Stiff back? Here are 4 yoga poses that will help increase flexibility!
Contributor: Certified yoga instructor Patti Kopasakis, PT, DPT, SCS, RYT-200
Having a mobile lower back is key to being able to perform many activities of daily living, including emptying the dishwasher, sitting, standing and picking up things from the floor — to name a few. When we stay in prolonged positions throughout our day, we can cause the muscles in our lower back to tighten up.
Want to keep this part of your body more flexible? Try these poses, holding each pose for two to three breaths. On the one-sided poses, be sure to repeat on the other side!
Note: Poses should be entered into and moved out of slowly to protect muscles and joints. If you are having specific pain that has been ongoing for longer than two weeks or you have a specific injury, it is always best to consult a qualified health care provider, such as a physical therapist, who can develop a plan specific to your needs.
This pudding is packed with health-promoting chia seeds, almond milk, cinnamon, cocoa, coconut flakes and dried fruit. It’s the perfect chocolate treat.
½ cup Chia seeds
1 cup vanilla almond milk, unsweetened
1 cup 2% milk (may use all almond for non-dairy option)
1½ tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon cocoa powder, unsweetened
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons coconut flakes, unsweetened
2 tablespoons dried tart cherries, or other unsweetened dried fruit
- Place chia seeds, milks, honey, cocoa, cinnamon and vanilla in a glass container with a tight lid.
- Seal and shake well to combine. Refrigerate for at least 5 hours or overnight.
- Serve topped with coconut flakes and dried fruit to garnish.
Note: For a smoother texture, blend pudding in a high power blender before refrigerating. Be sure to blend well to avoid a gritty texture.
Makes 6 servings
Each 1/2 cup serving contains:
Total fat 7g
Saturated fat 2g
Trans fat 0g
Total carbohydrate 16g
Advice on how to get started on this life-saving way of eating
Contributor: Leslie Cho, MD
As an interventional cardiologist who specializes in prevention, I’m often asked by patients, friends and family which diet will best prevent heart disease.
There’s been much hype and fanfare surrounding various diets, but the diet that has consistently shown benefit in randomized control studies is the Mediterranean diet. It’s been shown to reduce heart attack and stroke as well as lower LDL, or bad, cholesterol.
The Mediterranean diet is based on the traditional eating habits found in southern Italy and Greece in the early 1960s. It focuses on plant-based foods – heavy on vegetables, fruits, legumes, fish, olive oil and some amount of nuts.
But what does that really mean, and how much of these should we be eating? We can all agree that even too much of good thing is bad. So here’s some helpful advice about how to follow the Mediterranean diet as studied in clinical trials:
- Vegetables: Three servings a day. One serving equals 1/2 cooked or 1 cup of raw vegetables.
- Fruits: Three servings a day. One serving equals 1/2 to 1 cup.
- Olive oil: One tablespoon a day, but no more than four tablespoons a day. This includes your cooking oil.
- Legumes: Three servings a week of beans, peas, alfalfa, peanuts, etc.
- Fish: Three servings a week. The smellier the fish are, the better, because smelly fish contain higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Smart choices include salmon, tuna, herring, sardines, mackerel and anchovies.
- Nuts: Three servings a week. One serving equals 1/4 cup, one ounce or two tablespoons of nut butter. Ideally, go for raw, unsalted and dry-roasted walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts.
- Starches: Three to six servings a day. One serving equals 1/2 cup cooked, one slice of bread or one ounce of dry cereal. Choose whole grains, oats, barley, brown rice, quinoa and red skin or sweet potatoes.
- White meat: Three three-ounce servings a week. Choose skinless poultry, which includes choices such as chicken, turkey, pheasants and ostrich instead of red meat. You should have no more than one serving, meaning three ounces, of red meat a week. Choose lean cuts such as sirloin, tenderloin or flank steak if you have to have red meat.
- Dairy/eggs: Three servings a week. Choose 1 percent or fat-free milk, yogurt or cottage cheese. There are no limits on egg whites.
- Desserts: One three-ounce serving a week. If possible, let fruit be your dessert. If you have to eat baked goods, choose one with healthy ingredients, and eat smaller portions.
- Wine: Four to six ounces a day. No beer or hard liquor; drinking wine is optional. Don’t start drinking if you’ve never drank before. There is no good data that taking up alcohol will prevent heart disease.
The first thing people notice about this diet is the limit on fish, nuts, meat and dairy to only three servings a week – not every day. Also, notice the lack of animal fat. In this diet, meat is an accent and not a centerpiece, of your meal.
Finally, eating is one of the greatest pleasures in life. Enjoy your food, eat what’s good for you in moderation and remember the words of Hippocrates: “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.”
This post is based on one of a series of articles produced by U.S. News & World Report in association with the medical experts at Cleveland Clinic.
How exercise can completely change your mood:
Is it possible to catch up on lost sleep over the weekend? A sleep medicine expert’s answer:
Q: Is It OK to catch up on lost sleep over the weekend?
A: In the past, sleep experts believed it was impossible to catch up on the sleep you lose — that once you’ve lost it, it’s gone.
But a recent long-term study found that folks who slept four, five or six hours during the week, then caught up on weekends, lived longer than those who remained sleep-deprived all week long.
So you can catch up to some degree on weekends. However, sometimes people who catch up on sleep on the weekend will oversleep.
And it turns out that oversleeping has some of the same consequences as undersleeping:
- Oversleeping is associated with depression, which is linked to a host of other health problems.
- Research suggests that oversleeping can make people groggy and cognitively impaired.
- Studies suggest oversleeping increases risks of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity as much as undersleeping, because toxins and inflammatory markers build up.
So it’s really best to aim for a stable sleep time, bedtime and wake time every day of the week. This will help you get the regular sleep needed to restore your brain and every cell in your body.
—Sleep medicine specialist Nancy Foldvary-Schaefer, DO, MS