Saturday, December 19, 2015

Holiday Health Myths: The Truth About Winter Hazards

Holiday Health Myths: The Truth About Winter Hazards

Don’t believe everything your mother told you about holiday perils. Poinsettia plants are actually not poisonous and New Year’s Eve is not the most dangerous night to be out on the roads – July 4th actually claims that title. 

But New Year’s Eve is, in fact, the most dangerous time of the year to be a pedestrian. And there are some holiday-related health hazards you should know about.

Here’s a list of six of the top health myths — and facts — associated with the winter holidays, and the facts, courtesy of Dr. Ron Clark, associate medical director of Emergency Department at the Hospital of Central Connecticut in New Britain, Conn.

Poinsettias poisonous?

The myth about poinsettia plants started in 1919 when a 2-year-old child died, and a poinsettia plant was blamed. Actually, according to experts, a 50-pound child would have to eat 500 poinsettia leaves to ingest a toxic level.

And poinsettias don’t even taste very good, according to Dr. Clark. It is unlikely that any child would eat enough poinsettia leaves to make himself or herself sick, and there are other, more appropriate, things to worry about over the holidays.

Holiday-related depression.

Another common belief, that the holidays trigger depression and suicide attempts. There is some truth to the idea that holidays can be hard for some individuals to bear, studies show. Visits to the emergency can spike around the holidays, especially for people who are experiencing the loss of a loved one. 

But while tragedies in life can exacerbate depression during the holidays, research shows that there is not an increase in the numbers of suicides. For reasons scientists don’t entirely understand, federal health statistics indicate spring is the season when the highest number of suicides occur.

Toasting too much.

Excessive drinking tops Dr. Clark’s list as a potential hazard at this time of year. And drinking combined with driving and other holiday-related activities increase the odds of injuries that emergency room doctors treat this time of year.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about three dozen traffic fatalities occur daily on average in the United States as a result of crashes involving a drunk driver. During the Christmas season, that figure rises to an average of 45 fatalities involving an alcohol-impaired driver each day and soars to 54 per day over the New Year’s holiday. 

But accident statistics show Independence Day is, by far, the most dangerous time to be on the road, with the July Fourth holiday the deadliest day of the year, with 144 driving-related fatalities on average (teens account for nearly 10 percent of deaths).

Household accidents.

Climbing ladders to put up holiday decorations in bad weather, stringing lights on the roof of the house — and taking them down afterward — are among the many risky winter activities that result in many emergency department visits.
“There are a lot of falls and traumatic injuries over the holidays,” Dr. Clark tells Newsmax Health. “People fall when they are trying to put lights on the outside of the house, or the star on the top of the Christmas tree. Being stupid on the roof and trying to out-do the neighbors is very risky.”

Most of the time people are making poor choices on ladders or with scissors, Dr. Clark adds. “It may be one foolish mistake that leaves you with a dislocated shoulder or a cut finger,” he says.

“One woman who was holding a Christmas ornament in her mouth while she secured another on the tree, took a breath and swallowed the ornament. An endoscopic procedure was necessary to retrieve the pointy sharp ornament.”

Household fires.

Those holiday candles and Christmas tree lights bring a cheer to families that celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, and other winter holidays. But they can also pose a hazard.
Christmas-tree lights alone cause about 510 fires each year, by some estimates. And candles, particularly those left unattended, can cause house fires.


Although drinking and careless accidents prompt many emergency department visits, overeating is another major problem at this time of the year — particularly for individuals with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other chronic health problems.
Someone with congestive heart failure, for instance, might eat too much salt causing fluid overload.

“The heart is a pump, and when it’s not working properly, and you eat too much salt, you end up retaining water. The fluid goes into the lungs, and people show up in the ER a few days later, short of breath,” Dr. Clark says.

Many people gain weight between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day — although the often-cited average of seven pounds gained over the holidays is also a myth — this is a bigger problem for diabetics who may snack on high-calorie hors d’oeuvres and sweets. 
They end up with hyperglycemia from eating things they would normally stay away from.
For most of us, it isn’t so much what we eat during the holiday season but what and how we eat throughout the entire year that is so important. Lots of people may experience holiday weight gain, but overall healthy eating habits make it less of an issue.

So, now that you don’t have to worry about poinsettias, driving on New Year’s Eve, or moderate consumption of food and alcohol, here are some common sense strategies for a happy healthy holiday season:

  • Take care on ladders and slippery roofs. It only takes a fraction of a second to lose your balance. Thousands of people each year have injuries related to lights, decorations, and Christmas trees.
  • Check tree lights for frayed wires, broken bulbs, and loose connections that may be fire hazards.
  • Holiday candles look awesome, but they should never be left unattended and should be set away from draperies, decorations, and young children.
  • Be mindful of what you are eating. If you have an underlying health condition, take extra caution with salty and sweet foods, and consider not only the impact of alcohol on your functioning, but also take into account the high sugar content.

  • Source: © 2015 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.

    Thursday, November 26, 2015

    How To Tell If You Ate Too Much On Thanksgiving, In One Chart

    The short answer: You didn't.

    The Super Bowl of holiday meals has once again arrived, which means mouthwatering side dishes, desserts and wine. Oh, and turkey. Lots of turkey.
    Of course, one of the side effects of such a large (and delicious) meal is the post-consumption guilt that often leaves you wondering, "Did I eat too much?"
    But fear not: We've created this handy essential guide that breaks down whether or not you ate too much at the Thanksgiving table and provides a simple solution. Check it out below:
    Let us repeat that: Going a little overboard on Thanksgiving isn't going to make your weight skyrocket or damage your health. 
    There are 364 other days' worth of meals to be mindful of, don't let one dinner bring you guilt.
    "Even if you ate more this Thanksgiving than you ever have in a single day in your entire life, the likelihood of you gaining more than a pound -- or even that -- would be unlikely," Scott Kahan, director of the National Center for Weight and Wellness, previously told HuffPost. "Worst case scenario, you really haven't done much damage when it comes down to it. You haven't ruined your whole health and weight path." 
    So go on and pass the mashed potatoes. Happy Thanksgiving!
    Source: HuffPost Healthy Living:

    Saturday, November 7, 2015

    6 Basic Principles Of Using Food As Medicine

    Insight from: Dr. James S. Gordon
    In 1973, when I was a researcher at the National Institute of Mental Health and beginning to become interested in alternative therapies, I met Shyam Singha, a London-based Indian osteopath, naturopath, herbalist, acupuncturist, homeopath, and meditation master. Shyam had gleaming yellow eyes and flowing black hair, and wore impeccably tailored Savile Row suits or floor-length, orange silk gowns.
    Lecturing, he paced the front of the hall like a panther. A brilliant, challenging, occasionally terrifying trickster, he became my guide to the frontiers of healing. Together Shyam and I cooked meals that astonished my taste buds, raised my energy, and lifted my mood. The fast, “chaotic” breathing meditation he had learned in the Indian mountains pushed me through fear and anger.
    Shortly after meeting Shyam, I was crippled by a back injury. The orthopedists were issuing dire warnings and getting me ready for a surgery I didn’t want.
    Desperate, I called Shyam in London. “Eat three pineapples a day, and nothing else for a week,” he said.
    I thought the phone had gone bad, and then suspected, not for the first time, that he was mad. He repeated it and explained, using principles of Chinese medicine, how the pineapple would “work on your lung” which was the “mother of the kidney,” and that the kidney was “connected” to the back. It made no sense to me then, but I knew that Shyam knew many things that I and the orthopods didn’t.
    And I really didn’t want back surgery.
    Amazingly, the pineapple fast worked. Later, Shyam suggested I eliminate gluten,dairysugarred meat and processed food to relieve my occasional allergies, asthma, and eczema. That worked, too.
    Ever since, I too have been committed to using food as medicine. Soon I was reading scientific studies that were validating the therapeutic power of traditional remedies and suggesting the need to eliminate or cut down on foods that had become staples of the standard American diet. I began to prescribe nutritional therapies for my medical and psychiatric patients.
    By the early 1990s, I had decided it was time to teach what I was learning to my students at Georgetown Medical School. I asked Susan Lord, MD, my colleague atThe Center for Mind-Body Medicine, to join me. To honor Hippocrates, who coined the phrase, we called our course “Food As Medicine,” and it quickly became a hit with med students.
    The students experimented with diets that eliminated sugar, gluten, dairy, food additives, red meat and caffeine. Many felt less anxious and more energetic; they slept and studied better and learned more easily. They shook their heads at how little attention their curriculum paid to nutrition.
    A few years later, Susan and I made an expanded version of this course available nation-wide, to medical school faculty, physicians, other health professionals and anyone who was interested in improving her own nutrition.
    Together with the dietician Kathie Swift, we created exactly the course we wish we’d had in school — one combining impeccable science and traditional wisdom, presented in the most interesting, practical user-friendly way. We called it “Food As Medicine” (FAM) and we continue to offer it every year.
    The course is comprehensive, but the basic principles are simple and straightforward:
    1. Eat in harmony with your genetic programming — i.e,. the way our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate.

    This doesn’t mean conforming to a strict Paleo diet, but rather following the guidelines it suggests. Consider a whole foods plant-based diet with as little processed food and added sugar as possible.
    Ideally this means consuming far fewer grains (understanding that some people can’t tolerate wheat and other grains at all); little or no dairy (even if you don’t seem intolerant to it); cold water fish like salmon, sardines and mackerel as the preferred animal product; and far more intestine-activating fiber  we consume a paltry average of 15 grams a day; our Paleolithic ancestors took in 100 grams.
    2. Use foods rather than supplements to treat and prevent chronic illness.
    Whole foods contain a number of substances that work synergistically and may be far more effective than supplements that just deliver one of them.
    Why take the powerful antioxidant lycopene in a pill when you can eat a tomato that contains both lycopene and a number of other antioxidants, along with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that work together to prevent heart disease by decreasing cholesterol and lipid levels and stopping abnormal blood clotting?
    3. Combine your nutritional plan with a program to reduce stress and raise awareness about how as well as what we eat.
    Stress inhibits and interferes with every aspect of digestive functioning and with the efficient use of nutrients. Stressed-out people can’t make very good biological use of even the most healthy diets.
    Learning to eat slowly and mindfully will increase your enjoyment of meals, reduce your consumption of food (most of us eat so fast we don’t have time to register signals from our stomach that we are full), and help you make food choices that are better for you.
    4. Understand that we are all, as the pioneering biochemist Roger Williams pointed out 50 years ago, biochemically unique.
    We may be the same age and ethnicity, have very similar health status, ethnicity, and income, but you may use 100 times as much B6 as I do, and I may require 100 times more Zinc.
    Sometimes we may need a nutritionally oriented physician, dietician or nutritionist to do specific, sophisticated tests to determine our deficiencies and requirements. We can always learn a great deal about what’s good for us by experimenting with different diets and foods, and by paying close attention to the outcomes.
    5. Find a health professional who will help you begin treatment of chronic conditions with nutrition and stress management (as well as exercise) rather than medication.
    Except in life threatening situations, this is the sane, common sense way to go. The prescription antacids, Type 2 diabetes drugs, and antidepressants that tens of millions of Americans use to decrease acid reflux, lower blood sugar, and improve mood, only treat symptoms and do not address causes. And they have very significant and often dangerous side-effects. If they are only prescribed, as they should be, after a thorough trial of non-pharmacological treatment, they will rarely be necessary.
    6. Don’t become a food fanatic.
    Use these guidelines (and others that make sense to you), but don’t beat yourself up for deviating from them. Just notice the effect of a questionable choice, learn, and return to your program.
    And don’t waste your time and energy judging others for what they eat! It will just make you cranky and self-righteous, stressful emotional states that will ruin your digestion. And it sure won’t do those other people any good.

    Sunday, September 13, 2015

    12 Thirty-Minute Clean Eating Dinner Under 380 Calories

    Cooking after a hard day at work can be a real chore! But, if you’re aiming to eat clean, you know that wholesome, minimally processed ingredients are the key to a good (and healthy) meal. Whether you plan to take our 10 day Clean Eating Challenge, or just want to make healthier meals in general, we’re here to help. These delicious dinner ideas feature simple ingredients, use easy cooking techniques and are under 380 calories per serving.
    1. Caprese Chicken & Roasted Broccoli | Cook Smarts
    Clean eating goes low carb with this simple caprese chicken, which marries the fresh flavors of a caprese salad with a dose of lean protein. Ripe tomatoes, tangy balsamic and fragrant basil are yummy ways to dress up your lean chicken breast. Serve with a side of roasted broccoli. Recipe makes 4 servings with 1/2 chicken breast each.
    Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 341; Total Fat: 20g; Saturated Fat: 6g; Monounsaturated Fat: 8g; Cholesterol: 60mg; Sodium: 502mg; Carbohydrate: 18g; Dietary Fiber: 6g; Sugar: 4g; Protein: 26g
    2. Chicken & Brussels Sprouts | Cooking Light
    This delightful dinner uses a zesty mustard sauce to add zing to chicken breasts and sautéed brussels sprouts. It’s a low-carb, high-protein meal, but if low carb isn’t your thing, add a small baked potato—simply halve your potato(es), wrap in foil and throw it into the oven while it’s preheating. Nutrition info doesn’t include potato. Recipe makes 4 servings with 1 chicken breast half plus 2/3 cups brussels sprouts plus 2 tablespoons sauce.
    Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 350; Total Fat: 15g; Saturated Fat: 5g; Monounsaturated Fat: 7g; Cholesterol: 114mg; Sodium: 604mg; Carbohydrate: 11g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 2g; Protein: 42g
    3. Southwest Meatball Skillet | Clean Eating
    Imagine lean turkey meatballs served over a wholesome and hearty blend of black beans, corn, tomatoes, lime and cilantro. Now, imagine having that in less than 30 minutes! To make this quick meal complete, serve with one 100% whole-grain dinner roll. Recipe makes 4 servings at 4 meatballs plus 1 cup corn-bean mixture.
    Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 320; Total Fat: 5g; Saturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 55mg; Sodium: 340mg; Carbohydrate: 32g; Dietary Fiber: 7g; Sugar: 5g; Protein: 37g
    4. Steak Baguettes | Cooking Light
    If you’re craving red meat, enjoy it using this simple recipe for baguettes piled high with steak and veggies then drizzled in a pesto mayo. The tender bites of sirloin steak will have you coming back for more of this high-protein, iron-rich sandwich. Recipe makes 4 servings at 1 sandwich each.
    Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 358; Total Fat: 11g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Monounsaturated Fat: 4g; Cholesterol: 45mg; Sodium: 674mg; Carbohydrate: 39g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 1g; Protein: 25g
    5. Simple Rosemary Pork Chops | A Well Balanced Plate
    Savor the simple flavor of rosemary with this 5-ingredient recipe for pork chops. Pan-searing the pork gives it a delicious smoky flavor. Serve with a mixed green salad for a quick, complete meal. Recipe makes 4 servings.
    Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 167; Total Fat: 8g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Monounsaturated Fat: 5g; Cholesterol: 54mg; Sodium: 53mg; Carbohydrate: 1g; Dietary Fiber: 0g; Sugar: 1g; Protein: 23g
    6. Beef & Quinoa Stir-Fry | Cook Smarts
    Make a quick, high-protein dinner in less than 20 minutes with this recipe for beef and quinoa stir-fry. Replacing traditional rice with quinoa ups the protein and, because this stir-fry is loaded with veggies, you won’t suffer on the fiber front, either. Recipe makes 4 servings with 11/2 cups beef-stir-fry mixture plus 1/2 cup quinoa.
    Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 377; Total Fat: 11g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 60mg; Sodium: 316mg; Carbohydrate: 40g; Dietary Fiber: 6g; Sugar: 7g; Protein: 31g
    7. Quick Beef & Bean Chili | Kim’s Cravings
    Snuggle up to a bowl of wholesome chili that’s prepared from fresh ingredients and ready in about half an hour. Remember to make extra chili; freshly prepared chili is delicious, but leftover chili, once all the flavors have time to mingle, is amazing. Recipe makes 6 servings.
    Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 344; Total Fat: 17g; Saturated Fat: 6g; Cholesterol: 54mg; Sodium: 277mg; Carbohydrate: 29g; Dietary Fiber: 12g; Sugar: 6g; Protein: 22g
    8. Mediterranean Boneless Pork Chops | Skinnytaste
    Light on carbs but not on taste, this Mediterranean pork chop recipe cuts down on cook time by having you multitask. While the vegetables are roasting, panfry your pork chops. The trick to quick cooking is thinly sliced meat. Recipe makes 4 servings with 2 chops plus 3/4 cups veggies each.
    Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 230; Total Fat: 9g; Cholesterol: 72mg; Sodium: 502mg; Carbohydrate: 9g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 2g; Protein: 28g
    9. Beef Filets with Pomegranate-Pinot Sauce | Cooking Light
    Ready for a clean-eating treat? Savor tender beef tenderloin steaks with this simple recipe for a batch of sweet and tangy pomegranate sauce. This homemade steak sauce cooks up in less than 10 minutes and tastes like a million bucks. Recipe makes 4 servings with 1 steak plus 2 teaspoons sauce.
    Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 236; Total Fat: 11g; Saturated Fat: 5g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 84mg; Sodium: 333mg; Carbohydrate: 4g; Dietary Fiber: 0g; Sugar: 3g; Protein: 25g
    10.Asparagus Pea Pasta Bowl | MyFitnessPal Original Recipes
    For lunch,enjoy a refreshing pasta salad bowl that’s loaded with tender asparagus and peas. This pasta bowl has kicked-up flavor from a combination of lemon, feta and dill. For a vegan-friendly version, substitute the butter with olive oil and omit the feta cheese. Recipe makes 4 servings at 11/2 cups each.
    Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 359; Total Fat: 9g; Saturated Fat: 5g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 22mg; Sodium: 251mg; Carbohydrate: 59g; Dietary Fiber: 6g; Sugar: 5g; Protein: 13g
    11. Portobello Pesto Pizza | Cook Smarts
    Pizza lovers looking to cut back on calories (or carbs) should try out this portobello pesto pizza. A earthy mushroom, topped with fresh tomatoes, savory pesto and stringy mozzarella, makes a great option for a vegetarian meal. Recipe makes 4 servings at 1/2 cup each.
    Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 303; Total Fat: 29g; Saturated Fat: 6g; Monounsaturated Fat: 17g; Cholesterol: 18mg; Sodium: 190mg; Carbohydrate: 10g; Dietary Fiber: 4g; Sugar: 1g; Protein 13g
    12. Black Bean Spinach Quesadilla | The Calories In, Calories Out Cookbook
    Family-friendly black bean quesadillas make a delicious and quick meatless meal. It’s a versatile recipe that allows you to sub out fresh spinach and mushrooms for your favorite veggies. Recipe makes 4 servings at 1 quesadilla each.
    Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 370; Total Fat: 12g; Saturated Fat: 5g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 20mg; Sodium: 846mg; Carbohydrate: 44g; Dietary Fiber: 8g; Sugar: 1g; Protein: 20g

    Source: My FitnessPal

    Sunday, August 16, 2015

    The Best Protein You Can Eat, According To Nutritionists

    Protein is the key to keeping cravings at bay, building lean muscle and dropping those last few pounds. But according to a new review published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, it’s not just how much protein you eat that’s important: It's where you get your protein that also matters.
    The reason is threefold. First of all, every source of protein -- from chicken to peanuts -- contains a different array of amino acids, the building blocks of protein. Of the 20 various amino acids, nine are “essential,” meaning you can only get them from food. So it’s especially important you get enough of those guys.
    Animal-based sources (meat, eggs, dairy) pack them all in one amount or another, but mostplant-based sources only contain a fraction of the nine essential amino acids, meaning that if you get all your plant-based protein from peas, you could end up not getting enough of certain amino acids, explains study co-author Rajavel Elango, a nutrition and metabolism researcher with the University of British Columbia’s School of Population and Public Health. When getting protein from plant-based sources, it’s important to munch on various protein-rich plants at every meal to help guarantee you get all of the amino acids you need by day’s end.
    FYI, that’s not an excuse to forgo your veggies and get your protein fix from T-bone steaks at breakfast, lunch and dinner. After all, (and this is our “second of all”) that would easily put you over the top in terms of your caloric, saturated fat and cholesterol intake. That protein plan would backfire big time.
    Third of all -- and this might be the most important reason to choose your protein sources wisely -- every food packages protein alongside its own brand of vitamins and minerals, Elango says. Some sources are rich in B vitamins; others in iron, and some aren't rich in anything at all. Remember: Your body can't do much with protein if you're deficient in essential nutrients.
    Want to make sure you’re getting your protein from all of the right places? Here are some of the healthiest protein-packed foods you can eat:
    They don’t just contain 6 grams of protein each. They contain 6 of the most valuable grams of protein around, says registered dietitian nutritionist Bonnie Taub-Dix, a U.S. News Eat + Run blogger, owner of the nutrition consultancy Better Than Dieting  and author of "Read It Before You Eat It." Eggs rate the highest in terms of their “biological value,” the proportion of protein that, when eaten, helps form proteins and tissues in your body. Plus, they're rich in choline as well as vitamins B-12 and D, all of which are critical to keeping your energy levels up and cells humming along as they should. And there might not be a heart-health downside to eating them, after all. According to research published in the British Journal of Medicine, you can eat an egg a day without increasing your heart disease or stroke risk.
    Cottage Cheese
    Perhaps the most underrated cheese known to man, cottage cheese contains 25 grams of protein and 18 percent of your daily calcium needs in a single cup, says registered dietitian Jim White, spokesman for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics and owner of Jim White Fitness training studios in Virginia. Also noteworthy: It’s rich in casein, the slowest-digesting protein you can eat, helping fend off hunger for hours.
    Poultry should be a staple of any omnivore’s protein plan. It contains far less saturated fat than many other cuts of meat, and still contains 30 grams of protein per breast. Opt for white meat whenever possible to keep your calorie count down, Elango says.
    Whole Grains
    These heart-healthy grains contain more protein than complex carbs (which are vital to your fiber intake, heart health and weight-loss success). Among the best sources are quinoa, bulgur and freekeh, White says. All contain 6 or more grams per cooked cup, and quinoa is actually one of the few “complete” plant-based proteins out there, meaning it contains all of the nine essential amino acids.
    “Low in calories and high in value, fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids promoting heart health and stabilizing moods,” Taub-Dix says. Plus, they help keep your brain from shrinking as you age, per a 2014 American Journal of Preventive Medicine study. Among the healthiest sources: salmon and tuna. A 3-ounce serving of salmon will score you 17 grams of protein with 6.5 grams of unsaturated fatty acids. And tuna is a straight-up protein powerhouse, with 25 grams in just 3 ounces. Plus, if you’re trying to cut calories, it’s actually leaner than salmon, containing only 5 grams of total fat (both saturated and unsaturated). Study researchers recommend eating fish twice a week, baked or broiled.
    These guys are as rich in protein as they are in heart-healthy fiber. Plus, they're solid sources of B vitamins, according to Elango. Opt for beans, lentils, soybeans (edamame) and peas. Even peas contain 8 grams of protein per cup. Impressive, no?
    Greek Yogurt
    Perfect for breakfast, snacks or as an ingredient in just about anything, plain, nonfat Greek yogurtcontains 17 grams of protein per serving. In case you were wondering, going fat-free won’t cut down on how much protein your yogurt contains. “Plain is your best option as fruit flavors can pack in loads of sugar,” White says.
    They are known for being rich in healthy unsaturated fatty acids, but they’ve also got a lot of protein going on. Plus, people who eat a handful of nuts per day are 20 percent less likely to die from any cause compared to those who don’t eat nuts, according to a 2013 New England Journal of Medicine study.
    Leafy Greens -- Calorie for calorie, kale, collard greens and other leafy greens are surprisingly rich in protein. For instance, a 70-calorie serving of spinach contains about 10 grams of protein. While greens don’t contain all of the amino acids you need, pairing them with beans and legumes can help make them “complete” with the nine essential amino acids.
    The Best Protein You Can Eat originally appeared on U.S. News & World Report.
    More from U.S. News & World Report:

    Sunday, July 19, 2015

    Why Positive Thinking Is Good for Your Heart

    Life can quickly change from great to grim at any given moment. These unexpected shifts can startle and frighten us, which in turns makes us feel negative. It could be something as simple as stubbing a toe when getting out of bed that sets the tone for the entire day. If we cultivate more awareness around trying to be positive, however, we have the power to radically change the way we feel.
    I know that positive thinking often gets a bad rap. That's because negativity is often mistakenly perceived as powerful and decisive, with an edge of hip cynicism. Positivity, on the other hand, is often wrongly viewed as puny, entreating, and even feeble-minded. But consider that protracted over time, unchecked, accumulated negative feelings such as anger and hostility, can result in health damaging consequences. In his book Love & Survival, Dr. Dean Ornish writes, "In an analysis of over 45 studies, hostility has emerged as one of the most important variables in heart disease. The effects of hostility are equal to or greater in magnitude to the traditional risk factors for heart disease: elevated cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and so on."
    Luckily, contributions from the field of Positive Psychology are now verifying the importance of positivity, not only suggesting that it is far more potent than we think, but that it is a powerful component necessary for optimal health and overall well-being. In her book Positivity, renowned researcher Dr. Barbara Fredrickson writes:
    "Positivity includes the positive meanings and optimistic attitudes that trigger positive emotions as well as the open minds, tender hearts, relaxed limbs, and soft faces they usher in. It even includes the long-term impact that positive emotions have on your character, relationships, communities and environment. Although some of this may sound like the vocabulary of greeting cards, the term Positivity points to vital human moments that have now captured the interest of science."
    Fredrickson is well known for her "broaden-and-build" theory of positive emotions. This theory suggests that positive emotions expand one's awareness, allowing a person to take in varied and wide-ranging exploratory thoughts and actions. In an article in the journal Cognition and Emotion, Fredrickson explains that employing these broader behaviors effectively builds enduring skills and opens us up to new physical, mental, social and psychological resources. For example, positive emotions that are broadening such as feeling curious, playful and compassionate towards a stranger can result in building a possible life-long friendship.
    While positive emotions exhibit this ability to "broaden and build," a corollary hypothesis states that negative emotions conversely shrink this ability. Negative emotions encourage short term, survival oriented behaviors. This occurs when experiencing anger or high anxiety and results in the expression of fight-or-flight responses. When experiencing the stress of negative emotions, we tend to be more susceptible to cardiovascular effects such as increased heart rate and blood pressure, higher blood sugar, and immune suppression. Prolonged exposure to negative emotions can eventually lead to coronary artery disease.
    In this study in the Journal of Motivation and Emotion, researchers found that positive emotions can undo the cardiovascular effects of negative emotions, facilitating a return to a more stable physiological state. Test subjects who were feeling anxiety-causing cardiovascular reactivity were alternately shown films that made them feel content, amused, neutral or sad. The results proved that films that made subjects feel amused or content produced faster cardiovascular recovery than the neutral or sad films did.
    In light of the compelling research on the power of positive emotions, we would do well to increase our daily levels of positivity. This, of course, would never imply that we should deny, ignore, or suppress negative emotions. All emotions can be valued as e-motion, or energy in motion. We can listen, learn and benefit from both negative and positive emotions because they are the messengers of our perception. It is when we are able to decode, honor and integrate them that we are subsequently able to adapt, grow and flourish. Proactively encouraging positivity in our daily lives will remind us that we can be more than just the emotional bystanders and reactors of life. We can be the architects of our attitudes.

    Some Simple Suggestions for Increasing Positivity:

    1. During the day, be mindful of wins: a satisfying completion of a project, a kind gesture, a humorous email, or an unexpected compliment.
    2. Take a full body stretch every hour. Snag a brisk walk with a coworker on your lunch hour. Enjoy your favorite healthy snacks, and keep hydrated.
    3. Ritualize your transition at the close of the workday. Consciously decide what you want to bring home with you. Leave the burdens and upsets of the day behind. Sit in the car for a few minutes and breathe deeply. When you get home, take time to relax and unwind with a guided five-minute "Lying On Back" gentle yoga stretch.
    4. Contact and connect with loved ones. Call, text, email, send a love letter or a shared photo of a happy memory. Laugh, dance, share a meal, sit together, hold hands, cuddle.
    5. Make an ongoing list of what is NOT broken. Keep a gratitude journal.
    Developing a positive attitude greatly enriches our lives as well as that of those around us. Cultivating positivity can alter your body, mind and spirit in formidable ways that will aid you in creating your best life. As Dr. Fredrickson writes, "The treasure of your own positivity is waiting for you."
    Source: Huffington Post Healthy Living​