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Can Gratitude Help You Live Longer?

The numbers are in and the facts are clear: gratitude helps you live longer. That’s because the more grateful you are for what you have, the happier you are.  And the happier you are, the healthier you’ll be. Gratitude doesn’t just improve your physical, psychological and emotional health — it also makes you into a nicer person. Here’s how it happens.

Gratitude Improves Physical Health

People who display gratitude have:

  • 16% fewer physical symptoms
  • 10% less physical pain
  • 25% increased sleep quality

Cancer survivors like Barbara Tako believe that “actively choosing to regularly practice gratitude is a powerful tool to manage the worries and fears of being a patient or a survivor.” This may be because the regions of the brain that are involved in happiness are also involved in blood-vessel function and inflammation. Studies have shown that levels of the stress hormone cortisol tend to rise and fall with emotion. People who practice gratitude experience less stress, because they don’t tend to dwell on negatives and feel more empowered to overcome hurdles.

Gratitude Improves Psychological Health

Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, from envy and resentment to frustration and regret. According to Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, a leading gratitude researcher, gratitude increases happiness and reduces depression.

Gratitude Improves Self-Esteem

A grateful person is more likely to accept that someone else is being nice to him.  He’s able to take the kindness that someone else shows him at face value, because he believes that he’s a person worth of receiving kindness. On the other hand, someone with low self-esteem leans towards seeing an act of kindness with a skeptical eye. He’s more likely to think that his benefactor had ulterior motives and is simply trying to get something from them.

Gratitude Increases Mental Resilience

Research shows that gratitude not only reduces stress, but also plays a major role in overcoming trauma. A 2003 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that gratitude was a major contributor to resilience following the terrorist attacks on September 11. When you can recognize, even in the worst of times, that you have things you can thankful for, you’re more likely to have the resilience to bounce back.

Gratitude Makes you More Likely to Exercise

If you have less pain and are feeling rested, you’re more likely to exercise. Grateful people exercise more often and are more likely to attend regular check-ups. Both these facts contribute to longevity.

Gratitude Makes you into a Nicer Person

Saying thank you and showing appreciation for favors makes you into a nicer person. But the benefits don’t end with the nice words. Showing appreciation actually helps you win new friends, according to a 2014 study published in Emotion. The study found that thanking a new acquaintance makes them more likely to seek an ongoing relationship. Sending a thank-you note to the therapist who called you to check how you where doing after a challenging OT session can lead to a new friendship. By becoming more trusting, social, and appreciative, you can deepen your existing relationships and make new friends.

So how do we go about cultivating this captivating trait of gratitude?

The Easy Key to Cultivating Gratitude

More and more people have started keeping a five-minute daily gratitude journal. By spending just five minutes jotting down a few grateful thoughts before falling asleep, you learn to flex your gratitude muscles. And there are additional benefits. People who keep a gratitude journal sleep better and longer.  And there’s more. In one 11-week study of 96 Americans, those who were instructed to keep a weekly gratitude journal exercised 40 minutes more per week than the control group.

Gratitude reduces feelings of envy, makes our memories happier, lets us experience good feelings, and helps us bounce back from stressful situations. So throw out the negativity and bring in the gratitude. Because it looks like gratitude can help you live longer.


Rhona Lewis is a healthcare freelance writer with over 11 years of writing experience that she uses to help healthcare companies grow their authority and create brand awareness. Her background as a journalist means she’s curious enough to ask the right questions and committed to thorough research. She has a knack for breaking down complex medical concepts into content that a lay audience will read till the end.

 

References:

https://www.everydayhealth.com

http://www.happinessandwellbeing.org

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/tips_for_keeping_a_gratitude_journal

choc-cheescake-ganache-cupcakes

The Naturopathic Chef: Gluten Free Vegan Double Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes

This is one of my most requested holiday desserts. The chocolate is so decadent and the cheesecake filling adds another layer of moist richness to the cake. Plus, you can include a spider web design inside the cake using a marbling technique — perfect for Halloween!

A splash of good coffee brings the super chocolate flavor and aroma. And, you’re adding some powerful brain health and feel-good neurotransmitters to the party!

Cheesecake Filling

  • 1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked 4 hours and drained
  • 1 large lemon, juiced (scant 1/4 cup)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar or maple syrup (or honey if not vegan)
  • pinch of salt

Flavor Options

  • 2 tbsp salted natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup berries
  • 3 tbsp caramel sauce

Place all ingredients into a high speed blender. Process until completely smooth and creamy. Add any flavor options and pulse to create a swirl effect. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill, while making the cupcake batter.

Cupcakes

  • 2 cups gluten free flour
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 rounded tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp applesauce or coconut oil
  • ¾ cup coconut sugar
  • 3 tbsp Chia bloomed in ½ cup coffee (this is your egg replacement)
  • 1 ½ tsp Vanilla
  • 3/4 cup Buttermilk (¾ cup vegan milk plus 1 tbsp white vinegar or lemon)
  • 2/3 cup vegan butter (Earth Balance)
  • ½ cup vegan chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place 24 cupcake papers in pans and spray lightly with pan spray.

Mix all dry ingredients and set aside. Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Stir in applesauce. Add Chia “eggs” 1/3 at a time. Blend well after each addition. Stir in Vanilla. Now, add dry ingredients, alternating with Buttermilk. Be sure to end with Buttermilk for a lighter texture. Gently fold in chocolate chips. Spoon batter into prepared cups and top with a dollop or swirl of cheesecake batter.

Use toothpicks or a bamboo skewer to pull white batter into a spiderweb design. You can also fill cupcake liners with a little chocolate batter. Add a good dollop on top and cover with additional chocolate batter, for a cheesecake surprise cupcake. Bake approximately 15 minutes. Any cracks should appear moist inside. Cake will spring back to a light touch.

Coconut Cream Ganache

  • 1 cup vegan chocolate chips
  • ¾ cup coconut cream
  • ¼ tsp vanilla
  • pinch salt

Warm coconut cream gently in small saucepan. Pour chocolate chips into a heatproof bowl. Pour warm cream over chocolate chips and allow to sit 2 minutes. Stir until smooth and glossy. Add vanilla and salt and cool until slightly thick. Dip cooled cupcakes into ganache and place back on cooling rack, to set ganache.

Don’t want to cover your spiderweb design? Place ganache in fridge and chill 40 minutes. Whip with hand mixer on high to create a fluffy ganache mousse. Pipe around outside edge and your spiderweb will have a delicious frame. Feeling really brave? Let your little ghouls and goblins dip their own cupcakes into the ganache.

Phyto Bites

When you’re cooking with The Medicine Chef, we always look at the #DeliciousMedicine contained in our recipes. This decadent dessert is no different: loaded with amino acids and phytonutrients of all types… but, sometimes it’s good for the soul to just enjoy the moment and allow yourself to have some indulgences and fun!


Affectionately referred to as The Walking Encyclopedia of Human Wellness, Fitness Coach, Strength Competitor and Powerlifting pioneer, Tina “The Medicine Chef” Martini is an internationally recognized Naturopathic Chef and star of the cooking show, Tina’s Ageless Kitchen. Tina’s cooking and lifestyle show has reached millions of food and fitness lovers all over the globe. Over the last 30 years, Tina has assisted celebrities, gold-medal athletes and over-scheduled executives naturally achieve radiant health using The Pyramid of Power: balancing Healthy Nutrition and the healing power of food, with Active Fitness and Body Alignment techniques. Working with those who have late-stage cancer, advanced diabetes, cardiovascular and other illnesses, Tina’s clients are astounded at the ease and speed with which they are able to restore their radiant health. Tina believes that maintaining balance in our diet, physical activity, and in our work and spiritual life is the key to our good health, happiness and overall well being. Visit her website, themedicinechef.com

veg in hand

Heart Disease is Preventable and Reversible through Nutritional Intervention

Heart disease is devastating to both our health and our economy. It is the number one cause of death in the country. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) accounted for 32.1 percent of deaths in the United States in 2013 – one out of every three deaths is due to this preventable disease.1 A significant number of research studies have documented that heart disease is easily and almost completely preventable (and reversible) through a diet rich in plant produce and lower in processed foods and animal products.6-9

As the prevalence of CVD escalates, medical costs are rising rapidly. The American Heart Association has projected that by 2030, 40.5 percent of the US population will have some form of cardiovascular disease, and the direct medical costs attributed to cardiovascular diseases will triple compared to 2010 costs.2

Risk factors for heart disease are commonplace for U.S. adults:32.6 percent have hypertension, 13.1 percent have total cholesterol above 240 mg/dl,3 9.3 percent of U.S. adults have diabetes,4 and 68.5 percent of U.S. adults are overweight or obese.5 As a result, it has become considered normal in our society to have atherosclerosis, and to die from cardiovascular disease. If you eat the standard western diet that most people eat in the modern world, you will surely develop heart disease and may die from it.



Fighting heart disease: Superior nutrition versus drugs and surgery

In 2015, I published a scientific article in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine demonstrating, with survey data and case histories, the dramatic weight loss and cardiovascular benefits possible with a Nutritarian diet. Respondents who started out obese lost an average of over 50 pounds two years after the switch to a Nutritarian diet. After one year, in those who started out with hypertension, there was a 26 mm Hg average reduction in systolic blood pressure. In respondents who were not taking cholesterol-lowering medication, there was an average 42 mg/dl decrease in LDL cholesterol, and an average decrease in triglycerides of 79.5 mg/dl.10

The surgical interventions commonly used to treat heart disease, such as angioplasty and bypass surgery are futile. The COURAGE trial and additional studies conducted since have documented that patients undergoing those invasive procedures do not live longer or have fewer heart attacks compared to those receiving medical therapy  with modest lifestyle changes.11-12 Surgical interventions are not long-term solutions to heart disease; they merely treat a small portion of a blood vessel, while cardiovascular disease continues to progress throughout the vasculature.

Drugs that treat hypertension and elevated cholesterol carry serious risks and do not stop heart disease from progressing. Cholesterol-lowering statin drugs are known to increase the risk of diabetes, impaired muscle function, cataracts, liver dysfunction and kidney injury. 13 Each different class of blood pressure-lowering medications is associated with its own risks and side effects. ACE inhibitors commonly cause a persistent cough; diuretics are linked to increased risk of diabetes; beta blockers are associated with increased likelihood of stroke; calcium channel blockers may increase risk of heart attack and breast cancer; and ARBs are associated with increased risk of lung cancer.14-20

The risk associated with these treatments is unacceptable when there is a safe, effective alternative —smart nutrition and exercise – that can actually reverse heart disease and obliterate the need for risky and even futile medical care. Atherosclerotic plaque can be reversed, and cholesterol lowered without drugs or surgery.

Rainbow heart of fruits and vegetables

Success stories (two of numerous)

Ronnie weighed over 300 pounds when he wound up needing emergency quadruple bypass surgery.  Three years later, he was back for an angioplasty and three stents, but his chest pain returned within one month of the surgery. Working with Dr. Fuhrman in the Ask the Doctor Community, Ronnie lost 140 pounds and went off all medications. He runs and plays sports and has served as an inspiration to family members who have also lost weight and begun to live healthier lives. Read his story.

Julia had three heart attacks within three months. After her fifth angioplasty, she still had constant chest pain. She was on 10 different daily medications, suffered migraines, and, at the age of 60, could not walk even one block. Today, Julia has lost 105 pounds, and now enjoys every day pleasures like exercise, gardening, and playing with her grandchildren. She went from a “cardiac cripple” to a healthy, happy woman. Read her story.

Like Ronnie and Julia, over the last 20 years hundreds of my other patients with advanced heart disease have demonstrated that dramatic reversal of advanced disease can even occur in a relatively short time.

Following the lenient recommendations of the American Heart Association and wearing a red dress pin do not form an effective strategy for protecting you or your loved ones against heart disease. Also, drugs and surgery do not cure heart disease. A health-promoting, nutrient-dense (Nutritarian) diet, that I have designed and advanced over the years (coupled with exercise) is dramatically effective and protective for preventing and reversing  high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes — as well as heart disease — because it removes the primary dietary cause of heart disease, while providing the most protective and life-span promoting diet-style. For more information, check out my book, The End of Heart Disease.

Everyone needs to know that heart disease can be avoided; and those who already have heart disease deserve to know that they can reverse their disease. Conventional medical care does NOT protect against heart disease-related death. Only a Nutritarian diet can offer dramatic lifespan-enhancing benefits against both cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Originally printed on DrFuhrman.com. Reprinted with permission.


Joel Fuhrman, M.D. is a board-certified family physician, six-time New York Times bestselling author and internationally recognized expert on nutrition and natural healing, who specializes in preventing and reversing disease through nutritional methods. Dr. Fuhrman coined the term “Nutritarian” to describe his longevity-promoting, nutrient-dense, plant-rich eating style.

References

  1.  Xu J, Murphy SL, Kochanek KD, et al: Deaths: Final Data for 2013. Natl Vital Stat Rep 2016;64:1-119.
  2. Heidenreich PA, Trogdon JG, Khavjou OA, et al: Forecasting the Future of Cardiovascular Disease in the United States: A Policy Statement From the American Heart Association. Circulation 2011.
  3. Mozaffarian D, Benjamin EJ, Go AS, et al: Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics-2016 Update: A Report From the American Heart Association. Circulation 2016;133:e38-e360.
  4. American Diabetes Association: Diabetes statistics [http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/statistics/]
  5. Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Kit BK, et al: Prevalence of childhood and adult obesity in the United States, 2011-2012. JAMA 2014;311:806-814.
  6. Ornish D, Brown SE, Scherwitz LW, et al: Can lifestyle changes reverse coronary heart disease? The Lifestyle Heart Trial. Lancet 1990;336:129-133.
  7. Ornish D, Scherwitz LW, Billings JH, et al: Intensive lifestyle changes for reversal of coronary heart disease. JAMA 1998;280:2001-2007.
  8. Esselstyn CB, Jr.: Updating a 12-year experience with arrest and reversal therapy for coronary heart disease (an overdue requiem for palliative cardiology). Am J Cardiol 1999;84:339-341, A338.
  9. Esselstyn CB, Jr., Ellis SG, Medendorp SV, et al: A strategy to arrest and reverse coronary artery disease: a 5-year longitudinal study of a single physician’s practice. J Fam Pract 1995;41:560-568.
  10. Fuhrman J, Singer M: Improved Cardiovascular Parameter With a Nutrient-Dense, Plant-Rich Diet-Style: A Patient Survey With Illustrative Cases. Am J Lifestyle Med 2015.
  11. Boden WE, O’Rourke RA, Teo KK, et al: Optimal medical therapy with or without PCI for stable coronary disease. N Engl J Med 2007;356:1503-1516.
  12. Trikalinos TA, Alsheikh-Ali AA, Tatsioni A, et al: Percutaneous coronary interventions for non-acute coronary artery disease: a quantitative 20-year synopsis and a network meta-analysis. Lancet 2009;373:911-918.
  13. Hippisley-Cox J, Coupland C: Unintended effects of statins in men and women in England and Wales: population based cohort study using the QResearch database. BMJ 2010;340:c2197.
  14. Simon SR, Black HR, Moser M, et al: Cough and ACE inhibitors. Arch Intern Med 1992;152:1698-1700.
  15. Bangalore S, Messerli FH, Kostis JB, et al: Cardiovascular protection using beta-blockers: a critical review of the evidence. J Am Coll Cardiol 2007;50:563-572.
  16. Gupta AK, Dahlof B, Dobson J, et al: Determinants of new-onset diabetes among 19,257 hypertensive patients randomized in the Anglo-Scandinavian Cardiac Outcomes Trial–Blood Pressure Lowering Arm and the relative influence of antihypertensive medication. Diabetes Care 2008;31:982-988.
  17. Wassertheil-Smoller S, Psaty B, Greenland P, et al: Association between cardiovascular outcomes and antihypertensive drug treatment in older women. JAMA 2004;292:2849-2859.
  18. Group PS, Devereaux PJ, Yang H, et al: Effects of extended-release metoprolol succinate in patients undergoing non-cardiac surgery (POISE trial): a randomised controlled trial. Lancet 2008;371:1839-1847.
  19. Li CI, Daling JR, Tang MT, et al: Use of Antihypertensive Medications and Breast Cancer Risk Among Women Aged 55 to 74 Years. JAMA Intern Med 2013.
  20. Sipahi I, Debanne SM, Rowland DY, et al: Angiotensin-receptor blockade and risk of cancer: meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Lancet Oncol 2010;11:627-636.
Gym woman pilates stretching sport in reformer bed

The Role of the Pilates Professional in Cancer Treatment and Rehabilitation

I am a 12 year breast cancer survivor, and experienced what cancer patients go through, not just from theory, but from living it. I’m going to talk about the role that Pilates had in my rehab and why I consider essential for cancer patients and survivors.

After surgery and treatment, most cancer patients are left with lack of flexibility and range of motion, and poor posture because of the scar tissue. Most experience fatigue from chemo and radiation or just stress of the circumstances. Many go through hormonal treatment which reduces the muscle mass, increases the risk of osteoporosis and bone fracture, bone pain, fatigue, mood swings and lack of stamina and stress.

Breathing is an essential part of Pilates. It helps with stress and stamina, reduces fatigue, opens the lungs and helps with mood swings. When we are paying attention to our breathing, we clear thoughts and allow the oxygen and energy flow through our bodies.

Awareness is a principle that helps us increase the consciousness of our body and the parts that are in disharmony and need to be repaired, isolating them from other parts to progressively make them stronger and healthier. Mind –Body connection

Control is another principle helps coordinate the body parts and move them with the correct alignment, avoiding jerky movements used in general workouts (especially using the Core which we call the powerhouse) and increasing BALANCE that is so affected in cancer patients.

Flexibility and range of motion are key in the rehabilitation for mobility and functionality of the limbs or part of the body affected so we start testing the patient range of motion without any resistance at first.

Pilates machines have springs that allow switching among different resistance according to the patient’s condition avoiding injuries and pain,

Allowing the patient to get FLEXIBLE then STRONGER and then MANAGE THEIR OWN BODY improving posture, Functionality, mobility, self-image and self-confidence.

Exercise Samples


Graciela Perez is a National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) Personal Trainer, Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) Aquatic Specialist, and a Cancer Exercise Training Institute Cancer Exercise Specialist. She’s been helping people reaching their health and fitness goals since 2003.