6 Ways to Keep Yourself Looking Young

6 Ways to Keep Yourself Looking Young

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We all want to stay looking young.  Unfortunately, the majority of potions we put on our skin tend to be superficial quick fixes that don’t provide sustainable benefits.  Indeed, prevention is often the best cure in terms of ensuring you remain youthful looking, yet a lot of it does, unfortunately, come down to genes and facial structure.  

The good news is that this article isn’t just skin deep, it’s all about natural things you can do to keep looking and feeling younger; a life of more energy and vitality.  If you’re looking to upgrade your appearance these six tips will help you in your quest to look more vibrant and radiant this summer.

 

  1. GET MORE SLEEP

Experts recommend we have between six and nine hours sleep each night.  If you’re a light sleeper then you might want to consider hypnotherapy or guided relaxation audio books to ensure you’re getting the deep sleep you require, where your brain frequency slows down sufficiently to fully replenish and repair you body.

It might be worth looking into Feng Shui too, as you can have the most amazing furniture for a bedroom but if qi is flowing in a way that is counterproductive to sleep it might be worth considering this ancient practice.

 

It can take up to 6 weeks to feel the effects of getting a good night’s sleep, but once you do, you will see a reduction in the dark circles around your eyes and will feel a profound increase in your energy levels.  

 

A good way to make sure you fall asleep on time is to slowly wind down your evening.  Try not to watch TV, or be on your phone or laptop, just before going to bed; many experts recommend reading from a book (not a backlit digital device) as a good way to wind down.

  1. NURTURE YOUR SKIN

We all know it’s important to moisturise and replenish our skin on a daily basis to keep it soft and looking young, you might therefore want to consider moisturising with a natural and organic product like aloe vera.  However, moisturisation isn’t the only aspect of skin care; it’s important you protect your skin from the sun’s harmful, and ageing rays, with a safe sunscreen.  A further consideration, if you wear make-up, is that you remove the make up each night in order to avoid clogged pores.

 

We are often keen to reach for a magic cream to replenish our skin without realising that our skin is an external representation of our internal biology.  If you want younger looking more radiant skin (and hair) then ensure you’re eating plenty of Omega 3, 6 and 9 oils that will enrich your body with important nutrients to replenish skin and hair.   

 

  1. GET PLENTY OF EXERCISE

Getting up and doing some cardiovascular exercise doesn’t mean you have to turn yourself into a gym bunny; this could be as simple as starting your day off with a brisk walk, going for a little cycle each day or getting a decent swim in a few times a week.  There’s a lot of talk about how household chores, in particular gardening, can be good for you fitness which is true but shouldn’t be a substitute for focused exercise.

 

Not only does exercise help keep you lean, and mentally sharp, it has been proven to boost your energy levels which will ensure you feel young as well as look younger.  If you don’t fancy going to your local gym, then head out for a walk or run with your music or get a group of friends together in order to motivate each other.

 

  1. DRINK PLENTY OF WATER

Very few of us drink enough water, on a daily basis, yet drinking water is absolutely vital for the function of all our organs… and in particular, staying hydrated really helps our skin, as dehydration often leads to tired looking dull skin.  In fact, did you know that one of the causes for dark circles around your eyes is due to dehydration – which is why they tend to be much more pronounced when hungover.

 

  1. GET A NEW HAIRSTYLE

Getting a trendy haircut isn’t only great for your self-esteem and personal pride, it’s a fantastic way to look and feel younger.  It’s important to have an age appropriate haircut, as otherwise it’ll have the opposite effect – and, depending on your age, it could make you look like you’re the victim of a midlife crisis.  Keeping on top of your personal appearance is one of the most fundamental things you can do to look and feel younger.

 

  1. CHOOSE YOUR WARDROBE WISELY

In a similar vein to keeping your hairstyle current and on trend, it’s important to choose your wardrobe wisely – as the clothes you wear are a reflection of who you are on the inside; and remember like attracts like – if you wear fun, bold and vibrant clothes you’ll attract fun, bold and vibrant people.

 

There are, however, two camps when it comes to fashion; those that care and those that don’t… many readers will find themselves leaning toward the camp of not caring so much but there’s a good analogy for fashion which is relevant to both camps.  

 

Picture yourself going to a trade show, where there’s lots of stands all bidding for your attention – several of the stands look very basic, boring and simple (you probably pass these by) whereas the stands that are colourful, interesting, and different grab your attention and absorb you.  

 

That’s the power of the clothes we wear; if you’re wanting to grab people’s attention (in a positive or negative way) then you can do that with the clothes you wear – but similarly, you can blend in and remain unnoticed.  

 

Don’t underestimate the power of fashion, and try not to limit yourself to thinking of fashion as something reserved for the catwalk.  You are a walking billboard conveying a message to the world of who you are on the inside!

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How To DIY Your Own Wedding

How To DIY Your Own Wedding

Many brides and grooms are choosing to DIY their own weddings with the help of friends and family. You can save some time and money by doing the big day preparations yourself. Moreover, cramming your weekends full of wedding planning activities will give you the perfect opportunity to spend some quality with your friends and family.

 

Unless you are a talented tailor, you should leave the wedding dressmaking to the experts. If you are shopping online for wedding dresses such as bridesmaid dresses and bridesmaid gowns from Azazie, make sure that you get the best. Here are some tips that will help you to DIY your wedding:

Stationery

You should invite some of your friends who love the crafts to help you design some wedding stationery. If you are designing some invitations or save the date cards, you should hand make them individually or use the computer. When making your own stationery, you can create the design that you have always wanted and make it as personal as you want.

Food

When it comes to wedding food, you can bake your own cake if you are good at baking. Just make sure that you set aside enough time before the wedding for baking and decorating the cake. Doing so will help you to avoid last minute stress. If you do not have time to decorate the cake yourself, you should write a set of instructions and ask a friend to do it for you.

 

Depending on your wedding venue, you can do the cooking yourself. If you want to save money, you should leave breakfast to the professionals and cook the evening meals. You can also ask your friends and family members to bring a dish to the reception if you do not have the time to cook a whole buffet.

Flowers

If you are willing to learn how to choose and arrange flowers, you should head to the local flower market and ask for advice from the florists. Buying and arranging the wedding flowers for yourself can help you to save money. You are going to need some pretty ribbons and vases to pull off this part.

 

If you do not want to spend money on flowers, you can pluck them from your garden or a friend’s garden. This means that you have to choose blooms that are in season at the time of the wedding. However, if you have your heart set on a specific set of flowers, you should probably go with a florist.

Favors

You can also create your own wedding favors to save money. You can choose to collect sweetie jars and fill them with edible gifts or bake your own pastries. If you do not want to waste time thinking about party favors, you can just order sweets in bulk.

(Source: https://www.sweetservices.com/Candy-Buffet/)

Film Your Own Wedding

If you have already hired a photographer to capture the magical moments between you and your spouse, you might not have enough money for a videographer as well. The biggest regret that most newlyweds have is not taking videos of their wedding. You should enlist the help of a few good friends and ask them to take turns to film your big day.

Decorations

 

Whether you want to use jars and candles or centerpieces to decorate your wedding, you have endless possibilities from which you can choose. Just make sure that you choose a theme and stick with it.

DIYing your own wedding is something that will save money. If you follow the above tips, you can have the wedding of your dreams for much cheaper.

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Is your Sunscreen Safe?

Is your Sunscreen Safe?

Mineral Sunscreen Buying Guide

Mineral sunscreens are one of the most effective forms of UV protection that are available to the public. Today, there are many options available at drugstores and even in supermarkets. But did you know that not all natural sunscreens are safe? It’s true, just because a product contains mineral sunscreen ingredients does not mean it is free from harsh chemicals, including chemical sunscreens. So, what features should you look for in a safe, mineral sunscreen? 

What are Mineral Sunscreens?

Mineral Sunscreens are made with mineral sunscreen ingredients, which are para-aminobenzoic (PABA), zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Both ingredients create a physical barrier on the skin that blocks both UVA and UVB rays. Unlike chemical sunscreens that take around 30 minutes to become effective, mineral sunscreens are effective right after applied. 

Many brands have been adding mineral sunscreen ingredients to their sun protection products for years. The issue is that they are just adding the ingredients to old formulas, instead of formulating a natural mineral sunscreen. Most of these sunscreens still have the chemical sunscreen ingredients, preservatives and other harsh chemicals in them. 

Issues with Chemical Sunscreens

Like other chemicals in body care products, the ingredients in chemical sunscreens accumulate in breast milk and body fat. These chemicals have also been linked to hormonal disruptions, low sperm counts, and allergic reactions.

The major issue of using chemical sunscreens is that they are less effective at protecting you against harmful UV damage. Chemical sunscreens work by absorbing UV rays, which allows UVA rays to penetrate deep into the skin. UVA rays are the ones that cause wrinkles and skin cancer. There has also been research completed that shows that some chemical sunscreens oxidize under the sun’s rays, which increases the potential of free radial formation and this increases a person’s risk for wrinkles and skin cancer. 

Chemical sunscreen ingredients include Avobenzone, Homosalate, Octocrylene, Octisalate, Octinoxate, and Oxybenzone. 

Should I Buy Natural or Organic Sunscreen?

Natural has become a popular marketing word, even though many products labeled with ‘natural’ still have harsh chemicals in them. The best option is to buy a mineral sunscreen that is made with organic ingredients. 

There are three levels of organic labeling. “100% Organic” means that a product is made only using certified organic ingredients. The “Organic” label is for products that are made with at least 95% organic ingredients. “Made with organic ingredients” are products made with at least 70% organic ingredients. 

“100% Organic” and “Organic” products may have the USDA Organic seal, but “made with organic ingredients” may not carry a seal and can have up to three certified organic ingredients printed on the front label. However, products made with less than 70% organic ingredients can only list the organic ingredients on the back label. 

How to find the Right Sunscreen for You and Your Family?

Depending on where you are shopping, there could be dozens of options of sunscreens for you to pick from. Even if you decide that you are going to buy a mineral sunscreen, you will still have many options to pick from. Many times, deciding which sunscreen is right for you can be overwhelming. Here is a list of features you should be looking for.  

  • Protection

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and is a measurement of how long a sunscreen will protect you from UVB rays. The amount of time that a sunscreen can be calculated using this equation:

Minutes to burn without sunscreen x SPF number = maximum sun exposure time 

However, this equation is not always accurate because most of us do not use the amount of sunscreen we really need. Researchers say that the amount of time calculated using the above should be halved in order to better protect your skin. 

  • Board Spectrum 

Above we mentioned that SPF only is how much a sunscreen protects you from UVB rays. Sunscreens that protect from UVA rays are labeled as Board Spectrum. Some sunscreens will also say that they protect against UVA, but this is not required. 

  • Sweat and Water Resistant

Products are not allowed to claim to be sweat-proof or waterproof anymore. They are only sweat and water resistant for a specific amount of time, which can be either 40 or 80 minutes. The sunscreen may have list the amount of time that they are sweat and water resistant on their label. Just keep in mind that you should also reapply the sunscreen after sweating or swimming and drying off with a towel. 

  • Ingredients

The reality is that natural and healthier skin care products have become more popular in the last decade, and many brands are starting to market their products as ‘green’ or ‘natural’. However, many ‘natural’ sunscreens use a combination of chemical and mineral sunscreen ingredients. 

If you are wondering what is in a sunscreen, you can check the back label of the product. The ingredients that provide UV protection are listed as ‘active ingredients’ and are listed above the other ingredients.  Mineral sunscreen ingredients are para-aminobenzoic (PABA), zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. 

Along with the active ingredients, you should also check the non-active ingredients. These ingredients could hide harsh chemicals or the sunscreen could have allergens.  If you are looking for an organic sunscreen, the organic ingredients should be listed as organic at the top of the ingredient list. 

  • Expiration Date  

All sunscreens are required to have an expiration date somewhere on the packaging. This could be stamped into the tube’s closure or be printed on the bottle. Sunscreen is similar to medicine because it starts losing its effectiveness after the expiration date has passed. It is recommended that you do not use sunscreens that are expired as it may not be effective. 

  • Type of Sunscreen

When you are shopping for a sunscreen, you may find some products that are labeled as “facial sunscreen” or for “kids”. Facial sunscreens often contain moisturisers, are lightweight, non-greasy and are better for sensitive and delicate areas.  Nearly all sunscreens can be used on the face, so facial sunscreens are only really helpful if your body sunscreen breaks you out. 

Kids and Baby formulated sunscreens are developed with kids in mind. They often come in bright-colored packaging but are often times the same product as the adult version. The kid’s formula may have a different fragrance and may not contain chemicals that could cause tearing or stinging. The reality is that you can use the same sunscreen on you and your kids. However, keep in mind that children under six months should never have sunscreen applied to them. Instead, you should use a hat and long-sleeve clothing to keep their skin covered. 

  • Cost

The cost of a sunscreen is often based on the brand and the store that you are shopping at. Mineral organic sunscreens are often more expensive than other options. However, you can find safe, effective mineral sunscreens at all price points. You need to keep in mind that just because a sunscreen costs more, does not mean that it is more effective. 

Sun protection is important all year round because the sun produces UV rays every day. The amount of sun that you get per day changes depending on the time of year you are outdoors. You should apply sunscreen before spending any amount of time outside, no matter what type of sunscreen that you pick. 

Asparagus,the spring superfood and it’s health benefits

Asparagus,the spring superfood and it’s health benefits

Health Benefits of Asparagus

This spring superfood is packed with vitamins and minerals that there are many health benefits to be gained from adding asparagus to your dinner plate. There are many ways to enjoy asparagus, including grilled, roasted and steamed. No matter how you enjoy your asparagus, just a few of its health benefits are listed below. 

  • Low in Calories

Asparagus is a super low-calorie vegetable. A 100 grams of fresh spears is only about 20 calories. Asparagus also hard to digest, so it fits into the category of low and negative calorie vegetables. 

  • Loaded with Nutrients

Asparagus is a great source of vitamins A, C, E and K. It also is high in fiber and folate. It is a source of chromium, which is a trace mineral that enhances the body’s ability to transport glucose from the bloodstream into the cells. This is helpful if you are watching your blood sugar levels. 

  • Boosts Your Mood

It is very high in folate, a B vitamin that has been found to improve moods and help ward off irritability. Researchers have found a link between low levels of vitamin B12 and folate and depression, which has led some doctors to prescribe daily doses of both B vitamins to patients with depression.

Asparagus also has high levels of tryptophan, which is the amino acid that has been similarly linked to improved moods. 

  • Brain Booster

Folate does not only boost your mood, it also helps fight cognitive decline, dementia and Alzheimer’s. To get this benefit from asparagus, you need to pair it with foods that have high levels of vitamin B12, such as dairy, meat, fish and poultry. In a study done by Tufts University, researchers found that older adults with healthy levels of folate and vitamin B12 performed better on tests of mental flexibility and response speeds. 

  • Natural Diuretic

The high levels of amino acid in asparagus makes it a natural diuretic. It also increases urination, which helps to reduce the excess salt in the body. This is very beneficial for people who suffer from high blood pressure and edema. 

  • May Help Fight Cancer

Along with Brussels sprouts, kale, and avocado, asparagus is rich in glutathione. Glutathione is a detoxifying compound that helps break down carcinogens and other damaging compounds, like free radicals. It is possible that eating asparagus on a daily basis may help reduce risk and fight certain forms of cancer, like lung, larynx, colon, bone and breast cancers. 

  • Helps with a Healthy Pregnancy

Researchers now know that asparagus can help women have a healthy pregnancy. There is a significant amount of folate in asparagus, which makes it an important vegetable choice for women who want to have children. There are also studies that show asparagus is effective in improving the quality and quantity of the breast milk while boosting the appetite of nursing women.

So, it’s essential for women who are planning to become pregnant to get enough folate because it can decrease the risk of neural-tube defects and low birth weight in fetuses. Folate works along with vitamin C and vitamin B12 to help the body break down, use and create new proteins. It also helps with the formation of red blood cells and produces DNA, which is the building block of the human body that carries the genetic information of the baby.

  • Beats Bloating

Bloating is a common issue that many people face daily. While it is not painful for most people, it is a sign of digestive health. Asparagus promotes overall digestive health due to its high levels of fibre and vitamins. It is also high in probiotics, which are carbohydrates that cannot be digested and help to boost healthy good bacteria in your digestive tract. These probiotics help to reduce bloating and gas, so you can say goodbye to embarrassing belly bulge. 

  • Fights Hangovers

Most of us crave a greasy breakfast in the morning after having one too many alcoholic drinks. However, research suggests that loading up on asparagus may be the better choice to cure a hangover. A 2009 study, published in the Journal of Food Science, found that laboratory-grown cells suggested that the amino acids and minerals in asparagus may help reduce hangovers and protect the liver cells from toxins found in alcohol. Who knew that adding vegetables to your diet could fight hangovers? 

  • Packed with Antioxidants

There has been a lot of talk about antioxidants in the last decade because they help fight free radicals. Purple asparagus is full of anthocyanins, which gives the vegetable the purple, blue and red hues. Anthocyanin is a powerful antioxidant, but is one of the harder antioxidants to add to your diet.

When cooking asparagus, try not to undercook or overcook it. While cooking asparagus helps activate the antioxidants and cancer-fighting potential, letting it sautè or boil too long can negate some of its nutritional benefits. 

  • Healthy Urinary Tract

While it may make your urine smell for a few days, eating asparagus is important for a healthy urinary tract. The amino acids in asparagus are a natural diuretic, which flushes excess salts and fluids from your body. These acids also help reduce your risk of urinary tract infections. 

  • Weight-Loss Aid

For many people, losing weight is their goal and it can be a challenge. Asparagus is low in calories and fats, and high in fibre. The high levels of fibre mean that it takes longer to digest, so you feel full between meals. To help you keep feeling full, it is recommended to pair asparagus with protein, like a hard-boiled egg.  

  • Improved Immune System

Vitamin E is an important antioxidant because it strengthens the immune system and protects cells from free radical damage. The best way of getting vitamin E from asparagus is to cook it with a healthy oil like olive oil, so you are getting a healthy fat and the vitamin E.

  • Filled with Vitamin K

Like other green, leafy vegetables, asparagus is filled with vitamin K. Vitamin K is important for the process of coagulation, which helps stops cuts from bleeding. It also helps with bone health because vitamin K aids the body in its absorption of calcium.  

Vitamin K is also a major player in supporting heart health. It helps to prevent hardening of the arteries, which includes keeping calcium out of your artery linings and other body tissues, where it can cause damage.

Why does Asparagus Make My Urine Smell?

Mercaptan is what causes asparagus to make urine smell. The process of breaking down of mercaptan by the digestive system only takes 15 to 30 minutes of eating asparagus. However, this does not happen to everyone and the smell depends on your genetic makeup. There are no harmful effects of the compounds or the odor, so there is no need to worry about eating asparagus. 

Asparagus is a commonly overlooked vegetable that more of us should be enjoying in our diet, especially in the spring when it is in season. There are many ways of preparing asparagus, either cooked or raw, so you should really give it another shot. Asparagus has a delicate flavor and can be eaten raw, steamed, roasted or grilled. You can also add it as an ingredient to pickles, soups, and salad recipes.

When you are shopping for asparagus at most supermarkets, you will most likely find green asparagus. However, there are two other types of asparagus that you can choose from. The white asparagus from Spain that is more delicate and difficult to harvest and the purple asparagus from France that is smaller and has a fruitier flavor. So, if you have never had asparagus before, keep an open mind and give it a try. 

Natural Ways to Control Your Blood Sugar Levels

Natural Ways to Control Your Blood Sugar Levels

Blood sugar levels have a huge effect on our moods and overall effect on health. For many people, the thought of being diagnosed with diabetes or pre-diabetes is worrying and it becomes a struggle to keep their blood sugars under control. Naturally controlling your blood sugars can help reduce the stress of them being too high or too low. 

Hyperglycemia or Hypoglycemia

Hyperglycemia is high blood sugar, and Hypoglycemia is low blood sugar. Both have serious effects on your health and your organs. Blood sugar testing can help find out if you have naturally low or high blood sugars. This is important when you are trying to naturally control your blood sugars. However, before you make any changes to your diet and exercise routine, you should speak with your doctor. 

  • Light Exercise

Light exercise can lower blood sugar levels, often within minutes. This is a bicycle ride or a brisk walk, not weight lifting or long run. It can take up to an hour after exercising for the effects to start appearing. 

  • Weight Training

Strength training can temporarily raise blood sugar levels. However, over time the muscle that you build during weight training will burn glucose more efficiently. 

  • Apple Cider Vinegar

For many people, drinking Apple Cider Vinegar is a popular way of controlling their blood sugar levels naturally. In studies, it has been found to help control blood sugar levels in both Type II diabetics and pre-diabetics. If you do not like drinking a couple tablespoons of it, you can also take apple cider vinegar extract supplements. 

You should take note that apple cider vinegar usually takes longer to lower blood sugar levels than other supplements. However, it is a better preventative supplement than other options. 

  • Reduce Stress

When you are in stressful situations, your body releases hormones that will raise your blood sugar levels. If you start feeling stressed, you should try relaxation techniques like deep breathing and meditation to lower your blood sugar levels. Another alternative stress relieving technique is to go sit in your car or grab a pillow and scream until you feel better. 

  • Get the Right Amount of Sleep

Not getting enough sleep increases insulin resistance in many people, so some people have higher blood sugar levels when they are not getting enough sleep. Lack of sleep and high blood sugar is a vicious cycle because when your blood sugar is high, sleeping is difficult causing your blood sugar to climb. 

You should try to avoid staying up late or drinking too much caffeine.

  • Eat Small Meals and Eat Often

Eating smaller meals, more frequently throughout the day can help control high blood sugar because it is easier on the intestine, pancreas and the digestive enzymes. Depending on your recommended daily caloric intake, you could eat 4 to 6 meals of 400 to 600 calories. So, you should try to eat at least every 4 hours. 

You should also try increasing your water intake. Studies have proven that chronic dehydration is hard on the blood, which affects blood sugar and insulin levels. 

  • Check Your Thyroid 

Your thyroid and pancreas work together. When the thyroid is not working properly, it could cause a pancreatic imbalance which leads to insulin resistance. You should ask your doctor about checking your thyroid to see if it is balanced. Typically, women seem to lose their thyroid capability as they age. 

  • Plan Ahead

Expect the unexpected and carry a healthy snack with you. This can help you prevent your blood sugar levels from going too low. It also reduces the likelihood that you will eat unhealthy snacks. 

  • Cinnamon 

Cinnamon may do more than just add flavor to foods. In a 2013 study published in Annals of Family Medicine found that cinnamon is linked to a significant drop in fasting blood sugar levels. This may be caused by increased insulin secretions from the pancreas. While more research is needed, there is no reason why you shouldn’t try adding cinnamon to your diet. 

  • Don’t Skip Meals

It is important to spread out your meals, and you should start your day with a healthy breakfast. For most people, only eating one or two meals a day causes a large fluctuation in their blood sugar levels. So, try to eat three meals and two snacks or four to six smaller meals each day. The best option will depend on your lifestyle and your daily required caloric intake. 

  • Cut Back on Dairy

Dairy is known to increase insulin production by up to 300 percent because of its inflammatory effects. There are many dairy-free replacements available like almond and coconut milk that you can drink to control your blood sugar levels. Just make sure that the option you pick does not contain carrageenan, which can cause gut problems for some people. 

  • Stop Falling for the Low Fat Myth

The Low Fat Myth has been around for decades and has been making our food taste really bad. To make low-fat foods taste better, many food manufacturers started loading them with sugar. The problem is that the extra sugar disrupts gut flora, which can throw blood sugar levels into a tailspin. 

Don’t be afraid of fats. There are many kinds of good fats that we need in our diets. 

  • Cook at Home

The culture of convenience is very tempting, hard to break free of, and is making us sick. Most convenience food is full of processed sugars, fats, and salts, which are hard on the gut and can cause high blood sugar levels. Instead, cook your meals at home. There are many tasty meals and snacks that you can make at home and are easy to make.  

  • Don’t Drink on An Empty Stomach

If you haven’t eaten, drinking alcohol can cause a blood sugar drop within the next 24 hours. This quick drop happens because the body is trying to get rid of the alcohol. If you want to drink alcohol, you should check your blood sugar levels first and have something to eat before consuming any alcohol. 

  • Spread Out the Carbs

If you love carbs or cutting them out of your diet is too hard, try spreading them out evenly during the day. This helps reduce the risk of a huge blood sugar spikes. When you keep your blood sugar levels more steady, you will feel less grumpy and hungry. 

  • Have a Cup of Tea

Unsweetened white, black, and green tea can help lower your blood sugar levels within as little as 30 minutes. If drinking tea is not your thing, there are also green tea supplements that have positive effects on blood sugar levels. 

  • Fenugreek Powder

Fenugreek is a seed used in the production of artificial maple syrup flavors. It is commonly prescribed to new mothers to help increase production of breastmilk. For other people, it also slows the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. Fenugreek is available in seed form and powder capsules.  It is a laxative, so do not take too much at a time. 

Everyone is different, so what works and what does not will depend on you. This is why it is important to monitor your blood sugar levels and continue using prescribed medications until your doctor advises you to stop doing so. 

6 Ways to Encourage Your Child’s Creativity

6 Ways to Encourage Your Child’s Creativity

Many people make the mistake of thinking of creativity as a single trait that they either possess or lack. In reality, creativity is a spectrum trait in which a person can build skills. Creativity is not only valuable in the arts, but in science, business, and technology. These simple steps can help you encourage creativity in children.

1. Allow your child to fail

It’s so easy to discourage your child from trying their own recipe for cookies in an attempt to shield them from disappointment. However, allowing children to make their own mistakes supports independence, self-esteem, and resilience. Maybe the cookies won’t taste very good, but that doesn’t mean making them was a waste of time.

2. Limit screen time

Technology has its place, but experts are warning that children are spending too much time in front of screens. Among other ill effects, excessive screen time can hamper a child’s creativity. When you watch TV, your brain is gathering information and absorbing the images in front of you. In order to engage in divergent or creative thinking, your brain needs a break from information gathering. Place firm limits on screen time, and suggest activities like reading, outdoor play or the arts.

3. Choose open-ended toys

To choose toys for encouraging creativity, look for items that can be played with in more than one way. Some examples of open-ended toys include blocks or other building materials, art supplies such as crayons, markers, paint, scissors and glue, simple dolls, and play silks. If interested in something more complex and involved, stocking up on Orbeez refills and purchasing an Ultimate Soothing Spa or a Magic Chef set can provide endless hours of fun! These toys facilitate creativity by easily adapting to your child’s ideas.

4. De-emphasize achievement

In our hyper-competitive culture, parents often get wrapped up in trying to ensure that their child is the best athlete, the smartest student, and so on. It’s great to encourage your child to do their best, but it can be harmful to emphasize achievement. Kids feel the pressure to succeed all too keenly and start to value the grades over the knowledge itself. Create a family culture that values doing one’s personal best instead of winning the trophy. In this kind of supportive environment, kids will be more likely to value creativity rather than the “right” answer.

5. Make room for creativity

Set up at least one area in your home where your kids can let their creativity go wild. Perhaps that’s a corner in your garage where paint spills won’t matter or a playroom where block cities won’t be tripped over. Also, be sure that your child’s schedule has room for creativity. If your children are kept constantly busy with homework or extracurricular activities, they just won’t have the time to flex those creative muscles.

6. Be a good example

As much as we might like it to be otherwise, children learn by observing others and imitating them. If they don’t see the adults around them modeling creative activities, they might conclude that they aren’t worthwhile. The solution is easy: pick up a hobby. It doesn’t matter how good you are at knitting or woodworking. Your child will be delighted with your efforts and will absorb the lesson that creativity is important.

By following these simple guidelines, you can give your children a great gift. Building creativity will help them achieve their goals in the future, but it can also benefit them now by giving them greater confidence, increased social skills, and coping abilities. The power of the imagination is undeniable, and it’s within your power to help your child unleash it.

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Overcoming the Struggles of Living a Healthier Lifestyle

Overcoming the Struggles of Living a Healthier Lifestyle

Most people are aware that being healthy can improve their overall quality of life. They also understand the need to eat nutritious foods, exercise, and take care of their physical and mental well-being to live a healthier lifestyle. However, making these changes, when you’re used to certain habits and routines, is easier said than done. If you’ve been having a hard time adjusting to healthier living for you and your family, these tips may give you the boost you need.

Break Down the Big Picture

What is it you wish to improve about your health? Are you looking to lose weight, exercise more, eat better foods, or recover from an illness like diabetes and high blood pressure? Once you have a clear understanding of what you want, you can better create steps towards achieving them.

Let’s say you want to lose 50 lbs. It would be unrealistic and also be discouraging to try setting a goal of losing all that weight in a month. However, it is possible to lose the weight in 6 months to a year. Dividing 50 by the number of weeks in a year would mean you’d need to lose 1lb per week or more to meet that goal. This is a lot more realistic, and therefore, more obtainable for the average person.

Find Something That Works for You

If you were to conduct online research about living a healthier lifestyle you’d find a bunch of different methodologies, diet programs, exercise routines, and ways of reaching those goals. What works for some, may not work for all. For example, one person may find going to the gym to be the best way for them to get in shape, while another may decide to join a dance class. Some may opt to continue trying to live healthier by taking the DIY route, while others may prefer the coaching, meal plans, support, and advice they get from an online diet program.

The more uninterested you are in something the harder it will be for you to make the changes. Therefore, it is best to find a plan that works for you. When you enjoy what you’re doing and it easily fits into your lifestyle, it is a lot easier to stay motivated to make the change.

Get Support

When you’re making a life change that challenges your day to day life, it can be helpful to rely on the support of others. Whether it be friends and family members or other people you know who are trying to improve their health, there is comfort in knowing someone knows what you’re going through. They can provide words of encouragement, give accounts for their own experiences, and when you need it, be right by your side going through the process with you.

Chart Progress

Another obstacle that many have when trying to lose weight or live a healthier life is seeing the difference or reward for their efforts. You’ve cut out most sugary drinks but still haven’t lost weight or you’ve been at the gym daily but don’t seem to be getting results outside of the aches and pains from working out. This can be discouraging and push you back to your old ways.

The truth is, however, for most people, the progress won’t be visible right away. One way to see the results faster would be to chart your progress. Taking photos of yourself every month, for instance, can show you how you’re slimming down even when you can’t see the difference in the mirror. This would encourage you to keep going despite what tricks your mind may be playing on you.

Being healthy is something everyone should want. It is also something that everyone can achieve with discipline, motivation, structure, and change. If you’ve been struggling with feelings of defeat, lack of progress (or progress you can see), or simply can’t seem to wrap your mind around the idea of making huge lifestyle adjustments, you are encouraged to use the advice above. It can help to remove some of the biggest barriers, giving you the boost you need to succeed.

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The Health Benefits of using an Infrared Sauna Vs. a Regular Sauna

The Health Benefits of using an Infrared Sauna Vs. a Regular Sauna

The Health Benefits of using an Infrared Sauna Vs. a Regular Sauna

It can be difficult to discern the difference between an Infrared Sauna and a regular steam sauna. To help you understand how these saunas compare and which one would benefit you the most, let’s take a closer look at each sauna.

Infrared Sauna Health Benefits

Infrared Saunas use infrared heat to create a relaxing, warm environment. This heat improves a person’s circulation and reduces their pain. The Low humidity and modest air temperature can also help with weight loss and detoxification. 

  • Heart Health and Blood Pressure

According to published scientific literature about infrared saunas, the biggest benefit is to a person’s heart health. These saunas help normalize blood pressure and reduce the risk of congestive heart failure. Some doctors have started recommending the use of saunas to their patients who have high blood pressure or who are at risk for heart issues. 

  • Weight Loss and Decrease in Cellulite

Some users of Infrared saunas noticed improved weight loss with regular use. The weight loss is often caused by the efficient heating of the body, the increased perspiration which removes toxins, and increased metabolic rates. The combination of the previously mentioned factors can improve a person’s metabolic rate by up to an extra 300 calories burned per hour. A 30-minute session in the sauna burns around 600 calories on its own, which is great if you are looking to lose weight. 

  • Improved Circulation

As your core body temperature goes up from the heat of the sauna, your circulation increases with it. Many people have found that the consistent use of an infrared sauna can improve blood flow and muscle recovery, which is why most gyms have a sauna. 

  • Pain Relief

If you are suffering from joint pain or muscle aches, going to an infrared sauna could offer you some relief because improved circulation can help reduce the inflammation. The heat from the sauna also relaxes the muscles, so the pain is reduced. 

  • Concentrated Detoxification 

Infrared saunas promote more perspiration than steam saunas. This is because the infrared rays penetrate deep into your body, increasing your body’s blood flow, breaking up water molecule clusters, and promoting the release of toxins from the body. This detoxification helps improve your overall health. 

  • More Comfortable to Use

The lower temperature of infrared saunas tends to be more comfortable and easier on the body. However, if you have eye, lung or breathing issues, the higher heat and humidity may be very uncomfortable for you. Infrared saunas offer lower temperatures and humidity, so you can relax in comfort. 

  • Better Sleep

Once you leave an infrared sauna, your body has to start cooling its interior temperature down. The relaxing properties of the sauna along with your body’s efforts to cool your internal temperature can actually help you get a better night sleep. 

  • Improves Cognitive Function

Heat stress is good for cognitive functions because it stimulates neurogenesis, which is the growth of new brain cells and protects the existing neurons from damage. The heat also boosts norephinphrine levels, which is the hormone that improves attention and focus. There is also increased levels of prolactin, which is a hormone that improves the growth of myelin. Myelin is the insulation around the nerve fibre in the brain that affects how fast your brain works. 

  • Boosts Your Immune System

When you are sitting in a sauna, your white blood cells increase in the bloodstream. This could be due to the body naturally raising your temperature when you are sick. The extra white blood cells help you fight off illness before you get sick in the first place. So, you may want to head to the sauna before and during cold and flu season. 

  • Relieve Symptoms of Depression

Long, grey, bitterly cold winters can really affect your mood. SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder can impact anyone and is often caused by the seasonal changes. The low temperatures and lack of sunshine have a way of zapping a person’s energy levels. So, spending some time in the sauna releases the needed hormones, which reduce symptoms of depression including pain, aches, anxiety, and appetite. 

Regular Steam Sauna Health Benefits

Steam creates an environment that has high humidity and heat, which offers a variety of health benefits. 

  • Skin Hydration

People who are dealing with blemish prone skin may find that the high humidity and the steam helps balance oil production and help them have clearer skin. Dry skin users may experience more hydrated skin when using a stream room regularly. 

  • Respiratory Relief

Some users experienced relief from allergies, cold symptoms, and sinusitis because the moist air opens the nasal passages and sinuses, which allowed for clearer breathing. However, some users found that the moisture and the heat made their symptoms worse. 

  • Loosens Stiff Joints

Warming up in a steam sauna before a workout can help you reduce the risk of injury. It can also help you reach maximum mobility during activities such as yoga, running, and Pilates. Women especially benefited in studies from the heat therapy before and after their workouts.  

  • Reduces Stress

The sauna’s heat causes the body to release endorphins and other hormones that reduce the feelings of stress. Many people feel calm and rejuvenated after using the sauna, which is due to the increased hormone levels. 

  • Increase Athletic Performance

A New Zealand study found that visiting a sauna before working out can boost athletic performance. The study focused on male long-distance runners who used the sauna after their workouts. The next day, the participants increased the amount of time they could run by an average of 32 percent after using the sauna.

  • Reduce Pain Intensity

In a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine examined the use of saunas to reduce pain and treat chronic-type headaches and frequent headaches that occur over 15 days per month. After eight weeks of sauna exposure, the participants reported significant improvement in their headache intensity. Some participants had lasting effects of two years after finishing their sauna therapy. 

  • Improves Social Interaction

This can sound a bit weird and creepy, but it’s true. Going into the sauna with a friend or your partner can improve your relationship. It can also help you make new connections. The reason that social interactions are easier in saunas is that you are all essentially naked, both physically and mentally, so you are more likely to have an honest conversation with other people. However, some people simply enjoy solitude in the sauna, so just leave them be. 

What Sauna is Right For You? 

Both infrared saunas and steam saunas offer a number of health benefits. Saunas can reduce stress, help you relax and improve your overall health. Before picking which sauna you should use, you should review what features would benefit you the most and if you have any health concerns that could become worse from heat and high humidity.

Using a sauna regularly offers many health benefits. Both infrared and steam saunas offer similar benefits. However, infrared saunas are the better option, especially if you have breathing and respiratory issues because the heat and humidity of steam saunas can make your symptoms worse.    

How to Ensure Your Child Eats a Healthy Organic Diet

How to Ensure Your Child Eats a Healthy Organic Diet

How to Ensure Your Child Eats a Healthy Organic Diet

Getting a child to eat healthy can be a daunting task. 

Having good food that a child can choose from and getting them involved in the process can help make this daunting task a little less so. Below are some tips to help ensure that children eat a healthy organic diet.

Teach about the Source of Food

Educating children about where food comes from is a very important tip. 

Going to a local farmer’s market or to a farm and gathering the food that will be eaten can foster a lifelong appreciation and love of good food and good eating habits. 

Planting a garden of one’s own is another good way to instill the love of the earth and the environment and teach about organic eating all at the same time.

Get Children Involved with Meals

If children are involved in the planning, shopping and preparations of meals, it inspires an investment in the process, and in turn makes the child more likely to eat the food being made.  Even very young children of toddler age can help make choices by putting together a grocery list. 

Simple ideas such as fruit parfaits or frozen yogurt popsicles are good ways to get young children involved in healthy eating practices.  

Nutritional Information

Being armed with good nutritional information is a key factor in making sure children are eating good, organic food. Always read labels and become educated on what everything on a label means. A good source of information for finding healthy foods is looking to the internet for educational materials.

Making Healthy Snacks

If the kitchen is only stocked with healthy treats, then by default that is what the child will eat. Stock these healthy treats on shelves and in cabinets that children can reach without help. That way the choice is being made by the child to eat healthy. Another good spot to stock healthy snacks is in the car, as children are often in the car for a good portion of the day.Some good choices include carrot sticks, sliced apples, whole grain crackers, raisins, light popcorn, and bottled water.

Drinks

Eating the five servings of vegetables and fruit a day doesn’t just have to come from food. Smoothies and many mixed fruit drinks can contain these servings in a delicious drink. Some suggestions for these drinks are mango lassie and watermelon slush. This can be a fun way for children to try new fruits and vegetables.

Freedom to Choose

Like most adults, children like the idea of having choice

Offering a base meal – for instance, rice and beans with whole wheat tortillas and lean taco meat – is a good place to start. The choice comes in when the child chooses what to top the base meal with. In this case the choices could be lettuce, chopped tomatoes, cabbage, salsa,cheese, parsley, jicama, peppers, and much more.

If pasta is on the menu, the choices could be anything from healthy sauces to healthy cheeses to herbs. This also works well for snack time. You can offer up a base and let the child choose the rest.

Adults are Role Models

Many studies have shown that children’s taste in food is directly related to what mom likes and dislikes. Making sure the child sees that mom eats and orders healthy food, such as salad instead of a burger, could encourage the child to eat and be mindful in the same way.

Be Persistent

Children need multiple exposures to new foods in order to garner an appreciation for that food.

This simply means don’t give up trying to introduce new food. Maybe don’t offer the same new food every night but be persistent. This will pay dividends in the end. Teaching healthy eating habits early is important. Use every meal opportunity as a teachable moment. This helps even very young children to make healthy food choices.

 
 
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How to prepare your child for summer camp for the first time

How to prepare your child for summer camp for the first time

Summer camp is super fun for most kids. Some kids look forward to summer camp, while others are very worried about going to camp. However, there is no need to worry about your child going to summer camp if you prepare your children for summer camp, which can help reduce their worries. Here are some tips to prepare your child for summer camp.

Try a Sleepover

This is important, especially if your kids are going to a summer camp where they are going to be staying overnight. Sleeping away from home can be stressful for most children, so sending your child to a relative’s home for the night is a good start. Many times, staying with a friend overnight can be too much for some kids to start with. There could be calls in the middle of the night, but most kids become adjusted to staying at other places after just a few visits. 

When Talking about Summer Camp, Follow Your Child’s Lead

It is tempting to tell your child that “Summer camp is going to be SO FUN!” to comfort them about their concerns. However, doing this does not allow your kids to make up their own minds about how they feel about summer camp. 

Instead, you should allow them to talk about their worries and what they think that summer camp is going to be like. Some kids are going to be excited, while others are going to be worried. Mixed emotions are perfectly normal for children, especially when it is the first time that they are going to camp. 

 Never too Early to Start Packing

Most summer camps post their supply needed lists months in advance. The earlier that you start packing supplies in a bag or a box for camp, the less stressful last-minute scrambling you and your kids need to do at the last minute.

You should allow your child to place items in the bag or box that they think that they are going to need. Even though not all the items they want to take are going to be able to go, choosing the items to put in their own bag allows them to start taking responsibility for their own packing. This can also get them excited for camp, or a summer camp shopping trip. 

4. Go Shopping 

Starting to pack early means that you can go to the stores and start picking up necessary items they need for camp when the items are on sale. You can also take your kids shopping for items for camp. You should also think about getting them items that would comfort them when they are away from home, which could be a stuffed toy, a special blanket, or small snacks. 

Avoid Sending Items that are Not Allowed

Some summer camps have strict rules about what you are and are not allowed to send with your child. These items may be printed on the packing lists or be listed on the camp’s website. If the summer camp has items listed that are not allowed, do not send them. There is most likely a valid reason why these items are banned or are not recommended being sent to camp with your child.

If you are wondering why an item is banned or your child needs an item, you should contact the summer camp. You need to be respectful of the summer camps rules about what items are allowed and are not allowed.  

Pack Old Clothing and Gear

Any summer camp is going to be rough on clothing and gear, so it is possible that your kids are going to come home with trashed items. You should pack old clothing and gear that you or your kids are not going to be upset about if the items get damaged. Pack towels, and sheets that you do not mind throwing out. The one exception is a sleeping bag.

Label Everything

There are going to be dozens of other kids at summer camp, so there is the chance that items are going to get mixed up. When you are packing, take some time to label everything that your kids are taking with them to camp. There are pre-printed labels that are specially designed to attach to clothing. You can also use Sharpies to write on clothing and other items. Just keep in mind that Sharpie ink can fade over time, so you may need to relabel items after multiple uses. 

Pack Extra Clothing

Most summer camps have a list of recommended items that you should send to camp with your kids, but you should always send extra clothing. Most times at camp, kids get dirtier than you would expect and you never know what the laundry situation will be. It is easier to send extra clothing with them, than having to drop extra clothing off in the middle of camp. 

It is also recommended that you send extra sunglasses and hats, because it is likely that your child will forget them or lose them somewhere during summer camp. 

Make Sure Your Child Can Handle the Bag 

When you are picking a bag for summer camp, your child should be able to carry, roll or move the bag on their own. They may still need help to lift the bag when it is full, but they need to get into the mindset that their stuff is their responsibility. A durable, lightweight duffel bag is a good choice because they have lots of room and can be placed under a bunk bed. 

If There is a No Cell Phone Policy, Trust It

This is a tough one, especially if you want your kids to be able to reach you. Some kids have issues leaving their cell phone at home, but they should leave it with you. Cell phones can be a huge distraction and usually take away from the camp experience. For many children, a direct line home also makes homesickness last longer. There is also the worry that a cellphone will be lost, damaged, or stolen. So, your best bet is to have your child leave their phone at home. 

Avoid the Tearful and Long Goodbyes

Most times, drop off day is more difficult on the parents than the children. There are lots of emotions going on and you may feel anxious and sad, which is completely normal, but you should not show your child how you are feeling. A tearful goodbye from a parent can create the feelings of guilt and sadness in the child. So, you should try to be happy and assure them that summer camp is going to be fun, and you are going to be there to pick them after camp is over.

Once They are at Camp, Remember that No News is Good News

You did the research and picked the summer camp. All the contact and medical forms have been filled out.  Summer camps are run by professionals who know to keep kids safe, so you can be assured that they will call if there is an issue. If you do not hear from the camp or your child, then everything is going okay. You child could be having so much fun and making new friends that they forget to call home. 

Summer camp is great for kids and teenagers. It is time to learn new skills and make new friends. There are going to be the occasional struggles and difficult times along the way, but this is also the case with many other life experiences.  So, keep in mind that getting your child ready for summer camp early reduces stress on you and your child.