Thursday, June 30, 2016

Sing A Song!

Today I thought I'd repost something from a couple of years ago that's always a good reminder. Enjoy and keep on singing! =)

Health Benefits of Singing

I love to sing, I always have. But did you know that singing is good for your health? 
The research on this is quite amazing! Here's a list of some of the health benefits of singing.
Singing -
*boosts the immune system
*releases endorphins ("feel good" brain chemicals) 
*improves mood and relieves stress
*gives the lungs, abdomen, diaphragm, etc. a workout (if you sing with correct form, not just from your throat)
*stimulates circulation
*improves posture and mental alertness
*can improve sleep
Wow, that's pretty impressive! 
It's also possible that singing specific sounds can help certain functions in the body. I found the following information on one website that was very interesting. It said:
*Singing the short-a sound, as in "ahh," for 2-3 minutes will help banish the blues. It forces oxygen into the blood, which signals the brain to release mood-lifting endorphins.
*To boost alertness, make the long-e sound, as in "emit." It stimulates the pineal gland, which controls the body's biological clock.
*Singing the short-e sound, as in "echo" stimulates the thyroid gland, which secretes hormones that control the speed which digestion and other bodily processes occur.
*Making the long-o sound as in "ocean" stimulates the pancreas, which regulates blood sugar.
*To strengthen immunity, sing the double-o sound, as in "tool." This activates the spleen, which regulates the production of infection fighting white blood cells.
Other research recommends group singing for better health.
"All types of singing have positive psychological effects. The act of singing releases endorphins, the brain's 'feel good' chemicals. Singing in front of a crowd...naturally builds confidence, which has broad and long-lasting effects on general well-being. But of all types of singing, it's choral singing that seems to have the most dramatic effects on people's lives."
I haven't sung in a choir since high school. But I do very much enjoy the group singing at church when I'm able to go. When I was in junior high, once a month we had what we called a "Singspiration." On a Sunday night we'd get together and just sing for about an hour. Anyone could request a song from the hynmal or praise-book. It was wonderful! Those are still some of my favorite memories. 
I think it's important to note that what we sing is key (pun intended). =) Sometimes I catch myself singing a song with words that are not something I need to be repeating to myself. A lot of catchy tunes have untrue or negative words. So remember to sing words that are true, encouraging, and uplifting. Most people remember words that they sing much more easily than words they read or hear. So find some music you enjoy with the life-giving words that you want to have playing in your mind, and keep on singing! 

To get you started, here's one of my favorite songs. =)

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Wonders of Garlic

You've probably heard that garlic is good for you, but most people don't take the time to truly gain from the benefits of garlic. Perhaps because it has such a strong flavor and no one wants "garlic breath." Or perhaps because it's easier to sprinkle garlic salt on food than to buy fresh garlic, peel it, and chop it (or press it).

But garlic is one of those simple things that has major health benefits. So with this post I hope to inspire you to go out and buy some garlic and start using it faithfully! =) 

Here are just a few of the many benefits of garlic -

For starters, garlic has antifungal, antiviral, antibiotic, and antioxidant properties.

Garlic boosts the immune system.

Garlic is good for heart health, preventing plaque from forming in arteries and promoting proper blood flow.

Garlic helps normalize cholesterol and blood pressure.

Garlic is good for the bones and the thyroid.

Garlic helps protect against cancers.

Garlic helps reduce inflammation.

Wow! Are you impressed yet? =)

The trick with garlic is in how it's used. Here are Dr. Mercola's comments on the best use:

"Garlic must be fresh to give you optimal health benefits though.
The fresh clove must be crushed or chopped in order to stimulate the release of an enzyme called alliinase, which in turn catalyzes the formation of allicin. Allicin in turn rapidly breaks down to form a number of different organosulfur compounds. So to "activate" garlic's medicinal properties, compress a fresh clove with a spoon prior to swallowing it, or put it through your juicer to add to your vegetable juice.
A single medium size clove or two is usually sufficient, and is well-tolerated by most people. The active ingredient, allicin, is destroyed within one hour of smashing the garlic, so garlic pills are virtually worthless.
You also won't reap all the health benefits garlic has to offer if you use jarred, powdered or dried versions."


So yes, you can use garlic in cooking, but to gain the most benefits from it, it's better to consume it raw. I've done this before, and while it's not pleasant to swallow a chopped garlic clove, it's a pretty simple way to improve health. Or you can always add it to juicing as Dr. Mercola mentioned. (An exception would be if your digestive system doesn't handle raw garlic well, in which case just eat it cooked.)

Eating garlic isn't the only way you can use it though. You can also hold a raw clove of garlic in your right hand (for about 10 minutes) to help your body fight an infection. I often do this when dealing with infections, sometimes even twice a day. It's simple and helpful.

You can also use garlic as a tool for decontaminating things. You just peel the garlic and set one or more cloves on the object (depending on its size). Leave the garlic for about 15 minutes, then throw it away, and you'll be amazed how much less toxic or smelly the item will be!
I've used garlic to remove cat urine smell from things (when I was staying with a friend who had a cat).
I've used it to absorb mold/mycotoxins that got on objects. (We've had a lot of those since we got mold in our house last year. Many things we threw away, but some things we were able to save by putting garlic on them, yeah!)
You can use it to detoxify a new mattress or other new furniture (which are usually loaded with chemicals, especially flame retardants).
It's great for absorbing things like smells, mycotoxins, flame retardants, etc. If you're not sure if it'll help with a particular item or smell, give it a try anyway, there's nothing to lose. =)

Well, I hope all this information has amazed you with the wonders of garlic! I hope you'll go buy some (preferably organic) and give it a try. =)

Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Brain, Thoughts, and Health

"God designed the human mind with an absolutely breathtaking ability to change itself. We have a responsibility to use this power of free will well, to glorify him through the stewardship of our bodies and the rest of creation. To be made in the image of God, with the creative power of choice, is not just a nice idea to make you feel good about yourself, but a serious RESPONSIBILITY, an immense act of love on the part of a magnificent Creator." -Dr. Caroline Leaf

I've mentioned before how much I appreciate Dr. Caroline Leaf, a brilliant brain scientist and dedicated Christian. She now has a TV show where she covers so many helpful topics such as stress, toxic thinking, handling emotions, etc.

I love listening to her! I always come away with greater awe of God and greater hope for my own situation.

Here's the website where you can select past episodes of the show to watch. I think it's on TV every Wednesday in the USA, and air times are listed on the site for other countries as well.

I encourage you to take the time to watch one episode a week if you can. And please pass this great resource along to others!

Dr. Leaf also has a facebook page you can follow if you want to.

Our brains are amazing! I hope you'll be encouraged and inspired as you learn more about how to use your brain for good.