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Take a Mindful Approach to Fighting Spring Allergens

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To Your Health

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Family Features) While springtime means blooming flowers, warmer temperatures and more time spent outdoors, it also means allergies and pollen. Tackling dust mite matter, tree pollen and animal dander is completely different from protecting your home against the winter flu and requires a new regimen of preparation and cleaning.

Take on spring allergens by refreshing your home with these simple practices, and help get your family ready to enjoy the warmer months.

Prep for Bed. Allergens don’t go to bed when you do; they can continue to irritate even while you’re sleeping, causing a restless slumber. To help ensure allergens and pollens aren’t tracked into bedrooms, leave a laundry basket in the hall and have family members remove their clothing before entering their rooms. A quick rinse in a warm shower before bed can help you relax and wind down while also washing away any unwanted pollens still stuck in your hair or on your skin.

Freshen Fabrics. Clothing, towels and bed linens – items you come in contact with multiple times a day – can trap pollens, dust mite matter, allergens and dander. It’s important to not only rinse these items but to use a detergent that removes allergens and is gentle on skin, like all free clear liquid and mightypacs laundry detergent for sensitive skin. The liquid detergent removes 99 percent of everyday and seasonal allergens, including the top spring allergens: tree and grass pollen, and is the No. 1 recommended detergent brand by dermatologists, allergists and pediatricians for sensitive skin. To view the full line of laundry products, visit allfreeclear.com.

Ingredients Matter. Taking preventative measures against spring allergens can start in a surprising place: the refrigerator. While most people think about treating allergens in their homes and on their clothes, they tend to forget that a good diet is also a good defense. Avoiding aged, pickled or fermented foods like blue cheese and kimchi with naturally occurring histamines can help prevent coughing, sneezing and itching triggered by spring allergens. Instead, look to boost your meals with ingredients found in the Mediterranean Diet, such as fresh fruits and vegetables like apples and broccoli as well as nuts and fatty fishes that have essential vitamins and nutrients known to fight allergy symptoms.

Give Pets a Makeover. Your furry friend may be one of the biggest culprits for sneaking allergens and pollen into the house, so this season make sure to give pets twice-a-week baths to wash out dander and pollen. Remember to also wash pet beds and chew toys that are thrown around the yard to help prevent allergens from being transported into and throughout your home.

With these four steps to help protect your home and family against spring allergens, you can start enjoying a healthy, clean spring.

 

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

 

April 26, 2017 |

4 Tips for a Healthy Heart

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To Your Health

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Family Features) Your entire body, including your heart, brain and muscles, depends on healthy blood flow to help you feel and perform your best. Taking steps to promote healthy blood flow is particularly important as you age, and the arrival of spring and summer often provides the inspiration needed to pick up healthier habits. Focusing specifically on a healthy circulatory system for a healthier heart can be a smart initiative and a simple first step.

Dr. Lori Mosca, a leading authority on heart disease prevention, provides these tips for getting a jumpstart on maintaining a healthy heart.

Get Enough Sleep

Getting sufficient, quality sleep can help reduce stress, positively impact your metabolism and improve your body’s overall function, thereby reducing the demands on your heart. Most doctors recommend 6-8 hours each night for adults. To achieve the recommended amount of sleep, aim for a consistent bedtime each night. If necessary, create a routine that allows you to unwind, such as meditating or reading a book to clear your mind. Eliminate unnecessary light and noise, including leaving the TV or your cellphone on overnight. Avoid alcohol and stimulants such as caffeine before bedtime. If your partner’s snoring keeps you awake, have him or her get checked for common breathing and sleep disorders.

Exercise Regularly

Feeling more energetic and maintaining a healthy weight are important reasons to make exercising regularly one of your top priorities. Exercise not only helps burn pesky extra calories, it gives your circulatory system – including your heart – a workout and keeps muscles in good condition. Regular exercise also releases feel-good endorphins that help boost your mood and energy.

Dietary Patterns Matter

When taking aim at developing healthier habits, placing importance on the foods you use to fuel your body is key. Dietary guidelines from the American Heart Association recommend a healthy dietary pattern focused on nutrient-dense foods, such as a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, nuts and skinless poultry and fish.

Another healthy option to consider adding to your diet is cocoa flavanols, which are the beneficial plant-based nutrients (phytonutrients) found naturally in cocoa that work with your body to maintain healthy levels of nitric oxide, which helps maintain the healthy flow of oxygen and nutrients to all parts of your body. Numerous studies have demonstrated that cocoa flavanols promote healthy blood flow* – and supporting healthy blood flow is essential to helping you maintain who you are for years to come. One way to add cocoa flavanols to your routine is by incorporating a daily cocoa extract supplement, such as CocoaVia supplement, which delivers the highest concentration currently available in a cocoa extract supplement. Visit CocoaVia.com for more information about cocoa flavanols and ways to add them to your daily routine.

Out with Bad Habits

Some of the most important steps you can take toward healthier living are the habits you stop. For example, both smoking and excessive alcohol consumption increase the risk of multiple health conditions. An important part of your heart health is avoiding smoking altogether or to begin taking steps to quit; and while you don’t have to give up alcohol entirely, only consume it in moderation.

By committing to keeping a regular sleep schedule, regular exercise, a balanced diet and ditching bad habits, you can help support not only your heart, but overall health.

Dr. Lori Mosca is a paid educational consultant for CocoaVia supplement and her statements do not imply promotion of any product(s).

*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

 

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

April 19, 2017 |

8 Ways to Optimize Your Sleep

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(Family Features) While a healthy lifestyle requires a balanced diet and exercise, sleep is another pillar of overall wellness that is both essential to your health and success, and often overlooked.

By simply making small changes to your daily routine you can improve your quality of sleep. Follow these tips from Dr. Sujay Kansagra, Mattress Firm’s sleep health consultant and director of Duke University’s Pediatric Neurology Sleep Medicine Program, and get on your way to better rest and a healthier life.

  1. Manage your sleep time. Rather than trying to accomplish everything on your to-do list at the expense of sleep, reverse your approach. As the average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep each night, make sure to set aside the time needed for a full night of rest.
  1. Stay on schedule. Try to keep your bedtime and wake time consistent on both weekdays and weekends. With time, your brain and body will acclimate to these set times, but until then, rely on an alarm – not only to wake in the morning, but to keep you from staying up too late at night, too.
  1. Find a routine. A routine performed 20-30 minutes prior to bed every night can subconsciously ease your brain into sleep. Unwinding with a book, taking a warm bath or meditating are all ways to slow your mind and transition toward peaceful rest.
  1. Brighten up the morning. Getting plenty of bright light in the morning helps keep your sleep timing on track, particularly if you wake up early. Make opening the drapes and blinds your first task each morning.
  1. Ditch the clock. Fixating on the time can create stress and keep you up at night. Instead, set your alarm, turn your clock around and forget about the time.
  1. Get moving. Research shows that exercise can act as a natural sleep remedy, often leading to a more sound slumber. However, if you exercise late and have difficulty falling asleep, consider moving your workout earlier in the day. The increase in body temperature from exercise tends to be prolonged, sometimes making it hard to fall asleep.
  1. Kick the caffeine habit. Morning caffeine can linger in your system until it’s time to sleep. Coffee, tea, dark sodas and dark chocolate are the main offenders for most people.
  1. Pay back debt. If you are chronically deprived of sleep, allow your body extra sleep time to make up for the loss. In these cases, even 8-9 hours each night may not be enough. Allow your body to catch up then commit to more consistent sleep patterns in the future.

 

Find more resources to help improve your sleep, including tips on how to purchase a new mattress, at DailyDoze.com.

 

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

April 12, 2017 |

Better Balance for Heart Health

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(Family Features) When it comes to creating and maintaining healthy habits, all the admonishments to “stop this” and “don’t do that” can be overwhelming. While there are some things you do need to cut back on, finding better balance is the true key to better heart health. You may be surprised by the things you should actually do more of in your pursuit of a healthier lifestyle.

With these tips from DSM Nutritional Products, you can put a priority on your health.

Increase your stress-busting activity. Whether you favor exercise, yoga or meditation, finding effective ways to channel your stress can help support the health of your heart. It’s no secret that stress makes your blood pressure rise, and that puts extra strain on your heart. Soothing your nerves keeps your stress in check and moderates your blood pressure. Remember that managing your stress doesn’t even have to be a formal activity; you may find relief from simply relaxing with a book or a cup of tea, or enjoying casual time with loved ones. Whatever strategy works for you, try to make a stress-reducing effort part of your everyday routine.

Balance your caloric intake. Instead of viewing weight management in terms of what you can’t have or have to do, consider thinking of your diet as a teeter-totter that you need to keep in balance. Overeating and indulging in nutrient-poor foods makes one side drop, but physical activity and regular exercise brings the other side down. Strive for a balance so you’re burning the calories you’re taking in; consume fewer calories and exercise more to help support a balanced weight. When it comes to the calories you consume, be sure they’re from nutrient-rich sources so your body reaps maximum benefits from its fuel.

Check your omega-3 levels. Omega-3 fatty acids are a family of polyunsaturated fats, including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), that numerous studies have shown to have heart-health benefits. More specifically, supportive but inconclusive research shows omega-3s EPA and DHA may help to reduce the risk of coronary artery disease – the leading cause of death among both men and women, according to the Food and Drug Administration and the American Heart Association. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, anchovies and sardines, as well as vegetarian sources like algae. If you don’t eat fish on a regular basis, you can find high-quality supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish oil or algal oil.

Be sure to consult your health care provider before starting any supplement program, and ask your health care practitioner to check your omega-3 levels to make sure you are getting enough heart-healthy fats in your diet. Learn more at knowyouro.com.

 

 

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

April 5, 2017 |

Smell Your Way to a Better Mood

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(Family Features) Though often taken for granted, smell is a powerful sense, especially when a gentle scent can instantly transport your mind to another time and place. From retrieving pleasant memories to boosting your mood, your sense of smell plays an important role in your overall well-being.

The scents you detect are actually tiny molecules that interact with sensory centers in your brain to elicit responses, such as happiness, relaxation or stimulation. For centuries, smell has been associated with healing practices. Today, the restorative and uplifting benefits of smell can be found throughout everyday life. Next time you’re feeling down or need to soothe your mind, turn to one of these aromatic options:

  • Light candles with a soft, calming scent to relax and unwind. Try lighting the candle when you walk in the door from a long day, and by the time you’ve changed into some comfy clothes, the aroma should begin to fill the air.
  • Take a warm shower and lather up with a scent-driven body wash, such as Softsoap Honey Creme & Lavender or Blooming Jasmine & Plum Moisturizing Body Wash. Inspired by trending ingredients and crafted with real extracts of honey, lavender, jasmine and plum, these body washes can create an invigorating sensory experience that moisturizes and cleanses your skin.
  • Energize your morning with a vibrant air freshener in your car. According to the National Sleep Foundation, scents like citrus, rosemary, peppermint and eucalyptus are stimulants that can help you shake off sleepiness and put some pep in your step. In fact, fruity smells like citrus actually stimulate serotonin, the brain’s “happy” chemical.
  • A fresh bouquet of flowers is an instant mood-booster, but not just because of their beauty. Numerous studies have shown the emotional benefits of a vase filled with fresh blooms. Take that goodwill a step further by taking a trip to a flower market to purchase fresh flowers with fragrant qualities that can brighten your desk or a room at home.
  • It may be the anticipation of a tasty treat to come, or maybe it’s the connection to childhood memories with a beloved relative, but few can resist the smell of homemade treats baking in the oven. Of course you can cheat and light a candle or burn wax or oil that mimics the scent, but nothing comes close to the therapy of freeing your hands and mind to bake and create that delicious aroma on your own.

 

Find more scents to move your mood at softsoap.com.

 

 

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

March 29, 2017 |

Overcoming the Opioid Epidemic

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(Family Features) America is in the midst of an ongoing opioid epidemic affecting families across the country. Reports show that there are almost 80 opioid-related overdoses a day, amounting to more than 28,000 deaths annually.

This figure continues to climb as over 2.1 million people in the United States suffer from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Additionally, the rise of synthetic opioids like fentanyl, W-18 and carfentanil are threats to those already using opiates as the epidemic worsens.

Where do opioid overdoses occur?

Data from the Centers for Disease Control shows that 77 percent of opioid overdose related deaths occur outside of a medical setting and 56 percent occur in private homes, meaning family or friends must often be the first to take action in an emergency situation. Accordingly, it is increasingly important that responders understand how to prevent death from overdose, including knowing how to use naloxone, the opioid overdose reversal medication.

What does naloxone do?

Naloxone, the antidote that reverses an opioid overdose, works by neutralizing the opioid receptors in the brain, allowing an overdosed person to breathe again moments after it is administered. It’s been used in ambulances and hospital settings for decades and is now available for people to use in their homes or other remote areas.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 10,000 reversals of overdoses with naloxone are conducted by non-medical bystanders. Without having a solution in the hands of those closest to opioid-related overdoses, lives are left hanging in the balance while waiting for emergency medical services. However, there is an FDA-approved naloxone nasal spray designed for use by laypeople, like friends and family, who are not medically trained. It’s needle-free and requires no training or assembly to use while providing a strong enough dose to help reverse opioid-related overdoses. Naloxone is only effective in opioid-related overdoses and does not affect a person without opioids in their body.
What can you do?

A majority of states have issued standing orders for FDA-approved naloxone products, which permit pharmacies to dispense the nasal spray without a physician’s prescription. If you or someone you know is susceptible to an opioid-related overdose, whether caused by illicit drugs, like heroin, or prescription painkillers, it is important to prepare for an emergency overdose situation. By having naloxone on hand, you can save a life when every second matters.

 

Learn more about naloxone at getnaloxonenow.org.

 

 

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

 

March 22, 2017 |

It’s Not Too Late to Jumpstart a Healthy Lifestyle for 2017

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To Your Health

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 tips you need to succeed

(Family Features) Each year, millions of Americans make New Year’s resolutions to achieve personal or professional goals. For many, that means focusing on improving health and wellness. You tell yourself this is going to be the year you join a gym, eat better or drink more water. Yet that commitment often falls short, as a recent survey suggests less than 10 percent of Americans achieve their resolutions.13632_A

There are many reasons people fall short of their goals, including setting the bar too high or being overly restrictive, which can lead to small failures and setbacks. However, there are easy ways to get back on track. A Global Water Survey, published by Nestlé Waters and Kantar TNS, revealed 94 percent of American respondents believe drinking water helps maintain a healthy lifestyle.

One key to jumpstarting a healthy lifestyle is staying hydrated by drinking more water. With so much focus on food, beverage choices are often overlooked. With no calories or added sugars, water is a smart choice to stay hydrated. Here are four tips from Sarah Ladden, a registered dietitian and Director, Nutrition, Health and Wellness at Nestlé Waters North America, to help you stay hydrated in 2017 and beyond.

1.     Good habits shouldn’t feel bad. Overly restrictive commitments can set you up for failure. Instead, adopt small and manageable changes to your daily routine and they can add up to big changes over time. For example, swapping just one 12-ounce (140 calorie), sugar-sweetened beverage with water each day could cut up to 50,000 calories and more than 65 cups of sugar from your diet in a year.

2.     Replace what you lose. Adults are made up of 60 percent water, which needs to be replenished throughout the day to help you maintain a proper fluid balance. Keep water within reach all day – a pitcher on the kitchen counter, a bottle in your car’s center console, a refillable bottle at your desk – to keep healthy hydration top of mind.

3.     Add some sparkle to your day. Sparkling water is a great option for those who favor something other than plain water. With zero calories and no added sugar, sparkling water is a delicious, refreshing choice for healthy hydration. When entertaining, consider adding a DIY sparkling water bar to your repertoire – just put out some sparkling water, sliced fruits, vegetables and herbs, and your guests can do the rest.

4.     Turn your water bottle into your travel companion. The survey revealed that American consumers are 72 percent more likely to drink water in their cars. Whether you’re commuting to work or running errands, you’re constantly on the go and a bottle of water could be your best companion.

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To learn more about healthy hydration, visit nestle-watersna.com/en.

 

 

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

 

 

 

March 15, 2017 |
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