7 Things Japan Can Teach You About Living A Long, Healthy Life


7 Things Japan Can Teach You About Living A Long, Healthy Life

      Reblogged:From HuffingtonPost                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Japan, the land that gave us such treasures as HokusaiMothra and the delicious snack-stick known as Pocky , offers what may be the world’s best blueprint for a healthy life. Not only do Japanese men and women routinely rank at the top of lists detailing humanity’s longest and healthiest life spans, but, in the most recent World Health Organization study, Japanese women came in first with life expectancies of 87.0 years.

And it’s not all due to genes. We teamed up with Aetna to give a head-to-toe examination of all of the secrets of the Japanese lifestyle, from seaweed to mountain climbing to zen. So while you might never turn Japanese, you’ll be able to live more like them.


They value a seafood diet.fatty fish

The Japanese love them a good fish. According to the National Marine Fisheries Service, Japanese seafood consumption was 55.7 kilograms per capita in the last year of data available. (The U.S. ate just 24.2 kilograms.) The numbers put Japan in the top six of seafood consumption among larger nations. So important is their fish diet that trade groups and bureaucrats promoted a band to combat declining consumption levels among Japanese youth.

(The theme song they came up with goes: “Fish Fish Fish. You get smart when you eat fish.”)

The biggest benefit of eating fish may be this: many people that eat it outlive their fish-phobic friends. The consumption of fish lowers the risk of death by heart disease by 36 percent. More astounding, older people who have higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, largely due to their consumption of fatty fish, lived an average of 2.2 years longerthan those with lower levels. Diets heavy in fatty fishes are also proven to elevate mood and prevent certain types of cancer and inflammation.

Scientists recommend eating two servings of fatty fish, like tuna or salmon, each week. For best results, make sure you poach, grill or steam it.                                                                                                                                                              But they don’t forget about all the other bounty of the sea.

 seaweed

The U.N. reports that Japan consumes about 100,000 tons of seaweed per year. And they aren’t picky about type: The Japanese use over 20 species of the stuff in their cuisine. In fact, residents of Japan’s southernmost island of Okinawa, known for breeding centenarians,eat more seaweed than anywhere else in the world.

Okay, but is kelp actually good for you? All signs suggest it is — amazingly so. Seaweed packs between 2 and 9 grams of protein per cup, and some varieties deliver exponentially more potassium than a banana. It’s also the rare food to contain natural iodine — a useful thing for regulating thyroids. Additionally, Harvard researcherstheorize that seaweed’s ability to regulate estrogen and estriadollevels may explain the island nation’s significantly low rates of breast cancer. (They may also ease symptoms of PMS.)

If you don’t like the flavor, you have options. (See: seaweed pasta.) That being said, seaweed is so nutrient-dense it can have side effects.Limit your intake of certain varieties to two tablespoons per week. But don’t worry too much; your sushi rolls are still good to go.

They made singing a national pastime. 

lostintranslation
Visitors might be shocked at just how prevalent — as in, it’s everywhere– karaoke is in Japan. The numbers do a little to help demonstrate the size of the Japanese pastime: In 2010, the Japanese karaoke industryraked in over 10 billion dollars. (To put that in perspective, that same year its film industry took in a record high 2.66 billion dollars.) The largest karaoke chain, Big Echo, operates in 229 locations across the country.

Well, here’s some good news for all the singers out there: Karaoke is good for you. In a 2009 study of almost 20,000 men, researchers at the Ehime University Graduate School of Medicine and Osaka University found that moderate drinking with friends improves cardiovascular health. To quote the study’s author: “Singers use deep breathing, which is good for the nervous system. After singing, they usually receive applause. It is a good kind of social support, and helps in the face of adverse occasions or stressful events.”

So gather some friends, and belt out a few notes.


One word: fermentation.

miso
We’re not talking sake here (although there’s evidence that it might have some benefits when imbibed in moderation). No, Japanese cuisine is rich in fermented foods, from the colorful tsukemono, or pickled side dishes, that paint every meal to the ubiquitous soy sauce, of which the average Japanese consumes 1.8 gallons per year. Japanese staples like soy, miso and the not-for-newbies bean paste natto are all achieved through fermentation.

In Japanese fermentative processes, fungal agent koji acts as the world’s tiniest mama bird, partially digesting food before it reaches human mouths. Research suggests that fermentation not only eases digestion, but also strengthens the immune system — scientists notethat the vast majority of immune cells live in our guts.

You don’t need more than a few servings a week for a benefit. Add miso paste as a marinade to your dishes, and enjoy better health and the amazing flavor.


The Japanese go green. 

japanese forest shrine
You might think the entire archipelago is covered in vast cities, but it’s actually pretty green; portions of the country are temperaterainforests. Given its beauty, it’s not surprising that reverence for nature has rooted its way into Japanese culture.

The Japanese government cemented nature-loving as policy when itapproved the country’s 16th national holiday, Mountain Day, which celebrates exactly what you think it would. And Japanese octogenarians have set records for mountain climbing. (Yes, an 80-year old climbed Everest. Feel bad about sitting on the couch tonight.) Furthermore, the Japanese are pioneering forest therapy, which consists of recuperative jaunts to local green spaces.

Time spent in nature provides serious health benefits. Almost every organ in your body is a battery for Vitamin D, and not getting enough of the wonder-nutrient leads to cancer, autoimmune disorder and arthritis. Furthermore, research shows that time in nature improves cognitive and creative function by 20 percent and 50 percent, respectively.

So do what your Mom told you, and get some fresh air.


They have the best baths.

snow onsen
Bathtime is serious business in Japan. As anyone who has been to asentō or onsen (public baths and hot springs) can tell you, they are an extremely relaxing way to spend time. About 85 percent of Japanese end their day in a bath, and some 128 million bathers visited the country’s public baths during 2010. As early as the 17th century, Japanese medical texts were touting a hot soak as a way of warding off ailments.

As it turns out, they may have been onto something. Japanese scientists confirmed that a bath in mineral-laden water can treat rheumatism, skin disorders and neuralgia. And if, like us, you use bath time for your daily meditation, that has health benefits too: two-thirds of patients who meditate showed significant drops in blood pressure.


Japan always makes time for tea.
green tea
The tea ceremony is a gorgeously stylized ritual in a country full of them. The tradition, studied for years by practitioners, takes place in a small structure modeled to look like a hermit’s hut. The idea is to lead your mind away from the everyday of life.

Despite the specialized ritual, tea consumption is an integral part of the everyday Japanese lifestyle. This habit puts them in the top tentea-drinking nations — ahead of their bigger neighbor, China. Most tea consumed in Japan is green. In fact, without a qualifier, the word for “tea” in Japanese automatically means green.

Green tea is not only delicious (have you had green tea ice cream?), but also insanely beneficial. Studies have connected drinking green tea to reduced risk of heart disease and cancer and higher levels of cognitive function. And Japanese citizens who drank five cups of green tea per day had 26 percent lower mortality rates.

 

Can Vegetarians Go Paleo?


Can Vegetarians Go Paleo?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Reblogged: from Huffington Post                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Bacon, steak and more bacon is often associated with the much-hypedPaleo Diet, which is undoubtedly having a moment. Can vegetarians take part in a diet that puts so much emphasis on meat?

It is possible. Our Paleolithic ancestors were very much about meat, yes, but vegetables, nuts and seeds were also part of their whatever-we-can-get-our-hands-on meal plan. The basic premise of this stone-age eating is to eat like hunter-gatherers did 10,000 years ago. They didn’t have farms, which made it impossible to eat wheat or dairy. Proponents of the lifestyle argue humans were genetically predisposed to consume food the way our ancestors did, and that mimicking those ancient eating habits can help decrease chronic disease and support a healthy weight.

The millennial version gets specific: You can eat meat, poultry, fish, eggs, fruit, vegetables and nuts. Nixed from the list? Grains, legumes, dairy, refined sugar and vegetable oils.

It’s not surprising that vegetarians are among those eager to give Paleo a go; it was the most Googled diet of 2013 and hasn’t lost much traction. For some, it may be impossible to imagine quitting staples like pizza, sandwiches and ice cream, but thousands have tried. There are hundreds of books and blogs on the lifestyle along with millions offood porn-esque hashtags.

Whether vegetarians should go Paleo is a more complicated story.

For starters, herbivores who want to go Paleo will have to rely on eggs for their main source of protein. Beyond the health risks associated with overdosing on eggs, eating them for every meal could get a little tiresome.

“The most quality sources of protein for vegetarians are prohibited on the Paleo diet,” Alexis Joseph, a registered dietician and the author ofHummusapien blog, told The Huffington Post. No peanuts (they’re legumes). No dairy. No soy. No quinoa. All of these “nos” can make it really tough to get the body the nutrients it needs. Nuts, which are permitted on the Paleo plan, are problematic. “They’re a really good protein, but they’re extremely high in calories,” Joseph says.

Joseph is also skeptical of the entire diet. “We can’t mimic cavemen. They had to hunt and gather for their food — which was physically taxing. Their meat wasn’t factory-farmed and saturated with antibiotics, pesticides and chemicals.” Plus, she says, many of the animals hunted by our cave-dwelling ancestors are now extinct. Paleo diets often emphasize a meal plan low in carbohydrates, but the body and the brain run on carbs, Joseph says. “Low carbohydrate, high protein diets can be dangerous for the body. Eliminating legumes and whole grains reduces fiber and nutrients like B vitamins, which are proven to promote healthy weight, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and lower blood pressure.”

For those vegetarians who are determined to dip their toes into the Paleo fad pool, Joseph suggests making a few modifications to the diet. Incorporate quality vegetarian sources of proteins like lentils, quinoa and beans. The changes will make the diet resemble more of a gluten-free vegetarian meal plan but still promote the essential qualities of the Paleo diet, which can support certain healthy habits, like eating fewer processed foods and hydrogenated oils.

If you’re curious what an entirely Paleo and vegetarian dish might look like, Joseph does have one recipe to share:Joseph says this recipe boasts the good stuff: The sweet potato is made up of complex carbs and beta-carotene, the egg provides some protein and the avocado cubes are full of healthy fat. To make it, scrub a medium sweet potato, stab it with a fork and bake it in the oven at 400 degrees for about an hour. Once it’s cooked, take it out and slice it in half and fill it with cubed avocado and salsa. Cook up your egg however you like (consider prepping it sunny-side up in a bit of coconut oil) and add it to the stuffed potato.

Happy Holiday’s


English: Two New Year's Resolutions postcards

English: Two New Year’s Resolutions postcards (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well just wanted to give a little shout out to ALL my follower’s,  A Big Thank You to you all! I hope everyone had a great Holiday. Now that we’ve all gotten though Thanks Giving,and Christmas,or which ever Holidays you celebrate. Now it’s time to think about  the year ahead,for some maybe a fresh start,a new beginning,or maybe just something you would like to change about yourself,or your lifestyle,a bad habit you would like to break ect…. That’s right it’s time to make those New Year Resolutions! But think carefully before choosing and remember if you make a  New Years Resolution set realistic goals, be consistent ,persistent,stay focused and visualize yourself reaching those goals…   Well good luck and have a Great New Year! Oh don’t forget to check out my next post 13 weight loss resolutions you shouldn’t make..

4 Food Rules to Shrink and Soothe Your Belly for a 21-Day Tummy


4 Food Rules to Shrink and Soothe Your Belly for a 21-Day Tummy

 Reblogged: From Yahoo Health                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  So, this is a little awkward. But a few years ago, I began to notice that my digestion was becoming less regular. I had almost constant pain and bloating and had gained nearly ten pounds. Then I read the stats: From burps and groans to discomfort and moans, millions of Americans have similar tummy issues. So I did what any health journalist would: I researched the issue, and I asked my staff of editors at Reader’s Digest to help. We uncovered reams of pioneering studies and learned that the very foods that make your belly feel better are the same ones that make it flatter.

It’s a diet dream: an eating regimen that trims my tummy can also solve GI problems like heartburn and reflux, gas and bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). In a nutshell, we found that two keys for a slimmer, happier stomach: balance gut bacteria and lower inflammation. An unhealthy mix of gut bacteria can lead to constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating, and IBS. Inflammation can upset your stomach and pack on pounds if it becomes chronic.

I asked Kate Scarlata, a registered dietitian who specializes in digestive disorders, to help convert all of this new science into an eating plan, and I called it the 21-Day Tummy diet. If you follow it, you’ll enjoy plenty of foods that soothe your stomach (I call them Belly Buddies) and eliminate those that aggravate it (I call them Belly Bullies). To start, read up on the plan’s four main food rules:

Nutrition

1. Load up on magnesium-rich foods.

Deficiency in this key mineral is linked to obesity and inflammation. The 21-Day Tummy diet features delicious spinach, brown rice, and pumpkin seeds, among other whole foods, to boost your magnesium intake.

More: 7 Best Foods for Your Belly »

2. Eat plenty of anti-inflammatory fats.

Pair the MUFAs in foods like dark chocolate, olives and avocados that specifically target visceral belly fat with omega-3’s (found in foods like salmon and walnuts) that combat inflammation and the many diseases associated with it. You’ll protect yourself from heart disease, depression, type 2 diabetes, stroke, cancer, and, of course, gastrointestinal disorders and weight gain.

More: 7 Worst Foods for Your Belly »

3. Cut back on carb-dense foods.

This tip may change the way you look at “good carbs” and “bad carbs” forever. Carb-dense foods can alter the balance of our gut

flora, triggering inflammation. Foods are considered carb-dense if they have a high ratio of carb grams relative to their weight. A small potato, which many consider a bad carb, weighs 170 grams, but it’s mostly water; only about 23 percent of it is carbohydrate. A plain rice cake, by contrast, weighs only nine grams, but almost 80 percent of it is carbohydrate! To minimize carb-dense foods, the 21-Day Tummy diet cuts out sugar, refined carbs, and most grains. Instead, it adds carb-light, natural foods like bananas, potatoes, and leafy green vegetables. Lean proteins and healthy fats are also carb-light.

4. Steer clear of FODMAPs

Clear your system of FODMAPs, the rapidly fermentable carbs or sugars that can play an ugly role in your digestive system, causing gas, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. Everything from the fructose in agave nectar to the lactose in milk can be fast food for the bacteria in your gut, which is bad news for those of us with sensitive stomachs. The 21-Day Tummy diet minimizes FODMAPs, then guides you through a test to see which ones you can tolerate after three weeks. To learn more about the plan and get the book, click here.

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Protein Before Bed


Protein in Egg Whites

Protein Before Bed                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Repost From:                                                                                    Caloriesperhour                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Eating right before bed has always been a no-no when it comes to losing weight.  All those carbohydrates ingested are quickly converted to sugar and your body‘s response is to flood your bloodstream with insulin in an attempt to lower your blood sugar levels. Where do the sugars go?  You guessed it, right to your thighs in the form of fat

But, not all foods right before bed are necessarily bad for you. In fact,  If you don’t put protein into your body before you go to bed, your body will run out of protein about 2 am. Once your body digests all of its available protein, your body thinks it is starving itself. To protect you, your body shuts down and starts storing fat cells. The sugar in your blood still needs protein to keep you going, so it starts consuming the only protein source available, your own muscle mass. Basically, you are storing fat and eating muscle.

By drinking a high protein smoothie just before you go to bed, the added protein will support muscle growth for up to 4 to 5 hours. Now the process is reversed for most of your sleep time. Rather than storing fat and eating muscle, the protein allows your body to burn the fat at its normal rate while building muscle.

By eating protein right before bed, you will get a better night sleep and wake up more alert and less hungry in the morning.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Coconut Almond Protein Smoothie Recipe
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup (8 oz) raw pasteurized egg whites
2 tablespoons almond butter
5 ice cubes

Blend for 1 min and serve just before bed..

Pumpkin Seeds: Amazing Natural Cure-all


 

Reblogged: From Yahoo Health

 

Pumpkin Seeds: Amazing Natural Cure – all Nutrition

 

Considered medicinal for more than 3,000 years in different parts of the globe, pumpkin seeds have a remarkable array of health benefits, new studies show. Packed with magnesium, calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, and vitamin K, these tasty treats are rated as one of the world’s healthiest foods.

 

In fact, a recent study showed that pumpkin seeds, which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, offer a heart-healthy noshing option by reducing blood pressure. Also known as pepitas, the flat, dark-green seeds may also lower cholesterol, reduce diabetes risk, aid weight loss, improve your mood—and even fight cancer.

 

Here’s a look at some of the surprising ways this super-squash can protect your health.

 

1. Fights cancer

 

A new study published in Current Pharmaceutical Design reports that compounds known as cucurbitacins can help combat cancer–and pumpkin seeds are loaded with them. These compounds have been shown to kill various types of cancer cells and also have potent anti-inflammatory properties. “Taking all of these effects into account, cucurbitacins may prove useful in the treatment of different types of cancer,” researchers from University of Valencia, Spain report.

 

In another new study, German scientists found that eating pumpkin seeds lowered the risk of breast cancer by 23 percent in postmenopausal women. The study involved comparing dietary data from 2,884 women who developed breast cancer and 5,509 healthy women. The study also found that eating sunflower seeds and soybeans lowered risk.

 

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2. Boosts prostate health

 

Pumpkin seeds are just as beneficial for men, too. Pumpkin seed oil has been used to manage benign prostate hypoplasia (an enlarged prostate). In addition to the oily parts of the seeds, other phytochemicals may also help treat the condition. These compounds can also be found in flax seeds, saw palmetto berries and soy. According to this study, published in International Journal of Oncologya dietary supplement containing pumpkin seed may combat the growth and spread of prostate cancer.

 

Prostate Cancer: What You Should Know

 

3. Diminishes hot flashes and improves mood

 

Looking for a natural way to cool off from hot flashes? A 2011 double-blinded study suggests that pumpkin seed oil can reduce hot flashes, headaches, and joint pain and improve mood swings in post menopausal women, compared to a control group of women who were given lookalike capsules containing wheat germ oil. The same study noted that pumpkin seed oil improved women’s HDL (good) cholesterol levels and reduced blood pressure.

 

4. Lower bad cholesterol

 

In addition to boosting levels of HDL, pumpkin seeds contain phytosterols. In one analysis of 16 previous studies involving 509 people, these compounds reduced LDL (bad) cholesterol by an average of 13 percent, while total cholesterol dropped by 10 percent. Phytosterols work by blocking the absorption of cholesterol in your intestines and can lower the amount of cholesterol in your blood. A 2011 study recommended daily intake of phytosterol-rich foods as a natural way to lower cholesterol and reduce heart disease risk.

 

5. Decrease the risk of diabetes

 

In the world of super foods, pumpkin seeds are a must-try for diabetics. They are high in iron and heart-healthy unsaturated fats. In animal studies, researchers have indicated that the compounds in pumpkin may be successful in managing insulin levels and diabetes risk.

 

In fact, pumpkin was so beneficial in improving the health of diabetic mice that the Chinese researchers recommended that its compounds be developed into a new anti-diabetic medication for people.

 

6. Drive weight loss

 

Pumpkin seeds may also help you shed pounds. They are packed with fiber and protein—two important components for weight loss. Just one ounce of pumpkin seeds includes five grams of protein, which can keep you fuller longer.

 

Chow down in moderation, because a cup of pumpkin seeds in the shell contains about 285 calories, along with 12 grams of fat, while husked seeds contain 720 calories per cup.

 

7. Ease social anxiety, depression—and boost your mood

 

While pumpkin seeds are great for your body, they can help your mind as well. A study indicates that de-oiled pumpkin seed taken with glucose may be effective in treating social anxiety, and it may aid in treating depression. Speaking of mood-enhancers, a recent report indicates that pumpkin may help increase sex drive as well.

 

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8. Ease arthritis

 

You may be able to eat your way to arthritis relief by snacking on pumpkin seeds. A 2005 study found that pumpkin oil reduces inflammation that causes arthritis. Pumpkin seed oil has the effects of indomethacin, a popular anti-inflammatory drug, and offers an all-natural way to treat arthritis symptoms.

 

9. Prevent osteoporosis

 

People with a zinc deficiency may want to consider snacking on pumpkin seeds. They are a substantial source of zinc, a mineral low in many people with bone fractures. In just a quarter of a cup, pumpkin seeds deliver 17 percent of your daily intake value of zinc.