Women's Fitness Focus /womensfitnessfocus Women's Fitness Focus Fri, 13 Jan 2017 17:56:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 5 Common Foods for Weight Loss (Video) /womensfitnessfocus/2017-01-13-5-common-foods-for-weight-loss-video.html /womensfitnessfocus/2017-01-13-5-common-foods-for-weight-loss-video.html#respond Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 5 common foods for weight loss (with the Health Ranger):

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Yoga can alter DNA in humans /womensfitnessfocus/2017-01-09-yoga-can-alter-dna-in-humans.html /womensfitnessfocus/2017-01-09-yoga-can-alter-dna-in-humans.html#respond Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 Yoga is renowned for its positive effects on human health. It’s a great stress-reliever, and there are tons of options for how you want to do your yoga. It can be done at home on your own time, in your own space — or you take classes just about anywhere.

Yoga is more than just a trend, though. It provides real-life benefits to your body, and in a variety of ways that continue to be uncovered. For example, a 2011 study led by researchers from York University found that yoga helps to reduce stress hormones and helps to relieve the physical and psychological symptoms of chronic pain in women with fibromyalgia.

More recent research has revealed that yoga’s body benefits may reach even further than that. A study from Harvard University found that practicing yoga can impart a positive change on metabolic function at a cellular level. This in turn can improve things like nutrient absorption, and may assist in the prevention of chronic diseases. The results showed that overall, practicing yoga promoted better cell function across the board.

For the study, researchers utilized two groups of participants: one group that practiced yoga and mindfulness exercises, and a group that did not partake in either activity. After an eight week trial period, the scientists took blood samples from both groups. They then discovered that the yoga group exhibited changes to 2,209 genes, suggesting quite a profound effect. Of these, 1,275 were changes that led to genes being up-regulated (meaning activity increased), and 934 instances in which the changes resulted in genes that were down-regulated (meaningactivity decreased).

Writing for Fox News, Chris Kilham notes that in addition to cell metabolism, many of the changes that took place in the DNA resulted in an increased resistance to oxidative stress. Kilham writes, “Oxidative stress is associated with numerous degenerative disorders, including cardiovascular disease, neurological disorders, and more. Improved resistance to oxidative stress translates into better health overall, with reduced risk of chronic disease.”

Another study, led by researchers from the University of Calgary, found that yoga can also be a very helpful tool when it comes to cancer recovery. For the study, researchers had a group of breast cancer survivors participate in weekly yoga and mediation classes, and the participants also practiced these techniques at home. A control group that did not partake in these events was also featured in the study. Blood samples from both groups were taken at baseline and again when the study period ended, after twelve weeks.

The scientists found that the study participants who practiced the yoga and meditation exercises showcased longer telomere lengths than those seen in the control group. Longer telomere length is often associated with better post-cancer survival rates, according to many cancer specialists. This suggests that yoga can play a valuable role in cancer recovery.

In addition to providing new insights on the health effects of yoga, these studies also seem to support the widely repeated claim that yoga can improve your health and extend your lifespan.

Yoga has many other health benefits

There are many other documented health benefits to be had, if you choose to practice yoga. For example, yoga can provide a number of cardiac benefits. In addition to reducing stress, it has also been found to help lower blood pressure in people with hypertension. Some studies have also found that just doing yoga can help to improve your blood lipid profiles, in both healthy people and people with known coronary artery disease. Yoga has also been shown to help lower high blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

Practicing yoga can also help bolster weight loss and weight maintenance efforts. Besides the obvious benefits of exercise, some studies indicate that people who practice yoga tend to be more mindful eaters. Researchers found that practicing yoga just once a week for 30 minutes for at least four years gained less weight in middle-adulthood. They also found that people who were overweight actually lost weight. The research team attributed these benefits to mindfulness, which can help improve your relationship with your body, weight and food.

And of course, like any exercise, yoga too can help to increase your overall physical fitness, including strength, endurance, flexibility and cardio-respiratory capacity.





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Fitness trackers could be sending your data to healthcare providers, bumping up your premiums /womensfitnessfocus/2017-01-08-fitness-trackers-could-be-sending-your-data-to-healthcare-providers-bumping-up-your-premiums.html /womensfitnessfocus/2017-01-08-fitness-trackers-could-be-sending-your-data-to-healthcare-providers-bumping-up-your-premiums.html#respond Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 Fitness trackers like Fitbit pose a major privacy and security risk to users, warns a new report from the Centre for Digital Democracy.

Fitness trackers and smart watches, which are sold by companies including Fitbit, Apple, Jawbone, Misfit and Samsung, collect a wide range of personal, physical and health data about users. Companies could sell this information to advertisers, or even to your employer or health insurance provider. Users could suffer consequences ranging from targeted advertising to raised insurance premiums to job discrimination or even identity theft.

On top of which, there’s no evidence that the devices actually improve people’s health.

Treasure trove of data

The wearable devices monitor everything from physical activity to heart rate, sleep, stress levels and calorie consumption. As devices get more advanced, the information they collect becomes more and more valuable to malicious actors.

“Biosensors will routinely be able to capture not only an individual’s heart rate, body temperature, and movement, but also brain activity, moods, and emotions,” the report warns. “These data can, in turn, be combined with personal information from other sources—including health-care providers and drug companies—raising such potential harms as discriminatory profiling, manipulative marketing, and security breaches.”

The companies admit to collecting and analyzing user data — it’s part of the “service” provided — and to sharing it with third-party apps that users sign up for. Those third parties, in turn, may also pass along your data.

The first and most likely place for your data to end up is in the hands of advertisers. Targeted advertising using personal data has become big business in the age of the Internet. But there is also nothing to stop companies from selling your data to your health insurance company, which could use it to calculate increased premiums.

In fact, the list of companies and groups in the market for your private information is nearly endless.

The information collected by these devices “could enable profiling and discrimination—based on ethnicity, age, gender, medical condition, and other information—across a spectrum of fields, such as employment, education, insurance, finance, criminal justice, and social services, affecting not only individuals but also groups and society at large,” the report warns.

Even if a company promises never to share your data, the information could still be compromised by a cyber attack. Databases containing large amounts of diverse information, such as health care records, are now one of the favorite targets of malicious hackers.

“The opportunities for data breaches will increase, with hackers accessing medical and health information at insurance companies, retail chains, and other businesses,” the report says.

Do they even help?

Furthermore, studies now suggest that fitness trackers don’t actually lead to much improvement in exercise behaviors.

One study, published in the journal Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, found that people who used a Fitbit Zip for a year did show sustained increases in activity level, but only by an average of 16 minutes a week. This was “probably not enough to generate noticeable improvements in any health outcomes,” the researchers wrote.

It takes very little exercise — about 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three to five times a week — to dramatically improve your health profile. That is, 90 to 150 minutes a week. An extra 16 minutes isn’t enough to make much difference.

The researchers found no evidence that Fitbit wearers were any more likely to lose weight or improve cardiorespiratory fitness or blood pressure.

Another recent study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that people using wearable devices lose less weight than those using standard weight loss techniques.





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Desk jobs, fast food and the daily grind contribute to middle-aged health crisis /womensfitnessfocus/2017-01-06-desk-jobs-fast-food-and-the-daily-grind-contribute-to-middle-aged-health-crisis.html /womensfitnessfocus/2017-01-06-desk-jobs-fast-food-and-the-daily-grind-contribute-to-middle-aged-health-crisis.html#respond Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 Public Health England (PHE) has a mission to inform its citizens that the typical modern lifestyle is ruining health. PHE is part of the Department of Health in the United Kingdom. BBC reveals an astounding statistic:

Eight in every 10 people aged 40 to 60 in England are overweight, drink too much or get too little exercise, the government body warns.

PHE wants people to turn over a new leaf in 2017 and make a pledge to get fit.

Health officials say the “sandwich generation” of people caring for children and ageing parents do not take enough time to look after themselves.

We are living longer, but are in poorer health because we store up problems as we age. The campaign’s clinical adviser, Prof Muir Gray, said it was about trying to make people have a different attitude to an “environmental problem”.

“Modern life is dramatically different to even 30 years ago,” Prof Gray told Radio 4’s Today programme. “People now drive to work and sit at work.”

By taking action in mid-life… you can reduce your risk not only of type 2 diabetes, which is a preventable condition, but you can also reduce your risk of dementia and disability and, being a burden to your family,’ he added.

Many people no longer recognise what a healthy body weight looks like, say the officials – and obesity, which greatly increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, is increasingly considered normal.

A sedentary lifestyle can be your undoing

Although physical fitness is not the equivalent of overall health, along with a good diet, it is a great start. By now, the health risks to our bodies and minds of getting no exercise have become well established. Adding years to our life expectancy is not desirable if we are talking about extra years as a physical or mental cripple. An alarming thought is that we will increase our risk for mental degradation by being sedentary. But that is what modern research points to.

BBC.com also reports that being unfit in middle years hastens brain deterioration, citing a study that was published in the journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The study found that being unfit at age 40 correlated with a reduced brain volume at age 60, and that the brain shrinkage denotes accelerated brain ageing. 1,583 participants who were free of dementia or heart disease were studied, and then again twenty years later. MRI brain scans were given along with a treadmill test. As quoted in the article, lead researcher Dr Nicole Spartano, of the Boston University School of Medicine opined,

“While not yet studied on a large scale, these results suggest that fitness in middle age may be particularly important for the many millions of people around the world who already have evidence of heart disease.”

To drink or not to drink, that is the question

Moderate alcohol consumption is a strategy employed by some of us as a coping mechanism – alcohol can take the edge off of stress and anxiety. But immoderate alcohol use can cause more problems that it solves – it can interfere with our normal daily functioning, and enable us to ignore issues that need to be addressed. Cutting back on the amount of alcohol consumed can in itself solve problems, not the least of which is our health concerns as we enter our middle years.

Abusing alcohol in our youth can seem to be without consequence, but the partying lifestyle is not sustainable. Our wake-up call may come in the form of failing health in later years, forcing us to confront our poor choices. Is now the time to forge a new path in the new year? Yes! You can ask a friend or family member to hold you accountable in turning a new leaf. You don’t have to go it alone – your loved ones can aid you in remaining firmly resolute. The worst you can do is to beat yourself up for past failures. No matter how many breaths and heartbeats you have left, it is up to you to make the best of it, from this day forward.

Know that willpower is not a commodity of limited availability, to be conserved for emergency use only, but more like a muscle group that responds with additional capacity as you exercise it. You can start small and think big – bad habits can be overcome incrementally. And of course for some people, like alcoholics, diabetics, and pre-diabetics – the only solution is to stop drinking alcohol altogether.




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Study finds fish oil helpful in relieving menstrual pain /womensfitnessfocus/2016-12-28-study-finds-fish-oil-helpful-in-relieving-menstral-pain.html /womensfitnessfocus/2016-12-28-study-finds-fish-oil-helpful-in-relieving-menstral-pain.html#respond Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 Menstrual pain can range from slight discomfort that you can forget about by staying busy to debilitating pain that keeps you curled up in the fetal position praying for it to pass. For those in the latter category, it can be hard to find relief, particularly if you want to avoid painkillers. One surprising option that has been gaining a lot of attention recently is fish oil.

Already touted for its ability to help those with heart problems, this natural supplement has also shown promise for dealing with severe menstrual pain. This is great news for women who find themselves forced to choose each month between staying in bed and suffering or taking side effect-laden pain pills so they can get on with their day.

A survey of 181 women between the ages of 20 and 45 in Denmark found an association between a low intake of fish products and menstrual pain. They also found a link between a low omega-3 to omega-6 dietary ratio and menstrual pain.

This was supported by a crossover study that looked at 42 adolescents who suffer from the most severe type of menstrual pain, which is known as dysmenorrhea. After taking fish oil for two months, the symptoms of these women diminished significantly, while those in a placebo group did not note any improvement.

How does fish oil help with menstrual pain?

It is believed that the healthy fats found in fish oil, namely the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, are responsible for this effect. They are known to be anti-inflammatory, which also makes them suitable for inflammation-related illnesses.

A similar mechanism is responsible for the oil’s ability to help relieve back pain. A study of 125 back pain sufferers found that more than half of those who consumed a diet that was high in EPA fish oil were able to stop taking their prescription pain meds. The results have since been confirmed at by at least 17 clinical trials. Just 2 to 3 grams of DHA and EPA daily over the course of three months can lessen joint pain and tenderness as well as the need for prescription pain medications.

Other benefits of fish oil

Fish oil also has a number of other benefits that will be of interest to women. The oil is believed to play a role in the prevention of cancer and diabetes, and it can also help protect against mental illness. This is a far healthier alternative to taking antipsychotic drugs.

In addition, a study of more than 35,000 women found that those who took fish oil supplements on a regular basis had a 32 percent lower likelihood of developing the most common form of breast cancer. It can help build muscle and lubricate your joints, and it can even help you to build lean body mass. In addition, it helps promote brain health, improving issues like dementia, depression, brain fog, and neurological disorders while protecting the brain’s nerves and cells from the effects of inflammation and stress. It can also help slow the aging process.

You can get fish oil from fatty fish like salmon, but it’s important to be certain of the source to ensure it does not contain mercury or you could be doing more harm than good. Many people take the supplement route in order to get the right ratio. If you choose to take this approach, it is vital to ensure you are getting quality fish oil supplements. Many commonly available supplements contain pesticides and heavy metals, as discovered by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, when writing his book Food Forensics.

If you get hit hard by menstrual pain every month, fish oil holds a lot of promise and can help you avoid the side effects of pain medicine. Even over-the-counter options like NSAIDs have a scary list of short and long-term effects, so why not give fish oil a try instead?







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Make your own anti-inflammatory nutmeg facial cleanser to combat acne /womensfitnessfocus/2016-12-24-make-your-own-anti-inflammatory-nutmeg-facial-cleanser-to-combat-acne.html /womensfitnessfocus/2016-12-24-make-your-own-anti-inflammatory-nutmeg-facial-cleanser-to-combat-acne.html#respond Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 You might already know how much better nutmeg can make meals, but did you know that it can have a similarly positive effect on your skin? That’s right – the same spice that lends that homemade warmth to everything from pumpkin bread to béchamel can work wonders on your complexion.

In fact, nutmeg is the star ingredient in an anti-inflammatory facial cleanser that you can make at home. There are a lot of reasons that homemade skincare products are superior to their store-bought counterparts. Even if you’re not too worried about your budget, you should be very concerned about the disturbing amount of toxic ingredients these products often contain – some of which might not even appear on the label.

As a matter of fact, thousands of so-called “organic” beauty products were recently found to contain chemicals that have been banned. The Environmental Working Group found that many of these products contained dangerous or hidden ingredients much in the same way that Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, uncovered hidden toxic ingredients in popular foods in his book, Food Forensics.

You can’t trust beauty product labels

The FDA does not have an official definition of the word “organic” as it pertains to cosmetics, which means that brands can get creative with their labels in order to deceive customers. A product that says it is made with 100% organic ingredients, for example, might only contain one or two organic ingredients. While those one or two ingredients might indeed be fully organic, there could be any number of other synthetic or downright toxic ingredients in that same product.

This is why making your own skincare products is ideal. It only takes a few minutes to whip up some very effective skincare treatments, and there’s a good chance you already have many of the necessary ingredients on hand. You can experiment with ratios to see what works best for your particular skin type, and you can have the peace of mind that comes from knowing everything you are placing on your body’s biggest organ is truly natural and organic.

Healing Nutmeg Facial Cleanser Recipe

The following facial cleanser is great for reducing inflammation and combating acne, thanks largely to the inclusion of nutmeg. Chinese medicine uses nutmeg to treat inflammation from arthritis and joint pains, and it’s those same anti-inflammatory abilities that can help it make your pimples a lot less noticeable. It also has antibacterial and antiviral properties, making it well suited to curbing infections and clogged pores.

While any ground nutmeg will do, freshly ground nutmeg is more potent than the bottled variety.  Nutmeg is also pretty good for you when taken internally. It can clear up digestive troubles, help with sleep, improve your blood circulation and boost brain function, so make yourself some tea and add a bit of this powerful herb!

The lactic acid in the yogurt will exfoliate your dead skin cells without irritating them and also help brighten your complexion, while the honey will hydrate your skin. Like nutmeg, it’s also antimicrobial. Manuka honey is an ideal cleansing ingredient because it’s soothing in addition to moisturizing. The apple cider vinegar is used to help to remove dirt and makeup from your skin and serves as an astringent, while the clove oil is great at clearing up acne thanks to the antiseptic action of the eugenol it contains.


1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp baking soda
3 tbsp raw honey
1 tbsp plain organic yogurt
2-3 drops of clove oil
2-3 drops of apple cider vinegar


Mix the nutmeg and baking soda together in a small bowl. Add the honey and yogurt and stir until the dry ingredients are fully incorporated. Add the clove oil and apple cider vinegar.

Apply this mixture to your face and leave it on for ten minutes before rinsing off with warm water.

Sources include:







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Another study links diet soda to weight gain /womensfitnessfocus/2016-12-18-another-study-links-diet-soda-to-weight-gain.html /womensfitnessfocus/2016-12-18-another-study-links-diet-soda-to-weight-gain.html#respond Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 A recent study has added more weight (pun intended) to the argument that artificial sweeteners do not help people in controlling their weight – in fact, the consumption of diet drinks actually contributes to obesity.

This latest investigation on the subject was conducted by the National Institute on Aging and the National Institutes of Health in Baltimore, Maryland. The researchers analyzed data compiled from 1984 to 2006 as part of the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging.

After correcting the data of the 1,454 study participants for lifestyle factors such as smoking, gender and diet, the team found a link between obesity levels, body size and the consumption of diet soda.

Chronic low-calorie sweetener consumption was shown to contribute to obesity, particularly abdominal obesity.

The study confirmed the results of previous studies showing a link between artificial sweeteners and obesity, and since the data involved a large sample group studied over a long period of time, the findings can be considered definitive proof that such a link exists.

From the study:

“Our finding of low-calorie sweetener use and weight gain is consistent with results from two longitudinal studies, with six to nine years of follow-up, reporting an association between consumption of low-calorie sweetener containing beverages and increased weight gain. The finding of increase in waist circumference with low-calorie sweetener use is consistent with prior work on the association between diet soda with increased waist circumference.”

How do artificial sweeteners contribute to obesity?

Although it is unclear exactly how artificial sweeteners cause weight gain, there are a few theories that may provide at least part of the answer.

One study, published in 2014 in the journal Nature, showed that artificial sweeteners alter the composition of gut flora, causing glucose intolerance in both mice and human subjects. The “deleterious metabolic effects” of non-caloric artificial sweeteners (NAS) can contribute to obesity.

Another theory is that artificial sweeteners can trigger the desire to overeat:

“Low-calorie sweeteners, with no caloric density, actually may cause the brain to abandon sweetness as a calorie gauge. Therefore, individuals who consume low-calorie sweeteners may compensate by over-eating in order to experience the expected satiety.”

The researchers concluded that artificial sweetener use leads to “heavier relative weight, a larger waist, and a higher prevalence and incidence of abdominal obesity.”

The lie we’ve been told by Big Soda is that low-calorie products can help people lose weight, when the opposite is true. If you’re going to drink a soda, you might as well have the real thing – sugar and all.

Just because a product has a low amount of calories does not necessarily mean it’s good for you or that it will keep you slim. In fact, diet sodas have a real impact on metabolism and it’s not a positive one.

Other good reasons to avoid artificial sweeteners

And there are plenty of other good reasons not to drink diet sodas – artificial sweeteners are not only useless in controlling weight, they are harmful to the body in many other ways.

The most commonly used NAS in diet sodas is aspartame, which breaks down into formaldehyde after being ingested. Formaldehyde accumulates in the body, damaging DNA and leading to various types of cancer.

Aspartame has been linked to brain cancer, leukemia, strokes, heart attacks, brain damage, nervous system damage, seizures and sexual dysfunction.

Aspartame is just one of the toxic artificial sweeteners in common use – many of the other sweeteners such as saccharin and neotame are also linked to health risks.

Drinking sodas is a bad idea to begin with, but it appears that the normal varieties – the ones loaded with refined sugars – are actually less harmful than diet sodas.

Why not avoid sodas altogether and satisfy your sugar cravings with natural sweeteners such as honey, molasses or maple syrup? Once you get over your refined sugar or diet soda addiction, you’re likely to find that the natural stuff not only tastes better, but makes you feel better, too.








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Physical activity throughout older age linked to higher psychological well-being /womensfitnessfocus/2016-12-17-physical-activity-through-older-age-linked-to-higher-psychological-well-being.html /womensfitnessfocus/2016-12-17-physical-activity-through-older-age-linked-to-higher-psychological-well-being.html#respond Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 Sure, you know exercise is good for you. It improves cardiovascular health, keeps your weight in check, slows down the aging process, and tones and strengthens your body. But have you ever noticed the increased feelings of happiness after working out?

Researchers studying the effects of exercise have consistently found a positive link between exercise and improved mood and mental well-being. These scientists, however, have racked their brains over the question whether happier people are more inclined to exercise or does physical activity result in a joyful, more optimistic mood and greater mental well-being?

“Researchers have long studied how physical activity can lead to improved mood and feelings of well-being, however, less well understood is whether being happy and optimistic might actually encourage a person to be physically active,” explained lead author Julia Boehm currently of Chapman University.

Do we exercise because we’re happy or are we happy because we exercise?

Most likely, well-being and physical activity go hand-in-hand, creating a bidirectional relationship where each element is incessantly fueling the other. However, a new large-scale study by collaborating researchers from the Chapman and Harvard University found that adults over 50 with positive emotions and great optimism were more likely to be physically active.

For their study, published in the journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine, the research team followed 9,986 adults over the age of 50. During the 11-year study, the volunteers were assessed up to six times. They were questioned about the frequency and intensity of their physical activity both at work and in their spare time. Based on these answers, the participants were placed into one of four groups: sedentary activity, low activity, moderate activity, and high activity.

Notably, the team found that the volunteers with the highest level of psychological well-being at the start of the study were likely to participate in higher levels of physical activity. Furthermore, they noted that people who displayed both high levels of psychological well-being and high levels of physical activity at the start of the survey were also more likely to stay active more than a decade later.

As stated by Julia Boehm, psychological well-being could be a novel way of not only enhancing mental health but also increasing physical activity which could lead to improved overall health of aging people.

A sound mind in a sound body

In recent decades, science has reaffirmed that moderate-to-vigorous physical activity is an essential aspect of preserving your physical and psychological well-being, reported Psychology Today. While we can no longer ignore the link between positive emotions and healthy behaviors, such as regular exercise, the question which one comes first remains unanswered. Essentially, this doesn’t really matter since we should all strive to increase our activity levels a bit more while trying to see the world through rose-colored glasses to create psychological and physical balance.

Honestly, there is probably no answer to this “chicken or egg” question. Once you get the bidirectional loop of positive emotions and physical activity running, regular exercise will result in an increase in psychological well-being, and vice versa. These findings should inspire you to improve both mental and physical well-being to help maintain a healthier lifestyle, which is a significant contributor to longevity.





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Deep breathing: Creating a rhythmic inhaling pattern can help boost your memory, emotions and sense of smell /womensfitnessfocus/2016-12-16-deep-breaths-creating-a-rhythmic-inhaling-pattern-can-help-boost-your-memory-emotions-and-smells.html /womensfitnessfocus/2016-12-16-deep-breaths-creating-a-rhythmic-inhaling-pattern-can-help-boost-your-memory-emotions-and-smells.html#respond Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 Breathing is essential to life. It provides cells and tissues with the oxygen they need to function properly. Yet we rarely pay any attention to the most natural thing all of us do all the time. On average, we take about 16 breaths per minute, or more than 20,000 a day while we are at rest.

Proper breathing is one of the most powerful ways to enhance physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. For the first time, Northwestern Medicine scientists have discovered that the rhythm of our breathing creates electrical activity in the area of the human brain where emotions, memory and smells are processed.

The study, by lead author Christina Zelano, assistant professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and colleagues, was published in the Journal of Neuroscience earlier this month.

Breathe in, breathe out

Breathe in, breathe out. A simple act that creates rhythms of neuronal firing in the brain. In the study, the researchers revealed how breathing synchronizes these rhythms in the human brain, producing varying effects on memory and emotional judgments. These effects on behavior and memory strongly depended on whether the person inhaled or exhaled, and disappeared if breathing was through the mouth.

Zelano and colleagues first discovered the differences in brain activity induced by breathing while studying seven epileptic patients who were scheduled for a brain surgery. Before their surgery, a surgeon implanted electrodes into their brains to pinpoint the source of their epileptic seizures.

Through these implants, the scientists were able to obtain electrophysiological data straight from their brains. After analyzing the recorded electrical signals, the team concluded that the patients’ brain activity fluctuated with breathing. The activity occurred in the specific brain areas – olfactory cortex, amygdala and hippocampus – linked to the processing of emotions, memory and smell.

These increased activity levels prompted the researchers to investigate further the relationship between breathing and cognitive functions such as fear response and memory recall. To this end, they recruited around 60 volunteers to take part in experiments to test memory function and fear response.

The advantage of rapid breathing in dangerous situations

For the first experiment, the test subjects were shown pictures of faces that represented either fear or surprise. During the test, they were asked to quickly indicate which emotion was being expressed while their breathing patterns were measured.

The individuals were able to recognize a fearful face more quickly during inhalation through the nose. Furthermore, they found no improvements in time when the subjects had to identify surprise or when they were breathing through their mouths. Thus, the effect was specific to fearful stimuli and nasal breathing.

As reported by Dr. Zelano, these findings imply that rapid breathing may render an advantage when someone is in a dangerous or stressful situation.

“If you are in a panic state, your breathing rhythm becomes faster,” Zelano said. “As a result you’ll spend proportionally more time inhaling than when in a calm state. Thus, our body’s innate response to fear with faster breathing could have a positive impact on brain function and result in faster response times to dangerous stimuli in the environment.”

In a second experiment, the volunteers had to remember a set of different objects shown to them on a computer screen. When they were asked to recall these objects, the researchers noted that recall times were better if the images were encountered during inhalation. Once again, there were no improvements when the volunteers were asked to breathe through their mouths.

It would seem that breathing is not only beneficial for our cells and tissues, but also plays a crucial role in brain activity and behavior. Furthermore, these findings shine new light on the fundamental mechanisms of meditation or yoga breathing.

“When you inhale, you are in a sense synchronizing brain oscillations across the limbic network,” Zelano noted.







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SOYLENT PUKE: Silicon Valley financed “future food” that made people violently vomit, loaded with MSG, GMOs /womensfitnessfocus/2016-12-11-silicon-valley-financed-future-food-making-people-violently-vomit-loaded-with-msg-gmos.html /womensfitnessfocus/2016-12-11-silicon-valley-financed-future-food-making-people-violently-vomit-loaded-with-msg-gmos.html#respond Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 Instead of focusing on stopping the overuse of animal antibiotics, or the mistreatment of animals squeezed into filthy conditions and piles of fecal matter in an animal feeding operation (CAFO), the Silicon Valley technocrats would rather have you not eat meat at all. It’s just too carbon intensive and not good for the environment, they say. So they’re raising and investing hundreds of millions of dollars to rethink food, according to the Financial Times. The money is on creating something that tastes like meat, alternative proteins without meat or putting a new tech twist on meat as food.

One Los Angeles start up – The Soylent Company – claims their food is “intelligently designed, while offering affordable, complete nutrition.” FT.com describes it as “tasteless goop.” Soylent had some difficulties at first. Their bars and their powders were taken off the market after two months when consumers had episodes of “violent vomiting” after consumption. Testing found no toxins, pathogens or outside contaminations, but an ingredient derived from algae could have turned people’s stomach. But perhaps it was more than that. When you read the Soylent.com website, they are quite proud to use GMOs in all their concoctions. The defining ingredient in Soylent’s product line is GMO soy. Glyphosate for lunch, anyone?

Ambronite is another tech foodie company offering a “drinkable superfood”  to be used for meal replacements. There haven’t been any incidents of turned stomachs, like their competitor Soylent. Perhaps that’s because Ambronite is organic and Non-GMO. Financial Times points out that Ambronite raised $600,000 when starting up, compared to  Soylent’s $20 million.

Impossible Foods is the moniker of the tech food startup that has a vision to make plants taste like meat.  After five years and many reformulations, the companies plant based burgers are finally being offered in upscale restaurants. Founder Pat Brown believes that the cows are a “mature technology,” and, unlike cows, Impossible Foods has the advantage of being able to improve “every aspect of [meatless meat.]”

San Francisco based Memphis Meats uses another technology for meat making. This tech foodie business grows their meat in a lab, “cultivating them from real animal cells.” Memphis Meats call themselves cell farmers, seeking cells that have the capacity to reproduce, and then using those for breeding. Eventually, says Uma Valeti, the co-founder and current Memphis Meat chief executive, “[I hope] to remove animals from the equation altogether.”




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