Tag: healthy living antioxidants


By Mona Gill

Wonder why our hair looks dry, dull and even thinning for no reason?

Here are my tips that I have been following recently and have found a difference in the quality of my hair. Hope it helps.

  • Wash your hair every one to two days especially if you have oily hair like me. Bear in mind though that washing your hair too often is not advisable as it strips the natural oils of the hair, causing it to be dry and frizzy.
  • Another trick I swear by is to comb your hair in the shower before shampooing. I found that it helps with fall outs. Also, important to use your fingertips and massage the scalp as it stimulates blood flow which is beneficial for your roots.
  • Moisturise your hair enough as hair loses moisture quickly. I used to avoid conditioner as I thought it would cause my hair to be even more oily. Using the right for your hair type is important. Use a balm and rub it in your hair avoiding the scalp area and same thing with a hair mask
  • This one is my favourite new discovery! Instead of towel drying my wet hair, I blot it with a cotton-t or cloth. Towels are rough and damages your hair follicles.
  • Diet plays a huge role in the way our hair looks. Always include protein plant /animal protein into your diet. Zinc is another mineral to include which can be found in eggs, avocado and nuts or seeds for healthy shiny hair.

These are my current tips and tricks. Try it out and let me know if you notice a difference in the quality of your hair.

Till next time,

Mona Gill

 

About the author:

Mona Gill is a busy mum and an entrepreneur. On top of that, she’s a yoga instructor and skincare expert. Mona is Astavita’s beauty and wellness ambassador. She attributes her stamina to cope with her busy lifestyle and still maintain clear complexion thanks to Astavita Healthy Living Antioxidants and Astarism. Mona extols holistic wellness, keeping a healthy lifestyle and beauty from inside out.  You may follow her on Instagram: mkglife.

By Mona Gill

It is the season to be merry and jolly but it can also get very overwhelming and stressful with Christmas around the corner. For many of us, that can send our stress levels through the roofs.

Year end is always an overwhelming time for me and many people I know. As busy as I am, I find that taking care of myself is the most important, so I can be a better mother, daughter and friend.

Here are some tips to ease the holiday stress so we can stay calm, energised, full of love and gratitude this jolly season.

1) Start your day with 20 minutes of moving your body. Instead of rushing through a high intensity workout, do some easy asanas or take a yin yoga class just to slow down and breathe and set the tone for the day.

2) Do some downward facing dogs when you can. This mini inversion relieves stress and encourages blood flow and calms the nervous system. Hold this pose for at least five breaths each time.

3) Lie on your back with your legs up against a wall. One of my favourite positions to keep calm, cool and collected. Stay in this position for about five minutes or even ten minutes and keep your eyes closed . It is important to breathe naturally and keep the lengths of the breaths similar and remember to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.

4) Meditation. This sounds too easy but trust me it is so difficult to do without getting distracted. I recommend starting with ten minutes. The focus should be once again on your breath. Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position or lotus position, palms on your knees facing up, close your eyes and focus on your breathing and try to clear your mind.

5) Tree pose for balancing. Whenever I do this pose it really reminds me to stay grounded during stressful times. We tend to not be balanced when stressed out so this balancing pose is a great reminder and if you fall out just get back into it. The idea is to gain stability and breathe and hold for as long as you can.

Anything that involves conscious breathing as I have mentioned above triggers the parasympathetic nervous system. This conscious trigger helps relax and boost energy. I hope these tips helps you ease some holiday stress so that you can have more fun and enjoy with your loved ones this season.

Namaste

 

About the author:

Mona Gill is a busy mum and an entrepreneur. On top of that, she’s a yoga instructor and skincare expert. Mona is Astavita’s beauty and wellness ambassador. She attributes her stamina to cope with her busy lifestyle and still maintain clear complexion thanks to Astavita Healthy Living Antioxidants and Astarism. Mona extols holistic wellness, keeping a healthy lifestyle and beauty from inside out.  You may follow her on Instagram: mkglife.

By Mona Gill

As a yoga instructor, I often get asked this question “How many calories will I burn during yoga?” My answer is “It depends on the type of classes you practice.”

For myself, I do a variety of classes from Bikram to Hatha and sometimes even a good stretch class. The calories burned will depend on which type of classes you do. For example, a Bikram class may burn around 500 calories as well as other hot yoga classes. A vinyasa flow class can typically burn around 600 calories as it can get challenging with constant movement and can be physically demanding.

One thing to bear in mind though is that we typically burn more calories when we do use larger muscles of the body. For example, when we do a chair pose, squats, warrior poses and lunges, we are engaging the larger muscles of our body and will then burn more calories. A gentle Hatha class can burn around 130 calories to 400 calories. A general rule of thumb to consider in stepping into any yoga class is the intensity of the class, your personal goals, and your intention. I believe it is entirely up to the individual how much you want to challenge yourself in a class.

If you’re already working out or doing some exercises currently, Yoga can be an add on to your current workout program. If you do practice intensely it is a great full body workout, especially with the variety of yoga classes available now, you can even do power yoga using weights and other props.

Whatever classes or workout you go for, I always advise people to practice with care and awareness. It is most important to listen to your body, so that you do not overstretch and injure yourself. Having said that, do keep practicing and stay fit with a healthy diet and adequate rest as well. Till the next post: live well, look good, be happy!

 

About the author:

Mona Gill is a busy mum and an entrepreneur. On top of that, she’s a yoga instructor and skincare expert. Mona is Astavita’s beauty and wellness ambassador. She attributes her stamina to cope with her busy lifestyle and still maintain clear complexion thanks to Astavita Healthy Living Antioxidants and Astarism. Mona extols holistic wellness, keeping a healthy lifestyle and beauty from inside out.  You may follow her on Instagram: mkglife.

 

By Mona Gill

Today I’d like to address this topic because so many of us have this issue. Really, at the end of the day, I always say what you put into your mouth is always going to show up on the surface one way or another. Hair loss is something that concerns me from time to time especially when I do not eat enough and am not very diligent in my hair care regime.

So what causes hair loss and what can you do to help keep your tresses healthy?

  • Skipping meals!

It’s so easy to skip meals especially when we are on the go and do not have a fixed meal plan scheduled. Stock up on nuts as they are so rich in omega 3s and we need that for healthy skin and hair. Try and incorporate more salmon, spinach, goji berries and bananas. These are also foods that are easily available so really, we have no excuses. I’d rather have a banana smoothie than skip a meal as skipping meals causes nutritional deficiencies in the long run and other metabolic issues as well.

  • Stress

If you get too stressed up, it’s really not worth your health. These days I choose to let go. Practicing unattachment helps and find something that helps you eliminate stress. For me it’s yoga and some form of physical activity. So find what works for you and de-stress when you feel the need to.

  • Over-washing our hair

This is a tricky one: over washing dries out our hair and washes out the natural oils our scalp produces but under washing is also an issue as it causes build up and the hair follicles to weaken resulting in hair loss. I reckon every 3 days is a good way to go but if you work-out a lot and sweat a lot, then every 2 days is good enough.

  • Blow-drying

I’m so guilty of this one. It really does damage your hair and causes unnecessary pulling and tugging that causes hair loss. A good way to go would be to air dry your hair and then use a straightener or curler to style your hair. Blow drying wet hair is the worst thing you can do to your hair!

  • Ponytails and buns

Putting your hair up in a tight knot too often can eventually cause your hairline to recede so do change up your style every so often. I like to change my parting often so I don’t recede particularly on one side.

Bonus tip: Recently I found out that neem leaves can be used to treat hair loss and hair issues like dandruff and lice. And it’s simple: Boil the neem leaves, cool and grind into a paste, apply onto hair after shampoo, and rinse.

I have heard of the benefits but I have yet to try it myself. And since this is a DIY I will definitely give it a go and keep y’all posted of the results.

That’s it, easy tips to ensure your tresses are lustrous and healthy. Till the next post, live well, look good, be happy.

 

About the author:

Mona Gill is a busy mum and an entrepreneur. On top of that, she’s a yoga instructor and skincare expert. Mona is Astavita’s beauty and wellness ambassador. She attributes her stamina to cope with her busy lifestyle and still maintain clear complexion thanks to Astavita Healthy Living Antioxidants and Astarism. Mona extols holistic wellness, keeping a healthy lifestyle and beauty from inside out.  You may follow her on Instagram: mkglife.

By Mona Gill

I tend to get tight and stressed very easily. And the only way I get to let everything go is by coming back to my mat. It is by working through certain postures that help me open, relax and release, letting it all go.

When we do a bind in yoga correctly, we allow our body to relax into the pose and we can hold the pose for longer periods. At first it feels uncomfortable, maybe even slightly painful. As we try and relax into the pose and open up, binding brings about different benefits.

This includes

  • opening of the heart and chest
  • mental balance as it requires focus (You have to be able to try and relax into it as opposed to resisting the pose)
  • massages the internal organs
  • lengthens the spine
  • relaxes tensed muscles

Bear in mind though that not everyone can bind easily therefore props like straps or pillows are recommended for added support. A few types of yoga binds are; bound side angle, dancers pose and bound head to knee.

Binding also promotes flexibility over time so if you are like me, constantly tight from gym and weight workouts, practice binding and eventually your body will thank you.

Be kind to yourself when practicing – never force the pose. Always set an intention, do your best and breathe and release into the pose. That is when you will truly feel and experience the eternal benefits of the pose.

Namaste

 

About the author:

Mona Gill is a busy mum and an entrepreneur. On top of that, she’s a yoga instructor and skincare expert. Mona is Astavita’s beauty and wellness ambassador. She attributes her stamina to cope with her busy lifestyle and still maintain clear complexion thanks to Astavita Healthy Living Antioxidants and Astarism. Mona extols holistic wellness, keeping a healthy lifestyle and beauty from inside out.  You may follow her on Instagram: mkglife.

 

Extract from article The transition of forgetfulness to dementia: when to intervene & how by Dr. B. K. Iyer (practicing physician and medical consultant)

In the last post, we talked about the different types of conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease [AD]. In this post, let us look into some scientific evidence based research findings.

What does scientific evidence based research have to say?

  • Knowing where one stands and being aware of the progress that science is making through assessment trials in such forgetful states, enables ‘reflection and adaptation’.
  • Due to the location of the first lesions of AD in hippocampal regions, memory disturbances in AD are related to a deficit in memorization of new information in episodic memory.
  • Conversely, memory disorders related to normal aging, depression, and degenerative or vascular brain lesions not involving hippocampus, are related to deficits in the processes of recall of previously memorized informations.
  • Hence, viewing dementia in such a context will enable people to modify expectations and fears of the transition from being forgetful to being actually diagnosed with dementia.
  • In recent years, the possibility of favorably influencing the cognitive trajectory through promotion of lifestyle modifications has been increasingly investigated. In particular, the relationship between nutritional habits and cognitive health has attracted special attention. Several substances of natural dietary origin display protective properties against some age-related diseases including neurodegenerative ones, particularly Alzheimer’s disease (AD). These compounds differ structurally, act therefore at different biochemical and metabolic levels and have shown different types of neuroprotective properties.

 

Stay tune to the final part of this 4-part series, to find out what if there is any help to prevent age-related neurodegeneration.

 

aging, antiaging, antioxidant, AstaReal, Astavita Singapore, astaxanthin, brainhealth, cognitive health, healthy, healthy living antioxidants, memory, nutrition

 

Extract from article The transition of forgetfulness to dementia: when to intervene & how by Dr. B. K. Iyer (practicing physician and medical consultant). Read original article here

In the previous post, we looked into the findings of some scientific research. In this post, we shall look into the effects of antioxidant and in particular astaxanthin and see if they have possible neuroprotective effects.

Study findings indicate that the exposure to specific nutritional compounds may result in cognitive benefits1. Why so? Reactive oxygen species (ROS) have important roles in normal brain function. Excessive production of ROS and ensuing tissue damage are countered by the endogenous antioxidant mechanisms that exist to protect the brain and its tissue. However, weakening of the antioxidant defense system is associated with aging. All of these features of aging contribute to a state of oxidative stress in the brain tissue, where the organ cannot combat the deleterious effects of ROS. Damage to proteins, lipids, and nucleotides accumulates promoting cellular dysfunction and subsequent cognitive impairment3.

Research has suggested that most sufferers of forgetfulness seek early intervention because of the belief that taking control over the disorder early is crucial and so fall prey to products with dubious claims rather than bank on evidence based medications. In order to better understand the mechanism of action of antioxidants that are efficacious for complex diseases in which oxidative stress may be present, but not the only significant pathogenic mechanism, the multiple pharmacological effects should be considered and investigated more broadly.

While there is a plethora of empirical evidence that antioxidants can be an effective treatment in preliminary studies, it is important to note that this strategy has been largely unsuccessful when translated in clinical trials. The failure of this antioxidant centric approach may be explained, in part, by the multifaceted limitations of common antioxidants.

As astaxanthin is known to cross the blood-brain barrier, it is detectable in the brain tissue making it a desirable anti-oxidant of immense therapeutic potential in neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia. There is also significant support to the fact that AXT may increase the levels of or promote the activity of endogenous antioxidant enzymes including superoxide dismutase and catalase. It has also been reported that astaxanthin supplementation can stimulate the expression of nuclear factor erythroid-related factor 2 (NRF-2), known to be associated with robust cellular protection from oxidative stress in vivo (Guerin et al. 2003). Al-Amin et al. (2015a). This observation is relevant to neurodegeneration and protection of cognitive function in aging3.

  • Results from current research on astaxanthin suggest that neuroprotective benefits are due to anti-inflammatory, anti-apoptotic and antioxidant effects, as well as the potential to promote or maintain neural plasticity. These emergent mechanisms of actions implicate astaxanthin as a promising therapeutic agent for neurodegenerative disease, including dementia2.
  • The basis for the use of astaxanthin approach in the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders is to prevent the progress of the disease by sequestering the primary targets and to slow disease progression by exerting activity against oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction.
  • The size and structure of astaxanthin allows it to become vertically integrated through the phospholipid bilayer as the functional groups of the astaxanthin structure are energetically favorable in this orientation (Guerin et al. 2003; Kidd 2011). This feature precisely positions the molecule so that it can interfere with lipid peroxidation. In this regard, astaxanthin is especially adept at protecting the integrity of cell membranes.
  • Recently, there has been emerging evidence that astaxanthin can promote neurogenesis and plasticity. Neurogenesis is now widely accepted to occur throughout adulthood, primarily in 2 regions of the brain: the subventricular zone (SVZ) and the subgranular zone (SGZ) of the dentate gyrus (DG) of the hippocampus. Because the hippocampus is essential for learning and memory, neurogenesis likely plays a role in these cognitive processes3.
  • Animal studies have clearly demonstrated the mechanism and efficacy of astaxanthin in Diabetes-induced cognitive deficit (DICD) through suppression of oxidative stress, nitric oxide synthase (NOS) pathway, inflammatory reaction, decrease in the caspase-3/9 expression and increase in the expression of PI3K/Akt in cerebral cortex and hippocampus3.
  • Another in-vitro study has shown that in AD, astaxanthin protects neurons from the noxious effects of A𝛽Os on mitochondrial ROS production, NFATc4 activation and RyR2 gene expression downregulation5.

A human study conducted in 96 subjects with complaints of age-related forgetfulness has shown the effects of astaxanthin on cognitive function. On administering a capsule containing astaxanthin-rich Haematococcus pluvialis daily for 12 weeks, improved cognitive function was observed by performance enhancement in CogHealth battery scores and Groton Maze Learning Test scores. This study clearly revealed that natural astaxanthin reduces oxidisation in the brain, leading to improved scores in tests of cognitive function4.

Strong evidence has shown that Astaxanthin can calm microglial activation and suppress the output of cytotoxic substances. This ability to attenuate microglial activation and the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines is an important mechanism of action for protecting neuronal integrity, especially with age3.

In addition, astaxanthin offers neuroprotection against normal aging and neurodegeneration by promoting neurogenesis through modulating microglial activity and important signaling molecules such as ERK, AKT, and BDNF in-vitro and in-vivo, therefore improving cognitive functions.

Since the efficacy of Astaxanthin in cognitive function is now evident in several human clinical studies, it is time for one and all to exploit the possible neuroprotective effects. The earlier one starts astaxanthin, the better it is as dementia does not inform when it transitions from cognitive inhibition.

 

References:

  1. Nutrients. 2016 Mar 4;8(3):144. Nutrition and Dementia: Evidence for Preventive Approaches? By Canevelli M, Lucchini F, Quarata F, Bruno G, Cesari M.
  2. GeroScience (2017) 39:19–32, Neuroprotective mechanisms of astaxanthin: a potential therapeutic role in preserving cognitive function in age and neurodegeneration by Bethany Grimmig & Seol-Hee Kim & Kevin Nash & Paula C. Bickford & R. Douglas Shytle
  3. Clin. Biochem. Nutr., September 2012, vol. 51, no. 2, page 102–107, Effects of astaxanthin-rich Haematococcus pluvialis extract on cognitive function: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study by Mikiyuki Katagiri et al.
  4. Int J Clin Exp Pathol 2015;8(6):6083-6094, Astaxanthin improves cognitive deficits from oxidative stress, nitric oxide synthase and inflammation through upregulation of PI3K/Akt in diabetes rat by Lianbao Xu et al.
  5. Neural Plasticity, Volume 2016, Article ID 3456783, 13 pages, Astaxanthin protects primary hippocampal neurons against noxious effects of A𝛽-Oligomers by Pedro Lobos et al.

By Mona Gill

Do you practice yoga mostly in the studio or indoors? Well, to let you in on a little tip, I have been practicing yoga outdoors lately. I found that I enjoy it a little more as there is just something about breathing in fresh air while practicing. Here are my thoughts on why practicing yoga outdoors is beneficial.

1. It increases your body’s awareness.

When we practice yoga in a studio with mirrors (which we usually do), we can see ourselves and adjust our poses accordingly. In the open, there are no mirrors, so you cannot see yourself. However, without mirrors, you can focus more on your body rather than the reflections from the mirrors. This enhances your practice as it takes more focus on really being present.

2. It boosts your confidence level.

It takes a lot of courage to practise yoga outdoors, in public places, such as in the park or gardens. Especially for those who are shy, this really takes them out of their comfort zone and challenges you to embrace something new. But this is when the real positive changes happen so definitely keep working at it.

3. You will feel more grounded.

When I am practicing alone outdoors, I am more connected to the earth and feel more connected to myself. Without other distractions, I can have a better and deeper practice.

4. Feeling invigorated

Practicing yoga outdoors exposes you to fresh air. When there’s fresh air, it is easier to for the body to relax and be really connected mind, body and soul.

5. Increased sense of well being

When connected with nature, people tend to relax more and hence sense of wellbeing automatically increases! Working out outdoors usually leaves me feeling more refreshed, relaxed and light-hearted.

So, what are you waiting for? Get your mat and take a walk in the park and garden or your favourite open space outdoors and let your outdoor yoga journey begin. Till the next post, keep practicing. Namaste.

 

About the author:

Mona Gill is a busy mum and an entrepreneur. On top of that, she’s a yoga instructor and skincare expert. Mona is Astavita’s beauty and wellness ambassador. She attributes her stamina to cope with her busy lifestyle and still maintain clear complexion to Astavita Healthy Living Antioxidants and Astarism. Mona extols holistic wellness, keeping a healthy lifestyle and beauty from inside out.  You may follow her on Instagram: mkglife.

 

By Mona Gill

I started way back in 2006 in Calgary, Canada. I was looking for a different type of workout and was getting tired of the gym workouts. A couple of friends introduced me to hot yoga and let’s just say I was “hooked” after. It started off as something I added to my usual workouts, then it was me practicing 5 days a week and soon enough it became my lifestyle not just an exercise routine. I never need to force myself to yoga, I just do it like it’s second nature to me. So how has yoga helped in my life so far, read on and you’ll know:

1. Yoga helps pushes me to my limits.

I’m not the most flexible of person but yoga teaches me self-acceptance. Not only that, practicing yoga takes me from self-acceptance to stretching my limits. One of the limits was I never thought I can do a headstand because I always thought my lower body was too heavy. However, through constant practice and learning the technique of engaging my core to help stabilise my body, it was achievable. This reminds me that I do not have to feel limited by my physical self, instead it challenges me to stretch beyond my own mental limitations. Once you realise it, it’s all in the mind. You need to be focused and “in the moment” and envision it happening even if you fall over and over. It builds confidence and self-esteem.

2. Another reason why I practise yoga is that yoga helps me in coping with situations better.

Practicing yoga keeps me from making unhealthy decisions whether it’s to do with food or other areas of my life. It helps me keep my mind healthy especially during times of crisis or stress. We do not have control over all situations but it we can choose how we react and cope. When I feel the need to shut the negative voices in my head, I meditate silently while I practice or even just sitting still and closing my eyes and it gets better.

3. Yoga has enabled me to connect with others.

I find that I am better able to share my knowledge and experiences, especially after taking teacher training courses with Yoga works Canada, Universal Yoga with Andre Lappa and Copper Crow in Singapore. One thing to note though is that you do not have to be a yogi to practice, you just have to find what works for you and your body. Some people prefer yin yoga, some like hatha. Personally my practice has been about inversions as it helps build strength in my core muscles and strengthen my spine for overall stability. Occasionally I like vinyasa for some intense cardio depending on the level of the class.

Bottom line, it is important to also realise that yoga is not about being just physical, it teaches us the quieting of the mind, getting connected mind body soul and being aware of what you need at that point of time in that moment. Till the next post, keep practising!

 

About the author:

Mona Gill is a busy mum and an entrepreneur. On top of that, she’s a yoga instructor and skincare expert. Mona is Astavita’s beauty and wellness ambassador. She attributes her stamina to cope with her busy lifestyle and still maintain clear complexion to Astavita Healthy Living Antioxidants and Astarism. Mona extols holistic wellness, keeping a healthy lifestyle and beauty from inside out.  You may follow her on Instagram: mkglife.

 By Mona Gill

As you may know yoga is a big part of my life and I’m a yoga instructor myself. People practice yoga for many reasons, some for health, others for keeping with the trends. However, today I would like to share the five pillars of yoga developed by the Sivananda school of yoga. Embracing these pillars are fundamental to our yoga practice and helps us maintain an overall balanced and healthy lifestyle.

 1. Right movement

Right movement is very useful for beginners and helps our joints maintain healthy conditions. Yoga provides movement therefore constant practice combined with other exercise helps maintain these healthy conditions based on our body type, age and state of health.

2. Right breathing

It is important to know when to breathe in and out during your practice.  Having the right technique improves mood, lowers anxiety and stress. Therefore, learning the prayanama breath is useful in yoga practice.

3. Right relaxation

Relaxation means the ability to balance activity in your life. Take proper rest when required. This includes resting your emotional and mental state, besides your physical body.

 

4. Right nutrition

You need to eat right to support your yoga practice. Eating is also a form of practice in which you seek balance and not over indulge. Always striving to attain balance therefore mindful eating can support your practice.

5. Right intention

Right intention refers to cultivating a positive attitude. Equally important is the ability to quieten the unnecessary noise in your head during a practice or even when not practicing yoga but in everyday life even it’s just for a few minutes makes a huge difference.

There you have it, the 5 pillars of yoga. Embrace them and you’ll find that yoga embraces you back with much more. Till my next post, keep practicing.

 

About the author:

Mona Gill is a busy mum and an entrepreneur. On top of that, she’s a yoga instructor and skincare expert. Mona is Astavita’s beauty and wellness ambassador. She attributes her stamina to cope with her busy lifestyle and still maintain clear complexion to Astavita Healthy Living Antioxidants and Astarism. Mona extols holistic wellness, keeping a healthy lifestyle and beauty from inside out.  You may follow her on Instagram: mkglife.

 

 

 

 

 

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