5 Ways to Support Gut Health Naturally

by Emily Cooper, RDN

Many of us may know that gut health is important, but why? Aside from digestion, recent studies have suggested that gut health is closely tied to other aspects of health such as immunity, mental health, weight management, and overall mood and well-being.

Gut bacteria is more important, and prevalent in our bodies than we may think it is. In fact, the human body contains upwards of 10 times as many bacterial cells than human cells, greater supporting the importance of gut health.

Now that you know why it is important, here are 5 easy ways you can help to support gut health naturally.

Eat Fermented Foods

Many fermented foods contain beneficial bacteria, which are a natural part of the fermentation process. Including more of these foods in the diet can increase the amount of “good” bacteria in the gut, and lower the amount of “bad” bacteria. Some examples of fermented foods include yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, and tempeh.

There is no standard recommendation for the quantity of fermented foods to include in the diet, but incorporating at least one or more types of fermented foods regularly can help to support gut health.

Include Prebiotic-Rich Foods in the Diet

The word “probiotic” may be synonymous with gut health, but one other word that should be a part of your digestive vocabulary is prebiotic. Probiotics are the bacteria themselves, but prebiotics are foods that help to promote the growth of good bacteria in the gut. These are often fibers, complex carbohydrates, and resistant starches that the body can’t breakdown, but is rather used by gut bacteria for fuel. Some prebiotic-rich foods include onions, garlic, oats, bananas, soybeans, asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes), and wheat.

While there is no set recommendation for prebiotic foods, try to include at least one prebiotic-rich food in your diet per day to help support the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut.

Increase Fiber Intake

As a whole, adult Americans are not eating enough fiber. It is estimated that a mere 5% of Americans are meeting the daily recommendations for fiber intake. Dietary fiber helps to support gut health by not only increasing gut motility, or the rate at which waste moves through the digestive system, but also functioning in a similar fashion to prebiotics – by feeding beneficial gut bacteria.

The USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends a daily fiber intake of 25 grams for women, and 38 grams for men under the age of 50. Women and men above the age of 50 should aim for 21 and 30 daily grams of fiber, respectively. Including a variety of fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts, and seeds can help you reach your goals for daily fiber intake.

Stay Hydrated

Hand in hand with increasing fiber intake comes hydration. Upping dietary fiber without increasing the amount of fluid intake can have the opposite effect, causing constipation, gas, bloating, and digestive discomfort. Staying hydrated can help to regulate digestion, as well as helping to balance the levels of beneficial bacteria in the gut.

How much water should you drink a day? The old adage of eight cups a day is no longer true. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is about 15.5 cups of fluids for men, and about 11.5 cups of fluids a day for women. You can contribute to your fluid intake in a number of ways, such as pure water, herbal teas, decaffeinated beverages, and water-rich fruits and vegetables like peppers, celery, cucumber, and watermelon.

Move More

Staying active regularly can support health in a number of ways including weight management, improving mood, and regulating digestion. Which every activities you enjoy doing is the best for your body. Pick things you look forward to, and that you can find yourself sticking to on a regular basis. This makes it easier to make a part of your everyday, and reap the benefits of.

Bonus: Take a Probiotic Supplement

While you can most definitely help support gut health without the use or need of supplements, they also can help to support gut health. Many different probiotic supplements are available, each containing different strains and amounts of bacteria. It is best to consult with a gastroenterologist, or your primary care physician if interested in including a probiotic supplement into your diet, to help determine which would be appropriate for your personal goals or gut symptoms.

Have more questions about gut health? Join Emily, your local in-store dietitian from the ShopRite of Essex Green for a talk all about Gut Health right at the Verona Yoga Studio! Contact the studio directly for more information.

Discover the Benefits of Introducing Yoga to Seniors

Discover the Benefits of Introducing Yoga to Seniors

Seniors who participate in physical activity, including yoga, are less likely to become disabled, based on information from Hebrew University Medical Center. The same study also showed that seniors who stay physically active live longer lives. A special senior in your life will benefit from doing gentle yoga, which includes the perfect blend of meditative breathing and body-toning poses. When you introduce a senior to yoga by taking them to a beginner class, you’ll be able to bond with them while boosting your personal fitness. Many seniors love spending time with younger friends or relatives while they exercise. Lots of seniors also enjoy the feeling of well-being (commonly known as the “yoga haze”) they experience after classes.

Discover the Benefits of Introducing Yoga to Seniors

Seniors are subject to a range of pressures, from wondering how to cover the cost of assisted living to managing health conditions to dealing with feelings of loneliness and isolation. As you may already know, yoga is a perfect way to clear the mind. When you show a senior how yoga will add value to his or her life, you’ll make it easier for the senior to forget about problems for a while. Whether a senior is in a nursing home or living independently, drop by and take that person out for a yoga class. Getting out and participating in a group activity like yoga will come as a welcome break. Moreover, Harvard Medical School reports that breathing techniques and exercise help seniors to manage stress, so yoga, which includes both elements, is an ideal choice.

Many yoga poses are very safe for seniors

Seniors may not want to indulge in challenging yoga classes, such as hot Vinyasa yoga. For seniors, restorative yoga is the best choice. There are yoga poses that are suitable for people in their golden years, including the Warrior 1 Pose, and restorative yoga classes are the right places to master these poses. An instructor will guide the senior through easier poses and offer props that make it simpler for the senior to master correct technique. This type of yoga is designed to be very safe, so the risk of injury to a senior will be extremely low. During class, seniors may progress at their own level without pressure, while you and the instructor are there to offer caring support.

Verona Yoga offers Restorative Yoga classes that are ideal for seniors. These classes feature expert, caring instruction, easy flows and a slow pace, in addition to props that make it easier for older beginners to master Yoga poses. Bring a senior to a Restorative Yoga class to help that special person banish stress and boost overall health.

Before a senior begins yoga, he or she should speak to a family doctor and get the “all-clear.” Once that happens, a senior may begin learning age-appropriate poses with you. Starting a yoga journey with a senior will be fulfilling. You will know that you’re doing your utmost to help a senior stay fit and emotionally balanced. So, why not introduce yoga to a special senior in your life today?

The Beauty Benefits of Reducing Stress Through Yoga

Chronic stress can be contributing to your dermatological problems; for instance, 70% of cases of atopic dermatitis, which causes itchy inflammation of the skin, are linked to stress. Fluctuations in the stress hormone cortisol can also contribute to acne breakouts and accelerate the aging process. But there is good news; yoga promotes relaxation and mitigates stress, leading to better health and better skin. At Verona Yoga, we believe that yoga is key to achieving balance between the body and mind, and when you achieve that state of harmony, your inner beauty will shine through. Whether you’re looking to achieve clearer complexion, younger looking skin or a rosy glow, incorporating yoga into lifestyle can help.

Overcoming Stress With Mindfulness Provides Beauty Benefits

Stress causes inflammation throughout the body, which can wreak havoc on your skin. Inflammation is the body’s immunological response to a perceived threat; your body releases chemicals to give you the strength to fight off the source of danger, however, the stress response ceases to have a useful function when it is chronic and directed at everyday situations. For people who are already prone to inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis, acne and rosacea, managing stress is key for healthier skin. Our restorative yoga class at Verona Yoga promotes better sleep and a sense of inner peace through the practice of controlled breathing and stretching, which makes handling the stress of daily life easier.

Sweating It Out Provides Stress Relief and Clear Your Skin

While relaxation is an important goal in yoga practice, yoga can also provide a vigorous workout that increases core temperature and gets your body moving. When you’re working out, you’re likely to break a sweat, which can benefit your skin in a number of ways. Sweat contains a natural antibiotic called dermacidin, which combats the acne-causing bacteria that clog your pores. Our infrared heated vinyasa class at Verona Yoga maximizes the benefits of sweating to cleanse your body and give you a glowing complexion. It’s important, however, not to let sweat linger on your skin for too long after your workout, as it can cause dryness and irritation. For this reason, thoroughly cleanse your skin using natural products after your yoga session to feel even more relaxed and promote even healthier skin.

Yoga Promotes Heart Health Which Keeps You Looking Young

A vinyasa flow can give you your daily dose of cardio and help strengthen muscles, causing your body to release endorphins and other stress-reducing chemicals. Studies also show that people who exercise regularly show slower rates of cellular aging, which means skin retains greater elasticity over time. Cardio improves circulation to the skin, which increases the rate at which skin cells reproduce and repair themselves. Yoga can also give you a natural facelift by temporarily reversing the effects of gravity with inversions such as downward facing dog, headstands and bridge pose. These asanas involve raising the heart above the head, which stimulates blood flow to the face and head to erase furrows and wrinkles, promote better sleep and reduce stress.

The joy and balance yoga can bring into your life will radiate outwardly as well. Reducing stress through yoga practice benefits every aspect of your health and wellbeing. Practicing with us at the studio and creating a daily practice at home can help give you the healthy, beautiful skin you deserve.

How to Apply Yoga Ideals to Your Daily Lifestyle

It is one thing to attend yoga classes regularly, but to integrate the principles of yoga in your everyday routine and life is paramount for reaping the full benefits of this discipline.

As an ancient practice and way of life, yoga is more than physical exercise designed for toning and promoting balance. Yoga is designed to bridge the mind, emotions, and body in a way that significantly improves your quality of life and informs your daily lifestyle.

Here are some of the ways that you can apply yoga principles to your daily lifestyle.

Develop Effective Breathing Techniques

The breathing techniques you learn on the mat through an instructor can and should be applied in your daily life. Deeper inhales and exhales help significantly alleviate and manage stress. The longer you exhale after a deep inhale triggers the rest and digest response versus the fight and flight response.

Be conscientious of your breathing patterns in everyday life, and see how pranayama, or the formal practice of controlled breathing, can bring about the relaxation response in you as you encounter daily stressors. Learning how to breathe correctly allows you to fully live in the moment and be present, so you can go with the flow and be more easy going.

Stay well rested

Needless to say, it is important to stay rested because there is power in good rest. The repair and restoration of your mind and body depend on it, promoting good mental health. Even just a few yoga stretches right before bed as part of nightly routine can make a huge difference with sleep quality.

pain and discomfort, reduces stress, regulates your nervous system, and helps your mind shut down. Allow these benefits of yoga to culminate, in order for you to experience deeper sleep that promotes quality of waking and sleeping life.

Through mindfulness achieved by a nightly yoga pose routine, you can also reduce the chance of lying awake ruminating and worrying, which can also cause you to wake up in the middle of the night through sleep disturbances. So use yoga to sleep longer, fall asleep faster, and decrease sleep disturbances.

Be more present

Yoga promotes individual awareness and insight, making you are more apt to learn new things, including personal and relational development.

Use yoga to be most present in your own life, so you can live your life to the fullest and experience less stress through mindfulness. Try getting out in nature to experience being fully present in your mind and body, as yoga places a high significance on being in nature and being one with your surroundings.

Among other benefits are staying balanced in your life and sticking with a daily routine that gives you structure through self-discipline. The principles of yoga can edify you, giving you some structure in your life along with tried and true guiding principles that can improve your mental, emotional, and psychological wellbeing. So give these all a try as an alternative, drug-free method of healing and self-improvement.

A Guide To Creating A Yoga Sanctuary At Home

A Guide To Creating A Yoga Sanctuary At Home

The yoga movement continues to grow in the United States as a new study has shown that there are 37 million people who practice yoga in the country. As the young and old discover this life-changing Eastern practice, it looks like yoga is here to stay as it has been proven to offer a wide array of physical and mental health benefits that rival other forms of exercise. The best way to learn yoga is to go to a studio that teaches it in a supportive and joyful way. But for those times when you can’t get to the studio, it may be a good idea to have a yoga sanctuary in your home. Having a place to relax and meditate without leaving your home allows you to continue doing yoga in between classes and retreats. Moreover, it’s a great way to have some ‘me’ time as you use the space to take care of your well-being. Here’s a guide to creating a yoga sanctuary at home.

Choose a room that’s free of noise and other distractions

A yoga sanctuary should be a space where you can bend, stretch, and meditate in peace. Try not to set up your yoga room in such a way that it’s facing foot or street traffic. You can have your yoga space indoors, but if you like being outdoors, then you should look into setting up your sanctuary in your backyard.

Make sure that your room has lots of natural light

Natural lighting can positively impact a person’s health and finances. Not only do you get to save on energy, but being exposed to natural light from the sun improves your mood by fighting stress and anxiety. Moderate amounts of sunlight can also heal skin conditions and lower the risk of certain cancers. Be strategic with the placement of your yoga sanctuary to ensure that it gets the right amount of sunlight for your health.

Use accessories to create a calming atmosphere

There are several things that you can add to your yoga sanctuary to make it more calming and inviting. Placing scented natural soy candles around your yoga room can make the space feel more serene, and lighting some candles while you’re doing yoga can help to enhance the healing effect of the practice. You can also add crystals, rocks, and plants to give your space a natural feel. Position a few speakers behind potted plants so you can play soothing music during your home yoga sessions.

Make your floor yoga-friendly

According to a research, American practitioners spend more than $10 billion a year on yoga-related products and classes. You don’t need to spend billions—or hundreds of dollars, for that matter—to create a yoga-friendly space. The most important thing that you need is a yoga-friendly floor. In truth, any flat surface will do, but for authenticity and comfort, you may have to choose to have hardwood flooring for your yoga sanctuary. For traditional hardwood floor alternatives, consider laminate wood flooring, bamboo, or cork flooring. Don’t forget to place yoga mats all over your yoga room floor.

Creating a yoga sanctuary can be a great way to invest in your health. Follow these tips to create a serene and peaceful environment that’s perfect for doing yoga at home.

How A Regular Yoga Practice Can Help Relieve Joint Pain

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that increasing numbers of middle aged people are turning to Yoga as a fun alternative to help relieve their aching joints. In fact, did you now that Yoga has been proven in several studies as an effective way to treat many of the symptoms of Arthritis, providing pain relief, reduced stiffness and better function, as well as relief from psychological issues like anxiety. And while the benefits can be seen at home, Yoga is best practiced in a positive setting with a professional instructor in a studio such as Verona Yoga to maximize progress and minimize injury risk.

What is Arthritis and How Can Yoga Help?

More than 50 million people live with joint pain in the United States, and from the ages of 40-50 it is relatively common to see the onset of arthritis as the body’s joints begin to wear. Arthritis is not a single condition, but is the general name given to a wide ranging set of symptoms concerning joint pain and joint disease and there are over 100 different forms. Fortunately there are also many different ways to treat joint pain and stiffness, and Yoga may just rank up there with the best of them. Many of those who live with Arthritis have generally low levels of activity.  Despite the misconception that rest is the best thing for aching joints, research into using Yoga for the treatment of arthritis suggests quite the opposite. A study into the effects of a specialized 8 week Yoga program saw improvements in several physical and psychological measures compared to controls. Yoga has also gained great popularity among physiotherapists for its holistic approach in treating joint pain, particularly in individuals aged 50 and over.

Build Strength, Maintain Flexibility and Change your Relationship with Pain

Yoga is a gentle, low-impact alternative to many other forms of exercise, allowing you to build strength, balance and flexibility simultaneously. By strengthening and lengthening your muscles through Yoga, excess strain is taken off of the joints. Furthermore, engaging in regular practice even on days when pain flares up will help to maintain and even improve flexibility over time. Perhaps the most interesting benefits of Yoga for those with joint pain are not the physical, but the psychological. The meditative aspect of Yoga is notable for its role in reducing feelings of anxiety and promoting relaxation, but may have further applications in pain management. Engaging in six weeks of Yoga has been shown to alter the perception of pain, allowing individuals to cope better in tasks during daily life previously considered too uncomfortable.

Yoga is an excellent choice for managing ageing joints. It allows you to not only improve upon the physical factors contributing to Arthritis and your overall fitness, but also relieve yourself from stress and lead a richer life. We hope to see you soon at Verona Yoga to start on the road to better health!

6 Tips to Eliminate Stress in Traffic

The everyday stressors of life are something we all have to deal with. Whether it’s driving to school, to work, back to school, soccer practice or anything in between, our busy schedule can easily make us feel overwhelmed and stressed, especially if we are stuck in traffic.

So how can we find the balance in our lives when we are stuck in a car? Each time you stop at a traffic light or are in bumper to bumper traffic, try these six tips:

1. Belly Breathing

Tune in with your breath and feel your belly expand as you breathe in through your nose then collapse as your sigh out through your mouth.

2. Hand Yoga

Ease your grip on the steering wheel. Stretch your arms out straight over the wheel, palms down. Flex your fingers. Bend your wrists back. Hold. Repeat. Let the pressure build, then let it escape. Perfect for stressful times in traffic!

3. Roll it Out

When you’re stopped at a red light, take a minute to roll your ankles. Then, Sit up straight and roll your shoulders backward then forward a few times.

4. Check your Blind Spot

Look straight ahead. Tilt your left ear to your left shoulder, then your right ear to your right shoulder. After, check your blind spot, twisting your neck to look back behind your left and right sides.

5. Lion’s Breath

To relieve tension in your face, breathe in through your nose and feel it deeply in your belly. Hold it for a second, then all at once, let out a sigh, stick out your tongue, and cross your eyes. This is a fun one to try with kids!

6. Seated Cat/Crow

Place your hands on your seat, palms down. Roll your shoulders back and press your chest out while making a concave arch with your spine for cow pose. Then, round your shoulders and back down for cat pose. Very relaxing; extremely important.

These are just some fun little ways of relieving the stress that can build while sitting in traffic. For a complete approach to a healthier life, we suggest regular classes at a yoga studio such as Verona Yoga to help restore balance in your every day routine. Your health is more important than any errand you may have to run. Let’s start a journey to a stress-free life today!

Guest blog post written by our friends at Cherry Hill Nissan.