Friday, July 21, 2017

Positive thinking: Just believing you are healthy cuts your risk of early death by 71%


Many of us accept we're not the healthiest person on the planet. But new research warns this mindset could be dangerous. 

In fact, according to Stanford University, people who view themselves as less healthy than others are at risk of suffering a premature death - no matter how active they actually are.

The study, published in Health Psychology, is the latest of many to show how our thoughts, feelings and beliefs have a direct impact on our health. 

Experts say this shows we should equally prioritize feeling positive and working out.

'Our findings fall in line with a growing body of research suggesting that our mindsets - in this case, beliefs about how much exercise we are getting relative to others - can play a crucial role in our health,' co-author Dr Alia Crum said. 

Dr Crum, an assistant professor of psychology, and Octavia Zahrt, a doctoral candidate at the Graduate School of Business, analyzed surveys from more than 60,000 U.S. adults from three national data sets. 

The surveys documented participants' levels of physical activity, health and personal background, among other measures. 

In one of the samples, participants wore an accelerometer to measure their activity over a week.

They were all asked the same question: 'Would you say that you are physically more active, less active, or about as active as other persons your age?'

The researchers then viewed death records from 2011, which was 21 years after the first survey was conducted. 

They found that people who saw themselves as less active than others were up to 71 percent more likely to die in the follow-up period than people who thought they were more active than their peers.

This was even true after they controlled for physical activity, age, body mass index, chronic illnesses and other factors. 

Dr Crum's prior research shows that the health benefits people get out of everyday activities depend in part on their mindsets - that is, whether or not they believe that they are getting good exercise. 

In her 2007 study, Dr Crum told a group of workers at a hotel that the activity they got at work met recommended levels of physical activity.

Previously, most of the workers had seen themselves as inactive. 

Through this shift in mindsets, the workers experienced reductions in weight, body fat and blood pressure, among other positive outcomes. 

Zahrt and Dr Crum offer possible explanations for mindsets and perceptions having such powerful effects on health. One is that perceptions can affect motivation, both positively and negatively. 

Those who are made aware of their healthy activity levels - like the hotel room attendants in Dr Crum's 2007 study - can build on them and exercise more.

 Those who deem themselves unfit are more likely to remain inactive, fueling feelings of fear, stress or depression that negatively affect their health.

The researchers also cite the established influence of placebo effects, where patients who think they are getting a treatment experience physiological changes without receiving actual treatment. 

In the same way, people who believe they are getting good exercise may experience more physiological benefits from their exercise than those who believe they aren't getting enough exercise.

'Placebo effects are very robust in medicine. It is only logical to expect that they would play a role in shaping the benefits of behavioral health as well,' Dr Crum said.

The researchers emphasize that the study is correlational in nature and thus does not prove that perceptions of inactivity cause earlier death. However, other experimental research - such as Dr Crum's 2007 study - does suggest a causal nature to the link between perceived amounts of exercise and health outcomes.

'So much effort, notably in public health campaigns, is geared toward motivating people to change their behavior: eat healthier, exercise more and stress less,' Dr Crum said. 'But an important variable is being left out of the equation: people's mindsets about those healthy behaviors.'

In fact, a growing volume of research from Dr Crum and other labs shows that perceptions and mindsets predict health and longevity, for example, in the domains of stress, diet and obesity.

It seems unlikely. But Dr Crum insists it is not surprising, considering the 'everyday experiences where our beliefs or a simple thought have very palpable and physiological effects.'

'In the case of stress, a thought about something going wrong can make us sweat or [become] shaky or increase our heart rate,' Dr Crum continued. 

'With sexual arousal, a simple thought or idea can have immediate physical effects. 

'We experience these things regularly, and yet we're not cataloguing them as something that matters. 

'For whatever reason - dualism or a prioritization of the material - we tend to ignore the fact that our thoughts, mindsets and expectations are shaping our everyday physiology.'

Zahrt and Dr Crum say the findings could help change our perception that vigorous exercise in a gym is the only way to attain a proper activity level. 

Being mindful of and feeling good about activities you do every day - like taking the stairs, walking or biking to work, or cleaning the house - could be an easy first step for everyone to benefit their health, they say.

'It's time that we start taking the role of mindsets in health more seriously,' Dr Crum said. 'In the pursuit of health and longevity, it is important to adopt not only healthy behaviors, but also healthy thoughts.'

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Monday, July 17, 2017

30 Amazing Benefits of Moringa Plant


Moringa oleifera is a plant that has been praised for its health benefits for thousands of years.

When it comes to moringa benefits, there are almost too many to count! Native to Africa and Asia, the Moringa Tree, or Moringa Oleifera to use its scientific name, is one of the most nutrient-rich plants in the world.  

It is also called drumstick tree by the British and Malunggay in Philippines. Moringa plant is also known as ‘Sahijan’ or ‘Munaga’ in Hindi, ‘Mulaga’ in Telugu, ‘Murungai’ in Tamil, ‘Nugge Mara’ in Kannada, ‘Sigru’ in Malayalam, ‘Sujna’ in Marathi, ‘Sanjina’ in Punjabi and ‘Lal Sahinjano’ in Rajasthani. 

In India, it is found on the foothills of the Himalayan mountains. It is a multipurpose plant and its leaves, pods, fruits, flowers, roots and bark are beneficial in one way or the other.

The most amazing thing about moringa is that all parts of this plant including its bark, roots, leaves, flowers, seeds, sap and pods are a storehouse of nutrients and antioxidants. Thus, this plant possesses innumerable health benefits and has the capacity of curing several diseases. For this reason, it is referred to as the ‘miracle tree’ and is widely used in traditional medicine. 

Let’s delve deep into the secrets of the moringa plant and identify the benefits.

1. The seeds of moringa contain 40 percent edible oil known as Ben oil. This clear, sweet and odourless oil is rich in antioxidants and is similar to olive oil in terms of its nutritional profile.It has an indefinite shelf life as it does not turn rancid like other oils.

2. Moringa leaves are the most widely used parts of this plant. These leaves are edible. They contain three times more iron than spinach.

3. Moringa contains all the essential amino acids needed by the body. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins which are needed to grow, repair and maintain cells. Human body manufactures 10 to 12 amino acids. The remaining 8 amino acids are known as the essential amino acids which should be provided from everyday diet and moringa contains all of them. 

4. The Moringa leaves helps in boosting energy levels in a natural manner, which is long lasting. It is also found to heal ulcers, restrict tumors, reduce arthritis pain and inflammation and control blood pressure.

5. Daily consumption of moringa as part of the diet improves body’s natural defense mechanism. It is an immune stimulant and it is often prescribed for AIDS afflicted patients.

6. It is rich in vitamin A or beta-carotene and acts as an effective weapon against blindness.

7. It plays an important role in lactating mothers. Consumption of moringa is reported to cause a dramatic increase in breast milk.

8. As it balances the sugar levels, it can be extremely effective against diabetics.

9. Increased consumption of junk food in the present scenario can lead to high cholesterol levels. Moringa helps in balancing the cholesterol levels in the body.

10. Consumption of moringa leaves stimulates metabolism and cell structure of the body.

11. This plant also has several antibacterial properties and hence can be used as a purifier and as a natural detoxifier.

  • Moringa seeds mixed in impure water can help in absorbing all the impurities.
  • Moringa helps in the removal and excretion of toxic build up by attracting toxins from the blood.

12. No side effects of moringa leaves have been reported. Hence, it can be safely consumed by children and adults. Nowadays, it is used in porridge, pastas and breads to increase the nutrient content of meals.

13. Moringa supplements are better than most of the multivitamin and calcium supplements available in the market which use synthetic ingredients. Moringa supplements are prepared from moringa leaves and pods which are natural sources of calcium and multivitamins .Their processing method increases the availability and absorption of nutrients by the body.

14. Moringa seeds are used in the manufacture of perfumes and aromatherapy oils. The flowers of moringa are used in making herbal tea which contains flavonoids and antioxidants.

15. Due to their anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, moringa supplements facilitate quick healing of minor injuries like bruises, cuts and burns.

16. Roots of moringa are used in traditional medicine to control disorders of the circulatory system, for stimulating appetite and to improve the functioning of digestive tract. In addition to these, they can treat sexual dysfunctions, female reproductive tract problems and arthritis.

17. According to research, certain elements contained in moringa roots can cure ovarian cancer, kidney stones and inflammations. They improve the overall kidney function by enabling the body to flush out calcium and phosphates from kidneys more efficiently.

Moringa benefits for hair:

Healthy hair improves the physical appearance to a great extent. Health problems or nutritional deficiencies can damage the hair and cause problems like dandruff, split ends and breakage. Hence, proper intake of vitamins and minerals is essential for maintaining healthy hair. Certain vitamins, minerals and amino acids are involved in the formation of keratin protein.

18. Moringa Oleifera has a high content of vitamin A, thus promoting hair growth and maintenance. Optimum delivery of oxygen and nutrients from the circulatory system to the hair follicle is vital for proper hair growth. Vitamin A plays an important role in the development of healthy cells and tissues in the body and reduction of hair loss. Deficiency of vitamin A can cause thickening of scalp, dry hair and dandruff.

19. Moringa plant also contains zinc which stimulates hair growth by enhancing the immune function. Zinc and silica along with vitamin A prevents drying and clogging of the sebaceous glands. Sebaceous glands are responsible for production of sebum. Deficiency of zinc can lead to atrophy of the hair follicles due to the impairment of DNA and protein synthesis. Zinc also influences the conformation of nucleic acids.

20. Vitamin E in moringa is a powerful antioxidant that stimulates blood circulation around the scalp. Proper flow of blood to the scalp helps in the absorption of more nutrients available in the hair follicles.

21. Moringa is a storehouse of all the nutrients required for healthy hair. Hair loss occurs due to the deficiency of vitamin B- especially B6, biotin, inositol and folic acid. Proper blood circulation to the scalp enables hair follicles to grow stronger and healthier. Vitamin C together with vitamin E helps in the improvement of blood circulation in the scalp. It is vital to maintain capillaries that carry blood onto the follicles.

22. Moringa contains abundant quantities of minerals such as calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, selenium, copper and manganese which are essential for healthy hair.

Moringa benefits for skin:

Just like healthy hair, supply of proper nutrients is vital for the maintenance of healthy skin. Moringa is loaded with nutrients like calcium, vitamin A, B, C, D, E; minerals like copper, iron, zinc, magnesium, silica and manganese. Moringa has moisturizing and nourishing properties and an excellent cleansing ability which makes it an active ingredient in skin care products.

24. Moringa has been found to possess anti-ageing properties. The effect of free radicals on human skin causes the appearance of wrinkles and makes the skin aged and less resistant to lines. Moringa has excellent cleansing ability which aids in cleaning the skin cells of free radicals and restoring the vitality and youthful complexion of the skin.

25. Moringa leaves contain about 30 antioxidants that contribute greatly towards healthy skin. Moringa oil is highly absorbable and hence helps in delivering these powerful antioxidants to the skin cells.

26. Moringa leaves also contain sulphur. This mineral is present in every single cell of the body and is the key ingredient for Collagen and keratin. Collagen is an elastic substance that gives flexibility and softness to the skin and keratin is a rigid substance which gives the skin rigidity and strength. These two substances form the majority of skin tissue and are made up of proteins constructed from sulphur.

27. The seed extract of moringa herb is popular in the cosmetic industry due to its therapeutic skincare benefits and skin purifying properties. It possesses the ability to filter out impurities that are deeply rooted within the skin and has an amazing detoxifying and rejuvenating properties. It enhances the fairness of skin by balancing the natural skin color and tone. A paste made from moringa leaves beautifies the skin and can be used as a face mask.

28. The ben oil which is extracted from moringa seeds is used to soften and soothe baby’s’ skin.

29. Moringa seed extract is used in protective creams and has the ability to provide protection against cigarette smoke and heavy metal pollution.

30. It is a powerful cleaning agent and moringa seed powder is used as an active ingredient in deep cleansing creams and lotions. It protects the skin from adhering pollution and smog.


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Friday, July 7, 2017

Frankincense essential oil is more effective at destroying cancer cells than Chemo


Frankincense has had many uses over the course of history. It’s commonly used in religious ceremonies and is a popular scent used in aromatherapy. Frankincense is also renowned for its uses in traditional medicine.

Frankincense comes from the resin of the Boswellia tree and can be transformed into a potent, fragrant essential oil with many health benefits. Frankincense is often used for fighting inflammation, infections and to prevent premature aging. It has also been used to soothe the digestive tract, support the immune system, promote oral hygiene, and boost mental health.

Sounds pretty good, right? It gets even better! Recent research has revealed that frankincense also has cancer-fighting properties. In fact, studies have shown that it may even be more effective that several common chemotherapy drugs! The best part is that frankincense doesn’t harm healthy cells, has no severe side effects and can even help kill off chemo-resistant cancer cells.

Researchers from Leicester University found that a chemical in frankincense, known as  acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid (AKBA), has the ability to destroy cancer cells. More importantly, it can do so in reasonable concentrations. The researchers believe it could be effective at treating many common cancers, such as colon, ovarian, prostate and breast cancers. Frankincense was found to even be effective at treating late-stage ovarian cancer, which is notoriously difficult to treat. Even cancer cells that were resistant to chemotherapy eventually succumbed to AKBA. The best part is that there are almost no negative side effects associated with taking frankincense essential oil.

Scientists from Cardiff University previously found that frankincense could also help to treat arthritis. The researchers found that the administration of frankincense helped to reduce pain and inflammation for patients suffering with osteoarthritis in just seven days.

Frankincense is often used in aromatherapy to help promote feelings of relaxation and well being, and it can also be used to relieve respiratory irritations. Using a diffuser or vaporizer is a great way to reap the aromatic benefits of frankincense. It can also be used in many other ways. Frankincense essential oil can be diluted with a carrier oil, such as coconut or jojoba oil. It can also be added to your favorite lotions for topical applications.


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Friday, June 23, 2017

Yoga and meditation reduce the risk of cancer by changing our DNA


Yoga and meditation reduce our risk of cancer by changing our DNA, new research reveals.

People who practice so-called mind-body interventions (MBI), such as yoga, meditation and Tai Chi, produce significantly lower amounts of molecules that activate inflammation-causing genes, a study review found.

Inflammation has been linked to cancer, accelerated aging and poor mental health.

Lead investigator Ivana Buric from the University of Coventry, said: 'Millions of people around the world already enjoy the health benefits of MBIs like yoga or meditation, but what they perhaps don't realise is that these benefits begin at a molecular level and can change the way our genetic code goes about its business.

'Put simply, MBIs cause the brain to steer our DNA processes along a path which improves our wellbeing.' 

Researchers from the universities of Coventry and Radboud analysed 18 studies with 846 participants conducted over 11 years.

Studies were included in the analysis if they measured gene expression after a MBI.

Results revealed people who practice MBIs produce significantly lower amounts of molecules that activate inflammation-causing genes.

These molecules are released after a stressful event due to the 'fight or flight' response.

Inflammation has been linked to cancer, accelerated ageing and poor mental health. 

Ms Buric said: 'Millions of people around the world already enjoy the health benefits of mind-body interventions like yoga or meditation, but what they perhaps don't realise is that these benefits begin at a molecular level and can change the way our genetic code goes about its business.

'These activities are leaving what we call a molecular signature in our cells, which reverses the effect that stress or anxiety would have on the body by changing how our genes are expressed. 

'Put simply, MBIs cause the brain to steer our DNA processes along a path which improves our wellbeing.' 

The findings were published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology.

The researchers believe the inflammation-causing fight-or-flight response, which is involved in wound healing, would have played an important role when we were hunter-gatherers due to there being a higher risk of infection from wounds.

Today, however, when stress is often long term and more internal than injury-related, inflammation-causing gene expression can be persistent and cause medical problems.

Ms Buric said: 'More needs to be done to understand these effects in greater depth, for example how they compare with other healthy interventions like exercise or nutrition.

'But this is an important foundation to build on to help future researchers explore the benefits of increasingly popular mind-body activities.' 


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Friday, June 16, 2017

Organic IS healthier: Vegetables grown without pesticides have higher antioxidant levels


Products grown without using toxic chemicals, which can cost twice as much as a result, contain higher levels of flavonols. These vegetables have 20 per cent more of the antioxidants, which prevent damage to the body, an Irish study suggests.

It comes five years after a major review of more than 200 studies concluded that organic food offered no nutritional benefit.  

However, the new Teagasc Food Research Centre, Ashtown, investigation is the longest-running study to address the issue.

The findings will be welcomed by organic farmers, whose claims their food is more nutritious have previously been rubbished by the government watchdog.

How was the study carried out?

Researchers assessed the levels of flavonoids and antioxidants in 'Red Baron' and 'Hyskin' onions between 2009 and 2014.

These forms of the vegetable are known to be high in quercetin - hailed by scientists for its cancer-fighting properties. 

A range of crops, grown either organically or using pesticides, were measured for their levels of the compounds, according to the report published in the ACS' Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.

What did they find? 

As well as being higher in flavonoids, the researchers also found that antioxidant activity was higher in both varieties of organic onions.

To be certified as organic, farmers are unable to use the strong chemical weedkillers and pesticides on their vegetables. 

Instead, they use natural forms of growing crops in time for their harvest, such as biological pest control and rotation. 

However, due to this method of farming being less efficient, it costs more to produce - explaining the higher price of such vegetables.


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Friday, June 2, 2017

Transfusions of young blood may protect against Alzheimer's, heart disease and cancer


It appears Dracula may have been onto something when he drank the blood of young maidens to stop him aging.

Older people given transfusions of blood from younger adults are at a lower risk of cancer, dementia and heart disease, new research shows.

In groundbreaking trials on humans, scientists appear to have confirmed the long-standing myth that such injections can reverse aging. 

Ambrosia, a start-up firm based in San Francisco, has been testing the horror-movie inspired technique to assess its benefits.

It is similar to that of former North Korean dictator Kim Il-Sung who was said to take blood from people in their twenties to try to live to 100. 

Jesse Karmazin, founder of the company, told New Scientist: 'I don't want to say the word panacea, but there's something about teenagers.

'Whatever is in young blood is causing changes that appear to make the aging process reverse.'

How did they carry out the study? 
The findings came from blood tests that were taken both before and a month after 70 participants were given the radical treatment.

All of those involved were at least 35 and had paid $8,000 (£6,200) to be part of the experiment out of their own pocket.

They were given plasma - the main component of blood - from volunteers aged between 16 and 25.

What did they find? 

Researchers noted improvements in biomarkers of various major diseases, also known of indicators
for certain conditions. This included a 10 per cent reduction in blood cholesterol, of which high levels are known to lead to heart disease.

Other effects noted by the scientists were a 20 per cent reduction in proteins called carcinoembryonic antigens. These can be seen in high quantities in people who have various forms of cancer, the website reports, but it remains to be seen whether.

The younger blood also helped to slash amyloid protein levels, which forms toxic clumps in the brains of dementia patients, by a fifth.  

In particular, one 55-year-old patient with early onset Alzheimer's began to show improvements in his condition after just one transfusion. Mr Karmazin said that another, slightly older, woman affected worse by the disease is showing similar improvements. He reported some of the firm's findings, which suggested people will receive the most benefit from two injections a year, at the Recode conference in Los Angeles yesterday.  

However, he hinted it's possible some of the effects of could have been imagined by those who were desperate to see results after paying so much. 

Scientists have long studied the effects of young blood on animals, but have come across a mixed bag of results.

Just last month US research suggested that the blood from human umbilical cords could be the key ingredient for a ‘fountain of youth’ drug.

The Stanford University team discovered a protein found with the plasma can reverse the effects of age-related mental decline.

However, experts at The Ottawa Hospital made a much different finding last July. They noted how blood donations from young women may be linked to poorer survival rates in recipients. 


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Going to the beach changes your brain for the better


You've probably noticed how spending a day at the water can make you feel more relaxed, rested and re-energized. That feeling is not all in your head, scientists say when we spend time by the water, our brain actually changes.

Our minds are sent into a restful almost hypnotic space thanks to the soothing smells and sounds of the water. Researchers refer to this as "blue space."

Here's what a visit at the beach, or really a trip to the lake or any other body of water, can do:

Boosts creativity

Being in a blue space makes you more creative, because 
it allows your brain to become relaxed, so you are more likely to drift off and imagine than you would be when thrust in the middle of the often chaotic day-to-day world.

Stress melts away

If you put your toes in the water, or go for a swim, that water is filled with naturally occurring positive ions that are known to help relieve stress and boost your mood. Some scientists believe that the positive ions given off by the many appliances we use on a regular basis can leave us feeling angry, cranky, and overworked. Naturally occurring negative ions counteract all of this.

It reduces depression

The sounds of the waves can put you into a meditative state which has been associated with reduced depression and better mental clarity.

Your perspective is changed for the better

Being in a place surrounded by beautiful scenery, the sounds of the water and simply the presence of nature is incredibly soothing to the soul. It reminds us that there are things bigger on this planet than a traffic jam or a snarky co-worker.


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