Tagged in: Health & Wellness

Healthy Tips To Be Happier At Work

After years of sitting in front of your computer and/or working from home, you may realize the lack of exercise you get and the need to be around real, walking, and talking people. Working from home usually entails just getting out of bed and hopping into the work chair and starting the routine over and over again.
 
When this happens, most of the day is spent sitting! This could end up being bad for your health. So what do you do? The first thing could include some changes to your working style – how about a standing desk for starters? Not only that, a few other changes here or there could positively affect your life moving forward.
 

1. Say Goodbye to Your Chair!
 
happy-work-1-standing 

Standing desks are becoming more widely accepted and you can definitely search for different styles online.
 

2. Get the Best Out of Your Commute
 
happy-work-2-walking 

If you don’t work from home, commuting is a great way to get some exercise into your day. This can mean getting off at a further bus stop so you force yourself to walk more – this can be done on the way home as well. But what if you drive? The same notion applies, you just need to find a further parking spot.
 

3. Keep Healthy Snacks at Hand
 
happy-work-3-granola-bar 

If you have a kitchen in the office, it’s easy to prepare and store healthy snacks instead of ordering in every meal. If you have a grocery store nearby, pick up items that are easy to take to work and are easily stored, for instance, walnuts and granola bars. When you feel the sudden hunger pangs, just reach for something healthy in your drawer instead of opting for a sweet treat from the nearest vending machine!
 

4. Find Someone at Work to Accompany You to Your Workouts
 
happy-work-4-happy-workout 

If you have coworkers who are like-minded, they won’t mind having company when working out. For women, it could mean another person to go to yoga with, or for males, no need to find another person to spot you when you’re on the bench press. The goal is to stay active and remain healthy.
 

5. Drink Lots of Green Tea
 
happy-work-5-green-tea 

If you have a kettle in the office, this is a breeze! If you buy tea from a café, it may cost a lot of money and sipping on lattes all day long may keep you awake all night. The best thing is to keep a mug and a box of green tea at your desk and when you get that craving for caffeine, just dip that tea bag and sip away!
 

6. The Workspace; A Reflection of Your Style
 
happy-work-6-lamp 

Your possessions and your work environment should reflect you inner style and should continue to be an inspiration for you. That’s even after long hours of work; you’ll look around yourself with a smile rather than hoping to be somewhere else! You should find a lamp that is a reflection of your style in its own way because the lighting is extremely important to make you feel comfortable while working late nights at the office.
 

 

Breastfeeding Helps Your Baby’s Immune System

Babies, for nine months, live a rather nurtured life, securely protected in their mothers’ wombs with all the antibodies present in the placenta. However, when they are born, they face a completely different environment. Therefore, it’s imperative that the baby receives the required nutrition that supports and enhances its growth and development after birth.
 

Here’s where breastfeeding comes into play. Breastfeeding is proven to improve babies’ immune systems while simultaneously providing the comforting and soothing physical contact with their mothers. This is absolutely essential for the all-around development of your baby. A baby starts producing antibodies to combat infections between 5 to 6 months; however, its immune system may take up to 6 years to be fully developed. In the interim the newborn requires some sort of immunity boost to keep it away from infections and other serious illnesses. These illnesses and infections are usually caused by the numerous bacteria present in the atmosphere. This much needed immunity boost can be provided in the form of nutritionally abundant mother’s milk.
 
Breastfeeding is undeniably the most complete form of nourishment for babies and its benefits include better health, physical growth and mental development. Here are few of the numerous advantages that breastfeeding has over baby formula.
 
Breastfeeding is Irreplaceable
 
breastfeeding-1 

Mother’s milk is known to be an abundant source of proteins, fat and sugar, and is extremely nutritious for your baby. It helps protect your infant from various illnesses while reducing the chance of your baby developing an ear infection, diarrhea, urinary tract infections, respiratory tract infections, gut infections, or pneumonia. Some mothers prefer putting their babies on formula milk, as they believe that formula milk comes loaded with proteins and vitamins, however, this may not be entirely true. Formula milk is a good option for those who do not produce adequate breast milk to breastfeed their babies. One does need to be aware that while breast milk is an absolutely pure form of nutrition, formula milk needs to be mixed with water for its preparation and this increases the risk of infections contaminating the mixture with water. Breastfeeding also helps mothers create a special bond with their babies.
 
Breastfeeding Averts Infections
 
breastfeeding-2 

A mother’s milk consists of antibodies and enzymes that prepare the baby’s body to fight various illnesses and infections. Studies have proven that compared to babies on formula milk, it was the breastfed babies who showed signs of better health and illness combating behavior. Breast milk improves the baby’s ability to fight diarrhea by enhancing the production of useful bacteria in the intestines of the baby.
 
Allergy Reduction through Breastfeeding
 
breastfeeding-3 

With the various studies carried out to understand the benefits of breastfeeding infants, it was found that breastfed babies displayed lower signs of hereditary allergies as compared to those who were not breastfed. While doctors strongly recommend breastfeeding for numerous medically profitable reasons, this is one of its long-term benefits.
 
Quicker Maturity of The Immune System
 
breastfeeding-4 

The approximate time taken for a baby’s immunity system to build up is 6 years. Studies show that babies that are breastfed tend to have a quicker immune system maturity than those who are formula fed. Their bodies react positively to keep away harmful germs and infections, thus evading serious illnesses.
 
Breastfeeding is therefore strongly recommended for the initial six months after birth. Many mothers continue breastfeeding for 2 years and more. This, of course, could be carried out along with the introduction of other food sources like fruits, vegetables and pulses. It’s preferable not to substitute breastfeeding with formula or other foods for a minimum of six months.
 
In conclusion, breastfeeding not only influences a baby’s health positively by strengthening the immune system, it also enhances the baby’s growth and development.
 

 

Cancer: Why A Timely Diagnosis Is REALLY Important

The diagnosis of any major illness is a complex process. It starts with symptoms experienced by the victim, followed by a pre-diagnosis processes that include self-help options and visiting a local health practitioner, and finally getting an actual diagnosis. If the matter concerns a normal allergy or a harmless cough, it’s alright to take it easy. However, if the victim is under a threat of a more serious disease, like cancer, the delay in diagnosis itself could be deadly.
 
The Disease
 
cancer-1 

Cancer is a deadly disease that claims the lives of many every year. The cancer mortality rate is unbelievably high in all countries as compared to deaths by other major diseases. There are various types of cancers and it is imperative to get a timely diagnosis in order for doctors to be able to cure the patient. Cancers have stages as well. If a patient is diagnosed as being infected with the initial stages of cancer, there is a possibility to control or cure the disease completely. However, in the later stages, doctors come across a lot more challenges that are difficult to control and sometimes impossible to overcome. Hence, it’s said that the timely diagnosis of cancer is just as important as the actual cure.
 
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why the diagnosis of cancer is usually delayed and how this delay adversely affects the treatment opportunities.
 
Missed Opportunities
 
cancer-2 

It’s a rare practice for people to visit the doctor as soon as they experience any kind of uneasiness or discomfort. This could involve a rise in temperature, dehydration, nausea, internal pain or any malignant growth. Such symptoms are linked to normal illnesses and are ignored. This is where an opportunity goes amiss. However, if the symptoms persist, we understand the possibility of a problem and visit a doctor. The doctor may not be able to diagnose the problem immediately, possibly due to incomplete information provided by the patient or similar symptoms to other general illnesses, and may prescribe drugs. Here is where the second missed opportunity occurs. This causes another delay. You go ahead with the doctor’s advice and take the prescribed medication. After a while you realize that the medication is not working. You also notice that instead of feeling better, your health is continuing to deteriorate. It’s at this time that you notice the symptoms getting stronger or more obvious. This is when you go to the hospital for a more thorough diagnosis. There has now been a significant delay since the first moment you noticed that something was wrong, to the time the test results arrive. This time of delay varies from patient to patient. In some cases the delay may be just a few days or weeks, which is still acceptable. But in some cases, the delay is months or even years and this shortens the possibilities of a successful treatment.
 
Direct Ratio
 
cancer-3 

There is a direct ratio between diagnosing cancer and actually curing it. The earlier the cancer is diagnosed, the higher the possibility of a complete cure. Diagnosing cancer in its early stages gives time for doctors to eradicate it from your body through surgery, drugs or chemotherapy. Also, cancer in its early stages tends to be docile and reacts positively to drugs. However, with the delayed diagnosis of cancer, the disease has had enough time to grow or spread and it gets harder to control it with drugs or surgery.
 
Timely Diagnosis is Synonymous with Better Psychological Adjustment
 
cancer-4 

Cancer victims experience uncontrollable levels of anxiety and stress. The excessive medications, treatments and therapies tend to have an adverse effect on their psychological adjustment. Timely diagnosis greatly contributes to the reduced levels of medical treatment and therapies, thus reducing the stress and anxiety levels and simultaneously improving the patient’s psychological adjustment.
 
In short, a timely diagnosis of cancer is a matter of life and death. Literally!
 

 

Grappling With Depression

People always confuse depression with sadness. They fail to realize that the intense sadness they feel, coupled with a loss of appetite, lack of interest in activities and lowered concentration levels is a mental disorder called depression. When you are sad or feeling blue, this emotion may last for a few days. Depression, however, is a more serious disorder and it can last for weeks, months, or even years. Depression tends to put you off the most mundane of everyday tasks, like dressing up, looking good, eating, socializing and working.
 
It gets difficult to recognize a person suffering from depression as the symptoms of this illness are not physically visible or obvious to the eye. The most reliable way to know that you are grappling with depression is self-awareness. Our body throws us warning signs that we need to pay close attention to. Depression can be cured, but it needs to be brought to the attention of a doctor or a mental health professional at the earliest sign of trouble.
 
Let us read through some important aspects that must be explored in order to understand depression.
 
Truths about Depression
 
depression-1-talking 

As depression is a growing concern in today’s society, you will find many people advising you on what depression actually is and how it must be treated. It’s not something that will go away by itself. A depressed individual must proactively work towards curing his/her depression. Talking about it, especially to a doctor or psychiatrist, is likely to help. If you feel depressed and talk it out with a friend or a family member, you are likely to receive advise such as getting yourself involved in other pleasurable activities. But doing this will seem like a herculean task. Depression makes you lose interest in almost all activities, so forcing yourself to do something may depress you even more instead of making you feel better.
 
Battle of the Sexes
 
depression-2-female 

Depression is more obvious and noticeable in women compared to men. This is because men do not share their feelings the way women do. Women are easier to talk to and they tend to pour out their troubles to loved ones, family and friends. Men, on the other hand, either end up with displaying sudden bouts of anger, irritability and frustration. Depression may even lead to drug and alcohol abuse.
 
Depression Affects the Functioning of the Brain
 
depression-3-brain 

Our brain is the most active part of our body. There are constant signals being passed through the nerves that run through our entire body. When depression kicks in, the brain’s functions start to falter. Certain studies have proven that depression causes abnormal behavior in the brain. The brain is unable to function in a normal manner, thus resulting in lack of concentration, mood swings and provoked thoughts of committing suicide.
 
Antidepressants
 
depression-4-happy 

Depression is a mental illness – and it is curable. With the appropriate treatment solutions, an individual can be back to normal within a matter of a few weeks, but this depends on the level. Depression doesn’t only affect a certain category of people. Anyone can experience depression at any stage in their life. Right from young children, to teenagers, to adults and older individuals, everyone is susceptible to depression. The treatment for each situation and individual would be different. Various antidepressants are available in the market. Upon the health adviser’s prescription, these drugs must be taken regularly and as advised.
 
Also, you need not worry about having to take medications for your entire life. As mentioned earlier, depression is curable, so as soon as you show signs of improvement, your health advisor will alter the amount of medication or have you stop taking it completely.
 
Every cloud has a silver lining! Depression may lead you to believe that there is no hope left, but it’s important to remember that depression can be cured. All you need to do is accept the facts and then seek the right kind of help.
 

 

6 Unexpected Reasons To Get Into Gardening

There is no way to deny the benefits we receive from gardening just by the foods we cultivate or the flowers and fauna we get to enjoy in our gardens. If you have a large fruit and vegetable garden, it will over flow your kitchen with marmalades and jams, tomatoes, beans, ginger and garlic, potatoes, onions and whatever else may strike your fancy! Gardening offers other less visible, and yet equally supporting benefits. Why do you think that gardening is now beginning to get included in prisons, nursing homes, as well as community centers for the old, homeless or abused populations along with at-risk youths? It all has to do with the feeling of well being you achieve from a rigorous weeding and pruning session and the benefits it has for your health and mind.
 
Here are a few!
 
1. Stress relief along with a self esteem boost
 
gardening-1 

A study conducted by Dutch scientists asked two harmonious groups to complete one pre-defined stressful task. After the task was completed, one of the groups was instructed to garden for around 40 minutes, while the second group was told to read indoors. Afterwards, tests were conducted and the gardening group reported better moods along with lower cortisol levels when compared to the reading group. Cortisol is a hormone that is produced when a person is under stress and it influences your mood along with a lot of other chronic ailments such as immune function deficiency, tendency to gain more weight, memory depletion, and heart disease.
 
2. Heart health benefits and smaller stroke risk
 
gardening-2 

Regular gardening is just one of the many ways available to achieve a target of 2.5 hours of moderately intense exercise weekly. Along with this, gardening provides you with a reward and motivation to go ahead and do it instead of jogging on a treadmill like a hamster on a wheel! For those who are above 60 years of age, gardening has been known to reduce the risk of strokes and heart attacks by 30%. How can such old people garden? Here is the answer: they use raised flower beds and patches of land on which they do not have to bend. Along with this, exposure of around 10-15 minutes per day with no sunscreen will help your body produce vitamin D which helps us ward off osteoporosis, heart diseases, as well as cancers.
 
Try fitting in 15-minute stretches of gardening at various sunlight filled hours to ensure that it does not take away from your schedule and you still gain the numerous benefits associated with the activity.
 
3. Hand strength and dexterity
 
gardening-3 

With age, thinning dexterity and strength based in our hands gradually narrows the ranges of activity that are possible for us. Gardening helps keep those important hand muscles vital without any sort of exercises. Research has resulted in the conception of rehabilitative programs that are for stroke patients and include various gardening tasks as it is a productive way of helping them rebuild strength in the hands. However, there are things you need to be aware of. For instance, stressful gardening can lead to repetitive stress injury, tendonitis, or even carpal tunnel syndrome. Practicing hand-healthy gardening is a must by using simple warm ups, body positioning as comfortably and ergonomically as required, along with changing the tasks regularly before straining becomes evident. Alternatively, using your dominant and non-dominant hands will keep the strain off one hand as well as involve your brain in processing while keeping it healthier.
 
4. Increased brain health along with reduced Alzheimer’s risk
 
gardening-4 

A long term study that followed 3,000 people for nearly 16 years tracking each and every mental development, found that people who gardened regardless of anything else in their lives, had a reduced risk of dementia by 36%! Alzheimer’s is known as a highly mysterious disease as the factors that influence its occurrence and development are poorly understood. But this relation could be due to the fact that gardening involves so much of ourselves: our strength, our endurance, our dexterity, our learning, our problem solving skills, and our sensory awareness.
 
5. Immune system regulation
 
gardening-5 

One of the funniest coincidences, the dirt under your nails is helpful to you as it has friendly bacteria! Found commonly in garden dirt and ingested via breathing or on produce, the Mycobacterium vaccae helps fight allergies, asthma, and psoriasis. A majority of these illnesses are due to a weak immune system and hence mycobacterium vaccae helps strengthen the immune system. It also helps relieve symptoms of depression and helps us lead a healthier and happier life.
 
6. Depression along with mental health
 
gardening-6 

A morning routine around fresh green plants and multi-colored flowers is well known for the “lift” it brings to anyone’s day. But is there any medical proof? This can be found in the horticultural therapy field that is going strong and providing positive results for patients suffering from depression and other related mental illnesses. Numerous benefits emerge from a varied combination including physical activity, a healthy awareness of the natural environment, cognitive stimulation, and the satisfaction received from the work. You can build up the therapeutic aspects of your garden by aiming for a grouping of food produced (vegetables as well as fruits), scented, as well as flowering plants to allow all your senses to flourish. By adding a comfortable chair or seat in the garden, you can relax and enjoy your hard work and marvel at nature when you need to take a break.
 
All this hard work can lead to heat stroke and dehydration so ensure you are drinking enough water as well as keeping an eye on the signs of fatigue your body is showing. By having various types of plants like we suggested above, you can enjoy the ‘growing’ view of your garden; one day one plant may blossom and the next another one may bear a fruit. The excitement of what you’ll see today will keep your mind fresh and lively.
 
A famous biologist named Edward O. Wilson termed this phenomena “biophilia.” It’s when we are instinctively drawn towards other living and growing things – to be a part of the web of life.
 

 

7 Surprising Benefits Of Drinking Honey Water Daily

The best of all thirst quenchers is water and it’s known to have multiple health benefits. It keeps a good control on calories thus promoting weight loss. It energizes the muscles in our body by preventing fatigue and maintaining the correct balance of fluids. The more water intake you have, the more visibly clear and fresh skin you will see as it prevents dehydration. A good intake of water is the best thing you can do for your kidneys. It will relieve them from a lot of stress and reduce the risk of kidney stones.
 

Water is extremely useful for a healthy gut. It prevents constipation, maintains a healthy colon and prevents gastrointestinal diseases. Overall water is the most important drink of the day. We should all make sure we take adequate amounts of water to maintain a healthy balance of fluids in our body. If just water alone can pull in so many benefits, can you just imagine the benefit if you include honey water in your diet?
 
The benefits become two-fold! Honey is a magic potion! It is packed with so many benefits that taking honey water on a daily basis will definitely improve your well-being.
 
Most of the benefits associated with honey are quite similar to those associated with taking warm water itself. Some of the noticeable changes you will see within a short period of time are mentioned as follows:
 
1. Weight Loss
 
honey-water-1-weightloss 

Weight loss is the number one concern for many people around the world. Some need to lose it for their beauty and some for their health. Honey water on a regular basis drastically melts away the excess fat from your body! Furthermore, the natural sugar in honey helps you ward off the temptation for sweets and controls your cravings.
 
2. Healthy Immune System
 
honey-water-2-healthy 

Honey is loaded with natural antibacterial elements. It has antiseptic properties that help control acidity and increases intestinal mucus secretion. It’s got antioxidants that fight off the free radicals that damage the skin and it is great for fighting bacterial infections. You can combat bad breath issues with honey water as well.
 
3. Cough and Cold Treatment
 
honey-water-3-cold 

Honey has been used to cure coughs since olden times. Taking a glass of warm honey water every day in the morning soothes the throat and provides relief from persistent coughs.
 
4. Allergy Control
 
honey-water-4-allergy 

If you reside in an area where you are vulnerable to either dust or pollen allergies, taking warm honey water first thing in the morning helps you tackle those environmental allergies and curbs them. Its regular use helps reduce your vulnerability towards these recurring allergies.
 
5. Flatulence Control
 
honey-water-5-gas 

Gassy situations can be awkward, uncomfortable, and a recurring nightmare! Regular use of warm honey water ensures that the gases get neutralized in your body. It may not eliminate the problem thoroughly, but drastically reduces such incidences. So whenever you feel bloated, sip on a glass of warm honey water, and your pain will be alleviated in no time!
 
6. You’ll Get Clear Skin
 
honey-water-6-skin 

Honey combined with water is a powerful collagen booster as it comprises of a lot of skin restorative properties. Your skin will be clear and rejuvenated with its regular use. Due to the fact that you feel energized and fresh by drinking honey water regularly, it greatly improves the health of your skin.
 
7. Honey Water Improves Health
 
honey-water-7-healthy 

Does honey water contribute in improving your health? Yes! Regular consumption of warm honey water improves the level of good cholesterol in your body. This reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. In addition, it helps maintain proper hydration in your body. It’s also a great detox that helps the body get rid of all the dangerous toxins that build up with time.
 
So many benefits and such a simple concoction! Boost your body with health and start your honey-water regime today!
 

 

Diet Sodas Drive You To Consume More Calories

Are we really the best judges of what we consume? Do we analyze the pros and cons before deciding what we eat and drink? In our attempt to do good to our body, is there a possibility that we may be doing more harm?
 

In an age where fast food is the easiest and most preferred option, many of us try to enjoy the good things about junk foods while still ensuring that we do not consume the large amount of calories stocked up in them. We select products marketed by various companies that guarantee the same. One of these is diet soda. If you thought diet sodas are the perfect alternative to give you the energy boost you need in a fizzy drink that doesn’t make you feel guilty about all the extra calories, think again!
 
Let’s look at some important reasons why we must not be totally ignorant about our unmonitored levels of diet soda consumption. It may say ‘diet’ on the can, but there sure is more than meets the eye!
 
Setting wrong expectations
 
diet-soda-sweetener 

Diet sodas contain artificial sweeteners. Companies use this as their selling point to convince consumers that artificial sweeteners are a better and healthier alternative to natural sweeteners. Unfortunately, this is not true. Artificial sweeteners have the exact same effect on our body as natural sweeteners like sugar. Consuming drinks with artificial sweeteners enhances the levels of insulin present in the blood and this leads the body to store fat, thus increasing body weight.
 
Numbing our sense reactors to natural sweeteners
 
diet-soda-fruit 

Over time, consumption of sodas and other drinks that include artificial sweeteners numb our senses to natural sweeteners present in fruits. This is caused due to our senses being heightened by the concentrated sweet flavor used in artificial sweeteners. Once our body gets accustomed to artificial sweeteners, we are unable to enjoy natural and healthy sweet foods. Unknowingly, we drift away from eating healthy foods and fruits. Put down that can of diet soda and settle for a chilled iced tea instead.
 
Weakening of bones
 
diet-soda-bones 

Most sodas contain the harmful chemical compound phosphoric acid. Various studies have proven consumption of foods containing phosphoric acid contribute to the weakening of bones. An occasional soda once in a while won’t do much harm, but if consumed in large quantities or on a regular basis, this could have some adverse effects on your overall health. It doesn’t matter if it’s just soda or diet soda. The compound is present in either of them.
 
Diet sodas contribute to weight gain
 
diet-soda-weight 

Yes, you read that right! Diet sodas are often consumed as an alternative to normal sodas with the idea that avoiding heavy sugar consumption means avoiding that extra weight gain. Diet sodas actually can lead to weight increase. So if you’re working towards losing weight, it’s better to quit drinking sodas all together. You could, instead, settle for natural sweet drinks like fruit juices or fruit pulps. They may lack the fizzy temptation that sodas offer, but they are a safer bet when it comes to living a healthy life.
 
Increases the risk of strokes and heart attacks
 
diet-soda-heart 

One of the main chemicals used in diet sodas is aspartame. Not many know this fact, but the consumption of aspartame can significantly increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes and other heart related ailments. Scientists are further studying the relation between the consumption of diet sodas and the increase in cardiovascular ailments, as there have been more problems than solutions to date. Scientists believe that there is a stronger connection between people who drink diet sodas and have heart problems than those who do not.
 
Quitting sodas, especially cola drinks, is a perfect decision. Hard to make, but if you’re successful in quitting, you’ve just helped yourself to a healthier and a longer life.
 

 

Tips To Make Matcha Tea Even Better And Tastier

Matcha is the newest health craze out there. Healthy food lovers are using this green tea powder like it’s the healthiest thing around. This little ingredient is so versatile, it’s being added to almost every food/drink you can imagine: smoothies, sparkling tonics, popcorn, you name it and a dash of matcha will make it even tastier. This emerald green powder will turn your healthy snacks into a green, power-packed potion of health and wellness. This hot health food has almost inspired a cult-like following among the health/fitness community. The U.S. has finally woken up to what the Japanese have known for centuries. Matcha is just great for your health!
 

We’re not just saying this, the science backs up the hype. Some 900 studies have shown that matcha is a super-food. Matcha has been linked to cancer prevention to improving skin, hair, and nails. A study shows that it even helps suppress hunger pangs and speeds up metabolism naturally. Another study, conducted earlier this year, pointed out that matcha can also reduce the risk of depression.
 
All of this is brilliant, you say, but you still can’t get past the fact that it tastes like moss that you scraped off a tree? Don’t blame matcha, blame your attitude! The truth is you have been a victim of bad quality matcha, or it may be that you aren’t making it right. Read on and find nine tips that will lead you down the path of buying, brewing, and creating yummy matcha foods. So, get ready for a healthy mean and green boost of power!
 
Find the Right Grade
 
matcha-1 

Yup, there are grades. Make sure you look for hyper-premium or ceremonial grade matcha. Stay away from the culinary grade. The culinary kind tastes awfully bitter. It’s used to color drinks and baked goods, definitely not something you want to drink. High grade powder is finer, has a smoother taste, and dissolves quickly. The newest growth of the plant is used to make these, so it has more antioxidants which is an added health boost.
 
It Should Originate From Japan
 
matcha-2 

Did you know that the majority of matcha available in stores today is culinary grade? Yup, according to Eric Gower, the owner of Breakaway Matcha and knower of all things tea, says that there is a lack of packaging regulations. Some manufacturers simply write ceremonial grade on their labels even if the product is the lower culinary grade. The best way to make sure you get the real thing is to find premium grade matcha from Japan. The Japanese products follow a formal, but unspoken set of regulations.
 
Check the Color before Buying
 
matcha-3 

Matcha plants are grown in the shade. This makes the leaves go into hyper-drive and produce more chlorophyll, and this is what gives matcha that brilliant green color. Emeric Harney, the tea expert at Harney & Sons, recommends buying powder that has a vibrant color, having an almost fluorescent tint. If it looks dull, don’t waste your money.
 
You Won’t Find a Bargain
 
matcha-4 

If you’re trying to find a bargain, stop looking. Great quality matcha is really fine — difficult to produce and takes a lot of time, therefore, it’s rare and expensive. Try to recall Econ 101 supply and demand logic you learned: low supply means high cost. For example, the best grade matcha available from Breakaway will set you back about $150 per 30 grams and another quality supplier, Matcha Love’s ceremonial grade blend retails at $17 per 20 grams.
 
Use Warm Water for Brewing Not Boiling Water
 
matcha-5 

Eric Gower recommends a water temperature of 150-175 degrees if you want the best tasting matcha. The amount of water and powder you use depends on personal preferences. The more matcha you add to the water, the more frothier and thicker the tea will be.
 
Go For Cold-Brew If On a Budget
 
matcha-6 

The combination of ice and matcha is one of the most refreshing things you will ever taste. It’s also light on the budget. When drinking matcha over ice, you can use a slightly lower grade without compromising the taste. The cold actually cuts the bitterness. Henry Crosby, the co-founder of the iced matcha drink Motto, says that ice does not cover the flavor and simply lowers the bitter taste.
 
Matcha Is Not the Same as Green Tea
 
matcha-7 

A lot of people think that matcha is powdered green tea. This is very wrong. Matcha is made by mixing finely ground tea leaves with warm water. Drinking matcha basically means you are eating the tea. You take in more of the antioxidants that help prevent cancer and boost metabolism. Drinking tea prepared by steeping leaves in boiling water does not give you as big of an anti-oxidant boost. If you look at the numbers, a cup of matcha gives you 10 times as much antioxidants as compared to 1 cup of regular green tea.
 
Coffee Jitters? Matcha Might Be the Perfect Option
 
matcha-8 

The powder is a source of calm energy. The electrifying burst of energy when you sip a cup of joe comes from caffeine and l’theanine (an amino acid). The caffeine is what gives you that instant jolt, the l’theanine slowly releases energy and helps improve cognitive performance. Matcha is an excellent source of this amino acid.
 
Savor the Taste and Let It Linger
 
matcha-9 

This is a bit unusual, but matcha is also great for the teeth and gums. In fact, dentists in Japan recommend that it should be used as a mouthwash. It attacks harmful bacteria that cause plaque along the gums and between teeth. A study in the Journal of Periodontology found that people who drink matcha daily showed a decrease in all indicators of periodontal (gum) disease that the researchers checked.
 

 

Socializing Is Good For Your Health. No Joke!

If you ask people about their understanding of the term ‘age well,’ they are most likely to give you varying answers and most of them are going to revolve around physical well-being including eating a healthy diet, daily exercising, and going for annual checkups.
 
What you are likely to never hear is how an engaging social life is going to help you age well.
 
Research has proved that people who have an inclination toward loneliness are likely to have a chance of dying by 30%. This also stands true for people who claim that they prefer to be alone. These people don’t realize, but they are at risk.
 
Socializing is good for humans. It does not matter if you like it or not. There are countless articles written to emphasize the importance of how those who enjoy being by themselves can shorten their life span.
 
socialize-1 

According to a research, people who call themselves introverts also experience happiness when they socialize as compared to when they are alone. The importance of living an actively social life has been effectively dealt with by Dan Buettner in his book The Blue Zones Solution. In his book, he talks about how to live your life in a way that you live up to a hundred years without actually feeling that old. The foremost reason that he gives is of socializing more. Socializing not only improves health, but also keeps a person happier. He attributes loneliness to similar detrimental actions such as smoking.
 

Isolation and loneliness are categorized in the same category as smoking or obesity is. It has also been implied that socializing determines our life span more accurately than our exercising and eating habits. This also leads us to the conclusion that we should be choosy and picky about the people we hang out with.
 
Buettner asserts that it is not only the quantity of social interaction that matters but also the quality. How much happier we are and how much weight we have put on is dependent on the kind of people we hang out with. So it only makes sense when you are advised to find people who can positively influence you. Buettner suggests that people join social clubs or volunteer for social work in order to develop their social skills and cultivate their talent.
 
One study claims that you are likely to experience the same level of happiness from joining a social group and meeting once a month like you will experience when your salary is doubled.
 
socialize-2 

Eric Barker describes the value of an engaging social life by saying that the relationships in your life are worth a lot more than what you earn annually. If you won’t connect with others, you are likely to turn stupid which may eventually kill you in a world full of clever, sly people.
 
The bottom line of the story is that if you want peace of mind and a healthy mind, then you need to leave the comforts of your couch and go out to meet your friends at dinner tonight.
 

 

10 Daily Habits Of People With Great, Healthy Skin

Outside the world of glamour, dolled-up models and “flawless” beauty, is a much more natural world where there are people who struggle with visage. Acne breakouts, pigmentation, sunburn, large open pores, and wrinkles are the common struggles hat people deal with. At one end, there are people religiously following beauty regimes to attain a beautiful skin tone and at the other end, some people are just blessed – they need to do nothing more than just keep their skin clean and hydrated!
 

Whatever the case, a little effort is required for skincare. For some, the path to glowing skin is filled with beauty treatments, diet control, sleep watch, and other lifestyle monitoring. Therefore, a single skin care routine is not applicable for all. Our skin is the largest organ in our body and many factors affect our skin and care is needed to keep it soft and supple.
 
Adopting good healthy habits for gorgeous skin is not a tiring task. It hardly takes up a couple of minutes of your daily routine. People feel great because they look great and it’s because they know they have put in the effort. Investing a minimal part of the day and night is a great start towards glowing skin!
 
Below are some of the daily habits of those who are gorgeous and confident because they feel good from the inside as well as the outside!
 
1. They Eat Healthy Foods
 
skin-1 

Eating right does more benefits to your body than you can ever imagine. It not only helps you shed pounds, but it is also extremely beneficial as well as directly important to the health of your skin. Whenever you eat, keep in mind that you are eating for your skin. Avoid the fried foods as much as possible. Start your day with a healthy soup to keep your skin hydrated. Snack on skin-rejuvenating foods at night such as blueberries and almonds that strengthen your skin’s collagen.
 
2. They Know Water Hydrates Their Skin
 
skin-2 

Staying hydrated is the key to supple skin. Not just water, but other beverages like coconut water, green tea, and healthy juices like pomegranate and orange juice lift up your skin’s glow and make you ‘see’ the difference within a few weeks!
 
3. They Have Healthy Digestive Tract
 
skin-3 

Your body’s process slows down with an upset gut. Fiber-enriched foods and probiotics are a great way in keeping your gut in good order. At the end of the day, make sure you have cleared your gut before bedtime. This helps in preventing bloating and other gut issues that consume all the energy from our body.
 
4. They Assess Their Skin
 
skin-4 

No one knows your skin better than you do. You know the adverse effects of munching on that tempting chocolate cake. Every day the needs of your skin differs. Keeping a habit of a daily cleansing routine is good, but your skin might not need the products every day. Some days its best to just leave your skin to its natural self and simply wash your face with normal water and pat dry.
 
5. They Care for Their Skin Naturally
 
skin-5 

Usually people skip on the moisturizer after the whole cleansing process. It’s very important to use a moisturizer, water-based or oil-based, depending on your skin type. Beauty experts also believe in massaging a little virgin coconut oil or sweet almond oil at bedtime after moisturizing to lock in the moisture making your skin super soft and supple in the morning.
 
Don’t over-exfoliate your skin. You may be using the right products but you may be using them wrong! Don’t overdo the use of the products in the hype of maintaining clean skin.
 
6. They Do Facial Massages
 
skin-6 

A facial massage using your fingertips helps in alleviating tension and also increases blood circulation in the facial area, hence giving that ‘glow’.  It’s important to massage your face at least once a week. Spare some time for a detailed massage where you can relax your muscles and ease out all the stress.
 
7. They Have a Night Regime
 
skin-7 

Night time is the best time for the skin to ‘heal.’ After the day’s wear and tear on the skin as it gets exposed to multiple environments, the night is the best time for the skin to rejuvenate itself. There are products that comfort your skin at night, like rosewater, for example. You can even make a habit of doing light yoga before bedtime. Experts suggest standing on your head, or if not possible, keeping your head tilted at one end of the bed for a couple of minutes. This helps in releasing the toxins as the blood rushes to your face.
 
A cleansing routine before bed time is also a great idea. It gives ample time to the skin to be ‘ready’ for the next day’s exposure. Apart from the products, it’s also a wise idea to keep a check on your bedsheets and pillows. Changing your sheets and pillowcases once every week is a good idea to prevent bacterial growth which could damage the skin.
 
8. They Believe in the Natural Balance of Oils
 
skin-8 

Rigorously cleansing your face may deprive the skin of natural oils, which is not a good idea. After light cleansing, you can simply wash your face with a warm washcloth whilst massaging your face at the same time. This prevents the skin from drying out. If needed, you can reduce your cleansing and exfoliating routine on a weekly basis, depending on how your skin takes it and your exposure every day.
 
Natural ingredients are also needed for the skin to maintain the natural balance of oils. Spraying rosewater throughout the day helps in hydrating the skin. Coconut oil, sweet almond oil, and avocado oil are great when applied after makeup removal as they strengthen the collagen matrix in the skin.
 
9. They Have Good Sleeping Habits
 
skin-9 

Sleep is vital for your skin’s health. Irregular sleeping habits damage your skin and make it look dull and tired. It can even be an offset for wrinkles! A healthy stress-free sleep of 6 to 8 hours every night is extremely important for you to feel fresh in the morning. However, if you couldn’t sleep well through the night because of whatsoever reason, you can ‘fix’ those dark circles and exhausted skin by rubbing ice on your skin and under the eyes. It reduces the pores and also helps in reducing those dark circles, making you feel fresh. Alternate splashes of cold and warm water also helps in reinvigorating the skin.
 
10. They Feel Good About Themselves
 
skin-10 

No matter how many tips and tricks you follow, the key is to be confident about who you are. If you don’t feel good about yourself, no one can make you feel beautiful. On the other hand, if you are confident and happy, people will hardly notice the ‘flaws’. It’s what’s on the inside that matters and this will reflect on the outside.
 

 

Working Out Safely During A Pregnancy

The human body goes through various changes all throughout life. Right from birth, through infancy, puberty and old age, we experience physical and mental transformations. A woman’s body experiences a lot more change as compared to a man’s. The reason this is so is because a woman goes through a more intense phase of puberty and she also bears children.
 

To ensure a smooth transitioning from one phase to another, it’s best to keep your body healthy, fit and fine. In any case, there’s nothing like a good work-out to keep yourself fit. But there are certain aspects of your physical condition that you must consider before going ahead with a selected workout program. When we say physical condition, we are focusing on things like age, weight and during pregnancy.
 
A few important exercise points that would be worth considering during pregnancy have been discussed below. The level of exercising needs to be altered as you get further and further along.
 
Seek your doctor’s advice before indulging in a workout routine
 
work-out-pregnancy-1a 

If you already follow a routine for your daily workout and you’ve just received news of your pregnancy, it’s best to contact your doctor before proceeding with your next workout session. Depending on the stage of pregnancy you’re at, various exercises are prescribed to ensure you and your baby stay safe. If you have been advised of any complications in your pregnancy, you would definitely want to tone down your fitness routine or stop it completely.
 
Choose your exercise wear
 
work-out-pregnancy-2a 

Exercising while you’re pregnant could be quite a task as the changes to your body make it difficult for you to move or stretch comfortably. One aspect that could ease this tension would be the clothes you wear while working out. It’s best to wear comfortable clothing made of soft fabrics so you don’t feel too hot or sweaty after you warm-up. Most pregnant women suffer from swollen feet, so choose footwear that is loose and that keeps you relaxed.
 
Watch your calories
 
work-out-pregnancy-5a 

Most workouts concentrate on losing calories, but the scenario is different when you’re pregnant. You need to follow a healthy diet so as to ensure that you and your baby’s growth are positively affected. Your doctor and physical trainer can guide you accordingly. Another important factor to consider when you’re pregnant is if you are underweight or overweight. Your fitness regime will need to be carefully planned and executed, closely following regular check-ups and professional advice.
 
Pre and post-pregnancy exercise routine
 
work-out-pregnancy-3a 

Women who exercise before and during their pregnancy, based on their doctor’s advice, are more likely to get back into their pre-pregnancy body after delivery. Your healthcare provider will suggest the best exercises and diet that you need to follow in order to stay healthy.
 
Circumstances that completely restrict you from exercising
 
work-out-pregnancy-4a 

Certain complicated pregnancies completely refrain from any kind of physical or mental strain. These circumstances may include vaginal bleeding, premature contractions, blood pressure fluctuations and rupture of amniotic sac. In these situations your doctor would ideally advise you to refrain from any kind of physical stress which would include working and exercising. You could discuss with your doctor the option of other fitness routines like yoga and meditation instead.
 
A good warm up
 
work-out-pregnancy-6a 

When you are pregnant, your body’s ability to deal with sudden pressures decreases. Hence, most women are advised to either work or exercise less or refrain from both completely. If, after consulting with your doctor, you can exercise, it’s best to start your routine with a nice long warm up session. This gives your body the time it needs to prepare itself for exercise. A good warm up also helps you increase your heart rate gradually and not suddenly.
 
Remember, exercising while you’re pregnant is a good way to stay stress-free, physically fit and mentally stable, but doing it right is equally important!
 

 

5 Ways To Make Your Anxiety Work For You

If you know that you have an anxiety problem and are looking for solutions, there are only two available options for you: get medication or opt for therapy.
 
Here’s what someone with anxiety may tell you, “Since I’ve grown up in a dysfunctional home, there has never been a day when I did not feel anxious. It was only when I entered adulthood and seek out for therapy that I experienced real progress. Thanks to coping mechanisms (for e.g., meditation) and therapy, there are days when I feel very happy than I have never felt earlier. The rest of the days, when I get triggered off due to something out of nowhere, it marks the return of my old friend (anxiety) and it is worse than ever. When this happens, I feel that I’ve wasted money on therapy. However, I also feel that maybe I am trying too hard. Having some anxiety could be normal and may be searching for cure and expecting perfection is eventually resulting in more anxiety for me.”
 
anxiety-work-a 

The most common illness in U.S. is anxiety, which depicts that approximately 40 million of us need help. Forty million of us are looking for ways to enjoy life and to sleep soundly at night without any panic. The most effective tool for anxiety management is cognitive behavioral therapy, but most patients give up on this without having a look at the complete picture – you cannot expect to be 100% free of anxiety.
 

It’s important for you to try your best to manage your anxiety and work on the triggers that hold you back. However, if you have done all that you can, you can take the final step that many overlook: acceptance. There are days when you get the worst form of anxiety, and days when anxiety may actually be of help to you.
 
Stacy Kaiser, editor of ‘Live Happy,’ states, “Anxiety can be a positive emotion as it can give you a warning sign that things might not be fine. It can alert you when you have possible dangers or concerns in your life. For example, if you feel anxious when purchasing something during financial crisis or about a new relationship, it is a warning sign that is telling you to be careful, watch out and continue with caution. Anxiety can tell you to investigate the situation thoroughly, take your time before you jump into that situation, and put on the brakes completely if it doesn’t feel right.”
 
Here is how you can see the difference: If you are feeling anxiety all the time and there is no enjoyment in your life, it is time to seek help. An anxiety management plan and a therapist can bring balance back into your life. If you still experience anxiety, it would be better to be friends with this enemy of yours.
 
1. Make Use Of Anxiety For Success
 
anxiety-work-1-success 

For a perfectionist who works really hard, they may have hard-working exteriors, from the inside, workaholics merely are a bunch of nerves. But when you get on terms with your anxiety and are able to tamper its effects on to your life, this can be used as a motivator – it can also help you in meeting your career goals. Ph.D. Jeff Perron, developer of the TruReach app for anxiety and depression and a candidate at Ottawa University, recognizes that anxiety is not all that bad, even for perfectionists amongst us.
 
“Successful people tend to be perfectionists, but perfectionism is usually driven by anxiety,” he states. “If you know when it is to your advantage to be a perfectionist also when it needs to be toned down, you can enjoy the benefits it offers without draining yourself completely.”
 
2. Use Anxiety As A Creative Outlet
 
anxiety-work-2-perform 

If you spend sufficient time with your enemy-turned-friend, you will be able to come up with creative ways to keep it in the corner. So far, you might have your own anxiety tricks that you use to calm down when you have reached the maximum limit. For some, that could be writing and running. For Ricky Garvey, a PR professional, it’s forwarding his increased anxiety towards playing electric guitar. By performing, Garvey manages daily stressors, as well as challenges his anxiety as it comes forth. “The biggest source of my anxiety and panic attacks is my brain asking me questions, “What if I get a panic attack at this instant? In front of everyone, on this stage. Being a paid player,” explained by him.
 
“I usually inform the band (who are my friends as well) if I have this issue so that I don’t feel alone in such a situation. If I am on stage, I use signals to inform the band if I am having an oncoming attack. Whenever this happens, I think of a funny joke, smile or gesture that changes the situation and makes me realize that I am in control. The longer I do this, the quicker I am able to overcome an attack,” states Garvey.
 
3. Use Anxiety For Growth
 
anxiety-work-3-growth 

This is some news you wouldn’t want to hear: If you don’t challenge yourself to come out of the comfort zone, you won’t go anywhere – fast. The positive side of anxiety is that you are provided with discomfort states Dr. Ben Michaelis, ‘Your Next Big Thing’s’ author and a clinical psychologist. He goes on, “I know this may sound strange, but discomfort is in fact a good thing. Without discomfort, no one will be able to do anything. The key is to find the most favorable level of discomfort. When you connect to that energy, anxiety can work in your favor, not against you.”
 
Anxiety, amongst other feelings, is a signal that allows you to know yourself. If you ignore anxiety, you ignore self-knowledge! So don’t hold back these feelings, embrace and examine them. Figure out the reason of your anxiousness as the answer might help you in easing the discomfort.
 
4. Use Anxiety To Accept Yourself
 
anxiety-work-4-yourself 

The hardest part of anxiety struggle can be the negative self-talk. When you cannot get past the same obstacle, when you are continually obsessed with that same fear for months, you feel like you are your own nastiest critic. Criticizing your own self makes the anxiety work. Basing on the number of years spent with clients having anxiety, Jessica Heimark, L.M.F.T., gives another solution: commitment and acceptance therapy. Instead of taking anxiety as negative, look for the positive traits in your personality she states.
 
“My clients perceive themselves as highly productive. Not obsessive and anal, but specific with attention to detail. By not being stuck in such moments, and celebrating them as accomplishments, clients tend to resolve their anxiety as it does not have any control in their life. If you see anxiety as strength, its negative impact weakens, therefore, reducing the frequency and severity of the symptoms,” she explains.
 
5. Use Anxiety As a Friend
 
anxiety-work-5 

At times, anxiety is pretty simple: it’s a warning that there is something in your life that is not going as planned. It may be hard to get a moment to self-reflect, but it would save you some major heartache. “My anxiety is a judgmental, loud-mouthed friend. Whatever comes in my way, it comes up with opinions. ‘No, do not do that!’ or, ‘Why are you saying that?” Author of ‘Meditation Illuminated: Simple Ways to Manage Your Busy Mind’ Joy Rains, jokes.
 
Rains states, “Like any other good friend, at times she is right and I am more than happy that I obeyed her since she can help me to avoid making bad decisions. Alternatively, I need to realize that she may not always be right. She gives me a judgment opportunity. There are times when I might have to say, “Thanks a lot for letting out your opinion, I am grateful for it. Now go sit in the corner and remain silent.”
 

 

1 2 3 9