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The sun is coming up earlier and setting later. Birds are chirping at the break of dawn, the grass is getting greener, the breeze warmer…all sure signs that Spring has finally sprung.

But it does also mean the dreaded allergy season.

Seasonal allergies can be rough!

The most common spring allergy culprit is pollen (hay fever). Trees, grasses, and weeds release tiny grains into the air to fertilize other plants- but it also means these little grains can get into our nose and trigger someone who has allergies. Once they are breathed in- they tend to wreak havoc on us. Our immune system can actually mistakenly see them as a danger to us and release antibodies that attack the allergens and release a chemical called histamine into the nose, eyes, and lungs. Histamine is intended to attack harmful agents and remove them from the body.

This can come with:

  • Sneezing and coughing
  • Runny or blocked nose
  • Itchy, red or watery eyes
  • Itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears
  • Potential loss of smell
  • Pain around your temples and forehead
  • Headache and earache

Hayfever allergy affects between 10 and 30 percent of all adults in the U.S. and as many as 40 percent of children. There are estimates that over 60 million people in the U.S. have symptoms of hayfever allergy.

So as much as we love when Spring finally begins- it can take its toll on you if you suffer from allergies.

There are plenty of allergy relief options out there, but some always like to go with a more natural route.

And thankfully there are some effective and natural ways to tackle those allergies head on and gain relief!

First and foremost- you can do what you can to reduce your exposure to allergens.

While this may not always be easy when you have Spring chores to do or other tasks that involve you being around allergens- little tips can help minimize your exposure.

  • If you can- stay inside on the dry and windy days. The best time for someone with allergies to go outside is just after a good rain as it helps to clear the air from pollen- reducing our sensitivity.
  • If you have a household bigger than just yourself- see if you can have someone else do the lawn mowing, weed pulling or any other gardening tasks that may stir up allergens that will bother you.
  • Once you’re back inside from being outdoors, remove the clothing you were wearing outside and shower or bath to rinse any pollen that may have stuck around on your skin or hair.
  • Try not to hang laundry outside- although it is a great way to save on hydro and water- it can actually allow pollen to stick to the articles of clothing and bedding
  • Avoid opening your windows on high pollen days- try sticking with use of your AC if it is warm. Also ensure you are cleaning your filters weekly. 

Now many of these are easier said than done- but doing what you can to limit your exposure can go a long way for your allergy symptoms.

Of course there is inevitability in your allergy symptoms no matter what you do..so for those cases- try some of the following tips to help treat your symptoms:

Sip on Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar has been around as a natural remedy for centuries. It has been known to help eliminate runny noses and break up mucus. Mixing 1-2 teaspoons in some water tea is a great way to get some nasal support! As a little bonus- apple cider vinegar is also known to assist with weight loss and digestive support!

Clean Your Nose
Using a saline spray can be an effective way of opening up your nasal passages- allowing you to breathe more freely when having allergy symptoms. Studies have shown that things such as a Neti pot- can be very beneficial for sufferers of Hayfever

If you feel symptoms coming on- have a Hot Shower
We touched on this for limiting exposure- but it can also be used to help treat symptoms. The American Academy of Allergies Asthma and Immunology states that this will help clear your nostrils and nasal passages from any pollen- but will also help steam your sinuses allowing more better breathing and open your airways up a bit more.

Chow Down On Some Spicy Food
Spicy food isn’t for everyone- but spicy foods or foods high in onion and garlic can help to thin out mucus within your system. So even though the weather is warmer- a hot bowl of chili with some spices may do your body good!

Try To Incorporate Supplements
There are a few supplements that are known to be beneficial for allergies.

Vitamin C
is a powerful antioxidant that can offer great support to the immune system.. Studies have shown it may promote a healthy inflammatory response, can help reduce swelling, and ease related symptoms that occur with an allergic reaction. Vitamin C can work to protect your cells from damage, helping reduce the severity of allergic reactions and work to help keep your body as healthy as possible. When you are experiencing symptoms of allergies, Vitamin C can slow down the overreaction of your body to environmental triggers by decreasing your body’s histamine production.

Probiotics
are also said to assist with the immune system and help ease allergy symptoms. Since allergies are the result of an imbalance in the immune system that causes the body to react too strongly to a stimuli, taking a probiotic may be a key in building up your immune system so it can better fight allergy symptoms.

Find Supplements To Help Ease Your Allergy Symptoms Here!

If you find that no matter what you do- your allergies persist to no avail- then it may be best to speak with your family doctor or seek over the counter allergy relief.

Spring doesn’t have to be a dreadful time- don’t let your allergies destroy the beauty Spring brings.

Try some of these tips today and enjoy your Spring!

Resources:

https://www.britannica.com/science/histaminehttps://www.healthline.com/health/allergies/statistics#:~:text=Allergic%20rhinitis%20(hay%20fever)%20affects,and%20this%20number%20is%20increasing

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32507438/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16868232/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17597643/

https://www.webmd.com/diet/apple-cider-vinegar-and-your-health

We spend a lot of time inside- in fact according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average American spends 93% of their life indoors.

That percentage is shocking!

Our home is our sanctuary- we want to feel safe and secure in our homes.
But what if our air is doing us more harm that good?

There are some things you might notice if your home has poor air quality.

Such as:

  • Asthma
  • Itchy or irritated eyes/nose/throat
  • Consistent headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue


What can cause indoor air pollutants?


Indoor air pollutants can depend on many factors. Thankfully- many of the factors can be eliminated.

Some common sources include:

  • Outdoor air pollution leaking in (if you are in a high traffic area by a highway or downtown core)
  • Poor ventilation 
  • Dust
  • Pet Dander
  • Conventional cleaners, air fresheners, and other fragrances (they may be doing more harm than good for you)
  • Gas stoves and other appliances (especially older ones)
  • Dampness and mold growth
  • Carpet, drapes, and other furnishings that collect dust and dirt
  • Clogged filters (air conditioner- furnace etc)

If you are concerned about the air quality in your home- the good news is- that you can take control of it.

Make that air cleaner and put your mind at ease knowing your family is breathing in better air quality.

Here are a few ways to improve the air inside your home:

1. Keep It Clean!

A clean house is often a healthier house. The more clean it is- the better hygiene it has. Cleaning it frequently will cut down on dust and pet dander.

That doesn’t mean just a quick vacuum and mop- but the nitty gritty details too!

Vacuuming your carpets and area rugs at least once or twice a week with a vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter is ideal.

Also regularly washing bedding and drapes- this will help cut down on allergens especially for pet owners as these items can attract these allergens. If you have a lot of pillows on the couch or even couch covers- wash them frequently as well.

Dust the small areas too- even areas you might not think of. Like blinds, fans, under free standing units etc. 

Think of it this way- if it attracts dust- it attracts an allergen.

This also means cleaning all filters- whether it is on your AC, furnace, or even your car- they need to be cleaned regularly to avoid build up.


2. Make it Smoke Free!

Make your home a no-smoking zone.
Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals- yikes! If someone in your household smokes- encourage them to do it outside- and far enough away that it will not waft through any open windows. 

Not only is the smell awful- especially for those that do not smoke and are sensitive to it. Research shows that secondhand smoke can increase a child’s risk of developing ear and respiratory infections, asthma, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

And for the smoker well- the effects are even worse- smoking can lead to breathing issues, heart attacks/strokes and also cancer.

3. Get An Air Purifier

If you’re allergic to indoor allergens and can’t control the source of the problem — for example, if you have a pet that you just cannot part with- but a family member is also allergic to- an air purifier would be a wise investment. Placed in the most commonly used areas of the house,they can help capture some of the irritants that may trigger any allergy symptoms. You’re probably not going to be able to remove these allergens completely, but you can cut down on them, which may help the problem.

Also consider a dehumidifier in damp areas, such as a basement, to help prevent the growth of mold. Ensure that bathrooms, another potential source of mold, are well ventilated as well and scrub off any visible mold that collects in the shower, on fixtures, or walls.

4.  Let In The Fresh Air

This could be problematic if you are in a heavily trafficked area as the air may not be ideal- but if you are in a more rural area- consider opening the windows as much as you can. Of course- do this wisely if you have any outdoor allergies such as pollen.

Opening the windows will allow fresh air to move through the house. It can also help remove potential air contaminants from the kitchen from cooking or using any heavy cleaners. 

5. Avoid Toxic Products

This goes for cleaners, paints and even beauty products.

If you are looking to spruce up the place and want to paint- use a low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints.

Paints release trace amounts of gases for months even after application — even though they appear to be fully dried and the smell is gone. And these gasses can include highly toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde and acetaldehyde. Also use exhaust fans to remove any gasses when you paint- and avoid storing open paint cans inside your home.

Hair and nail products, cleaning products, and other common products can increase the levels of VOCs. Seek products that are labeled as ‘low VOC’ to ensure you are getting a better quality product that will do less harm. And try to open a window or use an exhaust fan when using these products as well. Ventilate as much as you can whenever using any product that could have any chemicals.

Aerosols sprays may seem like a good idea- but many of them contain chemicals like formaldehyde and xylene. So you are actually causing more harm than good by releasing these toxins into your home air. Even hair sprays and everyday air fresheners can send formaldehyde and other VOCs not only into the air, but also onto surfaces throughout your home.



Your home is your sanctuary-take back control of your home and the air you breathe!



Resources:

https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/healthlinkbc-files/air-quality-VOCs#:~:text=VOCs%20include%20a%20variety%20of,kidney%2C%20or%20central%20nervous%20system

https://www.webmd.com/smoking-cessation/effects-of-secondhand-smoke

https://www.epa.gov/report-environment/indoor-air-quality

Detox diets are all the craze. They are widely used as a way to flush out toxins and shed some unwanted pounds.

Detox cleanses/diets often eliminate solid foods and replace them with drinks like water with lemon, maple syrup and cayenne pepper; green tea; or freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices. Cleanses can last from a day to a month. You can also buy certain detox cleanses and mixes to drink.

But the question that always comes first- is this a healthy way to lose weight?

It seems like any diet has it’s pros and cons, and detox diets are no different.

PROS


There can be benefits of detox diets. As long as you are doing it with the proper approach.

The main pro is obviously that you are removing toxins and built up junk in your body– which can help you lose weight and give your body a ‘clean slate’ so to speak.

It can also help you identify if you have any food sensitivities by eliminating certain foods for several days, then gradually reintroducing potential trigger foods.

If you are doing a juice cleanse or raw food cleanse- you can benefit from the increase in vitamins or minerals which is especially beneficial for those that find it hard to get enough fruit and veggies.

It is also easier to commit to as it is not a long term diet plan. Most nutrition experts advise that a slow and steady approach to weight loss and healthy eating is best. While short term-detox diets may not provide sustainable results- it can help some people get on track to better nutrition.

You CAN lose weight. If you stay committed to the diet and do it properly- there is a good chance you will shed a few unwanted pounds! 

CONS

Detox diets tend to be very low in calorie intake which can affect the way our bodies function. Calories are like fuel for our bodies- so very little of them can leave you with little energy for the day-and may also disrupt your metabolic rate and blood glucose levels.

These diets are also often low protein which isn’t serious on a short term level but if you already have a protein deficiency- it can be very hard on your body.

You maaaay need to stay close to a bathroom. Detox diets are meant to essentially flush things out of you- almost quite literally. Which can disrupt your day if you are doing it while working etc. Not only that- but it can come with some cramping and bloating as well.

If you have a health condition it may not be the best idea for you.  Such as diabetes, as some of the detox diets may include a higher carbohydrate intake than you may be used to- which can cause issues.

Short term. Since it is a short term diet- it will not help you to continue to lose weight UNLESS you change your overall habits. It can help with some pounds-but you still have to do some leg work after. Eating well and exercising.

So there are pros and cons to consider before deciding if a detox diet is best for you.

If you do decide to start a detox diet- there are some foods that are known to be natural detoxifiers for the body.

Such as:

  • Apples
  • Beets
  • Avocados
  • Flaxseeds
  • Cabbage
  • Cranberries
  • Blueberries 
  • Celery


Or- if you are looking for beverages that may be helpful for a detox:

  • Water and Lemon Water
  • Lime Juice
  • Green Tea
  • Orange Juice
  • Beet Juice
  • Fruit Smoothies

Weigh the options and see what is best suited for you and your lifestyle!


Resources:

https://www.ecowatch.com/15-best-foods-for-detoxing-your-body-1882157131.html

https://www.webmd.com/diet/a-z/detox-diets#:~:text=Not%20only%20are%20detox%20diets,they%20may%20be%20quite%20dangerous.

https://www.verywellfit.com/pros-and-cons-of-the-detox-diet-3973821

Are you Irish?

Or just love celebrating St. Patrick’s Day and all the history that comes with it?

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated all around the world!

You don’t need to be Irish to love the tradition of St. Patrick’s Day…

The Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday for over 1,000 years, however celebrations began more worldwide a bit later. Records show that a St. Patrick’s Day parade was held on March 17, 1601 in a Spanish colony in what is now St. Augustine, Florida.

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on behalf of Saint Patrick, who lived during the fifth century. He is the patron saint of Ireland and is also its national apostle. St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated annually on March 17, the anniversary of his death in the fifth century. 

Now, people celebrate in all different ways. Boston even dyes their river green!
Some will go out with friends- sing and dance the night away! While others may decide to stay home and celebrate traditionally with a hearty Irish feast.

However you celebrate, there is no denying that St. Patrick’s Day is a fun and creative holiday.

So for those choosing to stay home- we have a tasty treat for you.

Do you like popcorn and love St. Patricks’ Day?

Why not combine the 2?

That’s right!

St. Patrick’s Day Candied Popcorn!

Popcorn is one of the most popular U.S. snacks- so it seems fitting to put a fun twist on it!

Let’s get started with the ingredients you will need:

  • 4 quarts popped plain popcorn (this can be from kernels you popped on the stove or ones you popped in a popcorn machine!)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter (this can be vegan butter or margarine as well)
  • 8 to 10 drops green food coloring 
  • Candy thermometer (this is crucial because if the candy mixture gets too hot it will easily scorch and turn brown)

Alright- let’s move on to directions!

Place the popcorn in a large roasting pan (or any other similar pan you have on hand). Keep warm in a 250° oven. 

While the oven warms the popcorn- in a large heavy saucepan, combine the sugars, water, corn syrup, vinegar and salt.  Then- cook the mixture and stir over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Cook while stirring occasionally, then with your candy thermometer- test the mixture- you will want to ensure it reads 260°. Once that temperature is reached- remove it from the heat; stir in butter until melted. Then stir in food coloring. Drizzle over your warm popcorn and toss to coat it all over. Cool. Break into pieces and then store in an airtight container. And of course- ENJOY!!!

You can even add more flavor by adding some nuts to make a little tasty mixture! If you find some of the ingredients are too sweet for you- make any substitutions you feel fit for you and your tastebuds!

Now, granted this treat is a little on the sweet side- but it is just a holiday indulgence for St. Patrick’s day- so not to feel too guilty about making it! A tasty treat is good for us every now and then!

So get popping- and enjoy your St. Patrick’s Day- however you decide to celebrate!

Do you love making things at home and looking to dive a bit deeper into your creative DIY interests?

How about your own lip balm!

Homemade lips balms can be found at almost every farmer’s market and health food store…

And for good reason…

It is NATURAL!

No chemicals- no unwanted additives!


Plus-YOU get to control what is in the mix and what YOU put on your body!

This can be especially important if you have any sensitivities and need to be careful of what you put on your lips.  Just like our skin- we want our lips to feel nourished and healthy.

And what better way than a lip balm that can bring that nourishment!

You may even have most of the ingredients in your pantry!

Let’s get started!!

A fan favorite Beeswax Lip Balm.

Here’s what you will need:

  • 1 tablespoon of grated beeswax (you can get this at any farmer’s market or even a local health food store-beeswax is one of the most essential ingredients in all lip balms. Mostly because it contains natural moisturizers that lock in moisture from the air.)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil
  • Dash of organic raw honey (which again you can find at a farmer’s market or local health food store)
  • 2 capsules of Vitamin E (Vitamin E works to promote cell turnover and regeneration, using it on dry lips can help bring new cells to the surface faster)

Now let’s move on to MAKING the balm:

First- use a boiler to melt down the beeswax, and when it’s about halfway done, add coconut oil and honey. Then- blend the ingredients together. Once the ingredients are blended- add two capsules of vitamin E oil. Then once it’s cool, transfer the product into a tin or an old lip balm container. And there you have it- your very own lip balm!

Apply whenever your lips feel dry or dehydrated or give them away as gifts 🙂

The sky’s the limit with homemade lip balms. Make some with your FAV essential oils like peppermint for a nice minty feeling! Or even a soothing lavender one!

If you are looking for an added nourishing boost- add some Vitamin C to the recipe for a healing way to treat chapped or dry lips. Add just ½ tsp into the recipe of your choice to give your lips that extra little nutritional boost!

Try making yours today and bring back nourishment to your lips!

Resources:
https://lifenotlabs.com/beeswax-for-lips/

https://www.duit.com.au/benefits-of-vitamin-e-in-lip-balms/

You have likely heard of Meditation- as it is growing in popularity- but what you may not know are the variety of benefits that can come with it.

Meditation actually dates back pretty far!

The earliest documented records that mentioned meditation involved Vedantism, a Hindu tradition in India, around 1500 BCE. However, historians believe that meditation was practiced before this time, as early as 3000 BCE. The terminology used today to “meditate” was not introduced until the 12th century AD, coming from the Latin word meditatum. 

Meditation has been used for thousands of years for various purposes- but originated in the religious realm for the most part until more modern day. In addition to meditation being common in religious traditions- presently more and more people are turning to meditation as a form of relaxation and to clear their minds . In fact- the CDC reported that 14.2% of American adults surveyed in 2017 said they had practiced meditation at least once in the last year.

It has been long used and is still growing in popularity for good reason.

Meditation is known to help people relax and ease themselves from worries while producing a deep state of relaxation and a tranquil mind. During meditation, you focus your attention elsewhere while you are eliminating all access thoughts that may be in your mind and causing you worry. This meditation process can assist in creating a more enhanced physical and emotional well being- especially if meditation is continued over time to help clear these thoughts if they are reoccurring.

Meditation has also been known to help with:

  • Emotional Balance
  • Increased Focus
  • Pain Management
  • Increased creativity and productivity
  • Promote better memory
  • And has even been said to help with addiction recovery


If you are new to meditation- here are some helpful tips for beginning meditation:

  • Find your meditation spot. This should be a private spot free from external disturbances such as background noise. Add ambiance if it will help you relax- candles or something aromatic. 
  • Sit in a comfortable position- many choose to sit on a mat (ex a yoga mat) and cross their legs
  • Clear your mind-try counting backward from 20 to first clear your mind. 
  • Remember to breathe-and focus on your breathing. In and out.
  • Simply sit and observe- while still focusing on your breathing.
  • When ending your meditation- don’t end abruptly- count to 10 and slowly ease into the end of your meditation .

If you feel like you are carrying a lot of weight around and have a cluttered mind, meditation may be your answer. Try it for 15 minutes and see how it can help ease your mind and doing it everyday for 15 minutes can help you have a more sound mind and even learn to control your stress management more.

Resources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/meditation/in-depth/meditation/art-20045858#:~:text=Meditation%20can%20produce%20a%20deep,physical%20and%20emotional%20well%2Dbeing.

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-benefits-of-meditation#1.-Reduces-stress

Take a hike- we say it to tell people to go away- but taking a hike is actually a GREAT IDEA!

Why?

Because it means walking!

Walking, most of us do it every day. We walk around the house, we walk to and from work, we walk our dog, we walk to get fresh air- the list is endless on reasons we may walk.

And little do we know- we are giving our body benefits while we walk! Seems like just a regular everyday thing we do- but it actually HELPS us with each step we take!

It’s an underrated form of exercise that we do each day.

In fact- just a 30 minute brisk walk can burn up to 200 calories!

Burning calories isn’t all walking can do for you.

There is so much more!

Here are 5 other ways walking can help your body:

1. Strengthen Your Muscles
You can feel it when you walk, how your legs are working and the faster you walk- the more they work. Walking tones your leg and abdominal muscles – and even arm muscles if you pump them as you walk (you see this a lot in speed walking). If you walk uphill or use a treadmill with a slant upward slant- this can build more strength in your legs as well.  Go for a hike up a local mountain, there will so much to explore while also giving your legs a tremendous workout!

2. Can Improve Heart Health
Walking feeds your heart! Exercise for your heart is just as important as walking for weight. Walking can ward off heart issues while bringing up the heart rate, lowering blood pressure and in turn strengthening the heart. It has been shown that women who walk 30 minutes a day can reduce their risk of stroke by 20%, and by 40%.

3.  Can Improve Circulation
Walking is said to ward off heart issues, bring up the heart rate, lower blood pressure and strengthens the heart.  Post-menopausal women who walk just one to two miles a day can lower their blood pressure by nearly 11 points in 24 weeks. According to the researches at the Harvard School of Public Health- women who walk 30 minutes a day can reduce their risk of stroke by 20%, and by 40% when they step up the pace.

4. Improves Your Mood
Have you ever gone for a walk to ‘clear your head’? Many of us have. And it works. It is actually working to improve your mood. Walking releases natural pain killing endorphins to the body – one of the emotional benefits of exercise. It can also help us socialize. There are clubs for individuals seeking someone to walk with, a friend or just a small neighborhood group that walks together, Socializing can also boost our mood and it keeps us from feeling isolated.

5.  Supports Better Sleep
It’s no secret exercise can help us sleep. Studies found that women, ages 50 to 75, who took one-hour morning walks, were more likely to have better sleep than women who didn’t walk. Plus, exercise tends to wear us out. It can drain us and leave us feeling the need to rest. Exercise can help exert more energy- requiring us to rest more which can help us have a better night’s rest.

You may think walking is boring- but it doesn’t have to. You can play music while you walk, walk with a friend and chat about life, walk your dog and enjoy the scenery or walk with your kids to get them out and about to enjoy the day!

The sky’s the limit with walking. There is so much to see in the world, take a stroll around your neighborhood- you may discover things you didn’t know were there. A hidden natural trail, or a beautiful sunset view down the end of the road!

So- get out there and walk! Take the stairs instead of an elevator, walk to work walk to the coffee shop- walk walk walk!


Resources:

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/walking-for-good-health

https://www.healthline.com/health/benefits-of-walking#burn-calories

Our smile is said to be the most profound and powerful way to express ourselves physically. Our smile is how we show joy and happiness. Seeing someone smile is just a wonderful sight. Smiles can light up a room and truly show you someone’s sense of joy just from this little motion.

Studies have shown that smiling releases endorphins and serotonin. Not only can these natural chemicals elevate your mood, but they can also relax your body and help reduce physical discomfort. Smiling can also make us look younger, help lower blood pressure and help us stay positive. 

Smiles are beautiful. But many of us struggle with the confidence we may need to smile more.

This can boil down to oral hygiene. If we aren’t taking care of our teeth- we may feel the need to hide our smile from others.

Behind our smiles- is an important element- oral care and hygiene. Having a beautiful and healthy smile does take some upkeep. Brushing our teeth, flossing, mouthwash etc. Especially to prevent plaque– which is that gross sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on teeth. Bacteria in plaque produce acids after you eat or drink. These acids can destroy tooth enamel and cause cavities and gum concerns. Plaque can also develop under our gums on the root of our tooth and break down the bones that support teeth.

From an early age we are told to brush our teeth at night and in the morning. Maybe you heard ’brush your teeth or they will fall out’ or some other way your parents tried to ensure you brushed your teeth. While they won’t necessarily just fall out, neglected teeth can develop into tooth decay.

While brushing your teeth plays an important role in oral care- there are more steps we can take to ensure we are doing all that we can for proper oral care.

So we know we need to brush our teeth- but what else can we do?

The ADA- American Dental Association recommends the following steps we can take to ensure the best health for our mouth!

The one we all know is to brush your teeth- but they also say it is important to do so twice daily-for approximately 2 minutes (morning and evening- or in between meals if needed) with a fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride works to help rebuild weakened and brittle teeth and can help reverse early signs of tooth decay. When we brush our teeth with fluoride toothpaste, the fluoride itself is applied to the surface of our teeth- working to protect them and even remineralize them. If you don’t feel comfortable using fluoride- that’s ok! It’s just a suggestion by the ADA and you can of course choose to skip the fluoride-but just ensure you are brushing thoroughly for 2 minutes each time! Remember- these are just guidelines from the ADA- feel free to substitute a more natural option!

Floss! We have all had that pesky piece of carrot or popcorn stuck in our teeth. Flossing can help get that pesky little morsel out. The ADA states that flossing our teeth is an essential part of taking care of both our teeth and gums. Cleaning between teeth removes plaque that can lead to cavities or gum disease from the areas where a toothbrush can’t reach. Flossing can help to remove debris between teeth that can contribute to plaque buildup.

Stay away from overly sugary foods or beverages. We know that too much sugar isn’t good for our health- but it can also take its toll on our teeth. When you eat sugary foods or consume sugary drinks for long periods of time, plaque bacteria use that sugar to produce acids that actually attack your enamel.  Most carbonated soft drinks, including diet soda, are acidic and therefore, bad for your teeth. This can include putting too much sugar in your coffee.

Watch your citrus intake. We love fruit- especially citrusy ones, but the downfall is that frequent exposure to acidic foods can cause our enamel to erode- making our teeth more susceptible to decay over time. While we love a little squeeze of lemon or lime into a simple glass of water-it may not be the best choice for your mouth. Citric fruits and juices can also irritate mouth sores.

Last but not least- visit your dentist! Dentist visits aren’t always fun- but they are necessary. Regular checkups will ensure you’re on the right track with your oral care and allow the dentist to advise you of things that need to change, or if there are any procedures that may need to be done.

Take pride in your smile- brush those teeth and take care of your mouth!

Ahh chocolate. People all over the world LOVE chocolate. So if you are one of those people-you may feel even better about eating it once you know more!

Did you know that historians have estimated that chocolate has been around for approximately 2,000 years- possibly even longer? 

People have long been enjoying this sweet treat for YEARS!

And one question that has remained- is it actually good for us?

While we know that too much of it can cause weight gain and a high calorie intake- it comes with a surprising amount of good qualities as well- of course when eaten in moderation.

The main benefit of chocolate is for your HEART!

But not just ANY chocolate.

Most of the benefits of chocolate lies within DARK chocolate as opposed to milk or white chocolate. But hey- we will take it if it means we can eat chocolate and feel good about it!

To have health benefits- dark chocolate must contain 50% cocoa or higher. Ideally 70-80%.

Cocoa is rich in plant chemicals called flavanols that may help to protect the heart- as they have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and free-radical scavenging properties.

Dark chocolate contains up to 2-3 times more flavanol-rich cocoa solids than milk chocolate.

The amount of cocoa solids in dark chocolate is important because it can be a key indicator of the amount of dietary flavonoids found in the chocolate.

Flavanols have been shown to support the production of nitric oxide in the endothelium- which is the inner cell lining of the blood vessel, that helps to relax the blood vessels and improve blood flow. Flavanols in chocolate are also said to help increase insulin sensitivity – which can help manage blood sugar.

In fact- some studies show that indulging in dark chocolate on a regular basis could actually help promote overall heart health. One study even showed that people who ate dark chocolate more than five times a week reduced their risk of heart issues by 57%.

Now, dark chocolate isn’t just said to be beneficial for our heart-but for our skin too!

The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health shows that dark chocolate contains vitamins and minerals such as copper, iron, and manganese- which can be beneficial to your skin as well. For example, manganese helps to support the production of collagen- which is a protein that helps keep our skin looking healthy and youthful. While other minerals like calcium, help to repair and renew skin. We know that calcium is great for our bones but according to the American Academy of Dermatology, our bodies can shed up to 40,000 skin cells each day so calcium is great for renewing those cells as well!

Other studies have also found the high levels of antioxidants in dark chocolate may protect skin from the powerful ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun.

Of course- this is all with eating in moderation. You don’t want TOO much of a good thing!

But some dark chocolate here and there can go a long way for you!

So have some chocolate and do some good for your heart!



Resources:

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/dark-chocolate/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20858571/

https://www.heart.org/en/news/2019/02/12/are-there-health-benefits-from-chocolate

Our skin is a pretty BIG DEAL– quite literally.

It is actually the body’s largest organ.
It is unique to each person and can take a bit of upkeep.

Cold air, high winds and lack of moisture all come with winter- but it also means our skin takes a beating.

Dry skin occurs when it is not retaining enough moisture resulting in red, itchy and even cracked skin.  This of course can be caused by harsh winter conditions- but it can also be caused by everyday actions such as frequent hand washing. These factors combined- make for some rough feeling hands. 

BUT it doesn’t have to be that way. Dry skin doesn’t have to be an inevitable part of winter, or everyday activities.

There are steps we can take to prevent and even treat dry skin, not just in the winter- but year round.

The best thing you can do for your hands (and your overall skin)- is Lotion Lotion Lotion!

ESPECIALLY after washing.

We are washing our hands constantly, which strips our skin from it’s natural oils. These oils naturally work to lock in moisture- so when we strip this oil- it is important for us to replace them. Moisturizing your skin after washing it will help it retain that oil and moisture- making it less receptive to dry up. A moisturizer or lotion in Vitamin E is always a great option as Vitamin E is very beneficial for skin- assisting with not only dry skin, but anti aging and even possible skin conditions,

If you use something like hand sanitizer,, the alcohol contents alone can be brutal on our skin. Try bringing a travel lotion with you and lotion your hands after using the sanitizer- this will help bring back some moisture after the alcohol goes to work.

It is also important to PROTECT your skin from the winter environments when going outdoors. Winter means shoveling, snow blowing, snowman building or even just a good old fashioned snowball fight. And that can all put your hands right in the cold air crossfire. Wearing gloves or mittens while doing anything outdoors in the winter will help protect your hands from winter’s harsh environments.

Another way to protect your skin, is by protecting yourself INTERNALLY as well. A key part of healthy skin is ensuring you are hydrated. Hydration is key for so many aspects of internal health- and the same goes for our skin. Drinking enough water helps the body to flush out toxins while giving you healthier looking skin. Water also helps ensure your body is getting enough hydration which can bring more hydration to your skin- preventing dry and itchy skin.

If you can, try to use a HUMIDIFIER in your home in the winter. Using a humidifier to add moisture to the indoor air inside your home may help to reduce dry and cracked skin. It can also help your skin retain moisture as well- keeping them more hydrated and even possibly less likely to crack in the winter conditions.

Try taking a supplement like VITAMIN D. Sometimes we need a vitamin to help us get a nutrient we may be missing- and one linked to dry skin is Vitamin D.  Many people are deficient in vitamin D- and most of which may not even know. This nutrient is great for skin and keeping it hydrated- so if you are deficient- it is likely that supplementing with it will help tackle dry skin. Studies have shown that women who had low vitamin D levels had lower average skin moisture than participants who had normal vitamin D levels, and that as blood levels of vitamin D increased, skin moisture content increased as well.

Try Liposomal Vitamin D Today For Your Skin!

Winter doesn’t have to mean your hands and skin take a beating. Try some of these tips and enjoy your winter- dry skin free!