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Blog posts of '2013' 'June'

Allergy Hotspots Hidden in Plain Sight

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Allergy Hotspots Hidden in Plain SightSummer often isn't the favorite season for people who suffer from allergies. As flowers are in bloom, the onslaught of pollen can be overwhelming for sinus sufferers, forcing them to seek refuge indoors. However, it may surprise you to learn that if you have allergies, not even your home may be completely allergy free if you neglect to clean these allergy hotspots hidden in plain sight.

The Living Room

Everyone loves to kick their feet up and lounge on the sofa after a hard day, but stuffed furniture—which includes your couch, cushions, and pillows—is a favorite hiding spot of microscopic dust mites. It is recommended these items should be dusted and vacuumed weekly. Furniture that's stored in basements or attics also has the potential to grow mold. A humidifier is handy to have in places where mold is prone to grow to help reduce moisture. Carpets are also great hiding spots for dust mites. While dust mites won't directly attack your sinuses, their feces can trigger allergies, which is why it's important to vacuum any rugs or indoor carpeting frequently.

The Bedroom

Skin cells are shed daily and it's something that can't be avoided. Dead skin cells trapped in bedding also attract dust mites, so switch out your bed sheets weekly. For added sinus protection, you can also add allergen-proof casings to your mattress, box spring, and pillows for extra allergy protection. If you have pets, it is a good idea to restrict them from getting on the bed so that they won't shed on your sheets.

The Bathroom

Mold and mildew love damp places. Not only are they unsightly to look at, but mold spores can also trigger sensitive sinuses. There's not much you can do to prevent a bathroom from getting wet, but you can minimize mold growth by remembering to clean those hard-to-reach places such as beneath the sink. Leave a vent or window open when you shower, and use a bleach solution to clean the bathroom tiles. You can also dry up any wet surfaces with a spare rag because mold loves standing water.

Other Hiding Spots

Dogs and cats can bring joy to a household, but animal dander, saliva, and urine are also allergy triggers. If your pet has a sleeping area, clean it as often as you would your own bedding and be extra diligent in vacuuming the household for animal fur. Dust mites and creatures called book lice also love dust from old books, so be sure to dust and vacuum your bookcases, too. Besides keeping your home tidy, you can also build up your sinuses and immune resistance with supplements. You can't totally prevent allergens from entering your breathing passages, but with a stronger immune system, they might not hit you as hard if your body is ready for them.

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Being Mindful of Your Brain’s Nutrition

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Being Mindful of Your Brain’s NutritionWe are a health-aware generation who has been enlightened by scientists with the knowledge good nutrition supports a healthy body. Recently, the scientific community has been interested in shedding light on how better nutrition can benefit and support brain health, too. The human brain is one of the most complex organs in your body and scientists have only just begun to scratch the surface of the best nutritional ways to support brain and cognitive function.

Taking Nutritional Support Straight to the Brain

The years of research have been anything but fruitless. Many studies point to evidence that supplementation can also support brain health and cognitive function. Dr. Perry Renshaw, professor of psychiatry at the University of Utah School of Medicine and Director of the Magnetic Resonance Laboratory at the Brain Institute at the University of Utah, explains, "accumulating evidence suggests that not only better overall nutrition, but also supplementation with several key nutrients may help stave off the reduced efficiency of brain cells that occurs with aging." To help you get started, we've listed some of these foods and nutrients below.

The B Vitamins

The B vitamins are an excellent source of nutrients to support brain health and overall health. Thiamin, niacin, folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 have all shown promise in supporting brain health. In fact, particular levels of these vitamins are paramount for the efficient metabolism of glucose, the brain's primary fuel, which is why you require daily supplementation of these vitamins.

Antioxidants

Antioxidants are another key source to help maintain brain vitality and cognitive function. They help protect the body from free radicals that attack healthy cells and are said to help reduce levels of oxidative stress. Vitamins E and C, and compounds such as alpha-lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10, Ginkgo biloba, and fruit polyphenols have also been studied for their potential benefits to brain health.

"Good" Fats

At first glance this seems like a contradictive statement. Nevertheless, many studies have shown that healthy fatty acids not only promote heart health, but brain health as well. Healthy fatty acids can come from vegetable sources such as corn oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, and peanuts, as well as from certain fatty fish such as tuna, salmon, and herring. Olive oil and many different types of tree nuts are also sources of "good" fats. If these foods sound familiar it is because they are staples of the popular "Mediterranean diet" which is said to be one of the most effective diets to support cognitive health. As knowledge of the human mind and its functions expands, hopefully so will the importance that people place on supporting their brains as well as their bodies. Understanding the necessity of good nutrition for overall health is paramount. A healthy diet, regular physical and mental activity, and supplementation of key nutrients will help keep you on the path of healthy aging so you can focus your mind on living and enjoying life.

References:

  • Rutberg S. Supps better than sudoku for aging brain? Newhope360. https://newhope360.com/breaking-news/supps-better-sudoku-aging-brain?cid=nl_npi_daily
  • Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline. National Academy Press, Washington, DC; 1998.
  • Behl C. Oxidative stress in Alzheimer's disease: implications for prevention and therapy. Subcell Biochem. 2005;38:65-78
  • Panza F et al. Mediterranean diet and cognitive decline. Public Health Nutr. 2004;7(7):959-63.

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Fight Aging with Food

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Fight Aging with FoodEveryone gets older—it's a fact of life. But being older doesn't necessarily mean that you have to look or feel your age, especially if you take care of yourself with the right diet. For years, physicians have touted the importance of a healthy diet and a growing body of research supports this notion. Good health begins with good nourishment, and by consuming healthier foods you may be able to protect your cells and help delay the effects of aging.

Fill Up on Fruits and Veggies

Pollution, sun exposure, and cigarette smoke can generate molecules called free radicals that damage healthy cells. Sometimes the signs of cell damage aren't obvious. In other cases, such as with skin cells, oxidative damage can be visible in the form of dry skin, fine lines, and wrinkles. Fruits and vegetables abound with antioxidants, which is why it's little surprise that they're potent antiaging foods. Besides being a rich source of vitamins and minerals that you need for everyday nutrition, they contain a variety of antioxidant compounds such as carotenoids, flavonoids, and polyphenols that help neutralize free radicals before they can harm healthy cells. Grapes contain a compound called resveratrol which you may have heard of. Resveratrol is the substance in red wine that's responsible for its antiaging properties that have been reported in many scientific journals. Colorful fruits and vegetables—such as carrots, tomatoes, and apricots—contain carotenoids that support healthy vision, skin, and more.

All Fats and Oils Aren't Bad

The Mediterranean diet is considered to be one of the best antiaging diets because it relies heavily on the serving of olive oil and fish in meals. Olive oil contains antioxidants called phenols that help fight inflammation while fatty fish like tuna, mackerel, and sardines contain omega fatty acids that support the heart, brain, joints, hair, and skin.

Sweeten Your Food Choices

Dessert lovers will rejoice to learn that even chocolate can be a potent antiaging food. Dark chocolate contains higher amounts of cocoa phenols that have heart health properties. In one clinical study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, scientists in Germany found that dark chocolate helped lower blood pressure levels in subjects who had mild high blood pressure. Another double-blind study on cocoa found that volunteers who consumed cocoa with high flavonol content had greater UV protection in their skin cells after consuming cocoa daily for 12 weeks. There's no surefire way to turn back the clock on aging, but with smarter eating habits, you can at least look and feel good for your age. And by choosing foods that you enjoy eating, healthier meals can also be tastier meals.

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