H is for a Healthy Heart, Holistically

How’s your heart?  Is it healthy?  Are you taking care of your heart (and your whole body) in a holistic way?  Heart disease is one of the leading killers today.  But luckily for all of us naturally beautiful women (and men, too) there are so many things you can do to take care of your natural health and have a healthy heart.

Food is health.  As Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” The American Heart Association recommends a heart-healthy diet consisting of plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes that can help you get some more dietary fiber into your body, vital to holistic heart health. (See Previous Post – F is for Fiber-Filled Foods – A list of the Highest).

The Mediterranean-style diet which is mostly plant-based, stress reduction, maintaining a healthy body weight and regular exercise all are important in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Start with your diet and then begin a regimen of healthy supplementation with coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).  CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant that can go far to improve energy production in cells and prevent blood clot formation.  Other heart-healthy supplements include garlic, hawthorn, L-Arginine, lecithin, medicinal mushrooms (reishi, maitake, and shiitake), and Vitamin C and B-complex vitamins.

Stress reduction is key to maintaining heart health.  Supplementing with magnesium can help to reduce stress, as well as relax otherwise tight, achy muscles.  Research has shown that many people with mood disorders are low in magnesium. Other mood-uplifting supplements like SAMe (S-adenosyl-l-methionine) and L-carnitine can reduce the stress that leads to heart disease. St. John’s Wort, a natural herbal remedy, as well as a homeopathic remedy called Aurum metallicum can help to lift your mood, fight depression, and keep cardiovascular disease at bay.

Popular research among medical practitioners, both allopathic and holistic, shows that fish oil, which contains omega-3′s, nourishing essential fatty acids, can help to lower cholesterol and triglycerides.  An intake of at least 500 milligrams (mg) per day of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) is recommended for healthy individuals, and up to 1,000 mg daily is advised for people already compromised with deficient heart health.  If fish is not your food of choice, you can still get a healthy dose of omegas with flax or chia seeds.  Garlic fights oxidation, which is key in the development of heart disease. Other heart-protective herbs include turmeric, cayenne and rosemary; while holy basil (tulsi) and ginkgo biloba taken together is also effective.

We’re here to promote natural health so pay attention to your diet, exercise whenever you can, and make other healthy lifestyle choices that can reduce your chances of developing heart disease.  By taking the steps necessary to strengthen your heart muscle and lower your blood pressure, cholesterol, and stress levels, you can take control of your life and live naturally healthy longer.  Now that’s a naturally beautiful thing!

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G is for Gratitude – A Great Gift for your Natural Health

Gratitude is the best gift you can give yourself, your family and your friends.  Love, forgiveness, support – yes, they all can improve your life, but having an attitude of gratitude can change everything.  Simply by looking around and finding the gifts of the day can change your thinking and your life from one of negativity and depression, to one of optimism and hope.  It can do wonders for your natural health and your natural beauty.

How many times in just one single day does someone do something for you deserving the simple words, “Thank You?”  Start to pay attention today and I guarantee you will be amazed and delighted at how many instances of gratitude you will feel.  It doesn’t have to be for great big things, it can be for tiny little ordinary everyday life stuff.

The Secret and the Law is simple – smile at people, laugh with people, take a good look at the little things in life that make you happy,  approach the world with gratitude, and you might just become happy.  At the very least, it doesn’t hurt to try!

Today, just for a short time, put your gratitude into practice – look directly into someone’s eyes – maybe a waiter in a restaurant, or a fellow employee or a teacher or a gardener – and simply say “Thank you.”  You don’t even have to have a reason.  Thank you for being you.  Thank you for being in my life.  Just plain thank you.

Meister Eckhart, the German theologian, spoke of gratitude to us – “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.”

Brother David Steindl-Rast and his organization Gratefulness.org have spent their lives teaching about the benefits of gratitude and how we can begin to heal with the gift of gratitude and gratefulness to ourselves.

”When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light, for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food, and the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies with yourself.” –Tecumseh, Shawnee Chief

I have found that one of the easiest ways to acquire a habit of gratitude is to keep a Gratitude Journal.  Before you go to sleep each night, write down 5 things for which you are grateful today.  Do this every day, for at least 21 days (the time needed to develop a habit and make it stick).  Start today and write down what you are grateful for in your beautiful new Gratitude Journal.  Have a good night’s sleep.  Do it again tomorrow.  And the next day. And the next.

Soon you will notice all the good things around you.  Everything that deserves your thanks.  The more you notice, the more will appear.    Sarah Ban Breathnach, in her beautiful book, Simple Abundance, says it so well – “You simply will not be the same person two months from now after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life. And you will have set in motion an ancient spiritual law: the more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given you.”

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F is for Friendships – For Fun, For Natural Health, Forever

Friends are what make life worth living.  Friends are what make you a loving person.  A friend is there for you when you need help – whether it be coming to your rescue when your health is ailing, or being a compassionate listener when your love is failing.  A friend is there for you when you need to pour out your heart in anguish or share the new joy you’ve just discovered.  A friend is someone you can trust with your deepest secrets and sorrows.  A friend is someone who will encourage you to do your best, and help you over the hurdles when your worst is the only thing you’re capable of handling.  A friend will love you on your bad hair days and will forgive you when you make a mistake.  A friend will help you and will expect nothing in return (except that you be there when she needs help as well).  A friend will accept you even if you are different and love the ways that you are alike.

Friends are fun.  They can provide stress relief and make you laugh when you’re down and out.  Knowing that someone is there can take the bite out of a boyfriend gone bad or a boss gone loco!  Friends can boost your self-esteem and give you a much-needed shot of self-confidence.  Friends can teach you about unconditional love and caring and sharing.

Studies have been done that show friendship is more than just sharing a laugh; it’s sharing a life and improving your natural health.  The studies have shown that people who have more friends can cut their risk of death over a period of time by over 60%.

How can you make new friends?  Especially in a new town or as you’re getting older?  Or after big changes in life?  Lend a hand to someone else and you will feel a little better, and maybe make a new friend.  Take up a hobby and join a group of like-minded people.  Volunteer to help out in a local stage production.  Engage in personal conversations with one other person and get to know that person on an intimate level.  We tend to congregate in groups to alleviate loneliness, but real happiness and connection come with discovering more about one person and deepening that relationship.  Getting to know a lot about just a few people well, rather than a little about a whole bunch of people, will make for better friendships. Smile at people sincerely and look at them in the eye. Laugh and the world laughs with you.

Establish human, living friendships, not the kind of “friends” we make on Facebook.  We need to make connections with living, breathing human beings. It’s the quality of true friendships that count, not the quantity or the number of relationships that will make you feel good about yourself and not isolated.

Life changes and friendships change.  You might move to different parts of the world and have to keep up your friendship in emails and on Skype.  Your friend might find a romantic partner and start doing “couple” things.  Take pleasure in your friend’s new happiness. Times change, friendship endures.

And in these days of globetrotting and the Internet, make it a point to never let go.  Friendship is one of the most important ways of maintaining your natural health.  Nurture your friends whether near or far.  Pick up the phone, send a card (real mail still exists!), or just turn around and say, “Thank you for being my friend.  I love you.”

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E is for Eating for Energy

It’s 3:00 PM and your body is starting to get tired and your eyes are beginning to close and you’re feeling depleted and drained. This may very well be caused by what you’ve eaten or not eaten during the day and it’s why you’re tired so darn early.  Many people who feel tired in the afternoon hours haven’t eaten breakfast – and I, In My Humble Opinion, breakfast is probably the most important meal of the whole day!  When you get up in the morning and eat a power-packed breakfast, full of protein and complex carbohydrates and a little bit of healthy fat, you can go on for a couple of energy-filled hours you need to get things done, have a little bit of fun, get some life-sustaining exercise and still have extra energy you need to get you — UNTIL YOU’RE READY TO EAT LUNCH!  That’s right, you will have much more consistent energy if you keep eating little bits of healthy food throughout the day – keeping your blood sugar levels constant, and maintaining high energy levels all day.

Certain foods give you more energy than others, so keep these on your daily menu for extra energy and oomph! -

  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Oatmeal
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Chia seeds
  • Spinach
  • Green Tea
  • Mango
  • Tea
  • Cantaloupe
  • Peppers
  • Low fat dairy products
  • Citrus Fruit
  • Whole grains
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Tomatoes

To keep naturally healthy and also to keep your body and skin looking and feeling young, keep eating the right foods and don’t forget to eat.  Skipping meals will make your blood sugar levels dip and dive and your energy will falter and your eyelids will droop.  Not a naturally beautiful sight for women or men!  Eat well and you will stay lively and vibrant all day long.  For a mid-meal pick-me-up, carry a small bag of almonds with you wherever you go.  And don’t forget that the very first rule of natural beauty and natural health is – Keep yourself hydrated with lots of good clean water!

 

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E is for Elephants and rEmEmbEring EvErything!

  An elephant never forgets, but we do as we age, right? Sometimes we forget things.  Where’d I put my keys? Where’s the car?     What did I come into this room for???????

As we get older, forgetfulness is natural.  It’s not always a serious problem like Alzheimer’s or dementia.  It could just be the result of having learned way too much over the last 60 or 70 or 80 years.

There are ways to make your memory as sharp as an elephant’s.  You can start by eating the right foods which will keep your brain and your body healthy as you grow older.  Leafy green vegetables have plenty of folic acid to aid in memory retention.  Salmon, tuna and sardines all have Omega-3 fatty acids which help reduce inflammation, a potential cause of memory loss in adults.  B Vitamin deficiency can be mistaken for Alzheimer’s disease because it increases memory loss.  To replenish your stores of Thiamine or Vitamin B1 you can take a good supplement, but nuts like pistachios are full of thiamine, as are tuna, spinach, mushrooms and flax seeds.

Herbal remedies are effective and safe, with no adverse side effects.    Ginkgo Biloba can inhibit the oxidation of the brain and increase the blood circulation, getting more information to and through the body.   Huperzine A, a substance extracted from club moss (Huperzia serrata), helps to slow down acetylcholine breakdown.  Acetylcholine is one of the brain neurotransmitters that is being studied with relation to Alzheimer’s.

Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea), (100 mg. daily) is an herb that helps increase concentration and also improves memory by stimulating the immune system.  Rhodiola also helps to improve sleep and fight depression, enhance mental and physical performance, as well as stimulate the nervous system.  Rhodiola has been shown to be an effective antioxidant.

Rosemary is called the “herb of remembrance” and is an essential oil used in aromatherapy to increase mental clarity and reduce poor memory, as well as increase concentration and decrease fatigue. Essential oil of basil can help to wake up a foggy brain and improve mental clarity.  Peppermint essential oil also perks up the brain and helps you to remember.

And there’s a new extract of the periwinkle plant called vinpocetine that is being studied as a way to increase blood circulation and bring more nutrients like glucose and oxygen to the brain to help it work more efficiently so you can remember things more effectively.

Foods and herbs work great on memory, and so does exercise.  Just as important as keeping your body agile and active, so is exercising your brain to keep it functioning at top potential.  Play games with words and numbers.  Do puzzles and mind exercises like Sudoku.  Keep your mind working – after all, we know a mind is a terrible thing to waste!

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