6 Tips for Staying Healthy This Winter

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Winter can bring about a whole host of problems and obstacles when it comes to staying healthy. It is, of course, cold and flu season.

Winter also brings about a lot of holidays and holiday parties, which can throw a wrench into any healthy eating regimen. Add alcohol at those gatherings, the stress of being extremely busy, holiday shopping where you’ll come across many people with a cold, and it’s a recipe for a health disaster.

And there’s no cure for the common cold. So how exactly can you keep yourself from having all your energy zapped out of you while ending up flat on your back on the couch for days, despite that mile long to do list?

So, you’re surrounded by sick people, your stress levels are high, you’re really busy, and your eating isn’t as healthy as it would be under normal circumstances. It doesn’t sound good!

But don’t worry. All is not lost! There are ways to stay healthy this winter!

  1. Get Your Sleep

No matter how busy you are or what you have to get done, getting enough sleep is absolutely crucial to a healthy body and mind! You can not skimp on sleep!

Your body needs time to rest and recover, even more so when stress levels are higher, which is definitely the case around the end of year holiday season.

You may also want to cut back on your workouts during the winter to make sure your body has time to recover. When your body is overworked and you aren’t getting enough sleep, it promotes an acidic environment, and this is a breeding ground for viruses and other nasty germs to have their way with you.

Get seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Yes, even on weekends. And do your best to get up about the same time every day, seven days a week.

  1. Relax, Chill Out, Kick Back

Whatever you want to call it, you need to find time to take the proverbial chill pill. A 2012 study that was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that people who had to deal with a very stressful occurrence were twice as likely to end up with the common cold.

So find some down time, whether it’s yoga, meditation, or just sitting quietly listening to mellow music. Even fifteen minutes a day can work wonders.

  1. Get Spicy

Take some turmeric. It contains curcumin which is an immune system booster, exactly what you need during cold and flu system. You can get whole turmeric powder in tablets or capsules.

  1. Bad For Your Breath But Good For Your Health

Another great immune booster is garlic. A study published in Advances in Therapy showed that garlic can decrease the frequency of the common cold by as much as 64 percent!

But cooking can ruin the active ingredients, so be sure to mash it or chop it and put some in a salad or something.

  1. Drink Your Green Tea

Green tea has high levels of powerful anti-oxidants to help keep you healthy. It also has high levels of catechin, which can fight and maybe even prevent damage to your cells.

And here’s something to go with “Chill Out” to get rid of that stress! Green tea is high in theanine, which has been shown to have a calming effect and can help you to unwind and relax.

  1. Try Some Echinacea

This one is still up for debate, and there are many in the medical community on both sides of the argument.

However, a study done in 2010 in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that while taking echinacea won’t help prevent a cold, it could possibly shorten the time in which you have the cold. It can’t hurt, so if you feel a cold coming on, you might want to try some.

Nothing you do will guarantee you don’t succumb to a cold this winter, but if you follow these simple tips to stay healthy, you’ll give yourself a great chance of doing so.

Even if you succumb to a cold, chances are you could be healthier, have more energy and feel less stressed throughout the winter.

Author : Aria Meyer is a freelance writer and an active blogger. She writes mainly about fashion and technology, but she also writes about other topics too. She is currently working with several e-commerce websites to help them with content. Aria received her Bachelor’s Degree from Cal State Long Beach and is currently living in Walnut, CA. Right now, she is working closely with EMed Items to help them grow the marketing department.

Why Regular and Natural Detox is so Important For Your Body

The word “toxins” has sort of become the newest boogeyman in the world of health and wellness. People blame them for health disorders, stress, aging, and many other things, and there are many products meant to help you detox.

But why is it important to get rid of toxins? Does it even matter? Here are a few reasons you should detox regularly:

  1. Fight chronic disease — Diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, and many neurological diseases have been linked to toxic buildup in the human body, so detoxing can help to reduce your risk of developing these diseases. Toxins can also causes these diseases to worsen, which is why it’s a good idea to detox regularly if you suffer from a chronic illness.
  2. Promote weight loss –– Did you know that toxins stop you from losing weight? Toxic buildup in your body causes your metabolism to slow down, and it can even prevent our bodies from being able to burn fat properly. By detoxing, you get rid of the toxins that are stored in fat cells and which slow down your metabolism.
  3. Improve immune function –– Toxins are difficult for your body to get rid of, so your immune system is often called in to fight off these invading chemicals. This distracts it from its true threat–infections and bacteria–and it may cause you to get sick. Detoxing frees up your immune system to focus on keeping you healthy and free of disease.
  4. Reduce signs of aging — When you age, your skin, organs, hair, bones, and muscles degrade, and that degradation is only made worse by toxins. Toxins can cause free radicals to form, and those free radicals can cause the aging to worsen. By detoxing, you increase the amount of nutrients your body can absorb from the food you eat.
  5. Improve the health of your skin and hair –– When your skin begins to wrinkle, fade, and sag, it is often the result of toxins building up beneath the skin’s surface. Toxins stop your body from producing the collagen and elastin that keeps your skin looking great, so it’s important to detox for your skin and hair’s sake!
  6. Boost digestive health — When you have a lot of toxins built up in your body, your digestive system is unable to function properly. You’ll find that problems like IBS or leaky gut syndrome are often the result of toxic build-up in the intestines or stomach, so detoxing regularly can reduce the risk of digestive health issues.
  7. Improve quality of life — When you use detoxing products like detox foot patches or baths, you reduce the risk of toxins causing headaches, sleep problems, joint pains, digestive disorders, fatigue, and so many other problems that can reduce the quality of life.

Need any more reasons to detox? It’s so vital to your health that it’s hard to imagine a month going by without a natural detox!

Written by Chris Miller

Fluoride: A Deadly Deception

Many of you, like me, thought that fluoride was beneficial. It helps prevent cavities, you need it in our drinking water, and so forth. There are many reasons to avoid fluoride, but I will only discuss a few of them.

  1. Fluoride does not prevent cavities. Dentists are trained to tell you that you need fluoride to prevent cavities.  I stopped buying fluoride toothpaste last year. Tom’s of Maine makes fluoride-free toothpaste for adults and children. My son didn’t have any cavities on his first dental visit. If you notice, all “training toothpaste”, like Orajel is fluoride-free. The label also says “Safe If Swallowed”. So, does that mean that fluoride toothpaste is NOT safe if swallowed? When I was using fluoride toothpaste, my teeth were prone to cavities. Streptococcus mutans is actually the bacterium that causes tooth decay. A friend told me that she recently started using coconut oil instead of mouthwash, and it appears to be working.
  1. Drinking fluoride water is not beneficial to your health. Again, fluoride water claims to prevent tooth decay. I’m going to give you the chemical formula breakdown of fluoride. It comes from Fluorine, which is a chemical element that exists as a highly toxic gas. When it reacts with water, it forms hydrogen fluoride and hydroxide.  In layman’s terms, I wouldn’t want to drink water with any chemicals in it. Use a water filter and obviously don’t buy the gallon jugs of fluorinated water from the grocery store.
  1. Fluoride has been linked to brain damage. Various animal studies have shown fluoride to affect behavior and learning by interfering with certain brain functions. With that in mind, studies have also shown that it can also lower IQ.
  1. Fluoride affects the thyroid. I know those, including myself, which suffer from thyroid issues.  Beside fluoride, there are other chemicals in the water, like chlorine, that suppress thyroid function; they compete with iodine absorption. The thyroid gland needs iodine to perform properly. My doctors haven’t given me a concrete cause for my thyroid nodules or prescribed any medication.

You may be thinking as you read this post that you don’t have or show signs of any health issues. Well, 6 years ago, I didn’t have thyroid nodules. There was a time when I didn’t have any health issues. Any type of preventive measures that you can take now will help you in the future.

 

Benefits of Maca Root

Until recently, I hadn’t heard of maca root.  I was working out with a friend. (Conveniently, she has exercise equipment in her basement). She showed me a bottle of powdered maca root that she had purchased from GNC; the label said that it was good for energy and libido. It actually dates back to ancient Incan history. I was intrigued. I tasted some of her grilled broccoli seasoned with maca powder; it was very flavorful, like stir-fry broccoli.

When I researched it further, I saw that it has lots of benefits for both men and women.

  1. Erectile Dysfunction and Fertility. As previously mentioned, maca root has been used historically to boost male libido. It improves sperm count, which improves fertility. One culprit of erectile dysfunction is heavy alcohol consumption; however there can be other factors such as chronic illnesses (i.e. diabetes), stress, medication, or injury.
  2. Endurance.  In addition to increasing testosterone, maca also increases endurance for athletes. As your energy levels increase, so does your endurance. (As an addition, I’m sure it will help your sexual stamina as well).
  3. Menopause and Menstruation. Whether we are childbearing or middle age, as women, we know that both of these can be a pain to bear (pun intended). Maca root helps to balance hormone levels and alleviate symptoms such as menopausal hot flashes, menstrual cramps, PMS, fatigue, and heavy or irregular cycles.
  4. Acne. Since most acne outbreaks are hormonal, it makes sense that maca would clear up this issue dramatically.
  5. Depression.  People that suffer from depression have low levels of serotonin in their bodies. Maca has been shown to increase these levels. Again, it all relates to energy. When you suffer from depression, you have little or no energy. It is difficult to get out of bed even if there is a reason to do so.

Maca is also called “Peruvian ginseng“. If you decide to try it, it is available in both capsules and powder form at any health food or vitamin store.

Natural Cures: Secrets “They” Don’t Want You to Know About – A Book Review

I am an avid reader, especially if it can positively impact your life. Kevin Trudeau is the #1 New York Times best-selling author of Natural Cures “They” Don’t Want You to Know About that he self-published in 2004. I read the updated 2014 version. It was very informative; I was very impressed with his personal story. Some concepts were new to me, and others I have put into practice as it relates to food.

The book includes natural cures for over 50 diseases and ailments. If you decide to read the book, don’t just read that chapter. Trudeau gives plenty of background information to help you having an understanding of the “real” truth. For instance, he discusses healthcare in America, the reasons people get sick, weight loss, and the reasons that people are overweight.

Whatever the case, you have to take charge of your own health. About 3 or 4 years ago, I started researching the quality of food and healthcare.  There are a lot of great resources in this book, but you’re not expected to follow everything. Eliminating one bad habit and replacing it with a smart one can make a big difference in your health.  The things that seem so simple and make sense are the most difficult to do. (I talk to people about eating green vegetables and they look at me strangely). I don’t get offended. I do it for MY HEALTH.   If you want to lose weight, feel better, and be healthy, your lifestyle needs to change.

Time for Tea

It’s almost the end of October. Soon, it’ll be time to turn on the heat and pull out our sweaters and coats. When it gets cold or if I’m under the weather, a cup of hot tea always makes me feel better. Various types of tea, whether it’s black, chamomile, green, or another variety, has its benefits.

  1. Black Tea. With a little honey and lemon added, black tea is soothing for a sore throat. Also, many Asian dishes have tea incorporated into them to enhance color and flavor (National Geographic). Also, black tea can boost the immune system, lower blood pressure, and control diabetes. Organic black teas are always a great choice.
  2. Green Tea. You can use green tea for cooking as well to enhance the flavor of food, like shrimp or rice. It also works as an antioxidant, lower cholesterol levels, burn fat, control diabetes, and reduce inflammation in the joints and digestive tract.
  3. Lemongrass tea. If you like lemon, this is very soothing for your stomach and helps to fight cancer.
  4. Herbal tea. Herbal teas do not contain caffeine. When you go to an upscale spa, they have a variety of these teas available. The idea is to relax. A cup of chamomile tea before bedtime will help you sleep.

If you drink at least one of the teas mentioned above, you should see a difference in your health.

Continue reading “Time for Tea”

An Alkaline Body pH can prevent a Host of Diseases

From General Chemistry, you learn about pH and its scale. All acidic substances have a pH ranging from 0-6; alkaline or basic substances have a pH ranging from 8-14. Neutral pH is 7, which is that of water. Your blood pH is typically ranges from 7.3 to 7.4.

For those of you that aren’t a science geek like me, you just need to know that body pH affects your overall health. In 1931, Dr. Otto Warburg won the Nobel Peace prize for his cancer research.   Normal cells take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide. According to Warburg’s research, cancer cells ferment sugar instead, which makes an acidic environment. If you can avoid or at least reduce certain foods, beverages, or other toxic behaviors that cause an acidic pH, you can reduce your risk for cancer, diabetes, and other illnesses. Here is a list of things to try:

  1. Keep alcohol to a minimum. Alcohol is toxic to your liver in large amounts in addition to being addictive. However, drinking red wine does have benefits. In some cultures, they drink wine with every meal. For instance, in the early 1990s, French researchers reported the “French paradox”; the French eat a diet high in saturated fat yet have a very low incidence of cardiovascular disease (National Geographic). Drinking one or two glasses of red wine per day can reduce the risk of heart disease. Remember, everything in moderation.
  2. Stop drinking soda. I’ve stressed this in the majority of my posts. One of the ingredients listed for soda is phosphoric acid, obviously a culprit. See my post on Reasons to Stop Drinking Soda-Regular and Diet.
  3. Watch stress levels. Stress creates negative energy; therefore, your body is going to reactive negatively.
  4. Eat leafy, green vegetables, cooked and raw. Green vegetables are a good source of fiber and help eliminate carcinogens from our body. Eating one or two large salads most days can help the body heal itself. When you get bored with salad, try adding pomegranate seeds or red peppers (sweet or roasted) to them. Pomegranate seeds are very tasty and contain antioxidants that can help lower blood pressure.
  5. Watch caffeine levels. I’ve already discussed soda. I’ll admit that I love coffee, but I only drink one cup a day if at all. Too much caffeine can make you irritable and jumpy.
  6. Drink green tea. Green tea contains antioxidants and helps with weight loss. It is very soothing and calms you when you drink it hot. Choose a brand that you like. You can never go wrong with organic.
  7. Stop smoking. This is a given. I haven’t heard any benefits coming out of it.
  8. Avoid high fructose corn syrup. This is found in almost everything from ketchup, soda, BBQ sauce, and the like. Be sure to read food labels. This is designed for us to become fat and addicted to certain types of food.
  9. Reduce your consumption of processed and fast foods. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I don’t see long lines at the McDonald’s drive-thru like in the past. In a world of busyness, these are the things that we run to because it’s quick. A cheeseburger and fries is delicious when you cook it yourself or from a trusted restaurant. You know that the meat is hormone-free.
  10. Stay hydrated. Make sure you drink 8-10 glasses of water per day to prevent dehydration, for clear skin, and to keep bowel functions regular. I prefer spring or filtered water. Tap water contains chemicals like chlorine and fluoride, which you don’t want to drink.

Trying a few if not all of these suggestions should make a difference in your overall health. I lost 25 lbs. over time. When I learn techniques that work, I share that information with others.

Continue reading “An Alkaline Body pH can prevent a Host of Diseases”

How to Keep Warm This Winter

As much as we don’t want to admit it, winter is fast approaching us. As lovely as summer has been, the nights will start drawing in and we will be soon grabbing those woolly jumpers and turning the heating on. Unfortunately, not all of us can afford the heating on throughout the whole of winter, so knowing how to keep warm is very important. Whether it is a woolly jumper or an electric blanket, we will run through the best ways to keep warm this winter, without reaching too far into your pocket!

If you are young or old, keeping warm is an important part of life, as it keeps our blood flowing and heart rate up. Without the warmth, we soon start to feel uncomfortable and ill, which can instantly lead to various problems. Whether it is you, yourself who wants to keep one step ahead of the weather this winter, or you are caring for somebody who may need to utilise these tips; then we will try to cover everything so that you winter isn’t miserable, and in fact you can become cosy and relaxed in your home and out of your home.

Clothing

Even though clothing may seem like the most obvious way to keep warm this winter, there are plenty of ways to utilise this warmth. Often we think that grabbing the thickest jumper we own might be the best at keeping us warm; however, this isn’t always the case. Even though the woolly, cotton, fleece-like materials are great for keeping warm and feeling cosy in your house, or out of it, various thin layers can sometimes be the best option. Wearing several thin layers will trap the warm air closer to your body, and your body will heat up quicker and stay warmer for longer.

Even though it may sound crazy, wearing a hat and scarf indoors can instantly make your body feel warmer as the majority of heat is lost through you head and neck. Even if you just leave them on for half an hour, you will feel the benefits of it straight away.

When you are sat at home, grabbing a blanket to put over your legs can instantly make you feel warmer, creating a cosy feeling within your home. Whilst you have the blanket on, raising your feet off the ground and putting them on a small table or pouf, can make you feel warmer without realising, as cold air stays lower to the ground.

When you are in bed, try to wear warm clothes. If you are not used to doing this, it can sometimes feel uncomfortable but you will soon get used to it. You are able to buy thick pyjamas in your local clothes shop at a reasonable price, and they are guaranteed to last all winter. When it is really cold, thermal underwear and bed socks are a good choice, as this will not only keep you warm, but also you will be able to have a better sleep without waking often.

Food

When it comes to winter, it is best to stick to thick, hot meals that will keep you warm throughout. If you are on a budget, thick, chunky soup is ideal, as it is cheap to buy from your local shop and very simple to make. If you struggle with diabetes, having a diet based on sugars and fats is not good, however, there are plenty of ways to get around this. By looking at the amount of carbohydrates that is in your meal, you can keep track of your daily intake. With plenty of information online, diabetes doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself at all, but being aware of what you can and cannot have is always a good idea! If you are stuck for things to cook, try something different with your leftovers, maybe a homemade soup or stew, ideal as it will last for days.

Small things to prevent the draughts

Unfortunately, we all struggle in our homes with the unwanted drafts that flow through our houses in winter. When the wind gets up, it sneaks through our homes, instantly creating that chilling temperature. To prevent these chills there are certain things you can do to keep the draught away. Keyhole covers may sound silly, but the amount of draught that can come through various doors in your house can be ridiculous. These are available to buy at garden centres and many other high street shops. They will stop the draught and you will instantly notice the effects. If you have somebody who can help you, a relative or friend, then fitting thermal linings in your curtains can not only prevent the cold from entering your home, but can also keep the heat in as well. Regarding curtains, in the winter it is best to close you curtains as soon as it gets dark, if you are able to, as this will keep the heat in, and you don’t have to be looking out at the dark night sky. If you have spare blankets or throws lying around your home, laying them at the bottom of doors is ideal, as this will stop the draught from sneaking in and it will certainly keep your toes a bit warmer!

Known to work instantly, a hot water bottle is ideal for both day and night. You can put in under your blanket whilst you are watching TV in your living room, or even when you go to sleep, making it easier to drift off. Wherever you choose to put your water bottle, it will most definitely be the best thing you buy this winter. You can buy hot water bottles from most local stores at a reasonable price.

Whether you, yourself needs to keep warm this winter, or you are caring for a relative or friend, just remember, using some of these simple tips will instantly make your home feel warmer, and you are able to relax this winter. Whether it is a glass of coco in front of the TV or a hot water bottle in your bed, you will be able to be comfy and cosy this winter.

Georgina Evans

19.8.14

The Benefits of Vitamin D

After having my annual physical exam, my doctor advised me to take a vitamin D supplement since my levels were slightly low. He was not too concerned about this since my overall health is great. I know now that I must continue to take it along with vitamin C daily for optimal health. I was surprised since I’ve spent so much time outside this summer. I thought that I had been getting enough sunlight since that is the main source of vitamin D. However, having dark skin plays a role in low vitamin D levels. Melanin (a pigment) reduces the skin’s ability to produce vitamin D once exposed to sunlight. I researched more about it and found some benefits of this vitamin.

 

  1. Maintaining strong bones and muscles. Both vitamin D and calcium are necessary for strong bones and teeth.
  1. Reduces the risk of autoimmune diseases and infections. Vitamin D reduces the risk of diabetes, some cancers, multiple sclerosis, allergies, and asthma.
  1. Helps mood. Many people are happy when they spend time in the sun. (I know that I tend to feel lazy when it’s raining outside). Our skin manufactures vitamin D as a result of sun exposure, as previously stated. It is believed to regulate brain chemicals that are responsible for mood (National Geographic).
  1. Plays a role in brain development. Low levels of vitamin D can be linked to disorders such as ADD, schizophrenia, and autism. My son takes 400 IU of vitamin D per day. A neurodevelopmental specialist at Children’s Medical Center recommended that dosage.

Since few foods contain vitamin D, (i.e. fatty fish, fortified milk or juice, egg yolks, cheese, and beef liver), it is best to take a supplement not to exceed 2000 IU per day. Also, enjoy 30 minutes of exposure to sunlight each day. Vitamin D levels should return to normal.

 

Continue reading “The Benefits of Vitamin D”

How to Stay Active Without Going to the Gym

Most of us find ourselves in one of the following scenarios:

  1. You pay for a gym/club membership that you don’t use.
  2. You pay too much for a gym/club membership that isn’t worth it.
  3. The money that you invest in a gym/club membership is worth it, but you have a limited budget to work with.

At some point in my life, I have been in all of those scenarios. The first gym membership that I ever had was with Bally. (Their motto was Total Fitness if you recall). That was when I was first diagnosed with hypertension, and I wanted to start working out for better health. I didn’t have any issues with my weight, but I had a stressful job. I soon found something that was less stressful and paid more. Always a good thing!

I stayed with Bally until they changed over to LA Fitness. I thought that they all had gone out of business; however, there are still some in the New York-New Jersey area, Louisiana, Colorado, and California.

I had a couple of other memberships at other clubs that I was satisfied with, but as time went by, I became unmotivated or I spent so much time working. There wasn’t any point in paying for a membership that I didn’t use. Now that I have time to work out, I have a limited budget. I have to think of creative ways to get in shape. If you find yourself in this situation as well, here are some ideas:

  1. Walk.  Since the weather has been beautiful, I take 45-minute walks in the morning, about 3-4 times per week. If my family doesn’t join me, I use it as time to think. My neighbors are usually out walking as well or doing yard work. Sometimes, we go to the nearby park and walk on the trails there. If you have ankle weights or hand weights, you can add them in as you walk.
  2. Biking.  You can always explore the trails in your neighborhood if this is your thing.
  3. Check your cable listings. I don’t know about other cable providers, but Comcast Infinity On Demand has a Sports and Fitness section. You can choose anything from a 10-minute workout to cardio. It’s free and accessible in any room of your house.
  4. Purchase your own workout equipment. If you want to make the investment, you can purchase a treadmill, exercise bike, or whatever you prefer. The only downside is if you invest your money and don’t use it. Believe it or not, I know folks that have done this.
  5. Invest time in your favorite sports. If you enjoy basketball, put a hoop in your yard. We have friends with a Ping-Pong table in their basement. You get the idea.
  6. Check your neighborhood for free activities. Your local recreation center may offer free Zumba or line dancing classes. It’s all about what you enjoy.

Well, these are some ideas. When I was working with a personal trainer, she told me that in order to see results, I needed to work out three times a week. In a perfect world, this is possible. As always, a sensible diet is important. I wish you the best in your fitness goals.