Do you meditate?

Finding your inner peace can also help in other ways. Did you know yoga can help with digestive issues? Your digestive health is affected to a large extent by the food that you eat and the lifestyle you maintain. Yogic philosophy believes that for good health, digestion is very important and is essential to a happy healthy life.

Many people have found that by doing yoga several time a week can help alleviate digestive issues and lead to a healthier digestive system. Others swear by the preventative value of yoga and have been able to largely avoid gastrointestinal issue through prevention. Yoga not only helps stretch and tone the muscles of the abdomen, it can also stimulate the endocrine glands and other digestive fluids to make them work more quickly and efficiently. Yoga helps the entire digestive become the well-oiled machine you want it to be. You cannot place a price on digestive health, so why not try it?

Yoga and meditation also helps increase awareness of the body and its ailments. Though modern medicine can provide intermediate relief, yoga for digestive system means a lifetime of healthy digestion. It helps you alter your lifestyle with ease, reduce stress and other environmental factors that may cause digestive problems, and helps you attain peace and inner tranquility. Breathing exercises like Anuloma Viloma and Kapalbhatti can help increase immunity by enabling the heart to pump more blood. Stretching poses help to strengthen the muscles of the digestive organs. For chronic disorders though, it is best that you to consult your doctor and a yoga expert and find out program best suits you and your lifestyle.

This One Change Made Me Feel 20 Years Younger

For most of my life, I've been a health nut, exercising, eating well, getting enough sleep and keeping stress to a minimum. But in 2005, that all changed. I developed a collagen problem in my shoulder that required multiple surgeries, and after the procedures, I was in pain all the time. The discomfort wore me down, and by 3 p.m. every day, my energy was depleted. To help myself, I started reaching for whatever offered instant relief and energy -- mainly carbs and sugar. As for those long draining workouts I used to love, they were now out of the question.

My pain wasn’t going away, and after a couple of years of suffering, I felt miserable. I doubted I’d ever return to my normal self. I had come to a standstill.

My Transformation

My daughter Nicole couldn't stand to see me in pain all the time. One day, she emailed me a link to a wellness site, where women improved their health by tweaking their diets. She confessed that she thought my eating habits were prolonging my pain. I doubted that the issue was as simple as that, but before I could completely discard her theory, more links arrived in my inbox from my daughter. As I read others' stories, what I suddenly started seeing left me stunned: A whole army of women were really transforming their lives with an approach as simple as setting better eating habits.

Although I still had my doubts -- and really didn’t want to give up my pizza! -- what finally convinced me to try it was watching my daughter set the example by eating and feeding her husband and two sons in this new, healthy way. So I followed suit, filling my fridge and pantry with proteins and high-fiber foods.

And the results were astounding. It turned out my body was starving for proper nutrition. I didn’t realize that my body needed extra protein while healing. And unlike all those sugar and carbs I’d been munching on, fiber helps maintain a healthy weight, an excess of which only adds more stress -- and therefore pain -- to my body. With my new balanced diet, I was actually helping my body heal and deal with pain. I felt energized and optimistic for the first time in a long time.

Strong and Happy Beyond 50

I consider myself a smart person, but I have no idea why it took me so long to figure this one out! Once I began feeling better, I had to call my daughter and say, “You had it right!” Her response: “Well, Mom, I’m made of the same genes you are, and it’s been working for me.” It was like we had reversed roles. She was the mother, and I was the daughter.

At 53, I feel happier, healthier and stronger than ever, and I'm proud I raised my daughter Nicole to be so wise. Today, as we continue to work together in changing our diets, we are continuing to transform our lives as well. And I thank my lucky stars for that, because I couldn't have asked for a better supporter than her.

Good Morning, Heart Health!

Want to help your ticker’s health, starting now -- as in, this morning? First to try: Eating a balanced breakfast that includes fiber-full whole grains, fresh fruit, and lean protein, like a bowl of high-fiber cereal topped with low-fat milk and blueberries. [1] Next, incorporate one of these heart-healthy habits into your morning.

Hoof It

A brief walk -- even 10 minutes -- gets your heart off to a good start. Better yet, add two more 10-minute walks later in the day for a total of 30 minutes, a routine that’s been shown to lower blood pressure even more effectively than 30 consecutive minutes. [2]  

Peel It

One large banana is a potassium powerhouse (containing 487mg [3] -- about 10 percent of your recommended daily dose of this important nutrient). [3,4] A diet rich in potassium may help maintain healthy blood pressure. [4,5]

Pop It

A handful of berries, that is. In a study of more than 90,000 women whose diets were tracked over decades, eating more than 2 or more combined servings of fresh strawberries and blueberries per week was associated with lower risk of having a heart attack.[6] Berries get their power from anthocyanins, flavonoids that give them their cheery colors. Anthocyanins make blood vessels more flexible, lowering blood pressure. [6] Try tossing a handful of fresh berries on your morning cereal for a delicious pairing.[edit]

Brew It

You already know that green and black tea’s good for overall health, but preliminary research has discovered that brewing up a cup of flavorful hibiscus tea may lower blood pressure too. Like strawberries, the dark red hibiscus leaf also gets its color from anthocyanins. [7] To make a cup: Boil water and pour over dried hibiscus leaves and a cinnamon stick. Steep for 20 minutes, strain, and sweeten with some orange juice or honey. [8]

Caffeinate It

Your morning cup of joe has some benefits beyond helping you feel more awake. In a review of studies, researchers found that those who regularly drank about two 8-ounce cups of coffee had a lower risk of heart failure than those who didn’t consume the java [9]. Remember, that’s two standard cups at your favorite coffee shop, not two giant mugs.

SOURCES:

1. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 4 Tips for Better Breakfasts

http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6747

Simple Ways to Swap Out Saturated Fats

While consuming too much of any fat is not great -- fat equals calories, and a little bit adds up fast -- completely cutting out fat is also unhealthy. Your body needs fat for fuel, both to utilize fat-soluble vitamins and for the satisfaction and satiety that keep you from overloading on calories. Scientists now understand that certain healthy fats, particularly fatty acids like omega-3s, may be good for your cardiovascular health. The trick is limiting bad-fat consumption (saturated fats and trans fats are the worst offenders) and replacing those no-no’s with good fats, such as monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, like omega-3 fatty acids. Read on for fat swaps you can feel good about.

Switch Butter for Olive Oil

Butter is a saturated fat, which is linked to higher cholesterol levels. Olive oil is monounsaturated fat, which may help reduce bad (LDL) cholesterol. More than just a salad dressing, olive oil can be used in place of butter or vegetable oil in many baking recipes too.

Lighten Up Your Meat

No one says you have to refuse every rib eye or juicy burger you see. The same goes for chicken with the skin on or other fatty meats. But enjoy those foods, which are high in saturated fat, as only occasional treats and opt for smaller portions and leaner cuts when filling you plate. For example an 8-ounce rib eye has 492 calories and 27 grams of fat—10 grams of which are saturated, while a 3-ounce portion of flank steak (about the size of a deck of cards) has just 172 calories and 8 grams of total fat, with only 3 grams of them being saturated Meanwhile, add a couple servings a week of omega-3 fatty acid–rich fish, such as salmon and white albacore tuna canned in water.

Replace Cookies, Cakes, Doughnuts With … Anything

What you’ll find in these goodies: trans fats. When baking at home skip the shortening and butter, and when shopping at the grocery store look for the words “partially hydrogenated” on labels. Those are the oils that help keep these foods shelf-stable, and there’s nothing good about them. Eat these products very sparingly. If your sweet tooth beckons, have one delicious homemade chocolate chip cookie or a bowl of a sweet-tasting cereal. Or try a serving of low-fat frozen yogurt.

Forgo Peanut Butter for Almond Butter: Both nut butters are high in fat and calories, so you should look for varieties that skip added ingredients like sugar, corn syrup, and palm oil. But almond butter edges out peanut thanks to less saturated fat and more monounsaturated fat.

8 heart-healthy foods you need to eat

Keeping your cholesterol numbers in a healthy range just got easier, not to mention more delicious. Turns out, there are plenty of easy-to-find, yummy foods that work to boost heart health by lowering your levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol or keeping your good (HDL) cholesterol intact. Here are eight cholesterol-friendly foods to add to your diet.  

1. Avocados

Creamy, rich avocados are a great source of monounsaturated fat, which may help raise HDL and lower LDL. They’re also high in beta-sitosterol, a plant-based healthy fat.

Try it: Though healthful, avocados have 300 calories each, so your best strategy is to replace other fats with avocado. Use it instead of mayo in a sandwich, for example. [1]

2. Beans

These unassuming wonders are especially high in fiber.

Try it: Add a cup a day of any kind of bean (kidney, navy, pinto, black) to your diet -- plain, in salads or soups, or pureed into dips. [2]

3. Garlic

Those tiny cloves have great power, not to mention great flavor! Research has shown that in adequate quantities, garlic consumption may help lower total cholesterol.  [3]

Try it: Challenge yourself to add a couple of cloves a day to your meals, be it in marinades, salad dressings, soups, sauces or more.

4. Nuts

Many nuts, but in particular walnuts, are rich in cholesterol-reducing polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Try it: Eat about a handful a day of most nuts (walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachio nuts), but avoid salty or sugary coatings and keep the portion small (1.5 ounces at most). Replace other fats with nuts; for example, instead of putting cheese in a salad, toss in a handful of chopped walnuts. [4] 

5. Oats

The high level of viscous soluble fiber in oats can help lower total and LDL cholesterol, although the mechanisms for how it does so are not fully known. [4,5]

Try it: Work in a serving (about 1 1/2 cups) of cooked oatmeal a day -- either regular oats or the steel-cut variety. [4] Also good: Have some cold cereal made with whole-grain oats or oat bran, [4] like Kellogg’s Fiber Plus Cinnamon Oat Crunch [5].  Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol that include 3 grams of soluble fiber per day from whole grain oats may reduce the risk of heart disease [6].

6. Olive Oil

There’s a reason the Mediterranean diet is heart-healthy; olive oil’s mix of antioxidants and healthy fat may help to lower your LDL while leaving HDL untouched.

Try it: Replace other fats with olive oil: Use it to sauté veggies, for salad dressing, or as a dip for bread in place of butter. Extra virgin is the most cholesterol-friendly variety [4].

7. Plant sterols

These substances, found in some plants, help block cholesterol absorption.

Try it: Look for sterol-fortified foods -- typically orange juice and some butter-replacing spreads. [4]

8. Tea

The flavonoids (antioxidants) found in brewed tea have been shown to reduce LDL and total cholesterol when consumed in adequate quantities [7,8].

Try it: Research shows that five cups of black tea per day can produce these benefits, so try making tea a part of your heart-healthy diet [8].

SOURCES:

1. NYU Langone Medical Center: Avocado

http://www.med.nyu.edu/content?ChunkIID=42466

Accessed 6/4/2013

2. Mayo Clinic: Dietary Fiber: Essential for a healthy diet

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fiber/NU00033

Accessed 7/29/2013

3. Khalid Rahman and Gordon M. Lowe

Garlic and Cardiovascular Disease: A Critical Review

J. Nutr. March 2006. 136(3) 736S-740S

4. Mayo Clinic Cholesterol Top 5 Foods to Lower Your Numbers

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cholesterol/CL00002/METHOD=print

Accessed 7/29/2013

5. Kellogg’s Fiber Plus Cinnamon Oat Crunch Cereal

http://www.kelloggs.com/en_US/kelloggs-fiberplus-cinnamon-oat-crunch-cereal.html

Accessed 9/2/2013

6. FDA CFR Code of Federal Regulations Title 21

http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=101.81

Accessed 9/2/2013

7. Zheng XXXu YLLi SHLiu XXHui RHuang XH.

Green tea intake lowers fasting serum total and LDL cholesterol in adults: a meta-analysis of 14 randomized controlled trials.

Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Aug;94(2):601-10.

8. Michael J. Davies, Joseph T. Judd, David J. Baer, Beverly A. Clevidence,David R. Paul, Alison J. Edwards, Sheila A. Wiseman, Richard A. Muesing,and Shirley C. Chen

Black Tea Consumption Reduces Total and LDL Cholesterol in Mildly Hypercholesterolemic Adults

J. Nutr. 2003 133: 3298S-3302S