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Monday, March 30, 2015

Buddha Prophesized about the coming of Jesus



Buddha lived approximately 500 years before Christ. Today, Buddhists have abandoned much of his teaching, and believe that one must do “merit” in order to better one’s life. They know that people have sin, so each person tries to do “merit” to cover over his sins. Yet they know that their sins are too great. This is especially difficult on poor people, because they know that to do “merit,” one needs money. The way to get money is to be a powerful person, but many powerful people steal and are not just. Often they are corrupt and abuse their power. Money received by doing sin to others is not acceptable merit money. So sin continues because no one is able to have enough merit to take away sin … unless someone was so perfect he could have enough merit for Himself and others. It is interesting that in the Buddhist Scriptures of Cambodia, [there is] a prophecy regarding a “Holy One” [who] would come, One who would lead people away from the old way and introduce a new way.

Historical Background

Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus, (this is Ahasuerus which reigned, from India even unto Ethiopia, over an hundred and seven and twenty provinces:) That in those days, when the king Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the palace, -Esther 1:1-2


Gautama Buddha, also known as Siddhārtha Gautama,Shakyamuni,or simply the Buddha, was a sage on whose teachings Buddhism was founded.He is believed to have lived and taught mostly in eastern India sometime between the sixth and fourth centuries BCE



Buddha, being from a noble family, likely read about the law of the Most High God whom the emperor Darius commanded everyone to serve [Holy Bible, Book of Daniel, chapter 6, verses 24 through 26]. Buddha probably learned about the coming servant of that God, who would suffer for others’ sins, as predicted by the prophet Isaiah whose Scriptures Jews had carried into many provinces of the Babylonian and Persian empires. [Holy Bible, Book of Isaiah, chapter 53]


Most Christians do not believe that Buddha had predictive powers, and some question if the prophecy actually was written by Buddha. Certainly, Jesus needs no corroborative testimonial from a pagan source. Jesus remains on his own strength the only One who cancels sin, quenches the black fire, and abrogates karma, and prepares nirvana for those who embrace him. Jesus ensures eternal, conscious, personal and community life, to those who obey Him, by virtue of His own redemptive death and victory over death. Jesus is alive forever, physically and spiritually, making alive all who come to him through repentance, faith and obedience.

The Prediction

When Buddha was traveling and living in this world, an old Brahman priest who wore white robes asked the Buddha, “How will all men and all Brahman continue in their merit—making so as to escape the results of sin?”

The Buddha answered, “Even though all of you give alms according to the 5 precepts, the 8 precepts, the 10 precepts or the 227 precepts for 9 trillion years and you raise your hands and offer yourselves as a burnt offering, or you pray 5 times a day, you will still not escape the results of your sins. lf you do this every day, your merit gained will only be equal to the smallest strand of hair of an unborn infant extremely small. You shall not enter heaven’s doors”

The old Brahman priest asked further: “What are we all to do to be saved?”

The Buddha answered the old Braham priest, “The results of sin and karma are very great, heavier than the sky; thicker than the earth. They are so high that it would be like an angel dusting the comer-posts at the temple compound with a cloth-post that are 18 inches high dusting them one time per year, until the posts wear down to the ground. When the posts are worn down, that’s how long it would take to end your sins. “

The Buddha said further “l have given up my high position and entered the priesthood. l considered that even though l am good, l would have only a very small amount of merit at the end of the year. if l was given this same amount of merit for 100, 000 epochs and live ‘l0 more lifetimes, l would not be saved from sin’s results even once.

The old Brahman priest asked, “So what should we all do?”

The Buddha answered, “Keep on making merit and look for another Holy One who will come and help the world and all of you in the future.”

Then the old Brahman priest asked, What will the characteristics of the Holy One be like?”

The Buddha answered him, “The Holy One who will keep the world in·the future will be like this: in the palm of his hands and in the flat of his feet will be the design of a disk, in his side will be a stab wound; and his forehead will have many marks like scars. This Holy One will be the golden boat who will carry you over the cycle of rebirths all the way to the highest heaven (Nirvana). Do not look for salvation in the old way; there is no salvation in it for sure. Quit the old way. And there will be a new spirit like the light of a lightening bug that will come down from the sky above to live in all of your hearts and you will be victorious over all your enemies. Nobody will be able to destroy you. If you die, you will not come back to be born in this world again. You will go to the highest heaven (Nirvana).”

Conclusion

Buddha was right about the uselessness of trying to earn merit. It is impossible. The Holy One that Buddha said would come has come. About five hundred years after Buddha left this world, the prophecy was fulfilled. When Jesus Christ died on the cross to take away human sin, each hand and foot was pierced with a large nail leaving a disk shape (John 20:20). His side was pierced with a spear (John 19:34); and His forehead had many marks on it from the crown of thorns the Romans put on Him (John 19:2). Jesus Christ opened up a new way of faith to relate to God so that the old ways of merit could be left behind.(Hebrew 10:19-21) Through Jesus alone, one can find escape from the impossibility of doing merit. Through Jesus alone, one can find perfect assurance that the highest heaven is opened by God’s grace.Jesus Christ is The Holy One-John 6:67-69

How they KNOW :God teach them -" Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven? -Job 35:11


Behold, God exalteth by his power: who teacheth like him? Who hath enjoined him his way? or who can say, Thou hast wrought iniquity? Remember that thou magnify his work, which men behold. Every man may see it; man may behold it afar off. -Job 36:22-25


You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds, God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas,.."They also that dwell in the uttermost parts are afraid at thy tokens: thou makest the outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice.-Psalms 65:5,8

I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. -Jeremiah 17:10


For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) -Romans 2:14-15



-Permission was granted to copy these Buddhist Scriptures regarding the prophecy of the Holy One (Jesus) from Wat Phra Sing in Chiang Mai Province. The person who gave permission was Phra Sriwisutthiwong in Bangkok. It is guaranteed that this copy is accurate according to the original, that there is no error in transmission, which is in the book of the district headman, the religious encyclopedia, volume 23, book #29. This inquiry was made on October 13, 1954 A.D. (Buddhist era 2497). Phra Sriwisutthiwong is the Deputy Abbot and Director of Wat Pho Museum, Wat Pho Temple, Thailand

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

ANAK NG DIOS NAKITULAD SA MGA TAO AT DINALA ANG KARAMDAMAN NG TAO


Kung Dios ang Panginoong Jesu Kristo bakit maraming katangian ng tao ang nasumpungan sa kanya nariyan ang natulog (Mat.8:24),napagod(Juan 4:6), nagutom.(Mar.11:12) ,nauhaw.(Juan 19:28) ,at namatay.(Juan 19:30) patunay ba ito na siya ay karaniwang tao lamang .

Una ang mga katangian ito ay hindi batayan para hatulan natin na tao lamang ang panginoong Jesu Kristo sapagkat kaya naman ito gawin ng Dios.

May anomang bagay kayang napakahirap sa Panginoon.."(Genesis 18:14)

Hindi naman mahirap sa Dios ang matulog ,mapagod ,magutom, mauhaw at mamatay kaya nga kaya gawin ito ng Dios.

Ito ang patunay sabi ng Panginoong Jesus na kaya niya gawin ang lahat ng ito.

At pagtingin ni Jesus ay sinabi sa kanila, Hindi mangyayari ito sa mga tao; datapuwa't sa Dios ang lahat ng mga bagay ay mangyayari. (Mateo 19:26)

sa Dios ang mga bagay na ito ay hindi mahirap at ang lahat ng bagay ay mangyayari .wala namang pwedi tumutol sa Dios na gawin niya ito.

Bakit? ito ang sabi ng Banal na kasulatan...."Sapagka't kaniya, at sa pamamagitan niya, at sa kaniya, ang lahat ng mga bagay. Sumakaniya nawa ang kaluwalhatian magpakailan man. Siya nawa.(Roma 11:36).

Sa Dios pala ang lahat ng bagay kaya naman anomang bagay na siya ang may gawa hindi ito mahirap sa kanya na gawin kaya ang tao ay natutulog,nagugutom,nauuhaw, napapagod at namamatay dahil ito ay gawa ng Dios .(Gawa 17:28)

Ang patunay ito ..."Sapagka't kung hinahatulan tayo ng ating puso, ang Dios ay lalong dakila kay sa ating puso, at nalalaman niya ang lahat ng mga bagay. (1Juan 3:20)

Ang Dios ay lalong dakila kay sa ating puso iyan ang unang nating dapat tandaan siya ang may gawa sa atin kaya siya ang mas lalong nakakaalam sa ating mga kakayahan.(Job 12:9)

Ngayon kung gusto gawin ng Dios ang mga bagay na ito may makapipigil ba?

Ito ang sagot ng Dios...."Oo, mula nang magkaroon ng araw ay ako nga; at walang sinomang makapagliligtas sa aking kamay: ako'y gagawa, at sinong pipigil? (Isaias 43:13)

Ngayon ginawa ito ng Anak ng Dios ng siya ay magkatawang tao.(Juan 1:1-3,14)pinanganak siya ng isang berhin.(Isaias 9:6,Mateo 1:23).

Kaya kung may mabasa man tayo na natulog ,napagod ,nagutom ,nauhaw at namatay ang ANAK NG DIOS ito ay proseso lamang ng siya'y nakitulad sa mga tao na bagamat nasa anyong Dios ay nag-anyong alipin na nakitulad sa mga tao bagama't hindi siya tao.(Awit 22:6)

Mangagkaroon kayo sa inyo ng pagiisip, na ito'y na kay Cristo Jesus din naman: Na siya, bagama't nasa anyong Dios, ay hindi niya inaring isang bagay na nararapat panangnan ang pagkapantay niya sa Dios,Kundi bagkus hinubad niya ito, at naganyong alipin, na nakitulad sa mga tao: (Filipos 2:5-7) kaya't siya kumukuhang kaalaman sa kanilang mga gawa.(Job 34:25)

At dinala sa kanyang katawan ang karamdaman ng tao.

Sinong naniwala sa aming balita? at kanino nahayag ang bisig ng Panginoon? Sapagka't siya'y tumubo sa harap niya na gaya ng sariwang pananim, at gaya ng ugat sa tuyong lupa: walang anyo o kagandahan man; at pagka ating minamasdan siya ay walang kagandahan na mananais tayo sa kaniya. Siya'y hinamak at itinakuwil ng mga tao; isang taong sa kapanglawan, at bihasa sa karamdaman: at gaya ng isa na pinagkublihan ng kanilang mukha ng mga tao, na siya'y hinamak, at hindi natin hinalagahan siya.Tunay na kaniyang dinala ang ating mga karamdaman, at dinala ang ating mga kapanglawan; gayon ma'y ating pinalagay siya na hinampas, sinaktan ng Dios, at dinalamhati. (Isaias 53:1-4)

kaya ng nung dalhin ng Anak ng Dios na nagkatawang tao ang karamdaman ng tao sa kanyang katawan ay naranasan niya ang karamdaman ng tao na matulog,mapagod , magutom , mauhaw at maging ang mapatay sa laman.

"... siyang pinatay sa laman, nguni't binuhay sa espiritu; (1Pedro 3:18).na ayon sa hula sinabi ng Panginoon na kanyang bubuhusan ang sangbahayan ni David at mga nanahan sa Jerusalem ng espiritu ng biyaya at ng daing sila'y magsisitingin sa Panginoon na kanilang inulos at kanlang tatangisan siya na gaya ng pagtangis sa BUGTONG NG ANAK.(Zacarias 12:10) at natupad ito sa panginoong nagkatawang tao na kanilang inulos.(Juan 19:37)

At dahil sa karamdaman ng tao na dinala ng Anak ng Dios sa kanyang katawan ay inaalaala niya na tayo'y alabok.

Sapagka't nalalaman niya ang ating anyo; kaniyang inaalaala na tayo'y alabok. (Awit 103:14) at dahil dito .."Palibhasa'y nagbata siya sa pagkatukso, siya'y makasasaklolo sa mga tinutukso.(Hebreo 2:18) sapagkat pinagmamalasakit niya tayo.

Na inyong ilagak sa kaniya ang lahat ng inyong kabalisahan, sapagka't kayo'y ipinagmamalasakit niya. (1 Pedro 5:7)

Kaya bumaba ang Anak ng Dios mula sa langit.(Juan 6:38) para iligtas ang kanyang Bayan.

Ikiling mo ang iyong mga langit, Oh Panginoon, at bumaba ka: .."(Awit 144:5)

At sinabi ng Panginoon, Akin ngang nakita ang kadalamhatian ng aking bayan na nasa Egipto, at aking dininig ang kanilang daing dahil sa mga tagapagpaatag sa kanila; sapagka't talastas ko ang kanilang kapanglawan. At ako'y bumaba upang iligtas sila..."(Exodo 3:7-8)

At nangyari nga ang lahat ng ito, upang maganap ang sinalita ng Panginoon sa pamamagitan ng propeta, na nagsasabi, Narito, ang dalaga'y magdadalang-tao at manganganak ng isang lalake, At ang pangalang itatawag nila sa kaniya ay Emmanuel; na kung liliwanagin, ay sumasa atin ang Dios..."At siya'y manganganak ng isang lalake; at ang pangalang itatawag mo sa kaniya'y JESUS; sapagka't ililigtas niya ang kaniyang bayan sa kanilang mga kasalanan. (Mateo 1:22-23,21) na dinala ng Dios ang kanyang bayan gaya ng pagdadala ng tao sa kanyang mga anak .(Deut.1:31,Awit 100:12-13)

At dahil dito ng sumasa laman o napariritong nasa laman ang Anak.(2Juan 1:7) ay natupad ang sinabi ng Kasulatan ..."Sa kaniya'y makikipagusap ako ng bibig ,sa bibig ng maliwanag at hindi sa malabong salitaan ;at ang anyo ng Panginoon ay kaniyang makikita.."(Mga Bilang 12:8)

Na ito ang Salita at ang SALITA AY DIOS na nagkatawang tao.(Juan 1:1-3,14) na nakita ,narinig at nahipo ng mga apostol.

Yaong buhat sa pasimula, yaong aming narinig, yaong nakita ng aming mga mata, yaong aming namasdan, at nahipo ng aming mga kamay, tungkol sa salita ng buhay; (At ang buhay ay nahayag, at aming nakita, at pinatotohanan, at sa inyo'y aming ibinabalita ang buhay, ang buhay na walang hanggan, na kasama ng Ama at sa atin ay nahayag);(1Juan 1:1-2)

Na isinugo ng Dios Ama ang Dios o ang Anak na tumahan sa Gitna ng mga Anak na babae ng Sion.

Sapagka't ganito ang sabi ng Panginoon ng mga hukbo: Dahil sa kaluwalhatian ay sinugo niya ako sa mga bansa na nanamsam sa inyo; sapagka't ang humihipo sa inyo, ay humihipo sa itim ng kaniyang mata. Sapagka't narito, aking ikukumpas ang aking kamay sa kanila, at sila'y magiging samsam niyaong nangaglilingkod sa kanila; at inyong malalaman na ang Panginoon ng mga hukbo ang nagsugo sa akin. Ikaw ay umawit at magalak, Oh anak na babae ng Sion; sapagka't narito, ako'y naparirito, at ako'y tatahan sa gitna mo, sabi ng Panginoon. (Zacarias 3:8-10)

Na nuon pa man ay nagpanukala na siya ay sasa-LAMAN o masusupungan sa atin .

At ikaw, Salomon na aking anak, kilalanin mo ang Dios ng iyong ama, at paglingkuran mo siya ng sakdal na puso at ng kusang pagiisip: sapagka't sinasaliksik ng Panginoon ang lahat na puso, at naaalaman ang lahat na akala ng pagiisip: kung iyong hanapin siya, ay masusumpungan siya sa iyo;..."(1Cro.28:9)

At napakita sa kaniya ang Panginoon ng gabi ring yaon, at nagsabi, Ako ang Dios ni Abraham na iyong ama: huwag kang matakot, sapagka't ako'y sumasaiyo,.."(Genesis 26:24)

Sumasa iyo o masusumpungan siya sa iyo (Ito ang panukala ng Dios nuon pa man na kaniya ng pinahiwatig ang kanyang pagparito sa laman na sumasa laman o mahahayag sa laman .

At walang pagtatalo, dakila ang hiwaga ng kabanalan; ang Dios ay nahayag sa laman,.."(1 Timoteo 3:16 KJV)

Sapagka't sa kaniya'y nananahan ang buong kapuspusan ng pagka Dios sa kahayagan ayon sa laman, (Colosas 2:9)

Kaya ng magkatawang tao ito namasdan ng mga matuwid ang kanyang mukha.

Sapagka't ang Panginoon ay matuwid; minamahal niya ang katuwiran: Mamasdan ng matuwid ang kaniyang mukha.(Awit 11:7)samakatuwid baga'y si JESU CRISTO ang MATUWID.(1Juan 2:1) naganap ito ng ang Panginoon ay nagpakababa at lumakad na kasama ang tao(Mikas 6:6-8) at siya ay tumahan sa gitna natin.(Juan 1:14) at nagpakababa hanggang sa kamatayan ng kanyang laman sa krus.(Fil.2:5-8).

Sabi ng DIos sa TAO ....Huwag kang matakot sapagkat AKOY SUMASAIYO.(Isaias 43:5) Ilalagak niya ang kanyang PUSO sa TAO.(Job 7:17) kaya NAGKATAWANG TAO.(Juan 1:1,14) o NAHAYAG sa LAMAN.(1Timothy 3:16,Col.2:10) nag-anyong Alipin at nakitulad sa mga tao.(Fil.2:5-7) at pinanganak ng isang DALAGA.(Isaias 9:6,Mateo 1:23)




















Wednesday, March 18, 2015

BARLEY HEALTH


Ezekiel 4:9
"Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them in a storage jar and use them to make bread for yourself. You are to eat it during the 390 days you lie on your side.

2 Chronicles 2:15
Now therefore the wheat, and the barley, the oil, and the wine, which my lord hath spoken of, let him send unto his servants:

Biblical the Barley is a Good Food 

Health Benefits:
When the weather's cold, a big pot of soup simmering on the stove warms the heart as well as the hearth. Adding some whole grain barley to the pot will improve your health along with the flavor of whatever soup or stew you're cooking. In addition to its robust flavor, barley's claim to nutritional fame is based on its being a very good source of molybdenum, manganese, dietary fiber, and selenium, and a good source of copper, vitamin B1, chromium, phosphorus, magnesium, and niacin.
Barley's Fiber for Regularity, Lower Cholesterol, & Intestinal Protection

Wish you were more regular? Let barley give your intestinal health a boost. In addition to providing bulk and decreasing the transit time of fecal matter, thus decreasing the risk of colon cancer and hemorrhoids, barley's dietary fiber also provides food for the "friendly" bacteria in the large intestine. When these helpful bacteria ferment barley's insoluble fiber, they produce a short-chain fatty acid called butyric acid, which serves as the primary fuel for the cells of the large intestine and helps maintain a healthy colon. These helpful bacteria also create two other short-chain fatty acids,propionic and acetic acid, which are used as fuel by the cells of the liver and muscles.

The propionic acid produced from barley's insoluble fiber may also be partly responsible for the cholesterol-lowering properties of fiber. In animal studies, propionic acid has been shown to inhibitHMG-CoA reductase, an enzyme involved in the production of cholesterol by the liver. By lowering the activity of this enzyme, propionic acid helps lower blood cholesterol levels.

In addition, barley's dietary fiber is high in beta glucan, which helps to lower cholesterol by binding to bile acids and removing them from the body via the feces. Bile acids are compounds used to digest fat that are manufactured by the liver from cholesterol. When they are excreted along with barley's fiber, the liver must manufacture new bile acids and uses up more cholesterol, thus lowering the amount of cholesterol in circulation. Soluble fiber may also reduce the amount of cholesterol manufactured by the liver.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests barley's fiber has multiple beneficial effects on cholesterol. In this study of 25 individuals with high cholesterol (postmenopausal women, premenopausal women, and men), adding barley to the American Heart Association Step 1 diet resulted in a significant lowering in total cholesterol in all subjects, plus their amount of large LDL and large and intermediate HDL fractions (which are considered less atherogenic) increased, and the smaller LDL and VLDL cholesterol (the most dangerous fractions) greatly decreased.

Lastly, when barley provides insoluble fibers that feed friendly bacteria in the digestive tract, this helps to maintain larger populations of friendly bacteria. In addition to producing the helpful short-chain fatty acids described above, friendly bacteria play an important protective role by crowding out pathogenic (disease-causing) bacteria and preventing them from surviving in the intestinal tract.

Barley's fiber can prevent or help with a number of different conditions. For example, when barley's fiber binds to and removes cholesterol-containing bile, this can be very beneficial for people struggling with heart disease since it forces the body to make more bile by breaking down cholesterol, thus lowering cholesterol levels.
A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine confirms that eating high fiber foods, such as barley, helps prevent heart disease. Almost 10,000 American adults participated in this study and were followed for 19 years. People eating the most fiber, 21 grams per day, had 12% less coronary heart disease (CHD) and 11% less cardiovascular disease (CVD) compared to those eating the least, 5 grams daily. Those eating the most water-soluble dietary fiber fared even better with a 15% reduction in risk of CHD and a 10% risk reduction in CVD.

The fiber in barley can also help to prevent blood sugar levels from rising too high in people with diabetes.
Additional Protection Against Atherosclerosis

Yet another reason to increase your intake of barley is that, in addition to its fiber, barley is also a good source of niacin, a B vitamin that provides numerous protective actions against cardiovascular risk factors. Niacin can help reduce total cholesterol and lipoprotein (a) levels. (Lipoprotein (a) or Lp(a) is a molecule composed of protein and fat that is found in blood plasma and is very similar to LDL cholesterol, but is even more dangerous as it has an additional molecule of adhesive protein called apolioprotein (a), which renders Lp(a) more capable of attaching to blood vessel walls.)

Niacin may also help prevent free radicals from oxidizing LDL, which only becomes potentially harmful to blood vessel walls after oxidation. Lastly, niacin can help reduce platelet aggregation, the clumping together of platelets that can result in the formation of blood clots. One cup of barley will supply you with 14.2% of the daily value for niacin.

Significant Cardiovascular Benefits for Postmenopausal Women

Eating a serving of whole grains, such as barley, at least 6 times each week is a good idea, especially for postmenopausal women with high cholesterol, high blood pressure or other signs of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

A 3-year prospective study of over 220 postmenopausal women with CVD, published in theAmerican Heart Journal, shows that those eating at least 6 servings of whole grains each week experienced both:
Slowed progression of atherosclerosis, the build-up of plaque that narrows the vessels through which blood flows, and
Less progression in stenosis, the narrowing of the diameter of arterial passageways.

The women's intake of fiber from fruits, vegetables and refined grains was not associated with a lessening in CVD progression.

The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends at least 3 servings of whole-grain foods each day, but experts say most Americans eat less than a single serving. Don't be part of this majority! For delicious ideas that can help you enjoy whole grains as a daily part of your "Healthiest Way of Eating," see the "How to Enjoy" section below and take a look at the other World's Healthiest Foods ideas for whole grains by clicking buckwheat, corn, millet, quinoa, brown rice,rye, spelt, whole wheat.

Prevent Heart Failure with a Whole Grains Breakfast

Heart failure is the leading cause of hospitalization among the elderly in the United States. Success of drug treatment is only partial (ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers are typically used; no evidence has found statins safe or effective for heart failure), and its prognosis remains poor. Follow up of 2445 discharged hospital patients with heart failure revealed that 37.3% died during the first year, and 78.5% died within 5 years.

Since consumption of whole grain products and dietary fiber has been shown to reduce the risk of high blood pressure and heart attack, Harvard researchers decided to look at the effects of cereal consumption on heart failure risk and followed 21,376 participants in the Physicians Health Study over a period of 19.6 years.

After adjusting for confounding factors (age, smoking, alcohol consumption, vegetable consumption, use of vitamins, exercise, and history of heart disease), they found that men who simply enjoyed a daily morning bowl of whole grain (but not refined) cereal had a 29% lower risk of heart failure. Isn't your heart worth protecting, especially when the prescription—a morning bowl of hearty whole grains—is so delicious? For quick, easy, heart-healthy, whole grain recipes, click The World's Healthiest Foods, and look at the "How to Enjoy" section in any of our grain profiles.

Barley and Other Whole Grains Substantially Lower Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Barley and other whole grains are rich sources of magnesium, a mineral that acts as a co-factor for more than 300 enzymes, including enzymes involved in the body's use of glucose and insulin secretion.

The FDA permits foods that contain at least 51% whole grains by weight (and are also low in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol) to display a health claim stating consumption is linked to lower risk of heart disease and certain cancers. Now, research suggests regular consumption of whole grains also reduces risk of type 2 diabetes.

In this 8-year trial, involving 41,186 particpants of the Black Women's Health Study, research data confirmed inverse associations between magnesium, calcium and major food sources in relation to type 2 diabetes that had already been reported in predominantly white populations.

Risk of type 2 diabetes was 31% lower in black women who frequently ate whole grains compared to those eating the least of these magnesium-rich foods. When the women's dietary intake of magnesium intake was considered by itself, a beneficial, but lesser—19%—reduction in risk of type 2 diabetes was found, indicating that whole grains offer special benefits in promoting healthy blood sugar control. Daily consumption of low-fat dairy foods was also helpful, lowering risk of type 2 diabetes by 13%. So, if you'd like to enjoy a hot bowl of barley for breakfast (an especially good idea—see immediately below), serve topped with low-fat milk.

A Better Breakfast Choice for Persons with Type 2 Diabetes

Barley may be an even better breakfast choice than oats for persons with Type 2 diabetes. In a study conducted by the Agricultural Research Service at the Diet and Human Performance Laboratory in Beltsville, MD, barley was much more effective in reducing both glucose and insulin responses than oats.

In this study, which involved 10 overweight women (mean age: 50 years, body mass index: 30), subjects ate a controlled diet for 2 days and were then given, in rotation, glucose alone and then 4 test meals in which 2/3 of the carbohydrate came first from oat flour then oatmeal, barley flour or barley flakes.

Glucose responses were reduced after test meals by both oats and barley, although more by barley (29-36% by oats and 59-65% by barley). Insulin responses after test meals were significantly reduced only by barley (44-56%). Interestingly, whether the oats or barley was consumed in the form of meal, flakes or flour had little effect. What seems to have been responsible for barley's significantly greater effectiveness in reducing both glucose and insulin responses is barley's soluble fiber content. The barley used in the study (a cultivar called Prowashonupana) contains more than 4 times the soluble fiber of common oats.

Cereal and Fruit Fiber Protective against Postmenopausal Breast Cancer

Results of a prospective study involving 51,823 postmenopausal women for an average of 8.3 years showed a 34% reduction in breast cancer risk for those consuming the most fruit fiber compared to those consuming the least. In addition, in the subgroup of women who had ever used hormone replacement, those consuming the most fiber, especially cereal fiber, had a 50% reduction in their risk of breast cancer compared to those consuming the least. Fruits richest in fiber include apples, dates, figs, pears and prunes. When choosing a high fiber cereal, look for whole grain cereals as they supply the most bran (a mere 1/3rd cup of bran contains about 14 grams of fiber). With its rich, nutty flavor, barley makes a great breakfast alternative to a bowl of hot oatmeal. A mere quarter-cup of barley delivers one-quarter of the RDI for fiber!

Barley Can Help Prevent Gallstones

Eating foods high in insoluble fiber, such as barley, can help women avoid gallstones, shows a study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

Studying the overall fiber intake and types of fiber consumed over a 16 year period by almost 70,000 women in the Nurses Health Study, researchers found that those consuming the most fiber overall (both soluble and insoluble) had a 13% lower risk of developing gallstones compared to women consuming the fewest fiber-rich foods.

Those eating the most foods rich in insoluble fiber gained even more protection against gallstones: a 17% lower risk compared to women eating the least. And the protection was dose-related; a 5-gram increase in insoluble fiber intake dropped risk dropped 10%.

How do foods rich in insoluble fiber help prevent gallstones? Researchers think insoluble fiber not only speeds intestinal transit time (how quickly food moves through the intestines), but reduces the secretion of bile acids (excessive amounts contribute to gallstone formation), increases insulin sensitivity and lowers triglycerides (blood fats). Abundant in all whole grains, insoluble fiber is also found in nuts and the edible skin of fruits and vegetables including tomatoes, cucumbers, many squash, apples, berries, and pears. In addition, beans provide insoluble as well as soluble fiber.
Whole Grains and Fish Highly Protective against Childhood Asthma

According to the American Lung Association, almost 20 million Americans suffer from asthma, which is reported to be responsible for over 14 million lost school days in children, and an annual economic cost of more than $16.1 billion.

Increasing consumption of whole grains and fish could reduce the risk of childhood asthma by about 50%, suggests the International Study on Allergy and Asthma in Childhood (Tabak C, Wijga AH, Thorax).

The researchers, from the Dutch National Institute of Public Health and the Environment, Utrecht University, University Medical Center Groningen, used food frequency questionnaires completed by the parents of 598 Dutch children aged 8-13 years. They assessed the children's consumption of a range of foods including fish, fruits, vegetables, dairy and whole grain products. Data on asthma and wheezing were also assessed using medical tests as well as questionnaires.

While no association between asthma and intake of fruits, vegetables, and dairy products was found (a result at odds with other studies that have supported a link between antioxidant intake, particularly vitamins C and E, and asthma), the children's intake of both whole grains and fish was significantly linked to incidence of wheezing and current asthma.

In children with a low intake of fish and whole grains, the prevalence of wheezing was almost 20%, but was only 4.2% in children with a high intake of both foods. Low intake of fish and whole grains also correlated with a much higher incidence of current asthma (16.7%). compared to only a 2.8% incidence of current asthma among children with a high intake of both foods.

After adjusting results for possible confounding factors, such as the educational level of the mother, and total energy intake, high intakes of whole grains and fish were found to be associated with a 54 and 66% reduction in the probability of being asthmatic, respectively.

The probability of having asthma with bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR), defined as having an increased sensitivity to factors that cause narrowing of the airways, was reduced by 72 and 88% when children had a high-intake of whole grains and fish, respectively.

Lead researcher, CoraTabak commented, "The rise in the prevalence of asthma in western societies may be related to changed dietary habits." We agree. The Standard American Diet is sorely deficient in the numerous anti-inflammatory compounds found in fish and whole grains, notably, the omega-3 fats supplied by cold water fish and the magnesium and vitamin E provided by whole grains. One caution: wheat may need to be avoided as it is a common food allergen associated with asthma.
Promote Optimal Health with Barley's Fiber and Selenium

For people worried about colon cancer risk, barley packs a double punch by providing the fiber needed to minimize the amount of time cancer-causing substances spend in contact with colon cells, plus being a very good source of selenium, which has been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer significantly.

Selenium is an essential component of several major metabolic pathways, including thyroid hormone metabolism, antioxidant defense systems, and immune function. Accumulated evidence from prospective studies, intervention trials and studies on animal models of cancer has suggested a strong inverse correlation between selenium intake and cancer incidence. Several mechanisms have been suggested to explain the cancer-preventive activities of selenium. Selenium has been shown to induce DNA repair and synthesis in damaged cells, to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells, and to induce their apoptosis, the self-destruct sequence the body uses to eliminate worn out or abnormal cells.

In addition, selenium is incorporated at the active site of many proteins, including glutathione peroxidase, which is particularly important for cancer protection. One of the body's most powerful antioxidant enzymes, glutathione peroxidase is used in the liver to detoxify a wide range of potentially harmful molecules. When levels of glutathione peroxidase are too low, these toxic molecules are not disarmed and wreak havoc on any cells with which they come in contact, damaging their cellular DNA and promoting the development of cancer cells.

Not only does selenium play a critical role in cancer prevention as a cofactor of glutathione peroxidase, selenium also works with vitamin E in numerous other vital antioxidant systems throughout the body. These powerful antioxidant actions make selenium helpful for the prevention not only of cancer, but also of heart disease, and for decreasing the symptoms of asthma and arthritis.
Phenolics, powerful antioxidants that work in multiple ways to prevent disease, are one major class of phytonutrients that have been widely studied. Included in this broad category are such compounds as quercetin, curcumin, ellagic acid, catechins, and many others that appear frequently in the health news.

When Dr. Liu and his colleagues measured the relative amounts of phenolics, and whether they were present in bound or free form, in common fruits and vegetables like apples, red grapes, broccoli and spinach, they found that phenolics in the "free" form averaged 76% of the total number of phenolics in these foods. In whole grains, however, "free" phenolics accounted for less than 1% of the total, while the remaining 99% were in "bound" form.

In his presentation, Dr. Liu explained that because researchers have examined whole grains with the same process used to measure antioxidants in vegetables and fruits—looking for their content of "free" phenolics"—the amount and activity of antioxidants in whole grains has been vastly underestimated.

Despite the differences in fruits', vegetables' and whole grains' content of "free" and "bound" phenolics, the total antioxidant activity in all three types of whole foods is similar, according to Dr. Liu's research. His team measured the antioxidant activity of various foods, assigning each a rating based on a formula (micromoles of vitamin C equivalent per gram). Broccoli and spinach measured 80 and 81, respectively; apple and banana measured 98 and 65; and of the whole grains tested, corn measured 181, whole wheat 77, oats 75, and brown rice 56.

Dr. Liu's findings may help explain why studies have shown that populations eating diets high in fiber-rich whole grains consistently have lower risk for colon cancer, yet short-term clinical trials that have focused on fiber alone in lowering colon cancer risk, often to the point of giving subjects isolated fiber supplements, yield inconsistent results. The explanation is most likely that these studies have not taken into account the interactive effects of all the nutrients in whole grains—not just their fiber, but also their many phytonutrients.

As far as whole grains are concerned, Dr. Liu believes that the key to their powerful cancer-fighting potential is precisely their wholeness. A grain of whole wheat consists of three parts—its endosperm (starch), bran and germ. When wheat—or any whole grain—is refined, its bran and germ are removed. Although these two parts make up only 15-17% of the grain's weight, they contain 83% of its phenolics. Dr. Liu says his recent findings on the antioxidant content of whole grains reinforce the message that a variety of foods should be eaten good health. "Different plant foods have different phytochemicals," he said. "These substances go to different organs, tissues and cells, where they perform different functions. What your body needs to ward off disease is this synergistic effect—this teamwork—that is produced by eating a wide variety of plant foods, including whole grains."

Lignans Protect against Cancers and Heart Disease

One type of phytonutrient especially abundant in whole grains such as barley are plant lignans, which are converted by friendly flora in our intestines into mammalian lignans, including one called enterolactone that is thought to protect against breast and other hormone-dependent cancers as well as heart disease. In addition to whole grains, nuts, seeds and berries are rich sources of plant lignans, and vegetables, fruits, and beverages such as coffee, tea and wine also contain some. When blood levels of enterolactone were measured in over 800 postmenopausal women in a Danish study published in the Journal of Nutrition, women eating the most whole grains were found to have significantly higher blood levels of this protective lignan. Women who ate more cabbage and leafy vegetables also had higher enterolactone levels.

Fiber from Whole Grains and Fruit Protective against Breast Cancer

When researchers looked at how much fiber 35,972 participants in the UK Women's Cohort Study ate, they found a diet rich in fiber from whole grains, such as barley, and fruit offered significant protection against breast cancer for pre-menopausal women. (Cade JE, Burley VJ, et al.,International Journal of Epidemiology).

Pre-menopausal women eating the most fiber (>30 grams daily) more than halved their risk of developing breast cancer, enjoying a 52% lower risk of breast cancer compared to women whose diets supplied the least fiber (<20 grams/day).

Fiber supplied by whole grains offered the most protection. Pre-menopausal women eating the most whole grain fiber (at least 13 g/day) had a 41% reduced risk of breast cancer, compared to those with the lowest whole grain fiber intake (4 g or less per day).

Fiber from fruit was also protective. Pre-menopausal women whose diets supplied the most fiber from fruit (at least 6 g/day) had a 29% reduced risk of breast cancer, compared to those with the lowest fruit fiber intake (2 g or less per day).

Practical Tip: As the following table shows, it's surprisingly easy to enjoy a healthy way of eating that delivers at least 13 grams of whole grain fiber and 6 grams of fiber from fruit each day.
FoodFiber Content in Grams
Oatmeal, 1 cup 3.98
Whole wheat bread, 1 slice 2
Whole wheat spaghetti, 1 cup 6.3
Brown rice, 1 cup 3.5
Barley, 1 cup 13.6
Buckwheat, 1 cup 4.54
Rye, 1/3 cup 8.22
Corn, 1 cup 4.6
Apple, 1 medium with skin 5.0
Banana, 1 medium 4.0
Blueberries, 1 cup 3.92
Orange, 1 large 4.42
Pear, 1 large 5.02
Prunes, 1/4 cup 3.02
Strawberries, 1 cup 3.82
Raspberries, 1 cup 8.36


*Fiber content can vary between brands.

Source: esha Research, Food Processor for Windows, Version 7.8
Barley's Copper Can Benefit Arthritis Sufferers

Copper, another trace mineral supplied by barley, may also be helpful in reducing the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Copper is an essential cofactor of a key oxidative enzyme called superoxide dismutase. Superoxide dismutase disarms free radicals produced within the mitochondria (the energy production factories within our cells). Copper is also necessary for the activity of lysyl oxidase, an enzyme involved in cross-linking collagen and elastin, both of which provide the ground substance and flexibility in blood vessels, bones and joints. One cup of cooked barley provides 32.0% of the daily value for copper.
Development and Repair of Body Tissue

The phosphorus provided by barley plays a role in the structure of every cell in the body. In addition to its role in forming the mineral matrix of bone, phosphorus is an essential component of numerous other life-critical compounds including adenosine triphosphate or ATP, the molecule that is the energy currency of the body. Phosphorus is an important component of nucleic acids, the building blocks of the genetic code. In addition, the metabolism of lipids (fats) relies on phosphorus, and phosphorus is an essential component of lipid-containing structures such as cell membranes and nervous system structures. A cup of cooked barley will give you 23.0% of the daily value for phosphorus.

Meta-analysis Explains Whole Grains' Health Protective Benefits

In many studies, eating whole grains, such as barley, has been linked to protection against atherosclerosis, ischemic stroke, diabetes, insulin resistance, obesity, and premature death. A new study and accompanying editorial, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition explains the likely reasons behind these findings and recommends at least 3 servings of whole grains should be eaten daily.

Whole grains are concentrated sources of fiber. In this meta-analysis of 7 studies including more than 150,000 persons, those whose diets provided the highest dietary fiber intake had a 29% lower risk of cardiovascular disease compared to those with the lowest fiber intake.

But it's not just fiber's ability to serve as a bulking agent that is responsible for its beneficial effects as a component of whole grains. Wheat bran, for example, which constitutes 15% of most whole-grain wheat kernels but is virtually non-existent in refined wheat flour, is rich in minerals, antioxidants, lignans, and other phytonutrients:mdash;as well as in fiber.

In addition to the matrix of nutrients in their dietary fibers, the whole-grain arsenal includes a wide variety of additional nutrients and phytonutrients that reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Compounds in whole grains that have cholesterol-lowering effects include polyunsaturated fatty acids, oligosaccharides, plant sterols and stanols, and saponins.

Whole grains are also important dietary sources of water-soluble, fat-soluble, and insoluble antioxidants. The long list of cereal antioxidants includes vitamin E, tocotrieonols, selenium, phenolic acids, and phytic acid. These multifunctional antioxidants come in immediate-release to slow-release forms and thus are available throughout the gastrointestinal tract over a long period after being consumed.

The high antioxidant capacity of wheat bran, for example, is 20-fold that of refined wheat flour (endosperm). Although the role of antioxidant supplements in protecting against cardiovascular disease has been questioned, prospective population studies consistently suggest that when consumed in whole foods, antioxidants are associated with significant protection against cardiovascular disease. Because free radical damage to cholesterol appears to contribute significantly to the development of atherosclerosis, the broad range of antioxidant activities from the phytonutrients abundant in whole-grains is thought to play a strong role in their cardio-protective effects.

Like soybeans, whole grains are valuable sources of phytoestrogens, plant compounds that may affect blood cholesterol levels, blood vessel elasticity, bone metabolism, and many other cellular metabolic processes.

Whole grains are rich sources of lignans that are converted by the human gut to enterolactone and enterodiole. In studies of Finnish men, blood levels of enterolactone have been found to have an inverse relation not just to cardiovascular-related death, but to all causes of death, which suggests that the plant lignans in whole grains may play an important role in their protective effects.

Lower insulin levels may also contribute to the protective effects of whole grains. In many persons, the risks of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity are linked to insulin resistance. Higher intakes of whole grains are associated with increased sensitivity to insulin in population studies and clinical trials. Why? Because whole grains improve insulin sensitivity by lowering the glycemic index of the diet while increasing its content of fiber, magnesium, and vitamin E.

The whole kernel of truth: as part of your healthy way of eating, whole grains can significantly lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes. Enjoy at least 3 servings a day. No idea how to cook whole grains? Just look at the "How to Enjoy" section in our profiles of the whole grains, or for quick, easy, delicious recipes, click on this link to our Recipe Assistant and select whatever whole grain you would like to prepare.
Description

Barley is a wonderfully versatile cereal grain with a rich nutlike flavor and an appealing chewy, pasta-like consistency, the result of its gluten content. Its appearance resembles wheat berries, although it is slightly lighter in color. Sprouted barley is naturally high in maltose, a sugar that serves as the basis for both malt syrup sweetener and when fermented, as an ingredient in beer and other alcoholic beverages.

Barley can be found in the market in various different forms:
Hulled barley: Like the name suggests, the outermost hull of the grain is all that gets removed in this form of barley. While this makes for a chewier grain that requires more soaking and cooking, it also makes for a more nutritious food. Hulled barley is also sometimes called "dehulled barley," and it is the one form of barley what would be considered whole grain.
Pearl barley: Various degrees of polishing, or "pearling" take place in the production of pearl barley. In addition to a polishing off of the outermost hull, the grain's bran layer, and even parts of its inner endosperm layer, may be removed during the pearling process. In general, as you move from regular to medium to fine to baby pearl barley, you find increasing loss of nutrients. Pearl barley is much less chewy and quicker cooking than hulled barley, but it is also much lower in nutrients, and would not be considered whole grain.
Pot/scotch barley: In terms of processing, this form of barley falls in between hulled and pearl barley. It's been polished to remove its outer hull, but the polishing process is not continued for much longer, so that a large amount of the remaining grain is left intact. While pot barley would not technically be considered whole grain, and would lack some of the benefits of hulled barley, it is still a very reasonable nutritional choice and more nutrient dense than pearl barley. In many countries, pot barley is popular in soups - thus the origin of its name.
Barley flakes: Flattened and sliced, barley flakes are similar in shape to rolled oats. Barley flakes can be made from hulled, hulless, or pearl barley, and can be significantly different in nutrient content for this reason.
Barley grits: Barley that has been toasted and cracked, barley grits are similar in appearance to bulgar. Barley grits can be made from hulled, hulless, or pearl barley, and can be significantly different in nutrient content for this reason.

The Latin name for barley is Hordeum vulgare.
History

Barley originated in Ethiopia and Southeast Asia, where it has been cultivated for more than 10,000 years. Barley was used by ancient civilizations as a food for humans and animals, as well as to make alcoholic beverages; the first known recipe for barley wine dates back to 2800 BC in Babylonia. In addition, since ancient times, barley water has been used for various medicinal purposes.

Barley played an important role in ancient Greek culture as a staple bread-making grain as well as an important food for athletes, who attributed much of their strength to their barley-containing training diets. Roman athletes continued this tradition of honoring barley for the strength that it gave them. Gladiators were known as hordearii, which means "eaters of barley." Barley was also honored in ancient China as a symbol of male virility since the heads of barley are heavy and contain numerous seeds.

Since wheat was very expensive and not widely available in the Middle Ages, many Europeans at that time made bread from a combination of barley and rye. In the 16th century, the Spanish introduced barley to South America, while the English and Dutch settlers of the 17th century brought it with them to the United States.

Today, the largest commercial producers of barley are Canada, the United States, the Russian Federation, Germany, France and Spain.
How to Select and Store

Barley is generally available in its pearled, hulled and flaked form. It is available prepackaged as well as in bulk containers. Just as with any other food that you may purchase in the bulk section, make sure that the bins containing the barley are covered and that the store has a good product turnover so as to ensure its maximal freshness. Whether purchasing barley in bulk or in a packaged container, make sure that there is no evidence of moisture.

Store barley in a tightly covered glass container in a cool, dry place. Barley can also be stored in the refrigerator during periods of warmer weather.
Tips for Preparing and Cooking
Tips for Preparing Barley

Like all grains, before cooking barley, rinse it thoroughly under running water and then remove any dirt or debris that you may find. After rinsing, add one part barley to three and a half parts boiling water or broth. After the liquid has returned to a boil, turn down the heat, cover and simmer. Pearled barley should be simmered f
or about one hour, while hulled barley should be cooked for about 90 minutes.

Friday, March 13, 2015

THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION


The prophecy about the digital technoloy: the eye is not satisfied with seeing,or the ear filled with hearing.

Ecclesiastes 1:8
All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. 

The Digital Revolution, known as the Third Industrial Revolution, is the change from analog, mechanical, and electronictechnology to digital technology which began anywhere from the late 1950s to the late 1970s with the adoption and proliferation of digital computers and digital record keeping that continues to the present day. Implicitly, the term also refers to the sweeping changes brought about by digital computing and communication technology during (and after) the latter half of the 20th century. Analogous to the Agricultural Revolution and Industrial Revolution, the Digital Revolution marked the beginning of the Information Age.

Central to this revolution is the mass production and widespread use of digital logic circuits, and its derived technologies, including the computer, digital cellular phone, and the Internet.

SCIENCE OF HAPPY HEART


Physical Activity and Health

The Benefits of Physical Activity
There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God. For who can eat, or who else can hasten hereunto, more than I? (Ecclesiastes 2:24-25)

Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. It can help:
Control your weight
Reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease
Reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome
Reduce your risk of some cancers
Strengthen your bones and muscles
Improve your mental health and mood
Improve your ability to do daily activities and prevent falls, if you're an older adult
Increase your chances of living longer

If you're not sure about becoming active or boosting your level of physical activity because you're afraid of getting hurt, the good news is that moderate-intensity aerobic activity, like brisk walking, is generally safe for most people.

Start slowly. Cardiac events, such as a heart attack, are rare during physical activity. But the risk does go up when you suddenly become much more active than usual. For example, you can put yourself at risk if you don't usually get much physical activity and then all of a sudden do vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, like shoveling snow. That's why it's important to start slowly and gradually increase your level of activity.

If you have a chronic health condition such as arthritis, diabetes, or heart disease, talk with your doctor to find out if your condition limits, in any way, your ability to be active. Then, work with your doctor to come up with a physical activity plan that matches your abilities. If your condition stops you from meeting the minimum Guidelines, try to do as much as you can. What's important is that you avoid being inactive. Even 60 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity is good for you.

The bottom line is - the health benefits of physical activity far outweigh the risks of getting hurt.

A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken. ..."The light of the eyes rejoiceth the heart: and a good report maketh the bones fat. (Proverbs 15:13,30)

In recent years, physicians, psychologists and economists have embarked on a journey to illuminate the connection between joy and wellness. Fascinating research exists, and there is value in understanding the effect of happiness on our lives.

To start a conversation about the secrets of happiness,

ABC News’ chief health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besserhosted a Twitter chat Tuesday. Experts from the National Institutes of Health, Mayo Clinic, Harvard University and TEDMED, as well as clinicians and people from across the country, joined the one-hour discussion.

Here are some of the highlights.

How Do We Measure Happiness?

There are countless ways to evaluate happiness, a subjective and often dynamic state. With research on the topic soaring, investigators have devised surveys to study people’s sense of well-being.

Dr. Amit Sood, a specialist in integrative mind-body medicine at the Mayo Clinic, tweeted that we can measure happiness “through validated happiness scales. Assessment is subjective.”

@toddkashdan noted that, “despite problems with self-reports, [there is] no better way to assess happiness than capturing personal thoughts & feelings.”

Angela Haupt, health and wellness editor for U.S. News and World Report, tweeted “happiness indicators include life satisfaction, health, community, and civic engagement.”

While scientists attempt to quantify elements of happiness, others often believe that true joy is more ethereal. Dr Friedman, a psychiatrist at New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Hospital, said that “happiness is hard to measure, but easy to recognize.”

Still, common themes about fulfillment emerged in these conversations. Finding meaning in daily work was important. Indeed, researchers have found that having creative and purposeful work to do is a key factor in happiness. But participants were quick to stress the importance of balancing work and personal obligations.

@judymartin8 found value in a “better work-life merge, solid relationships, [and] redefining success,” and @pauladavislaack tweeted “I burned out at the end of my law practice – happiness to me is about meaning and connection!”

Chat participants agreed that money does not guarantee bliss. And studies agree: Once people’s basic needs like food and housing are met, higher incomes do little to boost happiness. Ultimately, people found value in their connections with others. Research shows that having support through friends, family, and social networks reliably predicts happiness. Many echoed the sentiments of @drmommy, who tweeted “I measure my happiness by the loving people that surround me.”

How Does Happiness Affect Our Health? 

Although there is a well-established body of research examining negative health effects of stress and anger, there are also key studies that look at associations between health and happiness. It’s important to note that these studies focus on correlations, things that go hand in hand but are not necessarily caused by one another.

The results are compelling.

Happiness has been correlated with better health, both in individuals and communities. Some studies have even suggested that states of happiness may be associated with lower stress-related hormones and better immune function. @krash63 pointed out that “there’s a growing body of evidence of well-being [as] a protective health factor and a predictive health factor”, and @renjain agreed that “happier people can live longer, healthier lives.”

Moreover, Dr. Malissa Wood of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston noted that “Women in a Happy Heart Study became happy and content while improving heart risk.”

Data show that positive mood, optimism and humor are linked to better health and well-being.

What are the Secrets of Happiness?

So, can we increase our happiness? “Studies show that relaxation techniques – a mind/body practice – can release tension,” experts from the National Institutes of Health National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine tweeted.

Research suggests that people who meditate have improved sense of calm and wellness. People who express religious or spiritual faith also report being happier.

Expressing gratitude is a demonstrated way of fostering happiness. Researchers have found that people who regularly write down things for which they are grateful in “gratitude journals” have increased satisfaction in life, higher energy levels, and improved health. In one study, people who read a letter of appreciation to someone in their lives were measurably happier almost one month later. Performing acts of kindness or altruism boosts moods. Twitter chat participants stressed the importance of smiling and laughing, pointing to movements like “laughter yoga” around the world.

Data show that our relationships matter, too. People who engage in meaningful conversations with friends or family report being happier than those who don’t. Close interpersonal ties and strong social support are crucial for happiness. Investigators recently showed that the capacity for loving relationships was the strongest predictor for life satisfaction in men.

And happiness is contagious: Having a happy friend or family member who lives within a mile of you appears to increase the probability, up to 15 percent in one study, that you will be happy, too.