Natural healing, natural wellness

Archive for December, 2009

Busting Holiday Weight Gain

overeatingChristmas is just around the corner, and New Year is next. Season’s delicacies tempt you every way you turn, and going to party after party makes it hard to avoid eating more than you normally should. What can you do to keep from piling on weight during the holiday season? These tips for preventing weight gain will help:

1) Drink more water
Drinking water before you eat helps to give a sense of fullness, so you’re less likely to binge. Water also helps to improve bowel movement and detoxification. Other fluids you can take are sugar-free ones like plain tea and coffee (without milk or cream) and herbal teas. Go easy on the ones with caffeine, of course. If you must have a soda, make sure it’s sugar free. Fresh fruit juice is another good option, and it also helps to flush out the toxins from your system.

2) Indulge in fresh fruit for dessert
This will definitely be a challenge, but try to avoid desserts which are loaded with sugar and fat. If you want a treat, have a tiny portion. Tucking into plenty of fresh fruit will help to satisfy a craving for something sweet, making you less inclined to gorge on unhealthy, sugary foods. Indulging in fruits will also nourish your body with vitamins, minerals, enzymes and fibre.

3) Watch your carbohydrate intake

Carbohydrates aren’t necessarily evil, but they can be bad for you when they’re saturated with sugar and fat and other noxious ingredients. Be fussy about what you put into your mouth. Always choose the healthier option, rather than the “heart-attack-on-a-plate”. To fill yourself up, go for vegetables, fruits and liquids like water or fresh fruit juice. You’ll then be less likely to consume large quantities of unhealthy carbohydrates.

4) Curb your fat intake
The advice for resisting unhealthy carbohydrates works just as well here.

5) Enjoy healthy snacking
Feel like nibbling? Reach for healthy snacks like dried fruit, seeds and nuts. Make yourself a trail mix you can snack on every time you feel like putting something in your mouth. Dried seaweed, Japanese rice crackers and home-made popcorn without butter, sugar or other sweet toppings are also healthy, satisfying snacks. These healthy treats will keep your mouth busy, with fewer calories and fat than the usual festive goodies.

6) Watch less TV
Reduce your television couch-potato time by half, and you’ll burn more calories. It’s not rocket science.

7) Exercise more
To prevent weight gain during the holiday season, you either need to ensure that you don’t eat more calories than usual, or you need to burn more calories. Make exercise part of your daily routine and find every opportunity to burn more calories than you normally do.

Whiten Teeth with Strawberries

The festive season is here. It’s time to look your best as you do the rounds of parties and catch up with friends and relatives. Here’s a simple trick to help you put on a winning smile, without burning a hole in your pocket. It may not produce the dazzling results that a dentist can, but I like the fact that it uses natural, safe ingredients. The less chemicals we expose ourselves to, the better.

strawberriesStrawberry Teeth-Whitening Recipe
Ingredients:
1 ripe strawberry
1/2 teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)

Method:
1) Crush the strawberry to a pulp and mix in the baking soda.
2) Use a soft toothbrush to spread the mixture unto your teeth. Leave on for 5 minutes.
3) Rinse off and brush thoroughly with a safe toothpaste like Neways Ultrashine Radiance to remove the strawberry-baking soda mix.

The active ingredient in strawberries which removes surface discoloration is malic acid, found in sour or tart fruits. Malic acid acts like an astringent. Baking soda combines with the strawberry to produce a natural tooth-cleanser, cleaning away stains from tea, coffee and so on.

The acid can damage the enamel on your teeth if you use this concoction too often, so don’t overdo it.

Fast Walkers Live Longer

My husband often comments that I’m fast – a fast walker, that is. He says that I walk faster than most people, including himself. As far as I can remember, I’ve always been this way. I just love walking!

walkingBeing a fast mover seems to be a good thing, according to studies measuring the correlation between walking speed and life expectancy. In a presentation in July at the IAGG World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics held in Paris, researchers reported that slower walkers have shorter life- spans than faster walkers. Their findings were based on nine previous studies that included 34,000 men and women whose average age was almost 74. The participants were tracked from 10 years to 20 years.

Walkers who moved at a gait speed of 1.4m per second or faster were more than twice as likely to be alive after 10 years than people who walked at 0.4m per second or slower. After 15 years, the survival gap between faster and slower walkers widened even more.

Why should gait speed make a difference to a person’s longevity? Researchers note that walking is influenced by many vital body parts, so fast walking seems to indicate that a body is functioning well, and therefore is likely to live longer. This holds true regardless of gender, ethnicity and even health condition.

These findings concur with other studies like the one conducted by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh two years earlier, which tracked almost 500 people aged 65 years or older. After nine years, 77 per cent of the slower walkers had died, compared to only 27 per cent of the fastest walkers.

Researchers from Paris-based medical research institute Inserm carried out a five-year study, beginning from 1999, involving more than 3,200 relatively fit men and women, aged 65 to 85, living in three French cities. The results showed that older people who are slow walkers are almost three times more likely to die of heart disease and related causes that older people who walk faster. This study found that the death rate among the slowest-walking one-third of participants – men whose gait speed was about 5.8 kmh or slower and women who walked at about 4.8 kmh or slower – was 44 per cent higher than among the two-thirds of participants who were faster walkers.

Dr. Alexis Elbaz, director of research at Inserm, has this message for the general population: “…maintaining fitness at older age may have important consequences and help preserve life and (muscle) function.”

Walking is a great way to exercise various body parts and keep yourself healthy. Best of all, you can do it anywhere, anytime and it’s free. No gym membership or costly equipment required. So come on, let’s get those feet moving!