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Eat Spinach for Better Health.

If you want bulging biceps like Popeye the sailor, then all you have to do is eat his favourite food – spinach.

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And, saying this are scientists from Rutgers University who have found that the green vegetable really does boost strength. The secret behind this, they reveal, is that spinach contains phytoecdysteroids, a type of steroid that increases the development of muscles.

As a part of their study the researchers used extracts of phytoecdysteriods on lab samples of human muscle, and found that it speeded up muscle growth by 20%. According to the New Scientist, on conducting trials on rats, the researchers found that spinach extracts made the rodents stronger within a month, the Daily Express reported on Thursday.

Researchers state that eating spinach is not only a good idea if you want strong muscles, but also if you want to keep eye disease, teeth, gum problems and anaemia at bay. But it does suggest the US creators of the famous nautical hero were ahead of their time.

It is said they toyed with the idea of making garlic Popeye’s strength enhancer when they devised the original comic strip in 1919 – but by 1932 he was eating spinach to give him almost superhuman powers.

Spinach was chosen because it was known to be extremely healthy. It was used as a cure for scurvy because it was rich in iron, although it actually contains less iron than many other vegetables. But since then more and more health-giving properties of spinach have been discovered.

Apart from this, it has also been found to have heart benefits. Research has shown that the vegetable can strengthen hearts, reduce the risk of a heart attack and boost survival rates by a third for attack victims.

However, getting biceps like Popeye will not be an easy task for the researchers also stated that to do so, you would need to eat at least a kilo of spinach a day.

Spinach became one of trendiest foods in Britain and sales soared by 30% in 2006 after TV chefs and health gurus backed it as something essential for health.

“Spinach is the broom of the stomach.” French Proverb

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Spinach Recipe

Spinach Can Reduce Ovarian Cancer Risks

Can Spinach save your eyesight?

Sources: The Times Of India

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Learn Healthy Breathing

The Right Breath:You already know how to breathe, right? You do it every moment, every day, without even thinking about. Chances are, though, your breathing technique is not as healthy as you might think.

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Most of us breathe too shallowly, too quickly. Our lungs and heart would greatly prefer longer, slower, deeper breaths. This is true for general health, and it is also true for managing stress. Deep breathing helps dissipate the fight-or-flight reaction so many of us experience when we’re stressed. It sends a signal to your brain to slow down, which results in hormonal and physiological changes that slow heart rate and lower blood pressure.

You might be surprised that there are lots of big books written on breathing method. That’s because proper breathing technique is crucial for everyone from athletes to people with asthma to yoga experts. But for us regular folk, there are only a few things you need to keep in mind:

  • In general, inhale slowly and deeply through the nose. A healthy inhale takes about five seconds.
  • In general, exhale slowly through the mouth. Empty your lungs completely. Good breathers focus more on thorough exhalation than on inhalation.
  • Engage your diaphragm for good breathing. The diaphragm is the sheet of muscle along the top of your abdomen that pulls your lungs down to draw in air, and then pushes your lungs up to expel carbon dioxide. With a good inhalation, your lungs puff up as your diaphragm drops. With a good exhale, your diaphragm rises. If you don’t feel this muscle moving, deepen your breaths even more.
  • Work toward breathing just six or eight deep breaths per minute. Most of us breathe more than 20 times a minute.

Breathe Away Anxiety

Proper breathing is particularly important during moments of great anxiety. At times like these, many people resort to chest breathing — the type of big, desperate inhales and exhales that make you rapidly puff up and deflate your chest, says Michael Crabtree, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania, and a licensed clinical psychologist.

To regain healthy breathing during periods of anxiety, he says, lie on the floor and place your hand on your chest. Using your hand as a gauge, try to reduce the amount of chest movement, while continuing to breathe normally. You don’t want your chest to move; you want the other parts of your body to take over the breathing — using your diaphragm instead of the big chest inhales and exhales. Do this for five minutes.

Be aware that chest breathing still has a purpose, but only in times of extreme emotional arousal or physical challenge. “Most Americans use chest breathing because of developing instincts from fight-or-flight conditions,” he says. It is in those types of physically dangerous situations that it is still necessary — not for everyday stress or anxiety. Proper breathing is particularly important during moments of great anxiety. At times like these, many people resort to chest breathing — the type of big, desperate inhales and exhales that make you rapidly puff up and deflate your chest, says Michael Crabtree, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania, and a licensed clinical psychologist.

To regain healthy breathing during periods of anxiety, he says, lie on the floor and place your hand on your chest. Using your hand as a gauge, try to reduce the amount of chest movement, while continuing to breathe normally. You don’t want your chest to move; you want the other parts of your body to take over the breathing — using your diaphragm instead of the big chest inhales and exhales. Do this for five minutes.

Be aware that chest breathing still has a purpose, but only in times of extreme emotional arousal or physical challenge. “Most Americans use chest breathing because of developing instincts from fight-or-flight conditions,” he says. It is in those types of physically dangerous situations that it is still necessary — not for everyday stress or anxiety.

Source:Reader’s Digest