One of the most important aspects of health for the average person is positive thinking. It is not up to genetics, exercise or healthy eating, but the mind. This fact has been proven time and time again in the scientific fields of psychoneuroimmunology, psychoneurocardiology, psychoneuroendocrinology, not to mention cancer research and all the various psychosomatic disorders that have been studied.
If you have any doubts that your thought affect your health then I will be happy to have a room full of research evidence delivered to your door that will take the next couple of years of perusing. On the other hand, why don’t I just tell you a little story.
It’s about the oldest documented person that ever lived. It was a French woman named Jeanne Calment who lived to be 122 years, 164 days old.
What was her secret to a longevity? According to French researcher Jean-Marie Robine, “She never did anything special to stay in good health.”
Jeanne Calment started smoking cigarettes at the age of 21, she drank port wine and ate a couple of pounds of chocolate sweets a week until she was 119 years old.
She credited her long life to laughing a lot and not getting stressed out. She is quoted as saying “If you can’t do anything about it, don’t worry about it.” Her outlook on life may also be accredited to her life circumstances as she was born into wealth and married into wealth. This enabled a life of ease and comfort. Simply put she had little to no mental stress.
Let’s compare this to someone who lived a very healthy lifestyle, they ate right, exercised yet they dropped dead at the age of 64 from a heart attack. This same person also took life very seriously, didn’t miss a chance to be pessimistic about life in general and rarely laughed at all.
What does research say about thought and the major causes of death — heart disease and cancer? The studies on thought and cardiac disease are so well known there is really no point in covering it, but what about cancer?
According to the Journal of Psychosomatic Research, “Extreme suppression of anger was the most commonly identified characteristic of 160 breast cancer patients.”
In other research: “Extremely low anger scores have been noted in numerous studies of patients with cancer. Such low scores suggest suppression, repression, or restraint of anger. There is evidence to show that suppressed anger can be a precursor to the development of cancer, and also a factor in its progression after diagnosis.”
The most interesting thing in this article is that a woman that lived 122 years smoked cigarettes for 100 years without any ill effect. Why didn’t smoking lead her to an early grave? This could be said that it’s because positive thinking is more important than a healthy lifestyle. I’m not advocating the smoking of cigarettes or eating bucketfuls of junk food but I would say, “Don’t take life so seriously, avoid holding grudges, forgive and last but not least ….Celebrate life with lots of laughs and smiles and a couple of tears !”
Where there is love, there is life,
At the end of life, what really matters is,
Not what we bought, but what we built,
Not what we got, but what we shared,
Not Competence but our character,
And not our success, but our significance,
Live a life that matters,
Live a life of love and compassion !
Big, juicy slices of watermelon are the quintessential summer snack ! Not only is it mouth watering delicious, it is also very good for our health.
The health benefits of watermelon are numerous and include the prevention of kidney disorders, high blood pressure, the prevention of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, heat stroke, macular degeneration and impotence.
Nutritional Facts of Watermelons
Watermelons have significant amounts of vitamin C, calcium magnesium, fiber, protein, and a very large amount of potassium. Furthermore, they contain vitamin A, vitamin B6, niacin, thiamin, and a wide variety of carotenoids and phytonutrients, including lycopene.
Health Benefits of Watermelons
1. It Soothes Sore Muscles.
In a study published in Journal of Agricultural Food and Chemistry, drinking watermelon juice before a hard workout helped reduce athletes' heart rate and next-day muscle soreness. That's because watermelon is rich in an amino acid called L-citrulline, which the body converts to L-arginine an essential amino acid that helps relax blood vessels and improve circulation.
2. It Helps Heart Health.
According to studies published by Florida State University physiologist Arturo Figuero, postmenopausal women experienced improved cardiovascular health after six weeks of taking commercially available watermelon extract supplements containing citrulline and arginine.
Such supplements also help alleviate high blood pressure in obese and middle-aged adults.
3. It Could Be a Natural Viagra.
Arginine relaxes blood vessels, according to 2008 research from Texas A&M University’s department of horticultural sciences. Although not as organ-specific as drugs that treat men’s erectile dysfunction, watermelon may help improve blood flow to erectile tissue (present in the female clitoral area as well as the male penis), increasing arousal.
4. Cancer Preventative.
Watermelon is among the best dietary sources of lycopene. Scientific studies show that lycopene helps prevent prostate, lung, and stomach cancers. There is also some evidence that cancers of the pancreas, colon and rectum, esophagus, oral cavity, breast, and cervix could be reduced with increased lycopene intake. All in all, between the antioxidant potential of vitamin C and the impact of lycopene, watermelon is a great anti-cancer fruit!
5. Kidney Cleanse.
One of the primary health benefits of watermelon is that it improves the function of the kidneys and it has a history of use for the treatment of kidney stones and urinary tract infections. This is not only due to its very high percentage of water but also because watermelon is a mild diuretic (promotes urine flow). Another good reason to do a watermelon fast on the weekend is because you will need very frequent trips to the bathroom!
Watermelon fasts help cleanse your kidneys and the rest of your system as well. Regular consumption of watermelon can help keep kidney stones away. Warning ! Do not do a watermelon fast if you are diabetic or if you suffer from any sort of kidney disease.
6. Prevents Heat Stroke.
Watermelon is effective in reducing both your body temperature and blood pressure. Many people in tropical regions eat this fruit every day in the afternoon during the summer to protect themselves from heat stroke. The high amount of water contained in watermelon also stimulates a release of excess liquid in the form of sweat, which cools your body further during hot summer days.
7. Macular Degeneration.
No need to worry about your eye health and macular degeneration if you eat plenty of watermelon, because between the beta carotene, vitamin-C, lutein, and zeaxanthin, your eyes are well protected. These antioxidants will ensure protection of your eyes from age-related blindness and degeneration and other age-related ailments such as drying up of the eyes and optical nerves, as well as glaucoma.
8. Chew the Seeds !
Watermelon seeds are especially packed with nutrients including fatty acids and minerals such as magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, iron, potassium and copper. Interestingly enough, 100 grams of watermelon seeds provides around 139%, 87%, 82%, 74%, 44%, 20% and 37% of daily dietary values of these minerals respectively. Watermelon seeds are also good source of dietary fibers which are essential for healthy bowel movements and digestion.
Sushi lovers, celebrate ! Nori seaweed has been found to positively alter the metabolism of estrogen by altering women’s gut flora, resulting in decreased breast cancer risk.
This is not a new study. We have known for over a decade now that in vitro (in a Petri dish) seaweed broth is effective at clearing cancer cells. Three types of human breast cancer cells were exposed to either a widely used chemotherapy drug or sea vegetable. The seaweed worked better. And unlike the chemo, it didn’t hurt normal, non-cancerous breast cells.
Let’s also look at a study done outside of a laboratory and one that involves people. In a population study comparing women with breast cancer to women without, it was found that eating a single nori sheet a day may cut a woman’s breast cancer in half. One of the reasons it is thought to prevent breast cancer is because seaweed favourably alters estrogen metabolism which in turn positively balances women’s intestinal bacteria. The more seaweed we eat, the less estrogen we have in our system, which may lower breast cancer risk.
The breast cancer protection may also be due to the large content of fiber in sea vegetables, or because seaweed may block the enzyme that undermines our body’s attempt to flush out excess hormones. Another reason may be that seaweed may somehow interfere with estrogen binding to estrogen receptors. Whatever the cause, to effectively lower their estrogen levels, Asian women may be able to get away with about one sheet of nori a day, but Western women are physically so much larger that it may take closer to two. There are lots of yummy seaweed snacks out there to make it a tasty experience—just try to get some low-fat, low-salt ones. One of my favourite ways of eating nori is simply just munching on it as a snack or I use it as a wrap for quick, simple summer lunches. Take a sheet of nori, line it with some humus or avocado, add a layer of grated carrots, shredded lettuce, sprouts or any other veggie that takes your fancy, role it up and enjoy ! And repeat !
It is estimated that 30 million American men suffer from erectile dysfunction and is a major cause of depression and a decreased quality of life in men.
One theory even suggests that there may be a link between impotence and heart attacks. Depression is a risk factor for coronary heart disease, and the thought was that men who couldn’t get it up become so depressed that they die of a broken heart.
The good news is that for the majority of men, the problem is solvable. Erections result from a complex combination of brain stimuli, blood vessel and nerve function, and hormonal actions. Anything that interferes with any of these factors can lead to impotence, and that can include arteriosclerosis, or peripheral vascular disease, the use of certain medications, alcohol, cigarettes. History of sexually transmitted disease, and chronic illness such as diabetes or high blood pressure. In a nut shell erectile dysfunction and heart disease can be two different manifestations of the exact same root problem, diseased arteries - inflamed, oxidized, cholesterol-clogged blood vessels.
It is no surprise that an authentic Mediterranean diet loaded full of anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, cholesterol-lowering mostly vegetarian foods would improve sexual function in both men and women, as well as reduced risk of heart disease.
Of all the plant foods, nuts and seeds seem to be the food group most tied to longevity. Just two handfuls a week may extend a woman’s life as much as jogging four hours a week.
Pistachio nuts: In a study where men ate three to four handfuls of pistachios a day for just three weeks experienced both significant improvement in blood flow through the penis and had significantly firmer erections. Most antioxidant rich foods have a Viagra-like effect boosting nitric oxide production. Make sure to eat raw, unsalted pistachios and not the roasted and salted ones.
Beetroot: Improves sexual health and stamina. Also known as ‘natural Viagra’. This vegetable is a rich source of nitrates and it helps to release nitric oxide into the body, widening the blood vessels, and increasing blood flow to the genitals – a mechanism that medicines like Viagra seek to replicate. Another factor is that beetroot contains a lot of boron, a chemical compound that is important for the production of the human sex hormone.
Watermelon: This juicy red fruit could be the new sexual star. While watermelon is 92 percent water, the remaining eight percent contains the phytonutrient citrulline, which converts to arginine, an amino acid that relaxes blood vessels, according to 2008 research from Texas A&M University’s department of horticultural sciences. Although not as organ-specific as drugs that treat men’s erectile dysfunction, watermelon may help improve blood flow to erectile tissue (present in the female clitoral area as well as the male penis), increasing arousal. Scientists at the university’s Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center are now working on increasing the fruit’s citrulline content.
It is also a known fact that cholesterol is an important predictor of sexual dysfunction in both men and women. Only just after three weeks, those eating pistachios had significant improvement in cholesterol, no added weight gain and a significant improvement in erectile function without having any side effects.
Taking drugs like Viagra just cover up the symptoms and do not target the underlying problem of unhealthy arteries. Eating an authentic Mediterranean diet consisting of mostly whole healthy plant foods including nuts, seeds fruits, vegetables and oily fish actually helps attack the root cause - cholesterol, oxidation, and inflammation.
Why risk side-effects of taking drugs when the problem can be reversed and cured through changing your diet and your lifestyle.
Barbara is a qualified nutritionist offering Health, Nutrition & Lifestyle Counseling. She gives Healthy weight loss advice and promotes the Mediterranean diet. She is the author of the Med Life Diet - creating healthy lifestyle habits and attitudes for life !