How to Pause, Rest, and Reset

Relaxed young woman

In addition to making dietary, herbal, and daily routine recommendations, Ayurvedic practitioners also give behavioral rasayanas. These are recommendations that prolong life and increase vitality. Behavioral rasayanas are ideas, habits, and attitudes that promote health.

One of my favorite behavioral rasayanas is to pause, rest, and reset your mind and body in the midst of activity. In the modern world, and particularly in American culture, we’re always on the go. Even when we are taking a break, our minds are still plugged into some form of technology (whether it’s our phones, laptops, or tablets) and we are actually never giving our minds a chance to stop and relax. Read more  »

Today’s Headlines: Weight Loss, Mayonnaise, and Stress in the Workplace

Drinking two glasses of water before each meal can help you lose weight. In a recent study, researchers found that drinking 16 ounces of water 30 minutes before a meal can significantly improve your weight loss goals. “The group that loaded up on water lost about three more pounds than the group that didn’t up their water intake. And the more they drank, the better the results; people who drank 16 ounces before every meal lost about 4.3 kg, or 9 pounds, over the course of the experiment.” Having a significant amount of water in your stomach helps you feel full and therefore control what you eat and how much you eat. (Time)

The FDA is making sure that everyone understands what mayonnaise actually is. A new vegan mayo has received backlash from the FDA on account of it being labeled as mayonnaise: in order to be considered mayo the product must contain eggs, and because it’s a vegan product it does not. A letter issued to the fake-mayo company from the FDA stated “We also note that these products contain additional ingredients that are not permitted by the standard, such as modified food starch, pea protein and beta-carotene, which may be used to impart color simulating egg yolk. Therefore, these products do not conform to the standard for mayonnaise.” And these warnings should not be taken lightly, the FDA sends out warning letters to companies all the time about mislabeling and expects them to listen and correct their ways in order to provide honest products to consumers. (The New York Times)

If you’re a women that works with mostly males, that could be what’s causing you stress. Recent research has proven that women who work in environments with mostly males have increased stress levels. “Prior evidence shows that women in male-dominated jobs often experience stressors like social isolation, sexual harassment and low levels of support in the workplace. The researchers thought that stressors like these could impact patterns of the stress hormone cortisol, which fluctuate throughout the day but take an irregular pattern in people exposed to high consistent levels of stress, the authors say. In the study, they found that the “token” women had less healthy cortisol profiles compared to women who worked in jobs with a more even gender split.” The study concluded with explanations that high cortisol and stress is mostly likely directly linked to “negative workplace social climates women face.” (Time)

 

 

Why “Clean Eating” Isn’t So Clean

Senior woman holding box with vegetables

If I am going to eat something bad for me, I want to know it and enjoy it (hello, raspberry pound cake this past weekend…but I digress). What I don’t like is trying to eat nutritiously and then finding out that my food comes with a side of harmful substances. I especially don’t want to give these substances to my toddler. But, not only can it be overwhelming to know what to avoid, inconsistent labeling makes it even more challenging.

So, what’s a person to do, short of get her PhD in chemistry? (I know that you readers are massively smart and accomplished, and some of you may take that challenge seriously.) You don’t need to — consider this your cheat sheet. Read more  »

Today’s Headlines: The Benefits of Exercising, Scheduled Meal Times, and Risk of Death in Overtime Workers

You should still be exercising daily, even into your senior years. A new study has revealed that “‘Age is not an excuse to do no exercise,”’ and not being physically active exponentially increases your risk for death. “The studies evaluated participants’ physical activity levels and their risk of dying from any cause over about 10 years. They also factored in participants’ self-reported health status, physical or mental illnesses, weight, cholesterol and other details. The mortality rate was 22 percent lower among people [that did a little exercise] than among those who did no exercise at all beyond the activities of daily living.” Based off the results, the researchers advised those aged 60 and above should concentrate on adding light activity into their lives. Even 15 minutes a day can improve and make drastic changes on health, so stand up a little more at work or go for a short walk after dinner. (Reuters)

Scheduled meals and packed lunches lead to a healthier lifestyle. If you pack a lunch almost every day for work you’re already working towards small steps to a healthier lifestyle. “In a new study published in the journal Public Health Nutrition researchers found that college students who made their meals at home and regularly consumed breakfast and an evening meal, had overall better diets. They avoided fast food and sugary drinks and ate more vegetables and fruit compared to people who did not keep an eating routine. People who ate on the run, or used media while they ate or purchased food often ate less healthily.” The study also noted that people who eat in front of the TV or while using any media devices are also more inclined to overeat and choose unhealthy food options. (Time)

Stop working overtime; it’s increasing your risk for serious health problems. A recent study found that people who work more than a traditional 40 hour work week are more prone to serious health issues including strokes and heart attacks. “And there was a 33 percent increased risk of stroke for workers who spend more than 55 hours a week at the office, even after controlling for certain behavioral risks such as smoking and alcohol consumption, according to researchers at University College London and Umeå University in Sweden…For worker bees who spend extra hours on the job, the longer an employee worked past the 40-hour mark, the more they faced an increased risk for stroke or other cardiac events, the study found. People working just a few extra hours a week, between 41 and 48 hours per week, had a 10 percent higher risk of stroke, researchers found, and those working 49 to 54 hours had a 27 percent increased risk of stroke.” While the study couldn’t completely explain or prove one set reason why this happens, researchers hypothesized it was combination of many things including increased workloads and stress, sitting too often, not enough physical activity, and not taking personal relaxation time to heal the body. (ABC)

Tackling the Misinformation on ‘Healthy’ Soda

Children Drink A Lot of Soda

If you’ve been following the news lately, you might have seen a lot of press about soft drinks. The New York Times recently published an article about how Coca Cola has been funding researchers to publish results that make their products seem healthy. San Francisco was also recently sued by the American Beverage Association, which represents the interests of companies that sell sugary drinks, for passing laws that would put health warning labels on their drinks. In reading through some of the legal documents, I was struck by the way soda companies were arguing that sugary beverages have nothing to do with the obesity and diabetes epidemics surging in our country. With all we know about how unhealthy these products are, how could that be? I want to some time this week to talk about the misinformation these companies are using to trick you and to help you try to figure out what to believe.

Not All Calories Are Alike
Beverage companies want to make it seem as though the source of the calories you eat matters less than the number you eat. The problem is, we’ve seen time and again in a variety of studies that not all calories are created equal. We know that fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains lead to better health than potato chips, candy bars and soda. They might have similar calorie counts, but their effect on your body is radically different.

Some of that is because different sugars are broken down in different ways by your body and can have different effects on your metabolism. The differences in digestion of these foods can also play a role. But there’s a lot we still don’t understand that probably has to do with the complex ways our body handles the nutrients present in fruits and vegetables that makes them so much better for us than processed foods.

Ultimately, beverage companies want you to think it doesn’t matter so that you’ll choose their drinks over healthier options. But it does matter and choosing a diet low in added sugar and high in fresh, whole foods is the best way to take care of your body. Read more  »

Sharecare Top 5: Tips to Keep Your Brain Sharp, 5 Age-Defying Dinner Recipes, Dangers of Skipping RA Meds, and More

 

produce

This week on Sharecare we’re sharing foods that can boost your brain health as well as recipes that can keep you feeling — and looking — your best. Plus, get tips to rev up your love life.

1. Ever heard of the MIND diet? If not, Darria Long Gillespie, MD is here to fill you in. She explains how this delicious, brain-boosting plan can reduce Alzheimer’s disease risk by up to 53%.

2. Looking to boost your weight loss? Discover how these foods can help you re-ignite a tired metabolism to help you feel full faster, increase energy levels and melt those pounds away.

3. Research shows that many people with rheumatoid arthritis don’t take their medications — but missing doses of RA treatment can put your health at risk. If you or a loved one lives with RA, learn why it’s best to stick with your treatment.

4. There are some scary stats about teens texting and driving: Did you know that texting and driving makes your child 24 times more likely to crash? Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Mike Roizen offer tips to give your child next time they’re behind the wheel.

5. Does your sex life need a little lift? Watch this video to find out what you and your partner can do to enhance your time tangled in the sheets by focusing on one simple thing.

Chowing Down on the Run Could Boost Overall Snacking

two teen woman friends

Sometimes it’s hard to find time to get meals in. Whether you’re running to a meeting or trying to get your kids out the door, it might seem like sitting down to eat always takes the backseat to other events in your life. But new research has found that all that eating on the move may play tricks on your body when it comes to deciding whether to snack later on and may even boost your eating in a way that leads to weight gain. Read more  »

Today’s Headlines: Kidney Stones, How to Make Tomatoes Tastier, and Chemotherapy Alternatives

Fresh-squeezed lemonade could solve all of your kidney stone problems. A recent study has shown that the citric acid in lemons has helped break down calcium-filled kidney stones to ease the pain when passing them. “Kidney stones often form when oxalate, a byproduct from some foods, binds with urine. Lemon juice, which is low in oxalate, can stunt the growth of pre-existing stones and prevent crystal deposits in the kidneys from developing into stones.” For best results you should drink natural lemonade that has no added sugars and is as close to fresh-squeezed lemon as possible. (Fox)

Dunking tomatoes in hot water can make them taste better. All produce that comes to the grocery store is picked before it’s ripe and then ripens in the truck while commuting to the stores. Once they arrive, tomatoes are placed in a refrigerator in order to maintain freshness until they are bought. However, it’s been found that colder temperatures reduce the flavor quality of the fruit. “At the National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society this week, researchers presented a simple solution: Just give the fruit a nice, hot bath beforehand. In the experiment, which was led by researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, and the University of Florida, Florida-grown tomatoes were dipped in hot water (about 125 degrees Fahrenheit) for five minutes before getting the same chilly treatment as the other tomatoes. The hot bath seemed to mitigate some of the tasteless effects of the chilling. Important flavor compounds — the chemicals that give tomatoes their taste — were more abundant in the experimental tomatoes, even after they’d been chilled and stored.” Hopefully tomato suppliers get word of these new findings and prep their tomatoes in hot water before shipping them off to stores for tastier tomatoes in the future. (Washington Post)

New approaches to cancer treatments have provided a potential alternative to chemotherapy. In a new study, researchers gave a drug commonly used to treat melanoma to those suffering from brain, lung and colon cancer, instead of traditional chemotherapy treatments. “Researchers used a targeted melanoma drug to treat patients with a range of cancers, from lung cancer to brain cancer, who weren’t being helped by traditional chemotherapy any more. Even though they had many different types of tumors, they all had one thing in common — a genetic mutation called BRAFV600. It’s a mutation familiar to doctors who treat melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. It’s seen in about half of melanoma cases. A pill called vemurafenib, sold under the brand name Zelboraf, specifically targets the mutation. It helps about half of patients with melanoma who have the mutation. The same mutation is sometimes seen in colon cancer, lung cancer, thyroid cancer, brain tumors and some blood cancers.” While the research results proved to be mixed and in need of more testing, for those that it worked on, the results were astounding and either significantly shrunk tumors or eradicated them completely. (NBC)