Cranberry Juice

6 12 2012

Cranberries, the small deep red, sweet fruit has some big health benefits. Some areas of the US list it as a superfruit, or a fruit with numerous health benefits.

You may have seen the cranberry juice commercial with the two guys standing in a cranberry bog. Many cranberries are water-harvested, floating in bogs, which makes it easier to harvest. But, this way of harvesting also promotes phytonutrients in the berry and gives it the beautiful red color, by exposing it to the natural sunlight. Increasing the sunlight also increases the amounts of anthocyanins, which provide the greater health benefits.

What are some of the benefits of this little berry?

Traditionally, cranberry juice has been used as a natural way to reduce or eliminate bladder infections. The berries have been found to inhibit bacteria from accumulating on the walls of the urinary tract, preventing infection.  Drinking the juice daily, may prevent the infections all together.

Reducing dental plaque is another benefit of cranberry juice. The juice inhibits the growth of bacteria that causes plaque in the mouth. Eliminating plaque will keep your teeth and gums healthy, fresh, and clean.

Medical research is ongoing to see if cranberry juice may help to prevent kidney stones. Cranberries naturally rid the body of bacteria and waste, which makes sense they may even prevent kidney stones to form. We shall see…

Watch the sugar content of the cranberry juice. Juice with no added sugar will contain higher concentrations of antioxidants, making it a better choice than sweetened versions. Unsweetened, the juice may seem tart to taste. But, the concentration of phytochemicals providing all these benefits make it more beneficial. Try adding it to smoothies, water, or other no sugar added juices to offset the tartness. Or course, the greatest concentration of health benefits will be found in the raw cranberry. The juice is more readily available year round and may be easier to consume on a regular basis.

Tammy’s Challenges

Mind: Eat with your non-dominant hand all day for one day. This will help you to focus on your meal and slow down between bites. This will give you time to chew between bites and let your stomach and brain connect to listen to the body’s signal of fullness.

Body: Look for cranberry juice (no sugar added) when shopping for groceries. Learn to read labels to reduce sugar in your diet.

Soul: Have your last meal at least 3 hours before bedtime. This will give your body a chance to digest the meal before lying down, which will make for a more restful sleep.

I would love to hear from you.  Contact me through email at Tammy@TammYoga.com and Facebook at TammYoga and Twitter @TammYoga.

Namaste

Tammy





Water and Lemon

1 08 2012

What is the saying? When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. What if you tried making the lemonade to avoid the lemons altogether?

I have found a great way to start my day. It has become a part of my morning ritual, along with washing my face and flossing and brushing my teeth. I drink a glass of warm water with the juice of one half of a lemon. It is easy and the benefits make it a priority for me.

Benefits:

  • Stronger immune system: A strong immune system helps to ward of disease. Lemons are high in vitamin C, which helps in fighting off colds. The potassium found in lemons helps to control blood pressure and has been shown to stimulate brain and nerve function.
  • Balances pH: A healthy body is alkaline. Lemons are an acidic food. But, when we consume lemons our bodies shift it to alkaline, creating a balanced pH.
  • Weight loss: The pectin fiber found in lemons, helps to reduce food cravings. So, maybe lemon and warm water in the morning will make for better food choices for the remainder of the day. It has been shown that people who eat a more alkaline diet lose weight faster.
  • Digestion: Warm water helps to stimulate the digestive tract and the muscle contractions to move foods through the digestion process. Lemon nutrients help to rid toxins in the digestive tract.
  • Natural Diuretic: Lemon juice increases urination and flushes out toxins. So, the toxins will be eliminated faster due to the increased rate of movement through the urinary tract.
  • Healthy skin: Lemon juice eliminated toxins from the blood helping to keep the skin clear. The vitamin C found in lemons helps to prevent wrinkles and blemishes.
  • Hydrates the body: Start the day off right by hydrating the body. When the body becomes dehydrated, the organs have a hard time functioning properly. This can lead to other health problems: stress, toxic buildup, and constipation, to name a few.

Do you think you could benefit from warm water and lemon juice every day?

Tammy’s Challenges

Growth does not come from one perspective. To achieve a healthy lifestyle, you must do more than concentrate on exercise alone. Diet changes will enhance your wellbeing, but it alone is not healthy. Let’s not forget the soul or spirit. It needs nurturing as well. So, here are a few mind (diet) – body (exercise) – soul (mental) challenges for you to try.

Mind: Pamper yourself with a good book, a nap, a bath….

Body: Call a friend and take an exercise class together.

Soul: Call a loved one and tell them, “I love you”.

I would love to hear from you.  Email: Tammy@TammYoga.com

Facebook: TammYoga

Twitter: @TammYoga

Namaste  (The spirit in me respects the spirit in you.)

Tammy





YogaFit for the Brain with Dr. Bill Larkin

6 05 2012

Post from YogaFit Newsletter:

Grow the Peanut; Shrink the Jelly Beans

At the Palm Springs Conference last May I had the great opportunity to speak to another totally tuned in YogaFit audience who get the significance of what I talk about.

I gave the group three pieces of aluminum foil, two jelly beans, and a peanut.

The participants put two jelly beans in the palm of their hand and closed that hand. The jelly beans are the amygdalae of the old, first to be created, reptilian brain. They are full of emotion, flight-flight, fear, anxiety. This part of the brain has had millions of years to develop in evolution to guard and protect us against tigers and other big harm. These are strong emotions we have inherited.

Wrap one sheet of aluminum foil around the closed hand and there it was, the reptilian brain. Wrap another sheet of additional millions of years of development around that same hand and you have a brain wrapped in millions of neuropathways connected to those jelly beans. Then on top of this brain we put a peanut that is the anterior cingulate; the emotional heart of the brain. It is a switching station that takes all of the signals of the brain that are positive and good and turns down the power of the amygdala from creating way too much negative emotional reacting. Our “peanut” anterior cingulate sits right above the insula of the brain which has mysterious connections to addiction that we are only beginning to understand.

Now add the last layer of aluminum foil that represents another few million years.  It is the frontal lobes. This part of the brain communicates with the anterior cingulate what we think and reason. This part of your brain is just behind your forehead.

But it is the peanut that is in the central position of modulating the thoughts of the frontal lobes and the reactions of the amygdala.

Here is the short of it, grow the anterior cingulate (the peanut) through yoga and it will dump chemicals on the amygdala and cool it down.  Super simple but this is what happens when YogaFit increases the growth of neuropathways that enforce and strengthen the work of the anterior cingulate.

Yoga affects the “heart” of the brain that is the anterior cingulate. It adds to the synchrony of the mind and body and elevates mood. Grow the peanut, shrink the jelly beans; do yoga.

Add to that consciously feeling the better feelings you feel, intensify them, feel more peace, more gratitude, more joy, more hope.  These are all states of mind you produce when you engage in the disciplines and direction in which YogaFit takes you.

Make a conscious effort to increase the positive emotions that the YogaFit experience creates. These emotions that elevate mood affect the “heart of the brain” that is the anterior cingulate we have simulated with a peanut. You are releasing a host of positive chemicals and hormones in the work you do.

Two things are extremely helpful increasing the growth of the anterior cingulate.

1. Believe that it’s happening. Plug-in your belief system to know that you are growing your brain and directing its development in a healthy way. Believing well adds to the elevation of mood and good feeling.

2. Capitalize on the good feelings your magnificent movements, filled with centuries of wisdom create for you. Intensity the good feeling you feel; just feel them more, make them last longer. Recreate these feeling states at other times during day by memory. Carry these states of better feelings with you. You are, all the while, growing the peanut that is the anterior cingulate, the heart of the brain.

Grow the peanut, shrink the jelly beans, do yoga and carry it with you in your memory throughout the day.

The significant breadth of the YogaFit program grows your “peanut” across time and significantly cools down your “jelly beans”.

Dr. Larkin is Director of the Applied Neuroscience Institute and author of Growing the Positive Mind and 12 New Steps for a New Millennium: The UpSpiraLife Group