A guide to better posture


Posture is about far more than looking confident and poised. Sitting or standing in the right position makes sure our bodies function properly. Here we look at posture and how to improve yours starting today.

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25 Amazing Food Cures


Courtesy of Men’s Health, here are 25 secret food cures. Incorporate these wonderfoods into your daily diet, and you’ll be surprised at how quickly your body and your mind react.

1. BE MORE POSITIVE – Dark Chocolate

Research shows that dark chocolate can improve heart health, lower blood pressure, reduce LDL cholesterol, and increase the flow of blood to the brain. It also boosts serotonin and endorphin levels, which are associated with improved mood and greater concentration. Look for chocolate that is 60 percent cocoa or higher.

2. REDUCE ANXIETY – Garlic

Tuck a few extra cloves into your next stir-fry or pasta sauce: Research has found that enzymes in garlic can help increase the release of serotonin, a neurochemical that makes you feel relaxed.

3. FIRE UP YOUR MORNING METABOLISM – Caffeinated Coffee

A study published in the journal Physiology & Behavior found that the average metabolic rate of people who drank caffeinated coffee increased 16 percent over those who drank decaf. Caffeine stimulates your central nervous system by increasing your heart rate and breathing.

4. FIRE UP YOUR EVENING METABOLISM – Chile Peppers

It turns out that capsaicin, the compound that gives chile peppers their mouth-searing quality, can also jumpstart your fat-burning, muscle-building engines. According to a study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology, eating 1 tablespoon of chopped red or green chiles boosts metabolism by 23 percent.

5. LOWER YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE – Fried Eggs

Go ahead, crack under pressure: Eating fried eggs may help reduce high blood pressure. In a test-tube study, scientists in Canada discovered that the breakfast standby produced the highest levels of ACE inhibitory peptides, amino acids that dilate blood vessels and allow blood to flow more easily.

6. REDUCE STRESS – Gum

When you find yourself feeling overwhelmed at work, reach for the Wrigley’s: Chewing gum can help tame your tension, according to Australian researchers. People who chewed gum while taking multitasking tests experienced a 17 percent drop in self-reported stress. This might have to do with the fact that we associate chewing with positive social interactions, like mealtimes.

7. STAVE OFF DEPRESSION – Salmon

Omega-3s may calm your neurotic side, according to a study in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine. Researchers found that adults with the lowest blood levels of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) were more likely to have neuroses, which are symptoms for depression. Salmon is loaded with EPA and DHA, as are walnuts, flaxseeds, and even cauliflower.

8. SPEED WEIGHT LOSS – Yogurt

The probiotics in yogurt may help you drop pounds. British scientists found that these active organisms boost the breakdown of fat molecules in mice, preventing the rodents from gaining weight. Try the Horizon brand of yogurt—it contains the probiotic L. casei, the same organism used in the study.

9. AMP UP YOUR ENERGY – Grilled Chicken Breast

The protein in lean meat like chicken, fish, or pork loin isn’t just good at squashing hunger and boosting metabolism—it’s also a top source of energy. University of Illinois researchers found that people who ate higher amounts of protein had higher energy levels and didn’t feel as tired as people with proportionally higher amounts of carbs in their diet.

10. BE MORE EFFICIENT – Kidney Beans

These legumes are an excellent source of thiamin and riboflavin. Both vitamins help your body use energy efficiently, so you won’t be nodding off mid-Powerpoint.

11. STABILIZE YOUR BLOOD SUGAR – Barley

Swedish researchers found that if you eat barley—a key ingredient in whole-grain cereals—for breakfast, the fibrous grain cuts blood sugar response by 44 percent at lunch and 14 percent at dinner.

12. IMPROVE YOUR ENDURANCE – Clams

Clams stock your body with magnesium, which is important in metabolism, nerve function, and muscle function. When magnesium levels are low, your body produces more lactic acid—the same fatigue-inducing substance that you feel at the end of a long workout.

13. BOOST YOUR IMMUNITY – Rooibos Tea

Animal research suggests that this South African tea, also known as bush or redbush tea, may provide potent immunity-boosting benefits. In addition, Japanese researchers found that it may help prevent allergies and even cancer. Adagio offers a wide range of great-tasting rooibos teas.

14. STOP COUGHING – Honey

Penn State scientists have discovered that honey is a powerful cough suppressant—so next time you¹re hacking up a lung, head for the kitchen. When parents of 105 sick children doled out honey or dextromethorphan (the active ingredient in over-the-counter cough medicines like Robitussin), the honey was better at lessening cough frequency and severity. Try a drizzle in a cup of rooibos tea.

15.TAME A COLD – Kiwi

The vitamin C in kiwi won¹t prevent the onslaught of a cold, but it might decrease the duration of your symptoms. One kiwifruit provides 117 percent of your daily recommended intake of vitamin C.

16. SOOTHE A MIGRAINE – Olives

Foods rich in healthy monounsaturated fats help reduce inflammation, a catalyst for migraines. One study found that the anti-inflammatory compounds in olive oil suppress the enzymes involved in inflammation in the same manner as ibuprofen. Avocados and almonds are also high in monounsaturated fats.

17. LOWER YOUR CHOLESTEROL- Margarine

Not just any margarine, mind you—those containing plant sterols. In a Tufts University study, people who ate a butter substitute containing plant sterols with three meals each day saw their LDL (bad) cholesterol drop by 6 percent. How? The researchers say that plant sterols prevent cholesterol from being absorbed by the intestine. Promise Active and Smart Balance HeartRight are two great options.

18. REPAIR MUSCLE – Spinach

Popeye was onto something, it seems. Rutgers researchers discovered that treating human muscle cells with a compound found in spinach increased protein synthesis by 20 percent. The compound allows muscle tissue to repair itself faster, the researchers say. One thing to keep in mind, however: Spinach doesn’t automatically make any salad a healthy option. Check out 20 Salads Worse Than a Whopper to see what I mean. You’ll be absolutely shocked!

19. RECOVER FROM A WORKOUT – Green Tea

Brazilian scientists found that participants who consumed three cups of the beverage every day for a week had fewer markers of the cell damage caused by resistance to exercise. That means that green tea can help you recover faster after an intense workout.

20. REPLENISH YOUR BODY POST-WORKOUT – Low-Fat Chocolate Milk

Nothing like a little dessert after a long workout. British researchers found that low-fat chocolate milk does a better job than sports drinks at replenishing the body after a workout. Why? Because it has more electrolytes and higher fat content. And scientists at James Madison University found that the balance of fat, protein, and carbs in chocolate milk makes it nearly one-third more effective at replenishing muscles than other recovery beverages.

21. IMPROVE FOCUS AND CONCENTRATION – Sardines

According to research published in Nutrition Journal, fish oil can help increase your ability to concentrate. Credit EPA and DHA, fatty acids that bolster communication among brain cells and help regulate neurotransmitters responsible for mental focus. Salmon, trout, halibut, and tuna are also great sources of EPA and DHA.

22. AVOID ALZHEIMER¹S DISEASE – Bananas

The antioxidants in bananas, apples, and oranges may help protect you from Alzheimer’s, report Korean scientists. The researchers discovered that plant chemicals known as polyphenols helped shield brain cells from oxidative stress, a key cause of the disease.

23. PROTECT YOUR BRAIN – Steak

Vitamin B12, an essential nutrient found in meat, milk, and fish, may help protect you against brain loss, say British scientists. The researchers found that older people with the highest blood levels of the vitamin were six times less likely to have brain shrinkage than those with the lowest levels.

24. BUILD LONG-LASTING BRAINPOWER – Carrots

Researchers from Harvard found that men who consumed more beta-carotene over 18 years had significantly
delayed cognitive aging. Carrots are a tremendous source of the antioxidant, as are other orange foods like butternut squash, pumpkin, and bell peppers.

25. SHARPEN YOUR SENSES – Ground Flaxseed

Flax is the best source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)—a healthy fat that improves the workings of the cerebral cortex, the area of the brain that processes sensory information, including that of pleasure. To meet your quota, sprinkle 1 tablespoon flaxseed on salads or oatmeal once a day, or mix it into a smoothie or shake.

Foods To Calm You Down


According to Yahoo! Food, the common treats that we usually turn to for comfort, acutally make us feel worse. Instead of calming our nerves, many of them ultimately make us feel worse.

Want to take refuge in that pint of ice cream? Think again. Sweets are insidious: After the initial rush, the body’s insulin response kicks in, causing a sudden blood sugar drop that triggers the release of stress hormones. Soon you’re feeling more jangled than you were before you inhaled that whole container of Phish Food.

Don’t despair, true comfort foods exist. Try some of these:

1. Berries, any berries
Eat them one by one instead of M&Ms when the pressure’s on. For those tough times when tension tightens your jaw, try rolling a frozen berry around in your mouth. And then another, and another. Since the carbs in berries turn to sugar very slowly, you won’t have a blood sugar crash. The bonus: They’re a good source of vitamin C, which helps fight a jump in the stress hormone cortisol

2. Guacamole
If you’re craving something creamy, look no further. Avocados are loaded with B vitamins, which stress quickly depletes and which your body needs to maintain nerves and brain cells. Plus their creaminess comes from healthy fat. Scoop up the stuff with whole-grain baked chips-crunching keeps you from gritting your teeth.

3. Mixed nuts
Just an ounce will help replace those stress-depleted Bs (walnuts), give you a whopping amount of zinc (Brazil nuts)-it’s also drained by high anxiety-and boost your E (almonds), which helps fight cellular damage linked to chronic stress. Buy nuts in the shell and think of it as multi-tasking: With every squeeze of the nutcracker, you’re releasing a little bit of tension.

4. Oranges
People who take a 1,000 mg of C before giving a speech have lower levels of cortisol and lower blood pressure than those who don’t. So lean back, take a deep breath, and concentrate on peeling a large orange. The 5-minute mindfulness break will ease your mind and you’ll get a bunch of C as well.

5. Asparagus
Each tender stalk is a source of folic acid, a natural mood-lightener. Dip the spears in fat-free yogurt or sour cream for a hit of calcium with each bite.

6. Chai tea
A warm drink is a super soother, and curling up with a cup of aromatic decaf chai tea (Tazo makes ready-to-brew bags) can make the whole evil day go away.

7. Dark chocolate
Okay, there’s nothing in it that relieves stress, but when only chocolate will do, reach for the dark, sultry kind that’s at least 70% cocoa. You figure if the antioxidant flavonoids in it are potent enough to fight cancer and heart disease, they’ve got to be able to temper tension’s effects.

(Via Yahoo! Food)

Top 10 Detox Foods


Yahoo! Food offers advice for ten foods that will help clean and detox your body.  It’s a perfect way to start fresh, whether it be for the new year, a new month or just a new day.

Add these 10 foods to your grocery cart and you’ll get three terrific benefits:

  1. Lots of super-healthy liquids to flush out the body while pouring in nutrients.
  2. Fiber to keep your GI tract fit.
  3. Foods that energize cleansing enzymes in the liver, your body’s built-in detox center.

The top 10:

Green leafy vegetables. Eat them raw, throw them into a broth, add them to juices. Their chlorophyll helps swab out environmental toxins (heavy metals, pesticides) and is an all-round liver protector.

Lemons. You need to keep the fluids flowing to wash out the body and fresh lemonade is ideal. Its vitamin C – considered the detox vitamin – helps convert toxins into a water – soluble form that?s easily flushed away.

Watercress. Put a handful into salads, soups, and sandwiches. The peppery little green leaves have a diuretic effect that helps move things through your system. And cress is rich in minerals too.

Garlic. Add it to everything – salads, sauces, spreads. In addition to the bulb’s cardio benefits, it activates liver enzymes that help filter out junk.

Green tea. This antioxidant-rich brew is one of the healthiest ways to get more fluids into your system. Bonus: It contains catechins, which speed up liver activity.

Broccoli sprouts. Get ’em at your health-food store. They pack 20 to 50 times more cancer-fighting, enzyme-stimulating activity into each bite than the grown-up vegetable.

Sesame seeds. They’re credited with protecting liver cells from the damaging effects of alcohol and other chemicals. For a concentrated form, try tahini, the yummy sesame seed paste that?s a staple of Asian cooking.

Cabbage. There are two main types of detoxifying enzymes in the liver; this potent veggie helps activate both of them. Coleslaw, anyone?

Psyllium. A plant that?s rich in soluble fiber, like oat bran, but more versatile. It mops up toxins (cholesterol too) and helps clear them out. Stir powdered psyllium into juice to help cleanse your colon, or have psyllium-fortified Bran Buds for breakfast.

Fruits, fruits, fruits. They’re full of almost all the good things above – vitamin C, fiber, nutritious fluids, and all kinds of antioxidants. Besides, nothing tastes better than a ripe mango, fresh berries, or a perfect pear.

Ultimate Detox Recipe

Easy Wilted Garlic-Sesame Salad
Toss dark, leafy greens in hot, garlicky oil for a cleansing?and delicious – dish
4 servings, about 65 calories each
1 Tsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb. spinach, stemmed,
  or 1 lb. Swiss chard, stems sliced, leaves torn
  or 1 lb. mixture of spinach and watercress
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 Tsp. sesame seeds for garnish
Warm oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and stir until lightly browned, about 45 seconds. Add greens (do in two batches, if necessary) and toss until just wilted, 2 to 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Top 10 Foods for a Good Night’s Sleep


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Having trouble falling asleep at night?  These ten food items may help you get a good night’s sleep.  According to Yahoo! Food, these ten items “relax tense muscles, quiet buzzing minds, and/or get calming, sleep-inducing hormones – serotonin and melatonin – flowing.”  So if you’re having trouble sleeping, try one of these ten foods, it just might help you sleep better.

Bananas. They’re practically a sleeping pill in a peel. In addition to a bit of soothing melatonin and serotonin, bananas contain magnesium, a muscle relaxant.

Chamomile tea. The reason chamomile is such a staple of bedtime tea blends is its mild sedating effect – it’s the perfect natural antidote for restless minds/bodies.

Warm milk.It’s not a myth. Milk has some tryptophan – an amino acid that has a sedative – like effect – and calcium, which helps the brain use tryptophan. Plus there’s the psychological throw-back to infancy, when a warm bottle meant “relax, everything’s fine.”

Honey.Drizzle a little in your warm milk or herb tea. Lots of sugar is stimulating, but a little glucose tells your brain to turn off orexin, a recently discovered neurotransmitter that’s linked to alertness.

Potatoes.A small baked spud won’t overwhelm your GI tract, and it clears away acids that can interfere with yawn-inducing tryptophan. To up the soothing effects, mash it with warm milk.

Oatmeal. Oats are a rich source of sleep – inviting melatonin, and a small bowl of warm cereal with a splash of maple syrup is cozy – plus if you’ve got the munchies, it’s filling too.

Almonds.A handful of these heart-healthy nuts can be snooze-inducing, as they contain both tryptophan and a nice dose of muscle-relaxing magnesium.

Flaxseeds. When life goes awry and feeling down is keeping you up, try sprinkling 2 tablespoons of these healthy little seeds on your bedtime oatmeal. They’re rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a natural mood lifter.

Whole-wheat bread.A slice of toast with your tea and honey will release insulin, which helps tryptophan get to your brain, where it’s converted to serotonin and quietly murmurs “time to sleep.”

Turkey.It’s the most famous source of tryptophan, credited with all those Thanksgiving naps. But that’s actually modern folklore. Tryptophan works when your stomach’s basically empty, not overstuffed, and when there are some carbs around, not tons of protein. But put a lean slice or two on some whole-wheat bread mid-evening, and you’ve got one of the best sleep inducers in your kitchen.

For an extra treat, here’s the ultimate sleep-inducing snack…

Lullaby Muffins
Makes 12 low-fat muffins
Between the bananas, the whole wheat, and the honeyed touch of sweetness, these muffins are practically an edible lullaby.
· 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
· 1/2 teaspoon salt
· 1 tablespoon baking powder
· 2 large, very ripe bananas
· 1/3 cup applesauce
· 1/4 cup honey
· 1/2 cup milk or soymilk

Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, combine the flour (make sure it’s whole-wheat pastry flour or you’ll produce golf balls, not muffins), salt, and baking powder. In a blender, puree the bananas; add the applesauce, honey, and milk. Blend well. Pour the banana mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until just moistened. Line muffin tins with paper muffin cups, pour in batter, and bake 30 minutes or until tops are lightly brown and slightly springy.

Nutrition Facts
Per serving: 119 calories; 1g fat; 2.5g protein; 27g carbohydrates; 10g sugars; 133mg sodium; 3g fiber; 35mg magnesium

(Via Yahoo! Food)