Whether you believe in the power of essential oils to help with everything from moods to illness, there are some that worth giving a try. Lavender is one of those and has studies to back up some of the claims. Take a look at this article from Examine.com to learn about the benefits of this essential oil.
This Simple Ingredient Can Help Combat Seasonal Allergies
Seasonal allergies, like other types of allergies, develop when the body’s immune system overreacts to something in the environment, usually during spring, summer, or fall when certain plants pollinate.1 Symptoms of seasonal allergies include watery, itchy eyes, runny nose or congestion, sneezing, postnasal drip, sore, itchy throat and ears, poor-quality sleep, and fatigue.2 At the very least these symptoms are bothersome, at the very worst they can make daily-life unbearable. Today, we’re going to talk about one simple ingredient that can help combat seasonal allergies.
It comes as no surprise that diet and lifestyle play a huge factor in overall health and well-being. When you follow a high-nutrient diet, you are creating an environment in your body that promotes proper immune function and regulation of the inflammatory response, which may help to blunt allergy symptoms naturally.3
A nutrient-dense diet is one in which a person consumes high-quality whole foods and avoids foods that are processed, chemically altered, or filled with synthetic ingredients. One of the foods that fall under the umbrella of a high-nutrient diet is the underestimated, yet powerful, parsley! While often overlooked as a simple garnish on your plate, this little herb is a nutrient-dense powerhouse.
Parsley is an excellent source of vitamin K and vitamin C as well as a good source of vitamin A, folate, and iron.4 Parsley is incredibly beneficial to your immune system due to its high levels of antioxidants, including vitamin C which helps maintain a healthy gut environment (where most of your immune system is located!).5 Parsley is also rich in flavonoids, such as quercetin, which prevents immune cells from releasing histamines, the chemicals that cause allergic reactions.6 In other words, parsley has naturally occurring anti-histamine properties! Researchers believe that quercetin may help reduce symptoms of allergies, including runny nose, watery eyes, hives, and swelling of the face and lips.7
With this incredible line-up of vitamins and minerals, I’m sure you’re ready for your daily dose of parsley. Lucky for you, there are innumerable ways to incorporate this beautiful green herb in any meal. Parsley can be eaten both cooked and raw and is easily incorporated into soups, stews, roasts, smoothies, dressings, spreads, marinades, and salads.
Parsley is incredibly easy to grow and will last you for two seasons, as it’s biennial! Parsley should be consumed when bright green and crisp, preferably organic, and in the dose of several teaspoons per day. With allergy season upon us, incorporating this little green powerhouse is a simple way to stay ahead of those annoying, sometimes agonizing, symptoms!
1. “Seasonal Allergies.”ACAAI Public Website, 29 Oct. 2018, acaai.org/allergies/seasonal-allergies.
2. “Does Diet Influence Seasonal Allergies?” DrFuhrman.com, www.drfuhrman.com/elearning/eat-to-live-blog/131/does-diet-influence-seasonal-allergies.
4. Parsley, www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=100.
5. Levy, Jillian. “The Antioxidant-Rich Herb That Supports Immune, Digestive & Bone Health.” Dr. Axe, 6 Mar. 2020, draxe.com/nutrition/parsley-benefits/.
6. “Quercetin.” Mount Sinai Health System, www.mountsinai.org/health-library/supplement/quercetin.
As we move further along into summer, and hopefully sunnier days, many of us will be breaking out the sun protection products, and often without too much thought of what we are putting on our bodies. Do we need sunscreen? Or do we need to be taking better care of our bodies so that we can enjoy the full benefits of the summer sun? This article talks about the pros and cons of different types of sunscreens an how we can provide our bodies with nutrients needed to deal with the summer elements.
Sun Protection - What Makes Sense?
Now that the sun is out on a more regular basis, make sure you get some. This neat little article from T-Nation hints at the ability of sunlight to aid in weight loss via vitamin D.
I’m going to tell you two wildly important things about your skin right out of the gate:
Number 1: your skin is the heaviest and largest organ of your body.
Number 2: your skin is the external reflection of your overall health and well-being.
Take a second to absorb that (a little skin-related humor)…
The beautiful outer covering of our body comes in all different colors, shapes, and sizes, and is a powerful, multifaceted organ. The skin provides the body with sensory capabilities, protects its underlying tissues from the outward environment, regulates body temperature, and excretes toxins. But perhaps most importantly, it acts as an external reflection of our internal health. Today, I’m going to share with you five steps to achieve glowing skin from the inside out.
Step one is staying hydrated. For most people, this is much easier said than done, but it is the simplest and most affordable path to achieving healthy, glowing skin. When our bodies are dehydrated, our skin can become dry and itchy, informing us outwardly that our internal organs are thirsty. To ensure you’re well-hydrated, be sure to drink half your weight in fluid ounces per day. So, if you weigh 140lbs, your goal should be to drink about 70 ounces of water per day. Also, try and limit diuretics that dehydrate you further. Popular diuretics include coffee, juice, soda, energy drinks, alcohol, and other caffeinated beverages.
Step two is incorporating healthy fats into your diet. Healthy skin requires essential fatty acids, such as Omega 3 and Omega 6, to reduce inflammation and create a glowing, supple appearance. Our bodies cannot produce these essential fatty acids on their own, so we need to obtain them through high-quality foods. Foods rich in these EFAs include, but are not limited to, wild-caught fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel, pasture-raised eggs and animal proteins, seeds, such as flax, chia, or hemp, as well as vegetables like spinach, Brussels sprouts, and avocado.
Step three is to support your gut health. Evidence has demonstrated an intimate connection between the gut and skin health. Studies have shown a direct correlation between an imbalanced and unhealthy gut microbiome and certain skin disorders such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis1. To support this gut-skin relationship, probiotic supplementation can be incredibly helpful. In addition to a high-quality probiotic supplement, you should also include probiotic-rich foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, or whole-fat plain yogurt if you tolerate dairy.
Step four is to maintain balanced blood sugar. The food choices you make with every meal and snack impact your blood sugar, which means that a healthy diet is truly the foundation of well balanced blood sugar. Following a nutrient-dense whole foods diet of high-quality proteins, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and filtered water will be key to having beautiful, smooth skin. Additionally, avoiding refined sugars and processed carbohydrates is important, as these foods wreak havoc on your gut health and therefore, skin health.
Step five is maintaining an active and non-toxic lifestyle. As a part of this beautiful, multifaceted organ, the skin both excretes and absorbs. Exercise and sweat therapy is the best way for your body to get rid of unwanted toxins. However, if you utilize chemical-filled body products, you’re reabsorbing those toxins, only to sweat them back out and start the whole cycle over again. To maintain beautiful skin, it’s important to exercise and sweat, but also ensure the products you put on your body are non-toxic and pure.
Following these five steps will provide a wonderful jumping-off point to support your skin, the largest organ of your body. Maintaining a diet of nutrient-dense whole foods will provide the ultimate foundation for optimal health and glowing skin from the inside out!
1. Salem, Iman, et al. “The Gut Microbiome as a Major Regulator of the Gut-Skin Axis.” Frontiers in Microbiology, Frontiers Media S.A., 10 July 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6048199/.
Now that warm weather is here and the grass is green and lush it's time to kick off those shoes and wiggle those toes. Welcome to the new ancient practice of grounding, or earthing. People have been walking around in their bare feet or shoes made of fabric or leather. Only recently have we been wearing footwear that has provided a barrier between us and the earth. But has this done more harm than good? The practice of grounding is based on the electromagnetic field of the earth and the balancing effect that this can have on the body.
Here is a brief article describing the practice and some of the benefits.
WHAT IS EARTHING? HERE’S WHY GOING BAREFOOT BENEFITS YOUR BODY
And if you'd prefer to watch a video check out this one.
Let’s talk about eating the color of the rainbow (no…not Skittles!). We all know they’re incredibly important, but most of us aren’t eating enough.
Plant foods provide our bodies with a comprehensive array of macronutrients (complex carbohydrates, proteins, fats), micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and thousands of other compounds, collectively known as phytonutrients. Simply put, phytonutrients are active compounds in plants that have been shown to provide benefits to humans when consumed1.
The challenge for most people isn’t believing that plants are an important part of our diet, rather, they struggle with incorporating them daily. Here are five fun and useful ways to get your family to eat more vegetables!
Grow your own. This is probably the most cost-effective and healthiest way of incorporating more vegetables in your life. You can start small with an herb garden and eventually grow in succession planting throughout the summer and fall. If gardening is new to you, pick out two or three of your favorite vegetables and grow them in a pot or container. If you already love gardening, maybe expand your variety of crops and incorporate new vegetables you normally wouldn’t grow or buy. This could be an incredibly rich experience for children to learn where their food comes from and will be much more delicious and nutritious than any store-bought veggie. For an awesome gardening resource check out The Farmers Almanac (www.almanac.com/gardening)!
Join a CSA or go to a farm. If starting a garden isn’t the right choice for you, then benefit from someone else's green thumb! Finding a local organic farm will give you the opportunity to purchase a crop share or simply shop in their market. Through community supported agriculture (CSA) each week you will have the privilege of eating vibrant, just-harvested produce while simultaneously giving back to your local farmer. If you decide to shop in their market, bringing your entire family could be exceptionally fun if they offer pick-your-own produce!
Make it a family challenge. Because who doesn’t love a challenge? Create a chart with each family member's name and earn a point for each vegetable you eat in a day. Offer bonus points for including a variety of vegetables that encompasses each color of the rainbow! Decide what the ultimate prize will be and make it good! For example, maybe the winner won’t have to do dishes for a week? I know that would get me to eat more veggies without question!
Incorporate into a smoothie. Smoothies are a really easy way of getting your greens in without having to cook and eat them separately. Most kids won’t even bat an eye when they drink a smoothie, especially if it’s a fun color like purple or green! The rule of thumb for a healthy smoothie that isn’t packed full of sugar is three greens/veggies to one fruit. For example, you can choose spinach, kale, cucumber, and an apple or beet greens, beets, celery, and an orange.
Bake a sweet treat. Yes, you can incorporate your vegetables into your baking! Vegetables like squash, pumpkin, sweet potato, zucchini, and beets are the perfect addition to many baked goods. The goal is to find a recipe that includes other whole-food ingredients like this zucchini bread recipe from Ambitious Kitchen!
Following one, two or all five of these suggestions will help you incorporate more vegetables into your day while also staying healthy. Sounds like a win-win to me!
1 What Is the Special Nutritional Power Found in Fruits and Vegetables?, www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=faq&dbid=4.
During this recent period of things being closed and many of us working from home without access to many of the things that made up our days, we have been forced to change those things. In the process we may have fought against these forced changes and been reluctant to adapt, and adopt, to these new ways of doing things. Some of us may have had a more difficult time that others.
Now that this has lasted far longer than any of us probably predicted, we have had to develop new habits. And many of these new habits are going to need to stay in place as out social environment has changed to the needs of the current situation with social distancing becoming the new standard.
Habits can be powerful tools when we now how to leverage them. This article from CrossFit Invictus takes a look at how to do just that, use the habits that you already have to develop and adapt to new ones.
Habit Stacking: How to Leverage Current Habits to Create New Ones
I have been asked recently by several people about magnesium and how important it is. I came across the great guide in one of my emails and thought I pass it along. Hopefully it can help shed some light on the very important mineral that many of us have a deficiency in.
Many of us have been wondering about our health with the recent threat of the COVID-19 virus. Wondering if we are healthy enough to recover if we get it, or are we healthy enough that we wouldn't have noticeable symptoms? Health and wellness are year round endeavors that are achieved through all of the aspects of our lives. One of the biggest overlooked factors is our sleep, the quantity and quality of it. Much of the body's repair processes take place while we are sleeping and a lack of it can have immediate effects but also cause long term issues as well. I came across a great article that covers the importance of sleep as a modulator of immune health.
Improve Your Sleep-Wake Rhythms for Immune Health