Saturday, January 29, 2011

Beautiful Day

I just returned from our Tai Chi class.  It was a good way to start the day and the weekend.  We all felt better after the exercises. Each of us decided to change our plans to enjoy the outdoors in some way this weekend.  

The weather today in Camarillo is fantastic.  Get outside and enjoy the fresh air and sunlight.  It is healthier for your body, calming for the mind and enriching for the spirit.  You can't ask for a better medicine.

We may copy a friend and go to the tide pools.  Or take a hike up in the Santa Monica Mountains.  Whichever we do it will be great to get out and enjoy this spring-like day.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Meditation or Prozac?

Boston University's psychology professor Stefan Hofmann reviewed 39 studies on mindfulness meditation.  The studies showed that using this as therapy can relieve anxiety and improve moods.  While not for all of the 1,140 people the technique did work. 

Another study last month found that the treatment is as effective as drugs in preventing relapses of depression.  MRI scans actually validated the study showing different brain activity before and after the meditation training. 

Many people have side effects from their prescriptions but deal with them since the depression or anxiety is worse than the side effects.  Simple meditation found in yoga or tai chi can have the same benefits without the side effects of the drugs. 

It makes me appreciate my Tai Chi even more. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Myth of Sports Drinks

Sport Drinks are not of any benefit for the average athlete. They mildly help professional athletes but if you are not exercising at that level daily then they are just as bad for us as soda.  Due to successful marketing people are convinced that they are good for anyone that does any level of activity.  But all the sugar they contain may be part of the obesity problem the USA faces.
This study was authored by Nalini Ranjit and posted at  15,000 middle and high school students found that the people purchasing these drinks also were eating a better than average diet.  These students have been convinced that the drinks are part of a healthy lifestyle.  Yet the sugar content is almost as high as soda. 
To help prevent obesity, diabetes and other sugar related health problems stay away from Soda and Sports Drinks.  Your body will thank you for this. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Brown Rice, White Rice and Diabetes

We always hear, "eat whole grains." Yet many of us forget to apply that to rice. 

We remove the bran from brown rice and that is white rice.  Along with the bran go a lot of nutrients; various antioxidants, a form of vitamin E, gamma-oryzanol, beta-sitosterol, 2 fibers and ferulic acid.  Many studies have shown all of these may contribute to either lowering fats, lowering cholesterol and balancing blood sugar.

In 2010 a Harvard study of 200,000 people showed that those eating 5 or more servings of white rice per week increased the chance of diabetes by 17%.  Yet shows people eating 2 or more servings per week of brown rice lowered their chances of diabetes by 11%.  That is a 28% difference between white and brown rice!

Without the bran the white rice is converted into blood sugar much quicker than the brown rice which increases our demand for insulin.  Higher insulin demand without the nutrients we need to deal with it make it harder & harder for our bodies to handle spikes in blood sugar.  This leads to diabetes. 

Combine these studies with other research and we see that removing white rice and substituting whole grains (brown rice, whole wheat, quinoa, barley, spelt, Irish oats) instead can decrease the incidence of diabetes by over 30%. 

So next time you order Chinese food ask for brown rice.  If they can't do it, call someone who can.  Your health depends on it.