Smiling and laughter are beneficial for your mind, body and overall well-being. Smiling has well-documented social benefits. A genuine smile can make you seem more likable, attractive, intelligent and even trustworthy. But did you know that smiling more often—regardless of your mood—can improve your health and help you live longer?
Research has shown that there a number of health benefits contributed to smiling and laughing. In addition to improved health, these simple facial expressions and common human behaviors can have a distinctive positive affect on other factors all areas of your life. When you smile and laugh, a number of physiological changes occur in your body, mostly without you being consciously aware of it happening.
There are a variety of benefits from smiling, including some health benefits too:
Improved Mood- Smiling can boost your mood when you’re feeling blue, and may be beneficial for people struggling with anxiety and depression. Making yourself smile when you’re feeling down helps improve your mood and increases positive thoughts.
Lower Blood Pressure- Smiling and laughing more appear to help lower your blood pressure, which is good news for your heart health. Laughter causes an initial increase in heart rate, followed by a period of muscle relaxation and a decrease in heart rate and blood pressure, which helps reduce your risk of developing heart disease.
Stress Relief- As smiling can result in a lower heart rate, so the stress hormone cortisol is reduced. Cortisol is more active when we feel stressed or anxious and contributes to the unpleasant feelings. Stress generally causes increases in heart rate and blood pressure. So, maintaining a smile when stressed provides you with both psychological and physical health benefits.
Better Relationships- People who smile are perceived as being more likable than people who don’t smile. Being likable makes it easier to build and maintain better relationships with people, which is important for your overall health and well-being. So, keep a smile on your face to help create stronger, healthier social bonds.
Pain Relief- Smiling and laughter both have been shown to lessen pain. They release endorphins that lift our moods. Endorphins make us feel happier and less stressed. They also act as the body’s natural pain killers. For sufferers of chronic pain, laughing and smiling can be very effective in pain management.
Longevity- The effects of a good smile extend past just the exterior good looks. People who smile more often live longer too, around 7 years longer than most according to one study. It releases stress, helps the heart, and much more to keep you healthy longer.
Contagious- Smiling can be contagious! Around 50% of people smile back. This spreads the health benefits throughout those around you and it comes back to you several times as well.
Build Attraction- Smiling makes people more attractive. Smiling is an attractive expression, which is more likely to draw people to you rather than push them away. Smiling makes you appear more approachable.
Earn Success- A smile can appear confident, self-assured, and on top of your work. A happy, positive expression will serve you well in life.This is particularly true for challenging situations such as job interviews: a smiling, relaxed persona indicates confidence and an ability to cope well in stressful situations.
Stronger Immune Function- Smiling appears to help boost your body’s immune system. Laughter and positive thoughts release signaling molecules in your brain that fight stress and illnesses, while negative thoughts decrease your body’s immunity. Even if you’re feeling blue, crack a smile and reap the numerous health benefits of smiling.
Studies suggest that smiling, forced or not, can have a positive effect on your mood, decrease stress levels, and even make everyone around you feel better.
So, maybe laughter really is the best medicine!
Papaya is not only delicious, but it’s also an incredibly healthy fruit.
The nutrients found in papaya, and particularly in papaya seeds, are thought to have a wide range of health benefits, including a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer. They have also been known to aid in digestion, improve blood glucose control in people with diabetes, lower blood pressure, and reduce inflammation. So don’t throw those seeds away. Papaya seeds are edible and in small amounts can be very good for you.
Papayas are an excellent source of vitamin C, and one single medium fruit provides 224 percent of the recommended daily intake. Papayas are also a good source of: Folate, vitamin A, magnesium, copper, pantothenic acid, fiber. They also have B vitamins, alpha and beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin E, calcium, potassium, vitamin K, and lycopene, the powerful antioxidant most commonly associated with tomatoes.
Papaya Seeds Kill Worms and Other Parasitic Infections
The seeds of papaya fruit contain high levels of the proteolytic enzyme called papain, which breaks down undigested protein waste, therefore creating a hostile environment in the gastrointestinal tract for parasites to breed. The seeds also contain carpaine, a unique anthelmintic alkaloid that has been shown to be very effective at killing parasitic worms and amoebas. The seeds of papaya have a strong antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effect on your digestive system. Studies have shown that an extract made from papaya seeds is effective at killing E. coli, Salmonella, Staphylococcus, and other dangerous bacteria.
Papaya Seeds Help Treat Liver Cirrhosis
Liver cirrhosis is a disease wherein the liver shrinks and becomes hardened. In this state, it is ineffective at removing toxins from the body, leading to a variety of serious health problems. Papaya seeds are often reported as an effective treatment for the overall detoxification of the liver. The recommended method is to grind up about ten dried seeds and mix them with a tablespoon of squeezed lemon or lime juice in a glass of water. Many cirrhosis sufferers have seen dramatic improvements with this natural remedy after 30 days.
Papaya Seeds Protect Your Kidneys
Oxidative stress is the most common factor in chronic kidney disease, particularly in patients with diabetes, and can lead to renal failure. Early research suggests that consuming fermented papaya daily for two months can reduce blood sugar levels in people affected by diabetes. The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of the seeds help detoxify the kidneys and protect them from inflammation.
Papaya Seeds Help Prevent Cancer
Papaya seeds contain agents such as phenolic and flavonoids, both powerful compounds that have high antioxidant activities to diminish tumor cell growth. Also, according to a study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Biomarkers, diets rich in beta-carotene, which is found in papayas, may reduce cancer risk and play a protective role against prostate cancer.
Papaya Seeds Fight Heart Disease
The high content of fiber, potassium, and vitamins in papaya all help to fight heart disease. In fact, a diet rich in potassium and low in sodium is the most effective change that a person can make to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease.
Papaya Seeds Reduce Inflammation
Papaya fruit and its seeds help fight inflammation in the body, such as arthritis, joint pains, gout, and asthma. Two very important enzymes in papaya seeds (papain and chymopapain) are the key to reducing the inflammation that is associated with these conditions.
Papaya Seeds Help Treat Viral Infection
There are reports of papaya seeds being used to successfully treat viral infections such as dengue fever in parts of Central America and Asia. In Costa Rica, in addition to the seeds, they also use the juice from boiling papaya leaves to effectively treat dengue fever. Obviously, this is a serious disease, so consult a doctor if you contract dengue to monitor your condition.
How to Consume and Store Papaya Seeds
When choosing papaya, look for fresh papayas with reddish-orange skin that are soft to the touch. The seeds are edible but have a bitter, peppery taste, so they can be mixed into a salad. Otherwise, they can be crushed and mixed with juice or honey and milk.
The easiest way to add papaya seeds to your diet is to simply buy a fresh papaya, cut it in half and scrape out the seeds with a tablespoon. Then find a container with a tight seal and put any seeds you’re not using immediately in there and keep them sealed in the fridge. Squeezing some lemon or lime juice over the seeds, closing the container and shaking it to coat them will help preserve them even longer. This works best if you use them regularly for a consistent supply. Even a small papaya fruit yields many seeds and should keep you going for at least a few days of treatment.
If you’re just starting out with papaya seeds or using them less regularly, it would be better to keep them in a sealed container in the freezer. As a general rule, if you will use your papaya seeds within three or four days, then keep them in the fridge. Any longer and it’s best to freeze them. They can be kept in the freezer for many months, though they should be defrosted before use, or soaked in hot water for a few minutes to warm and soften them.
How to Eat Papaya Seeds to Minimize Digestive Issues
When first eating papaya seeds, start off slowly. While they are safe to eat in small doses, they are quite powerful and too much at once can cause digestive upsets.
Here’s a good starting dosage guide for papaya seeds:
The first time you eat papaya seeds, try just two seeds with a protein-based meal.
If those are well-tolerated, then add another two seeds each time until you reach about a quarter of a teaspoon.
After at least three days of taking a quarter of a teaspoon without side effects, you can move up to half a teaspoon of papaya seeds.
After another three days, you can choose to move up to a full teaspoon of fresh seeds (though this may be too much for some sensitive people), or just stay on half a teaspoon, which is likely to provide similar health benefits.
If at any point you experience side effects from eating papaya seeds, then take a day off from them and start again at half the dose that gave you problems before.
Once you’ve reached a good tolerance of papaya seeds, it’s better to determine your dosage based on how much protein is in the meal you’re having.
Potential Risks and Side Effects
People with a latex allergy may also be allergic to papaya because papayas contain enzymes called chitinases. They can cause a cross-reaction between latex and the foods that contain them. As a precaution, pregnant women should not use papaya seeds or the enzyme-rich green papaya. This warning on their use would also extend to breastfeeding. Additionally, while papaya seeds do have strong anti-parasitic properties, they may be too powerful for young children’s gastrointestinal tracts, so a doctor should be consulted before giving them to infants. Patients using blood thinning medications like warfarin or aspirin should consult their doctor before they eat papaya seeds regularly, as papain may increase the effects of these drugs.
Food color and Phytochemicals!
The truth is that the more color your fresh produce has, the better it is for you. That’s because of one thing: phytochemicals.
Phytochemicals are only found in plants. They act to protect us from inflammation. They’re also a good way to tell that a fruit or vegetable has lots of nutrients.
Here is an easy to remember trick to help you know which foods are most good for your body.
Carrots, cantaloupe, pumpkin and sweet potatoes. These are just a few of the orange foods that are known for their high levels of beta-carotene.
These foods are high in antioxidants and are good for our vision because they contain Vitamin A.
Tomatoes, cranberries, pink grapefruit and watermelon. Most fruits and vegetables that are red contain lycopene.
Lycopene lowers the risk of cancer and improves the health of our tissues. Red foods also contain vitamin C and flavonoids can help reduce inflammation and prevent bacteria from attaching to our cells.
Avocado, pistachios, kiwi, leafy greens like spinach, and kale. These foods are high in lutein, which is good for eye health. Kiwi fruit is also high in vitamin C.
Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Bok choy and cabbage. Green may be the color we tend to think of most often when it comes to vegetables. There’s good reason for us to think that green is one of the healthiest colors a food can be.
Green vegetables get their color from chlorophyll, and foods that have a lot of chlorophyll are rich in isiothiocyanates. These help the liver move toxins out of our system. They also have vitamin K, folic acid and potassium.
Eggplant, blueberries, blackberries, plums and pomegranates. The dark blue and purple colors of these foods comes from anthocyanin. That’s a powerful antioxidant that is heart healthy and lowers high blood pressure. They also fight blood clots.
Black beans, chia seeds, lentils and mushrooms. Black foods are loaded with pigment, and that means that they are high in antioxidants.
Happiness seems simple. We all experience it at some point or another. But when you think about it, happiness can be quite complicated. Emotions are a different experience for everyone, and each individual’s baseline- is determined by genes and personality traits. Circumstances and daily activities make up the rest of the puzzle.
The World Happiness Report is a survey and ranking of 155 countries by their level of happiness, taking into account six key indicators: Generosity, Freedom, Health, Trustworthy governance, Income and Social support.
The Happiest Places on Earth.
According to World Happiness Report, the happiest countries of 2017 are:
- New Zealand
America isn’t i the top 10. US ranks No. 14 on the list. Perhaps we can take some pointers from those happy Scandinavians!
Looking for ways to be happier?
Smiling, even when you don’t feel like it seems to affect positive change in your mood. Other few things are: To stream music, read inspiring articles, meditate, enjoy a nature walk, travel, spend quality time with your pet and reflect on something you’re grateful for at the end of every day. 🙂