THE SPRING CLEANSING ISSUE #500 04/25/12
Tell a friend

Spring Cleansing: 5 Great Reasons to Do a Detox

By Collette DeBenedetto

Those long winter months are over and it's finally spring. Ah, the splendor. The sun is out, the birds are chirping, and you're on your hands and knees, vacuuming under the couch.

Beachbody Ultimate Reset™

Okay, spring cleaning may not be the idyllic aspect of the season, but it makes you feel better in the long run, right? So this year, why not dial it up a notch? While cleaning out your closets and cabinets, try cleaning out something even more important—your body. The winter months of hibernation trigger us to indulge in Christmas cookies, New Year's champagne, and Valentine's candy, which leave us packed with toxins, coping with refined carb-induced blood sugar spikes, and feeling generally lethargic. A great way to transition through the seasons and into a healthy everyday life is through a spring cleanse! (And the good news is that, if done right, it can be a lot more pleasant than chasing dust bunnies around your living room.)

Unfortunately, most people identify cleanses with weird, faddish cocktails of cayenne, citrus, and maple syrup that promise detoxing and weight loss, but fail to mention that they'll also leave you hungry, lethargic, and somewhat grossed out. Furthermore, they're not terribly effective. The body doesn't reboot by pushing control+alt+delete. It's a complex series of systems that requires patience, time, and the proper nutrition to realign.

Luckily, there are smarter—and more palatable—ways to cleanse your body and clear out the toxins that have accumulated over time. Our favorite (not surprisingly) is the Beachbody Ultimate Reset, a three-phase, full, inner-body tune-up designed to detoxify and restore your body to its original maximum state of balance, purity, and health—gently and naturally. Let's explore a few of the ways a healthy cleanse like the Reset will benefit your body.

  1. Beachbody Ultimate Reset™Clean out the junk. Think of all the processed foods, sugars, alcohol, environmental toxins, and general daily stress that go into your body day after day, year after year. Those toxins accumulate over time. Additionally, your body becomes accustomed to some of the crap that you put inside it. A proper detox functions as your body's reset button. It usually involves removing processed foods, sugar, and alcohol from your diet and consuming specific foods that promote the cleaning out your system. Benefits of this clean-out include weight loss, more energy, bowel regularity, and improved body awareness.

    This happens a few ways. First, when your body doesn't know what to do with a toxin, it stores it in adipose tissue (body fat). In order to get toxins out, you need to mobilize that adipose tissue. As James Dillard, MD, assistant clinical professor at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons explained to WebMD, "When fat is mobilized, anything that is fat-soluble should be mobilized, too." Of course, it's important to do this with healthy clean foods, or you'll be putting toxins back in just as fast as you pull them out!
  2. No more toxic addictions. Sugar and caffeine are addictive. If we have a cookie, we're usually not satiated. We usually want another cookie. I may or not be speaking from personal experience. Don't judge. Same with caffeine. Do you really want to live a life in which you're required to drink a cup of coffee, like it or not, to start your day? A detox is a way to lose your taste for toxic foods, so that you don't crave those foods when you're back to your normal lifestyle. It's also a way to remove the emotional attachments you may have developed with certain foods.
  3. SugarsLearn about your body. As you take out processed foods, you begin to see how your body functions without additives, pesticides, hormones, sugar, and other nasty stuff that is added to most of the food we eat. At this time, you may see that your skin is clear, you sleep better, or you're not bloated. If you notice any of these good side effects, you may be allergic to some of the food you regularly ingest. For instance, when I took gluten out of my diet, I eliminated bloat, gas (wait . . . girls don't fart, right?), and acne. For one person, it may be dairy; for another person, it may be wheat. Note the little changes that go a long way. When your gas ends, your significant other may thank you (and me).
  4. Cure yourself, naturally. If you've been lethargic or have had trouble with digestion, allergies, infections, headaches, or depression, before running to the doctor, try nature first—try food! The Ultimate Reset, for example, is not an extreme program that promotes starvation. This is a 21-day, step-by-step transformation to rid your body of the accumulated toxins and reclaim your body and health. In addition to several great recipes, the plan provides essential nutrients, enzymes, and probiotics to aid in healthy functional performance.
  5. Beachbody Ultimate Reset™A complete reboot. When you put these four benefits together, you get one even greater benefit. Your body returns to homeostasis, the place of balance where it wants to be. Because the system is running without obstruction, successful cleanses can level out a variety of health indicators, such as reducing cholesterol, increasing testosterone, or just giving the cleanser a higher energy level.

Of course, there are a few things to be mindful of when embarking on a process this powerful. Yes, one benefit of a detox is potential weight loss. After all, it's a large calorie deficit for several days, if not weeks, but the key here is to not go overboard once you're done. If you think you can clean up your act for 21 days and then jump back into your old eating habits while maintaining your newly found slimmer physique, you're in for a sad surprise. Unfortunately, just as there's no magic pill that will carve a six-pack, there is no magic detox that washes the saddlebags away. When used correctly, they can be great to shed some unwanted pounds, but the user needs to be cognizant of the choices they make post-detox.

Also, when selecting a detox/cleanse, beware that there might be side effects. When you are on an extremely low calorie diet, you can feel weak, irritable, develop insomnia, have headaches, and have some digestive distress. Your body is used to a certain amount of calories, and when you deprive yourself, it can be difficult for your mind and body to perform. The best way to avoid this during a cleanse is to take it easy. Don't worry. Your workouts will still be there when you're done, so there's no need to plow through Plyo X on minimal calories.

Even before doing something like the Ultimate Reset, you can begin to cleanse your body by eliminating processed foods, mainly those that are high in refined flour, added sugar, additives, preservatives, and other chemicals. Also, you can try rounds of eliminating excess protein, dairy, caffeine, and grains to see how your body reacts. When you start to notice a difference (good or bad), play with that. Try taking something else out of your diet and see how your body reacts. Slowly, and one at a time, start to reintroduce foods to see how your body reacts to them, since you are no longer "used" to them. Watch your energy expenditure at the beginning of and throughout your cleanse. Your body will not be taking in as many calories as usual, and you don't want to tax your body during this time. The key is to start slow. Don't rush your body. You will be amazed by the response.

Whichever route you go, make sure that you are following a healthy cleanse and not going into starvation mode. Keep a daily journal of how you're feeling day-by-day. This will be a good indicator of what foods you are reactive to and what foods are okay by the standards of your body. Listen closely. Your body has the ability to communicate some amazing things to you.

Detractors accuse cleanses of being just another holistic fad. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. Practitioners of ancient Indian medicine Ayurveda have benefited from springtime cleansing for generations. Their practice of pancha karma, a comprehensive 7 to 30-day program designed to eliminate toxins, was around long before many of the toxins we modern folk cope with even existed. So, if you're ready to change the channel to more energy, clear skin, less headaches, and overall better living, try a detox.

Happy spring cleansing!

Resources:

  • Davis, J., Detox Diets: Cleansing the Body, WebMD. Retrieved from www.webmd.com/diet/features/detox-diets-cleansing-body-feature
  • Rona, Zoltan P., Liver and Kidney Cleansing, Alive: Canada's Natural Health & Wellness Magazine, Mar. 2009, Issue 317, p. 66-69
  • Belovarac, R. & Darwin, M., Spring Cleansing with Ayuveda, Share Guide, May/June 2009, Issue 103, p. 20-20

Related Articles
"Ancient Wisdom: 3 Ways to Exercise Body and Mind"
"Fantastic Voyage: 10 Easy Ways to Guarantee a Blissful Commute"
"Ten 10-Second Stress Busters"

Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Check the Team Beachbody Chat Room for the next impromptu video chat. Or, if you just can't wait, log onto the Information & Education section of the Team Beachbody Message Boards for questions, answers, and scintillating conversation.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com. We may even answer your question right here, for all the world to see!

And if you'd like to know more about Beachbody Director of Results Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope, named one of the Top 50 blogs covering the sports industry by the Masters in Sports Administration. You can also read a more scientific (not to mention snarky) take on many of the topics we discuss here at The Real Fitness Nerd blog.

Submit A CommentTell A Friend Bookmark and Share

Back to top.


BEACHBODY ULTIMATE RESET™—The Beachbody Ultimate Reset™ is Here!
Beachbody Ultimate Reset™

Increase energy, lose weight, and lower cholesterol in 21 days! This 21-day, no starvation, inner-body tune-up helps restore your body to its optimal "factory settings"—so you can feel, look, and be healthier.*

ORDER TODAY
Shakeology®—THE HEALTHIEST MEAL OF THE DAY®
Tropical Strawberry Shakeology®

Curb cravings and lose weight. Improve digestion and regularity with dairy-free, lactose-free, vegan superfood shake, Tropical Strawberry Shakeology.*

ORDER TODAY
Tai Cheng™
Tai Cheng™

Your body can feel younger and stronger in just 90 days. Explore a natural approach that can help restore your body's youthful range of motion and help relieve pain, naturally. Based on the movements, concepts, and theories of traditional Yang-style Tai Chi, created by Tai Chi master, Dr. Mark Cheng.

ORDER TODAY
Beachbody Challenge™
Beachbody Challenge™

The 2012-2013 Beachbody Challenge contest has begun! Enter for your chance to win OVER $100,000!

ENTER NOW

Consult your physician and follow all safety instructions before beginning any exercise program or using any supplement or meal replacement product.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

 
SHOP ALL BEST SELLERS

Back to top.


The Shakeology® Breakdown: Adaptogens

By Sarah Stevenson

(An occasional series on the many fine ingredients that make up Shakeology)

If you're reading this, you probably know that the stuff in the new Tropical Strawberry Shakeology is good for you and vegan. If you've looked at the back of its shiny, white bag, you might even be aware that it's a tour de force of super healthy ingredients. But here's the tricky part: Do you know exactly what all those ingredients do?

Shakeology®

There's a good chance that you don't know, but being smart, healthy, and curious, you sure want to! If you fall into this camp, read on, because, as usual, Beachbody® is here to help.

Welcome to the first in a series here in the newsletter featuring the different proprietary blends in this wonder shake. This week, we tackle Shakeology's vegan proprietary adaptogen herb blend.

Adaptogens function just like they sound, by allowing you to adapt to life's changes. They help the body de-stress and return to a state of equilibrium. They possess three qualities:

  • They are nontoxic.
  • They benefit the whole body (not targeting any specific part).
  • They create balance or one's natural state of homeostasis in your system.

Of course, you'll also find plenty of these adaptogens in the other flavors of Shakeology, so keep that in mind when perusing this list.

One thing we can all count on is that life will always be full of changes. When it is tough coping with those changes, turning to these balancing herbs may be the solution you need. Here are the adaptogens you'll find in Shakeology:

  • Maca rootMaca root (Lepidium meyenii). Maca contains calcium, potassium, iron, iodine, copper manganese, and zinc. It also has many fatty acids including linolenic acid, palmitic acid, and oleic acid, as well as 19 amino acids. In 2002, Peruvian researchers conducted a study in which they found that men given maca root had a quantifiable increase in sexual desire after just 8 weeks. In a 2009 review of the effects of maca root, researchers reported, "Randomized clinical trials have shown that maca has favorable effects on energy and mood, may decrease anxiety and improve sexual desire." In other words, this adaptogen can simultaneously heat you up and cool you down. You'll be hard-pressed to find something more balanced than that.
  • Astragalus root (Astragalus membranaceus). In 2009, researchers reported in the Journal of Immunology that astrgalus roots have antiviral and anti-aging properties. It's a diuretic, meaning it helps flush out bacteria, viruses, and inflammation. It helps build up your immune system and does a great job at protecting the liver from toxins. In other words, this adaptogen keeps you healthy and young.
  • Ashwagandha rootAshwagandha root (Withania somnifera). Ashwagandha in Sanskrit means "horse's smell" likely because the root smells like a sweaty horse. (Thankfully, it tastes like strawberries in this shake!) Practitioners of the traditional Indian practice of Ayurvedic medicine use ashwagandha root to keep the central nervous system healthy. This can help with disorders in the CNS like epilepsy, stress, and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. Practitioners also prescribe ashwagandha root to reduce stress and as a sleep aid. So if you want a healthy central nervous system, or want to stay relaxed and sleep sound, this adoptogen is for you.
  • Maitake mushroomMaitake mushroom (Grifola frondosa). In Chinese and Japanese herbal medicine, the maitake mushroom is coined the "medicinal mushroom." This mushroom is rich in potassium; calcium; magnesium; vitamins B2, D2, and niacine; fiber; and amino acids. In a 2009 study, researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center found maitake mushrooms to posses anti-cancer qualities! Several studies conducted at Japan’s Hokkaido University have shown that this mushroom has the power to regulate blood pressure, insulin, glucose, and liver lipids like cholesterol, triglyceriedes, and phospholipids. Forget "medicinal mushroom." Sounds more like "miracle mushroom."
  • CordycepsCordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis, fungi). In his 15th century medical text, Tibetian doctor Zurkhar Nyamnyi Dorje sites cordyceps fungi as helping with sexual dysfunction, but that's just one of its many benefits. Over the years, animal studies have shown cordyceps fungi can treat an array of conditions, including treatment of arrhythmia, gastric spasm, gastric atony, consumptive cough, excessive sweating, kidney and liver health, and autoimmune diseases. And recently, British research shows that cordyceps may be a valuable tool in fighting cancer. But wait, there's more! When Chinese athletes broke world records in track in the 1992 Olympics, everyone accused the athletes of steroid use. But the athletes attributed their success to cordyceps, claiming the fungi promoted efficient use of oxygen and increased blood flow to organs.
  • Reishi mushroomReishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum). Also known as the "supernatural mushroom," these fungi have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 2,000 years. They're known in the East for their amazing benefits and lack of side effects. Reishi mushrooms contain a group of triterpene phytonutrients called ganoderic acids that have anti-viral and anti-bacterial qualities. Researchers have found the reishi mushroom can be used to lower blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol. It is also currently being studied for its anti-tumor qualities and ability to protect against liver disease. Talk about super natural.
  • Peppermint tea. This tea can be made from dried or fresh peppermint leaves, which are very simple to grow organically in your own backyard. Peppermint tea is known for its healing properties with your digestive system. It is a carminativean agent that dispels gas and bloating in the digestive system, and an antispasmodic, which means it helps relieve intestinal cramps related to an upset stomach. Its expectorant properties help your body clear mucus when you have a head cold. It also has the aromatherapy benefit of helping to relieve headaches and induce a restful sleep.
  • Holy basilHoly basil (Ocimum sanctum, leaf). Used for centuries by Ayurvedic practitioners, holy basil is worshiped in the Hindu religion as the avatar of Goddess Lakshmi. Although holy basil has been used for centuries therapeutically, over the last few decades many scientists and researchers from India have started to get very serious in their study of the plant and its benefits. Studies suggest that the leaves boost insulin secretion, thus acting as a pain killer (due to their ability to inhibit COX-2); lower cholesterol; and have antioxidant, immune-boosting, and stress-relieving properties. Practitioners prescribe the leaf of this plant to treat common colds, headaches, stomach disorders, inflammation, heart disease, and many forms of poisoning. No doubt about it, holy basil is one holy stress reliever.
  • Mulberry tea. This tea has a really delicious, fruity taste. Mulberry tea is filled with nutrients such as magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and calcium. It aids in weight loss because it's a diuretic, so it helps cleanse your body of toxins, and it also has the ability to block sugars from entering the blood stream. In a study published in the May 2007 issue of Diabetes Care journal, mulberry leaf was found to reduce glucose levels in rats and subjects with type 2 diabetes. The tea contains antioxidants that help build the immune system and reduce bad cholesterol.
  • SchisandraSchisandra (Schisandra spp., fruit). A native of East Asia used in traditional Chinese medicine, the name translates as "five flavor fruit” because it possess all five flavors in Chinese herbal medicine: salty, sweet, sour, pungent (spicy), and bitter. In 2011, Chinese researchers conducted a study in which they stressed out mice for 18 hours to the point that they were not able to accomplish tasks properly. (Sorry, Mickey and Minnie!) They then administered a dose of schisandra. Shortly thereafter, the mice were able to follow through with the tasks presented to them. Other animal studies suggest the use of schisandra can help resist infections; improve skin health; and fight off insomnia, coughing, and thirst. It has also been used in Chinese medicine to help protect the liver, stabilize blood sugar, lower cholesterol, and as a stimulant to increase energy levels. If it works for Mickey Mouse it can work for you.
  • GinkgoGinkgo (Ginkgo biloba, leaf). Native of China, also known as the Maidenhair Tree, ginkgo biloba is unique, having no relatives similar to it. Current studies are beginning to uncover the amazing benefits that this herb has to offer the mind regarding clarity and attention span. In 2005, a study was conducted involving 52 healthy young adult volunteers. When compared to a placebo, they found that ginkgo takers had "significantly improved performance on the sustained-attention task and pattern-recognition memory task." The effect was almost immediate and reached its peak 2.5 hours after intake. And if that's not enough, in Chinese medicine it is often used for increasing blood flow to protect against blood clotting, and to ward off vertigo. A fast-acting mind-clearer? Goodbye coffee, hello Shakeology!

As you can clearly see, we didn't pick these adaptogens all willy-nilly. Each one was carefully researched and selected to bring good health to several different aspects of your life. From ancient cure-alls to aphrodisiacs, stress-busters to (legal) Olympic performance enhancers, adaptogens are the key to adding something most of us sorely miss in our lives: balance.

Resources:

  • Panossian, A.,Wikman, G., and Wagner, H. (1999). Plant adaptogens. III. Earlier and more recent aspects and concepts on their mode of action. Phytomedicine 6, 287-300.
  • Kilham, Christopher (2000). Tales from the Medicine Trail: Tracking Down the Health Secrets of Shamans, Herbalists, Mystics, Yogis, and Other Healers. [Emmaus PA]: Rodale Press. ISBN 1-57954-185-2.
  • http://www.rain-tree.com/maca.htm
  • Gonzales, GF.; Cordova A., Vega K., Chung A., Villena A., Gonez C. & Castillo S. (2002). "Effect of Lepidium meyenii (maca) on sexual desire and its absent relationship with serum testosterone levels in adult healthy men." Andrologia 34 (6): 367–72.
  • Gonzales, GF; Cordova A., Gonzales C., Chung A., Vega K. & Villena A. (2001). "Lepidium meyenii (maca) improved semen parameters in adult men." Asian Journal of Andrology 3 (4): 301–3.
  • Gonzales GF, Gonzales C, Gonzales-Castañeda C (December 2009). "Lepidium meyenii (Maca): a plant from the highlands of Peru--from tradition to science." Forsch Komplementmed 16 (6): 373–80.
  • Jim English (2008). "Anti-Aging and Anti-Viral Effects of Herbal 'Youth' Compound." Nutrition Review 3 (5).
  • "Withania Somnifera (L.) Dunal." Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Online Database]. Beltsville, Maryland: USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory.
  • Deng G, Lin H, Seidman A, et al. (September 2009). "A phase I/II trial of a polysaccharide extract from Grifola frondosa (Maitake mushroom) in breast cancer patients: immunological effects." Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology 135 (9): 1215–21.
  • Nanba H, Kubo K (December 1997). "Effect of Maitake D-fraction on cancer prevention." Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 833 (1 Cancer): 204–7.
  • Kodama N, Komuta K, Sakai N, Nanba H (December 2002). "Effects of D-Fraction, a polysaccharide from Grifola frondosa on tumor growth involve activation of NK cells." Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin 25 (12): 1647–50.
  • Mackay, Duncan (2001-07-24). "Mao's army on the march again." The Guardian.
  • Kobayasi, Y. (1941). "The genus Cordyceps and its allies." Science Reports of the Tokyo Bunrika Daigaku, Sect. B 5: 53–260. ISSN 0371-3547.
  • Paterson RR (2006). "Ganoderma - a therapeutic fungal biofactory." Phytochemistry 67 (18): 1985–2001.
  • Lindequist U, Niedermeyer THJ, Jülich WD. (2005). "The pharmacological potential of mushrooms." Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2 (3): 285–299.
  • Prakash, P.; Gupta, N. (April 2005). "Therapeutic uses of Ocimum sanctum Linn (Tulsi) with a note on eugenol and its pharmacological actions: A short review." Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology 49 (2): 125–131.
  • Sethi, Jyoti; Sood, Sushma; Seth, Shashi; Talwar, Anjana (2004). "Evaluation of hypoglycemic and antioxidant effect of Ocimum sanctum." Indian Journal of Clinical Biochemistry 19 (2): 152–155.
  • Mondal, S.; Varma, S.; Bamola, V. D.; Naik, S. N.; Mirdha, B. R.; Padhi, M. M.; Mehta, N.; Mahapatra, S. C. (2011). "Double-blinded randomized controlled trial for immunomodulatory effects of Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum Linn.) leaf extract on healthy volunteers." Journal of Ethnopharmacology 136 (3): 452–456.
  • Panossian A., Wikman G. Pharmacology of Schisandra chinensis Bail.: An overview of Russian research and uses in medicine. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. Vol 118/2 pp 183-212.
  • Pharmacological studies on the anxiolytic effect of standardized Schisandra lignans extract on restraint-stressed mice Wai-Wei Chen, Rong-Rong He, Yi-Fang Li, Shan-Bing Li, Bun Tsoi, Hiroshi Kurihara. Phytomedicine - 15 October 2011 Vol. 18, Issue 13, Pages 1144-1147.
  • Snitz, B. E.; O'Meara, E. S.; Carlson, M. C.; Arnold, A. M.; Ives, D. G.; Rapp, S. R.; Saxton, J.; Lopez, O. L. et al (2009). "Ginkgo biloba for Preventing Cognitive Decline in Older Adults: A Randomized Trial." JAMA: the Journal of the American Medical Association 302 (24): 2663–70.
  • Mahadevan, S.; Park, Y. (2007). "Multifaceted Therapeutic Benefits of Ginkgo biloba L.: Chemistry, Efficacy, Safety, and Uses." Journal of Food Science 73 (1): R14–9.
  • Elsabagh, Sarah; Hartley, David E.; Ali, Osama; Williamson, Elizabeth M.; File, Sandra E. (2005). "Differential cognitive effects of Ginkgo biloba after acute and chronic treatment in healthy young volunteers." Psychopharmacology 179 (2): 437–46.
  • BBC News: Herbal remedies "boost brain power."
  • Wong, Y. Y., Moon, A., Duffin, R., Barthet-Barateig, A., Meijer, H. A., Clemens, M. J., & De Moor, C. H. (2010). Cordycepin Inhibits Protein Synthesis and Cell Adhesion through Effects on Signal Transduction. The Journal of Biological Chemistry, 285(4), 2610-2621. American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Related Articles
"Leaf Relief: 8 Awesome Herbs for Your Kitchen"
"Chili Peppers: A Hot Ticket for a Healthy Diet"
"Hot Cups o' Love: Top 10 Herbal Teas to Warm You Up All Year Round"

Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Check the Team Beachbody Chat Room for the next impromptu video chat. Or, if you just can't wait, log onto the Information & Education section of the Team Beachbody Message Boards for questions, answers, and scintillating conversation.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com. We may even answer your question right here, for all the world to see!

And if you'd like to know more about Beachbody Director of Results Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope, named one of the Top 50 blogs covering the sports industry by the Masters in Sports Administration. You can also read a more scientific (not to mention snarky) take on many of the topics we discuss here at The Real Fitness Nerd blog.

Submit A CommentTell A Friend Bookmark and Share

Back to top.


Namaste A-Okay: 3 Surprising Ways Yoga Benefits You (Including Weight Loss!)

By Sarah Stevenson

Yoga is invigoration in relaxation. Freedom in routine. Confidence through self control. Energy within and energy without.
—Ymber Delecto

The economy is a mess, the unemployment rate is at an all-time sustainable high, and people are feeling more insecure than ever. It's no surprise that the popularity of yoga is on the rise. Yes, this may be partly due to celebrity fads or the popularity of yoga pants and the resulting need to fit into them, but it may also be that people feel out of control in their outer worlds, so they're seeking the internal balance only a consistent yoga practice can bring. At any rate, this rise in popularity has researchers buzzing. Check out all the new research that supports you de-stressing on the mat.

Woman Meditating

  1. Woman StretchingBrain building. Yogis and yoginis alike are pretty hot and happy-looking people. The gift of walking around with a smile on your face while looking sexy in your hard tails is enough to win the attention of almost anyone. But it turns out yoga can help your brain as well. Researchers from Boston University, New York Medical College, and Columbia report that certain imbalances in the brain occur when a person suffers from depression or stress-related conditions. These imbalances include low activity of gamma amino-butyric acid (GABA), an issue linked to epilepsy, chronic pain, depression, anxiety, and PTSD. The researchers found that yoga increases the activity of GABA, which in turn significantly improves symptoms. They suggest that, "This has far-reaching implications for the integration of yoga-based practices in the treatment of a broad array of disorders exacerbated by stress." In other words, you can treat depression while getting in shape at the same time.

    In January 2012, a study published in The Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research reported that yoga seemed protective/preventive for secondary school students when it came to controlling anger and feeling fatigue. Students were randomly assigned to one of two groups. The first did 11 weeks of physical activity and the second did 11 weeks of yoga. They found that the adolescents in the yoga group revealed "statistically significant differences over time relative to controls on measures of anger control and fatigue/inertia." The results, according to researchers, "suggest that implementation of yoga is acceptable and feasible in a secondary school setting and has the potential of playing a protective or preventive role in maintaining mental health."

    Smart cars. Smart water. Looks like yoga may join them as the Smart workout.
  2. Woman on ScaleFighting fat. The average person is likely to practice yoga to increase flexibility, improve balance, relieve stress, and reduce pain. But did you know yoga can also help you lose weight? Yoga may not burn as many calories as cardio, but it does influence your mind to help you lose and maintain a healthy weight.

    Researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle conducted a 15,550-person public health study measuring physical activity, including yoga and weight change. Those who practiced yoga for 4 years showed a 3-lb. lower weight gain among normal-weight participants (BMI of less than 25) and an 18.5-lb. lower weight gain among overweight subjects.

    In 2011, researchers from The Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, integrated yoga into eating disorder programs and weight management for obesity, at which point a small, randomized study of yoga for obese women was conducted. The subjects who practiced yoga for 16 weeks showed an impressive decrease in body weight, body fat percentage, BMI, waist circumference, and visceral fat area in comparison to those who didn't.

    Still not convinced? Researchers in Australia gathered data from 20 personal journals to examine the experience of a 12-week yoga treatment program for binge eating among a sample of 25 women who were obese. They noticed a positive shift experienced by the women during the program. "Specifically, women perceived an overall reduction in the quantity of food they consumed, decreased eating speed, and an improvement in food choices throughout the program." The women were able to establish a healthy reconnection with food, demonstrate self-empowerment, and in turn lose weight.

    Yoga literally changed these ladies' relationship to food. Maybe it can do the same for you.
  3. Woman Holding Back in PainConquering chronic pain. Therapeutic yoga is beginning to rise in popularity for many health conditions, particularly for chronic pain sufferers. It attacks the problem on many levels by preventing, reducing, or alleviating structural, physiological, emotional, and spiritual pain, suffering, or limitations. Furthermore, people who suffer from chronic pain may find they are better able to relax easier, think clearer, and get healthier.

    At the West Virginia University School of Medicine, researchers found that people who suffered from chronic lower back pain had significant reductions in pain intensity, functional disability, and pain medication usage after practicing 3 months of Iyengar yoga therapy.

    In another study, researchers from Oregon Health and Science University evaluated the success rate of a program derived from Kripalu yoga for female fibromyalgia patients. They found that the yoga group (as compared to the control group who did not practice yoga) showed incredible improvements regarding their fibromyalgia symptoms. The same researchers conducted a similar study with patients suffering from menopausal symptoms due to recovering from breast cancer. They found that post-treatment, women who received the yoga program showed significant improvements. At a 3-month follow-up, the subjects maintained their level of improvement.

    Lastly, researchers at Uludag University in Turkey found that, "A simplified yoga-based rehabilitation program is a complementary, safe and effective clinical treatment modality in patients with end-stage renal disease." They found that a 12-week intervention significantly improved pain, fatigue, sleep disturbance, and grip strength. If yoga can help with situations as serious as these, imagine what it can do for your daily aches and pains.

Many people make the mistake of thinking yoga is for hippies and housewives, but as you can see, yoga is a well-rounded exercise with benefits backed by a growing body of research. If you're looking for a relaxing, life-changing way to exercise, yoga might just be the thing for you. So give it a try. What have you got to lose? A cloudy mind? Excess weight? Chronic pain? Absolutely!

Resources:

  • Streeter C.C., Gerbarg P.L., Saper R.B., Ciraulo D.A., Brown R.P. Effects of yoga on the autonomic nervous system, gamma-aminobutyric-acid, and allostasis in epilepsy, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder Medical Hypotheses.
  • Evaluation of the mental health benefits of yoga in a secondary school: a preliminary randomized controlled trial. J Behav Health Serv Res. 2012 Jan ;39(1):80-90.
  • Kristal AR, Littman AJ, Benitez D, White E. Yoga practice is associated with attenuated weight gain in healthy, middle-aged men and women. Altern Ther Health Med. 2005;11(4):28-33.
  • Lee JA, Kim JW, Kim DY. Effects of yoga exercise on serum adiponectin and metabolic syndrome factors in obese postmenopausal women. Menopause. 2011; Epub ahead of print.
  • McIver S, McGartland M, O’Halloran P. "Overeating is not about the food: women describe their experience of a yoga treatment program for binge eating." Qual Health Res. 2009; 19(9):1234-1245.
  • Mody BS. Acute effects of Surya Namaskar on the cardiovascular & metabolic system. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2011;15(3):343-347.
  • Anava A. Wren, Melissa A. Wright, James W. Carson, Francis J. Keefe. "Yoga for persistent pain: New findings and directions for an ancient practice." PAIN - March 2011 (Vol. 152, Issue 3, Pages 477-480, DOI: 10.1016/j.pain.2010.11.017)
  • An eight-week yoga intervention is associated with improvements in pain, psychological functioning and mindfulness, and changes in cortisol levels in women with fibromyalgia. Curtis K, Osadchuk A, Katz J. J Pain Res. 2011; 4:189-201. Epub 2011 Jul 26.
  • A modified yoga-based exercise program in hemodialysis patients: a randomized controlled study. Complement Ther Med. 2007 Sep ;15(3):164-71. Epub 2006 Aug. 22.
  • Yoga of Awareness program for menopausal symptoms in breast cancer survivors: results from a randomized trial. James W. Carson, Kimberly M. Carson, Laura S. Porter, Francis J. Keefe, Victoria L. Seewaldt Support Care Cancer. 2009 October; 17(10): 1301–1309. Published online 2009 February 12. doi: 10.1007/s00520-009-0587-5
  • Effect of Iyengar yoga therapy for chronic low back pain. Pain. 2005 May ;115(1-2):107-17.

Related Articles
"6 Reasons Why Yoga Is a Great Way to Start the Day!"
"The Body Symphonic: 6 Steps to Orchestrating the Perfect Fitness Regimen"
"Foam Rolling: Your Tight Muscles' Best Friend"

Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Check the Team Beachbody Chat Room for the next impromptu video chat. Or, if you just can't wait, log onto the Information & Education section of the Team Beachbody Message Boards for questions, answers, and scintillating conversation.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com. We may even answer your question right here, for all the world to see!

And if you'd like to know more about Beachbody Director of Results Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope, named one of the Top 50 blogs covering the sports industry by the Masters in Sports Administration. You can also read a more scientific (not to mention snarky) take on many of the topics we discuss here at The Real Fitness Nerd blog.

Back to top.


Beachbody Ultimate Reset

Beachbody Ultimate Reset is NOW AVAILABLE. Order your reset kit today!

Back to top.



Recipe: Baked Lemon and Herb White Fish

(Makes 2 servings)

Baked Lemon and Herb White Fish
Let's say that you just completed the Ultimate Reset. It's been 21 days of cleansing, light foods, and you feel fabulous. That said, you're ready for a substantial meal! That's fine, but be careful. Your digestive system isn't the same place it was 3 weeks ago. If you overload it with a heavy, meaty, fatty meal, you're probably going to feel bad. Really bad.

So instead of goin' all meat-and-potatoes on your gut, try one of these delicious recipes to transition back into a healthy, long term eating pattern.

  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. fresh dill, chopped
  • 2 tsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tsp. fresh terragon, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 small red potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 2 (4 to 5 oz. each) white fish fillets (such as halibut, red snapper, or tilapia)
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt or Himalayan salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine lemon juice, olive oil, dill, cilantro, tarragon, and garlic in a small bowl; mix well and set aside.
  2. Arrange two 12 x 13-inch pieces of foil on a large baking pan; coat lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange potato slices evenly on center of each foil.
  3. Season fish fillets evenly with salt and pepper and place each filet on top of potato slices that are on each aluminum foil. Spoon lemon and herb mixture evenly over each fish fillet. Bring up foil sides; double fold top and ends to seal each packet, leaving room for heat circulation inside.
  4. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until fish is just opaque in center and vegetables are crisp-tender. Carefully open packets, allowing steam to escape away from you and let cool briefly. Using a spatula, gently push the fish and vegetables onto plate.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Nutritional Information: (per serving)

Calories Fat Saturated Fat Cholesterol Sodium Carbs Fiber Sugar Protein
309 8 g 1 g 56 mg 678 mg 31 g 4 g 2 g 25 g

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.


P90X® and P90X2® Portion Information

Nutritional Information: (per serving)

Protein Carbs (legumes & tubers)
1 1


Back to top.



Recipe: Curried Quinoa and Peas with Cashews and Fresh Mango

(Makes 3 servings)

Curried Quinoa and Peas with Cashews and Fresh Mango
Just in case the vegan aspect of Ultimate Reset struck a chord with you (Yay, veggies!), here's a great dinner to continue on your way through a lifetime of conscious eating.

  • 1 cup dry quinoa (rinsed)
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt or Himalayan salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 3 Tbsp. raw cashews, coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 ripe mango, pitted and chopped
  1. Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook onions stirring frequently for 3 minutes or until translucent. Add ginger, garlic, curry powder, and sea salt; cook for 2 minutes or until fragrant.
  2. Add quinoa and stir for 2 minutes or until combined; add water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle boil; cook, covered, for 12 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed.
  3. Add frozen peas; continue cooking them covered for 3 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat; let stand for 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in cashews and cilantro; serve warm topped with chopped mango.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Nutritional Information: (per serving)

Calories Fat Saturated Fat Cholesterol Sodium Carbs Fiber Sugar Protein
353 10 g 3 g 0 mg 794 mg 56 g 8 g 13 g 13 g

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.


P90X® and P90X2® Portion Information

Nutritional Information: (per serving)

Protein Carbs (legumes & tubers) Fat Fruit
1/2 1 1/2 1/2


Back to top.

Print this page
Reviews
Be the first to write a review, opinion or comment.
Submit a review  
Previous Next

Beachbody Survey

Click here to compare Beachbody fitness programs
eGift Cards are here!—Beachbody®—Order Now
P90X2™
ChaLEAN Extreme®
Kathy Smith's Project:YOU! Type 2™
Debbie Siebers' Slim in 6®
INSANITY®
Brazil Butt Lift®—AVAILABLE NOW!
Now Available—TurboFire®—Intense Cardio Conditioning—Learn More

Follow Beachbody Online

Connect with Beachbody, fans, coaches, and your favorite trainers!

Social Media
Beachbody
Beachbody
Blogs
Carl Daikeler
Beauty By Beachbody
Steve Edwards
Tony Horton
Chalene Johnson
Message Boards
Beachbody Message Boards
RSS Feeds (What is RSS?)
Beachbody Blog
P90X Extreme Newsletter

Share This Page

Bookmark or share this page by emailing it to your friends, or adding it to your favorite networking sites! Simply mouse over the Share icon below for options.

Bookmark and Share