We may be worrying about the silent killer lurking within the person just around the isle from us in the grocery store. Have they been exposed to the virus or not? Why do they think they don’t have to wear a mask? Don’t they care about the most vulnerable who also must grocery shop?
We fill our grocery carts with those most “essential” items. What do we have on hand? Will the store run out of these basic things…like flour and SUGAR! We most likely will reach for the SUGAR because we can’t be out of that when we decide to bake our next cake or cookies. My husband loves the Hershey chocolates, wrapped in an individual treat size. Can’t go home without those!
We all know that ONE, tiny wrapped chocolate is never enough. Why is this? Self control may not be a strong point in our makeup…but there may be something chemical that makes us reach for just one more…one more…oh…just one more won’t hurt!…or will it? Believe me, I know from experience how difficult it is to turn down any great dessert…as probably you do also unless you are very disciplined. For some, “THE SWEETER, THE BETTER” as we found out one time when a friend brought us an extremely sweet apple pie. It is a shame to say that it went into the trash. I have found, however, that with some recipes that call for 2 cups of sugar, it really only needs 1 cup to not change the taste.
I also know that the body will adjust to the craving for sweets after a person stops eating these delightful, enjoyable treats. When I was teaching in Mongolia for two months, we ate primarily Russian food. After all, when Russia invaded and occupied Mongolia, they commanded a change in almost everything. That is called “Re-education.” Actually, in their case, reeducation is a euphemism for brainwashing efforts aimed at instilling certain beliefs in people against their will. (word finder)
The Russians removed Mongolian religious temples, required students to learn in their schools the Russian language. Of course over 70 years of occupation, Russian food became the main food of choice…except if the Mongolians were out on the Steppes near the Gobi and no one knew that they were eating “Mongolian style.” I also had the privilege of seeing a Mongolian Ger (tent) out in the countryside and being served REAL Mongolian BBQ. These very hospital people also enjoy their National Drink of Airag (mildly fermented mare’s milk…an acquired taste is necessary for outsiders) and Buuz, a dumpling.
While I was teaching English to my Mongolian students, I ate less because eating borscht (beetroot and tomatoes) or Kasha (type oatmeal) was not my favorite. I lost 25 pounds. On returning to the States, my dear husband sent me out to buy new clothes…which was a real loving gesture and my Mother took one look at me and said, “I have my daughter back.” That hurt…was I that fat? I guess so…but now it felt like I was skin and bones.
I say all that because after coming home, when I ate my first, small piece of chocolate, it tasted like I had just put a whole sugar bowl in my mouth!! It is also amazing how quickly that problem went away. The brain knows the chemical is back.
Chocolate has a chemical called serotonin. What exactly is serotonin? Some call it the “happy.” chemical in the body. Everyone wants to be happy…right…but at what cost?
As a neurotransmitter, serotonin helps to relay messages from one area of the brain to another. … This includes brain cells related to mood, sexual desire and function, appetite, sleep, memory and learning, temperature regulation, and some social behavior. (Medical News Today)
What are some of the other chemicals in our basic chocolate?
Chocolate has a significant amount of sugar. In addition to sugar, chocolate also has two other neuroactive drugs, caffeine and theobromine. Chocolate not only stimulates the opiate receptors in our brains, it also causes a release of neurochemicals in the brain’s pleasure centers…Theobromine, formerly known as xantheose, is a bitter alkaloid of the cacao plant, with the chemical formula C7H8N4O2. It is found in chocolate. (Article by Thomas Carguilo)
Now we know the chemistry behind one of our favorite foods. Like all things, what should we decide to do about it? Moderation…or throw all advice about sugar out the window? I’m sure we probably will choose the moderation path because of the terrible dangers of diabetes, high cholesterol or tooth decay. How about you? (Maybe watch the video before making that big decision.)
What does the Holy Scripture say about our bodies?
For you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. Corinthians 6:20
CAN WE LEARN SOMETHING FROM HISTORY ABOUT FOODS?
VIDEO: The following short, 10 minute video, is a great history lesson about the time of The Tudors and their total misunderstanding about sweets…in particular SUGAR. It is quite informative…and the young lady who narrates is quite impressive…or some would say “really cute.”
She is Dr. Suzannah Rebecca Gabriella Lipscomb, a British historian. She was appointed to a personal chair as Professor of History at the University of Roehampton in 2019. One man said, “If she had been my history teacher, I would have paid more attention.”
By the way, don’t make this “required reading” for your wife, husband or friend if you are into all things healthy, as I would hate to loose a reader or start a family dispute. So…sit back with your cup of hot chocolate and enjoy!
My last blog was in honor of a dear friend who passed away five years after brain surgery. It led me to think about those who were more fortunate to live a very long, productive life…even to 100 years or more.
One of those centenarians was 107 years old Raffaella Monne from a village in Sardinia. She had a great statement, which is part of a very interesting book called The Blue Zones by Dan Buettner. This is what she said that she would like to tell people today:
“Life is short. Don’t run so fast you miss it!”
National Geographic was part of the research on why some people live longer in different parts of the world. All these so-called “Blue Zones” had several things that were important to them:
- Diet: Mainly of home-grown vegetables, nuts, fish and sometimes meat. They were not strict vegetarians.
- Strong family and friend support system…taking time to chat and relax.
- Worked hard and walked a great deal, but slowed down to take a daily nap…less stress was important
- Strong faith in God and belief system
- Let the past be the past and live happily…with something interesting to wake up to each day.
Throughout the book, the American or Western lifestyle is challenged because of not only our unhealthy lifestyle, but the stress that brings on pre-mature disease and death. It is not hard to look around us at even the young who are carrying loads of fat on their bodies.
In the parts of the world that had a history of longevity, as soon as the Western-style businesses with fast foods became part of their lives, the death rate began to go up. I highly recommend that for a more thorough understanding of the things listed above, that you give this book a read. I am grateful that a friend recommended it to me. The Blue Zones
Dr. Amit Sood, MD of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. had this to say about missing life. “A Mind in Hurry hurries past the present. I am in a hurry when I am getting late. I am in a hurry when I am on time. I find myself hurrying even when I am before time. Hurry for me has become a habit.”
Determine to slow down…for it could be the best thing you ever did. Take a moment to look at the beautiful clouds, a rainbow, a bird on a branch, a small colored leaf or a child’s sweet smile. Say a prayer to God and thank Him for all these things. Breathe a fresh breath of life.
Raffaella, of Sardinia, had wisdom beyond her 107 years…for not missing life. We could call her short statement a God-sent, for we all would like not to miss the good things that life has to offer… simply by rushing around too fast to even notice.
“Life is short. Don’t run so fast you miss it!”
Music for a stress-free living from Boyer Writes
If you are working, sleeping, reading a book, or doing something special, I highly suggest you turn off your phones, TVs with all the bad news, and relax with the video below. Less stress may even lengthen your life.
This morning, I went out and looked at my sunflowers with tiny bees (or insects..hard to say) enjoying their breakfast. God’s world of nature is totally relaxing. I thought you might like to see a picture…enlarged for viewing details.
Many of the pictures shown in the video below, with the beautiful music, are of Fall leaves. For all of us here in Florida and elsewhere in the country…and the world that have sweltered through the summer, a breath of Fall air would be a wonderful relief.
God’s blessings to all of you. from Boyer Writes
Video of relaxing music:
Sometimes all we want or need is quiet…rest…and PEACE. In today’s world, there is no real peace unless we actively look for it. We have to make a peaceful place to be quiet, wherever that might be. Therefore, I ask you to find that place and remember the promise given and the beauty of the world through the music that is shared with you now. Rest…my friend….rest.
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)
Click Video (Turn on sound…and relax)
The need for rest is a fact of life in all God’s creation. After a long summer, the trees shed their leaves and rest throughout the winter until the Spring comes again. Animals build a place to rest. In particular, the bear goes into hibernation as do many other animals. These creations of nature seem to have been given a time-clock that makes them listen and do what God intended.
Why would a human not know that rest is all important for his/her well being? Here are some of the health benefits of general rest:
1. Improved Memory – Lack of sleep can make it difficult for you to concentrate and retain information. When you sleep, your brain goes through all the activities and impressions of the day which is important for memory formation.
2. Maintain a Healthy Weight – Sleep and metabolism are controlled by the same area of the brain. Sleep releases hormones that control appetite. Researchers at the University of Chicago found that dieters who were well rested lost more fat.
3. Heart Health – A 2010 study found that C-reactive protein, which is associated with heart attack risk, was higher in people who got six or fewer hours of sleep a night.
4. Reduce Stress – Sleep and stress have similar effects on your cardiovascular stress. Being well rested can reduce stress levels and improve your overall health. (from Florida Hospital site)
Another scripture also tells us, “Be still and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10 We cannot be still unless we actually stop what we are doing. That takes a concerted effort:
- Putting down the phone
- Turning off the TV/ Computer
- Moving to a quieter spot
- Stop thinking about what you need to do next
One may ask, then what do I do?
- Just listen…to a bird singing outside, to a quiet music selection
- Talk quietly to God and then listen to what comes into your mind as His Spirit speaks to yours
- Take a walk alone…even if it is just around your yard
- Put your feet in the sand at the beach and listen to ocean slap upon the shore
- Look for a flower, a leaf, and small insect or butterfly
- Concentrate on quieting your spirit and your inner-self
- Watch a sunrise or sunset
” The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14
So how does one rest when things are falling apart or life is too difficult to bear? We remember, with the choir of Libera, how difficult are the memories of the Holocaust or 9-11 and so much more. Yet we are promised a restful soul through God’s grace. It is following the courage that is put in the heart by God through every circumstance.
From time to time we hear or read about a tragic thing happening that could have been prevented…with a simple test. For all parents who may read my blog…or grandparents who have small grandchildren, this blog is a heart-breaking plea from a mother who has just lost her precious child. Please pass this along…for it may save a life.
Sierra Greenlee writes:
“I have avoided this post for a while, it is long but hang in there I promise it is important. I would like to share with you the worst night of my life. Not because I want your pity, but because I would like to inform you of an issue that is very important and no one really thinks about.
In the wee hours of March 22, 2018, it was like any other. I got off work and I headed to pick up my daughter. She had spent the last week with her dad and I was ready for my snuggles. I was excited to hear about her week and I was dreaming of the late morning breakfast and playtime we would have when we woke up.
When I got to the babysitters she had carried her to my car, my daughter was completely knocked out she had had a hard day. In an offhanded way, I asked if she was breathing, joking. Until I put my hand on her little chest and I felt no movement. In that moment I completely freaked out. I couldn’t finish a thought. I knew I needed to get her back inside and start CPR. I was so mad and terrified. I was yelling at everyone who got in my way or tried to say something.
I ran her back inside and laid her down and started CPR on her little limp body. In my head, I knew I needed to remain calm but I couldn’t, I was yelling at my babysitter and trying to think about doing chest compressions and breathing and freaking out the entire time.
Finally after what seemed like an hour which in actuality was probably only 15 minutes EMS got there and took over. For the next hour while they tried desperately to bring me back my baby I called my parents and her dad, I paced, I cried, I prayed. At times I felt like an outsider watching this awful event unfold. I had always had these nightmares but it was never supposed to happen, not to me. It was the most surreal moments in my life.
After an hour of watching them pump my little girl’s chest and breathe for her, they loaded her up in the ambulance and we followed behind. As we drove to the hospital the worst thoughts flooded into my head. I thought of the fact that the last time I had seen my baby awake she was begging me not to go to work and I went anyway. I was thinking about what it would mean for me if she was gone. I thought of what it would be like to plan my child funeral and all the things I would miss out on. I prayed to God that if only he would spare my baby I would do whatever he wanted.
When we got to the hospital they lead me to the small room off of the waiting room and started asking me all of the questions they ask when you go to the hospital. I foolishly thought this is a good sign. They want to admit her. I was there for maybe 10 minutes before a doctor came in say down beside me and said the words that would forever change my world, he said “We did everything we could but unfortunately we were unable to revive her and she did not survive.”
That one little sentence devastated my entire being. Everything I was was in that little girl. She was my absolute pride and joy. If you asked me how I was doing it would usually go something like I’m good, my daughter…. But in that moment I couldn’t feel anything it was like my heart had stopped too. I was an empty shell. The shock was overwhelming.
When they took me to her little lifeless body laying on that big hospital bed I lost it. I wanted to hold her and lay with her. They let me. I held her as the heat slowly left her body and her skin became cold to the touch. If I wasn’t holding her I was running my hands through her little hair. Singing her favorite song.
After about 30 minutes or so they came to me and told me they had run some tests and it appears she had had undiagnosed Type 1 Diabetes and her blood sugar level was in the 500’s. I could not comprehend this information. How could my baby have Diabetes? She had gone to her wellness checkup only the week before and they told me she was healthy. How could she have died from a disease that I know thousands of people manage?
For those of you who do not know an average person’s blood sugar should not be above 100 and my child’s was 5 times the healthy amount. At 300-400 you start to go comatose. My baby had slipped into a coma and her little body was unable to fight it’s way out, and it gave out. There were no signs leading up to this it was unexpected. Diabetes does not run in either of our families and so we had no idea.
Later I found out that Diabetes is not something they test for in small children. They don’t typically test until they are school age and show signs. Unless of course, it runs in the family.
The signs for Diabetes in toddlers are they drink a lot and pee a lot and are tired. These signs are easily missed and overlooked because most toddlers do these things. The test is a simple blood sugar test that you have to request at their wellness checkup.
So I beg you to ask your child’s doctor to test for it. I beg you to become aware of the signs and symptoms of childhood Diabetes. I beg you to share this post and story with everyone because no parent should ever have to hear the words “I’m sorry but unfortunately she did not survive.” Thank you.”
The following article was written by Rolf Dubelli several years ago. At that time he had stopped watching or listening to the news about four years. He had a number of good things for us to think about and that is why I am passing it on today. I think the one reason I began thinking about it was when one of my neighbors said that the news was so bad that if she could “leave this country” she would do so. I thought to myself at the time….”just where would she go?” The news is bad all around the world. She did have a good idea though…that maybe she would turn off the TV channels and just listen to “easy listening music.”
Anyway, this is what Mr. Dubelli had to say. You may decide he is right…or disconnected somehow. In any case, it seems to have made him happier. Perhaps it is worth a try. If the world should blow up while you are “out of touch”, I’m sure someone will let you know.
Article by Rolf Dubelli
“In the past few decades, the fortunate among us have recognized the hazards of living with an overabundance of food (obesity, diabetes) and have started to change our diets. But most of us do not yet understand that news is to the mind what sugar is to the body. News is easy to digest. The media feeds us small bites of trivial matter, tidbits that don’t really concern our lives and don’t require thinking. That’s why we experience almost no saturation. Unlike reading books and long magazine articles (which require thinking), we can swallow limitless quantities of news flashes, which are bright-colored candies for the mind. Today, we have reached the same point in relation to information that we faced 20 years ago in regard to food. We are beginning to recognize how toxic news can be.
- News misleads. Take the following event (borrowed from Nassim Taleb). A car drives over a bridge, and the bridge collapses. What does the news media focus on? The car. The person in the car. Where he came from. Where he planned to go. How he experienced the crash (if he survived). But that is all irrelevant. What’s relevant? The structural stability of the bridge. That’s the underlying risk that has been lurking and could lurk in other bridges. But the car is flashy, it’s dramatic, it’s a person (non-abstract), and it’s news that’s cheap to produce. News leads us to walk around with the completely wrong risk map in our heads. So terrorism is over-rated. Chronic stress is under-rated. The collapse of Lehman Brothers is overrated. Fiscal irresponsibility is under-rated. Astronauts are over-rated. Nurses are under-rated. We are not rational enough to be exposed to the press. Watching an airplane crash on television is going to change your attitude toward that risk, regardless of its real probability. If you think you can compensate with the strength of your own inner contemplation, you are wrong. Bankers and economists – who have powerful incentives to compensate for news-borne hazards – have shown that they cannot. The only solution: cut yourself off from news consumption entirely.
- News is toxic to your body. It constantly triggers the limbic system. Panicky stories spur the release of cascades of glucocorticoid (cortisol). This deregulates your immune system and inhibits the release of growth hormones. In other words, your body finds itself in a state of chronic stress. High glucocorticoid levels cause impaired digestion, lack of growth (cell, hair, bone), nervousness and susceptibility to infections. The other potential side-effects include fear, aggression, tunnel-vision and desensitization.
- News increases cognitive errors. News feeds the mother of all cognitive errors: confirmation bias. In the words of Warren Buffett: “What the human being is best at doing is interpreting all new information so that their prior conclusions remain intact.” News exacerbates this flaw. We become prone to overconfidence, take stupid risks and misjudge opportunities. It also exacerbates another cognitive error: the story bias. Our brains crave stories that “make sense” – even if they don’t correspond to reality. Any journalist who writes, “The market moved because of X” or “the company went bankrupt because of Y” is an idiot. I am fed up with this cheap way of “explaining” the world.
- News inhibits thinking. Thinking requires concentration. Concentration requires uninterrupted time. News pieces are specifically engineered to interrupt you. They are like viruses that steal attention for their own purposes. News makes us shallow thinkers. But it’s worse than that. News severely affects memory. There are two types of memory. Long-range memory’s capacity is nearly infinite, but working memory is limited to a certain amount of slippery data. The path from short-term to long-term memory is a choke-point in the brain, but anything you want to understand must pass through it. If this passageway is disrupted, nothing gets through. Because news disrupts concentration, it weakens comprehension. Online news has an even worse impact. In a 2001 study two scholars in Canada showed that comprehension declines as the number of hyperlinks in a document increases. Why? Because whenever a link appears, your brain has to at least make the choice not to click, which in itself is distracting. News is an intentional interruption system.
- News works like a drug. As stories develop, we want to know how they continue. With hundreds of arbitrary storylines in our heads, this craving is increasingly compelling and hard to ignore. Scientists used to think that the dense connections formed among the 100 billion neurons inside our skulls were largely fixed by the time we reached adulthood. Today we know that this is not the case. Nerve cells routinely break old connections and form new ones. The more news we consume, the more we exercise the neural circuits devoted to skimming and multitasking while ignoring those used for reading deeply and thinking with profound focus.
- Most news consumers – even if they used to be avid book readers – have lost the ability to absorb lengthy articles or books. After four, five pages they get tired, their concentration vanishes, they become restless. It’s not because they got older or their schedules became more onerous. It’s because the physical structure of their brains has changed.
- News wastes time. If you read the newspaper for 15 minutes each morning, then check the news for 15 minutes during lunch and 15 minutes before you go to bed, then add five minutes here and there when you’re at work, then count distraction and refocusing time, you will lose at least half a day every week. Information is no longer a scarce commodity. But attention is. You are not that irresponsible with your money, reputation or health. Why give away your mind?
- News makes us passive. News stories are overwhelmingly about things you cannot influence. The daily repetition of news about things we can’t act upon makes us passive. It grinds us down until we adopt a worldview that is pessimistic, desensitized, sarcastic and fatalistic. The scientific term is “learned helplessness”. It’s a bit of a stretch, but I would not be surprised if news consumption, at least partially contributes to the widespread disease of depression.
- News kills creativity. Finally, things we already know limit our creativity. This is one reason that mathematicians, novelists, composers and entrepreneurs often produce their most creative works at a young age. Their brains enjoy a wide, uninhabited space that emboldens them to come up with and pursue novel ideas. I don’t know a single truly creative mind who is a news junkie – not a writer, not a composer, mathematician, physician, scientist, musician, designer, architect or painter. On the other hand, I know a bunch of viciously uncreative minds who consume news like drugs. If you want to come up with old solutions, read news. If you are looking for new solutions, don’t.
- Society needs journalism – but in a different way. Investigative journalism is always relevant. We need reporting that polices our institutions and uncovers truth. But important findings don’t have to arrive in the form of news. Long journal articles and in-depth books are good, too.”
Mr. Dobelli says, “I have now gone without news for four years, so I can see, feel and report the effects of this freedom first-hand: less disruption, less anxiety, deeper thinking, more time, more insights. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.”
( Credit: This is an edited extract from an essay first published by Dobelli, The Art of Thinking Clearly, Better Thinking, Better Decisions by Rolf Dobelli)
The secret to longevity may be a simple thing like MOVEMENT. Of course, we are removing other factors of genetics or sudden accidents that could supersede activity. Having watched my Uncle John move about with almost no help, I am becoming even more convinced. At almost 96, he still works in his garden and has played golf just this past year with his daughter. I believe movement may be the key. We sit too much…especially at the computers at home or work…or before the TV.
My son is swimming in a Triathlon in Germany as I write. He is certainly not in his 20’s or 30’s…but keeps fit and “on the move!”
He sent me the video below that I hope you will enjoy. It will be even better if you speak French, but this lady emphasizes that at over 100 years old, she just keeps “moving.” Maybe 100 is the new 80.
Therefore, for your weekend, enjoyment, here she is. Sometime today take a walk. It could add years to your life.
Occasionally, I will be going toward the altar at church and will see an elderly person waiting quietly in the pew for the minister to bring to them the Holy Communion. They are usually frail and do not feel that they can walk on their own very well. I am reminded of what my husband, who is also a priest in the Episcopal Church, often says about the elderly…“If they have lost the love of their life or have no family close by, they rarely have the human touch…the hug…the warmth of another human.” Knowing this, I might reach down and pat her (or him) on the shoulder and take their hand, without saying a word just so they know there is a touch in their life.
On researching this need for human touch, I found out the following:
“Upon birth, some babies require a little more attention at hospitals before they can leave with their parents to begin their life. Babies who receive stimulation in the form of touch have shown to grow and gain weight at rates faster than those who lack touch. They also experience fewer health issues in their first year. The simple act of a touch can lower stress levels (specifically the stress hormone cortisol) and regulate a proper body temperature in a baby’s body through the release of hormones.
The connection was realized upon finding out that children who grew up in environments such as orphanages, with less contact and engagement, had higher hormone levels compared to children raised with parents. In turn, this difference in environment can lead to many issues later in life – from a struggle to bond and behavioral issues.
However, some of the damage caused by touch deprivation can be reversed due to a change in environment – a study done in Romania in the 1980’s supports this, showing that in children aged six to twelve, those who lived in an orphanage for eight months or more possessed higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol compared to those who lived in an orphanage for four months or less.” (taken from Youngzine..Renee)
When my youngest son was born, he had to stay in the hospital for several days because he was under-weight. As I went to visit him daily, I would often walk in and find him being rocked by a nurse or nurse’s helper. They called him their “Little Cowboy” because his hair had little sideburns. Seeing that he was being loved meant so much.
I also learned the truth about the need for touch and human development when I was teaching at a University in Ukraine. I visited two orphanages. One was State run and the other was a Christian run home for children. The children in the State-run orphanage did not smile. When we put them on our laps to try to talk with them and hug them, they did not seem to know how to respond. Nothing brought a smile to their faces. On arriving at the Christian orphanage, the atmosphere was completely different. The children were laughing, hanging onto their adult workers and seemed well adjusted in so many ways.
Recently my husband posted a video about a man who has made it his mission to give the tiny, often sick or premature babies the human touch they need. I’m going to share this video with my readers today because it is the life story of a senior person giving of himself to a new life on earth. He is making a difference.
Let this video touch your heart and think of reaching out yourself to someone who may need a “touch” of love.
Turn up sound
It seems that even our animals are not safe from the opioid crisis. Veterinarians are seeing more and more dog patients who are stricken because they are simply taking a walk with their unsuspecting owners over something that has been thrown to the ground.
Every dog owner knows that a dog will sniff anything and often ingest things left outside. This is a warning to all pet lovers that your animals may not be safe to walk around your neighborhood.
The careless acts of those with a terrible addiction, that has killed so many people in our country and the world, is not their first concern… for children, other adults or even animals. Neither is it for those who sell these opioids. No matter what kind of neighborhood you live in…BEWARE.
In the situation you are about to see on this video, it took the vet giving more than one dose of the chemical to reverse this almost fatal drug. BE VERY ALERT and watch everything that may be in the path…or off the path…while walking your dog. This would be the case whether on or off a leash. Often the leashes that allow a dog freedom to move out and away from their owner might not be the best choice. Something to think about.
WATCH THIS VIDEO AND ARTICLE (turn up sound) Wait for the 2nd video, after the first, to view the better video that shows the owner and the vet speaking.
You may be able to significantly lower your blood pressure with nothing more than a daily dose of dark chocolate. In a 2008 Italian study, people who had both prediabetes and high blood pressure managed to do just that by eating 3 1/2 ounces of dark chocolate each day for 15 days. They lowered their systolic BP (the upper number) by 4.5 points and their diastolic (the lower number) by 4.2 points, thanks to the flavonoids — antioxidant compounds — found in dark chocolate. A sustained improvement of that extent could lower your risk of cardiovascular problems by 20 percent over 5 years.
But you need to eat the right type of chocolate. Darker chocolate contains more antioxidants and less of the sugar that may counteract chocolate’s beneficial effects, according to research from Yale. Choose dark chocolate with a minimum of 65 percent cacao.
- MUSIC LOVERS…it’s your day!
Music is a perfect tool for loosening your arteries. Listening to 30 minutes a day of “rhythmically homogeneous” music (that is, anything with a steady beat), combined with breathing exercises, can lower your systolic blood pressure by more than 4 points after 3 months, according to a 2008 Italian study. Breathing in and out with an inhale/exhale ratio of 1 to 2 while listening to slow, steady music relaxes your vessels, says Randall Zusman, M.D., director of the hypertension division at the Massachusetts General Hospital heart center. (You notice he did not say…hard rock or heavy metal.)
Danish researchers who analyzed data from 75,000 men found that those who had two drinks a day were 31 percent less likely to develop coronary heart disease. That’s because alcohol, in modest amounts, makes your arteries larger and more pliable, which in turn lowers your blood pressure.
But don’t have more than two drinks — doing so will raise your blood pressure. Scientists still don’t understand why, but Dr. Zusman thinks it could be related to alcohol’s adverse effect on other blood-pressure-regulating pathways. (Of course those who may think they are…or know they are alcoholics should not have even one glass of anything with alcohol. Try an Arnold Palmer…half ice tea and half lemonade. Very refreshing!)
Laughing at a funny movie causes blood vessels to dilate by 22 percent, according to a 2006 study from the University of Maryland. The physical act of laughing causes the tissue forming the inner lining of your blood vessels to expand, allowing for an increase in blood flow and reducing blood pressure, says Dr. Miller. “The magnitude of change is similar to the benefit you might see with aerobic activity, but without the aches and pains,” he says.
- ENJOY ROMANTIC LOVE….Any kind of rest and relaxation is good for the blood pressure. However, if you so desire and are able…here is also a recommendation. In a 2006 study at the University of Paisley, Scotland, they found that keeping your blood flowing by enjoying romantic love (no explanation needed) will in the long-run help your blood pressure.
(Some quotes taken from a writing by Danielle Braff)
- VISUAL PLEASURE: It has long been known that watching fish in a fish tank lowers one’s blood pressure. It is also my belief that observing nature and beautiful art does the same thing. Watch a butterfly as it glides along. Look at the beautiful colors in works of art are some examples.
For your enjoyment…and better health… the sounds of soothing music and beautiful art of two great artists:
- Russian artist Konstantin Makovsky who was one of the most highly appreciated Russian artists of the time, painting many portraits and beautiful scenes. (One shown at top of page.) Makovsky became a victim of a road accident when his horse-driven carriage was hit by an electric tram. He died in 1915 in Saint Petersburg. (Turn on your sound)
ARSEN KURBANOV was born in 1969 in the city of Makhachkala, Dagestan ( the former USSR).
We have all heard of the half empty or half full glass. It would be interesting to take a survey and see how many of my readers immediately thought it was half empty rather than half full.
How we view this says a great deal about ourselves. In fact, as health conscious as we are, our thoughts on this glass may be affecting our physical beings.
A quote from the Oxford English Dictionary:
“Optimism is having hopefulness and confidence about the future or successful outcome of something; a tendency to take a favorable or hopeful view.”
The word “optimism” comes from a Latin word meaning “best”. One would say then that we expect the best. This may be hard to do when we have bad news, the Stock Market plunges, wars rage; our job seems unstable, or our relationships with others could be a great deal better.
How often we say we “hope for the best“; want to look or be our best; the best is yet to come etc. Does this make us an optimist?
Researchers evaluate optimism in terms of the way one explains life events. They give tests that try to define explanatory style. Some have decided that it may be hereditary or have some biological trait having to do with intelligence and temperament. In that case, are we locked into being either a pessimist or an optimist? Maybe not.
Many people come from dis-functional families or have horrific accidents that leave them in conditions that would make most of us permanently depressed and yet through faith and outlook, one can see a silver lining. HOPE is always there. As a Christian, I put my trust in the One Who gives me HOPE in life’s events, but it does not always make my personality a really optimistic one. For some of us, it is a struggle. We see life through realistic eyes, but we forget that only God knows what is truly around the corner. There are many elements and combinations of situations that we do not see. Here is where faith and optimism go hand in hand.
The hereditary theory may be debatable for environmental factors may also play a part in our outlook. Regardless, sometimes it is a matter of the will. What about the idea that our way of looking at things can be a health factor? Here are some thoughts to ponder concerning your mental attitude and your aptitude for disease.
- Optimist most often live healthier lifestyles
- They smoke less; more physically active; consume more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. (Think about that list when you are grocery shopping.)
- Optimist consumes more moderate amounts of alcohol.
- They have better coping abilities when it comes to pain due to certain physical problems
- They have less stress or distress than pessimists.
- Optimists tend to face the problems head-on, taking active steps to solve problems…whereas pessimists tend to abandon their goals leading to types of depression
Our physical and mental health are important. Our tendencies are who we are. Nothing says that we can not change if it makes life better for us…even if it takes work. Perhaps it is time to take a reflective moment to decide what type of person we want to be.
Winston Churchill said this: “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”