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9 Reasons to Love Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut—fermented cabbage—isn’t just for hot dogs anymore. In addition to its deliciously tart taste, exciting research showcases the many health benefits of eating sauerkraut (with live cultures) on a regular basis. Here are some of the best reasons to love sauerkraut:

1. Anti-Fungal Properties: What if I told you that sauerkraut contains beneficial bacteria that are miniature anti-fungal manufacturing facilities? It sounds more like science fiction than science fact but it is true. Some of the probiotics in sauerkraut produce compounds to kill some species of Candida fungi, which are frequently involved in vaginal or intestinal infections. Published in the Journal de Mycologie Medicale, scientists found that the probiotics actually produced anti-fungal compounds to kill Candida—a common cause of vaginal or intestinal infections.

2. Boosts Athletic Performance: According to research published in Current Sports Medicine Reports, scientists found numerous sports-performance benefits of eating probiotic-rich foods, including reducing allergic conditions and enhancing recovery from fatigue, as well as improving immune function.

3. Helps Heal the Heart: Naturally-fermented foods like sauerkraut have been shown to boost levels of superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase, which are powerful antioxidants that protect the heart against cellular damage from free radicals.

4. Anti-Cancer Benefits: Scientists at the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois, found that regularly eating fermented cabbage can help to regulate estrogen levels. Excess levels of estrogen have been linked with the development of estrogen-dependent breast cancers.


5. Regulates Hormones: Because sauerkraut can help reduce excessive levels of estrogen, it may be helpful with the treatment of many other hormonally-linked health concerns, including: menstrual difficulties and mood imbalances.

6. Prevents of Food Poisoning: Research shows that probiotics found in sauerkraut demonstrate antibacterial activity against harmful bacteria, including Salmonella and Shigella. Salmonella can cause food poisoning. Shigella are similar bacteria that also cause diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps.

7. Anti-Viral Properties: Sauerkraut frequently contains the beneficial bacteria L. plantarum which has been found to have anti-viral effects. This makes sauerkraut a potential functional food in the treatment of colds, flu and chronic fatigue syndrome.

8. Gives Your Gut a Boost: With so many beneficial bacteria found in sauerkraut, enjoying it on a regular basis is a great way to boost the health of your gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

9. Great Taste and Versatility: Sauerkraut is delicious on its own, on top of your favorite vegan or turkey hot dog, on a black bean burger, or as a side dish to accompany just about any type of meal.

Unfortunately, most commercially-sold sauerkraut doesn’t contain any beneficial probiotics. Many commercial sauerkraut manufacturers have taken shortcuts in the making of sauerkraut to increase their profits. Instead of waiting for natural fermentation to occur, many instead employ an artificial pickling-type process using white vinegar which doesn’t contain any probiotics.

Those companies that stay true to natural processes still frequently pasteurize their sauerkraut so it can remain on grocery store shelves for longer periods. This pasteurization or heating process during bottling kills any live cultures that are needed for the health benefits of sauerkraut. Choose only sauerkraut with live cultures found in the refrigerator section of your health food or grocery store. Better yet, it is easy to make your own at home.

By: Michelle Schoffro Cook     February 24, 2016     Follow Michelle at @mschoffrocook

Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is a registered nutritionist and international best-selling and 19-time published book author whose works include: The Probiotic Promise: Simple Steps to Heal Your Body from the Inside Out.



Here’s Why Believing People Can Change Is So Important in Life

How a growth mindset affects stress levels and health.

Adolescents who believe people can change cope better with the challenges of attending high school, a new study finds.

In contrast, those who believed that people’s personalities are fixed and unchangeable fared worse, suffering higher levels of stress and poorer physical health.

The study’s authors were inspired by the idea that the high school years are a defining period in life:

“Iconic films such as The Breakfast Club or Back to the Future depict teens as indelibly marked as “losers,” “jocks,” or “bullies”—labels that are thought to haunt them or buoy them throughout high school and into adulthood.” (Yeager et al., 2014)

To see if high schoolers believe this, they recruited 158 ninth-grade students at a California high school.

At the start of the academic year they measured the extent to which they thought people can change.

Then, at the end of the academic year, they were surveyed to measure their global stress levels and see if they were physically healthy.

What they found was that those who more strongly endorsed the idea that people can change also reported:

  • less stress,
  • lower anxiety,
  • feeling better about themselves,
  • and they were also in better physical health.

How to develop a growth mindset

So, if people who believe they can change and grow do better, can people’s views about whether they can change also be enhanced?

The researchers designed an experiment to do just that to another group of adolescents at a similar school.

Some of the students were introduced to the idea that people’s personalities are not fixed and that it is possible to grow and change.


At the start of the academic year they were told that:

“…people have the potential to change and that therefore (a) if you are excluded or victimized, it is not due to a fixed, personal deficiency on your part, and (b) people who exclude or victimize you are not fixed, bad people but instead have complicated motivations that are subject to change.”

After this session, this was never mentioned again and the students were followed up at the end of the academic year.

The results showed that, in comparison to the control group, those who’d been encouraged to believe in a growth mindset did better both psychologically and physically over the year.

The authors explain the results:

“…our research shows that adolescents can learn to tell themselves a different story, a story in which people have the potential to change.
And when they do, they show better adjustment across the board: lower stress, better health, and higher grades.” (Yeager et al., 2014)

Here is what one student said who’d been encouraged to think of personality as something that can change:

“When we were starting the school year I went [to] where my friends hang out.
Then they just looked at me and kept on talking . . . I felt really left out especially because we were all really good friends in middle school . . .
[Although] it may seem like your life is crashing down, and that nothing will ever get better, it is not the end of the world.
Your life will not be like this forever. . . . People can change. It’s only your first day of school.” (Yeager et al., 2014)

Believe in change

Research has already shown that people’s personalities can change.

Not only that, but people can change their beliefs about whether people can change.

And that may be the most important thing of all.

source: PsyBlog

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One in Three American Adults Not Getting Enough Sleep: CDC


Did you get enough sleep last night? If not, you are not alone.

More than one out of three American adults do not get enough sleep, according to a study released Thursday from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“That’s a big problem” says, Dr. Nancy Collop, director of the Emory Sleep Center at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, who is familiar with the study.
“You don’t function as well, your ability to pay attention is reduced, and it can have serious, long term side effects. It can change your metabolism for the worse.”

At least seven hours of sleep is considered healthy for an adults aged 18 to 60, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society.

CDC analyzed data from a 2014 survey of 444,306 adults and found 65.2 percent of respondents reported getting that amount of sleep.

“Lifestyle changes such as going to bed at the same time each night; rising at the same time each morning; and turning off or removing televisions, computers, mobile devices from the bedroom, can help people get the healthy sleep they need,” said Dr. Wayne Giles, director of the CDC’s Division of Population Health, in a statement.


Getting less than seven hours a night is associated with an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and frequent mental distress, the study shows.

Conducted by the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the study is the first of its kind to look at all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

The study found that among those most likely to get great sleep were married or have a job, with 67 percent and 65 percent respectively saying they get enough. Only 56 percent of divorced adults said they get enough sleep, and just over half of jobless adults sleep seven hours a night regularly.

Among the best sleepers were college graduates, with 72 percent reporting seven hours or more.

The study found geographical differences as well as ethnic disparities. Hawaiian residents get less sleep than those living in South Dakota, the study found. Non-Hispanic whites sleep better than non-Hispanic black residents, with 67 and 54 percent respectively.

(Editing by Karen Brooks and Cynthia Osterman)

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8 Reasons to Add Shiitake Mushrooms To Your Diet

Sure shiitake mushrooms are savory and delicious, but now there are scientifically proven reasons to eat them every day. If you are one of the lucky people who ate shiitake mushrooms at breakfast this morning, you are well aware of the tasty reasons to eat them.

Shiitake mushrooms are one delicious variety of fungi that not only taste good, but that help heal your body. Let’s look further at the edible bounty of shiitake mushrooms and why science has proven that eating them every day is deliciously good for you.

A half cup of shiitake mushrooms only has 41 calories and packs the following nutritional daily values:

  • Copper 72%
  • Pantothenic acid 52%
  • Selenium 33%
  • Vitamin B2 9%
  • Zinc 9%
  • Manganese 8%
  • Vitamin B6 7%
  • Vitamin B3 7%
  • Choline 6%
  • Fiber 6%
  • Vitamin D 5%
  • Folate 4%

Chitosan is a type of natural sugar that is found in a few foods, including the shells of crabs and the stems of shiitake mushrooms. The chitosan found in shiitake mushrooms has antimicrobial properties that kill bacteria.

Researchers in one study found that chitosan from shiitake stems showed excellent antimicrobial activities against eight different species of disease-causing bacteria. Scientists also discovered that shiitake chitosan was more effective at killing bacteria than the chitosan taken from crab shells.

Keeping yourself cancer-free is certainly a great reason to eat shiitakes and the scientific research backs up this claim. The same study mentioned above also found that the chitosan in shiitake mushroom stems helped prevent tumors from spreading.

Chitosan can also be found in crab shells, but the researchers found that shiitake chitosan was better at stopping the spread of tumors than the chitosan taken from crab shells. Although we can’t say that shiitake mushrooms prevent cancer form occurring in the first place, reducing the spread of tumors is a great reason to add them to your meal plan every day.

shiitake mushrooms

Yet another scientific study showed that eating whole dried shiitake mushrooms in a daily diet helped reduce the inflammation for 52 male and female study participants over 4 weeks. Scientists were able to show an improved immune function for the people who ate the mushrooms every day. An improved immune response is yet another incredible health benefit of eating shiitake mushrooms.

In a study of mice that were fed a diet of shiitake mushrooms, scientists showed that the mice that ate the mushrooms had much healthier body weights than those that did not. The shiitake-fed mice had reduced cholesterol and triglyceride levels and also had fewer fatty liver deposits.

The researchers say that supplementing diet with shiitake mushrooms could be a way to help control obesity in humans as well. Whether you suffer from a weight problem or not, adding shiitake mushrooms to your diet is a way to add a healthy, high-nutrient, low calorie food that you will enjoy.

Some scientists believe that Vitamin D deficiency is responsible for many of the chronic insomnia sufferers in the world. 100 grams of fresh shiitake mushrooms provide 100 IU of Vitamin D daily, which helps your body repair itself at night while you get restful sleep.

Adding shiitake mushrooms to your diet can decrease the risk of autoimmune diseases such as Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia and arthritis. Shiitake naturally contain beta glucans, which are a type of natural sugar.

Beta glucans have many health benefits including protection from colds and flu.

Gaining resilience against autoimmune diseases and preventing the immune system from attacking the body is a scientifically proven reason to eat shiitake mushrooms every day.

Science has shown that those who have mushrooms in their diet are more likely to have a higher quality diet with respect to total nutrient content than people who do not have mushrooms in their diet. Nine years of data were analyzed and measurements of healthy eating were checked for groups of people who either had mushrooms in their diets or did not. The mushroom-eating group surpassed the others for total vegetables, dark greens and grains.

Researchers evaluating alternatives to high-blood pressure medication say that ‘Synthetic anti-hypertensive drugs have been blamed for side effects of various sorts. Thus, the search for natural, safe, and food-based anti-hypertensive agents has gained momentum. Mushrooms, abundant in bio-active components, had been recognized for its use as therapeutics in alternative and complementary medicine as well as functional food.’

Mushrooms contain terpenoids, peptides, lentinan, pipecolic acid and potassium, which researchers have shown can actually prevent a high-cholesterol diet from causing high blood pressure. The compounds in shiitake mushrooms also have the potential to reverse hypertension for patients who prefer a non-drug therapy.

source: www.powerofpositivity.com     Feb. 20 /2016

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4 Science-Backed Tips For Achieving Your Dreams

by Dr. Emma Seppälä    February 9, 2016

Whether it’s New Year’s resolutions or any other milestone we want to achieve, most of us give up on that career goal, diet, mindfulness practice, or exercise regimen we committed to however long ago. All too often, our efforts fail, and we find ourselves unable to detach our backsides from the sofa and our hands from the chocolate.

There’s a scientific reason for this. You’ve basically got self-control fatigue. The good news, however, is that research also shows that keeping your resolution doesn’t have to be hard.

In a classic study by willpower psychologist Roy Baumeister, researchers baked chocolate chip cookies, filling their lab with a wonderful aroma. They then brought in research participants. Some participants were invited to eat the chocolate chip cookies and a bowl of chocolates laid out before them. Others were invited into the same delicious-smelling lab but told to eat the unappetizing radishes that were displayed right next to tempting cookies and chocolates.

Then both groups were given an exercise: to work on a puzzle that was, unbeknownst to them, unsolvable. The researchers found that participants who had exerted self-control by eating radishes and avoiding the tempting cookies and chocolates gave up trying to solve the puzzle much more quickly than those who had eaten the chocolates (or a control group that had not been shown the chocolates or radishes).

Why is this? Self-control actually exhausts us, it’s a limited resource like gasoline or the charge on your cellphone. The more you use it, the less you have it. Researchers have found that it literally depletes your blood sugar. Ever wondered why you are more likely to binge on ice cream at night? Self-control literally gets depleted as the day goes on

After all, we are using self-control all day long at work.

From dawn to dusk we do our best to:

1. Control our impulses.

This could mean staying on task as opposed to giving up or giving way to distractions (like checking Facebook) or temptations (like leaving work early to meet friends).

2. Control our performance.

This means persisting and giving your best despite feeling tired.

3. Control our behavior and emotions.

This could be maintaining a professional tone and demeanor even when the work atmosphere is unpleasant or your colleagues or managers make decisions you do not agree with.

4. Control our thoughts.

We fight to focus on our work despite the many daydreams, thoughts, and fantasies that pop into our minds.


Here’s how to stop letting willpower fatigue get the best of you.

1. Remember, the morning is golden.

Self-control is stronger In the morning since you’ve had all night to replenish it. What does this mean?

If you are resolving to exercise more, do it in the morning.

If you are trying to stick to a diet, make your meals for the day, and make sure you throw everything that’s not on your diet out of the house.

If your goal is to write a book or finish a huge work project (or do your taxes early for once!), set aside the first hours of the day to do so.

2. Manage your energy by staying calmer.

Staying calm makes you powerful. Research shows that Americans prefer “high-intensity” emotions like excitement, or even stress. Think about it: people drink coffee and wait until the last minute to do things because they depend on adrenaline to get their work done. The consequence of both excitement and stress, however, is that they fatigue the body. And the more tired you are, the less self-control you have. So, you need to manage your energy.

You plug your cellphone in to charge it: Do the same thing with yourself. In particular, participate in activities that help you stay calm so you won’t get depleted so fast: yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises. Do this even if it means taking a break in the middle of the workday. Why? Research shows that when you do something liked meditation or prayer — even for a short while — it can fill your self-control tank back up.

3. Relax in other areas of your life.

Don’t make too many resolutions or try to exert self-control in too many new areas of your life at once. Keep things easy and relaxed in some domains (e.g., let the house be messy) so you’re not draining yourself by employing self-control in every aspect of your life and at all times of the day. Choose where self-control is important (e.g., at work) and give yourself some slack in the rest of your life.

4. Focus on the end goal.

As neuroscientist Elliott Berkman points out, “when you are working on things you really want to be working on, you are less likely to become depleted.” He argues that if you remember what the end goal of your resolution is — presumably — something you want, you can muster up the energy it takes to exert that self-control.

By following these tips, you’ll see that it is possible to keep you resolutions, to have more willpower, and to achieve your goals. So go ahead and make the most of those mornings, stay chill, cut yourself some slack, and keep your eyes on the prize.

Emma Seppälä is a psychologist and the Science Director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford’s School of Medicine.  This article is excerpted from her just-published book “The Happiness Track: How to apply the science of happiness to accelerate your success,” published by HarperOne, 2016.


Following the Path of Resistance

Nov 12, 2015   Nykki Hardin   Natural Health & Lifestyle Expert and the founder of Nykki’s Cleanse

If I have learned anything in this lifetime, it is that nothing meaningful in my life has come without work, consistent effort, and personal challenge. Along the way, despite working towards something I truly desired, the process was always laden with consistent feelings of fear, discomfort and great resistance. While I might have questioned it in the past, thinking I was doing something wrong, what I know now is that these strong emotions have always been to my benefit, serving as indicators that whatever it is I am in pursuit of is of great value, and that I am being presented with a valuable opportunity for growth and expansion.

We all have dreams and goals, but it takes a courageous being to act upon them. The life well-lived, what I would define as a life lived in pursuit of one’s dreams, requires risk, dedication, discipline, and unbreakable confidence. It asks for a pushing of boundaries, a willingness to step outside one’s comfort zone and the ability to be your own cheerleader to triumph the inner demons. It requires strength of heart to put one’s self on the line, to be vulnerable, and to persevere despite criticism and negative feedback. This is not for the fainthearted and in today’s quick fix, instant gratification, instant success – or at least the perception of instant success – society, it is easy to feel discouraged and defeated. Social media and mass marketing have created a false illusion that success is easy and if this isn’t our experience, then we don’t have what it takes. However, to create and actualize anything new requires a learning curve, growing pains and willingness to embrace change. This process is anything but comfortable.

If we look upon the great change makers of the world, their success always came as a result of practice. Practice, practice, practice. They all speak of that inner resistance, the debilitating emotions and destructive voices as they took chances in their lives and in their business in attempt to “go the next level.” The common theme throughout each story is persistence, focus, and a willingness to continue to put one foot forward despite “defeat.” It rarely came easily, it was never an instant success and it was never a quick-fix solution. It was the rewards realized from the relentless pursuit of what they knew in their heart was worth the effort.

success  is not easy

Our greatest opportunity as humans in this lifetime is to realize our potential and this will come as we wake up to the truth, which is that we are already that in which we wish to become. Somewhere along the way, we simply got off the path and learned many “untruths.” However, if we can unlearn what were taught, remember everything we already know, and then apply this wisdom in our lives, we have the ability to realize whatever it is our heart truly desires. “Whatever your mind can conceive and believe it can achieve.”

The pursuit of anything new requires growth and change and while this is typically anything but comfortable, it is incredibly rewarding. When it comes to our dreams and goals, we must muster up the courage to wake up every day to embrace the fear and the resistance and to take action despite the noise or external circumstances. As we continue to walk the path, to show up for ourselves, and to transcend these emotions, what develops is a newfound confidence and strength, and a feeling of personal value that is not influenced by anything outside one’s self. It becomes even more powerful when we are able to see the bigger picture and to realize that our efforts are not really for us, but through us and for all of humanity.

If we want the life well lived, we must be willing to step up, take risk, create change and to shine. The process is filled with uncertainty and vulnerability, and as we push through resistance and overcome fear, we are presented with an amazing opportunity to embrace and celebrate our inherent beauty and wisdom. Creating intimacy with the voices and the gremlins, thanking them for letting you know you are on the right path, puts us in the power seat to take the reins in our lives. In the process, the never-ending reminder to plunge far and wide, surrender to the divine unknown, and to open up to the magic of what lies beyond our own set limitations.

Follow Nykki Hardin on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/nykkihardin

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Tai Chi Might Help Those With Long-Term Conditions

Study shows ancient exercise improves physical ability in those with arthritis, heart failure, emphysema and breast cancer

By Steven Reinberg     HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Sept. 17, 2015 (HealthDay News) – The slow, fluid movements of tai chi – an ancient Chinese exercise – appear to help older adults with chronic conditions improve their physical function, a new review suggests.

Specifically, those with breast cancer, heart failure, osteoarthritis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD, which includes emphysema) saw improvements in strength, balance and posture without worsening pain or being out of breath, researchers said.

“If you’re older and have one of the conditions mentioned in the study, tai chi may be an alternative you can use to increase your fitness level,” said senior researcher Darlene Reid, professor and chair of the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Toronto in Canada.

Tai chi is a series of gentle, flowing movements that aim to improve muscle power, balance, posture and flexibility, she said.

In addition, tai chi has a mental aspect, Reid said. “Many types of tai chi have a strong spiritual component,” she said. “So it may appeal to people in a different way than other types of exercise.”

Reid said other advantages of tai chi are that it can be done in a variety of environments, alone or in groups, and doesn’t require any equipment.

Moreover, as one ages, vigorous exercise may be less appealing, Reid said. “Tai chi is slow, rhythmical movements that have been developed over thousands of years and includes movements that require strength of different muscle groups,” she said.

The review was published Sept. 17 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

For the current review, researchers used data from 33 previously published studies. These studies included more than 1,500 people. The average age of people in the studies ranged from mid 50s to early 70s.

The average length of the tai chi training program was 12 weeks, and most sessions lasted an hour. Tai chi was usually done two to three times a week, the researchers said.

Multi-ethnic group of adults practicing tai chi in park. Main focus on senior man (60s).

Tai chi resulted in improvement in a six-minute walking test; muscle strength (measured by bending and stretching the knees); the time it took to get up and move; and quality of life, the researchers said.

Tai chi was associated with improvement in physical ability and muscle strength in most of the four chronic conditions. But there was only a trend toward improvement in muscle strength for people with osteoarthritis who did tai chi, the study found.

Tai chi was also associated with an improvement in pain and stiffness in osteoarthritis, in breathlessness in COPD, and improved sit-to-stand times among patients with osteoarthritis, the researchers said. They noted only an association and not a cause-and-effect link was seen between tai chi and physical improvements.

Samantha Heller is a senior clinical nutritionist and exercise physiologist at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. She reviewed the study and said, “The great thing about tai chi is that it is a gentle form of movement that is appropriate for many people suffering from medical conditions that preclude other, more rigorous forms of exercise.”

Tai chi is usually not expensive and many senior centers and other places offer free classes, she said.

“In addition there are videos and DVDs of tai chi so people can practice at home, though I would recommend initially working with a qualified instructor,” Heller said.

Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center and president of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, also reviewed the study. “Tai chi is accessible even to those who might think exercise out of reach due to their pain or functional limitations,” he said.

Other forms of exercise could likely offer the same benefit, he said.

“For now, though, we have evidence that tai chi confers the benefits of exercise on groups for whom physical activity is a challenge. That is reason enough to include it more routinely among doctor recommendations,” Katz said.

SOURCES: W. Darlene Reid, Ph.D., professor and chair, Department of Physical Therapy, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada; David Katz, M.D., M.P.H., director, Yale University Prevention Research Center, New Haven, Conn., and president, American College of Lifestyle Medicine; Samantha Heller, M.S., R.D., senior clinical nutritionist and exercise physiologist, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York City; Sept. 17, 2015, British Journal of Sports Medicine

source: WebMD News from HealthDay