One of the bonuses of being a westerner living in a tropical country is also coming across and learning more about the traditional medicine … Mystic names , exciting stories and the pleasant odors and flavors , is always what attracts !
Beside the older acquaintances , already part of the common palette – like Goji berries , or Ginseng – Ashwagandha is a new comer on the list of perpetual discovering and learning .
Known as one of the most powerful herbs in Ayurvedic healing , Ashwagandha has been used since ancient times for a wide variety of conditions , and is most well- known for its restorative benefits .
Known also with other names such as Withania somnifera ( the Latin , scientific name ) , or Poison gooseberry , or Winter cherry – in Sanskrit , the meaning of Ashawagandha doesn’t sound too attractive at all . The name “The smell of a horse” however indicates that the herb certainly imparts the vigor and strength of a stallion , reason why it has traditionally been prescribed to help people strengthen their immune system after an illness .
Ashwagandha is frequently referred to as the “Indian Ginseng” due to its rejuvenating properties , even if – botanically speaking – , Ginseng and Ashwagandha are totally unrelated .
Belonging to the same family Solanaceae as the tomato , Ashwagandha is a plump shrub with oval leaves and yellow flowers and it bears orange/red fruits about the size of a raisin . The herb is native to the dry regions of India , northern Africa , and the Middle East , and today is also grown in more mild climates including the United States .
Why do people use Ashawagandha ?
Do any of the following symptoms sound familiar to you ? Stress … Fatigue …. Lack of energy …. Difficulty in concentration …..
The use of this Ayurvedic herb can help alleviate all these symptoms and support as well energetic and rejuvenating sense of wellbeing .
The Benefits and Healing Effects
Ashwagadha contains many useful medicinal chemicals , including withanolides ( a type of steroidal lactones ) , alkaloids , choline , fatty acids , amino acids , and a variety of sugars .
While the leaves and fruit have valuable therapeutic properties , the root of Ashwagandha plant is the part most commonly used in the Westerns herbal remedies .
The medical researchers are studying with great interest Ashwagandha for years and have completed more than 200 studies referring to the healing benefits of this plant . Some of the key examples of the healing properties of Ashwagandha are listed below :
- Protects the immune system
- Helps combat the effects of stress
- Improves learning , memory , and reaction time
- Reduces anxiety and depression without causing drowsiness
- Helps reduce the brain-cell degeneration
- Fosters healthy sleep patterns
- Stabilizes the blood sugar levels
- Helps lower the cholesterol
- Thickens and increases the nutritive value of milk in nursing mothers
- Offers anti-inflammatory properties , thus being used successfully in the treatment of burns and wounds
- Supports healthy back and joints
- Contains anti-malarial properties
- Protects the liver , reduces constipation , and cures hypothyroidism
- Enhances sexual potency for both men and women
- The seeds and fruits are diuretic in nature
Ashwagandha as an adaptogenic herb
In the Ayurvedic medicine , there are specific herbs considered as having adaptogenic benefits .
Adaptogens are considered any compounds , herbs or practices that lead to the stabilization of the physiological processes and which promote homeostasis . In the herbal medicine , the use of different herbs as adaptogens is already very popular with far-reaching claims of increasing the longevity , libido , and well-being – on one side – or helping the body to cope with external stresses such as toxins in the environment or internal stresses such as anxiety or insomnia ( two of the manifestations so common in the modern times ) Most of the studies on adaptogens were performed by The Soviet Union , Korea and China .
According to the Ayurvedic principles , our bodies are woven from food we eat . The nutrients we ingest are metabolized into the energy and the information that form our cells , tissues , and organs . Every day , our bodies need essential vitamins , minerals , or other nutrients in order to maintain our body’s delicate balance . That’s why , taking an Ashwagandha supplement is a highly effective way to create that balance .
The berries are commonly used as a substitute for rennet in the cheese making process .
Ashwagandha has become of interest of many researchers and it still grows in popularity
Himalayan salt , known also as the Pink salt , is now becoming more and more popular among the health-conscious people .
It is all natural , abundant in essential minerals and found to be much better for the body compared to the common table salt , or the sea salt !
But , let’s take a closer look into what Himalayan Salt really is – its properties , benefits for health and uses .
Originated from the high altitudes of the Himalayan Mountain Range in Pakistan , the pink Himalayan salt is formed from the ancient sea beds crystalized during the Jurassic era . Being kept in an unspoiled environment protected by lava rocks , the salt is believed to be the purest salt available . Truly natural and uniquely beautiful , the salt boasts a translucent and gorgeous rose pink tint , indicating its rich iron and mineral content .
In present , Khewra Salt Mine ( or Mayo Salt Mine ) in Pakistan is the world second largest and the oldest salt mine . It is said to be discovered by Alexander the Great , when , with his army stopped for a rest , his horse started licking the stones on the ground . Soon , the soldiers noted that all horses were doing the same , they also tried and found the rocks to be quite salty . And , that’s how the KHewra salt deposits had been discovered .
Today , some 2330 years later , covering an area of 110 sq.km , 228 to 748 feet deep , the mine has over 40 kilometers of tunnels on 11 separate stories and is already a popular tourist destination . Tourists will be amazed seeing a small Badshahi Mosque built out there , or , more recently small salt versions of the Great Wall of China , and the Mall road of Murree that they can visit . At times , the many colors and bricks of light give the mine a sort of disco-Yellow-Brick-Road look .
The Khewra salt mine has its own fully functioning postal office , and a local grocery where people can taste and buy of the various kinds of reddish or pink rock salt .
According to the scientific studies , Himalayan salt is by far the only kind of salt that offers the largest number of natural minerals ( 84 of the 99 natural known elements ) . The elements the Meadow lists as found in Himalayan salt , in addition to sodium and chloride , in alphabetical order are : actinium , aluminum , antimony , arsenic , astatine , barium , beryllium , bismuth , boron , bromine , cadmium , calcium , carbon , cerium , cesium , chromium , cobalt , copper , dysprosium , erbium , europium fluorine , francium , gadolinium , gallium , germanium , gold , hafnium , holmium , hydrogen , indium , iodine ,iridium , iron , lanthanum , lead , lithium , lutetium , magnesium , manganese , mercury , molybdenum , neodymium , neptunium , nickel , niobium , nitrogen , osmium , oxygen , palladium , phosphorus , platinum , plutonium , polonium , potassium , praseodymium , protactinium , radium , rhenium , rhodium , rubidium , ruthenium , samarium , scandium , selenium , silicon , silver , strontium , sulfur , tantalum , tellurium , terbium thallium , thorium , thulium , tin , titanium , uranium , vanadium , wolfram , ytthrium , yttrium, terbium , thallium , thorium , thulium , tin , titanium , uranium , vanadium , wolfram , yttrium , zinc and zirconium .
These trace elements help in maintaining homeostasis , stimulating blood circulation , detoxifying the body , dissolving kidney and gall stones , as well as treating psoriasis .
Himalayan salt has been used to help detoxify the body in the form of brine treatment , most commonly done in the form of a bath .
Himalayan salt is most commonly found as coarse grains , fine grains , or large blocks making it perfect for cooking and seasoning as well in any of the forms . Salt blocks can be used as serving platters that delicately “season” the food they serve . They make a gorgeous presentation for sushi , savory tapas , grilled meats , seafood , and even fruits . Simple and easy to use , they only need to be wiped clean with damp cloth .
The more common way to enjoy the salt is by simply sprinkling it on your favorite soups , pastas , and sauces . Rubbing it on meat also helps to reduce the gamey taste and aroma and makes it an excellent food preservation method .
Besides flavoring the food , gargling with a mixture of Himalayan salt and water every morning can improve gum health and eliminate bad breath .
More recently , in a world overrun with stress and anxiety – like the world of the times we are living in – the benefits of the Himalayan salt in the form of salt lamps are becoming more and more clear as having a great impact on health . As an agent able to clean the air around or by increasing the emission of negative ions , increasing the oxygen flow in the brain , and fighting diseases – these lamps become a simple solution to bolster your health , lower the anxiety levels and protect you from the damaging effects of the technology surrounding us – like cellphones , laptops , televisions , or microwaves – making you feel really rejuvenated .
Have you made any New Year resolutions yet ? Is never too late !
Usually , most of the people make such resolutions but unfortunately by February or March many have already abandoned their efforts .
This year however , take the courage to make a commitment to simply make healthier choices and live better . Changing the lifestyle is an ongoing process , and not something people can achieve overnight or even in a few weeks . It’s rather a lifetime plan that you stick with over the long haul .
Every New Year is a chance for you to shape up for the better . Are you ready to start fresh in 2017 ?
Here are some of the most important lifestyle strategies that will allow you to live a longer and healthier life , boost your happiness and well-being – simple tips that will help you have a happy and healthy 2017
- Eat an Avocado each day
Avocados are known as a rich source of monounsaturated fats the body can easily burn for energy , as well as many other fat-soluble nutrients the body needs . The research showed that adding avocados to salads allows the body to absorb up to five times more antioxidants and carotenoids that help protect the body against free radical damage . Avocados have a long list of potential health benefits – from anti-inflammatory properties , to the optimization of the mitochondrial health .
- No more sodas
Many people consume soda on a regular basis . Swapping however for healthier beverages like water , sparkling water and occasionally a cup of tea or black coffee , could be even more healthy . Knowing that obesity , diabetes heart disease , kidney disease , liver damage , osteoporosis or acid reflux are just some of the health conditions linked to soda , could be enough in order to make a decision .
- Make fermented vegetable with family and friends
Fermented foods contain much higher levels of beneficial bacteria than the probiotic supplements , which make them ideal for optimizing the gut microbiome . Besides cutting back on sugar or antibiotics , consuming foods that promote healing , the fermented foods might help also in preventing diabetes , gut and bowel disorders . Overall , they improve the mood and mental health , and prevent acne as well as reduce dental plaque that can lead to cavities .
- Pay attention to vitamin D levels ( and strive for > 40ng/ml )
Vitamin D deficiency is known for increasing the risk of a wide variety of acute and chronic diseases , which can range from cold and flu to diabetes , multiple sclerosis , depression and even dementia . For those living in the northern hemisphere , January and February are the ideal months for finding out if really a vitamin D deficiency is present . Exposure to sun is still the ideal way for raising the levels of vitamin D . Winter and indoor work usually prevent most of the people from achieving the ideal levels from sunlight alone , case in which supplementation with vitamin D3 ( a non -synthetic type of D2 ) is necessary , along with an increase of vitamin K2 either from food or supplementation .
- Walk more , sit less
It is important to realize that the human body is designed for near-continuous movement during the day . More than 10000 published studies confirm that sitting is an independent risk factor for illness and premature death . Inactivity carries a mortality risk similar to that of smoking . Thus , setting a goal of taking the stairs instead of the elevator , or walking instead of driving , or considering a stand-up desk instead a regular office one , is definitely a step forward for improved health .
- Boost your omega-3 intake
Omega-3 fats are essential polyunsaturated fatty acids the body needs for digestion , muscle activity , blood clotting , memory , visual acuity and many more . They are particularly important to assure a proper cell division and the function of cell receptors . Among the common ways to boost the levels of omega-3 could be mentioned : eating more cold-water fatty fish that are low in mercury or other pollutants ( as wild-caught salmon , or smaller fish like sardines , anchovies and herring ) . Vegetarians on the other side , might opt instead for flax-seeds , walnuts , beans , or squash .
- Go grass-fed beef , dairy , pastured poultry and pork
If there’s really no other way giving up meats , a very good idea at least would be choosing always grass-fed beef , pastured poultry and pork . Studies showed clear differences between organic versus conventional milk and meat . The largest difference in nutritional content was mainly in fatty acid composition , certain essential minerals and antioxidants. With antibiotic-resistant disease being however a major public health hazard , buying organic meats is definitely an important consideration .
- Start peak fasting
One particular lifestyle factor that appears to be driving not only to obesity but also to many chronic diseases is the fact that we eat too frequently . Our ancestors didn’t have access to food 24/7 and is evident that our body simply isn’t designed to run optimally when is continuously fed . By eating throughout the day and never skip a meal , the body adapts to burning sugar as its primary fuel , which in turn down-regulates the enzymes that utilize and burn stored fat . On the other side , research has confirmed that many of the biological repair and rejuvenation processes take place in the absence of food . [ In a nutshell , the human body was designed to : 1. Run on fat as its primary fuel , and 2. Cycle through periods of feast and famine . Today , most people do the complete opposite ]
“Peak fasting” involves fasting for 13 to 18 hours each day and eating all of your meals within the remaining window of 6 to 11 hours . To make this schedule work , you need to skip either breakfast or dinner , and which one to omit , it depends only on you . However , if you chose to eat dinner , make sure to do so at least three hours before bedtime , as long as during sleeping the body needs the least amount of energy , and if you feed it at a time when energy is not needed , it might end up creating a situation in which mitochondria create instead excessive amounts of damaging free radicals .
- Add more fiber to your diet
A high-fiber diet helps reduce the risk of premature death from any cause , including diabetes , health disease or cancer . In order to boost the fiber intake , focus on eating more vegetables , nuts and seeds ( not grains ) . The recent research confirms how important is that fiber should be unprocessed . Among other excellent sources of fiber can be mentioned : sunflower sprouts , fermented vegetables , and flax , chia or hemp seeds
- Get at least 8 hours of sleep at night
It is well known that sleep deprivation has the same effect on the immune system as physical stress or illness , which explains why lack of sleep is so tied to an increased risk of numerous chronic diseases . Sleep is tied as well to the levels of some of the important hormones , including melatonin , which is a very potent antioxidant . That’s why , small adjustments in the daily routine should be made so that an uninterrupted , restful sleep of at least 8 hours be ensured . Total darkness is another very important factor involved in attaining this goal .
This year , make it a resolution to keep your health your top priority !
14 …. PERFECT IDEAS !
There’s a lot of discussion these days about fit kids. The people who care about the issue ( in equal measure the parents , doctors, teachers, or others ) want to know how to help the kids be more fit.
Being fit is a way of saying that a person eats well , gets a lot of physical activity ( exercise ) , and has a healthy weight . When you are fit, your body works well, feels good, and can do all the things you want to do, like running around with your friends.
Some steps towards being fit , only the parents can take – such as serving healthy meals on a regular basis , or deciding to take the family on a nature hike. But kids can take charge, too, when it comes to health.
Here are some rules to live by , if you’re the kind of kid who wants to be fit. The trick is to follow these rules most of the time , knowing that some days ( like your birthday) might call for some cake and ice cream !
Eat always a Variety of Foods
You may have a favorite food , but the best choice is to eat a variety. If you eat different foods, you’re more likely to get all the nutrients your body needs. Taste new foods whenever you have the occasion , as well as the old ones you haven’t tried for a while. Some foods, such as green veggies, are more pleasing the older you get ! Shoot for at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day — two fruits and three vegetables. The more colors of the rainbow , the best !
Here’s one combination that might work for you:
- at breakfast: ½ cup (about 4 large) strawberries on your cereal
- with lunch: 6 baby carrots
- for a snack: an apple
- with dinner: ½ cup broccoli (about 2 big spears) and 1 cup of salad
Drink Water & Milk
When you’re really thirsty , water is the best thirst-quencher. And there’s a reason also your school cafeteria offers sometimes cartons of milk . Kids need calcium to build strong bones, and milk is indeed a great source of this mineral. How much do kids need? If you are younger than 9 years old , drink 2 cups of milk a day , or its equivalent. If you’re older than 9 years old , aim for 3 cups of milk per day , or its equivalent . You can mix it up by having milk and some other calcium-rich dairy foods. In the past few years however , scientists came with proofs on the dangers the cow’s milk might have on the future health ( especially the cows which are not grass-fed ) , so , it is a good idea if you could replace the cow’s milk with some other milk of plant origin , like almond , walnuts or pistachios milk , which are really yummy !
Here’s an idea of one combination:
- 2 cups (about half a liter) of milk
- 1 slice cheddar cheese
- ½ cup (small container) of yogurt
You probably will want something other than milk or water once in a while, so it’s OK to have 100% juice, too and a freshly made one is definitely the best choice . Try to limit the sugary drinks, like : sodas, juice cocktails, and fruit punches. They contain a lot of added sugar which not only adds calories , but in the long run becomes dangerous for health too . And , after all , they don’t even contain the important nutrients your body needs for growth and health .
Listen to Your Body
What does it feel like to be full? When you’re eating, notice how your body feels and when your stomach feels comfortably full. Sometimes, people eat too much because they don’t notice when they need to stop eating. Eating too much can make you feel uncomfortable and, over a period of time, can lead to unhealthy weight gain and other health problems .
Limit the Screen Time
What is screen time? It’s the amount of time you like to spend watching TV or DVDs, playing video games (console systems or handheld games), and using a smart phone, tablet, or computer. The more time you spend on these sitting-down activities, the less time available for active stuff, like basketball , bike riding, or swimming. Try to spend no more than 2 hours a day on screen time, not counting the computer use related to school and educational activities ( And in case you’re lucky to be an e-learning student , that surely should be even less ! )
One job you have as a kid — and it’s happening to be a fun one , too — is that you get to figure out which activities you like best. Not everyone loves basketball , soccer or swimming . Maybe your passion is karate, or kickball, or dancing. Ask your parents to help you do your favorite activities regularly. Find ways to be active every day. You might even write down a list of fun stuff to do, so you can refer to it whenever your mom or dad says it’s time to stop watching TV or playing computer games !
Speaking of parents, they can be also a very big help if you want to be a fit kid. For instance, they can stock the house with healthy foods and plan for physical activities for the family. Tell your parents about these five steps you want to take and maybe you can teach them a thing or two , too . If you’re a fit kid, why shouldn’t you have a fit mom and a fit dad as well ?