Better Posture: 6 Ways to Straighten Up

Posted on Women’s Health on January 29, 2014

 Slouchy looks good on bags and boots… on you, not so much. Here’s why bad posture can derail your fitness goals—plus, head-to-toe fixesu’re after.

Wavebreak Media/Thinkstock

Slumping your shoulders doesn’t just make you resemble one of our long-extinct ancestors—if you don’t stand up straight, no amount of exercise will give you the hot bod you’re after. Here’s why: Over time, poor posture takes a serious toll on your spine, shoulders, hips, and knees. In fact, it can cause a cascade of structural flaws that lead to back and joint pain, reduced flexibility, and compromised muscles, all of which limit your ability to burn fat and build strength. But you can head off all these problems by taking the simple self-test to the right, then using the exercises below to fix your form, soothe your pain, and get your curves moving in the right direction.

The problem:  Stiff muscles in the back of your neck 
The fix:  Moving only your head, drop your chin down and in toward your sternum while stretching the back of your neck. Hold for a count of five; do this 10 times a day

The problem:  Weakness in the middle and lower parts of your trapezius (the large muscle that spans your shoulders and back)
The fix:  Lie facedown on the floor, with each arm at a 90-degree angle in the high-five position. Without changing your elbow angle, raise both arms by pulling your shoulders back and squeezing your shoulder blades together. Hold for five seconds. That’s one rep; do two or three sets of 12 reps daily.

The problem:  Tight hip flexors
The fix:  Kneel on your left knee, with your right foot on the floor in front of you, knee bent. Press forward until you feel the stretch in your left hip. Tighten your butt muscles on your left side until you feel the front of your hip stretching comfortably. Reach upward with your left arm and stretch to the right side. Hold for a count of 30 seconds. That’s one repetition; do three on each side.

The problem:  The muscle under your chest (running from your ribs to your shoulder blades) is weak.
The fix:  Sit upright in a chair with your hands next to your hips, palms down on the seat, arms straight. Without moving your arms, push down on the chair until your hips lift up off the seat and your torso rises. Hold for five seconds. That’s one repetition; do two or three sets of 12 reps daily.

The problem:  Weak glutes (butt muscles)
The fix : Lie on one side with your knees bent 90 degrees and your heels together. Keeping your hips still, raise your top knee upward, separating your knees like a clamshell. Pause for five seconds, then lower your knee to the starting position. That’s one rep. Perform two or three sets of 12 reps on each side daily.

The problem:  Your oblique muscles and hip flexors are weak.
The fix:  Get into a pushup position with your feet resting on a stability ball. Without rounding your lower back, tuck your knees under your torso, using your feet to roll the ball toward your body, then back to the starting position. That’s one rep. Do two or three sets of six to 12 reps daily.

  1. Look at your ear. If it’s in front of the midpoint of your shoulder, your head is too far forward.
  2. Can you see your shoulder blade? That means your back is too rounded.
  3. If your hips tilt forward and you have a belly pooch (even if you don’t have an ounce of fat on your body) and your lower spine is arched significantly, this means you have an anterior pelvic tilt.
  4. Look at your shoulders. One shouldn’t appear higher than the other.
  5. Check out your kneecaps. Do they point inward, causing your knees to touch when your legs are straightened?
  6. See if you’re duck-footed. Your toes will point outward more than 10 degrees.


Original Article released:

The Advantages of Good Posture

Posted on LIVESTRONG.COM Last Updated: Oct 21, 2013 | By Shelley Moore

Posture is the position you maintain while standing, sitting or lying down. You have good posture when your position creates the least amount of strain on supporting muscles and ligaments when you move or perform weight-bearing activity. As we’re often reminded as kids, maintaining good posture is beneficial in many ways.

Good Posture Defined

Good sitting posture means that your back is straight and your buttocks are at the back of your chair. Keep your feet flat on the floor and bend your knees at a right angle. When standing with good posture, you should be able to draw an imaginary straight line from your earlobe through your shoulder, hip, knee and the middle of your ankle.

Better for Your Body

Good posture and back support are essential for avoiding back and neck pain. In fact, many people who suffer back pain experience positive changes when they improve their posture, notes the Cleveland Clinic. Good posture also prevents muscle aches and muscle fatigue. It keeps your bones and joints in proper alignment so you use your muscles more efficiently, preventing strain and overuse.

Future Health

Maintaining good posture may help you avoid new health problems. Proper posture reduces abnormal wear and tear on joint surfaces, which can lead to arthritis. It also reduces stress on ligaments that connect spinal joints. Good posture helps you avoid developing an abnormal permanent position, which can cause spinal disk problems and constricted blood vessels and nerves. Good posture also protects spinal joints from injury and deformity.

Breathe Right

Good posture helps to open the airways and ensure proper breathing. Proper breathing allows enhanced oxygen flow in the cardiopulmonary system. The blood then carries sufficient oxygen to the nervous system, organs and other tissues, so they function effectively.

Looking Good

Maintaining good posture does wonders for your appearance. Proper posture can help you make a good first impression, and appear more attractive and confident. When you avoid slouching, you look taller and slimmer. All these aspects add to your self-confidence.


Original Article released:

From age 30 onwards, inactivity has greatest impact on women’s lifetime heart disease risk

Released on EurekAlert! On May 8, 2014

Lack of exercise trumps other known risk factors, including overweight

From the age of 30 onwards, physical inactivity exerts a greater impact on a woman’s lifetime risk of developing heart disease than the other well-known risk factors, suggests research published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

This includes overweight, the finding show, prompting the researchers to suggest that greater effort needs to be made to promote exercise.

The researchers wanted to quantify the changing contribution made to a woman’s likelihood of developing heart disease across her lifetime for each of the known top four risk factors in Australia: excess weight (high BMI); smoking; high blood pressure; and physical inactivity.

Together, these four risk factors account for over half the global prevalence of heart disease, which remains the leading cause of death in high income countries.

The researchers looked at the population attributable risk (PAR)—a mathematical formula used to define the proportion of disease in a defined population that would disappear if exposure to a specific risk factor were to be eliminated.

They based their calculations on estimates of the prevalence of the four risk factors among 32,154 participants in the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health, which has been tracking the long term health of women born in 1921-6, 1946-51, and 1973-8, since 1996.

They found that the prevalence of smoking fell from 28% in women age 22-27 to 5% in 73-78 year olds. But the prevalence of inactivity and high blood pressure increased steadily across the lifespan from age 22 to 90. Overweight increased from age 22 to 64, then declined in older age.

The researchers also used estimates of relative risk from the Global Burden of Disease study and applied them to the Australian women. Relative risk data indicate the likelihood that a woman with a particular risk factor will develop heart disease compared with someone without that risk factor.

Combining the prevalence and relative risk data, the researchers found that up to the age of 30, smoking was the most important contributor to heart disease, with a PAR of 59%. But from age 30 until the late 80s, low physical activity levels were responsible for higher levels of population risk than any of the other risk factors.

The researchers estimate that if every woman between the ages of 30 and 90 were able to reach the recommended weekly exercise quota—150 minutes of at least moderate intensity physical activity— then the lives of more than 2000 middle aged and older women could be saved each year in Australia alone.

The authors conclude that the contribution of different risk factors to the likelihood of developing heart disease changes across the lifespan.

Continuing efforts to curb smoking among the young are warranted, they say. But much more emphasis should be placed on physical inactivity, which, they claim, has been dwarfed by the current focus on overweight and obesity.

“Our data suggest that national programmes for the promotion and maintenance of physical activity, across the adult lifespan, but especially in young adulthood, deserve to be a much higher public health priority for women than they are now,” they conclude.

# # #

[Comparing population attributable risks for heart disease across the adult lifespan in women Online First doi 10.1136/bjsports-2013-093090]


Original Article released:

Link Cited on: LINK de DIET

The Health Benefits of Amazake

by Suzanne Robin posted on LIVESTRONG.COM on May 21, 2012

Like sake, amazaka is made from rice, but it isn’t alcoholic.
Photo Credit Jupiterimages/ Images

Combining rice and the aspergillus oryzae fungus produces several traditional Japanese products, including the alcoholic drink sake. Amazake, a nonalcoholic Japanese drink made from this pairing, is another Japanese dietary staple. Amazake is used to make puddings, pie fillings and other sweets as well as the drink. Commercially made amazaki tends to have a sweeter flavor than the homemade version, since it often contains added sugar. The health benefits depend on the type of rice used and the sugars added.

Amazake is produced by combining cooked rice with koji, a fermented product made by mixing rice with aspergillus oryzae and incubating at a warm temperature for several hours. Fermented foods like amazake might benefit your stomach if you don’t digest food well. The enzymes in amazake help break down fats, complex carbohydrates and proteins for your body to use.

Effect on Toxins
Rice fermented with aspergillus oryzae might help your body eliminate toxins such as polyvinyl chloride, according to a Japanese study published in the October 2004 “Chemosphere.” The study compared blood levels of PVCs and other toxins in Japanese women who consumed the mixture with those who did not over a two-year period. Women who consumed the mixture eliminated more of the toxins than those who did not. This was a very small study of just nine women, but it did show a possible benefit of the mixture.

Vitamins and Minerals
Amazake produced from brown rice supplies more vitamins and minerals than amazake made from white rice. Brown rice retains the bran and germ of the rice, which contains B-complex vitamins niacin and thiamine, vitamin E and fiber. Brown rice also serves as a good source of iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, manganese and magnesium.

Sugar Variations
The amazake you buy in the store varies considerably from the version made at home. Commercial versions often substitute laboratory-produced enzymes for koji. While these enzymes, like koji, cause fermentation, manufacturers often choose specific enzymes designed to produce a sweeter product. If you’re trying to restrict your carbohydrate intake, commercially produced amazake might contain too much sugar. With homemade amazake, you can control the sweetness by adjusting the amount of koji added; the more koji, the sweeter the taste. Amazake contains about 50 percent simple sugars and 50 percent complex carbohydrates, so it provides quick but long-lasting energy, author John Belleme explains in “Japanese Foods That Heal.”


Original Article: LIVESTRONG.COM

A natural miso and soy factory that is always full of beans

by Nancy Singleton Hachisu posted on The Japan Times on April 29, 2014
Soy boy: Kazuhiko Morita stirs a giant vat of moromi at Yamaki Jozo, a plant in Saitama that produces soy sauce, tofu, miso and more using natural methods. | KENJI MIURA

Although rice is certainly the king of Japanese food, soybeans are the queen. Small makers of miso, soy sauce and tofu dot the landscape of Japan, but blink once and you will notice that the local shops are closing up as supermarket culture takes over daily life.

Up in the hills above our northern Saitama town lies Yamaki Jozo, an organic miso/soy sauce/tofu/natto/pickle company surrounded by prolific vegetable fields and thoughtfully designed Japanese gardens. It is the ultimate wabi-sabi experience. But it is not just for the elegance of this so-called “soy sauce plant” that I take all visitors there (foreign and Japanese alike). What Yamaki offers is myriad, and only depends on time and the emptiness of your stomach.

When we have advance notice, I book seats at its weekend tofu restaurant, Shisuian. The kaiseki multi-course lunch is a steal at ¥3,024, and the bentō (boxed lunches) only ¥1,543. Otherwise we just hop in the car willy-nilly and cruise up the winding road to the Kamikawa-machi hills, about 15 minutes from our farmhouse. After sampling the various tofus (silk, cotton, yuzu, sesame, yuba), misos (inaka, brown rice, barley, soy bean) and pickles (too many to list!), we climb the stairs from the retail shop and peer through the glass at the monstrous cedar barrels of soy sauce left to ferment over the course of two years. If we are lucky, product-planning manager Kazuhiko Morita will be around to dole out a taste of the deeply primal soy-sauce mash (moromi). According to Morita, it’s not for sale, since “it would be like selling our soul.”

Upstairs is where Yamaki holds workshops and demonstrations in making miso and tofu and pressing soy sauce, as well as tastings. (I occasionally take my little English-immersion preschool students there for a tour, conveniently conducted in English.)

Yamaki Jozo is all about transparency, and the current plant was built with the visitors who would cross through its halls, all wanting to see exactly how the soy sauce, miso and tofu are produced, firmly in mind. But more than that, Yamaki built the plant thinking of the restful feeling we would get as we wind our way along the path leading toward the whitewashed buildings, or when we turn a corner and come across ikebana moments upstairs. Here is Japan at its best: delicious wares, responsibly grown organic ingredients and a pristine setting.

I sometimes sneak away for a ¥957 curry lunch or udon set prepared by the excellent cooks who tend the Yamaki shop (and I’m not usually a fan of curry or udon). There are three veteran ladies who are in charge of the shop, and I often ask for their sage advice in pickling or using kōji (mold spores). They are the smiling (and knowledgeable) faces of the shop.

And I never leave empty handed. Yamaki products are my favorite presents to take when I go overseas; the packaging has that elegant aesthetic sense one often associates with Japan (but is sometimes hard to find), and what is inside is absolutely top quality.

Although Yamaki is several generations old, it was the current president, Tomio Kitani, who, inspired by veteran natural farmer Kazuo Suka, committed to using 100 percent organic soybeans about 40 years ago. Historically the miso and soy sauce fermenting was done in Honjo, a neighboring city; and the tofu-making operation was located in Kamiizumi-mura, the neighboring mountain village that was recently merged with our town, Kamikawa-machi. Tofu (and soy sauce) rely on the best water available, so being near the mountains from which the clear spring water is trucked was essential. Yamaki built the current plant on the site of the tofu operation in 2002 and moved all of the soybean-related activities up to the Kamiizumi-mura hills.

Kitani views organic farming as normal — the natural way to grow food. Consequently, he feels an innate responsibility to make traditional Japanese products the way they have been made for generations and to shun modern shortcuts. And that sense of history is exactly why Kitani is aligned with the venerable House of Shijo in support of the ancient food traditions of Japan. Tsukasake Shijo, the 41st-generation Shijo head of this very old Kyoto family, comes out to Yamaki Jozo twice a year for the ceremonial rice planting and harvesting, and invites Kitani each year for an audience with the Emperor to present him with soy sauce.

The vast majority of Japanese people consume soy sauce produced from defatted soy grits rather than whole soybeans and do not even know the difference. Kitani puts the current food culture into perspective with these apt words: “It has taken only 70 years to destroy a 1,000-year-old food tradition.”

Put like that, people might want to think twice before reaching for mass-produced soy sauce over artisanal, family-made soy sauce — especially now that washoku (Japanese cuisine) has been designated as an Intangible Cultural Heritage by Unesco. Perhaps we should actually live up to the honor.


Original Article: The Japan Times

The Beauty Benefits of Pineapple

Last Updated: Mar 12, 2014 | By LaMont Jones, Jr.


Pineapple’s nutrients promote healthy skin and nails. Photo Credit Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/ Getty Images

With its distinctive prickly skin, sprouty green leaves and sweet yellow flesh, the pineapple is a symbol of hospitality as well as a tasty treat. Like many fruits and vegetables, it can be just as nourishing on the body as in the body. Eating mineral-rich pineapple pulp, drinking the juice, and applying both to the body have multiple beauty benefits.

Clearer Complexion

The high vitamin C and bromelain content of pineapple juice make it an effective acne treatment. Bromelain is an enzyme that softens skin and has been used for hundreds of years in South and Central America to fight inflammation and swelling. Drinking pineapple juice helps the body synthesize collagen, which helps skin stay firm and flexible, while vitamin C and amino acids aid in cell and tissue repair. For a double dose of skin nourishment, cut a pineapple in half and refrigerate one half. Scoop the fruit out of the other half, juice it, drink the juice and gently rub the inside of the pineapple skin on your face, avoiding the eye area. After a few minutes, rinse your face thoroughly with tepid water. Repeat two or three days later with the other pineapple half.

Body and Feet Benefits

The same nutrients that make pineapple good for the face also make it beneficial to the rest of your skin. For a gently exfoliating body polish, peel a fresh pineapple and cut the flesh into four wedges. As you shower, rub the wedges all over your body, followed by a cleansing soap and a thorough rinse. A pineapple foot treatment can help slough away flaky and calloused skin, leaving feet smoother and brighter. Start with one-half cup of chopped pineapple, then chop and mix in one-half peeled lemon, one-half unpeeled apple, one-quarter peeled grapefruit, one teaspoon of salt and two teaspoons of anise extract. Rub the mixture all over your feet, giving extra attention to heels, as the skin there tends to harden easily. Wrap your feet in plastic or tie plastic bags over them. After 20 or 30 minutes, remove and rinse. The salt and fruit enzymes help exfoliate and soften skin while the anise — a licorice extract — soothes, fights swelling and contains natural healing agents.

Healthy Nails

Brittle and dry nails may signal a vitamin A deficiency, while cracked and split nails may suggest your body’s deficiency in B vitamins. Pineapple fruit and juice are good sources of both, another reason to consume them and apply them topically. Hands dry out easily because they are used so much, making nail cuticles more prone to dehydration. Dry cuticles cause unsightly nail beds that are also more susceptible to cracking and infection-causing bacteria and fungi. A natural softening treatment for your cuticles is a blend of two tablespoons of pineapple juice and an egg yolk, which counters the drying effect of the enzyme bromelain in pineapple. Apply the mixture to your cuticles and allow it to sit for about five minutes. Use a cotton swab to push your softened cuticles back to their nail beds, then rinse your fingers off with warm water and follow with hand cream. This treatment is just as beneficial to toenails as fingernails.

Tips and Cautions

Generally, fruits and vegetables that nourish skin also indirectly promote nail and hair health, and pineapple is no exception. When using pineapple in a mask or other face product, avoid eye contact because irritation can occur. Pregnant women with gestational diabetes should restrict their intake of pineapple and its juice. Drinking juice from an unripened pineapple can cause diarrhea. Rather than commercial pineapple juice, choose freshly extracted juice because it retains more of the fruit’s nutrients, and heat used in commercial processing can destroy the bromelain. For more of pineapple’s valuable fiber content, eat the fruit rather than just drinking the juice.

Original Article: LIVESTRONG.COM

Silk mill took Japan to global level

By Ayako Mie, posted on The Japan Times on May 5, 2014  
The historic Tomioka Silk Mill in Gunma Prefecture and its related facilities are expected to become UNESCO World Heritage sites next month.

The redbrick factory from the Meiji Era will be the 18th World Heritage property in Japan if UNESCO officially accepts its endorsement by the International Council on Monuments and Sites, or ICOMOS, at the World Heritage Committee meeting from June 15 to 25 in Doha, Qatar.

Here is some information about the silk mill’s history.

What are the sites being endorsed by ICOMOS?

The Tomioka Silk Mill will be the first industry-related heritage site in the nation. ICOMOS said the mill complex played a significant role in innovating the Japanese silk industry at the end of the 19th century.
The recommendation includes the mill, the former residence of silkworm egg farmer Tajima Yahei, the Takayama-sha Sericulture School and Arafune Cold Storage, which was a repository for silkworm eggs. It is the only factory built by the Meiji government to be preserved in nearly its original form, according to the Tomioka Municipal Government.

The government decided to officially recommend the four sites to UNESCO in 2012.

Churches and castles often make the World Heritage list, but UNESCO started putting more emphasis on industrial sites in the 1990s, including the Agave Landscape and Ancient Industrial Facilities of Tequila in Mexico in 2006, and the Bahrain pearling trail in 2012.

When was the mill built?

The mill was built in 1872. It is Japan’s oldest modern silk reeling factory and is a symbol of Japan’s industrialization in the 19th century.

Silk became one of the nation’s most important exports after the Tokugawa shogunate dropped its policy of isolationism in 1854. Demand for Japanese silk surged after European silkworm stocks were ravaged by disease and Chinese silk exports were crimped by political instability in China.

According to the Japanese Association for Conservation of Architectural Monuments, demand was so high that silk accounted for over 80 percent of Japan’s exports in 1863. But that astounding figure ended up compromising its quality as demand surpassed supply, damaging the reputation of Japanese manufacturers.

After the Meiji Restoration in 1867, the government embarked on a modernization drive to catch up with the West. As part of its business strategy, the government built the Tomioka Silk Mill to serve as a model facility for quality improvement. This involved introducing state-of-the-art machinery from France.

How was the town of Tomioka chosen?

The Meiji government commissioned Paul Brunat, a silk inspector at the Yokohama office of Lyon-based wholesaler Hecht, Lilienthal and Co., to find a site for the model silk mill in 1870. Brunat picked Tomioka because the town already had a booming silk industry and immediate access to such nearby coal mining towns as Takasaki and Yoshii, which would provide most of it energy needs.

What are the buildings like?

The buildings were designed by Auguste Bastien, a Frenchman who was involved in building the Yokosuka Ironworks. The factory occupies about 5.5 hectares and consists of about 120 buildings, including cocoon warehouses, a boiler room, buildings for cocoon-drying, silk-reeling, and re-reeling, plus dormitories and an official residence for the French employees.

The buildings were built in a mix of Japanese and Western styles — framed with wood, walled with red bricks and roofed with traditional Japanese tiles.

Regular aerobic exercise boosts memory area of brain in older women

Released on EurekAlert! On April 8, 2014

  • Regular aerobic exercise boosts memory area of brain in older women
  • Twice weekly routine may help to slow down advance of dementia, say researchers

Regular aerobic exercise seems to boost the size of the area of the brain (hippocampus) involved in verbal memory and learning among women whose intellectual capacity has been affected by age, indicates a small study published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

The hippocampus has become a focus of interest in dementia research because it is the area of the brain involved in verbal memory and learning, but it is very sensitive to the effects of ageing and neurological damage.

The researchers tested the impact of different types of exercise on the hippocampal volume of 86 women who said they had mild memory problems, known as mild cognitive impairment – and a common risk factor for dementia.

All the women were aged between 70 and 80 years old and were living independently at home.

Roughly equal numbers of them were assigned to either twice weekly hour long sessions of aerobic training (brisk walking); or resistance training, such as lunges, squats, and weights; or balance and muscle toning exercises, for a period of six months.

The size of their hippocampus was assessed at the start and the end of the six month period by means of an MRI scan, and their verbal memory and learning capacity was assessed before and afterward using a validated test (RAVLT).

Only 29 of the women had before and after MRI scans, but the results showed that the total volume of the hippocampus in the group who had completed the full six months of aerobic training was significantly larger than that of those who had lasted the course doing balance and muscle toning exercises.

No such difference in hippocampal volume was seen in those doing resistance training compared with the balance and muscle toning group.

However, despite an earlier finding in the same sample of women that aerobic exercise improved verbal memory, there was some evidence to suggest that an increase in hippocampal volume was associated with poorer verbal memory.

This suggests that the relationship between brain volume and cognitive performance is complex, and requires further research, say the authors.

But at the very least, aerobic exercise seems to be able to slow the shrinkage of the hippocampus and maintain the volume in a group of women who are at risk of developing dementia, they say.

And they recommend regular aerobic exercise to stave off mild cognitive decline, which is especially important, given the mounting evidence showing that regular exercise is good for cognitive function and overall brain health, and the rising toll of dementia.

Worldwide, one new case of dementia is diagnosed every four seconds, with the number of those afflicted set to rise to more than 115 million by 2050, they point out.
Original Article released:

Link Cited on: LINK de DIET

Useful Recipe Books for Beauty and Health Available at KindleStores!

Useful Recipe Books for Beauty and Health
Available at KindleStores!

 ■ Teriyaki Recipes  (English ・ Japanese)
 ■ Rice Recipes  (English ・ Japanese)
 ■ Menopause Recipes for Health and Beauty  (English Only)
 ■ Sprouted Brown Rice Diet Recipes  (English Only)

What makes our body is what we eat.
Why not review our diet for our beauty and health.

We eat every day, three times.
Richly varied recipes that are easy to cook tasty meals
enable us to have happy time with family and friends!

Please make great use of those recipes in your everyday life!

Teriyaki Recipe
「Teriyaki Recipes」

「Teriyaki Recipes ? Japanese Version」


「Rice Recipes」

「Rice Recipes ? Japanese Version」

Menopause Recipes for Health and Beauty
「Menopause Recipes for Health and Beauty」

Sprouted Brown Rice Diet Recipes
「Sprouted Brown Rice Diet Recipes」

April, New Start!

It is such a fresh, brand new start when a new school year and a new fiscal year begin in Japan. Many people make it a rule to turnover a new leaf in whatever they are engaged in. It is a good timing to set up new goals to achieve.

It’s certainly anxious when taking the very first step into a new situation, but strangely, we are quite sure that we will be able to discover a new aspect of ourselves.

Wish you all good luck!

We’ll continue to share much information useful with you.