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The benefits of Yoga: Physical and Mental

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Yoga is primarily a spiritual discipline that concentrates on subtle science that focuses on achieving harmony between an individual’s mind and body. The word Yoga first appeared in the oldest sacred texts, the Rig Veda and is derived from the Sanskrit root “Yuj” which means join or unite. According to the Yogic scriptures, the practice of Yoga leads an individual to the union of consciousness with that of universal Consciousness. It eventually leads to a great harmony between the human mind and body, man & nature.

Yoga in Vedas means a yoke. In some early writings, Yoga was mainly used in describing a warrior dying and transcending into the heavens while at the back of his chariot to the gods and the higher powers of being. During the Vedic times, Vedic priests were generally self-disciplined and avoided any forms of indulgence instead; they performed sacrifices which were known as yajna and used poses that most researchers believe are the precursor of the kind of Yoga poses we use today in the modern world. In the 3rd Century BCE, the word “yoga” became common in other religions like Jain, Hindu, and Buddhist writings. In Mahayana Buddhism, the practice of yoga for both spiritual and meditative use was known as Yogachara which consisted of eight significant steps of meditation called “insight”.

The first core value analyzed an individual’s perception and cognitive state while understanding the cause of suffering and eventually using meditation to solve the issue. The second core value focused on boosting consciousness, and the third was used as a way of achieving transcendence. The fourth value was full of mystery because it used Yoga to penetrate into other people’s bodies and act supernaturally. Yoga later became widely valued because of the Indian nationalist movement as a way of building up pride and cultural identity. Surprisingly, the practice of Yoga was widely promoted by powerful families, institutions, and activities until India attained its independence in 1947.

Origin of Yoga

Today, Yoga is practiced worldwide by millions of people in many forms and variations. At Replenish we focus on ancient wisdom, modern living approach to Yoga. Join us in honoring the traditions of Yoga with a modern approach as we travel to India this November.

Yoga’s history has many places of obscurity and uncertainty due to its oral transmission of sacred texts and the secretive nature of its teachings. The early writings on yoga were transcribed on fragile palm leaves that were easily damaged, destroyed or lost. The development of yoga can be traced back to over 5,000 years ago, but some researchers think that yoga may be up to 10,000 years old old. Yoga’s long rich history can be divided into four main periods of innovation, practice and development.

Pre-Classical Yoga

The beginnings of Yoga were developed by the Indus-Sarasvati civilization in Northern India over 5,000 years ago. The word yoga was first mentioned in the oldest sacred texts, the Rig Veda. The Vedas were a collection of texts containing songs, mantras, and rituals to be used by Brahmans, the Vedic priests.

Classical Yoga

In the pre-classical stage, yoga was a mishmash of various ideas, beliefs, and techniques that often conflicted and contradicted each other. The Classical period is defined by Patanjali’s Yoga-Sûtras, the first systematic presentation of yoga. Written sometime in the second century, this text describes the path of RAJA YOGA, often called “classical yoga”.

Post-Classical Yoga

A few centuries after Patanjali, yoga masters created a system of practices designed to rejuvenate the body and prolong life. They rejected the teachings of the ancient Vedas and embraced the physical body as the means to achieve enlightenment. They developed Tantra Yoga, with radical techniques to cleanse the body and mind to break the knots that bind us to our physical existence.

Physical and mental Benefits of  Yoga

 

There are many different methods of achieving yoga, each of which has its own schools and philosophies about how it is best accomplished. However, they are all, at their core, attempting to liberate the individual consciousness from Maya and . in doing so, merge with the supreme consciousness. Or perhaps, to realize they were never separate in the first place.

There is nothing new about yoga. Even in the Yoga Sutras (ancient Hindu texts), it was taught, and its path of relaxation and meditation used as a path to inner tranquility.

The main reason that yoga works is the combination of physical activity and mental calmness. When we become less anxious, less stressed, and a little more relaxed, we are able to focus our attention on something else besides our stress and anxiety. This is when we find our focus returning to us quickly. Yoga offers us a safe place to use our minds to relax.

The benefits of yoga for the mind include the ability to focus our thoughts and get more done, the ability to be more aware of our body, and also a much better understanding of what we are doing physically during the physical activities we do. We know that exercising is good for us, but we don’t always remember that if we aren’t mindful of what we are doing during our physical exercise activities. By paying attention and focusing on physical aspects, we can achieve things we never thought possible.

Physical Benefits

Flexibility: Moving and stretching in new ways will help you become more flexible, bringing a greater range of motion to tight areas. Over time, you can expect to gain flexibility in your hamstrings, back, shoulders, and hips.

As we age, flexibility naturally decreases, which leads to pain and immobility. Yoga can ameliorate this process.

Strength: Many yoga poses require you to support the weight of your own body in new ways, including balancing on one leg (such as in Tree Pose) or supporting yourself with your arms (such as in Downward Facing Dog). Holding poses over the course of several breaths also builds strength.

Muscle tone: As a by-product of getting stronger, you can expect to see increased muscle tone. Yoga helps shape long, lean muscles.

Balance: Improved balance is one of the most important benefits of yoga as you get older. Poses where you stand on one leg and, for more advanced students, inversions, are great ways to build core strength.

Joint Health: People with arthritis often see a marked improvement in their pain and mobility with regular gentle yoga practice. People with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can also benefit from specific types of yoga exercises.

Pain Prevention: Increased flexibility and strength can help prevent the causes of some types of back pain.

Many people who have back pain spend a lot of time sitting at a computer or driving a car. That can cause tightness and spinal compression, which you can begin to address with yoga. Yoga also improves your alignment, both in and out of class, which helps prevent many other types of pain.

Better Breathing: Most of us take shallow breaths and don’t give much thought to how we breathe. Yoga breathing exercises, called pranayama, focus the attention on the breath and teach us how to take deeper breaths, which benefits the entire body. Certain types of breath can also help clear the nasal passages (helpful for people with allergies) and even calm the central nervous system, which has both physical and mental benefits.

Mental Benefits

Mental Calmness: Yoga asana practice is intensely physical. Concentrating so intently on what your body is doing has the effect of bringing a calmness to the mind. Yoga also introduces you to meditation techniques, such as watching the breath and how to disengage from your thoughts. These skills can prove to be very valuable in intense situations off the mat, like childbirth, a bout of insomnia, or when having an anxiety attack.

Stress Reduction: Physical activity is good for relieving stress, and this is particularly true of yoga. Because of the concentration required, your daily troubles, both large and small, seem to melt away during the time you are on the mat. This provides a much-needed break from your stressors, as well as helping to put your problems into perspective. The emphasis yoga places on being in the moment can also help relieve stress, as you learn not to dwell on past events or anticipate the future. You will leave a yoga class feeling less stressed than when you started. Reducing stress can also make a big difference for people struggling with infertility.

Body Awareness: Doing yoga will give you an increased awareness of your own body. You are often called upon to make small, subtle movements to improve your alignment. Over time, this will increase your level of comfort in your own body. This can lead to improved posture and greater self-confidence.

You’ve probably heard that yoga is good for you. Maybe you have even tried it and discovered that it makes you feel better. A regular practice can offer all kinds of mental and physical health benefits. Some, like improved flexibility, are clearly evident. Others, including mental clarity and stress reduction, maybe more subtle but are just as powerful. When puttingting together, all the benefits below contribute to an increased feeling of well-being, which helps explain why so many people find yoga so addictive.

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Vitamin B3 Protects Skin Cells From The Effects Of UV Exposure, New Research Finds

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We all know just how important eating our vitamins are. Vitamins are essential nutrients that nourish our body and keep vital organs functioning smoothly. While some help with immunity, others regulate the skin and hair.

And turns out a few of them can even keep you safe from cancer. In fact, a recent study found that increasing the consumption of vitamin B3 can protect the skin from the ill-effects of UV rays, potentially reducing the incidence of non-melanoma skin cancers.

Researchers in Italy isolated cells (human primary keratinocytes) from the skin of patients with non-melanoma skin cancers. These cells were treated with three different concentrations of nicotinamide (NAM), a form of vitamin B3, for 18, 24, and 48 hours and then exposed to UVB rays.

Vitamin B3 can work wonders when it comes to protecting the skin:

Results show that pre-treatment with 25mM of NAM 24 hours before UV irradiation protected the skin cells from the effects of UV-induced oxidative stress, including DNA damage. Furthermore, it decreased antioxidant expression and blocked local inflammation by showing decreased nitric oxide release and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and reduced iNOS protein expression.

Lara Camillo, a research student from the dermatological unit of AOU universitaria Maggiore della Carita, Novara, Italy says: “Our study indicates that increasing the consumption of vitamin B3, which is readily available in the daily diet, will protect the skin from some of the effects of UV exposure, potentially reducing the incidence of non-melanoma skin cancers. However, the protective effect of vitamin B3 is short-acting, so it should be consumed no later than 24 to 48 hours before sun exposure.”

Research presented today at EADV’s 29th Congress, EADV Virtual, shows hope that a form of vitamin B3 could protect skin cells from the effects of ultraviolet (UV) exposure: the main risk factor for non-melanoma skin cancers.

Researchers in Italy isolated cells (human primary keratinocytes) from the skin of patients with non-melanoma skin cancers. These cells were treated with three different concentrations of nicotinamide (NAM), a form of vitamin B3, for 18, 24, and 48 hours and then exposed to UVB.

Results show that pre-treatment with 25μM of NAM 24 hours before UV irradiation protected the skin cells from the effects of UV-induced oxidative stress, including DNA damage. NAM enhanced DNA repair, demonstrated by decreased expression of the DNA repair enzyme OGG1. Furthermore, it decreased antioxidant expression and blocked local inflammation by showing decreased nitric oxide (NO) release and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, and reduced iNOS protein expression.

Lara Camillo, a research student from the Dermatological Unit of AOU Maggiore della Carità, Novara, Italy says: “Our study indicates that increasing the consumption of vitamin B3, which is readily available in the daily diet, will protect the skin from some of the effects of UV exposure, potentially reducing the incidence of non-melanoma skin cancers. However, the protective effect of vitamin B3 is short-acting, so it should be consumed no later than 24 to 48 hours before sun exposure.”

Non-melanoma skin cancers are the most common malignancies in the Caucasian population and incidence is increasing worldwide. The main risk factor is UV radiation exposure, which damages the DNA, increases ROS production, activates local inflammation, and depletes cellular energy, leading to genomic instability and cell death.

About skin cancer:

There are two main types of skin cancer: non-melanoma skin cancer (which includes basal cell skin cancer, squamous cell skin cancer and other rare types) and melanoma skin cancer. Basal and squamous cell cancers are most often found in areas exposed to the sun, such as the head, neck, and arms, but they also can occur elsewhere (2). They are very common but are usually very treatable (2). Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that develops when melanocytes (the cells that give the skin its tan or brown colour) start to grow out of control (3). Melanoma is much less common than some other types of skin cancers but is more dangerous because it’s much more likely to spread to other parts of the body if not caught and treated early (3). Non-melanoma skin cancer is the 5th most commonly occurring cancer in men and women, with over 1 million diagnoses worldwide in 2018.4 Melanoma of the skin is the 19th most commonly occurring cancer in men and women, with nearly 300,000 new cases in 2018.

About EADV:

Founded in 1987, EADV is the leading community to further the knowledge of health professionals and advocates in the field of dermatology and venereology. It is a non-profit organization with over 7,000 members, across 113 different countries in the world, providing a valuable service for every type of dermato-venereologists professional. The EADV is committed to improving the quality of patient care, continuing medical education for all dermato-venereologists within Europe and beyond, and advocacy on behalf of the specialty and patients.

About EADV Virtual:

This year’s Congress is a first in EADV’s history. EADV Virtual – New Frontiers in Dermatology and Venereology provides an exceptional opportunity for colleagues from around the world to explore the latest developments in science and patient care that are at the heart of the academy’s mission. The user experience is immersive and simple to follow.

 

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Passion fruit: what are the health and medicinal benefits of passion fruit? What do you know about passion fruit?

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Modern lifestyle diseases, such as obesity and metabolic syndrome (MS), may lead to many complications, including hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia and cardiovascular disease. They also accelerate the aging processes. Appropriate dietary interventions may help to regulate glucose and energy metabolism, and thus improve the outcome for affected individuals.

Among the interventions are caloric restriction, which helps reduce insulin resistance by preventing sustained hyperglycemia. This often requires long-term control of dietary choice and portion size, which is difficult to maintain for a majority of overweight subjects. For this reason, functional foods, such as passion fruit are being studied for their potential contribution to reducing weight and insulin resistance.

Metabolic Benefits

One compound in passion fruit, which has garnered plenty of interest is piceatannol, an analog of resveratrol. The latter is a polyphenol, which has been shown to lower glucose levels, and to increase stamina, in several rodent studies.

A clinical study on resveratrol in humans with excessively high body mass index (BMI) confirmed these results, as well as its ability to produce a reduction in blood pressure and higher mitochondrial respiration in muscle tissue, as well as the activation of several muscle kinases. Piceatannol shares many of these benefits, improving metabolic parameters and glucose breakdown, reducing vascular tone, increasing eNOS levels (which is vaso-protective), promoting collagen synthesis, and reducing ultraviolet damage to the skin. In fact, its activity is higher than that of resveratrol.

One study showed that insulin levels in serum were significantly reduced in the fasting state in overweight men with piceatannol supplementation, as well as a fall in the blood pressure and the heart rate. This was not seen in women or in men with a normal BMI. Another study in mice showed inhibition of postprandial rises in blood glucose levels as well, which points to the potential for anti-diabetic activity with piceatannol supplements. Further studies are needed to understand the variation in effect with body composition and gender, as well as to perform more sensitive and long-term evaluations of the changes in glucose and insulin parameters.

Cardiovascular Benefits

The cardiovascular effects of piceatannol seem to be mediated by the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of the polyphenol. It is known that failure of vasorelaxation, which is mediated by eNOS activity, is a characteristic of endothelial dysfunction. This would lead eventually to atherosclerosis via lipid oxidation and inflammation of blood vessels. It also activates dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase, and thus inhibits the natural deactivation of eNOS. Again, it increases eNOS stability, thus prolonging its half-life. It has other mechanisms of vascular anti-inflammatory action as well. Piceatannol thus has profound cardioprotective effects, and a central mechanism of action cannot be ruled out as well. In addition, it may help to stabilize cardiac myocytes.

Each 100g serving of passion fruit supplies about 30g potassium, or a quarter of the daily requirement. This is one of the best things to do to reduce cardiovascular risk. Potassium is a vasodilator, and it is necessary for the operation of the vital ion channels in the cell membranes.

Antioxidant Benefits

Passion fruit also contains many other antioxidants, such as C-glycosyl flavonoids, chlorogenic acid, isovitexin, caffeic acid, quercetin, rutin, and luteolin. These also play a role in glycemic and lipid control, but the exact effects and doses have to be elucidated through further study. A single serving can contain about 30g of vitamin C, and significant amounts of carotene and cryptoxanthin, all of which are powerful antioxidant molecules lowering the risk of age-related degeneration, cancers, and cardiovascular disease. Vitamin C also stimulates collagen synthesis and improves epithelial health, as well as being an immunomodulator to boost innate immunity.

Dietary Fiber

Passion fruits also contain large amounts of dietary fiber (98% of the daily recommended intake), which helps improve intestinal health, reduces the pH and ammonia levels in the colon and thus encourages healthy intestinal microbiota, and relieves constipation and flatulence. Again, fiber reduces appetite and this again leads to lower insulin levels and reversal of the metabolic syndrome. It also results in lower levels of cholesterol in the blood. The rind of the fruit is also rich in soluble fiber, which has independent anti-diabetic and anti-dyslipidemic effects. Fiber also lowers the risk of colorectal cancer. Piceatannol also counteracts colonic irritation leading to intestinal inflammation.

Eye Health

The large amounts of vitamin A in passion fruit can safeguard eye health against age-related macular degeneration, prevent cataracts, and lower the rate of skin aging and wrinkling.

Anemia

Passion fruit also contains appreciable amounts of copper, iron, magnesium and phosphorus, contributing to bone health and to normal RBC counts, which helps to counter anemia.

Anxiolytic Benefits

Some rodent studies found a marked anxiolytic and sedative effect upon supplementing the diet with passion fruit, due to the alkaloid harman. This can also help to relieve insomnia.

Anti-Tumor Benefits

Anticancer effects include apoptotic actions upon human cancer cell lines, as well as inhibition of migration and epithelial anchoring of metastatic cells in breast and prostate cancer. Piceatannol also inhibits HDL uptake by neurons to which ecto-F1-ATPase autoantibodies are bound. It may thus may slow the development and progression of Alzheimer’s disease. It may also inhibit antigen-induced WBC degranulation and thus prevent allergic reactions.

Conclusion

Passion fruit is not just a delicious tropical addition to the menu, but a powerhouse of several potential health benefits and should become a part of a varied and rich diet whenever available in season.

 

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Is It Safe to Sleep with High Blood pressure?

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Sleeping seven to eight hours a night may play a role in the treatment and prevention of high blood pressure.Many people do not get enough sleep, and this can affect their health, well-being, and ability to do everyday activities.

What is Sleep Deprivation? Causes and Symptoms

70% of poor sleep is caused by psycho-physiological issues. Most peole refer to these issues as”Insomnia” thought there is a group of sleep disorders that have a similar source of characteristics and manifest themselves in different ways.Psycho-physiological sleep issues are caused by the misalignment of the three main systems that control sleep: sleep drive – or how tired you are when you need to go to sleep; the biological clock that tells us when it is time to be awake and asleep; or the Flight or Fight system that prepares us to deal with danger. When we are in danger, this system will not let us fall asleep. Sometimes, it tells us we are in danger without any real danger is present, especially when our stress level is high.

Causes

There’s no single cause of sleep deprivation and usually, there are a number of interacting factors, but some of the most prevalent include:

Stress

Stress contributes to both sleep loss and high blood pressure. Stress can come from any number of sources. The growing use of technology and access to information, professional pressure to excel, and increased financial burdens are only a few of the stress-causing possibilities. If your stress levels are high, there’s a good chance they’re contributing to your sleep or blood pressure problems.

Poor Sleep Habits

The sleep cycle is highly responsive to environmental conditions and personal behaviours. Poor sleep habits like an irregular bedtime, late-night meals, and nighttime use of electronics can all interfere with the release of sleep hormones and delay the sleep cycle.

Undiagnosed Sleep Disorders

While there are many sleep disorders that go untreated and undiagnosed, sleep apnea has shown a particularly close connection to high blood pressure. This breathing disorder causes oxygen levels to fluctuate throughout the night, putting a higher strain on the cardiovascular system. However, once diagnosed, it can be treated at home with a CPAP machine, which can drastically improve the quality and quantity of your sleep.

Symptoms

A person who is getting too little quality sleep may experience a range of symptoms, including:

  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Mood changes
  • Difficulty focusing and remembering
  • A reduced sex drive

What is high blood pressure

High blood pressure, or hypertension, occurs when your blood pressure increases to unhealthy levels. Your blood pressure measurement takes into account how much blood is passing through your blood vessels and the amount of resistance the blood meets while the heart is pumping. Narrow arteries increase resistance.

The link between poor sleep and high blood pressure

The link between poor sleep and cardiovascular health problems is increasingly well-established in scientific literature, but the reason for the relationship is less understood.

Researchers set out to learn more about the connection in a study of 300 men and women, ages 21 to 70, with no history of heart problems. Participants wore portable blood pressure cuffs for two consecutive days. The cuffs randomly took participants’ blood pressure during 45-minute intervals throughout each day and also overnight.

At night, participants wore actigraphy monitors — wristwatch-like devices that measure movement — to help determine their “sleep efficiency,” or the amount of time in bed spent sleeping soundly.

Overall, those who had lower sleep efficiency showed an increase in blood pressure during that restless night. They also had higher systolic blood pressure — the top number in a patient’s blood pressure reading — the next day.

More research is needed to understand why poor sleep raises blood pressure and what it could mean long-term for people with chronic sleep issues. Yet, these latest findings may be an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to understanding the pathway through which sleep impacts overall cardiovascular health.

“Blood pressure is one of the best predictors of cardiovascular health,” said lead study author Caroline Doyle, a graduate student in the UA Department of Psychology. “There is a lot of literature out there that shows sleep has some kind of impact on mortality and on cardiovascular disease, which is the No. 1 killer of people in the country. We wanted to see if we could try to get a piece of that story — how sleep might be impacting disease through blood pressure.”

The study reinforces just how important a good night’s sleep can be. It’s not just the amount of time you spend in bed, but the quality of sleep you’re getting, said study co-author John Ruiz, UA associate professor of psychology.

Improving sleep quality can start with making simple changes and being proactive, Ruiz said.

“Keep the phone in a different room,” he suggested. “If your bedroom window faces the east, pull the shades. For anything that’s going to cause you to waken, think ahead about what you can do to mitigate those effects.”

For those with chronic sleep troubles, Doyle advocates cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, or CBTI, which focuses on making behavioral changes to improve sleep health. CBTI is slowly gaining traction in the medical field and is recommended by both the American College of Physicians and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine as the first line of treatment for insomnia.

Doyle and Ruiz say they hope their findings — showing the impact even one fitful night’s rest can have on the body — will help illuminate just how critical sleep is for heart health.

“This study stands on the shoulders of a broad literature looking at sleep and cardiovascular health,” Doyle said. “This is one more study that shows something is going on with sleep and our heart health. Sleep is important, so whatever you can do to improve your sleep, it’s worth prioritizing.”

Your blood pressure directly responds to sleep loss along with a whole host of negative side effects. A 2010 study conducted amongst 538 middle-aged adults found that sleep depriviation was a relaiable predictor of increased blood pressure levels. The results remained consistent even after being adjusted for age, race, sex, and pressence of high blood pressure medication. In these cases, both shortened sleep duration and poor sleep quality contributed to the increase in blood pressure readings.

In part, sleep deprivation’s effects on the mental and emotional state shed light onto the forces at work. Without enough sleep, the brain becomes more sensitive to negative thoughts and feelings, which causes an increase in stress hormones like cortisol that naturally cause a rise in blood pressure.

How can I improve my sleep?

Changes in your habits and sleep environment can positively impact your sleep. Start by:

Setting a bedtime. The human body is built to run on predictable routines. A regular bedtime allows the brain to adjust the release of sleep hormones to fit your schedule.

Developing a stress-relieving bedtime routine. Reduced stress levels can help you fall and stay asleep faster. Use your bedtime routine to relax before lying down for the night. For a more effective routine, try meditation or gentle yoga poses to bring your heart rate and blood pressure down.

Exercising regularly. Exercise benefits your sleep and blood pressure by improving heart health while helping to regulate weight, yet another contributor to high blood pressure. Exercise also tires the mind and muscles in preparation for sleep.

Eating healthy and smart. It’s not just what you eat—a well-balanced diet consisting of fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean meats— but when you eat it. Meal timing contributes to the regularity of your sleep cycle so try to eat evenly spaced meals at roughly the same time each day.

Sleep isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity you can’t do without. Adequate sleep goes hand in hand with a healthy diet and regular exercise to control blood pressure. It might take time and effort to make the changes that can improve your sleep and lower your blood pressure, but the health benefits are definitely worth it.

One possible, treatable cause of your lack of sleep contributing to high blood pressure is obstructive sleep apnea — a sleep disorder in which you repeatedly stop and start breathing during sleep. Talk with your doctor if you feel tired even after a full night’s sleep, especially if you snore. Obstructive sleep apnea may be the cause, and it can increase your risk of high blood pressure, as well as heart problems and other health issues.

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