Henna and Natural Hair Health

Derived from the leaves of the henna tree, henna is a dye used to create body art and color hair. While it’s closely linked with Indian culture, henna is found throughout southern Asia. Over the past decade or so, it’s increasingly popular in Western countries as well. Here’s a quick guide to henna’s benefits and drawbacks as well as a few best practices for proper usage.

The Health Benefits of Henna

Henna can confer several compelling benefits to a user’s hair such as:

Stronger Hair Overall

The first thing you’ll notice when you regularly dye your hair with henna is a marked reduction in hair breakage. Henna actually strengthens hair by bonding to the keratin proteins that comprise the bulk of individual follicles. All things being equal, the end result is less shedding and fewer split ends regardless of the length, color or straightness of your hair.

Greater Hair Volume

One of the best things about henna when it comes to hair care is that it encourages the development of protective coatings around follicles. As such, each follicle is more moist and better able to retain crucial vitamins. Ultimately, each follicle is thicker and more luxurious. If you want to thicken hair and promote hair growth, henna is a great option.

A More Lustrous Sheen

When applied on a consistent basis, henna can result in shinier hair for a number of reasons. For one thing, the chemical makeup of the dye tends to straighten kinky hair and allow nutrients to penetrate follicles more easily. What’s more, henna changes pH levels within follicles to produce an outer layer that allows hair to shine like never before.

A Healthier Scalp

When you use henna on a regular basis, you’ll find that your scalp is in better shape over time. That’s because henna boasts anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties that control itchiness while moisturizing the skin. Unlike normal shampoos, henna doesn’t contain ammonia-based cleansers. What’s more, henna can reduce the appearance of dandruff over time if you apply it judiciously.

Potential Downsides of Henna to Consider

As great as henna can be, a few potential drawbacks might include:

Potential Dryness

While henna can certainly promote hair moisture, it can just as easily result in dry hair if you don’t know how to use it properly. Henna should be applied in conjunction with other oils to ensure that dry, brittle hairs don’t result. Simply slapping henna onto a mane isn’t a recipe for success if you’re not familiar with the product or how to use it.

Unpredictable Results

Another potential drawback of henna usage is the difficulty in achieving a set objective. Henna reacts with any given head of hair in a variety of ways and it’s difficult to predict how the whole project will turn out. You could shoot for a certain shade of red and end up with some approximation of that hue particularly if you’re a henna beginner.

A Lengthy Application Process

A reliable henna treatment that delivers the results you desire doesn’t happen within an hour or so no matter how skilled you are. A great henna dye practitioner knows the limitations of the treatment and tailors their techniques to the situation at hand. Generally speaking, a henna dye job will take several hours if you want to get the best results possible from the procedure.

Getting the Most From Henna Hair Dye

There are really just two key steps to making henna improve hair:

Picking the Right Materials

Easily the most important factor in a great henna dye job is the selection of the actual product that’s used to color hair. Selecting a body art quality henna made from organic stock will ensure that you have a positive experience. If you want to avoid bad outcomes, use only the finest henna-based dye you can find on the market.

Applying the Dye Properly

A good henna dye job can only be achieved if you know how to apply it properly based on your hair and the specific dye in question. This comes down to knowledge of the product and the timing required to ensure that dye is left in for the right amount of time.

Additional Herbs to Use for Superior Hair Health

All-natural supplements that make your hair more vibrant include:

Castor Oil

Much like henna, castor oil can thicken hair and reduce the occurrence of hair breakage when used properly. It encourages hair growth and strengthens each strand at the same time. What’s more, castor oil moisturizes hair and results in a shinier mane over the long haul. Regular castor oil applications in conjunction with henna usage can treat a variety of hair problems.

Grapeseed Oil

Thanks to its high levels of vitamin E, grapeseed oil promotes hair growth like nothing else. What’s more, the linoleic acid in grapeseed oil can produce shiny hair that doesn’t look or feel greasy. In addition, this oil will moisturize a scalp quickly and effectively treat dandruff issues. Best of all, grapeseed oil straightens kinky hair by breaking down specific protein bonds.

Olive Oil

Due to its rich assortment of acids and proteins, olive oil is arguably the best hair care supplement that can applied in conjunction with henna. The monounsaturated essential fatty acids found within it soften hair while protecting it from the elements. Olive oil forms barriers around follicles that reduce snags and tangles. Best of all, olive oil prevents free-radical damage from intense UV radiation.

There’s No Time Like the Present to Try Henna

As you can see, using henna on your hair doesn’t require a special effort and can deliver quite a few benefits. Finding body art quality henna and slapping it onto your scalp is the key to getting the best from the treatment. Ultimately, henna is a powerful weapon in the hands of a person that knows how to wield it.

Effects of Excess Sugar Consumption on the Human Body

Excess sugar in your daily diet can cause serious health issues. While natural sugars are necessary to provide energy to cells throughout your body, too much processed sugar can increase your risk of serious health problems that include diabetes, obesity and heart disease. Too much sucrose can even increase the visible signs of aging to make you look older than your years. Here are some facts you should know about how excess intake of sugars can impact your state of health.

How Does Sugar Affect Your Health?

Consuming too much sucrose can have a number of serious health effects. According to a 15-year study conducted by Harvard researchers and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2014, people who got between 17 and 21 percent of their calories from sucrose were 38 percent more likely to die of cardiovascular disease compared with those who obtained only 8 percent of their calories from sucrose and other sugars.

Sucrose and fructose are among the most commonly available sugars in the consumer marketplace:

• Sucrose is classified as a disaccharide that consists of one molecule of glucose and one of fructose. It is generally extracted from cane or beets and processed to ensure a bright white color.
• Fructose is classified as a monosaccharide and is found in high concentrations in corn, cane and beets. High-fructose corn syrup is commonly used to sweeten soft drinks, cereals and many other foods and beverages.

Glucose is not usually added to foods. Instead, it is produced when your body breaks down simple and complex carbohydrates and is used to provide energy to cells and physical processes.

What Sugars Do to Your Internal Organs

Excess sugars in your body can lead to serious and long-term problems with the function of your internal organs:

Pancreas: One of the most obvious ways in which excess intake of sugars can affect your internal organs is in the development of Type 2 diabetes, which is the result of the failure of the pancreas to produce sufficient insulin. Processed sugars are often implicated directly in the development of diabetes and indirectly because of their role in promoting obesity. This can have a significant and serious effect on the ability of the pancreas to process sugars and to regulate insulin levels, which can eventually lead to shutdown of the pancreas and dependence on insulin injections for patients who do not control their blood-sugar levels.

Liver: Your liver is responsible for filtering out toxins and processing nutrients. Too much fructose or glucose can overload this system, making it more difficult for your liver to perform its role. Sugars may be converted to fat within the liver, which can sometimes result in fatty liver disease that can threaten the function of this vital organ.

Kidneys: Consuming too many sugars can also tax the blood-filtering capabilities of the kidneys, reducing their effectiveness and allowing toxins to build up and collect in various areas of the body. This can lead to increased fat and weight gain while diminishing the ability of the immune system to protect against infections and viruses in the outside environment.

Heart: Ingesting too much sucrose and fructose can result in high cholesterol, which can lead to cardiovascular problems including heart disease and high blood pressure. Reducing your intake of sugars can often reduce the risk of these issues and improve your overall state of cardiovascular health.

Sugars can have serious effects on the health and physical condition of individuals in otherwise good health. For those with thyroid issues and other physical problems, however, the negative effects can be far worse.

The Effects of Sucrose on Individuals With Thyroid Imbalances

Metabolic issues and thyroid problems require careful regulation of dietary intake. Reducing the sugars in the foods you eat everyday can often have a positive effect on your overall state of health. Excess consumption of sugars, on the other hand, can result in a number of negative consequences:

• Increased stress on vital physical systems resulting from higher levels of cortisol
• Inflammation that can trigger or worsen thyroid issues and cause cell damage
• Increased growth of intestinal fungus, which can lead to further inflammation and may block the function of thyroid hormones
• Autoimmune responses, which can turn the body’s own defense systems against its own cells to produce inflammation

Avoiding excess sugars is essential to ensure the best possible health for those with thyroid imbalances. This can reduce inflammation and other factors that could cause complications for individuals with thyroid problems or other hormonal issues.

Weight Issues and Excess Intake of Sugars

Because sugars can reduce the efficiency of your entire metabolic system, they can also lead to significant weight gain in some individuals. Too much sucrose or high-fructose corn syrup has been demonstrated to increase the risk of obesity in both children and adults, which can increase the risk of cardiovascular issues, high blood pressure and diabetes. Reducing the number of sweets and deriving energy from complex carbohydrates like those found in vegetables and whole grains can have a significant positive effect on health and can reduce the likelihood of obesity among people of all ages and activity levels.

The Aging Effects of Sucrose

Processed sugars have been shown to speed up the aging process and to cause dehydration and darkening of the skin around the eyes and wrinkles. The reasons for these effects are complex:

• Sugars bond with proteins inside your bloodstream in a process known as glycation. This can produce toxins and can reduce the function of elastin and collagen, two protein compounds that are responsible for maintaining the youthful appearance of your skin.
• Glucose is produced when your body breaks down sugars. This substance provides energy for cells. Excessive glucose levels, however, can result in diabetes and a reduction in the effectiveness of human growth hormone, which is necessary for cell regeneration and can help prevent the formation of wrinkles by ensuring healthier skin.
• Reducing your intake of sugars can also limit your risk of obesity, which can help you look younger and healthier.

Adjusting your diet to reduce the amount of sucrose, fructose and other sugars can help you to stay healthier and to look younger. The right dietary changes can make a big difference in your daily life.

Taking steps to cut out processed sugars and excess fat as much as possible can help you to live a longer and healthier life. These lifestyle changes can also allow you to look younger and to continue your journey in the happiest and most health-conscious way possible now and into the future.

Balancing Kapha Dosha for Improved Health and Happiness

Ayurveda is an ancient and established system of medicine that originated in India and has persisted for thousands of years. In Ayurvedic medicine, three basic doshas are recognized for the effects these energies can have on human health:

• Vata energies control functions associated with motion, including the circulation of blood through the body, the nervous system and other key physical systems.
• Pitta dosha is the energy that powers and governs metabolic processes, including digestion, temperature regulation and the absorption of nutrients into your body.
• Kapha energies control growth and regeneration as well as the distribution of water and moisture throughout the body.

In most people, one of these doshas is dominant over the other two. Kapha-dominant individuals typically have larger frames and a more indolent nature that allows them to take an easy-going approach to most aspects of their lives.

What Is Kapha Dosha?

Kapha energies control the structural elements of the body, including the bones, muscles and fat that make up a physical being. Individuals who fall into the Kapha category typically have a strong constitution and a dislike of change, preferring to stick with their own comfortable routines. With soft hearts and thin skins, Kapha-dominant individuals can often be forces for stability in the lives of their friends and loved ones.

Symptoms of Imbalances in Kapha

When Kapha energies are out of balance, they can cause a number of negative side effects:

• Sleepiness, lethargy and depression
• Itchiness
• Lack of interest in favorite activities
• Pale or washed out complexion
• Overeating, slow digestion and reduced metabolic function
• Colds and excess production of mucus
• Increased susceptibility to infections of all types
• Swelling or discomfort in joints and muscles
• Retention of water and weight gain

By taking steps to reduce the causes of Kapha imbalance, it may be possible to avoid these negative effects and to ensure the strongest constitution and the healthiest life for Kapha-dominant individuals.

Causes of Kapha Imbalance

Some of the most common reasons for imbalances in Kapha dosha are prolonged exposure to cold, too much salty, cold or raw food and failure to exercise on a regular basis. Overuse of oils, sugars and other rich foods can also create imbalances that can result in illnesses and emotional upsets. Avoiding these activities can help to keep Kapha energies in better balance.

How to Treat Kapha Imbalances

Practitioners of Ayurveda recommend a few basic treatments for Kapha imbalances. These recommendations typically involve changes in diet and increased physical activity:

• Scheduling regular exercise to reduce lethargy and to improve circulation
• Increasing consumption of hot foods and beverages in preference to cold ones
• Eating vegetables and fruits
• Adding spicy food and drinks to your menu plan
• Avoiding carbonated and sugary drinks and using alcohol only in moderation
• Reducing your consumption of red meat

Incorporating these suggestions into your daily routine can help you manage Kapha energy to ensure that you have more energy to enjoy your favorite activities. This can also help you to prevent the negative effects of imbalances in Kapha and other energies inside your body.

Maintaining a healthy Kapha dosha can help you lead a happier and healthier life. Working with a qualified practitioner of Ayurveda can be a solid first step toward balancing your doshas and improving your overall state of health.

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Correcting Imbalances in Pitta Dosha for Better Health

In Ayurvedic medicine, the three doshas are energies that flow through the body and control various aspects of physical and emotional health. Pitta dosha is responsible for the physical activities involved in metabolism, digestion and the transformation of nutrients into energy. When Pitta energies dominate, people typically have fiery and assertive personalities and resilient natures that can adapt to changing circumstances with relative ease. Understanding this important dosha can help you to stay healthier and happier throughout your regular routine.

What Is Pitta?

Pitta is one of the three basic doshas in Ayurveda, which also includes Kapha and Vata. Each of these doshas is involved in governing and controlling the functions of the body and the emotional states of individuals. When Pitta predominates among the three doshas, certain physical and personality attributes may be more pronounced or noticeable:

• Most Pittas have a medium build and have a physically strong constitution, allowing them to shake off minor ailments more quickly.
• They tend to value order and to be organized.
• The entrepreneurial can-do spirit is often associated with those in whom Pitta is the dominant dosha.

Positive aspects of Pitta are more likely to manifest in those with well-balanced doshas. If Pitta or other doshas are out of balance, however, some negative attributes can manifest as a result of this issue with Ayurveda energies.

Symptoms of Pitta Imbalance

Some of the most common signs of an imbalance in the Pitta dosha are disturbances or disorders of the normal digestive and metabolic process:

• Heartburn and acid reflux issues
• Nausea, especially after missing a regular meal
• Diarrhea and loose stools
• Acne and other rashes
• Excessive or frequent sweating
• Overheating, especially during regular activities

Emotional changes can also occur when Pitta is out of balance:

• Frustration and irritability
• Excessive attention to minor details
• Anger and over-sensitivity

These symptoms can occur from an overabundance of Pitta energy in the body. The causes for this imbalance are often complex and arise from conditions encountered in daily life.

Causes for Pitta Imbalances

Many of the things people do every day can add up to an imbalance in Pitta energy. Some of the most common reasons for these issues include the following:

• Emotional stress and worry
• Exposure to chemicals at work or at home
• Too much time spent in the sun, to include sunburns and suntans
• Dietary issues

Balancing Pitta can reduce the effects of these common daily stressors and can improve the emotional and physical health of those in whom Pitta predominates. Failure to address these issues could result in a weakened constitution and other health issues.

Correcting Imbalances in Pitta Dosha

Minor corrections in diet and daily activities can often have a real impact on the effects of Pitta imbalances and can prevent future problems. Some of the most recommended changes to correct these imbalances include the following measures:

• Increasing your consumption of cold and raw foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables
• Avoiding hot and spicy foods, including onions, garlics and peppers
• Sticking to whole wheat, white rice, oats and barley rather than rye and corn
• Scheduling cooling massages to promote better balance
• Maintaining regular mealtimes
• Getting plenty of rest and reducing stress in your everyday activities
• Taking time to commune with nature

These simple steps can help to cool down individuals with Pitta imbalances. By addressing these issues with dietary changes and adjustments to your daily routine, you can enjoy the healthiest and happiest lifestyle possible now and in the future.

All About Vata Dosha and Rebalancing This Important Energy

For most people, understanding the energies that flow inside their own bodies can provide them with added insights into the right treatments and care for a wide range of physical and emotional issues. Ayurvedic medicine recognizes three types of energy, which are known as doshas and are sometimes referred to as the three Ayurvedic Principles:

• Vata
• Pitta
• Kapha

While all three are present in everyone, each person has a dominant energy that affects their health and their approach to life.

What Is Vata Dosha?

Vata is the source of all movement within the mind, spirit and body. Because of its role in governing flow and motion, Vata is considered to be the foundation of the three Ayurvedic Principles. Without Vata, Pitta and Kapha could not exist. People with a predominance of Vata energy typically exhibit a few common traits that distinguish them from those with greater influences from Kapha or Pitta.

The Vata Type

People with predominantly Vata energies or doshas may experience cold temperatures more than other doshas. These individuals are often creative, vibrant personalities that are active and assertive in their daily activities. Making sure that Vata is in balance is essential for all doshas, however, because it plays a role in nearly everything that we do on a regular basis.

Symptoms of Unbalanced Vata

The principles of Ayurveda can provide insights into balancing all doshas and providing support for individuals during the healing process. For Vata types, some of the common symptoms of imbalance in this aspect include the following:

• Nervousness and anxiety
• Restlessness and agitation
• Dry skin or thinning hair
• Aching joints
• Mental and physical fatigue
• Trouble sleeping
• Weight loss

Ayurveda offers some practical and holistic treatments that can often correct imbalances in Vata dosha for those who may be experiencing these symptoms.

What Causes Vata Imbalances?

While not all imbalances of Vata energy can be explained, there are some common activities that can result in stress to the body and mind, which can then cause imbalances in Vata:

• Overuse of stimulants, especially those containing caffeine
• Frequent travel
• Busy schedules and overwork
• Excessive use of technology and constant visual and audio stimulation

For those already troubled by Vata imbalances, consuming large quantities of raw or dry food can make matters worse and should be avoided if at all possible.

Rebalancing Your Vata Dosha

Ayurvedic practitioners can provide direct guidance on the most effective rebalancing strategies for your situation. Some of the most recommended treatments to rebalance your Vata include the following:

• Adding oily, sweet and warm foods to your regular diet
• Indulging in warm oil massages to heat the body and improve health
• Engaging in meditation
• Maintaining a regular sleep schedule
• Bundling up before going outside in cold weather

Working with a qualified practitioner of Ayurveda can ensure the most practical and comprehensive approach to addressing the balance of Vata within your body. Taking steps to address these issues and to bring Vata back into balance can ensure that you enjoy greater calm and serenity during your regular routine. This can allow you to enjoy life to its fullest every day.

Intermittent Fasting

You may have heard about people fasting for religious reasons, or you may have friends who have tried fasting in the past for weight loss. Fasting might be something you’ve never considered, but intermittent fasting is a health trend that is only growing in popularity. It’s popular for a reason, so you may want to arm yourself with some knowledge and give it some consideration for weight loss and good health.

What is Intermittent Fasting?

Before you consider giving it a try, you should first understand what it is. This form of fasting is not actually a diet plan. Instead, it’s a schedule or pattern of eating. Although many people restrict their calories during the periods when they do eat, you don’t have to do so to enjoy some of the benefits.

Basically, to begin this type of fasting, you have to be willing to change your regular eating routine and abstain from eating during certain periods of time out of a 24-hour day or out of an entire week.

For example, the most popular form of fasting is the 16/8 method. Also known as the Leangains protocol, this eating schedule involves only eating during an eight-hour period out of a 24-hour day. Most people who follow this schedule avoid eating breakfast and only eat during a pre-determined eight-hour period throughout the day. For example, you might choose to eat all of your meals and snacks between 1:00 in the afternoon and 9:00 at night.

Some people choose to fast for entire 24-hour periods at a time. Another example, the Eat-Stop-Eat method is popular among those who want to enjoy the benefits of occasional fasting. With this plan, you will eat normally for several days out of the week, but for one or two 24-hour periods out of the week, you will fast completely.

Getting used to eating with a new schedule can be challenging, but for many people it can be much easier than following a strict diet plan. It can also be very effective, although it’s important not to overcompensate for any missed meals or snacks by consuming more calories during the determined eating period than you normally would.

What are the Benefits?

You might be wondering why it’s a good idea to try this type of eating? It actually has a few benefits. For one thing, since you will be eliminating hours worth of eating out of each day, you will most likely reduce your daily calorie intake. Using the 16/8 method can help you cut out any unhealthy eating that you might do late at night. Because of this calorie reduction, you may find that you lose weight, even if you eat all of your favorite foods during the eating hours of your plan.

Because you will not be consuming food for as many hours out of the day or week as you normally do, you will likely notice a boost in your metabolism once you try following a particular form of intermittent fasting. This will increase your energy and help you lose weight.

Studies show that the benefits of following a scheduled pattern of eating or fasting can be even better than what was originally thought. Your mitochondria — which are the energy-producing shapes within your cells — will actually begin to change and increase once you follow a schedule of eating and fast for certain periods throughout the day or week. This can lead to a longer, healthier lifespan.

For some, perhaps the best benefit of intermittent fasting is the fact that you can still enjoy many of your favorite foods, while enjoying the benefits of weight loss, increased energy and improved overall health. You can experience even greater results by striving to eat a healthier diet and including an exercise regimen.

Is It Right For You?

Because of the metabolism, weight loss and energy benefits you can enjoy from intermittent fasting, you may be thinking about giving it a try. It’s always a good idea to consult your doctor before changing your lifestyle in this way. Your doctor can help you determine if intermittent fasting is right for you, give you tips for doing it effectively, safely and talk to you about some of the benefits.

Intermittent fasting may not be right for you if you have ever suffered from an eating disorder, it could be dangerous for you to try such a drastic change in your eating habits. It can also be dangerous for diabetics, pregnant women or anyone who may have previously tried this method eating and their health was negatively affected.

All the above being said, once you have been cleared by your doctor, give intermittent fasting a try and before you know it, you will begin noticing a big difference in how you look and feel.

 

Ketogenic Diet

The ketogenic diet, or keto diet, is a high-fat diet that is very low in carbohydrates that also provides an adequate amount of the necessary protein. The keto diet consists of 75 percent fat, 20 percent protein, and 5 percent carbohydrates. It also has some similarities to the Atkins diet and other low carb diets. It has become a proven diet for those who are struggling with weight loss. It provides a vast array of health benefits by forcing the body to burn fats rather than the many unnecessarily consumed carbohydrates. This process helps to put the body into a metabolic state called ketosis, where it then becomes efficient at burning fat for energy. It turns fat into ketones in the liver which supplies energy to the brain. Ketosis also increases leptin levels which aid in hunger suppression.

Pro’s of a Ketogenic Diet

There are many pros and positive benefits to the ketogenic diet. The main and most noticeable benefit is the steady and even stream of energy that the body receives from the higher amounts of fats and lower carbohydrates that are consumed. It is well known as an appetite suppressor while minimizing carb cravings. Those who are on the ketogenic diet can say goodbye to those everyday hunger pangs. Increasing energy and losing the desire to eat when not hungry are necessary when going through a weight loss program. In addition to these, it can also increase mental focus, enhance the mood, and improve sleep.

Studies have also shown that this particular diet may be beneficial to those who suffer from diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and as a treatment for patients who suffer from epileptic seizures. In addition, it has proven to be beneficial in lowering cholesterol by improving the ‘good’ HDL cholesterol, while lowering the ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol. Reducing the carb intake also lowers blood triglycerides. The improvement of the HDL cholesterol and lowering blood triglycerides is beneficial to reducing the risks of heart disease. And finally, the ketogenic diet has shown to reduce insulin levels by reducing blood sugar and insulin fluctuations.

Con’s of a Ketogenic Diet

As with the introduction of any diet, the ketogenic diet takes some time for adaption. The process may take up to two weeks with some discomfort while the body adjusts to the new diet. The main side effect is what is referred to as the ‘keto flu’. This consists of flu-like symptoms such as headache, fatigue, and nausea. This is caused by the body not retaining enough liquids while going through a restricted carb diet. These symptoms can be avoided by taking exogenous ketones or mineral supplements.

The most difficult part of being on the ketogenic diet is the restrictions it puts on your food groups and social gatherings. The Keto diet prohibits the consumption of all forms of sugar, with a very low amount of allowed carbohydrates. This can make planning meals a new and difficult task to learn. Not only will you have to revamp your entire way of planning grocery shopping lists and meals, but also trips to restaurants, and gatherings with family and friends.

Different Effects of a Ketogenic Diet Based on Age and Gender

The keto diet may have a different impact on women then it does men. There are certain aspects of the diet that can affect hormones. While this may seem like a negative effect, it can actually be beneficial. Women that have an imbalance of estrogen and/or progesterone can suffer many uncomfortable hormonal side effects. Changing the diet can have a great impact on correcting these imbalances. The keto diet can help women who are going through menopause, have irregular periods, or have other issues of hormonal imbalances.

The keto diet has also been found to have an impact on the aging process. Researchers discovered that during the starvation process the body releases a chemical compound called beta-hydroxybutyric acid which plays an important role in the aging process. It has been found that the keto diet induces the production of this compound. This chemical may be the key to age-related conditions. It is thought that low levels of these particular ketone bodies may help in the reduction of oxidative stress which is a contributing factor in the aging process.

 

Ayurvedic Wellness Techniques

Ayurvedic medicine is a form of healing practice that began in the Vedic culture of India and has been practiced throughout Asia for thousands of years. The Sanskrit translation of Ayur is ‘life’, and Veda means ‘science or knowledge’. The main idea of this practice is prevention. It is meant to prevent and treat illnesses before they become disease through the art of harmony and balance for the individual’s mind, body and environment.

Ayurveda is essentially the realization that we all have the power to heal ourselves once we can see and understand how we are imbalanced in our lives, and bring our state of being back into harmony. There are many forms of Ayurvedic healing practices that can be utilized in everyday life. These are essential in creating and maintaining balance.

Eating Practices

There are several ways to create self-care and balance by changing your eating habits. The first is to eat the largest meal of the day at lunch. This is when the sun is at its highest peak of the day, and it is thought that the digestive fire is also at its peak at the same time.

Another important eating tip is to not eat while feeling emotional or distressed. Eating while feeling stressed not only causes more stress to the body but we also have a tendency to eat the wrong foods when we are feeling out of sorts. This can lead to further imbalance by way of an unhealthy diet. If feeling stressed, it is important to calm the mind and relax the body before eating a meal.

Make sure to use the six tastes of Ayurveda with every meal. These include sweet, salty, sour, pungent, bitter, and astringent. These tastes can be found in whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, and grains as well as various spice blends.

It’s also vital to eat in silence when possible. Eating a peaceful meal can help you to appreciate exactly what you are putting into your body. This creates focus and will help you to enjoy your meal while also giving your body time to realize when it is full.

And finally, it is important to take your time while eating. The process of chewing food is actually the first step in the digestive system. If you scarf down food and skip this first step it will make the rest of your body work unnecessarily harder than it has to.

Pranayama

Pranayama is a form of breathing techniques and exercises used for creating balance. It is the Sanskrit word for ‘extension of the prana’- life force or breath. There are many forms of this controlled breathing, each with their own characteristic and purpose. There is the Viloma which is interrupted breathing, AnulomVilom which is alternate nostril breathing, and Ujjayi which is victorious breath, just to name a few. It is believed that Pranayama cleanses 72,000 channels in the body which can aid in purifying the respiratory system. The deep breathing of the exercises also enriches the blood with oxygen which in turn benefits organs such as the brain, heart, and lungs.

Yoga Asanas

Yoga asanas are a form of yoga which is used to enlighten and elevate consciousness. It brings together breathing techniques, meditation, and yoga poses to create an overall feeling of wellness and balance. The breathing helps maintain focus and relieve stress and tension. The poses improve flexibility and balance while creating a mind-body state of well being by combining the two as a whole. This not only helps the physical state of being but the mental and spiritual as well. Practicing yoga asanas is an essential part of self-care when working towards the goal of overall balance. There are many asanas in the art of yoga. While some may seem difficult at first, there are plenty that are perfect for beginners.

Ahbyanga

Ahbyanga is a form of massage which is performed by using dosha specific oils that have been warmed and mixed with herbs to be used for specific conditions. The oils used are dependent on the season and the personal imbalance. It is also meant to give the feeling of warmth and stability, similar to that of love. This form of self-care is used to restore the balance of the dosha while enhancing overall wellness. There are many benefits of ahbyanga which include body nourishment, firmness and muscle tone improvement, increase in circulation, healthier and deeper sleep, increase in stamina, and calming of nerves.

Practicing Ayurveda through the use of these specific applications can provide a perfect beginning to balance and wellness in everyday life. Applying proper and healthy eating routines, daily moments of pranayama breathing techniques, yoga asanas, and ahbyanga massage with aromatic oils can provide you with a well rounded feeling of balance. You will feel healthier on the inside, stronger, more balanced on the outside with a feeling of peace and strength in the mind as well. Practicing these techniques will positively affect each part of your well being. They are as simple as changing how you eat, focusing on your breathing, and giving your body the stretches, balance, and attention it needs.

 

The Importance of Organic Eating

Organically grown food seems to be a new thing among people and their eating habits. This is not necessarily true. One can think of it in terms that organic food is the way we used to grow our food and care for our farm animals. We have now incorporated so called advancements to both the way we grow and raise our food. This has led to the addition of many unnecessary and unhealthy chemicals being added to food, in an effort to make life easier. Essentially, these so called advancements are actually taking a step back from the way we were meant to farm and eat. In our effort to speed up the growing process and eliminate problems that may arise before they happen, we have created an unhealthy and unsustainable growing environment.

What Makes a Food Organic?

Organic foods are any foods that are grown without using synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, sewage sludge, and genetically modified organisms, or ethically raised animals that have not been given growth hormones, or antibiotics. Farmers that produce organic foods have a goal of keeping plants and animals in their most natural and healthiest state while emphasizing renewable and sustainable resources and conserving soil and water.

In order for food to be marked organic, the farms must first be inspected by a certified, government approved inspector. The farm must also meet the necessary rules and guidelines set by USDA organic standards. The same standards also apply to companies that process the foods for restaurants and grocery stores.

Reasons Why Non-Organic Foods Can Be Harmful

Since non-organic foods contain such harmful substances as pesticides, chemical fertilizers, as well as other types of chemicals, over time this can lead to a build-up of toxins in the body. These toxins can increase health problems for people who have a pre-existing condition as well as create new medical conditions. Accumulated toxins in the body can create a variety of inflammatory issues and also lead to allergies.

Animals that are raised in a non-organic fashion are not ethically raised. They are fed animal byproducts, which can increase the risk of diseases such as mad cow disease for instance. To make matters worse, these animals are given antibiotics which may create resistant strains of bacteria. This resistance is passed on to us which makes it very difficult to treat many illnesses, and can lead to major health problems on a large scale.

Non-organic foods also contain many additives. These can include, but are not limited to, tetrazine (yellow coloring), monosodium glutamate, and aspartame. These substances have been linked to allergic reactions, asthma, and coronary heart disease, to name a few.

Radiation therapy is used on crops at various stages for killing bacteria. While this may seem like a suitable response to a problem, it can have very dangerous effects on the human body. It can cause cancer in the bones, kidneys, eyes, endocrine system, and reproductive organs.

Genetically modified crops are used in non-organic farming practices. These are bio-engineered from organisms that have had their DNA altered, which allows for the introduction of new traits while gaining control over existing traits. There have been studies done that indicate many health risks are associated with genetically modified foods. Some of these include immune problems, infertility, gastrointestinal issues, and accelerated aging.

Benefits of Eating Organically Grown Foods

There are a vast number of benefits and advantages to eating organic foods. The first and most overlooked is that this type of farming is better for the environment. Farmers that produce food organically use practices that prevent soil erosion, conserve water, reduce pollution, use less energy, and create soil fertility. Foods grown in this way are beneficial to the environment. By not using pesticides the nutrients in the soil do not get depleted. This creates a more fertile soil that is reusable for many years. This process also prevents the array of chemicals used in traditional farming from polluting nearby water sources.

The most obvious impact on eating organic foods is the effect it has on our bodies. Eating foods that are not laced with toxins and chemicals allow the body to remain in balance. This also discourages the build-up of free radicals in the body which then allows the body to heal quicker when needed.

Another advantage to eating organic foods is that they are fresher. Non-organic foods are filled with preservatives which make them last longer. This makes them seem fresh when in actuality they are not.

Finally, it has been proven that the meat, eggs and milk are richer in nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce depression, improve vision, and reduce risk factors for heart disease.

Growing crops and raising farm animals organically may seem like more work, but when one looks at the overall picture, it is plain to see the benefits to us, to the animals, and to the land. Recent years have shown an increase in allergies, disease, and cancer. It is no coincidence that this increase coincides with the introduction of the insecticides, pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones, and other additives to the food we all consume each and every day.

 

What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is an ancient form of natural healing that stems from the Vedic culture of India. It translates to ‘knowledge of life’.

It has been practiced for over five thousand years but underwent periods of suppression by foreign invaders.

Recent years have shown an increase in the practice both native and worldwide. Modern alternative medicine has aspects that are derived from these traditions. It is a form of holistic healing through the understanding of each person’s unique energy signature. Through this understanding, one is then able to change their lifestyle to fit their specific energy needs and create a personal balance.

The Three Doshas

The three doshas are what make a person unique. They are considered natures blueprint for what makes a person tick. They are the mind and body energies of a human and are used to help distinguish the balance necessary for good health and fulfillment.

The three doshas are:

  1. Vata
  2. Pitta
  3. Kapha

They are derived from the five elements of ether, air, fire, water, and earth.

It is important for one to discover which dosha provides the most influence within them in their daily and seasonal lives. This plays an important role when practicing personalized holistic healing through energy management, diet, and overall health. Understanding each dosha and the personal roles they play are one of the first steps when undergoing this lifestyle change.

Ayurvedic Practices For Increasing Energy

There are certain daily practices that can be done to improve energy on sluggish days. They are simple life indulgences that are easily taken for granted and overlooked.

Start by creating a morning routine. Waking up twenty minutes before sunrise instead of jumping out of bed at the last second can make all the difference. Vata is known for movement, and its energy fills the atmosphere before the sunrise. Therefore this is the best time to utilize its energy. Continue the morning with a daily ritual that creates contentment.

There are aromatic oils that enhance the mind and body with energy depending upon the dosha type. Massaging the scented oil onto the third eye point between the eyebrows in small clockwise circles while taking deep breaths can give one a boost of needed energy and create balance. Even drinking water and taking deep breaths can help to increase energy by clearing out ama (toxins) and calming the mind.

Ayurveda Seasonal Eating

Seasonal eating habits and healthy eating are considered an important role with the dosha.

Each season has an association with each dosha.

Pitta is from late spring through summer, Vata goes from autumn to early winter, and Kapha is from late winter through spring.

Depending on a person’s most influencing dosha, there is a balance that must be maintained according to the changing seasons. Changing eating habits accordingly can help ones overall well being.

The Vata diet should consist of calming and nourishing foods. The Pitta diet should consist of cooling and moderately heavy foods. While the Kapha diet should consist of foods that are warming and stimulating.

During the changing seasons, it is good to incorporate foods into the diet according to the doshas season.

Ayurveda Can Improve Overall Health

There are so many positive aspects of this practice that can enhance one’s overall well being. Learning the techniques can create a healthy lifestyle and a healthy mind.

It acts like preventative care by creating a personal healthy balance which prevents illness and disease from beginning.

It can create beautiful and healthy skin by understanding the dosha skin type and utilizing the proper natural skin treatments.

It also helps to improve concentration and reduce stress through diet and lifestyle changes. It can revitalize and energize by balanced and proper seasonal eating based on one’s natural dosha. It is a form of anti-aging through its balance of mind and body. Through healthy eating and living properly based on the natural dosha, the body will be healthy and the mind will be balanced. This creates a cycle of good health both inside and out. When this balance is achieved it becomes visibly apparent. People carry stress and poor health in the way they walk and how they look. This creates an aged appearance. When those imbalances are eliminated it can create a more youthful body and face through perfect harmony.

Through the long-term approach of this practice and discovering which dosha is most influential in your daily life you can obtain the balance in life that is so overlooked. Without balance we stumble through the day with struggles that are unnecessary. Creating a healthy lifestyle based upon personal energies is essential to thriving in the best ways possible. Each person is unique. Understanding this uniqueness and providing it with its individual needs will not only create a healthy balance to the body and mind but also a form of enlightenment.