feelings are causing them, and to be able to formulate a resolve that will give you the ability to control them and not have them control you.

With practice you will be able to use your new meditation skills in a variety of locations and different situations. Walking meditation focuses on your footsteps instead of your breathing patterns. Meditating in locations of awe such as by the sea, in nature or a favourite escape space will all buy into the feelings of happiness focussing you into a position of peace to contemplate positively as opposed to the bustle of life dragging you further away from it.

Benefits

The research into meditation has shown it to be prolific in areas of stress, anxiety and depression. It has also show great results benefiting physical health problems and is often used in the prevention of physical complaints and utilised in conjunction with physical therapies. It promotes a calmness we need to help prevent overloading our systems and by processing the harmful situations we’re becoming more aware of in a calmer and more practical way we’re reducing further the causes of those stresses.

Daily meditation has shown huge results to both good mental health and physical. Reducing stress on your body both mentally and physically is giving both a perfect opportunity to recharge in different ways than sleep does. Your brain is still active for a lot of the time you are asleep so helping your brain to find peace during your waking hours is an incredible aid to the health of your mind and your body.

Practice

It won’t happen overnight. Learning to be effective with such a process that your mind isn’t used to is by no means easy. The thoughts that will invade your mind at first will seem almost impossible to deal with, to even slow down, never mind control. It takes practice. Regular practice. The good news is that you can do it. It isn’t as difficult as it first seems if you stick to a regular practice at regular intervals. In the beginning a few minutes will seem impossible. You’ll drift in and out and far away from where you’re trying to keep your focus but a minute will soon turn into two, and then into five, ten and more. By then you’ll be ready to investigate further into more advanced methods of practice and how they will too enhance the way you react to the world, process its niggles, and learn to be happier, healthier, and more positive with each day it brings.