How about some “internal jogging”? Science often has to catch up and “prove” what we already know intuitively.  It feels so exhilarating to have a  good uninhibited belly laugh!  Norman Cousins said that it is a form of internal jogging and science is proving that it actually causes positive, measurable, physical changes that boost health and vitality.  The all-over body workout increases your breathing, your metabolism, and your body temperature – enhancing blood flow to your entire system.

Laughter stimulates your heart, lungs, and muscles by increasing the intake of oxygen.  The benefits are not new news!  Approximately 3,000 years ago, Proverbs 17:22 documented the advantages by telling us, “A joyful heart is good medicine but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”  According to Vanderbilt University researchers, ten minutes a day of hearty laughter will burn an average of five pounds a year.

This increase in oxygen-rich air is good for your brain too.  Laughter stimulates both sides of the brain to lower the levels of stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine.  

Laughing and having fun is essential to the good health for LIVING YOUNGER.  It increases the “feel good” sensations of endorphins and level of healthy immune antibodies.  When I need a good laugh, I tune into YouTube and watch Tim Hawkins.  START SOMEWHERE today taking more time to find out what tickles your funny bone.  Internal jogging may just be what the doctor ordered!

Question for Dr. Debbie from Jayme P.:  “I’ve heard that Arnica gel was good for headaches and premenstrual cramps.  What is it?  How should it be used?”

You are on the right track, Jayme!  Arnica, technically known as Arnica montana, has been used for medicinal purposes since the 1500’s and is a current staple in homes as well as in the first aid bag of many sports teams. It is generally a safe topical remedy as an alternative to NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories like aspirin or ibuprofen) or prescription pain killers.  A perennial with yellow-orange flowers, it is sold in four basic forms:  

  1. Topically-derived herb as a gel, liniment, salve, or cream
  2. Homeopathic pills, which are highly diluted
  3. Tincture to be used in topical compresses or poultices
  4. Essential oil for topical use only

 Arnica is a natural option in the treatment of:

  • Muscle Aches:  Rather than masking pain, Arnica actually stimulates the body’s mechanisms to heal.  It is recommended for the treatment of pain from trauma.  We take it with us when traveling, especially camping and hiking, and have it on hand it at home for sore muscles.  The topical or homeopathic form can be used for relief.
  • Bruises and Swelling:  Arnica is a safe and natural anti-inflammatory.  Well known for its ability to reduce swelling, many doctors are now harnessing its benefits to reduce post-surgical swelling, especially for facial surgery.  Arnica should not be applied to broken skin.
  • Menstrual Cramps:  These cramps are caused by the normal release of prostaglandins, which cause the pain.  Homeopathic Arnica is a safe and effective alternative for women of all ages.   
  • Arthritis and Joint Pain:  This amazing herb can enhance movement by easing the stiffness and pain of arthritis.
  • Headaches:  Arnica gel can be applied to the temples, back of the neck, on the forehead, or at the site of the headache.  Many people have reported relief from migraines with this natural treatment.

Note:  Arnica can cause serious side effects when taken by mouth as a tincture or oil.  Since the homeopathic form is highly diluted, it is generally considered safe.  Be sure to consult a medical practitioner before taking it orally. Here’s a link to buy the gel form.

Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli (Food52)

I’ve been studying a bunch about the benefits of whole foods. I wrote about Broccoli’s naturally detoxifying benefits last Thursday, so I thought I would put my money where my mouth was and make some!

You will need:

  • 4 to 5 pounds broccoli (note: if you like to slice and roast the stalks too, you won’t need to buy quite as much)
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Good olive oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • ⅓ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves (about 12 leaves)

Here’s the drill:

  1. Heat the oven to 425° F.
  2. Cut the broccoli florets from the thick stalks, leaving an inch or two of stalk attached to the florets discarding the rest of the stalks Cut the larger pieces through the base of the head with a small knife, pulling the florets apart. You should have about 8 cups of florets.
  3. Place the broccoli florets on a sheet pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Toss the garlic on the broccoli and drizzle with 5 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper.
  4. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.
  5. Remove the broccoli from the oven and immediately toss with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon zest, lemon juice, pine nuts, Parmesan, and basil. Serve hot.

Today’s quote will make you smile:  “Laughter is a form of internal jogging.  It moves your internal organs around.  It enhances respiration.  It is an igniter of great expectations.”  This is from Norman Cousins (1912-1990), an American Essayist and Editor who was long associated with the Saturday Review.

Internal Jogging

Internal Jogging