Before you begin reading this article, do the following breathing technique then read on to find out how you JUST made yourself more alert, more energetic and healthier in general. SOURCE
1. Inhale deeply
2. Exhale with a short burst (as if blowing out a candle). This helps activate your diaphragm, which most people don’t use.
3. Exhale with a long, slow finish to empty the lungs. Breathlessness comes from not expelling enough CO2.
4. Inhale, filling your lungs from the bottom to the top, instead of taking short sips. Most use a third of their lung capacity.
5. Hold for a moment to allow oxygen to saturate the cells.
6. Exhale slowly and completely. – Completes 1 Breath Cycle.
7. Repeat steps 4 through 6 for five minutes. Practice this technique 5 to 6 times per day.
Deep breaths help to calm our minds, enable us to think more clearly and relax the body. Taking 10 breath cycles per minute actually helps the brain recover from stress. * See the above exercise in breathing for one complete breath cycle. Slower, deeper breathing increases “HRV – Heart Rate Variability” which translates into quicker recovery times when physically exerting yourself. When you breathe deeper and slower to improve HRV, body rhythms come into balance for a healthier and more positive aspect on life.
In an article by Chuck Thompson, June 2009 in the Mens Journal, he expands on the above citing research by Don Campbell who says “…as we get older, we forget how to breathe properly.” Campbell notes that in this day and age of technology and, all be it, a more sedentary life style since we sit at computers or in front of televisions, the average person looses about a third of their lung capacity, increasing breaths to 15 per minute. This is a more shallow and faster breath which does not fill the lungs and work the diaphragm. Slouching, tight clothing, poor nutrition/health habits lead to racing heart rates and higher blood pressure resulting in inadequate breathing.
Don Campbell co authored a book, “Perfect Breathing: Transform Your Life One Breath at a Time” with Al Lee and through their research discovered 10 or less slow, deep breaths per minute maximizes health benefits by increasing oxygen saturation in cells. Mobile Health Interventions offers an app for your smart phone called BreathPacer for optimizing breathing rates.
Think of the benefits! Breathing is something you MUST do every day, no cost involved. So why not do it right and reap the rewards for a better functioning body? Scroll back up to the top of this article and go through the deep breathing technique again. If you did it the first time, now you only have 3 to 4 more sets to complete.
- Mental Focus Improvement
- More creativity
- More energy
- A sense of calm
- Handle stress easier.
Read more from Mens Journal.
In addition to breathing techniques, a good diet is paramount for health and can also offer ways to combat stress.
Small, frequent meals that contain complex carbohydrates, healthy fat and protein.
Omega-3 fats found in fish, nuts, and flaxseed
Fruits and vegetables for a healthy supply of B vitamins.
Whole Grains: Complex carbohydrates help us to relax since they help the brain produce serotonin. They regulate blood sugar, preventing spikes in mood. Examples include healthy whole grains of quinoa, popcorn (no oil, butter or salt), wild rice, 100% whole grain cereals and pastas.
Protein Rich Foods: The amino acid called Tryptophan is a source that calms the brain. Maybe you know if best from those big meals at Thanksgiving when turkey might be the main source. It can also be found in cheese, chicken, fish, eggs, soy, and milk.
ATTN: LOCAL FOLKS – Not quite ready to cook turkey? From noon to 2pm this weekend, the Westmoreland Masonic Lodge#347 at 7277 E.Main St. Westmoreland is serving a family style turkey dinner. They have take out as well!
Vitamin B-12 helps ward off depression and anxiety, found in seafood, beef, miso, and other fermented products. *There is little chance that the average American is vitamin B-12 deficient but older individuals or those with restrictive diets may need to supplement. – SOURCE
A recipe using whole grains, healthy protein, and a dose of Vitamin B-12: Great Grain Stew – Farro with Clams and Wine .
Cook The Farro – you may cook this ahead of time, if preferred
• 1 1/2 cups water
• 3/4 cup farro
• 1 bay leaf
• 2 whole pepper corns
• 1/2 tsp sea salt
Bring all ingredients to a boil. Decrease to a simmer, cover and cook for 25 minutes. Remove bay leaf, drain any excess liquid and set aside.
Now the Stew –
• 1 to 2 dozen little neck clams (If you use 1 dozen, I recommend adding chopped clams later in the recipe)
• 2 TBS olive oil
• 1 cup chopped onion
• 1 cup thin sliced carrots
• 1 cup sliced celery
• 3 tsp minced garlic
• 2 tsp minced fresh rosemary
• 2 bay leaves
• 1/4 tsp red chili flakes
• 1/2 tsp sea salt
• 1 cup white wine
• 15 oz can diced tomatoes
• 1/2 pint sliced mushrooms
• 1 1/2 cups water or vegetable broth
• 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
• 2 TBS lemon juice and some lemon wedges
• olive oil
Rinse and clean the clams. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, celery, garlic, 1 tsp rosemary, bay leaves, red pepper, and 1/4 tsp salt. Cook for 5 minutes.
Turn up heat to medium high and add 1/4 cup of the wine. Stir until it’s almost absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, mushrooms, water/broth, and the rest of the wine, pepper, and rest of the salt. Bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered at a simmer for 5 – 8 minutes or until carrots are almost tender.
Add the clams and farro and the rest of the rosemary. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook over medium heat for about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and toss away any clams that didn’t open.
To serve, add lemon juice. Drizzle with a little more olive oil if you want and serve with lemon wedges and parsley.