How To Prevent A Cold

prevent a coldCold and flu season is upon us, and if you get a cold, there is not a lot you can do other than wait it out in misery.  Really, the best thing you can do for a cold is to prevent it in the first place.  There are the obvious ways such as washing hands, getting enough sleep and staying away from those who are sick.  Below are eight ways to prevent a cold.

  1. Wash Hands – As was already mentioned, washing your hands is an obvious way to keep germs away. Anytime you use a pen in public, or twist open a doorknob, you get tons of germs on your hands. Experts say this is the single best way to keep from getting sick. If you absolutely can’t get to a sink, use hand sanitizer, it’s better than not washing at all.
  2. Hang Out With Friends – Some research has shown that we are more likely to get sick if we have fewer human connections, at home, work and in the community. A study that monitored 276 people between ages 18-55 found that those who had six or more friends where 4 times more likely to fight off viruses than those with fewer friends. Interesting!
  3. Use A Humidifier – You can help moisten passages by running a humidifier all day and night.  This helps because if your nasal passages are dry, the bacteria are more likely to settle there.
  4. Get Sun – People with low vitamin D levels are more likely to have upper respiratory infections. If you’re not sure you are getting enough sun, such as in the winter, try foods with vitamin D such as fish and dairy.  Or you can take supplements. You should have at least 1,000 IU of vitamin D a day.
  5. Tai Chi – This is an Eastern exercise the revs your body’s cold fighting defenses.  Experts think this is because if it’s slow movements and controlled breathing.
  6. Keep Toothbrushes Separate – You can avoid catching germs from sick members of your family by keeping your toothbrushes separate.  Shake them after use so they dry fast because germs don’t thrive well on dry surfaces.
  7. Kitchen Etiquette – Change your dish towels every day and don’t dry dishes with the same towel you use for your hands. If you can, let your dishes air dry. Clean sponges in the dishwasher and change them often.
  8. Increase Omega 3 – Omega 3 has impressive immune fortifying properties. It can increase airflow and protect lungs from colds and respiratory infections. If you don’t love to eat fish, you can use supplements.  Look for capsules that have EPA and DHA.

8 Ways To Prevent A Cold – Prevention

Why Just Brushing Your Tongue May Not Be Enough

toothbrush and hands Cleaning your tongue is important and necessary to your everyday oral care. The tongue is a prime landing and breeding ground for odor-causing bacteria, food debris, plaque, toxins, fungi and dead cells. Yuck! Hopefully you’re already at least brushing your tongue while brushing your teeth to help rid of bacteria that often makes it’s appearance as an unappealing white, clear or brownish film on your tongue. And although this is a good idea, it just may not be effective enough in removing all that build up of gunk. Just brushing your tongue can actually just move around the bacteria or get it stuck in your brush bristles rather than effectively remove them, and brushing harder is likely to irritate your taste buds. But have no fear, there’s another, better option that is sure to help! And it’s not a new practice at all, but has actually been around for over 5,000 years!

The answer is an Ayurvedic self-care ritual called Jihwa Prakshalana, or “tongue scraping.” If you read our article, “Oil Pulling: Friend or Foe?” you know a bit about Ayurvedic health practices already (and if you haven’t read it, you should really check it out!). But in a nutshell, Ayurveda is the ancient Indian “science of life,” of which many of their practices are resurfacing in holistic health today. Research has actually proven that tongue scraping is more effective than just brushing your tongue at removing and reducing levels of streptococcus mutans and lactobacillus (fancy words for the bacteria known to cause tooth decay).

4 Reasons to Scrape Your Tongue:

  1. Detoxify your body and improve your immune system and digestive health as well as your overall health.
  2. Reduce bad breath (halitosis) by getting rid of odor-causing bacteria and debris.
  3. Taste your favorite foods more intensely by cleaning your taste buds to improve your overall sense of taste.
  4. Last but NOT least, because oral health is important, duh! And removing bacteria on your tongue reduces your risk of problems such as tooth decay and gum disease.

metal spoonThe ideal device to scrape your tongue is a “U” or “V” shaped, thin, metal tool. Ayurveda recommends gold, silver or copper, depending on one’s “prakriti,” or individual constitution. But stainless steel is more practical, works on any constitution, is very inexpensive and can last you a lifetime. A spoon can even be used as a decent tongue-scraping device when in a pinch; a smaller spoon usually works better than larger. There are other products out there that focus or aide in cleaning your tongue; ranging from grooves and ridges on the back of a toothbrush to plastic scrapers with a long handle resembling a toothbrush. And again, these are better than nothing, but they aren’t as effective and being we all know plastics aren’t good for the environment or our health, a metal tongue scraper is advised.

So now that you know WHY you should, HOW do you do it? Easy as 1… 2… 3!

  1. Do it in the morning, before you brush your teeth and on an empty stomach.
  2. Place the scraper as far back on your tongue as possible and guide it forward along your tongue in one long stroke with thorough but gentle pressure to remove the gunk on your tongue (don’t scrape too hard as to irritate your tongue).
  3. Rinse off any debris on the scraper and repeat the process until your tongue feels clean and you’ve removed most, if not all, of the gunk (usually about 5-10 times).

And Voila! You’ve removed toxins, bacteria and plaque and all within 10 seconds!

 

Although scraping your tongue any time, or even multiple times in a day is beneficial, it’s recommended you do it first thing in the morning because it will be most effective then. Our digestive system continues to work even when we’re sleeping, and removes toxins from our body and expels them on the surface of our tongue. If these toxins aren’t removed, the body can reabsorb them, which can lead to many problems and affect multiple systems, not to mention some nasty breath!

When scraping your tongue, try to focus on getting as far back as you can because it’s the posterior, or back part, that has the most build up. The tip of your tongue is able to cleanse itself since actions such as swallowing and talking require it to move against your hard palate on the top of your mouth and the back of your teeth. This makes it unlikely for the tip of your tongue to harvest too much odor-producing bacteria. However, the back of your tongue will touch only your soft palate, at best, which won’t create enough friction or contact to do any significant cleansing. That’s why when you open your mouth and look at your tongue, the back of it usually looks different than the front and with more “gunk.” Using a tongue scraper rather than a toothbrush when cleaning your tongue will help remove bacteria further back because you’re less likely to a trigger your gag reflex.

If something so simple and quick as tongue-scraping can help eliminate “dog breath,”  improve oral and overall health, why not try it out?! And we’d love to hear how it goes for you, so comment below!

dog tongue

How to Slow Down Your Aging Clock

Natural Health Care lists four ways you can help slow down the aging process. Drinking at least 2 liters of water a day, eating healthier by trading in the drive-through for your kitchen, exercising at least three times a week and sleeping at least six hours a day. They also mention a new product to help with fighting father time, Eye Secrets Eye Tightener.

Read the original post here: http://bit.ly/RiJrQf

stop your aging clock

Earth Day All Grown Up

earth treeThat’s right, today is Earth Day! The very first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970 and is now celebrated in more than 192 countries. It’s a day dedicated to educate and remind us how important our environment is and what we can do to sustain, improve and protect it.

Perhaps you remember Earth Day as a child in school. The words, “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle” ring a bell for me, as well as my teacher passing out a “tree in a bag” to plant at home. However your remember it, hopefully it fulfilled it’s main purpose of focusing on educating our youth in ways to protect our Earth.

But what about now that we’re adults? For many, Earth Day is simply a day that kids bring home Earth Day projects from school and we talk about ways to help the environment. Some go as far as implementing ideas… for a week or two. Earth Day is like a second go at a New Years Resolution, filled with good intentions, but more often times than not, shortly-lived; and focused on improving our environment instead of ourselves. But perhaps once we realize exactly how closely the environment is linked to not only our own self-improvement but society’s improvement as a whole, we will realize that sustaining it needs to be on the top of everyone’s priority list, and stay there!

The benefits from enjoying nature is phenomenal, ranging from reducing stress-levels and anxiety to improving health. So let’s work together on sustaining our environment and the outdoors. I did some searching to compile a great list of 10 SIMPLE things you can do for the environment and your health! 

  1. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle – There’s a reason it’s a classic. By reducing garbage in your home by only 10% you can save 1,200 pounds of carbon dioxide annually. You can also save 2,400 pounds annually by recycling half of your household waste. A great and easy way to do this is by using your own water bottle. And by doing so, you are killing 3 birds with 1 stone! Avoiding harmful contaminants in bottled water, reducing your carbon footprint by not using wasteful plastic bottles and saving money. And don’t stop at home! If your workplace, school, etc. doesn’t recycle, propose the idea of implementing a system.
  2. Drive smart, drive less or don’t drive – Every gallon of gas we use emits 20 pounds of carbon dioxide into our environment. You can lighten your carbon footprint while making your wallet heavier by carpooling and rerouting drives for efficiency. Or ditch the car completely for shorter commutes. You can burn 240 calories an hour or more by leisurely riding your bike at 6 MPH. Or try walking at a normal pace of 2-3 MPH burning 300 calories or more each hour.
  3. Plant a tree – Another oldie but goodie. A tree will absorb about one ton of carbon dioxide over it’s lifespan. Trees also can provide a calming space, raise the property value of your home, improve water quality, and reduce air conditioning costs by providing shade. Consider planting a fruit tree for a delicious reward as well, double whammy!
  4. Focus on your food – Try buying organic food  and/or food grown at your local farmers market. Your body and environment will thank you as you support pesticide and chemical-free food. To find a farmers market close to you, click here. Or go the extra mile and grow your own garden. You’ll have the peace of mind of knowing exactly what was used on and where your fruits and veggies came from, save money at the grocery store and reduce the use of fossil fuels by avoiding food that needed to be transported. You’ll also get plenty of exercise while tending to your garden! And keep in mind what we said about that fruit tree!
  5. Use cleaner cleansers – In many manufactured cleaning products there are harmful chemicals not only to the environment, but your health. Try buying environment-friendly cleaning products or make your own! A cleaner made up of one part vinegar and one part water makes for a great glass, shower, floor and toilet cleaner. Mixing white vinegar, salt and baking soda can remove mold or soap scum. And the combination of soda and borax can remove grease and is a great floor cleaner.
  6. Be energy conscious – Technology and electricity is a driving force in our society. With that said, simple things like turning off lights, TVs, computers and electronics help not only your electric bill but the environment too. Unplug as well! Chargers and other electronics plugged in while not in use are still using electricity. Setting your thermostat just 2 degrees lower in winter, or higher in summer, could save close to 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide annually, and you’ll barely notice it. Many utility companies will provide free home energy audits to help you gauge areas in your home that can be more efficient, as well as offer rebate programs to encourage energy-efficient upgrades.
  7. Buy and use energy efficient products – Thanks to energy-awareness and technology development, there are a variety of environment-friendly products available. One of the easiest ways you can do this is by replacing all your light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs. If every household in the U.S. were to do this, it would be the equivalent of taking 7.5 million cars off the road by eliminating 90 billion pounds of greenhouse gases.
  8. Don’t waste water – Turn the water off while brushing your teeth, washing dishes, etc. until you actually need it to rinse. Buy low-flow, water efficient shower heads to save about 350 pounds of carbon dioxide yearly. And use less hot water and save energy by cold washing clothes and setting your water heater at 120 degrees. If your water heater is older than 5 years, wrap it in an insulating blanket for efficiency.
  9. Ditch the junk mail – As if junk mail isn’t annoying enough, it also wastes tons of paper and for most of us, rarely serves a purpose. Stop the sea of junk mail by writing “please remove” on the pre-paid stamped envelope within the junk mail and mail it back to the sender, on their dime!
  10. Spread the word! – This one is as easy as sharing this post! Encourage others to reduce their carbon footprint and help our environment. Share ideas or vouch to try things together!

To see some amazing photos and time-lapses of nature at its best, check out this amazing 10 minute TEDtalk video, Gratitude, by award-winning cinematographer Louie Schwartzberg; who reminds us exactly how beautiful our world is and how opening our eyes to it opens our hearts to gratitude and lasting happiness.

green nature

 

“Unless someone like YOU cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” – The LORAX, Dr. Seuss

 

Why Do We Have Morning Breath?

mom and kids under coversMorning breath may not make for the best morning kisses and may make you want to hide under the covers, but you’re far from the only one who experiences it. In fact, everyone has bad morning breath to an extent. So why does our breath reek so much in the morning compared to the rest of the day? When we sleep, our body’s production of saliva (our body’s natural mouth rinse) decreases and our mouths tend to dry out. A dry mouth is great breeding ground for bacteria, which is the main culprit for a sour-smelling mouth. If you tend to snore or breath out of your mouth when you sleep, this could make it worse as well. Some other things that can cause for a worsened morning mouth are medications, smoking and allergies.

So what can you do to try and lessen the stench and combat morning breath? Sound oral care is the number one key. Brush, floss, and rinse. Brush for at least two minutes (not the typical 45 seconds most do), and make sure not to eat or drink anything after brushing for the night. Brush your tongue and floss as well! Mouthwash and rinses can help combat bad breath as well, but their effect are only temporary. And to make a mouth rinse more effective, you need to follow the directions. Just as in brushing, if you don’t put in the time necessary to kill the bacteria in your mouth, you’re not going to get the best results.

You can read more about the topic on the original article done by Beth W. Orenstein:  http://www.everydayhealth.com/dental-health/why-do-we-have-morning-breath.aspx