How to Prevent Carpal Tunnel: A Complete Guide

how to prevent carpal tunnel

Anyone who works with their hands, whether in an office or on a production floor, has probably felt those shocks of pain shoot through their wrists. These pains are no fun, and more than likely they are caused by carpal tunnel syndrome.If you have ever wondered how to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, read this article to get a comprehensive look at the problem and find surefire ways to help prevent and ease this pain.

What Is Carpal Tunnel?

Before we talk about how to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, we first need to know what it is. The carpal tunnel is actually a narrow path in our wrists made up of bones, ligaments, and tendons. There is a nerve, called the median nerve, that passes through this tunnel. Any swelling in these ligaments or tendons will cause the carpal tunnel to shrink and compress the median nerve. 

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) usually happens gradually, as continual repetitive use of the wrists will cause damage and swelling. The symptoms associated with CTS are numbness or tingling in the hand, and sometimes it feels like an electric shock between the thumb and fingers (mostly the index and middle finger). Sufferers can also feel an unusual and tingly pain moving from their wrists up their arm towards the elbow. In most cases, this sensation is on the thumb side of their arm.

Who Is At Risk for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

The risk for carpal tunnel syndrome is far reaching. If you were born with a smaller carpal tunnel, then you are more likely to have issues. Females suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome more than males. As we age our chances of contracting carpal tunnel syndrome increase because of the wear and tear we’ve put on our bodies over the years.

Also, some health conditions can make you more susceptible. Rheumatoid arthritis and hypothyroidism makes you more likely to have symptoms. Most all of us use our wrists heavily throughout the day, but those who work specifically with their hands like heavy laborers, musicians, or office workers see the syndrome more often than other types of workers.

Carpal Tunnel Prevention

Carpal Tunnel syndrome is an epidemic that continues to grow amongst American workers. Virtually every profession is affected in some way. Any time a worker performs repetitive or strenuous movements with their wrists, they are at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome and the painful and debilitating symptoms that follow. As you will see from the research and statistics below, there is a dire need for carpal tunnel syndrome prevention.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 32.8% of repetitive motion job injuries lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. This syndrome is vast in its reach and affects over eight million Americans annually. In 2010, The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that over five million workers reported problems with carpal tunnel syndrome that year.

How to Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

While heredity and other factors like pregnancy or some diseases make it near impossible to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome for many people, there are some practices you can adopt to lessen your chances of suffering from this condition. An overall healthy lifestyle will help prevent CTS, or at least minimize the painful symptoms.

Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and not smoking are some daily practices you can adopt to help prevent CTS. Obesity, which is often caused by overeating and lack of exercise, will slow down the nervous system and make you more susceptible to the syndrome. Smoking interferes with blood flow, which can also lead to CTS. Practicing better posture will help keep your wrists in good shape. If you slump over, this makes the muscles in your neck and shoulders shorten, which puts more pressure on your arms and wrists.

Daily Habits to Keep CTS Away

Other daily practices can help you prevent CTS. Make sure when you sleep that you aren’t bending your wrists. If needed, you can purchase an over-the-counter brace to help keep your wrists straight at night. Keep your muscles, especially those in your wrists and hands, warm. Warm muscles are more flexible and get better blood flow. Also, concentrate on loosening your grip when performing any tasks with your wrists. Pay attention to how tightly you grip keys and even a pen.

If you work in a position that would make you more susceptible to CTS, make sure you take frequent breaks. It is recommended that you take a stretching break at least once an hour during your work day. If your job requires you to perform the same movements each day, switch it up by trying to use your other hand or work from another position. 

One of the most important practices you can adopt is frequent stretches. The following stretches are our favorite for helping to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome:

Steeple Hands Stretch

This is a great stretch you can do anytime you feel your wrists are getting tight or sore. With relaxed and bent elbows, hold both hands out in front of you with your palms facing each other. Touch each finger and your thumb with the same finger on the other hand. Push your hands together until all fingers and your palms are touching each other.

Then slowly roll your palms back out away from each other while leaving the tips of your fingers together. This will look almost like you are holding a hamburger. Repeat this movement between five and ten times, or until your hands and fingers feel warmed up and stretched. This is a nice stretch you can do sitting at your desk without disturbing your office mates. Try this exercise as many as a few times an hour if needed.

Stretch Them Out

If you are continuously typing on a keyboard, or your work requires you to repeat the same movements with your wrists each day, it’s important to take time, at least once an hour, to stretch out your wrists. One way to do this is by holding out one arm straight in front of you with your wrist relaxed. With the other hand, gently pull your relaxed hand towards you until you feel a stretch in your wrist. Repeat with the other hand.

Another way to stretch out your wrists is to take each wrist and circle it around. Circle each wrist clockwise for three revolutions and then repeat the stretch moving in the opposite direction. This is a quick and simple stretch that you can do while sitting at your desk, and you can repeat it as many times as needed throughout your work day.

Shake Them Out

This is another simple activity you can do periodically while working. Place both hands out in front of you with your elbows bent and your wrists relaxed. Shake your hands back and forth quickly, as if you just washed your hands and you’re trying to fling the water off of them. 

Conclusion

Now that you know how to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, you will be healthier and feel great. The better you feel, the more productive you will be in your job and daily life.   

How To Lose Weight Fast: The Ultimate Diet Guide

No matter if you’re trying to fit into your favorite suit for an upcoming event or are merely looking to jump start the new you, you may be looking to learn how to lose weight fast. Although losing weight takes time, there are some things you can do to help drop the initial few pounds quickly. Below, you’ll find our recommendations on how to lose weight fast.

Cut Down on Carbs

Carbs

You may be well aware of the fact that you should “cut carbs,” but many people fail to recognize just how many foods contain carbohydrates and which types of carbohydrates they should be cutting. If you’re looking for ways to lose weight fast, you’ll most want to focus on cutting sugars and starches out of your diet.

The primary reason for doing this is because you’ll end up cutting your appetite. When you consume a diet that is heavy in sugars and starches, your body feels the need to refuel because of the insulin spikes that these foods provide. When you cut back on these foods, your hunger levels will decrease. When you’re not hungry, you don’t feel the need to eat. So, you’ll end up consuming fewer calories.

However, your body will still need fuel to get through the day. Typically, your body would utilize food you’ve consumed as fuel. But since you’re not eating as much, your body will turn to another source for fuel and will begin burning fat. Additionally, because your insulin levels are lower when you cut carbs, your kidneys will shed excess water and sodium. This could help reduce bloating.

Some people indicate that they lose up to ten pounds in the first week when they cut carbs. Not all of that weight is necessarily fat, as some of it is water. However, we’re willing to bet that you’ll find yourself feeling much healthier either way. You can learn more about the benefits of low-carb diets by taking a look at this chart, which compares low-carb diets to low-fat diets.

Increase Your Protein Intake

As a substitute for carbs, you should look to add more protein to your diet. The benefits of consuming protein are tremendous. Studies have found that eating an abundance of protein could boost your metabolism and cause you to burn at least a hundred extra calories per day. Additionally, those that consume high amounts of protein stay fuller longer, with 60 percent saying they reduced their cravings.

Furthermore, approximately half of those who ate high-protein diets said that they no longer had late-night cravings for snacks. Because you feel so much fuller throughout the day, a diet high in protein could result in you eating around 440 calories less per day. With those numbers, you would lose nearly a pound per week without incorporating any exercise into your routine.

You can find protein in numerous sources. For instance, if you enjoy meat, beef, pork, chicken, and lamb are all high in protein. If you enjoy seafood, salmon is one of the top sources of protein available. Trout and shrimp would also work. You can also add protein to your diet by consuming eggs, preferably whole with the yolk.

If you are vegetarian, you can still eat a high-protein, low-carb diet, although you may have to get more creative with your meals. Consider foods such as almonds, walnuts, nut butter, and chia seeds. You can also look into dairies, such as cheese and yogurt. Additionally, many vegetables contain more protein than you would think. For instance, kale contains almost 5g of protein per 100g.

Diversify Your Plate

Although you’re looking to cut carbs out of your diet, you will still need to have some carbs in your diet. The recommended carb range for those looking to lose weight is 20 to 50 grams per day. So, when constructing your meals, you should make sure that you include a protein source, a fat source, and a carb source. The carb source should come in the form of a low-carb vegetable.

Low-carb vegetables can help fill you up without bloating you or weighing you down. It’s easy to incorporate side dishes made from low-carb vegetables, especially when you get creative with how you cook them. Don’t just assume that you have to steam or boil your vegetables. Feel free to roast, broil, or sauté them as well. Examples of low-carb vegetables that you may want to consider include:

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Tomatoes
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Lettuce
  • Cucumber

Drink More Water

Studies have shown that water is incredibly beneficial for those who are looking to lose weight fast. Keep in mind that if you begin drinking more water, the number on the scale could increase. Know that this is temporary and that you’re losing fat as a result. You should be much more concerned about how you feel rather than the number you see on the scale.

One of the reasons water is most beneficial to weight loss is because it helps you feel fuller longer. When you drink more water, you trick your stomach into thinking you’re full. This will prevent your stomach from signaling to your brain that it needs food, which will help cut down on cravings. Thus, you’ll end up eating fewer calories, which can help you lose weight.  

Additionally, water helps flush toxins from your system, which is imperative when you are losing weight. If you do not drink enough water, your body will release an antidiuretic hormone. As a result, you’ll end up hanging onto water, which could cause you to feel more bloated and could drive up the figure on the scale. The more hydrated you are, the better off you will be.

This does not necessarily mean you have to walk around all day with a gallon of water by your side. Instead, aim for the recommended 64 ounces a day, or eight glasses of water that are eight ounces each. Also, while water should make up a majority of your fluid intake, you can also obtain it in different, more flavorful forms. Make sure they are non-calorie alternatives, such as coffee and unsweetened tea.  

Incorporate Weight Training into Your Regiment

weight training

When it comes to losing weight fast, your diet is by far the most critical component. You could work out for hours each week, but if your food is not in check, you won’t lose any weight. Having said that, if you focus on improving your diet, you may not even need to work out to see the pounds fall off quickly. But, if you’re looking for an extra push or would like to add more, consider incorporating weight training.

To start, try working out at home first. Clear a section where you can perform basic bodyweight movements, such as squats and assisted push-ups. You can also incorporate high-intensity interval training at home by doing things such as jumping jacks or skipping rope. You should be able to find a beginner’s bodyweight workout program online easily.

Also, remember to warm up and stretch adequately. Your body will likely not be familiar with working out, so it will come as a shock to your system. Stretching before and after a workout is an excellent way to prevent injury. If you injure yourself while working out because you pushed yourself too hard, there’s a good chance that you’ll lose motivation to keep working out, derailing your weight loss efforts.

After you’ve eased into things and your body has gotten used to working out and living a more active lifestyle, try going to the gym about three to four times per week. You do not have to become a world-class bodybuilder in the gym. Stick with light weights and high repetitions. Find ways to keep your heart rate up during your workout, as this will help you burn more calories and lose more weight.

If you have never lifted weights before, know that doing so could put a lot of stress on your joints, tendons, and muscles. Proper technique is far more essential than overloading the bar with weight. If you are unfamiliar with the gym, consider asking a trainer or other knowledgeable gym member for assistance and advice. If you’re not comfortable lifting weights, consider other cardio activities such as:

  • Biking
  • Swimming
  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Running

Lifting weights can be particularly beneficial when losing weight because it keeps your metabolism elevated. When you begin losing weight, your metabolism will want to decrease as a way to maintain fat stores. You need to overcome this and “retrain” your body to operate without such massive fat stores. So, working out not only helps burn calories but it also helps maintain a high metabolism.

Manage Stress Levels

Do you find that when you’re stressed, you’re more likely to eat? If so, you’re not alone. This is a proven phenomenon that occurs thanks to the release of cortisol. When you’re stressed, your body releases cortisol, which increases your appetite for junk food. Studies have shown that those who are more stressed have a higher body weight.

Consider Your Long-Term Weight Loss Goals

athlete doing exercise

Like anyone who wants to learn how to lose weight fast, you likely want to see the pounds dissipate quickly. However, you should be more concerned about your long-term weight loss goals rather than short-term results. For instance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that those who lose weight gradually and steady will have better long-term success with their weight loss.

According to the CDC, “gradually and steady” is equivalent to one to two pounds per week. The organization stresses that making overall changes to your lifestyle will increase the likelihood of you staying motivated to keep the weight off. Making fundamental changes to things such as your diet and your exercise habits will have the most substantial long-term results.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics echoes this sentiment, advising people to avoid using products that market themselves as helping people to lose weight fast. They too recommend that individuals lose weight gradually, instead of trying to lose it all at once. The organization says that while people may lose weight quickly, it won’t be healthy weight. Instead of fat, however, it will be a combination of:

  • Bone
  • Muscle
  • Water

We recommend that you find a hybrid between the two. You can look to learn how to lose weight fast, but also know that you must be careful to prevent yourself from adding the weight back on. Perhaps utilize a method to lose weight quickly when you first get started, knowing that you must make efforts to maintain the weight loss over time.  

We also recommend starting with fixing your diet. If you adjust a high-protein, low-carb diet, odds are you’ll see the pounds shed immediately. Depending on your body type, you could lose anywhere from 10 – 20 pounds within the first two weeks. Once you grow comfortable with your new diet, begin incorporating a workout program.

Two critical elements are also worth considering. First is the fact that the more weight you have to lose, the more likely you are to lose it quickly. For instance, someone who doctors consider obese will lose ten pounds more rapidly than someone who is relatively healthy, and doctors consider moderately overweight. The more fat you carry around, the more likely you are to lose weight fast.

Second is the fact that if you try to do everything at once, you likely won’t be able to sustain the results. Telling yourself that you are going to “go for it” is excellent in theory. But if you have spent years eating junk food and not working out, you can’t expect to flip the switch one day and expect the results to last. You are going to have to make fundamental changes to your lifestyle, which takes dedication.

In summary, if you do things the correct way, the weight will fall off naturally. It’s more important that you make sustainable changes to your lifestyle. The quickest way to lose weight is not by trying some fad or some miracle pill, but instead coming up with a diet and workout program that you feel as though you can adhere to for months or years.

How To Do Vinyasa Yoga: Tips and Basics

Vinyasa yoga is a style of yoga that focuses on movements and breathing. You might be familiar with basic vinyasa flows such as the cat-cow pose or the sun salutation routine. Here is how you can practice with this style of yoga.

Practicing yoga regularly is associated with several health benefits. Yoga can help develop your flexibility, improve your strength, and tone your muscles. It can also boost your energy levels. If you are looking for a way to get a great cardio workout and lose some weight or just want to have fun, you should add vinyasa yoga to your daily routine.

What Is Vinyasa Yoga?

woman doing yoga

There are different ways to practice yoga. Some approaches focus on breathing, movements, alignments, or meditation. If you are interested in yoga, you should try different styles to keep things new and fresh and figure out which approach you enjoy the most.

Vinyasa yoga is a style that focuses on breathing and the transitions between different poses. You will need to pay attention to your movements and to your flow as you adopt a series of poses.

There are specific breathing techniques you need to follow while practicing this style of yoga. Inhaling or exhaling at the right moment helps you keep up with the flow and perform the right movements.

This style is sometimes called Ashtanga yoga. Some studios offer hot yoga classes, during which you will perform vinyasa flows in a warm environment to sweat more.

This style is ideal if you want to develop flexibility, boost your energy levels, and tone your muscles. It is also a good way to work on your cardio since the pace is faster than during a typical yoga practice. Vinyasa exercise can help you lose weight and develop breathing techniques that apply to a wide range of sports and activities.

Other styles such as Hatha yoga typically require you to hold the poses for longer and might not focus on breathing and transitions as much.

Practicing Vinyasa Yoga As A Beginner

yoga class with the instructor

This style of yoga is very accessible since you can practice flow and movements with positions you are already familiar with. Some vinyasa routines can push you and get your blood pumping, but you can practice at a slow pace to learn how to breathe properly.

Try finding a vinyasa class for beginners in your area so you can learn the basics of your style. Many yoga instructors incorporate some vinyasa routines in their classes even though the main style they teach is Hatha yoga.

It is best to start practicing slowly so you can focus on breathing, movements, and posture. Don’t try to speed up the pace until you have a good grasp on how to achieve smooth transitions between the different poses of a routine.

Practicing different vinyasa routines is interesting because it will help you gain a better understanding of how your body moves and finds balance when adopting different poses. It’s also a fun way to practice yoga and it will improve your flexibility and endurance.

The cat-cow pose is a common vinyasa flow taught to beginners. This exercise requires you to switch between the cat and cow poses.

This is an interesting introduction to breathing techniques used in vinyasa flows. You should inhale as you look up and stretch to adopt the cat pose and exhale as you arch your back and look down to adopt the cow pose.

Practice this simple flow and pay attention to how your breathing helps you transition from one pose to the other. This is a simple flow but understanding how breathing is linked to movement will help you master more complex vinyasa routines.

Getting Into The Flow

yoga position

You can practice different vinyasa flows at home. Make these flows a part of your daily yoga routine to add some variety and make your practices more fun and dynamic. Here are a few tips to help you practice vinyasa flows.

Find The Right Pace

Practicing a vinyasa flow is not about moving from one pose to the next as quickly as possible. The pace is faster when compared to other yoga styles, but you should still take the time to stop and breathe for each pose and pay attention to your movements.

Practice each transition until you can easily move from one pose to the next without overthinking your movements. You will then be able to focus on breathing and finding the right pace.

Learn To Breathe With This Basic Vinyasa Flow

You can start practicing vinyasa routines with this simple flow. This is a flow that is often taught in yoga classes and this is probably what your instructor is referring to if they ever ask you to go through your vinyasa or to do a vinyasa.

Keep these simple rules in mind when going through vinyasa routines. Inhale when you need to lift a part of your body and exhale when you need to shift your body weight. Your instructor should guide you by telling you when to inhale or exhale when teaching more complex flows.

A simple flow you can easily master starts with a plank pose. You will then adopt the chaturanga pose, the upward facing dog pose, and finish the flow with the downward facing dog pose.

Here is how you can perform this vinyasa flow:

  • Start in the plank position. Exhale as you move your body weight down and shift to adopt the chaturanga pose. Focus on moving your shoulders down slowly.
  • Inhale and lift your upper body up to adopt the upward facing dog pose.
  • Hold this pose for a few seconds, and exhale as you shift your body weight and arch your back.
  • Start pushing with your feet to adopt the downward facing dog and finish the flow.

This is a flow you can practice to master breathing techniques and get used to paying attention to your movements, posture, and flow when practicing yoga. These are poses you should be familiar with if you have been practicing for a while.

If you are new to yoga, practice each pose individually before trying to get through this routine.

Add The Sun Salutation Flow To Your Daily Routine

Once you can breathe properly while doing the cat-cow pose and the basic vinyasa flow described above, you can start practicing the sun salutation routine.

This is probably an exercise you are already familiar with but might not know how to breathe properly throughout this flow. The sun salutation routine is a great way to start your day, stretch, and a take a few minutes to relax and focus on your body and breathing.

Here is how you can practice the sun salutation vinyasa flow:

  • Stand up straight and lift your arms above your head to adopt the mountain pose. Inhale as you slowly raise your arms and join your hands above your head as you look up.
  • Bend at the waist as you exhale slowly. Adopt the forward bend or uttanasana pose. Your finger should touch the ground when you are done exhaling.
  • Look up and adjust your hands if needed to adopt a flat back position as you inhale slowly.
  • The next step is the plank pose. You can jump back for a more dynamic flow or simply step back as you exhale. Pay attention to how your body weight shifts as you adopt the plank pose.
  • Exhale as you lower your knees, chest, and chin.
  • Lower your waist and legs and push with your arms to lift your upper body as you inhale. You can either adopt the low cobra pose or the upward facing dog at this point in the sun salutation routine.
  • Exhale as you push back to adopt the downward facing dog pose, just like in the shorter vinyasa flow described above.
  • Exhale and bring your feet forward. You can jump for a more dynamic flow or step forward to adopt the forward bend pose again.
  • Inhale and stand straight up. Exhale and lift your arms above your head to adopt the mountain pose and finish the sun salutation.

Practice this routine until you achieve a natural flow with your movements. Focus on your breathing until you instinctively know when to inhale or exhale in the routine.

You can perform the sun salutation as slowly as you need to. Pick up the pace once you are more comfortable with the flow and don’t have to think about what your next movement should be.

Create New Flows

Make your yoga practices more varied and interesting by creating your vinyasa flows. Practice with the sun salutation flow until breathing becomes natural so you can use these techniques with any flow.

Pick four or five positions you can easily adopt one after the other. You can make a few changes to the traditional sun salutation flow, for instance by beginning with the child’s pose instead of the mountain pose. You can also create an interesting flow by adopting the different warrior poses one after the other.

Vinyasa yoga is a popular approach since it helps you breathing techniques and is a great cardio workout. Get started with some simple flows so you can get used to focusing on your movements and breathing before attempting more complex sequences.

12 Health Benefits Of Pomegranate Juice

Pomegranate juice is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and essential minerals. You should think about adding this fruit or juice to your diet to reduce your risk of developing plaque, improve blood flow, or manage symptoms of diabetes.

Pomegranate is a fruit rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. This fruit has several health benefits, including preventing plaque buildup, improving blood circulation, and providing you with several important vitamins and nutrients. Pomegranate juice has all the benefits of the fruit and is easier to add to your diet. Here are the main benefits of this juice.

Antioxidant Content

pomegranate

Pomegranates are rich in polyphenols. These plant compounds are powerful antioxidants that can prevent cell damage caused by the free radicals present in your system. It is interesting to note that juice extracted from pomegranates contains three times as much antioxidants as green tea.

Damage from free radicals is what causes the effects of aging. This type of damage has also been linked to cancerous cells appearing and spreading.

Polyphenols help prevent this damage by eliminating free radicals. Studies suggest that polyphenols can help prevent the appearance and growth of prostate cancer.

The antioxidant properties of pomegranates also help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is the cause behind conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease that impact cognitive functions.

It is important to add foods rich in antioxidants to your diet since it is difficult to limit your exposure to free radicals. Free radicals are the result of exposure to pollutants while others are generated during exercise or by inflamed tissues.

Anti-inflammatory Properties

A study has found that pomegranate juice could significantly reduce inflammation in subjects who drank it regularly. The antioxidants present in pomegranates help reduce the damage caused by free radicals and prevent inflammation from appearing as a result of cell damage.

This is how pomegranates help reduce oxidative stress on the brain and nervous system. The anti-inflammatory properties of this fruit and juice have beneficial effects on the digestive system as well.

Joint pain is another health condition linked to inflammation. Eating pomegranates or drinking juice should help control inflammation and address symptoms such as pain and swelling besides preventing these symptoms from coming back.

Reducing Plaque

pomegranate

The antioxidant content of pomegranates helps prevent plaque from forming and limit the damage caused by the presence of plaque. A study followed subjects for three years and found a significant difference in plaque buildup between a group that drank pomegranate juice and a group that didn’t.

Plaque buildup can happen in the mouth and inside of arteries. Dental plaque can lead to tooth decay and gum disease if it isn’t cleaned regularly.

Deposits of fat, calcium, and other compounds found in blood can cause plaque to appear in arteries. This causes the arteries to become narrower and restricts blood flow.

Reducing plaque is one of the benefits of pomegranates that has been thoroughly studied and proved to be true. This benefit alone is enough to justify adding this fruit or juice to your diet.

Improve Blood Flow

Pomegranates act as an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor. This enzyme plays an important role in regulating blood pressure and blood flow.

Inhibiting this enzyme dilates blood vessels and improves blood flow. This mechanism of action is similar to the way blood pressure medication works. Pomegranate juice could be a natural alternative to a prescription if you need to take medication to regulate blood flow or blood pressure.

Improved blood flow can help with symptoms such as fatigue, improve skin health, and help with fertility as well as digestion.

Cholesterol Levels

pomegranate

More research is needed to prove that pomegranates can help regulate cholesterol levels. However, a study that looked at the different positive effects of this juice found an improvement in cholesterol levels among the subjects.

These results are not conclusive and more research is needed to confirm that there is a correlation between pomegranates and cholesterol levels.

However, the antioxidant properties of pomegranates can help eliminate oxidized LDL cholesterol. Oxidized LDL cholesterol can cause plaque to build up in arteries among other health issues.

Hormonal Balance

Pomegranates contain a compound known as ellagic acid that acts as an aromatase inhibitor. This means that ellagic acid can limit the production of estrogen.

There are benefits associated with lower estrogen levels since high levels of this hormone have been linked to breast, uterine, and prostate cancer in men. High levels of estrogen can also cause PMS, varicose veins, cysts, bloating, and other health problems.

Adding pomegranates to your diet could help regulate your hormonal levels depending on your current estrogen levels. High estrogen levels are more common than one might think since there are many compounds that are similar to estrogen in growth hormones and pesticides that end up in the food we eat.

Antibacterial And Antifungal Properties

The plant compounds found in pomegranates have antibacterial and antifungal properties. This fruit is also believed to be an effective remedy against the yeast known as Candida albicans.

This fruit or juice could help support the immune system by eliminating some fungi and bacteria. It could also reduce inflammation and bloating in the digestive tract if there is unbalanced gut flora.

Vitamin C And E

Did you know that you could get 30 percent of your daily recommended intake of Vitamin C by eating the equivalent of a cup of pomegranate?

Vitamin C plays a crucial role in repairing damaged tissues and cells. It is also used to create new cells and tissues.

Vitamin C is necessary for healthy bone, cartilage, and teeth. This vitamin also helps your body absorb iron.

Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant and helps eliminate free radicals. It supports your immune system and a diet rich in Vitamin C makes you less likely to become ill and helps you recover faster.

Vitamin E is very important for heart health. A diet rich in Vitamin E makes you less likely to develop cancer, supports brain and nervous system health, and limits muscle tissue damage after exercise. Vitamin E is also beneficial for skin health.

Folate Content

pomegranate

You can get 16 percent of your daily recommended folate intake by eating a cup of pomegranate. Folate is a type of Vitamin B that plays a crucial role when new cells are created.

Folate prevents changes to the DNA that can cause cancerous cells to appear and spread. It also plays an important role in the creation of red blood cells.

Pregnant women need to take a folic acid supplement to prevent neural tube defects. Even though pomegranates are rich in folate and can be added to a healthy diet during pregnancy, they won’t replace folic acid supplements.

Potassium Content

A cup of pomegranate contains 12 percent of your daily recommended potassium intake. Potassium is an essential mineral because it regulates fluid levels in your body.

A potassium deficiency can cause you to become dehydrated. Potassium and sodium are the two main electrolytes that maintain a healthy fluid balance in your body. Your potassium levels impact the quantities of fluid inside of your cells.

If your potassium and sodium levels are not balanced, dehydration can occur. Frequent dehydration can cause kidney stones and other health problems.

Potassium is also beneficial for nervous system health, heart health, and for your muscle tissues.

Vitamin K

You can get 36 percent of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin K in a cup of pomegranate. Vitamin K plays a major role in helping blood clot. It helps balance the calcium levels in your blood, which reduces the risks of plaque developing and supports bone health.

Vitamin K is primarily found in green leafy vegetables. If your diet isn’t rich enough in this type of vegetables, pomegranates could be an excellent alternative.

Pomegranate Juice And Diabetes

Different studies have looked at the benefits of this juice for diabetics. A study found that consuming juice extracted from pomegranates had positive effects on heart health and cholesterol levels among diabetic subjects.

It is believed that pomegranates limit the absorption of unhealthy LDL cholesterol by the digestive system. It lowers the risk of plaque forming in arteries, which is a potential complication of diabetes and improves energy levels without causing blood sugar levels to spike.

It is also believed that pomegranates could help improve insulin resistance, which is what causes blood sugar levels to increase. Pomegranates could help manage the symptoms of diabetes and pre-diabetes, but more studies are needed to confirm that this fruit can help with insulin resistance.

We already mentioned that pomegranates had a positive effect on blood flow. Poor circulation is one of the possible complications of diabetes, which is why these fruits are an excellent choice for diabetics.

Keep in mind that fruits and juice with no added ingredients can help with the symptoms of diabetes. However, store-bought fruit juices often have added sugar and can have a negative impact on blood sugar levels.

Pomegranates, like any other fruits, contain fructose. Fructose is easier to process than other types of sugar, which is why it typically doesn’t cause sharp increases in blood sugar levels. However, fruits should be eaten in moderation and balanced with other foods if you are managing a condition like diabetes.

Understand How To Do Hatha Yoga Before You Regret

Meta:This year alone, over 36 million Americans will practice yoga–and most of them will be practicing hatha yoga. Learn more about what hatha yoga is (and what it isn’t), plus uncover yoga’s surprising health benefits and learn our top tips for getting started with your practice.

Over 36 million Americans practice yoga today (that’s about 15% of people in the United States), and all signs point to even more yoga practitioners taking up their mats in the coming decades.

If you’ve already tried hatha yoga for yourself (most yoga in the west is considered hatha yoga), you understand why it’s become so popular–the benefits are vast! Here’s our take on what makes hatha yoga unique and why you should join the millions of Americans who are already enjoying it.

What Makes Hatha Yoga Special?

Yoga is a spiritual practice that’s been around since the dawn of time (more or less). Here’s a noteworthy caveat, however: yoga, as we know it today, looks almost nothing like the original practice as it was developed thousands of years ago.

Our idea of yoga got to us like this: originally a type of meditation, something called Tantra popped up during medieval times (the 5th century, roughly). This type of spiritual practice was rooted in Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist traditions and aimed for self-deification as the ultimate embodiment of peace and satisfaction.

Is Hatha Yoga Tantric?

Tantra (which, we should note, had little to do with sex originally) eventually birthed hatha yoga, which combined meditation and breathing with body postures known as asanas or poses.

After being introduced to the west in the early decades of the 20th century and then becoming wildly popular in the 80s (thank you, Madonna) along with other new age practices, original hatha poses have morphed into what we practice today: the sun pose, the warrior pose, downward dog, and all the rest.

Technically, hatha yoga encompasses just about all of the yoga practices we enjoy here in the United States: Bikram yoga, vinyasa yoga, hot yoga, and so forth. Usually, if hatha yoga is specified, it’s because the class is gentle and slow-paced, setting it apart from the more physically demanding practices.

Why Practice Hatha Yoga?

To say that yoga is good for you is an understatement. Yoga has wildly available benefits and also has the distinction of being widely studied by medical and health professionals. Here are just a handful of ways a hatha yoga practice might benefit you:

1. Fight Back Against Inflammation

Inflammation is a powerful immune strategy that enables your body to heal itself. However, sometimes that inflammation can get out of hand, and when it does, it leads to serious problems like cancer and age-related disease (diabetes, for instance).

Practicing hatha yoga, however, might help to lower your body’s inflammation. A 2015 study in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research concluded that “regular practice of yoga can protect the individual against inflammatory diseases.”

Other studies have found similar results (and still more studies are needed to confirm findings), but if you’re interested in helping to decrease your risk of cancer and the problems that come from aging, hatha yoga can be a powerful aid!

2. Help With Depression and Anxiety

Hatha yoga has long presented itself as a way for the practitioner to create a mental buffer between themselves and the stress they encounter daily, and science is starting to agree.

A 2018 Harvard Mental Health Letter explains that an increasing number of studies are finding links between yoga and lower physiological arousal when presented with stress. In other words, people who practice yoga have higher pain and stress tolerances than those who don’t.

This has huge indications for people who cope with chronic pain (which, itself, can heavily impact depression) and who battle anxiety and depression.

Being able to regulate your stress response isn’t the only way that hatha yoga can help with your depression and anxiety. A 2004 study examined twenty-eight young adults who experienced mild depression.

During the five-week trial, participants attended two one-hour yoga classes. By the middle of the classes (which focused on poses thought to help with mood, including backbends, standing poses, and inversions), students were reporting higher levels of cortisol in the mornings and lessened levels of anxiety, depression, and fatigue.

You can see two more positive studies here and here, but it’s safe to say yoga has tremendous potential when it comes to alleviating symptoms of anxiety and depression.

3. Lose Weight

In addition to helping you deal with inflammation, depression, and anxiety, yoga may be able to help you lose weight in several different ways.

First, yoga helps you become more mindful, which can help you develop conscious eating habits (this means you focus on savoring each bite, which in turn means you’re likely to eat less). Greater mindfulness can also help you focus on things like healthy eating habits, but it can also help you reduce the stress that leads to many of our poor eating habits.

Yoga can also help you sleep better at night, which can have a direct impact on your weight loss. And, if your yoga practice includes especially energetic yoga, you can even burn calories, helping to jumpstart weight loss!

Finally, hatha yoga can help you feel better about yourself, both because it puts you in a better headspace and because it increases your strength and flexibility. And let’s face it–when we learn how strong our bodies can be and what they’re capable of, we start to love our bodies just a little more.  

These three benefits to yoga practice aren’t the only ones. Hatha yoga may also help decrease your risk of heart disease, help you reduce migraines naturally, and improve balance, strength, and flexibility.

How to Get Started Practicing Hatha Yoga Today

Have we already convinced you it’s time to start practicing yoga? Great! Here are a few tips to getting started on your yoga journey!

1. It Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive

Sure, you can enroll for expensive classes at high-end studios, but if you’d rather save your pennies, there are lots of ways to enjoy live, group yoga practices that don’t cost an arm and a leg (you’ll need those for your yoga poses).

Most studios allow you to try a class for free and many offer terrific sign-up bonuses. If you enjoy benefits through your employer, you can also check for gym benefits; sometimes memberships are included or offered at reduced rates and most gyms provide yoga classes free of charge for members.

2. Check Out YouTube

One of our favorite tips for getting started with hatha yoga is to try YouTube. It’s a great opportunity to check out different styles of yoga without worrying about whether or not you have the right clothes and mat, and without being distracted by other people.

Yoga with Adriene is one of our favorite channels; Adriene is chill and down to earth, and her channel has tons of great videos, like this total body yoga stretch sequence and this 30-day yoga challenge. You can also find information on specific poses on YouTube, like this video from Gaia on the lizard pose.

3. Find a Friend

We like YouTube for help getting started and for those times when you can’t get to a class, but there’s no replacing the commingled energy of a great live class. If you’re feeling shy about getting started by yourself, see if you can find a friend. Better yet, find a friend who already practices, and join her at her favorite spot!

One of the best parts of yoga is the communal aspect–working together to accomplish your individual goals. Yoga class is also a great place to make friends; people who do yoga are likely to be active and health-conscious, which only helps you to be more active and health-conscious as well.

4. Here’s What To Do If You Didn’t Like it the First Time

If you’ve tried yoga once or twice and weren’t impressed, here’s our advice: try it one more time. Like anything, sometimes yoga is something you just have to get used to and teachers, locations, and surroundings all impact whether or not you enjoy something. Don’t be afraid to try lots of different styles and studios before deciding yoga isn’t for you.

5. Bring Your Mat

While we don’t recommend rushing out to buy a whole new yoga wardrobe (unless you want to–we won’t argue with you!) right away, there is one piece of equipment that’s invaluable: your yoga mat. It doesn’t have to be expensive or anything particularly special, but you’ll need it to practice.

Our final tip is small, but it may be the most important thing you read here: have an open mind. When it comes to hatha yoga, it’s about finding what feels good for your body, learning to accept yourself, and growing in strength and awareness. That’s something money just can’t buy.

Movement Wellness

Movement Wellness

SunValleyWebOn Facebook is a picture of Tao Porchon-Lynch. She is a glowing, vital 93 year-old woman who teaches yoga and tangos often. She says “I don’t believe in age. I believe in the power of energy”. Ms. Porchon-Lynch is a shining example to those desiring to extend their life expectancy through movement and exercise. It is a recorded fact that when the mind-body-spirit connection is fostered, quality of life and life expectancy increases. There are many ways to move and groove so exercise becomes fun. This fun movement also decreases stress, one of the major killers in America today. Let’s examine some of these wellness movement exercises.

Zumba

The Mayo Clinic describes Zumba as a fun way to combine Latin music with easy dance moves. The dance uses alternate zumbafast and slow rhythms to enhance interval training and resistance training. Because it’s fast, it’s a great aerobic workout for the heart and lungs. It gets oxygenated blood into the muscles and keeps the heart working well. And because it’s fun, people tend to keep doing it.

Pilates

Formulated for his dance classes, Joseph Pilate brought controlled movement and coordinated breathing to exercise. Pilates work out every muscle in the body while improving breathing techniques. Combined, the body receives streamlined muscles, oxygenated blood to the muscles and increased coordination. The object of the exercise is to strengthen the core muscles and align the back and hips while deep breathing does the same from the inside.

Core Yoga

For those desiring health and wellness without bouncing around the room, there are yoga poses combined with breathing techniques that will accomplish the same. Stretching the body while breathing deeply tones the muscles, improves balance and flexibility as well as calming the mind and spirit. These poses may accomplished by those persons of limited mobility who may reap the same rewards. Core yoga combines Pilates with simple yoga poses in addition to breathing techniques to streamline the body.

Yoga With T-Spheres

T-spheres are a recent innovation combining aromatherapy and massage. Essential oils from a vial are infused into tsphere1organic rubber balls. The balls are small, about the size of a baseball. Following a particularly long pose or perhaps a vigorous session of poses, the body may become tight or tense. The balls are rolled around the body part needing tension-release. The aromatherapy part comes when the essential oils are absorbed. These oils relax muscles, relieve headaches and ease backache. Yoga with T-spheres may be used by those with less range of motion than normal for the relaxation of joints and muscles.

Living a healthy lifestyle means maintaining wellness through motion. It can be a lot of fun dancing about or it can be quiet and thoughtful using yoga poses. Either way, quality of life and life expectancy may be increase