Category: Promotion

Have You Done Your Yoga Today?

By Jaelyn Copeland| UAB Community Health and Human Services Intern

In today’s hectic environment, yoga, an age-old practice of meditation, has grown in popularity. Yoga began as a spiritual practice but has become popular as a way of promoting physical and mental well-being (Yoga: What you need to know, 2023). It also offers many people a respite from their hectic and stressful life. This holds true whether you’re doing downward dog on a mat in your bedroom, an ashram in India, or even Times Square in New York City. Numerous other psychological and physical advantages of yoga exist. Some of these reach the dining room table.

Inner awareness is developed through yoga. It directs your attention to the capabilities of your body right now. It enhances physical and mental stamina and breath. It has nothing to do with appearance.

Mirrors are often absent from yoga studios. This allows people to concentrate on themselves instead of how they seem in a stance or in relation to others. According to surveys, persons who practiced yoga were more conscious of their bodies than those who didn’t. Additionally, they felt better about and were less critical of their bodies. Due to these factors, yoga is now a crucial component of programs that support a good body image and sense of self-worth as well as the treatment of eating disorders.

According to their results, the researchers discovered that those who practiced yoga were more conscious eaters. Better mindful eating scores were correlated with years of yoga practice as well as weekly minutes of practice. You become more conscious of how your body feels as you practice yoga. When eating, you can use this increased awareness to savor each bite or drink and pay attention to how the food feels, tastes, and smells in your mouth.

Yoga is more complex than it looks, however, you are guaranteed to feel rejuvenated after one session. This type of movement stretches your muscles and aids in increasing blood flow going needed when performing physical activity.

Yoga – benefits beyond the mat. Harvard Health. (2021, September 8). Retrieved December 6, 2022, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/yoga-benefits-beyond-the-mat

Yoga: What you need to know. (n.d.). Retrieved March 27, 2023, from https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/yoga-what-you-need-to-know

What’s the Tea on Green Tea?

By Jaelyn Copeland|UAB Community Health & Human Services Intern

Green tea is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant and has been used as medicine for thousands of years in China and Japan. Although many varieties of tea come from this plant, green tea is considered the healthiest because of how it is processed (Curtis, 2023). Green tea is also promoted as a beverage or nutritional supplement for improving mental clarity, reducing headaches and gastrointestinal issues, and it is awesome for promoting weight loss. Thanks to its many benefits, it has become more popular and is consumed worldwide.

Green tea contains caffeine, a stimulant that boosts mood, energy levels, reaction time, and memory. Along with caffeine, green tea also contains L-theanine, an amino acid that positively affects mood, lowers stress, and boosts dopamine and serotonin production. Caffeine and L-theanine work together to improve mood, reaction time, attention, and memory (Curtis, 2023)

Many components of Green Tea, particularly EGCG, gets a lot of attention for its potential positive impact on health. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is a unique plant compound that is known to help reduce inflammation, aid in weight loss, prevent heart disease, brain disease, and even cancer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also approved a topical ointment, sinecatechins (brand name Veregen), which includes extracted components of green tea leaves and is used for the treatment of genital warts.

Green tea has many health benefits and is generally safe in moderation. Most side effects are related to its caffeine content, and consumers are encouraged to not drink more than 8 cups a day.

Now that’s some good Tea!

Curtis, L. (n.d.). The health benefits of Green Tea. Verywell Health. Retrieved February 2, 2023, from https://www.verywellhealth.com/green-tea-benefits-6951098

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Green tea. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Retrieved December 6, 2022, from https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/green-tea

Ashwagandha: A Natural Way to Fight Depression or Anxiety

By Jaelyn Copeland | UAB Community Health and Human Services Intern

Depression and Anxiety are fairly common mental health issues among individuals across the world. According to the CDC, depression occurs when a sad mood lasts for a long time, and interferes with normal, everyday functioning (CDC, 2022). Symptoms of Depression include:

  • Feeling sad or anxious often or all the time
  • Not wanting to do activities that used to be fun
  • Feeling irritable‚ easily frustrated‚ or restless
  • Having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Waking up too early or sleeping too much
  • Eating more or less than usual or having no appetite
  • Experiencing aches, pains, headaches, or stomach problems that do not improve with treatment
  • Having trouble concentrating, remembering details, or making decisions
  • Feeling tired‚ even after sleeping well
  • Feeling guilty, worthless, or helpless
  • Thinking about suicide or hurting yourself

Fortunately there are existing supplements that can help treat symptoms of depression, stress and anxiety. Ashwagandha is part of an evergreen plant that grows in both Asia and Africa. The plant is known to have health benefits when ingested as teas, powders, tinctures and supplements, or in raw form (Chandrasekhar et al., 2012). Ashwagandha is a classic example of a adaptogen, a plant or mushroom used for a variety of stress-related ailments such as anxiety, sleeplessness, aging and well-being. Ashwagandha also aids the body’s ability to withstand both physical and mental stress (Kumar et al., 2021).

Here are 7 benefits of using Ashwaganda:

  • Relieves stress and anxiety 
  • Lowers blood sugar and fat
  • Increases muscular strength 
  • Improves sexual function in women
  • Boosts fertility and testosterone levels in men
  • Sharpens focus and memory 
  • Supports heart health

Ashwagandha is usually consumed by using supplement capsules or in tablet, powder, tincture and tea form (Forbes, 2023). For more creativity, you can add the raw form of Ashwagandha into nut butters, granola, smoothies and overnight oats with low exposure to high heat. Have you tried Ashwagandha? What has been your experience? Feel free to leave a comment and join us on Facebook.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, September 14). Mental health conditions: Depression and anxiety. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved February 6, 2023, from https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/diseases/depression-anxiety.html

Forbes Magazine. (2023, February 1). 7 science-backed health benefits of ashwagandha. Forbes. Retrieved February 6, 2023, from https://www.forbes.com/health/body/ashwagandha-benefits/

Kumar S, Bouic PJ, Rosenkranz B. Investigation of CYP2B6, 3A4 and ß-esterase interactions of Withania somnifera (L.) dunal in human liver microsomes and HepG2 cells. J Ethnopharmacol. 2021;270:113766.

Chandrasekhar, K., Kapoor, J., & Anishetty, S. (2012). A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults. Indian journal of psychological medicine34(3), 255–262. https://doi.org/10.4103/0253-7176.106022.

R&B Singer Donell Jones Survives Crash after Falling Asleep While Driving

By Tan Walker | UAB Community Health & Human Services Intern

R&B singer, Donell Jones, considers himself a lucky man after he fell asleep behind the wheel of his Mercedes Benz and crashed into a ditch. The shocking incident took place on January 9th of 2023. 

Fortunately, the 49 year old did not suffer any major injuries, but he stated that this scary experience “taught him a valuable lesson” about driving while tired. Jones made an Instagram post that reads: “I fell asleep while driving yesterday and ended up in a ditch. I walk away with no injuries but I learned a valuable lesson, that if you’re tired just park the car cause this could’ve been bad.”

He also added that he was truly protected and continuously thanks God for wrapping his arms around him during the crash. He states “My love and loyalty is to you.”

Along with this gracious caption, Donell Jones shared a series of photos showing the aftermath of the accident. His silver Mercedes Benz was barricaded in a ditch by the side of the road.

Driving while tired or sleepy is just as dangerous as drunk driving. It decreases your attentiveness and alertness while on the road, it slows down your reaction time, and it affects your ability to make good decisions. In 2017, drowsy driving was involved in 91,000 crashes, resulting in 50,000 injuries and nearly 800 deaths (CDC, 2023). 

Warning signs of drowsy driving include: 

  • Yawning or blinking frequently.
  • Trouble remembering the past few miles driven.
  • Missing your exit.
  • Drifting from your lane.
  • Hitting a rumble strip on the side of the road.

Have you experienced negative impacts of driving while tired? Share with us in the comments or on social media. Likewise, share any positive or healthy tips that you do to drive responsibly. Remember to always get enough sleep before taking the wheel, and drive alert to stay unhurt!

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, November 21). Drowsy driving: Asleep at the wheel. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved January 17, 2023, from https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/features/drowsy-driving.html

Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

By Jaelyn Copeland|UAB CommunityHealth and Human Services Intern

Apple Cider vinegar (ACV) is a vinegar made from fermented apple juice. It is a very versatile product that is commonly used in cooking, or to make dressings, sauces, and marinades.

ACV can also be used as a home remedy for many health ailments, and is available in forms such as tablets, capsules, powder, liquid drops, gummies and topical prescriptions.

The production of apple cider vinegar involves two steps. Crushed apples are first exposed to yeast, which causes the carbohydrates to ferment and transform into alcohol. The alcohol is then further fermented by the addition of bacteria, creating acetic acid, which is the primary active ingredient in vinegar. Vinegar gets its potently sour flavor and smell from acetic acid. Although potential claims are not backed by scientific evidence, the health benefits of apple cider vinegar are thought to be caused by acetic acid. This acid makes up 5-6% of cider vinegars.

Benefits of ACV may include:

  • May lower blood sugar levels
  • May reduce cholesterol
  • May offer antimicrobial benefits
  • May help increase weight loss

BuBu Banini, M.D. suggests that individuals should consume no more than one to two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar per day. “When used in small amounts, the risk of apple cider vinegar is generally low,” she says. As long as you are tolerating it, diluting it and don’t have esophageal issues, there is no reason not to try it!

Reference

Forbes Magazine. (2023, January 19). Apple cider vinegar benefits and possible side effects. Forbes. Retrieved February 10, 2023, from https://www.forbes.com/health/body/apple-cider-vinegar-benefits/

Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

By Jaelyn Copeland |UAB CommunityHealth and Human Services Intern

Apple Cider vinegar (ACV) is a vinegar made from fermented apple juice. It is a very versatile product that is commonly used in cooking, or to make dressings, sauces, and marinades. 

ACV can also be used as a home remedy for many health ailments, and is available in forms such as tablets, capsules, powder, liquid drops, gummies and topical prescriptions.

The production of apple cider vinegar involves two steps. Crushed apples are first exposed to yeast, which causes the carbohydrates to ferment and transform into alcohol. The alcohol is then further fermented by the addition of bacteria, creating acetic acid, which is the primary active ingredient in vinegar. Vinegar gets its potently sour flavor and smell from acetic acid. Although potential claims are not backed by scientific evidence, the health benefits of apple cider vinegar are thought to be caused by acetic acid. This acid makes up 5-6% of cider vinegars.

Benefits of ACV may include:

  • May lower blood sugar levels
  • May reduce cholesterol 
  • May offer antimicrobial benefits 
  • May help increase weight loss

BuBu Banini, M.D. suggests that individuals should consume no more than one to two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar per day. “When used in small amounts, the risk of apple cider vinegar is generally low,” she says. As long as you are tolerating it, diluting it and don’t have esophageal issues, there is no reason not to try it!

Reference

Forbes Magazine. (2023, January 19). Apple cider vinegar benefits and possible side effects. Forbes. Retrieved February 10, 2023, from https://www.forbes.com/health/body/apple-cider-vinegar-benefits/

Gardening Is My Mental Health Therapy

By Reginia Dodson | UAB Community Health and Human Services Intern

Photo by Alexander Grey on Pexels.com

I planted a vegetable garden. At the time, I had no idea that it would prove to be therapeutic for me. It is only a small, raised bed garden that I somehow have planted to an overflowing capacity. This makes for a battle to keep my squash, zucchini, and eggplant from taking over the entire little box. Along with these aggressive space invaders, I planted tomatoes, okra, and cabbage as well. I even think that it is quite possible that I created an entirely new vegetable due to the overcrowding and plants mixing together. OK, I am joking, but still…there is joy in planting this garden.

When I began gardening, I did not realize that it would become my place and time to disengage from all the stressors in my life. Each day as I tackle the invaders growing and the natural intruders, I find myself relaxing and calming my anxieties. It is something to feel the cool soil as I dig around with my bare hands. I feel a connection with nature each day that I am in my garden.

I am not the only one who feels this way. Rooftop gardening, yes…on the roof, has been associated with better personal development and suggested enhanced physical and emotional well-being, sense of purpose, social inclusion, interpersonal relations, and quality of life (Triguero-Mas et al, 2020). What happens on the roof, happens on ground as well. I am always in my garden early in the morning before the world around me awakens. It is so serene and peaceful. I find even my breathing is more relaxed and the time helps to prepare me for the stressors I will encounter during the day. Furthermore, there are times that my family and friends get to enjoy the garden as we come together, supporting my happy pursuits with some good work and fun. Not to mention, good food afterwards.

It is also delightful to find what has grown seemingly overnight. I see it as a life metaphor, patiently waiting to see the work of my hands and nature come together to bring life into the world. I laugh at times because I never saw myself gardening. Especially, using my bare hands while doing so…oh the dirt and grime. So what about you? Do you have a garden? Are you good with plants? Do you find peace and delight working with nature? Leave your comments below.

References

Suggested citation for this article: Triguero-Mas M, Anguelovski I, Cirac-Claveras J, Connolly J, Vazquez A, Urgell-Plaza F, et al. Quality of Life Benefits of Urban Rooftop Gardening for People With Intellectual Disabilities or Mental Health Disorders. Prev Chronic Dis 2020;17:200087. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5888/pcd17.200087external icon

Love is a Noun & a Verb

What is “Love” to you?  How do you describe Love?  How do you define Love?  We have read, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Cor. 13:4-7 New International Version).  Or we have observed definitions like, Love is a “strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties”, and/or “attraction based on sexual desire, affection and tenderness felt by lovers”, and/or “to hold dear”, and/or “to like or desire actively” (“Love,” 2019).  Tina Turner in her ballad, “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” referred to love as a “second-hand emotion”.  What’s that?  By the way, I love the hit song from the 80’s and Angela Bassett in the movie (1993) was phenomenal.  But back to the point… a second-hand emotion?  So, love is something that is received after being used by another?  Maybe this is a post for another time.

Continue reading “Love is a Noun & a Verb”
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Choose to Be Healthy!

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as the “state of complete physical, mental and social well-being” and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.  Although other descriptions of the word “health” exist, overall most people understand what it means to be in good health or “healthy.”  Look at the following questions:

Continue reading “Choose to Be Healthy!”