Preventative Measures for Optimal Health

optimal health 1024x535 Preventative Measures for Optimal Health

 

Pick up any health and wellness magazine in the store and somewhere on the cover you are sure to find a headline mentioning heart disease, diabetes, or cancer. These three diseases are the top 3 killers of women today, so it’s no coincidence people are talking about them.

So what are the best ways to keep from falling victim to one of these deadly diseases? Prevention. Plain and simple. 

Let’s face it, it is a lot easier to take the time to eat well, exercise, and drink plenty of water than it is to try to muddle through your activities of daily life feeling crappy and taking a bucket-load of prescription medications every day, right?

Well we’ve got some good news for you. While we realize genetics does play a role in a few major diseases, the key factor most times is choice. The choices you make about the quality of foods and supplements you put into your body make a difference. The choices you make about whether you maintain an active or sedentary lifestyle make a difference as do the choices you make about sleep patterns and alcohol consumption. So essentially, for the most part you can control a number of the factors that lead to heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Let’s Talk Food

A good rule of thumb is this: hole, natural, organic foods are much better for you than boxed, canned or highly processed foods. Actually, research has found that people who regularly consume fresh, whole, natural foods suffer less from conditions such as obesity and heart disease as opposed to their processed- food-eating counterparts.

What’s more, author Evita Ochel explains on her website EvolvingWellness.com that “…we can reduce our risk of most diseases by a whopping 80% by engaging in 4 specific lifestyle habits. These are: eating high quality nutrition, exercising, not smoking, and avoiding being overweight.”

Simply put, food is power. Many people underestimate the power of the food they consume to actually heal their bodies or prevent illness or disease. Many are also unaware of the addictive nature of a number of the ingredients in processed foods. A little bit of internet research will show you countless herbs and spices that have been used for centuries to cure ailments. You really are what you eat!

We also mentioned exercise earlier. Don’t worry, you don’t have to run a marathon or compete on American Ninja Warrior to consider yourself an active person. You can vastly improve your health by taking a brisk 30-minute walk, lifting weights, doing yoga, going for a swim or a bike ride…the choice is up to you. Chances are you spend at least 30 minutes surfing the internet or chatting with friends on Facebook, surely you can find 30 minutes in your day for some physical activity…especially when it come with such great health benefits!

Take a moment today when you get home from work or running errands and take a “healthy habit inventory.” Are you eating clean, high quality, nutritious foods? Are you getting adequate sleep? Are you staying well hydrated? Are you getting in at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day? If the answer to most of these questions is no, it may be time to make a few lifestyle changes. The key to forming healthier habits is to start small. Incorporate little things into your life every day for lasting results.

We’d love to hear what you think about this article. Did you find it particularly helpful? What are some changes you made in your daily routine to help you become healthier? Let us know in the comments below.

 

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The Cardinal Rule of Back to School: Always Feed Your Kids a Healthy Breakfast

healthy breakfast 1024x535 The Cardinal Rule of Back to School: Always Feed Your Kids a Healthy Breakfast

We’ve all heard the adage: “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” I’m here to tell you, it’s not just another catchy bumper sticker. Just as your car can’t run without gas in the tank, your body can’t function properly without food.

Think about it. Generally speaking, if the last thing you ate was dinner the night before and you get your full 8 hours of sleep, that’s 8 whole hours your body has gone without being refueled. Not a big deal when you’re sleeping, because your body processes function much slower and don’t burn as much energy, but when you wake up and become more active…well, that’s a different story.

Imagine hopping in your car to drive to work. You left a little late, so you’re in a hurry and step on the accelerator only to find your poor, empty car just sputtering along the road at a snail’s pace. The same thing happens when you don’t refuel your body. You wake up in the morning and rush around to get ready for the day, but if you forget to put good, nutritious foods into your “tank” you’re going nowhere.

How it Works

In laymen’s terms, your body takes the foods you eat and breaks them down chemically into glucose, which is the body’s basic “fuel”. Glucose is then released into the blood stream and gives your body the energy it needs to function properly. Your brain also needs glucose in order to function. Without glucose, your thoughts may seem hazy or disorganized. You tend to not remember things very well and you have difficulty processing new information.

Numerous studies done over the years have shown that children who were fed a nutritionally balanced breakfast performed much better in school than their counterparts who had skipped breakfast.

See, breakfast IS indeed brain fuel!

One thing we would like to point out here is that not all breakfast foods are created equal. Sugary cereals and juices will give your child a lot of energy all at once, but just as all good things must come to an end…so does your child’s energy level. At some point not long after your child’s school day has begun, they will experience a sort of sugar crash. Energy levels will be extremely low and your child may feel lethargic. That is the body’s way of saying “Hey, you! It’s time for some more fuel in here!”

Since children aren’t usually permitted to graze at will during their school day, it is vitally important to load them up with lots of complex carbohydrates before they leave home. These take longer for your body to absorb which allows for a slower, more gradual and consistent rise in blood sugar levels.  Foods such as whole grain toast with peanut butter or an omelet packed with veggies and a side of fresh fruit are great options that will help keep your child satisfied until lunch time.

If you’re not sure what types of breakfast foods would be ideal, check out Pinterest. There are a slew of boards dedicated to this specific topic that provide lots of wonderful recipes that even the pickiest eaters will enjoy. We would love to hear what foods you prepare for your children before school! Let us know what your favorites are in the comments below.

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Top Ways to Stay Healthy During Back-to-School Time

staying healthy during back to school 1024x535 Top Ways to Stay Healthy During Back to School Time

It’s that time of year again when parents rejoice and teachers lament…back-to-school! But back-to-school doesn’t just mean new backpacks and notebooks; it also means children are thrust back into germ-filled environments. After all, kids like to share a lot more than just crayons and pencils.

Today we’d like to share a few simple tips that can help keep you and your children healthy this school year.

Each child should start the school year off with their annual physical. Most kids will need their shot records updated for school anyway, so why not schedule a physical as well? Annual physicals also allow your child to have their vision and hearing screened to ensure that they have the ability to hear the teacher and see the board in the classroom clearly.

If done on a consistent basis, a child’s records from a previous physical can be compared to the most recent one to ensure proper growth and red-flag any changes that may indicate more serious health problems.

When it comes to colds and flu, prevention is key!

Build up your child’s immune system with adequate water intake and at least 6-8 hours of rest.  Fortify your child’s diet with dark, green, leafy veggies and fresh fruits for added vitamins and minerals. A great way to get in some daily exercise might be going out for a family walk after dinner. The fresh air and exercise will do you a world of good.

building up your childs immunity Top Ways to Stay Healthy During Back to School Time

We all know we should teach kids to share, but when it comes to school supplies such as crayons, glue, and markers it’s best if each student has their own. Sharing supplies between children is one of the biggest ways germs are spread in a school environment.

Another way germs are spread is by sending sick children to school. If your child has flu-like symptoms or a severe cold, the best thing to do is to keep them home. Allow your child to get proper rest and fluids, see the doctor if need be, but by all means do not send a sick child to school. It is best to avoid spreading your child’s sick germs to the rest of the healthy children in the classroom.

Germ Prevention

Lastly, there are a few tips you can give your child so they can be proactive in maintaining their health during the school year.  Here is a short list of tips every child should know:

  • Wash your hands well and often with hot water and soap, especially before eating.
  • Do not share food or drinks with others.
  • Never share hats, combs, brushes, hair ties or barrettes with other students.
  • Use a tissue to cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.

If everyone works together, keeping kids healthy during the school year is easy. We hope these tips were helpful.

Are there particular steps that you take with your children to keep them healthy during the school year? If so, we would love to hear your input. Please feel free to leave us a message in the comments below.

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Natural Remedies for Women’s Ailments

womennaturalremedies 1024x535 Natural Remedies for Womens Ailments

As women, we are “blessed” with a number of issues with which boys never have to deal.  What doesn’t kill ya makes ya stronger, right? Well, just because we deal with concerns like menstrual cramps, yeast infections and UTI’s doesn’t mean we have to settle for the quickest and cheapest over the counter remedy on the market.

There is a secret out there in nature that, if used properly, can help alleviate all of these issues and more. We are about to uncover some of nature’s best-kept secrets!

For centuries, women have been turning away from modern medicine and towards more natural means of caring for themselves and their families.

It’s amazing how, given the state of our world and all of its scientific advances, many still find it easier and healthier to return to nature when it comes to leading a healthier lifestyle.

Let’s travel together on a journey of natural exploration and see which treasures are best for helping ease the most popular female health issues.

herbal remedies 300x199 Natural Remedies for Womens Ailments

Our first find is an herb called nettle.  Using the leaves of the nettle plant to make a tea is a great way to help anemia, seasonal allergies, and UTIs. Nettle is also used as a detoxifying herb and increases urine production.

Did you ever wonder why your mom always made you drink ginger ale when your stomach was upset? That’s because ginger is best known for alleviating nausea. So whether you are pregnant and have morning sickness or just nervous about that big job interview, ginger is a great go-to herb of choice.

Another fantastic tip Mom gave us (Wow, that lady is pretty smart!) was to drink lots of cranberry juice.

Why cranberry juice? Cranberries prevent bacteria from sticking to the walls of your internal organs, therefore making it incredibly difficult for an infection to take place. UTIs are caused when E. coli spread throughout the bladder and the urethra.

cranberriespreventinfection 300x232 Natural Remedies for Womens AilmentsWhile cranberry juice consumption can help prevent a UTI, it cannot, however, cure one once you have it. That is best left up to prescription meds and a visit to your doctor.

Excedrine Migraine doesn’t hold a candle to our next little nature find. Feverfew has been known to help ease nausea and vomiting associated with migraines as well as easing the pain. Simply chewing on a couple of leaves daily can help prevent migraines from occurring. There are a few minor side effects to feverfew, so if you are pregnant or allergic to ragweed it’s best you choose another natural alternative.

Sage, it’s not just for poultry anymore! Women going through menopause have made sage their best friend. Best known for alleviating hot flashes, modern herbalists believe that the oil extracted from sage can also help with severe sweating as well. Sage is also known to be used to dispel negative energy in a room.  A number of Native American tribes used to burn sage for this very reason.

And last, but not least, we cannot forget to mention green tea.  We have all heard great things about drinking green tea, but did you know that one of its best uses is in preventing cancer, most precisely lung and breast cancer? Simply drinking 6-10 cups of green tea brewed with organic green tea leaves can decrease your risk of cancer tremendously.

Opt for the caffeinated version if you are not avoiding caffeine for a medical reason. Some scientists believe that removing the caffeine makes the tea less of a cancer preventative.

What natural remedies do you use in your home? Are any of the ones we have mentioned also favorites of yours? We’d love to hear your feedback. Please feel free to leave us a message in the comments below.

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All Sunscreens Are Not Created Equal

picking the right sunscreen 1024x535 All Sunscreens Are Not Created Equal

We’ve all been there…on our way to the beach, rushing through the store for some last-minute items. One aisle you are NOT going to want to rush through is the skin care aisle. Not all sunscreens are created equal, so we will give you a few tips on how to choose the proper sunscreen to protect yourself and your family.

The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2014 about 76,100 new cases of melanomas will be diagnosed (roughly 43,890 in men and 32,210 in women) and about 9,710 people are expected to die of melanoma (roughly 6,470 men and 3,240 women).

In short, skin cancer is not something that should be taken lightly. You can decrease your chances of developing melanoma by taking proper precautions when spending time in the sun.

What are the Best Sunscreens?

According to the Environmental Working Group’s latest sunscreen guide, the best sunscreens should be oxybenzone free, retinyl palmitate free, and absolutely must be labeled broad spectrum, meaning it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. It is best if the sunscreen’s SPF is less than 50, if it is a lotion versus a spray, and that it not be combined with any type of bug repellent.

new melanoma cases 300x218 All Sunscreens Are Not Created Equal

A number of studies have caused concern over oxybenzone in sunscreens due to its ability to be absorbed by the body and thus enter the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, this chemical can then potentially disrupt hormone levels, cause cell damage and ironically lead to skin cancer.

Another ingredient found in many sunscreens is retinyl palmitate. This chemical not only has little to no effect on the effectiveness of a particular sunscreen, but it also may actually increase your risk of skin cancer when applied to skin that is then exposed to the sun.

Pretty crazy stuff, right?

The two types of sun rays, UVA and UVB, can both be very dangerous, so it is advised that any sunscreen you choose be labeled “broad spectrum”. These sunscreens protect you from both types of sun rays. UVA rays sink deeper into the skin and are the rays that are mainly responsible for causing skin cancer.

UVB rays are predominately responsible for causing burns to unprotected skin. Something else to keep in mind: there is no scientific proof that an SPF level higher than 50 protects you any more effectively from sun damage.

Doctors worry that people who purchase sunscreens with SPF levels above 50 have a false sense of security when it comes to sun damage and may even be more apt to apply sunscreen less frequently. It is suggested that sunscreens be reapplied liberally every 2 hours, especially if you have been sweating or engaging in water activities.

Some of the top safest sunscreens that made the EWG’s short list include:

  • Kiss My Face Natural Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 40
  • All Terrain AquaSport Face Stick, SPF 28
  • Nature’s Gate Aqua Block Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 50

What are some of your favorite, natural sunscreens? We’d love for you to share them in the comments below.

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