Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Benefits of Sitting on the floor and eating

In many Indian households you will find that people sit on the floor and eat their meals. While most of us have embraced the table and chair as a place to eat, there are those of us who prefer to sit in front of the TV and/or sit on the bed and eat. While this might be very comfortable, it might not necessarily be the best thing for your health. Our ancestors definitely had a plan when they made sure we sit on the floor, cross legged and ate our food. 
Here are 10 reasons going back to your roots is the best for your health.
1.Helps improve your digestion:
When you sit on the floor, you usually sit cross legged – an asana known as sukhasana or a half padmasna which are poses that help in digestion (since it is believed that when one sits in this pose in front of food it automatically signals your brain to prepare for digestion). Apart from that when you eat from a plate placed on the floor, you will have to naturally bend forward slightly and go back to your starting position to swallow. This constant back and forth movement causes the muscles of your abdomen to be activated and also leads to increased secretion of stomach acids – making it much easier for you to digest food.
2.Helps you lose weight:
Sitting on the floor and eating has significant weight loss benefits too. When you sit in this position, your brain automatically calms down and is better equipped to focusing on the food you eat. Moreover this position helps you cognate the amount of food you have eaten and helps you feel full faster. How does that work? Well, the main reason people overeat is because they do not know when they are full. This happens because the vagus nerve (the main nerve that transmits signals from the stomach to the brain) sends signals to the brain as you eat, telling it if you are satiated or not. When you sit on the floor this nerve is able to perform better and transmit signals more efficiently. Also, since this position makes you eat slower than you would while sitting on a table, it gives your stomach and brain time to cognate the signals of feeling full, thereby preventing overeating .

3.Makes you more flexible:
When you squat or sit in padmasana, the muscles in your lower back, pelvis, around your stomach and those of the upper and lower abdomen stretch – reducing pain and discomfort. This, in turn helps your digestive system relax and stay in a normal position. Moreover, this position does not compress your stomach in anyway helping you eat and digest better. Moreover, the regular stretching of these essential muscles also helps make you more flexible and healthy.
4.Aids in mindful eating:
When you sit on the floor and eat as a family it aids in mindful eating. Not only does it help you focus on your food, but it also helps you make better choices when you eat. Since your mind is calm and your body is ready to accept nutrition, sitting on the floor is the best way to eat the right amount and kinds of food. According to leading nutritionist, Rujuta Diwekar, eating food while concentrating on every aspect of the food – its smell, taste, texture and how much you are eating is the key to losing weight – which is what sitting on the floor and eating gives you.
5.Helps you bond with your family:
Usually the practice of sitting on the floor and eating is a family activity. This time is great for you to bond. One of the reasons sitting on the floor is better at helping you bond is because it leads to a calm and happy mind – helping you listen more intently and peacefully.
6.Improves your posture:
Posture is very important when it comes to staying healthy. Good posture not only helps prevent injuries but it also reduces the chances of excessive strain on certain muscles and joints, which can lead to fatigue and quicker than normal wear and tear. When you sit on the floor your posture is automatically corrected, making your back straight, lengthening your spine and pushes back your shoulders – beating all the common aches and pains that come with bad posture.
7.Can make you live longer:
Sounds a bit unbelievable right? Well, it’s true, sitting on the floor and eating can actually help you live longer. A study published in the Journal European Journal of Preventive Cardiology found that people who sat on the floor in padmasana and were able to get up without any support were more likely to live longer. This is because being able to get up from that position takes a considerable amount of flexibility and lower body strength. The study found that those who were not able to get up without support were at the risk of being 6.5 times more likely to die in the next six years.
8.Lubricates and keeps your knees and hip joint healthy:
According to PS Venkateshwara, author of the book Yoga for Healing, padmasana and sukhasana is one pose that has health benefits for your entire body. Not only does it help your digestive system function better, but it also helps keep your joints supple, flexible and less prone to injuries and degenerative diseases like arthritis and osteoporosis. That is because the constant bending of the knees, ankles and hip joint helps keep them flexible and free of diseases. And with flexibility comes better lubrication between the joints making it much easier to sit on the floor.
9.Relaxes the mind and calms the nerves:
Sukhasana and padmasana or the cross legged way one sits on the floor while eating has a number of benefits, and one of its most significant ones is that it calms the mind and relaxes frazzled nerves. A very handy tool, it is believed in Ayurveda that eating with a calm mind helps better digestion and in some cases has even helped people relish food better.
10.Strengthens the heart by improving circulation:
Have you ever noticed that when you eat, you tend to feel warmer and in some cases even sweat? Well, that is because when we eat our stomach needs all the energy it can use to digest food. One of digestion’s most important element is a sound blood circulation. To keep up with this process, your heart tends to work overtime to help out your digestive system. Here is where sitting on the floor and eating can help you out. When you sit on the floor your heart gets the benefits of circulation as the blood is easily pumped through the heart to all the organs needed for digestion. This is in contrast to the pattern of circulation when you sit on a dining table and chair, wherein the blood flows to the legs as they are lower than the heart. Therefore sitting on the floor and eating, affords you a healthy heart with strong muscles to help it cope with the pressures of daily life.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

15 Easy Tips that Will Improve Your Life in 60 Seconds

Relaxation Tips

The modern rat race can cause us great stress and leave us with little to no time to take care of our health and bodies. However, there are quick and easy ways to improve our lifestyle, improve our mood and improve our health, and they only take about 60 seconds each. Even if you only make some of these into habits, you’ll still enjoy a happy and healthier life with little effort and time.
1. Take a deep breath

We all get nervous and stressed, be it because of work, traffic or even house chores. In our most stressful moments, it’s vital to remember that we have an innate relaxation mechanism. Taking deep, controlled breaths for 60 seconds when feeling stressed or tired can completely alter your state of mind. Deep breaths lower your blood pressure, slows down the production of stress hormones and helps to ease anxiety and internal disquiet.

2. Hug someone you love

Hugging feels great on its own, but it also has scientifically-proven health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure and stabilizing the heart rate. Hugging releases dopamine - a natural painkiller and can reduce cortisol levels (a stress hormone). A hug can give you more mental energy, and help you handle most obstacles.

3. Laugh and smile

There’s a reason laughter has a reputation for being the best medicine. It’s one of the body’s natural painkillers and shares several physiological functions with exercising. William Fry, one of the pioneers in laughter research, claims that using a rowing machine for ten minutes exercises the heart as one minute of laughter. Laughter also improves your memory and burns calories. If you’re feeling down or even somewhat depressed, a little smile (even a fake one) can change your mood.

4. Eat some dark chocolate

Isn’t it great to know that some delicious treats are actually good for us (in moderation)? Dark chocolate is beneficial for your health, it lowers blood pressure, raises the levels of “good cholesterol” (HDL) and reduces the levels of “bad cholesterol” (LDL). Dark chocolate is also known to be beneficial to the cardiovascular system, and some evidence indicates that it can prevent diabetes and even keep your skin healthier.
Relaxation Tips

5. Stand up whenever you can

Most of us spend our days sitting down: Working, driving and watching TV are just a few of these things. A recent research found that prolonged sessions of sitting can induce psychological distress. Another study has found that women who sit for 10 hours a day or more are in a risk group for heart and cardiovascular diseases when compared to those sitting for only 5 hours a day. Even standing up for a few seconds will improve your circulation significantly.

6. Wash your hands

You may think it’s obvious, but this simple and quick action can protect your health more than you can fathom. Most people wash their hands before eating or after visiting the restroom, but washing your hands with soap more times a day will reduce your chances of getting sick by 20-30%. Remember to moisturize your hands from time to time.

7. Wear a seatbelt

As trivial as it may seem, this easy action takes about five seconds saves thousands of lives every year. Think about it: You’re not climbing the Everest or running a marathon. You’re simply reaching back, and pulling on a belt. This is particularly important when you have children in the car. So don’t be lazy and think about comfort first, it’s better to “waste” ten seconds than risk your life.

8. Add cinnamon to your breakfast

Cinnamon has a variety of medicinal properties, including helping with diabetes by reducing blood sugar levels. Cinnamon is also beneficial in fighting obesity, lowering bad cholesterol levels, and it even warms up the body on cold days. You can add cinnamon to your breakfast by mixing it in your yogurt, oats, cereals and even your coffee.
Relaxation Tips
9. Wear sunscreen lotion

It doesn’t matter if you live in a sunny place or not, UV light is still there, and it’s still harmful. Avoiding the #1 cause of skin cancer takes no effort and very little time – simply put on sunscreen lotion before you leave the house.

10. Use the stairs

It doesn’t matter if we’re late, busy or even just lazy, most of us don’t’ engage in physical exercise in our free time. The modern world doesn’t give us many chances to walk: we get in the car or on the bus, use the elevator and sit at our desks. This is why it is vital that we take every opportunity to exercise. Instead of waiting for the elevator, take the stairs and burn some extra calories, and help you avoid stiff muscles and joint pain.

11. Take a break from staring at the screen

If you have a desk job or are just an avid technology lover, it’s safe to say you spend a lot of time in front of a screen. Staring at the screen for so many hours is bad for your eyes, so it is crucial to take frequent breaks. The best method is the “20-60-20”: every 20 minutes look away from the screen at an object 60 feet away for 20 seconds. If you can, take a moment to walk around the office.

12. Add lemon to your water

Adding a slice of lemon to your water is not only refreshing, but also has many health benefits. Lemons are a superfood and are considered to be one of the most efficient detox agents, making them a great addition to your diet.
Relaxation Tips

13. Clean up your desk

It doesn’t matter how tidy you keep your desk, it still gets covered with germs. Take a minute to wipe down leftovers and crumbs, which are the main of bacterial contamination in your workplace. Use an antibacterial wipe on your keyboard and mouse, they are the most used items on your desk that come in contact with your hands regularly.

14. Elevate your feet

60 seconds of lying down with your legs raised up and leaning against a wall energizes the body as much as a half-hour nap. Rest your arms at the sides of your body and remain that while taking slow, deep breaths. Studies have shown that this position helps the blood in your legs to flow back to your chest and head.
Relaxation Tips

15. Chew some gum

Researchers from the University of Swinburne, Australia found that chewing gum improves your levels of alertness and reduces stress. Behavioral specialists recommend chewing gum before an important meeting, a job interview, and while driving. The reason is that chewing gum tricks the body into thinking it’s eating, meaning we’re safe and have nothing to fear.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Different Uses of Baking Soda

1) Whitens Your Teeth - You've probably noticed many toothpaste brands featuring baking soda as a main ingredient, and for good reason. Baking soda helps remove stains and discolorations from the surface of the teeth or the enamel. You can simply add a teaspoon of the sodium bicarbonate with your toothpaste, and brush for a few minutes. Don't forget to rinse well.  

2) Unclog Drains - Baking soda can help unclog stuffed drainpipes when combined together with vinegar. Pour a pot of boiling hot water down the drain with half a cup of baking soda. Let the natural drain cleaner go to work for a few minutes. Add a cup of vinegar mixed with hot water on top of the baking soda, then cover the drain with a plug. Your drains should be super clean in less than 10 minutes. 

3) Keeps Your Breath Fresh - Are you trying to get rid of that garlic you had for lunch? Baking soda can help with that. Baking soda works magic for freshening your breath, and acts as a natural mouthwash. Put a teaspoon of baking soda into a glass of water, and your bad breath is history!

4) Washing Produce in the Sink - Produce might appear clean on the surfaces, but you'll be stunned at the amount of chemicals and dirt that come off when they are washed properly. Add a 1/4 cup of baking soda into a sink full of water, and dunk the produce inside for a few minutes. Let the solution absorb all the chemicals before rinsing and eating. 

5) Relieve Insect Bites - Baking soda can alleviate the itching of a mosquito bite. The alkaline inside the sodium bicarbonate neutralizes the skin irritation, and provides instant relief. Add a teaspoon of baking soda into a glass of water, and then dip the mixture on the affected areas by using a clean cloth. 

6) Relieve Heartburn - There are many natural home remedies for treating heartburn. One of the remedies includes baking soda. Baking soda acts as a natural antacid when mixed together in water, and helps reduce the acid reflux. Add a 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to half a glass of warm water. Make sure the solution dissolves well before drinking. 

7) Relieve Skin Irritation - Baking soda helps relieve skin irritations when applied as a paste with witch hazel. Gently apply the paste on the itchy spots, and let it relieve the discomfort. You should consult with a physician beforehand if you suffer from dermatitis or other serious skin diseases.

8) Deodorize The Refrigerator - Baking soda can eliminate horrible smells from the fridge, and keep it deodorized. Sprinkle a little baking soda with water onto a damp sponge, and clean the refrigerator thoroughly. Make sure you remove all the food before cleaning the shelves out.  
9) Remove oil and Grease - Another excellent function of baking soda is that it can be used to remove oil and grease stains from upholstery. Place a little dab of the baking soda onto a clean white cloth, and allow between 10-15 minutes for the substance to go to work. The oil and grease stains should magically dissolve by that point. 

10) Simple Floor Cleaner - Baking soda can act as a natural floor cleaner to remove unwanted stains. Add a half cup of baking soda into a bucket of warm water, and use the mixture to mop up the mess. Some people even add a little dash of lemon extract for a fresh and pleasant smell. The baking soda also acts as a disinfectant.

11) Polish Silver Flatware - Are you having a hard time removing the grease out of your beautiful silverware? Not to worry, baking soda, will have your flatware sparkling in no time! You'll need some aluminum foil, a glass dish, a tablespoon of baking soda, a tablespoon of sea salt, half a cup of white vinegar, and a cup of boiling hot water. Dip the silverware into the mix, and use a pair of tongs to remove them from the boiling water after.  

12) Remove Odors from Your Hands - Baking soda can clean your hands from heavy smelling odors. Sprinkle a little baking soda onto your hands, and rub them together. You can even add some toothpaste or mouthwash to one hand and rub. Don't forget to rinse your hands with water after.

13) Deodorize Garbage Disposals - There is no smell quite as unpleasant as clogged garbage disposals, especially during the summertime. Pour a cup of baking soda down the drain, while allowing the warm water to run. The soda neutralizes the foul odors, giving your garbage disposals a fresh clean smell.  

14) Homemade Air Freshener - The vast majority of air fresheners contain harmful chemicals and toxins that are unsafe to breathe in. Baking soda acts as a natural ingredient to help sanitize any disinfected areas. Mix a tablespoon of baking soda with water into an empty spray bottle and voila! 

15) A Self-Made Deodorant - Would you believe that you can use baking soda to make a natural under arm deodorant? It may sound a little hard to believe at first, but it actually works. Here's what you'll need to make the homemade deodorant:
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda 
  • 1/3 cup arrowroot powder 
  • 10 to 15 essential oils of preference (optional) 
Mix everything into a small mixing bowl. You can add the essential oils after the mixture has been made. Place the concoction into a small container, and allow it to sit for a few minutes before applying the solution. 

16) Clean Your Combs and Brushes - You can get rid of oil buildup and residue from your combs or brushes, simply by adding baking soda. Soak the combs or brushes into a solution of baking soda and water. You'll need a single tablespoon of the sodium bicarbonate, and allow 15 minutes or so for the mixture to take effect. Let them dry out on a towel afterward.    

17) Keep Cut Flowers Fresher For Longer Periods - You don't have to throw away that gorgeous bouquet of flowers just yet! Baking soda can help extend the longevity of the cut flowers by adding a teaspoon of the white sodium powder to the water in the vase. 

18) Pamper Your Feet - Baking soda eliminates foot odors, fungus and even Athlete's foot. Soak your feet into a tub of warm water, then add about 3 tablespoons of baking soda. The homemade pedicure should help get rid of the bacteria causing the unpleasant foot odors. 

19) Carpet Deodorizer - Sprinkle a dash of baking soda over your carpeting to remove harsh stains. Baking soda absorbs the odors naturally. Allow the soda to settle into the carpeting for a few hours before vacuuming it up. 

20) Easy Microwave Cleanup - Baking soda can help clean out all the spilled sauces inside the microwave. Mix two tablespoons of baking soda into a bowl with a cup of water on, and let the concoction settle for three minutes. Your microwave will be as good as new!

21) Freshen Coat Closets - Keep an open box of baking soda inside your closet to remove all odors from being trapped inside. The powerful powdery scent will keep your closets fresh and clean all year round. You can also mop a closet floor without carpeting by using a vinegar baking soda mix. 

22) Keep Ants Away - Ants are terrible pests, and they can invade your home within the blink of an eye! Baking soda kills the tiny pests in their tracks. You can make your own homemade pest solution with a little baking soda, and a trail of regular sugar. The sugar is what attracts them, while the baking soda kills them. Pest problem solved!