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  • Saddique Amba Monastery -Ethiopia’s ancient reserves

    Ethiopian ancient monasteries are usually located in remote places far from the easily accessible locations. Most are located up in the mountains. It takes determination and love of adventure to go and explore these magnificent ancient creations. The constructions are intentionally made far out from central and main cities so that it can create peace and solitude to the priests. 

    If you wish to explore these places it requires courage to climb through ropeways and climbing challenging rocks. Despite the hardship to climb up the ancient treasures you will see the churches paintings and treasures which makes it all well worth it.

    One destination which is a must go is Saddique Amba Monastery. It’s located in between the massive Simien Mountains. The all-inclusive monastery is far away from everything allowing travelers to enjoy a refreshing air, surrounding attractions and of course the wild lives up-close.

    It requires two hours of trekking from the famous land mark at the mountain, Simien Lodge. To date only few travelers have made it to the monastery due to fear of sheer drop rocks and challenging trekking to reach to the monastery.

    The monastery was erected back in 1640 by the monk named Welde Saddique who wanted to create solitude and peaceful prayer place. Legend has it that during the communist regime of Ethiopia most of the church precious treasures were stolen and never recovered. However it did not make the church any less important. The lifestyle of the Moncks, the church paintings and the surround attractions are breathtaking.   

    The inner temple is very restrictive the only one who has access to it is the highest priest.  But do not get disappointed because you have made it through to one of the temples which rarely host visitors. The priests are hospitable and charming telling you everything about the temple and its magnificent history. The mountain park is full of animals creating access to the wild lives who roam around freely at their natural habitat. The park is preserved as one of the national parks lodging several endemic wild lives that are only found in Ethiopia.

    If you just love to admire ancient architectures and churches there are several places to explore from near the mountain and it’s allowed to go inside. The ancient architectures of the country portrayed at Lalibela and Gondar churches hewn from gigantic rocks within the earth are few of globally registered heritages that will take your exploration to the next level. The best part is this one allows you to get inside and explore the UNESCO registered global treasures. 

    This spectacular region has been inhibited by farmer villagers since 2,000 years ago. They live near the spiky mountain peaks, deep valleys and sharp precipices. Travel to this historical place offers a rare opportunity to climb some of Africa’s highest peaks including at Ras Dashen (4620m), Buyit Ras (3250m), Bwahit (4430m) as well as explore the ground churches.  

    Source: fanabc.com 

     

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  • 15 Health Benefits of Eating Apples

    Many of us forget that sometimes, the simplest answers are the best. Better health could be as easy as reaching for the fruit bowl for some apples next time you need a snack.

    What makes apples so great?

    In 2004, USDA scientists investigated over 100 foods to measure their antioxidant concentration per serving size. Two apples’Red Delicious and Granny Smith Ranked 12th and 13th respectively. Antioxidants are disease-fighting compounds. Scientists believe these compounds help prevent and repair oxidation damage that happens during normal cell activity. Apples are also full of a fibre called pectin – a medium-sized apple contains about 4 grams of fibre. Pectin is classed as a soluble, fermentable and viscous fibre, a combination that gives it a huge list of health benefits.

    1. Get whiter, healthier teeth

    An apple won’t replace your toothbrush, but biting and chewing an apple stimulates the production of saliva in your mouth, reducing tooth decay by lowering the levels of bacteria.

    2. Avoid Alzheimer’s

    A new study performed on mice shows that drinking apple juice could keep Alzheimer’s away and fight the effects of aging on the brain. Mice in the study that were fed an apple-enhanced diet showed higher levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and did better in maze tests than those on a regular diet.

    3. Protect against Parkinson’s

    Research has shown that people who eat fruits and other high-fibre foods gain a certain amount of protection against Parkinson’s, a disease characterized by a breakdown of the brain’s dopamine-producing nerve cells. Scientists have linked this to the free radical-fighting power of the antioxidants contained therein.

    4. Curb all sorts of cancers

    Scientists from the American Association for Cancer Research, among others, agree that the consumption of flavonol-rich apples could help reduce your risk of developing pancreatic cancer by up to 23 per cent. Researchers at Cornell University have identified several compounds – triterpenoids – in apple peel that have potent anti-growth activities against cancer cells in the liver, colon and breast. Their earlier research found that extracts from whole apples can reduce the number and size of mammary tumours in rats. Meanwhile, the National Cancer Institute in the U.S. has recommended a high fibre intake to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.

    5. Decrease your risk of diabetes

    Women who eat at least one apple a day are 28 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who don’t eat apples. Apples are loaded with soluble fibre, the key to blunting blood sugar swings.

    6. Reduce cholesterol

    The soluble fibre found in apples binds with fats in the intestine, which translates into lower cholesterol levels and a healthier you.

    7. Get a healthier heart

    An extensive body of research has linked high soluble fibre intake with a slower buildup of cholesterol-rich plaque in your arteries. The phenolic compound found in apple skins also prevents the cholesterol that gets into your system from solidifying on your artery walls. When plaque builds inside your arteries, it reduces blood flow to your heart, leading to coronary artery disease.

    8. Prevent gallstones

    Gallstones form when there’s too much cholesterol in your bile for it to remain as a liquid, so it solidifies. They are particularly prevalent in the obese. To prevent gallstones, doctors recommend a diet high in fibre to help you control your weight and cholesterol levels.

    9. Beat diarrhea and constipation

    Whether you can’t go to the bathroom or you just can’t stop, fibre found in apples can help. Fibre can either pull water out of your colon to keep things moving along when you’re backed up, or absorb excess water from your stool to slow your bowels down.

    10. Neutralize irritable bowel syndrome

    Irritable bowel syndrome is characterized by constipation, diarrhea, and abdominal pain and bloating. To control these symptoms doctors recommend staying away from dairy and fatty foods while including a high intake of fibre in your diet.

    11. Avert hemorrhoids

    Hemorrhoids are a swollen vein in the anal canal and while not life threatening, these veins can be very painful. They are caused by too much pressure in the pelvic and rectal areas. Part and parcel with controlling constipation, fibre can prevent you from straining too much when going to the bathroom and thereby help alleviate hemorrhoids.

    12. Control your weight

    Many health problems are associated with being overweight, among them heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea. To manage your weight and improve your overall health, doctors recommend a diet rich in fibre. Foods high in fibre will fill you up without costing you too many calories.

    13. Detoxify your liver

    We’re constantly consuming toxins, whether it is from drinks or food, and your liver is responsible for clearing these toxins out of your body. Many doctors are skeptical of fad detox diets, saying they have the potential to do more harm than good. Luckily, one of the best – and easiest – things you can eat to help detoxify your liver is fruits – like apples.

    14. Boost your immune system

    Red apples contain an antioxidant called quercetin. Recent studies have found that quercetin can help boost and fortify your immune system, especially when you’re stressed out.

    15. Prevent cataracts

    Though past studies have been divided on the issue, recent long-term studies suggest that people who have a diet rich in fruits that contain antioxidants – like apples – are 10 to 15 per cent less likely to develop cataracts.

    Source: besthealthmag.ca

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  • 20 Tips to have an Amazing Sleep

    1. Take a warm bath before bedtime.
    2. Don’t drink alcohol at night.
    3. Keep your bedroom a cool 60 to 67 degrees F.
    4. Take afternoon naps under 20 minutes.
    5. Keep a regular bedtime and wake-up schedule.
    6. Nix caffeine after noon.
    7. Keep your television out of your bedroom.
    8. Turn off the TV at least an hour before bedtime.
    9. Avoid harsh light.
    10. Don’t use your bed for anything other than sleep and sex.
    11. Kick your pets and children out of your bed.
    12. Dim your home’s lights about 3 hours before bedtime.
    13. Get up and read if you can’t fall asleep after 15 minutes in bed.
    14. Exercise daily, but finish well before bedtime.
    15. Eat foods with tryptophan- like beans, peanut butter and nuts- about 2-3 hours before bedtime.
    16. Lay off the late-night heavy meals.
    17. Block out the led lights from electronics in your bedroom.
    18. Use low lights for nighttime reading.
    19. Do exercises to reduce stress for a surge of restful feeling.
    20. Try a few simple yoga stretches just before bedtime.

    Source: lifehack.org

     

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  • 10 Techniques to Instantly Reduce Stress

    Stress can appear in our lives at any time with varying levels of intensity. It could arise from a conversation you have or get triggered from an event that takes places. Stress can even emerge after a slow build up, with one event pushing you over the edge. No matter how it’s caused, the fact is consistent stress in our body is not only detrimental to our health; it’s also preventable and unnecessary.

    Physiologically, stress exists as our body’s response to life threatening situations. When we feel endangered, our nervous system responds by releasing stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. This is our body’s way of protecting us through the “fight or flight” stress response. In emergency situations stress can help us stay alert, energetic, and give us superhuman strength to get out of danger.

    Once the threatening event is over, our body is designed to return back to its natural calm and relaxed state. Although life-threatening situations are not as common in Western Society, what is common is for people to be constantly living in “flight or fight” mode. Staying in this mode over extended periods of time can cause health problems such as nervous system disorders and fatigue. This in turn can create ongoing anxiety as we are constantly on alert waiting for a crisis to happen at any time. For a lot of us, entering the office switches our body into a life-threatening state.

    Next time your chest gets tight or you feel overwhelmed, try these techniques for instant relief.

    1. Focus on your breath
    Your thoughts are directly related to your breath. If you have a tight chest, worried thoughts, or feel anxious, chances are, you are breathing too fast or shallow. Slow down your breath to balance your mind by inhaling for a count of 5 seconds, hold your breath for 5 seconds, and exhale for 5 seconds.

    2. Cool down
    Cooling down your mind and body re-balances your energy and allows you to take action from a more centered place. An ancient yogi technique to cool down your mind and body is shitali pranayam. Open your mouth slightly, curl your tongue and allow it to slightly protrude past your lips. Breathe in through your mouth and out through your nose. If you can’t curl your tongue, inhale through a round O mouth instead. Try this technique for 2–3 minutes.

    3. Pause
    If you react too soon during stressful situations, you may say or do things you later regret. Unless you are in an emergency situation, your response can often wait at least a few seconds. Transform the pattern of immediately responding to taking the time to pause, breathe, get calm, and gather yourself. Then respond verbally or by taking action.

    4. Get out in nature
    Getting out in nature has an instant calming effect. Whether you choose to sit on a beach to hear the waves crash, walk through a lush green forest, listen to the sounds of a nearby waterfall or hike up mountains, just get yourself outside and allow nature to put everything back into perspective.

    5. Mindfully exercise
    Exercise releases natural adrenaline and endorphins that make you feel good. Add more mindfulness to your workout by focusing intently on the activity you are doing. Observe your technique and how it makes you feel. Get connected to your body. This workout window allows you to get fit and even take a break from your stress. Head outside and run or cycle, hit the gym, or attend a yoga class. Working out during your lunch beak also allows you stay more focused and calm when you return to work.

    6. Take a cold shower
    Hydrotherapy is a precise and sophisticated science with a multitude of benefits for your body and mind. As well as reducing stress, cold showers open up your capillaries which when returned to normal push the blood back to your organs. This causes a flush effect in the heart, kidneys lungs and liver. This process stimulates the healthy secretion of the glandular system, which leaves your skin radiant and keeps your blood chemistry young healthy. Remember to start with outer extremities—feet, hands, and arms.

    7. Put on relaxing music
    Everything is made up of energy including both our bodies and music. Music has the power to instantly transform your energy whether that’s by lifting you up or pulling you down. Choose music that is uplifting in tone, lyrics, and beat so your body’s energy can match this higher energy frequency. Positive music also helps create more positive thoughts.

    8. Give gratitude
    Whatever you are stressed about is just a thought pattern or belief. You’re ultimately in control of your thoughts (even if it often doesn’t feel that way). Two people could be in exactly the same situation and only one could feel stressed because they have a negative thought pattern. So take a break from worry or panic and make a list of what you are grateful for in your life—whether that’s having a roof over your head, living in a nice city, having a vehicle that gives you freedom etc. List around 10 things.

    9. Visualize success
    Prevent your mind from imagining the “worst case scenario” or “what if” by visualizing and focusing your whole attention on what you want to bring into your life, not the fears of what you don’t want. Remember where your attention goes energy flows, which means you can’t afford to spend anytime engaged in picturing what you don’t want.

    10. Drink a green smoothie
    Get a natural mental boost from the phytochemicals of green vegetables. Smoothies are a great way to gain all the nutrients from vegetables and fruit as all the content remains in the drink. Green smoothies can also help strengthen your immune system, eliminate unhealthy cravings (which can cause more stress), and give your brain more energy. Try kale, spinach, ginger, and lemon with a touch of banana and blueberries.

    Source: lifehack.org

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