Monday, 16 October 2017

The magic of spirulina on your skin!

Spirulina is a dark green algae that grows on the surface of lakes. Here in Kenya, it grows on Lake Victoria, therefore it is readily available in many supermarkets and health food shops. It contains 65 percent protein and is packed with vitamins, iron, amino acids, and omegas, thus, it is extremely nourishing.
The antioxidants found in spirulina are four times the amount found in berries. The rich green colour comes from chlorophyll which helps to eliminate toxins from our body, while also boosting the immune system. This powder can be taken with water, smoothies, or sprinkled on food.

It is highly alkaline therefore it is beneficial when ingested or applied to the skin. It is available in powder, tablet or flake form. Some of the many benefits of spirulina for the skin include:

· Reducing dark circles
· Fights inflammation
· Detoxes the body
· Fights acne with its antibacterial properties
· Anti-aging
· Helps the skin retain moisture
· Encourages cell turnover

The best way to use spirulina topically is by applying a face mask. This mask works for all skin types and is soothing, hydrating and brightens the skin. Spirulina can stain, therefore watch out for any dripping.


1 teaspoon spirulina powder
½ teaspoon raw honey
½ teaspoon water or aloe vera juice

Step 1 - Mix ingredients

Mix all the ingredients together until smooth.

Step 2 - Apply

Apply to a clean face, avoiding the eyes, nostrils and mouth. You can apply with your fingertips or a brush.

Step 3 - Dry

Allow drying for 10 – 15 minutes.

Step 4 - Rinse

Rinse off with warm water.

Step 5 - Moisturise

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7 Reasons to Incorporate Weights Into Your Fitness Routine!

When you think of weight training, what’s the first image that comes to mind? Is it a bodybuilder? Or maybe an Olympic athlete with chiseled thighs and a neck the size of a tree trunk?
Most of us are very familiar with the benefits of aerobic exercises like running, cycling or swimming, assuming that strength training is on the other end of the spectrum (one keeps you thin and heart healthy and the other makes you muscular). But the truth is, in terms of overall health benefits, the two overlap more than they differ.
Curious? Let’s take a look at ten reasons you should start incorporating weights and resistance training into your fitness routine today.

1) It will keep your bones dense and healthy.

Did you know that bone density naturally decreases by 1 percent every year after the age of 30? Women in particular struggle with the loss of bone density (called osteoporosis) and make up 80 percent of cases in the United States. Weight training helps increase bone density, reducing the risk of fractures and breaks among adults.

2) It will help you sleep better.

Besides the physical benefits, weightlifting has been proven to positively affect how we feel and how clearly we think. Need to clear your head? Take a trip to the gym. You’ll sleep so much better – waking up less often throughout the night and falling into deep sleep more quickly.

3) It will improve your posture, reducing the risk of back pain.

Do you work a job that keeps you sitting or standing for long periods of time? Odds are you need to work on strengthening your posterior chain – the mass of muscles designed to keep your spine and lower back in check. Deadlifting in particular works wonders for this area of the body, ensuring your spine stays straight and protected from daily wear and tear.

4) It will help regulate your glucose levels.

Along with improving posture and sleep, strength training will help you burn through glucose and keep your blood sugar levels more steady. Great news for the 14 million Americans dealing with type 2 diabetes.

5) It will help you lose weight and keep it off.

Weightlifting boosts metabolism and fat loss by building dense, calorie-hungry muscle mass. Why? Because muscle is an active tissue, it burns more muscle compared to fat so your hard work will stretch farther over time.

6) It may stave off chronic diseases.

Cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and even cancer, all seem to shrink in the presence of a strong, weightlifting body. They say cardio is great for your heart. Well, that applies to weight training too! In the grand scheme of things, the stronger you are, the more resilient you will be against disease.
7) It will help you gain confidence in life.
Weightlifting has an amazing ability to boost self-esteem, mental health and self-confidence. Feeling discouraged? Prove what you’re made of in the gym. Feeling tired or anxious? Harness the boost of energy and endorphins that comes with exercise.
And you don’t even have to go to the gym to get the benefits. Look at starting with body weight exercises like squats, lunges or even push-ups. You just might learn to love it.

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  • 1 packed cup baby kale
  • 1 cup Vanilla Organic Nut Milk 
  • ½ cup frozen mango chunks
  • ⅓ cup sweet potato puree
  • 2 dried, pitted dates
  • 1 teaspoon matcha powder
  • Pinch fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon hemp seeds

In a blender combine kale, milk, mango, sweet potato, dates, matcha, and salt. Blend until smooth, pour into a glass, and top with hemp seeds.

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Sunday, 15 October 2017

Tips for raising healthy kids as obesity rates skyrocket!

This week, a comprehensive study published in the Lancet revealed that the number of obese children, aged five to 19, worldwide has skyrocketed tenfold over the past 40 years.
The study, led by the Imperial College of London in collaboration with the World Health Organization, involved height and weight data on nearly 130 million people. While childhood obesity rates are on the rise in low- and middle-income countries, the rise appears to have leveled off, at least temporarily, in high-income countries such as Canada.
Good news perhaps, but our national childhood obesity numbers remain dismal and alarming. According to Statistics Canada, in 2015 nearly 15 percent of boys and 10 percent of girls – aged five to 17 – were considered obese, numbers that have nearly tripled since the 1970s.
Kids with obesity are at a higher risk for asthma, sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. They're also more likely to be bullied than their peers who are at a healthy weight.

Obesity in childhood also increases the likelihood of becoming an obese adult and developing the health problems that come with it – diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
As a parent, it's not always easy to recognize that your child has a weight problem. Kids grow at different rates and changes in body fat differ among girls and boys.
Ask your family pediatrician to review your child's growth charts with you. At annual check-ups, they should assess your child's body mass index (BMI) for age.
This information shows how your child's measurements compare with other kids of the same gender and age and will indicate whether he is overweight or obese. Your doctor will look at the pattern rather than an individual number.
If your child is carrying an unhealthy amount of weight, your pediatrician may recommend a weight-loss diet with the help of a registered dietitian. It's important that your child follow a healthy plan that provides all the nutrients he needs for growth and development.
For overweight children who are still growing, the goal is to maintain their weight or slow their rate of weight gain while they grow taller. Older teenagers can safely lose one to two pounds a week.
If you're concerned that your child is overweight, or heading down that path, the following tips can help keep him healthy and prevent him from gaining excess weight.
Start with a low glycemic breakfast. Foods with a low glycemic index (GI) such as oatmeal, stone ground whole wheat bread, yogurt, milk, fruit and nuts help kids feel full longer, making them less likely to overeat. Low GI foods are digested slowly and lead to a gradual, sustained rise in blood sugar.
Include a good source of filling protein at breakfast, too. Greek yogurt, eggs, cheese, even leftover chicken, are good choices.
Ditch sugary drinks. Cutting back on sugary drinks such as 100-percent fruit juice, soft drinks and sports drinks can make a big difference in a child's daily calorie intake and, for some kids, will promote weight loss. Encourage water instead.

Rein in their sweet tooth. Serve a sugary treat only once or twice a week as part of your family's menu. Offer nutritious, naturally sweet desserts and snacks such as banana "ice cream," frozen grapes, yogurt and fruit parfaits or a peanut butter and banana milkshake.
Avoid sending cookies, gummy bears or sugary granola bars in your child's lunch every day. Pack fresh fruit instead.
Follow the plate model. Fill one-quarter of your child's plate with protein (e.g., chicken, fish, lean meat, tofu, beans), one-quarter with healthy carbs (e.g., brown rice, sweet potato, pasta, whole fruit) and the rest of vegetables (cooked or raw), which add volume to meals with fewer calories.
If you feel your child's portions are too large, serve smaller amounts of food and let him ask for more if still hungry.
Plan family meals. Research shows that kids eat more fruits and vegetables and fewer unhealthy foods and are less likely to be obese when they regularly eat family dinners.
If your family's weekday schedule prevents you from sharing dinner together, other shared mealtimes can also help foster healthy eating habits.
To get children used to sharing a family meal, cook one meal for everyone instead of becoming a short-order cook.
Get everyone on board. Don't single your child out. Use the same healthy-eating approach for the whole family. Kids learn their habits from their parents, so model healthy eating and exercise practices.
Get kids involved. Enlist your child's help in meal planning, grocery shopping, meal preparation, even setting the table and clean up. Children who help prepare healthy meals are more likely to eat them.
Prepare meals that give young kids a role such as mixing ingredients, shredding lettuce, chopping vegetables (if age-appropriate) or dressing the salad.
Ensure adequate sleep. Mounting evidence suggests that kids who get too little sleep are more likely to become overweight or obese. They're also less likely to eat a healthy diet.
Children aged three to five need 10 to 13 hours of sleep a night, school-aged kids need nine to 11 hours and teenagers, ages 14 to 17, should get eight to 10 hours.
Limit screen time. Too much time in front of the television, computer or tablet has been linked to obesity, irregular sleep schedules and shorter sleep duration. Infants, aged 18 months and younger, should not be exposed to digital media. For children, ages two to five, limit screen time to one hour a day.
For older kids, determine restrictions for your child and enforce those daily and weekly limits and curfews. Prioritize physical activity and sleep over screen time.
Leslie Beck, a Toronto-based private practice dietitian, is director of food and nutrition at Medcan.

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Pregnant mothers around THIS could be increasing kids’ risk of growths!

Expectant mothers could be putting their kids’ health at risk by being exposed to pesticides, particularly insecticides, according to researchers. 
Childhood brain tumours can lead to learning difficulties, difficulties with balance and partial or full loss of sight.
Pesticide exposure increased the risk of childhood brain tumours by 1.4 times, said the researchers from the French Institute of Health and Medical Research. 
They warned pregnant women to limit their exposure to pesticides to avoid increasing the risk of the growths.
The lead author of the study, Nicolas Vidart d’Egurbide Bagazgo├»tia, said: “Although such retrospective studies cannot identify specific chemicals used or quantify the exposure, our findings add another reason to advise mothers to limit their exposure to pesticides around the time of pregnancy.”

Wash Off Pesticides On Vegetables

The researchers reviewed data from 3,539 French mothers, of which 437 had children that developed brain tumours.
The mothers had phone interviews, followed by one-to-one interviews, to find the results.
They found pesticide exposure significantly increased the risk of developing the tumour, while insecticides increased the risk by 1.6 times.

Future investigations were needed to confirm the findings, the researchers said. 
Further studies would also help scientists to better understand the link between pesticides and childhood brain tumours.
About 560 people, under-19, are diagnosed with brain tumours in the UK every year, according to The Brain Tumour Charity.
Brain tumour symptoms include persistent vomiting, seizures, recurring headache, and double-vision. But, symptoms vary from person to person and depends on the exact location of the tumour on the brain.
They can be treated by radiotherapy, chemotherapy or proton-beam therapy.

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Achieving complete fitness!

Close your eyes and think of the word "fitness." What is the image that conjures up in your mind? A man or a woman who is lean, muscular and athletic. That is definitely one dimension of fitness but not the complete package. Complete fitness encompasses both the body and the mind; that is, being physically fit as well as mentally calm and peaceful.  
What is mental fitness? Which gym membership does one have to enroll in, to get mentally and emotionally fit? This is the secret that the East has to offer in the form of meditation practices and breathing techniques (Pranayamas). A prayer is also a form of mental fitness, as it gives us peace of mind.  
Most of the time, one of these dimensions is neglected. There are those who focus on physical fitness and are regular with their exercise and gym attendance, yet neglect the mind. While there are others who are very regular in their meditation practice and prayer but neglect having a regular workout routine. 
The benefits of a regular exercise routine are well known, but the knowledge of how the breath and meditation impact our mind is still a little vague. Before I started meditating, I was like a volcano, ready to burst at the slightest provocation. I was living on the edge and was emotionally very charged. This had a significant impact on my health and relationships. After I started meditating, things started transforming slowly. A realization dawned on me and I was not blowing my fuse at the drop of a hat. Over time, my reactions turned to response, which helped me tremendously in my personal and professional life.  
Seekers who are on the spiritual path sometimes forget about the value of health and physical fitness. Swami Vivekananda once said, "You will be nearer to heaven through football than through the study of the Gita." He did not mean that one does not need to read Bhagavad Gita, but he extolled us to be physically strong. He went on to say "What we want is vigor in the blood, strength in the nerves, iron muscles and nerves of steel, not softening namby-pamby ideas."

Whether it in the realm of the body or the mind, workout requires discipline. We need to dedicate time in our schedule to our physical fitness as well as to the practices of breathing and meditation. These practices will enrich our lives and make us truly healthy.
Fitness reminds me of a saying from the Sikh tradition, "Sant Sipahi" (a saintly warrior).  You are calm and peaceful inside with a clean heart and fit and dynamic as a fighting soldier.  
Physical fitness brings about confidence and courage, while mental fitness brings out empathy, centeredness, and dynamism.  
Let us all strive to be "completely fit."

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Saturday, 14 October 2017

Go old-school with the Calisthenics Workout!

With most people trying to balance a hectic work schedule with their personal lives, they are left with hardly any time to hit the gym or have a dedicated exercise routine. So, it's important to have workout options, where you can train anywhere, anytime, with little or no fitness equipment. And that's where a traditional calisthenics workout comes handy.

Defined as gymnastic exercises necessary for achieving the grace of movement and physical fitness, this workout is a set of exercises that make use of the body's own weight for shaping and sculpting it. This means, instead of using heavy-weight gym equipment like treadmills and cross trainers or exercising with kettlebells, bench presses and dumbells, one uses their body weight to build core strength, lose weight, boost stamina and increase flexibility with movements such as bending, jumping, swinging, twisting or kicking.

According to studies, vigorous calisthenics burns more calories than many common cardio workouts. This is due to a greater amount of muscle engagement that is required for these exercises.

Some of the common exercises in this training include lunges, jumping jacks, squat jumps, sit-ups, crunches, push-ups, pull-ups, chin-ups, squats, calf raises, dips, hyperextensions, leg raises and planks.

Why you should try this workout

  • It reduces the risk of injury: Since there is no heavy gym equipment involved, there are lesser chances of you getting injured.
  • Helps build muscle mass: Though this workout is not the first option for hardcore bodybuilders, it can build a reasonable amount of muscle mass, and maintain it, especially in a beginner looking for moderate muscle growth. An added benefit is that calisthenics accomplishes this muscle growth without the tearing and trauma that weight training can inflict.
  • Improves coordination: Apart from improving your strength, the workout also helps with coordination. Without the cooperation of different body parts and the proper order and rhythm of movements, you wouldn't be able to perform a single rep of burpees, jump rope, or pull-up on the bar.
  • Boosts endurance: One of the most beneficial effects of calisthenics is increased endurance, as it requires you to do as many repetitions of an exercise as possible. When performed evenly with all muscle groups, the result is increased endurance in every part of the body, including the cardiovascular system.
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The top 3 vegan lycopene rich foods to fight cancer, and their many health benefits

Nutrition is the most important area that needs to be tackled upon a cancer diagnosis. The National Cancer Institute explains that healthy eating habits is what maintains body weight, strength, keeps body tissue healthy, and fights infection. So, this is exactly what the top 3 vegan lycopene-rich foods to fight cancer will do.
It is a scientific fact that lycopene-rich foods to fight cancer is a viable treatment for cancer patients, and this because these foods have a high antioxidant capacity. Plant-derived antioxidants, such as Lycopene, are reported to help protect against cancer. However, manipulated supplements with such antioxidants might have an opposite effect, according to an animal study that found manipulated antioxidants may accelerate the growth and Invasiveness of tumors in mice. Therefore, the best way to boost antioxidants is nutrition.
With that in mind, below are the top 3 vegan lycopene-rich foods to fight cancer and their many health benefits.
Tomato is first in the list vegan lycopene-rich foods to fight cancer, because it is photoprotective, avoiding the development of skin cancer, and has been reported to be effective against prostate cancer.
Tomatoes’ photo protectiveness was observed in a study that found that mice that were fed a diet of 10% tomato powder daily for 35 weeks had a 50% lower risk of developing skin cancer tumors when exposed to ultraviolet light. In addition to that cooked tomatoes have been reported to fight bad cholesterol.
Grapefruit has been reported to be effective against liver cancer. This was observed in a study, in which scientists isolated rat hepatocytes ( liver cells) and exposed it to substances with toxic effects to the liver cell culture. However, as soon as these cells were immersed with the grapefruit flavonoid, naringin, and then exposed to the toxic substances, they were able to observe that the toxic effects on normal liver cells were avoided. Other health benefits of consuming grapefruit is that it can: stop the formation of kidney cysts and fight type 2 diabetes.
Watermelon is high in carotenoids and lycopene, which offers skin and eye protection from the sun. Other health benefits of eating watermelon, include: lowering blood pressure, improving cardiovascular health and improving sex life.

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Friday, 13 October 2017

Healthy aging: Doable and it beats the alternative!

It is never too late to focus on the positive aspects of aging and on positive steps to stay active and maintain independence. These steps include regular physical activity, healthy eating, avoiding tobacco and alcohol and getting regular physical checkups.
Physical activity can help the body maintain, repair and improve itself, and help protect against problems associated with aging, such as frailty, loss of appetite and even depression. Physically active people tend to maintain higher levels of strength, flexibility and feelings of well-being. At least 30 minutes of physical activity are recommended every day to help maintain healthy heart and lungs, maintain muscle strength and tone, and control weight.
Getting started
When it comes to exercise, good intentions are not enough. You must literally take that first step. The steps listed below were adapted from those of the Healthy Aging Campaign and the NYS-DOH.
Look for daily opportunities to exercise. Park your car at the far end of the parking lot and walk briskly to your destination.
Choose an exercise program you like and stick to it. Remember the best exercise is the one you do.
Use the buddy system. You are less likely to skip exercise if you have made a commitment to meet a friend.
If you think you might find it more enjoyable to exercise with a group, check out programs offered by local health departments, community centers and senior centers.
People of all ages find that just simple walking can be a safe and effective way to gain the benefits of physical activity. Walking clubs are becoming popular and might offer an ideal way to hit your stride.
Other enjoyable ways to stay active include gardening, dancing, yoga, stretching and riding a bicycle.
Listen to your body and feed and water it
When engaging in physical activity, be sure to listen to your body. Brisk walking should make your heart beat and breathing faster, but stop if you feel nauseous, find yourself panting or if your breathing does not return to normal within approximately 10 minutes. See your doctor before resuming an activity program if these problems persist.
Good nutrition is another important component of healthy aging. The Medical Society of the State of New York urges everyone to follow federal and state health guidelines to eat at least five servings of vegetables and fruit every day to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, and to help maintain a healthy weight. Vegetables and fruit provide vitamins, minerals and nutritional fiber, and help reduce fat and cholesterol. Low-fat and fat-free dairy products are also great sources of calcium, which helps maintain strong bones.
You also need to drink plenty of liquids such as water, juice and milk. The National Institute on Aging advises aiming for eight 8-ounce glasses a day, but check with your doctor if you have been told to limit how much you drink. Do not wait until you feel thirsty to start drinking. With age, you might lose some of your sense of thirst, and some medications might cause you to lose fluids. If you are drinking enough, your urine will be pale yellow. If it is a bright or dark yellow, you probably need to drink more liquids. If the color still does not change, see your doctor.
Guard against alcohol and depression
The advice to drink a lot does not include alcohol. As we age, alcohol has a greater impact on our liver, kidneys and other vital organs. Alcohol can also interfere with medications, reduce appetite and prevent restful sleep. If you choose to drink, talk to your doctor about how much alcohol is safe for you.
Avoid drinking alcohol as an attempt to avert depression. Sometimes major life changes—such as retirement, moving or the death of a friend or loved one—can cause loneliness, boredom, anxiety and depression, but continued drinking can damage health and lead to other problems. If you are depressed, get professional help. Start by talking to your doctor.
You can also guard against depression by staying active. The Healthy Aging Campaign suggests taking a class, volunteering your time, seeking out other people, phoning friends to chat and continuing to seek out variety and challenge in your life.

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