Dr Akilah – Celestial Healing Wellness Center

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Tag Archives: healthy

Bizarre Eats with Health Benefits

Sarah-Jane Bedwell, SELF magazine

Have you ever eaten seaweed snacks? What about freekeh? If you haven’t, maybe you should. These under-the-radar eats actually contain loads of health benefits, and are pretty tasty, too-just keep an open mind. These strange foods may just surprise you-and your tastebuds.

Seaweed Snacks: When I received some samples of these snacks in the mail, I was pleasantly surprised that they had a satisfying crunch and were full of great flavor. And can you believe they only have 25 calories and 2 g fat per serving? Plus, they are relatively low in sodium and pack 25% of the vitamin C you need each day. The best part about these babies? They come in all types of interesting flavors including wasabi, sesame, and if you’re craving something slightly sweet, brown sugar.

Freekeh: Freekeh is an ancient whole-grain that was created by accident nearly 2,000 years ago when a Middle Eastern village was attacked and their crop of young green wheat was set ablaze. To make use of the burned wheat, the villagers simply rubbed off the chaff, cooked it up and ta-da: Freekeh was created. It’s great when used as a substitute for rice or other starchy foods to created delicious pilafs, salads and side dishes. The nutritional benefits are major, too: In each 1/4 cup serving, you get 8 g of filling protein and 4 g of heart-healthy fiber.

Algae: It may sound strange, but studies show that adding a little brown or blue-green algae to your smoothie or soup can help ward off cancer, reduce blood pressure or even lower the risk for type 2 diabetes. Algae’s antioxidant content and high levels of omega-3 fatty acids make it a great unusual food to add to your diet. Check out your local healthy foods mart to find the freshest stuff.

Gai Lan: So, you’ve probably already eaten this veggie at your favorite Asian restaurant, but had no idea. Also known as Chinese broccoli, gai lan is leafier and has a sharper flavor than its counterpart. Since it cooks quickly, it’s great to whip up in a stir-fry or served steamed as a side dish. And it gets nutrition points for its fiber, potassium, and vitamin A. Find it at your local specialty foods store.

 

 

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Your Nose Is For Breathing Your Mouth Is For Eating

By Chris Le Roy

There are several reasons why it is obvious that your nose is designed to be breathed through. Firstly, your nose is like an air conditioner for your lungs. Air that passes through your nose on the way to your lungs is filtered by the nose. Your nose will massively reduce the amount of dust, pollens, bacteria, virus, or anything else that is floating in the air.

These things would cause major problems if there were allowed to flow straight down into the lungs. The nose is designed to handle them. It is your first line of defense. If you breathe through your mouth you do not use these defenses.

Secondly, in this airconditioner, the air that is brought to your lungs via your nose has been in your body slightly longer, and so is brought closer to your body temperature. Your lungs do not like temperature extremes. Nose breathing reduces the problem.

Your airconditioner also works to increase the humidity of the air that reached your lungs. Your lungs like the air to be clean not too hot or cold, and very humid. Air that is taken in via the mouth is far drier on reaching the lungs than air via the nose.

Dry Lungs

It is probably this information about the lungs needing moistened air that led to earlier theories of asthma based on the lungs “drying out”, and the development of “vaporizers” which are designed to put moisture in the air in your house or room to stop this “drying out”. These machines do appear to have a small impact, but only if you breathe through your mouth. If you breathe through your nose, you have an automatic humidifier built in, and do not need them.

This “moisture factor” was also believed for a while to be why asthmatics who took up swimming often benefited, whereas running or jogging less frequently seemed to help. This has been debunked now by further research.

Of course, you and I now understand why swimming is more likely to reduce asthma it alters your breathing pattern. You have to stop breathing for a while when your face is underwater, plus because you are burning energy you are producing more CO2, so you can train your breathostat to accept a slightly higher level. Swimming does not appear to help some asthmatics probably because they overbreathe even more as they swim.

The other reason that your nose is for breathing is that because the nasal passages are far smaller than your mouth, you are forced to breathe less. You have to work a lot harder to overbreathe with your mouth closed. You can still do it it is just a little harder. In addition, nasal breathing allows the extra defense of the swelling of your nasal passages to reduce the airflow. The only reason you nose blocks up is because the shortage of CO2 causes the smooth vessels to swell, just the same as in “asthma”.

If you keep your mouth closed, your nose will help reduce your airflow for you.

It may whistle and carry on, but remember the more it is blocked, the more CO2 is trapped in, which will tell it to open again.

If you are experiencing a blocked or partially blocked nose now, experiment with your breathing to make it get more blocked [release CO2 by breathing more deeply at the same speed].

Then, make it get less blocked by breathing less deeply, or just hold your breath for several seconds [pinch your nostrils closed] longer than is comfortable and breathing as little as possible through your nose after you breathe.

In brief, all you have to do is trap in more CO2 than you release, just as you will do to stop asthma.

If your nose being blocked is preventing you from closing your mouth and becoming a healthier nasal breather right now, then unblock it with the following procedure. Then keep your mouth closed! When you first convert from a “mouth-breather”, you may find that it feels like you are not getting enough air. This is a good sign, and means will benefit almost immediately. Simply put up with it, it will pass as you progress into your shallow breathing exercises.

Be aware of yourself trying to “sneak” a mouth breath by chewing a pencil or a finger, or yawning more than a couple of times. If you do start to yawn madly and repeatedly, repress it a little and keep your mouth closed. An occasional yawn is to be enjoyed, stretch and make a good yawning “noise” it is good for stress relief.

To unblock your nose right now. You need some extra CO2, so after a small out breath, pinch your nostrils closed and hold your breath. [Your mouth is obviously closed at this time.] Hold until about 5 seconds after you have developed the feeling that you want to take a breath [not need a breath], release your nostrils and allow only a little breathing to occur through your nose. Keep the CO2 in! It will be at least a tiny bit clearer. If it is still very blocked, repeat the process several times with about 5 seconds between each hold. Really restrict your breathing. Be like a statue and don’t move. [Keep your mouth closed!]

It may block up again as your breathing tries to increase to its previous level, but that is OK, just repeat the procedure. All you have to do is trap in a little more of the CO2 you are producing inside you.

A different way to do this is to keep breathing at the same level but increase your CO2 production. You can do this by standing, and without increasing your breathing, march on the spot. In a very short time you will feel your nose starting to clear, once it is clear, stop and restrict your breathing to keep the CO2 in.

If you become breathless while marching, stop and reduce your breathing, it will mean you have unconsciously increased your breathing, and have actually lost more CO2.

Goodbye To Nasal Sprays and Pills

You now have the ability to unblock your nose at any time without drugs or surgery. If you follow why it blocks up, you can reverse the process. The same procedure will also dry it up.

The Best Reason To Keep Your Mouth Closed

The final reason that you should breathe through your nose is most important reason to many. I find that the most compelling reason for teenagers and children is how you look when you wander around with your mouth hanging open.

Take a moment now to think about the movies. In a good young people’s movie there will be a “good guy”, a “main bad guy”, and usually a herd of not-too-bright “assistant bad guys”. The main goodie and baddie are smarter, and the actors who play them will keep their mouths shut. However, the actors who play the dumb ones will automatically begin to “mouth-breathe”. We will automatically subconsciously associate a lower intellect with a mouth hanging open.

Try it yourself. Pretend you are really stupid. Is your mouth open or closed? Now be “cool” and close your mouth……..or look dumb.

www.healingpowerhour.com

The Health Benefits of Laughter

Laughing is good for the body and soul

Research has shown that the health benefits of laughter are far-ranging. While more studies need to be done, studies so far have shown that laughter can help relieve pain, bring greater happiness, and even increase immunity. Positive psychology names the propensity for laughter and sense of humor as one of the 24 main signature strengths one can possess, and laughter yoga clubs are springing up across the country. Read on for more findings about the health benefits of laughter, and see how to incorporate more humor and fun into your life.

Health Benefits of Laughter:

  • Hormones: Laughter reduces the level of stress hormones like cortisol, epinephrine (adrenaline), dopamine and growth hormone. It also increases the level of health-enhancing hormones like endorphins, and neurotransmitters. Laughter increases the number of antibody-producing cells and enhances the effectiveness of T cells. All this means a stronger immune system, as well as fewer physical effects of stress.
  • Physical Release: Have you ever felt like you “have to laugh or I’ll cry”? Have you experienced the cleansed feeling after a good laugh? Laughter provides a physical and emotional release.
  • Internal Workout: A good belly laugh exercises the diaphragm, contracts the abs and even works out the shoulders, leaving muscles more relaxed afterward. It even provides a good workout for the heart.
  • Distraction: Laughter brings the focus away from anger, guilt, stress and negative emotions in a more beneficial way than other mere distractions.
  • Perspective: Studies show that our response to stressful events can be altered by whether we view something as a ‘threat’ or a ‘challenge’. Humor can give us a more lighthearted perspective and help us view events as ‘challenges’, thereby making them less threatening and more positive.
  • Social Benefits of Laughter: Laughter connects us with others. Just as with smiling and kindness, most people find that laughter is contagious, so if you bring more laughter into your life, you can most likely help others around you to laugh more, and realize these benefits as well. By elevating the mood of those around you, you can reduce their stress levels, and perhaps improve the quality of social interaction you experience with them, reducing your stress level even more!

How To Use Laughter:

Laughter is one of my all-time favorite stress management strategies because it’s free, convenient, and beneficial in so many ways. You can get more laughter in your life with the following strategies:

  • T.V. and Movies: There’s no shortage of laughter opportunities from the entertainment, both at the theater and in the aisles of the video stores, as well as at home with T.V. comedies. While wasting your time watching something marginally funny may actually frustrate you, watching truly hilarious movies and shows is an easy way to get laughter into your life whenever you need it.
  • Laugh With Friends: Going to a movie or comedy club with friends is a great way to get more laughter in your life. The contagious effects of laughter may mean you’ll laugh more than you otherwise would have during the show, plus you’ll have jokes to reference at later times. Having friends over for a party or game night is also a great setup for laughter and other good feelings.
  • Find Humor In Your Life: Instead of complaining about life’s frustrations, try to laugh about them. If something is so frustrating or depressing it’s ridiculous, realize that you could ‘look back on it and laugh.’ Think of how it will sound as a story you could tell to your friends, and then see if you can laugh about it now. With this attitude, you may also find yourself being more lighthearted and silly, giving yourself and those around you more to laugh about. Approach life in a more mirthful way and you’ll find you’re less stressed about negative events, and you’ll achieve the health benefits of laughter.  
  • ‘Fake It Until You Make It’: Just as studies show the positive effects of smiling occur whether the smile is fake or real, faked laughter also provides the benefits mentioned above. The body can’t distinguish between ‘fake’ laughter that you just start doing on purpose, and ‘real’ laughter that comes from true humor–the physical benefits are exactly the same, and the former usually leads to the latter anyway. So smile more and fake laughter; you’ll still achieve positive effects, and the fake merriment may lead to real smiles and laughter.

Akilah M. El, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor and certified Master Herbalist with a private practice in Atlanta Georgia and Berlin Germany. Join Dr Akilah El on Facebook and Twitter

For More Health Tips Like This Check Out Our Health Tips Page

The Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes

The Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potato or Yam is a tuberous crop with scientific name Ipomoea Batatas. Its plant is a creeper with heart shaped or lobed leaves. The tubers color vary from purple or red to pale yellow or white, depending upon the variety, soil type, climate and minerals.

 

The red variety has drier and harder flesh while the white or the yellow type has more juicy flesh. The red variety has a characteristic aroma which becomes more prominent on boiling. The more reddish or orange the color of the flesh of the sweet potatoes, the stronger is this aroma. Perhaps this is due presence of beta carotene whose concentration also increases with the color.

Let us study the benefits of sweet potatoes.

 
  • Immunity: Being very rich in beta carotene, which is a major anti oxidant, apart from vitamin-C and B-complex, iron and phosphorus present in them, sweet potatoes are excellent immunity boosters.
  • Inflammation: Like the common potato, sweet potato also has anti inflammatory properties, although it does not belong to the family of common potato. This is primarily due to presence of beta-carotene, vitamin-C and magnesium. It is equally effective in curing internal and external inflammations.
  • Asthma: The sweet potato is effective in curing congestion of nose, bronchi and lungs, thereby giving relief in asthma. Its typical aroma helps in this.
  • Bronchitis: The concentration of vitamin-C, iron and other nutrients help curing bronchitis. The sweet potatoes are believed to be capable of warming up the body (may be due to the sweetness and other nutrients). This property also is beneficial in bronchitis, apart from its property to ease congestion.
  • Arthritis: Beta-carotene, magnesium, zinc and vitamin-B complex, among others, make sweet potato a helping hand to cure arthritis. The water in which the sweet potatoes are boiled can be applied externally on joints too to ease pain in arthritis.
  • Digestion: The fiber content of sweet potatoes is higher than that of common potatoes and it tastes good too. When these two factors are combined with other minerals like magnesium present in sweet potatoes, it makes an excellent facilitator for digestion. Sweet potatoes are easy to digest too, since they mainly contain starch. They are soothing for the stomach and intestines too.
  • Cancer: Beta-carotene, the champion anti oxidant and anti carcinogen, the pigments responsible for the color of the peel of the sweet potatoes and vitamin-C, are very beneficial for curing many types of cancer, mainly those of colon, intestines, prostrate, kidneys and other internal organs.
  • Water Balance: The fiber or roughage present in sweet potatoes helps retain water. This maintains water balance in the body.
  • Stomach Ulcers: Sweet potato has a soothing effect on the stomach and intestines. The vitamins (B-complex and C), beta carotene, potassium and calcium are very effective in curing stomach ulcers. Moreover, the roughage in sweet potatoes prevents constipation and resultant acid formation, thereby reducing the chance of ulcers. The anti inflammatory and soothing properties of sweet potatoes also reduce the pain and inflammation of the ulcers.
  • Diabetes: Contrary to the popular belief, the sweet potatoes are beneficial for diabetics. Amazingly, they are very effective in regulating blood sugar lever by helping proper secretion and function of insulin. Of course, that does not mean that diabetics should eat them indiscriminately. The idea is that they can replace their rice or carbohydrate intake with sweet potatoes.
  • Weight Gain: This is easily understood. The sweet potatoes are sweet as well as contain very good amount of complex starch, apart from healthy vitamins, minerals and some proteins too. Moreover, they are very easy to digest. Thus they provide a lot of energy and are excellent bulk builders. Those suffering from inferiority complex due to their bones visibly sticking out of their skin, will welcome this news, without having any risk any side effect, which most of the synthetic bulk building dietary supplements run.
  • Other Benefits: They are effective in quitting addictions like smoking, drinking and taking certain narcotics. They are good for the health of arteries and veins, as they protect their walls against hardening. The high concentration of beta carotene (an alternative of vitamin-A) and phosphorus are excellent for ocular and cardiac health.

This starchy vegetable has bulk to keep your tummy full for hours. Yet its nutritional profile makes the calories worth it, especially since they are fat-free. Its fiber alone is enough to make a sweet potato worth eating.

If a beta-carotene contest were held, sweet potatoes would tie carrots for first place. That may make them top-notch for fighting chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease, as well as disease related to inflammation, such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. Sweet potatoes are also rich in potassium and vitamin C; a small potato provides almost half the daily allowance.

Nutritive Values : Per 100 gm. 

  • Vitamin A : 7,700 I.U.
  • Vitamin B : Thiamine .09 mg.;
  • Riboflavin : .05 mg.
  • Niacin : .6 mg.
  • Vitamin C : 22 mg.
  • Calcium : 30 mg.
  • Iron : .7 mg.
  • Phosphorus : 49 mg.
  • Potassium : 300 mg.
  • Fat : .7 gm.
  • Carbohydrates : 27.9 gm.
  • Protein : 1.8 gm.
  • Calories : 123

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Akilah M. El, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor and certified Master Herbalist with a private practice in Atlanta Georgia and Berlin Germany. Join Dr Akilah El on Facebook and Twitter

For More Health Tips Like This Check Out Our Health Tips Page

12 Food Items Nutritional Experts Would Never Buy

These days, it feels like you need a master’s degree in label reading whenever you are shopping at the grocery store. Every product seems to tout that it’s “organic,” “whole grain,” “sustainable,” “trans-fat free” or “all natural.”We interviewed nutritionists, dieticians, and physicians to help cut through the confusion. Here are 12 supermarket items they say they would never buy:

Juice, soda or any sweetened drinks: water is better and cheaper
Times are tight and you’re trying to stretch that dollar. Make “better use of your food budget and save calories by sticking with filtered water from the tap. You are more satiated and get more fiber by eating whole fruits and vegetables versus drinking liquid calories anyway.”
–Katherine Farrell, a registered dietitian and director of integrative nutrition at the Manhattan’s Physician Group 

 

 

Protein bars: not all are created equal

When shopping for protein bars, be sure to read and understand the label. “A protein source should always be the first ingredient, but one I am looking at right now lists ‘evaporated cane juice’ as the next, which is sugar. After that comes palm oil, a highly saturated fat. One way some of the manufacturers try to get the carbohydrate load down without giving up the sweetness consumers crave is with sugar alcohols (mannitol, sorbitol), which allow them to be ‘sugar free’ or at least lower the calorie count. These sweeteners do have fewer calories compared to sugar, but can cause bloating and gastrointestinal distress. So watch out for saturated fats and learn the lingo about sweeteners, or your protein bar might just be a candy bar masquerading as health food.”
Dr. Richard Baxter, board certified plastic surgeon and medical director of Healthy Aging Magazine

Fat-free yogurt: a little fat won’t hurt

Don’t be deceived by the fat-free label. They are “loaded with sugar to make up for the zero fat, equivalent to putting seven teaspoons of sugar into your yogurt. A better option: low-fat, plain Greek yogurt. This is lower in sugar and triple the protein!”
–Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN, founder of Real Nutrition NYC

Bacon: choose wisely

“If it’s ‘regular’ bacon, it is not good for you. Ditto for processed lunch meat and hot dogs. Not only does it contain huge amounts of saturated fat and sodium, processed meat is often preserved with nitrates, which are potentially carcinogenic. A healthier choice would be natural, nitrate-free turkey bacon. Whole Foods has a selection.”

Jackie Keller, wellness coach to the stars
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Sugar substitutes: stick to natural

“Be wary of sugar substitutes that contain ingredients you don’t recognize or can’t pronounce. Touting themselves as lower calorie options, these sweeteners are full of chemicals best left out of your diet. Stick to natural options and limit intake to avoid conditions of insulin resistance and diabetes. Some great low-glycemic sweeteners to consume in moderation include agave nectar, xylitol and stevia.”
–Kathryn Flynn, an Oriens Nutrition consultant

Rotisserie foods: a four-hour limit

Just out of the oven, hot rotisserie food is a great way to feed a family. But when “food is held over four hours, not only does the quality deteriorate, the bacteria level increases, especially when employees do not monitor customer interactions in these self-serve stations or the temperature. The required minimum temperature for ‘holding’ hot food is 135 degrees F., five degrees lower than most states required five years ago. If you are purchasing these foods, buy and eat or immediately take home and chill within the first four hours after it was placed in the rotisserie. Ask questions about the time the food was placed in the holding unit. Ask when someone last checked the temperature with an insertable thermometer instead of a shelf thermometer.”
Charlotte A. Ferrell, a registered dietitian and founder of Simply Fantastic

Canola oil: no miracle oil

“I am not a fan of canola oil. I call it the triumph of marketing over science. In order to make it palatable, it has to go through this complex chemical process; hence, the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 is not that great. And refined canola oil is no better than the stuff it replaced. The best oils are macadamia nut oil, virgin olive oil and peanut oil for frying. Flax seed oil is great for salad dressing but not great for cooking So it depends on what you are using it for. Coconut oil is another you should be buying. It is great for cooking and for mixing. I use it for everything from cooking up scrambled eggs to salads. It has high contents of fatty acids that are good for your immune system. It’s fat that’s used for energy, not the kind that sits on your hips.”
Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., CNS, board-certified nutritionist and author of 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth

Dietary supplements: get it from your food instead

Registered dietitian Maye Musk can’t understand why grocery stores waste shelf space on dietary supplements. “Why — because of the long shelf-life and huge profit margins? Or to put fear into you that you’re not getting nutrients from your foods? If you are buying fresh fruit and vegetables, low fat dairy, whole grains, fish, chicken, low fat meats, good oils, nuts, legumes and common sense healthy foods, you don’t need any supplements. Before buying one, ask your naturopathic doctor. The nutrition consult will cost you less than your supplements. You’ll find confidence in eating well and start enjoying food again.”
Maye Musk, a registered dietitian based in Manhattan

Bottled marinades: let go of the bottle

You think you can spice things up, as well as save some time, with pre-made marinades. Well, hold the sauce — “they all have copious amounts of sodium, most have high fructose corn syrup, and many have artificial colors and flavors — all in the name of giving taste and improving texture. What they really contribute is salt, sugar and calories. This takes some label reading, but Newman’s Own has a line of marinades and dressings that are great and all-natural.”
–Jackie Keller

Pre-packed salads: not all that they’re cut up to be

They’re convenient and healthy, right? Not quite. “Light destroys vitamins, especially Vitamin C and riboflavin, a key B vitamin. Most grocery stores have the bags displayed under bright, fluorescent lights, which further zap nutrients. Chopping and shredding also brings salad veggies in contact with metal, which destroys Vitamin A. I have often noticed that even brand name, expensive, pre-packaged salads are flattened due to being tightly boxed for travel, causing the vegetables to bruise and leak juices, which lead to spoilage. Often bags with a recent delivery date, at full price, have a murky or mucous look, indicating bacteria at work. In addition, they sometimes have packages of dressing included. While the 12-16 oz. of salad may only have 200 calories, the dressing may add another 200, or more.

It is better to buy a container of three romaine hearts, which are easy to tear off, wash and break into a bowl just before serving, minimizing loss. Keeping containers of grape or cherry tomatoes and baby carrots on hand give you two other ingredients that can be quickly tossed into the salad with no chopping or long exposure to light. Other ‘toss in’ ingredients that are easy to transport are raisins, dried cranberries, shelled pumpkin seeds or slivered almonds — also great for varying flavor and fiber content.”
–Charlotte Ferrell

Salad dressing: better to make your own
You think you’re being healthy by eating a salad. But pre-made salad dressing can be “high in sodium and contain more saturated fat then mono- and polyunsaturated fats. Instead, make your own salad dressing with fresh herbs, ginger, sesame oil, olive oil or avocado with lemon or lime juice or a variety of vinegars — champagne, rice, red wine, balsamic, apple cider, etc. Each combination can transform flavor of the dressing and keep salads exciting.”
–Katherine Farrell
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Whole grain cereals: read the fine print
Once again, take the time to study labels. “Some of the most popular brands are now sporting taglines that would have consumers believe they are getting a healthy start to the day. Most packaged cereals, including instant oatmeal, are loaded with sugars. Instead, start your day with old-fashioned slow cook oatmeal. Add your own antioxidant rich berries, flaxseed and walnuts, and you will be set for the day.”
–Kathryn Flynn
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Akilah M. El, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor and certified Master Herbalist with a private practice in Atlanta Georgia and Berlin Germany. Join Dr Akilah El on Facebook and Twitter

For More Health Tips Like This Check Out Our Health Tips Page