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Archive for August 28, 2012

7 Countries With the Healthiest People

7 Countries With the Healthiest People

They live well into their nineties and often times up break  the hundred year mark. Their existence is healthy but  the  underlying reasons are often cultural. In fact, it’s not just that   individuals take care of themselves; it’s a country-wide phenomenon  that’s  based on lifestyle choices.

Why are certain countries home  to the world’s happiest, healthiest people on Earth?  What do they  eat? What daily habits are different from other societies?

I set out to answer these questions and along the way I found some  striking  similarities between these fit nations, spread far and wide  across the  globe.

1. Iceland

Due to a smaller population, Iceland is one of the least polluted  countries  in the world. But clean air isn’t the only reason why  Icelanders are so  healthy; they also like to hit the gym. Due to chilly  weather much of the year,  Icelanders workout in order to beat the winter  blues. The country enjoys one of  the highest life expectancies (72 for  men and 74 for women). It also has one of  the lowest infant mortality  rates at 2 deaths per 1,000 babies. Forbes  Magazine ranked it the healthiest country in  the world.

2. Japan

The World Health Organization (WHO) calculated the countries where  people  live to full health the longest and Japan came out on  top with 74.5 years. Much of this is due  to diet.

“Every meal in Japan looks like a piece of art. Food is so beautiful  and so  delicious and so simple,” fitness expert Harley  Pasternak said to Empower News Magazine. “They are the  largest consumer of fish in the world and of whole soy and of  seaweed  and green tea. When they are about 80 percent full, they stop and wait   for about 10 minutes, then decide whether to keep going. And most times,  they  are full so they don’t need to keep eating more.”

3. Sweden

Government policies promote a healthy way of life including positive   work/life balance. The population also loves to play outside and with a   stunning landscape full of rolling hills, mountains, and glacial lakes,  it’s  easy, according to National  Geographic. Additionally, because of their location they eat a  diet  that’s high in fish and omega fatty acids. Their cooking methods  also reflect  that of a healthy population. Rather than using an  abundance of oil they poach,  ferment, smoke, and dry their foods.

4. Okinawa

Okinawa is a Prefecture or sub national jurisdiction of Japan.  However, it’s  worth mentioning it separately because it’s widely  believed to have the  healthiest people on Earth. According to the Okinawa Centenarian Study,  centenarian ratios may be  the world’s highest at approximately 50 per  100,000 people. The country is also  home to many super centenarians,  people that reach the age of 110 years old.  Okinawans attribute their  not only long, but healthy, happy lives to eating  tons of local  fruits and vegetables, as well as large quantities of tofu and seaweed.  Their lives also include rigorous daily activity  and relatively low  stress.

5. New Zealand

Similar to Iceland, a lower population and lack of pollution make New   Zealand a great place to call home. New Zealanders love outdoor  activities like  hiking, camping, and fishing. All and all it’s just an  easier place to embrace  a fit lifestyle. No matter where you live you’re  not but a 90 minute drive from  the ocean.

“Plus there’s an abundance of healthy whole foods. We eat fresh  seafood (we  often catch it ourselves) and local organic fruits and  vegetables. Everyone  grows something here and neighbors all put out bags  for purchase by anyone. We  get fresh lettuce from the kids’ school,  avocados from our tree, and kiwis,  apples and plums from our neighbors,”  says Jill  Chalmers who moved to New Zealand with her Kiwi  husband.

. Sardinia

Sardinia is an autonomous region of Italy that’s home to a large  population  of centenarians. There’s a real sense of community in  Sardinia. People are  close knit and the elderly often live with their  families. The men are often  shepherds, walking about 5 miles per day and  the diet  consists of “whole grain flatbread, fava beans,  tomatoes, greens,  garlic, various fruits, olive oil and pecorino cheese from  grass-fed  sheep (high in Omega 3).”

7. Finland

According to Forbes  Magazine, Finland was plagued with one of the  highest death  rates from heart disease just 30 years ago. As a result, the  nation has  worked vigorously to encourage a healthy lifestyle among its people.  Smoking has been reduced significantly and fruit and vegetable intake  has more  than doubled. It shows that if you make an effort to change,  you can.

While many factors lead to a long, healthy life, these countries have  a lot  in common. Many of them lack pollution and make a healthy  work/balance and  controlling stress a high priority. They also eat meat  very rarely if ever and  find protein in fish and tofu while loading up  on local fruits and  vegetables.

By Sara Novak, Planet Green

Planet Green is the multi-platform media destination devoted to the  environment and dedicated to helping people understand how humans impact the  planet and how to live a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle. Its two  robust websites,   PlanetGreen.com and TreeHugger.com,  offer original, inspiring, and entertaining content related to how we can evolve  to live a better, brighter future. Planet Green is a division of Discovery  Communications.

The Simple Secret To Making The Right Decision Every Time!

The Simple Secret To Making The Right Decision Every Time

 

Should I stay or should I go?

Should I leave my job or even change careers?

Should I take the leap and ask her?

Should I get the treatment?

Should I sell the house and downsize?

Should I have a baby?

Should I confess how I feel?

Life is full of tough decisions you can spend years not making. You might  think the answer will never appear, but you’d be wrong. Always – 100% of the  time – the right answer lies within you, not sometime in the future, but right  now.

How Do You Access The Answer?

Somewhere at the core of you, you know – deeply know – what is true for you.  It may not be what other people wish was true for you, but that doesn’t change  the truth, your truth.  Your truth might know you’re gay,  even though you’ve been in the closet, pretending to be straight your whole  life. Your truth might reveal that you married the wrong person. Your truth  might admit to you that you’re an addict who needs help. Your truth might  confess that you’re done taking the medication and ready to just let nature take  its course.  Your truth might bring you face to face with the fact that you  spent ten years training for a job you secretly hate. Your truth might tell you  that you really don’t want kids, even though you said you did.

Your truth might scare the hell outta you, because the truth doesn’t sugar  coat things. It also doesn’t protect you from facing things you’d prefer to  avoid.

But – you can trust me on this – your truth always knows the right decision.  And it will never, ever lead you astray.

You Can Trust The Truth

You may not believe me, but I absolutely guarantee you that you can always  trust the truth. You may not have enough experience aligning your life with your  truth to know that this is true, but I promise you it is. Your truth – your real truth – will always be the light that illuminates your  path.

What if you don’t know your truth? How can you find it?

This is where your Inner  Pilot Light, that 100% radiant, always sparkly piece of divinity that lies  within you, comes in. In order to discover what’s true for you in all aspects of  your life – your professional life, your relationships, your creative life, your  spiritual life, your financial life, your sex life, where you live, your mental  and physical health – all you need to do is ask your Inner Pilot Light.

The Guiding Questions

In Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal  Yourself (Hay House, 2013), I included ten pages of questions I  use in my work with clients to help them discover what’s true for themselves.  Here are some of my faves:

  • What traumas from my past still cause me suffering?
  • Am I living where my Inner Pilot Light wants to live?
  • What limiting beliefs about my finances do I need to release?
  • What really turns me on sexually? What really turns me off?
  • What do I consider sacred?
  • Am I clear what my soul wants to create?
  • What does my body need in order to heal?
  • What is true for me about how I care for my body?
  • Do I know my calling? If not, what is it?
  • How often do I feel victimized in my relationships? Am I willing to release  the victim role in order to heal?
  • How vulnerable am I willing to be with the people in my life?
  • Am I willing to speak the unspeakable to those I love?
  • What are the repetitive relationship patterns that continue to appear in my  life?
  • What truth am I unwilling to face in my life right now?
  • Am I living an authentic life aligned with all that I desire?
  • What within me am I holding back? What longs to be set free?

How To Find Your Truth

If you’re trying to make an important decision in your life, let me encourage  you to let the truth of your Inner Pilot Light guide you. If you’re having  trouble tapping into that truth, here are a few tips.

  1. Sitting meditation. It’s hard to hear the whispers of your  truth if you’re racing through life without ever spending time alone in silence.  We tend to run from our truth, drowning it out with busyness, numbing it with  drugs, alcohol, sex or love addiction, or too much food. But the truth doesn’t  change, and as long as we’re running from it, we’ll never find inner peace. If  you’ve never meditated, start by just closing your eyes and focusing on your  breath for just five minutes per day. Try to work up to at least 20 minutes. As  your mind wanders (it will), just notice without judgment and come back to your  breath. If it helps, pick a simple mantra- like “Peace, peace, peace” and keep  repeating it to keep your mind still.
  2. Moving meditation. Try going for a walk by yourself, sans  iPod, and focus on just being present with what is. Notice the trees, the  flowers, the puddles, whatever.  Let your mind be still.
  3. Pray for guidance. If you’re not sure what’s true for you,  and the decision isn’t yet clear, pray for clear signs from the Universe that  will direct your path. (For  tips on interpreting the signs from the Universe, read this).
  4. Pay attention to dream states. Keep a journal by your bed,  and if you remember them, write down your dreams. Sometimes your Inner Pilot  Light speaks to you this way.
  5. Sign up for the Daily Flame. One of the best parts of my  job is writing daily love letters of truth from your Inner Pilot Light, aimed at  helping you hear the voice of your truth and your soul. If you’re not already  getting these messages, sign up  here and follow  your Inner Pilot Light for more love on Facebook here.

What Helps You Make Decisions?

Do you long for guidance tapping into your Inner Pilot Light so you can make  better decisions for yourself? Would you love to be part of a community with  other people who are shining their bright, sparkly lights in the world? If so,  take this 5 question survey and you’ll automatically be added to a private  mailing list of those who will get first dibs – as well as a special discount – on an Inner Pilot Light group coaching program I’ll be launching soon.

(Take the survey  here.)

Tapping into the wisdom of my Inner Pilot Light,

Lissa

By Lissa Rankin, MD

Lissa Rankin

Lissa Rankin, MD: Creator of the health and wellness communities LissaRankin.com and OwningPink.com,author  of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself (Hay House, 2013), TEDx  speaker, and Health Care Evolutionary.   Join her newsletter list for free guidance on healing yourself, and check  her out on Twitter  and Facebook.

 

The Antidote for an Overly-Teched Brain

The Antidote for an Overly-Teched Brain

The Cassandras among us have warned for some time that Internet  addiction—obsessive texting, tweeting, posting, surfing, along with a compulsion  to be always connected—threatens to make us dumber, more anxious, and more  depressed. Such warnings are becoming harder to dismiss; a recent article by Newsweek‘s Tony Dokoupil presents  evidence that Internet addiction may lead to more extreme forms of mental  illness. And according to The Observer, social media titans will  gather in February for the Wisdom  2.0 Conference, whose theme will be finding balance in the Digital Age – a  sign that even Silicon Valley is worried about our online habits.

An obvious proposal for avoiding Internet-induced anxiety, depression, or  psychosis, would be to turn off cell phones, limit time online, and engage in  offline activities like reading books or gardening. I have nothing against those  pursuits—I engage in both of them frequently—but I want to suggest another sort  of remedy for Internet addiction which to my knowledge has not been explored by  others. I claim that the performing arts have something special to offer in this  context.

Now, I’m not recommending that people take up the violin or the piano or  start dance classes as an alternative to spending time online. I am recommending  something less obvious, something which may perhaps seem less plausible. I urge  people to become patrons of the performing arts: attend live  performances, music, dance, and theatre.

But how, you may ask, does that address Internet addiction? What is special  about live performance?

Consider what happens when I attend a concert. I go to the symphony and I  hear, let’s say, a work by Beethoven. But I do not merely hear Beethoven’s  music, which I could do at home on my CD player, I hear it in a special way.  Beethoven composed two hundred years ago, and at the concert it is re-created,  one note at a time, by real people playing real instruments, and their activity  occurs now. In my new book, Motion, Emotion, and Love: The Nature  of Artistic Performance (GIA Publications), I argue that the  musicians’ activity of making the sounds is an activity of artistic creation.  Beethoven composed the symphony but this example of it, this  realization, is also an artwork, created by the musicians, moment to  moment, in my presence. An exactly similar analysis applies at a dance or  theatre performance.

At a performance, we are present at an ongoing exercise of artistic creation.  But we are not just onlookers or listeners: we are participants. We know—and it  is the performer’s job to make us feel—that this music, these movements by the  dancer, these speeches by the actors, are for us. This is part of what “stage presence” or “projecting the character” entails. The performer  communicates, the audience feels engaged, caught up in what is happening, and if  this element is lacking, if the audience does not feel included, the performance  is in this respect a failure.

The performer communicates with the audience but the audience also  communicates with the performer. Performers are vividly aware of the differences  from one audience to another; some audiences are “hard,” some “easy.” It is the  responsibility of the audience to communicate, in subtle ways, its involvement  with the proceedings. Doing so is essential because the message communicated by  the audience influences the performance. We should think of the situation as an interaction of performers and audience and the quality of what the  audience sees or hears depends partly on its contribution to the occasion.

Members of the audience do not communicate only with the performers, they  also communicate with one another. We all know the difference between being in  an audience where everyone is caught up in the performance and being in an  audience that is indifferent or even hostile. Part of the thrill of a live  performance comes from knowing that it is a shared experience; we share with the  performers, they with us, and we with the others in the audience (which is why  obvious demonstrations of indifference or inattention, shown for example by  texting during the performance, are so intolerably rude. They destroy the sense  of sharing.)

At a performance we encounter an artwork—a symphony, for instance—but we  encounter it as emerging from an activity of artistic making in the present  moment. In addition to experiencing the symphony as a work by Beethoven we  experience this realization of it as an additional artwork, created by the  performers aided by the attentive involvement of the audience, and we experience  all this in a context of sharing.

Live performance offers much more, therefore, than just a period of turning  off our cell phones. The kind of integrated experience that I claim performance  offers can stand as an antithesis to the fragmented, frantic, never-ending  run-around that some people subject themselves to by spending too much time  online. Performance offers more than a respite, it offers an experience of an  entirely different order. In addition, the sort of attentive interaction that I  claim should occur between performer and audience, and of audience members with  each other, stands in stark contrast to the interaction of a person with his  iPhone. Nothing like it is available—or possible—online.

By  Thomas Carson Mark

Mark is the author of Motion,  Emotion, and Love: The Nature of Artistic Performance (GIA Publications,  September 2012).

Healing Color Combinations by Ayurvedic Type

Healing Color Combinations by Ayurvedic Type

Does the color of some rooms make you squeamish? Itchy? Antsy? Does the color  of other rooms make you soft? Calm? Wonderfully wobbly and weak in the knees? It  is no secret that we all respond to color, and each of us responds differently  to different shades. Color has a profound effect on us that can influence our  moods and energy with the simple flick of a hue.

AFM Safecoat paints has a system for Healing Paint Colors for Your Ayurveda Type that shows you  how to find emotional balance through the use of color. The company does  business on a “health first premise”–their paints meet the highest standards of  environmental responsibility, and also contain no toxic ingredients such as  solvents, heavy metals, chemical residuals, formaldehyde and other harmful  preservatives.

The Ayurveda Essence color system takes the health premise a step further by  offering interactive tools to help you manipulate subtle aspects of your  environment to promote optimum wellness. There are 108 colors in three groups of  36. (I like how the number 108 surfaces frequently in sacred numerology; but I  just like numbers.) To keep it simple, they created three micro palettes that  correspond to the three major constitutional types of East Indian medicine:  vata, pitta, and kapha. Once you know which type you are (see next page), you  can select colors accordingly: whether the colors are hot or cold, warm or cool,  calming or stimulating, uplifting or grounding, moist or dry, etc. Eastern  healing has generated many practices that promote harmony, created to relieve  stress by helping us understand how to create balance in the day-to-day.

East Indian traditional healing proposes that there are five elements that  can be simplified into three groups known as constitutional types or dosha. The  elements are ether, air, fire, water, and earth. Ether and air are grouped  together and known as vata. The vata constitution is akin to the ectomorph: of  lean build and a thin frame. Fire stands separately as pitta, and the pitta  constitution is akin to the mesomorph: an individual with a moderate frame and  musculature. Water and earth are grouped together and known as kapha. Kapha  types are akin to the endomorph: substantial in mass. Most of us are hybrids of  the dosha types (such as vata/pitta or pitta/kapha), but a key point is that it  is usually the aggravation of our primary dosha type that creates imbalance and  disharmony.

The Ayurveda Essence palettes are grouped together as such:

Ectomorph/Vata/Air and Space: A palette of muted and subdued  earthy tones

Mesomorph/Pitta/Fire: Complex colors with a cooling and  calming orientation

Endomorph/Kapha/Water and Earth: A palette of vibrant and  stimulating colors with warm overtones

As a whole, Ayurveda Essence incorporates colors that range from deep and  chromatic brights to the muted lights and neutrals. The steps in value between  colors has been designed with an eye toward a harmonious contrast. This design  feature automatically eliminates the kind of clash that can result from colors  which are too close to one another in value, and makes the creation of  monochromatic schemes easier. The key difference among the palettes is how they  handle chromaticism. Each micro palette is constructed to avoid those portions  of the color spectrum that would be the most aggravating to the respective  constitution–they are very balanced.

AFM also has another tool to abet you in your trek towards wellness: a set of  17 healing color combinations. You can visit this page to see the color combinations, and while you are  there you can click on the individual links on the left navigation column to see  colors by Ayurvedic types: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.

If you don’t know what your Ayurvedic type is, find out here: Which Ayurvedic Type Are You?

By Healthy Living Editors

Healthy Living Editors

Healthy Living offers more than 10,000 ways for you to improve your life,  your home, your community, and even the world. From the latest healthy and green  news to simple DIY tips, our informative and inspirational content empowers you  to make a difference.

What’s Your Birth Color?

What’s Your Birth Color? (Chart)

The “Color Wheel of Life” follows the progression of the seasons,  showing  what colors they’re associated with and what qualities they  bring to life.  Whether you’re picking inspiring colors for the objects in your living space,  seeking crystals for healing, or just trying to understand more about the  influence different colors have on your mind, this chart (below) can help you  discover the color you were born to. Crystal Vaults describes how to start using it:

“The wheel is read in counterclockwise order.  Start from the  winter solstice at the top and follow the color wheel and the  year  around to the left. The second inner ring shows the days of the year as   the year and the color changes progress through the greens of spring,  the  yellows of summer, and the reds of autumn.”

To discover what your birth color is and what it means, you can explore the  chart below. What’s yours? Share with us in the comments!

(Credit: Crystal Vaults)

Healthy Living Editors

Healthy Living offers more than 10,000 ways for you to improve your life,  your home, your community, and even the world. From the latest healthy and green  news to simple DIY tips, our informative and inspirational content empowers you  to make a difference.

14 Foods that Fight Inflammation and Pain

14 Foods that Fight Inflammation and Pain

Some of the best healing remedies to overcome inflammation also taste  fabulous (I can’t say that about any prescription medications). Plus, foods  won’t cause the nasty side effects common to most pain medications.

1. Blueberries: Blueberries are also excellent  anti-inflammatory foods. They increase the amounts of compounds called  heat-shock proteins that decrease as people age.  When heat-shock proteins  are in short supply inflammation, pain and tissue damage is the result.

2. Cayenne Pepper: Ironically, cayenne pepper turns DOWN the  heat on inflammation due to its powerful anti-inflammatory compound  capsaicin.

3. Celery and 4. Celery Seeds: James Duke, Ph.D., author of The Green Pharmacy, found more than 20 anti-inflammatory compounds in  celery and celery seeds in his research, including a substance called apigenin,  which is powerful in its anti-inflammatory action.  Add celery seeds to  soups, stews or as a salt substitute in many recipes.

5. Cherries: While many people opt for aspirin as their  first course of action when they feel pain, Muraleedharan Nair, PhD, professor  of natural products and chemistry at Michigan State University, found that tart  cherry extract is ten times more effective than aspirin at relieving  inflammation.

6. Dark Green Veggies: Veggies like kale and spinach contain  high amounts of alkaline minerals like calcium and magnesium.  Both  minerals help balance body chemistry to alleviate inflammation.

7. Fish: According to Dr. Alfred D. Steinberg, an arthritis  expert at the National Institute of Health, fish oil acts directly on the immune  system by suppressing 40 to 55 percent of the release of cytokines – compounds  known to destroy joints and cause inflammation.

8. Flax seeds and Flax Oil: Flax seeds are high in natural  oils that convert into hormone-like substances in the body to reduce  inflammatory substances. Add ground flax seeds to smoothies, atop pancakes or  French toast, and many other foods.  Do not heat.

9. Ginger: Dr. Krishna C. Srivastava at Odense University in  Denmark found that ginger was superior to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs  (NSAIDs) like Tylenol or Advil at alleviating inflammation.

10. Raspberries, 11. Blackberries, and 12. Strawberries: In  Dr. Muraleedharan Nair’s later research she discovered that these berries have  similar anti-inflammatory effects as cherries.

13. Turmeric: Research shows that the Indian spice  frequently used in curries suppresses pain and inflammation through a similar  mechanism as drugs like COX-1 and COX-2 inhibitors (without the harmful side  effects).

14. Walnuts: Like flax seeds, raw, unsalted walnuts contain  plentiful amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids that decrease pain and  inflammation.

Adapted from Arthritis-Proof:  The  Drug-Free Way to Beat Pain and Inflammation by Michelle  Schoffro Cook, PhD.

By  Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international  best-selling and 12-time book author and doctor of traditional natural medicine,  whose works include: Healing  Recipes, The Vitality Diet, Allergy-Proof, Arthritis-Proof, Total Body  Detox, The Life Force Diet, The  Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, and The Phytozyme  Cure.  Check out her natural health resources and subscribe to her free  e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News at WorldsHealthiestDiet.com  to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow her on Twitter @mschoffrocook  and Facebook.

Wonder Nut: Walnut

Wonder Nut: Walnut

Do you love walnuts? Do you constantly look for ways to include them in your  daily diet? If yes, congratulations—you’re getting more potassium, magnesium,  calcium, and Vitamin E. What’s more, you’re getting much less sodium than those  who prefer salted peanuts. You’re boosting your memory and brain power, and… oh,  the benefits of walnuts are simply too many to count!

Walnuts are a wonder nut indeed. Just seven of them a day can keep you free  of many health problems. Here’s a brief list of their amazing benefits:

1. Whole, unskinned walnuts are rich in phenol, whose  antioxidant properties are known to boost immunity and delay aging. 2. In fact, walnuts contain almost twice as many antioxidant  polyphenols as Brazil nuts, almonds, peanuts, pistachios, macadamias, hazelnuts,  cashews and pecans. 3. The omega-3 essential fatty acids in  walnuts improve your blood lipid profile, protecting you from strokes and  coronary disease. 4. Walnuts have a special kind of Vitamin  E, which further protects the heart. 5. The high-quality  protein in walnuts can substitute for meat. 6. The nutrients  in walnuts have been found to be effective against certain cancers, especially  prostate and breast cancer. 7. Ayurvedic healers recommend  giving one walnut a day to growing children, because the nut is known to nourish  the brain. Modern research has corroborated this, thousands of years after  vaidyas first recommended walnuts as a brain-sharpening nut! 8. Eaten in moderation—7 walnuts a day—they calm the Kapha dosha, which  means you have more energy and fewer colds, among other things. 9. Studies have shown that walnuts are beneficial for those with Type 2  diabetes. 10. Another research study indicates that walnuts  contain melatonin, an antioxidant that regulates sleep.

Walnuts are wonderfully versatile, too. You could munch them raw, which is my  favorite way of enjoying them, or you could sneak them into your cereal and  salads. Do share your tips and ideas for enjoying this lovely butterfly-shaped  nut. I will soon share mine, too.

And now, off I go to get my daily quota of 7 crunchy walnuts! (Why only 7,  you ask? That’s because 7 walnuts make 1 ounce, and that ounce of protection is  all you need to keep the doctor away!)

By Shubhra Krishan

Shubhra Krishan

Writer, editor and journalist Shubhra Krishan is the author of Essential  Ayurveda: What it is and what it can do for you (New World Library, 2003),  Radiant Body, Restful Mind: A Woman’s book of comfort (New World Library, 2004),  and The 9 to 5 Yogi: How to feel like a sage while working like a dog (Hay House  India, 2011).

Two Berries Delay Brain Aging Two-and-a-Half Years

 Two Berries Delay Brain Aging Two-and-a-Half Years

A Harvard study published in the Annals of Neurology indicates that eating a diet high in blueberries and strawberries can slow brain aging and  cognitive decline by up to two and a half years.

Dr. Elizabeth Devore and her team of researchers at Harvard Medical School  analyzed data from the lengthy Nurses’ Health Study in 1976.   Questionnaires were completed every four years since 1980 to assess the  frequency of berry intake and the intake of 31 different phytonutrients called  flavonoids.  In 16,010 participants over the age of 70 between 1995 and  2001, cognitive function was tested every two years.

The researchers found that those participants who consumed a high amount of  blueberries or strawberries had slower decline in cognitive function test scores  during the follow-up period than those whose intake of these fruits was  lower.  The results were an average delay in cognitive decline due to aging  of up to 2-and-a-half years.

Both blueberries and strawberries are excellent sources of  flavonoids, which reduce inflammation.  This is possibly the  mechanism that is causing the positive brain health effects.  The same  study also found that a high intake of anthocyanidins and total flavonoids were  also linked to the beneficial cognitive effects.

Anthocyanidins are a type of flavonoids responsible for the red, blue, or  purple colors in berries and other foods.  While the effect of consumption  of other anthocyanidin and flavonoid-rich foods was not assessed as part of this  study, it is likely that they will have similar brain protective effects.   Other sources of anthocyanidins and flavonoids include:  blueberries,  cherries, cranberries, grapes, raspberries, and strawberries and to a lesser  extent in almonds, apples, cocoa, and peanuts.

Other research shows that they decrease free radical activity in and between  brain cells. They also inhibit the production of histamine, making them a  natural anti-histamine without the drowsy side effects of many pharmaceuticals.  Numerous studies show that anthocyanidins have anticancer and antitumor  activity, and one study concluded that anthocyanidins may demonstrate  chemotherapeutic activity against breast cancer.

When it comes to heart disease, anthocyanidins help reduce high blood  pressure and improve the body’s ability to metabolize fat. In tests on  rabbits, anthocyanidins demonstrated significant reduction in the  development of atherosclerosis. They also appeared to protect  against heart attacks linked to certain asthma drugs.  They even  have stronger antioxidant properties than either vitamins C or  E.

Adapted from The Phytozyme Cure.

By Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international  best-selling and 12-time book author and doctor of traditional natural medicine,  whose works include: Healing  Recipes, The Vitality Diet, Allergy-Proof, Arthritis-Proof, Total Body  Detox, The Life Force Diet, The  Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, and The Phytozyme  Cure.  Check out her natural health resources and subscribe to her free  e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News at WorldsHealthiestDiet.com  to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow her on Twitter @mschoffrocook  and Facebook.

7 Home Color Tips from a ‘Color Whisperer’

7 Home Color Tips from a ‘Color Whisperer’

Jeanette  Chasworth is a designer who specializes in color and the author of the newly  published book, What’s Color Got To Do With it? She is often called a “color whisperer.” She can go into a room and communicate with it, intuiting the  colors that are needed based on the client’s desires and the messages she picks  up from all of the objects in the room.

Having worked with energy in my own Feng Shui practice for many years, I love  the way that she sees color as a way to energetically shift the room so that her  clients feel as if the room is embracing them. She likens it to the way you feel  in your favorite outfit…”as if you can do anything. That’s what you should feel  in your home,” Jeannette continued, “empowered, relaxed, happy. What does a hug  feel like? Safe, warm, and comforting.  Your home can do that for you  too.”

Jeanette’s most asked question is how a client can change their space for the  least amount of money. The answer is always color,  which is often something that can leave people feeling stuck when working on  their home.

I asked Jeanette to tell me about the emotional and physical effects  of color and to talk about color do’s and dont’s:

“Color affects us every day. It can drain you, make you  hungry, calm you down, or invigorate you. We all have color in our homes and how  we use it affects our lives. We all have unique personalities and so does color.  Every color can create a certain “energy” in a room and it needs to match the  people in it.

I often get clients that are in a place of change…new home, new career, or  even someone who has died. Our homes are a mirror of who we are and when there’s  a change in our lives, we need to reflect it in our home.  I have found it  really helpful in people dealing with the last stages of grief. They are  rediscovering who they are and have to make some changes in order to find that  person. Some take the opportunity to finally get a piece of furniture they  always wanted or to create their dream kitchen or bathroom. Combining old  memories and making room for new memories is really important.”

What are seven color do’s and don’ts that you run into most often  that might help us in choosing color for our own homes?

1. Don’t Paint Your House White Because You Don’t Know  What to Do: Somewhere, somehow we got the idea that a white house was perfect. It made the house seem bigger and look fresh and  clean. Well, maybe, but it’s also hard to keep that way, and most  people like a little more color in their lives. Do you dress in all white every  day, or eat all white food every day? Most likely not; as humans, we want  variety. Your home is no different.

2. Don’t Pick a Color Because it’s Trendy: You need to pick  a color for YOU!

3. Don’t Paint for Resale: Too many people paint with the  idea of resale in mind. This works if you are actually selling the house  immediately but often that’s not the case. Would you go out on the street and  give the next person walking buy all the money for your remodel project? That’s  what you are doing if you design just for resale. You don’t know  what the next person will like or who they are, so how can you pick something  that they will buy? Look around your home — how much have you changed from the  previous owner?    Typically people live in a house for several years.  It’s important that it fits who you are and your needs first, not the next  people who may buy it.

4. Don’t Play it Safe Just to Be Safe: Many people will  select light colors or pastels because they think they will make it look bigger.  This is a huge myth. It’s not how dark or light a room is but it’s how much  light the paint reflects. A barely off-white blue can suck light out of a  room.

Always get a sample and always paint a large sample on the wall, particularly  in doorways where you can see into the next room. See how the color changes  throughout the day because it will. Test it to see how much light is reflected;  the one that reflects light is the one that will make your room look bigger.

5. Do Be Bold: Don’t be afraid to go into the middle of the  paint sample strip. Most people play it safe with the lighter colors at the top – the first or second sample. Don’t be afraid to look at the third, fourth, and  fifth samples. Don’t be afraid to have accents of the darkest colors at the  bottom.

You are an amazing and unique person and it’s important that the colors on  your walls have as much character as you do. Are you bold? Go bold! Don’t  be afraid. Reach into that inner you and ask… what color am I?

6. Do Look Up at the Ceiling: This is the  forgotten element of most homes. Most people think it needs to be white, and  when asked why, the answer is always, “It’s supposed to be white.” Says who?  Start really looking around you when you are in public places and you will see a  lot of other colors. You can paint it a lighter shade of your wall, the same  color as your wall, or if you want, something really bold – darker than the  walls. Just think about doing something a little different and see how much it  changes your room.

7. Do Think About What Mood You Want to Create: Color  creates a mood and each color has specific moods that it creates. Think about  how the room will be used, how you want to feel in it. Do you want to relax or  do you want to re-energize? Color can influence all kinds of things from how  much you eat to how much you sleep. Use it as your friend to improve your  life.

By Erica Sofrina

Erica Sofrina

Erica Sofrina is a  motivational speaker, author and life coach specializing in connecting people to  their spiritual essence. She is also an Internationally recognized Feng Shui  speaker, green living columnist, teacher and the author of the book Small  Changes, Dynamic Results! Feng Shui for the Western World and the Founder of  the West  Coast Academy of Feng Shui.  She is also the founder of Earth Spirit  Adventure Travel which takes people on retreats to powerful energy vortexes such  as Bali and Hawaii to facilitate their deep earth/spirit connection. Find out  more at www.ericasofrina.com

Dancing Is Good for the Soul

Dancing Is Good for the Soul

A coworker of mine told me yesterday about an event she went to that entailed  dancing in the dark. The lights were turned off so that the participants could  dance without feeling self-conscious.  The purpose was to encourage the dancers to allow their bodies to respond to the  music – to move how their bodies wanted to move, without worrying about how they  appeared to others.

It sounded like a beautiful event to me. Dance, after all, is supposed to be  a release, a way to channel our energy and express ourselves. But, as with so  many experiences in life, it has become a performance. When we dance, we often  modify what we do to win the approval of others (of course, this is true of life  in general, as well).

I have often found myself telling others that I can’t dance. This is not  true, of course. Perhaps I don’t dance “well,” but dance is simply movement and  anyone can do it, even if it doesn’t look pretty – because looking pretty isn’t  the point. Professional dancers, of course, must hone their skills. They possess  impressive talent. But for the rest of us, dancing isn’t about looking graceful – it’s about releasing our emotions  and enjoying the present moment. It is a shame that we often censor our dancing  out of unnecessary embarrassment.

Related: Dance Like No One Is Watching (video)

Sarah Cooke

Sarah Cooke is a writer living in California. She is interested in organic food and green living. Sarah holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from  Naropa University, an M.A. in Humanities from NYU, and a B.A. in Political  Science from Loyola Marymount University. She has written for a number of  publications, and she studied Pastry Arts at the Institute for Culinary  Education. Her interests include running, yoga, baking, and poetry. Read more on her blog.

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