Did you know that the sun is amazing for your health?
Yep, that’s right. Not only does everyone love being out in the summer sunshine for fun, but you have a bigger excuse to get outside because it can offer many amazing benefits to your body. Here are some of the top health benefits of being in the sun, and make sure that you take advantage of every bit of sun you see this year!
It lowers blood pressure
Exposure to sunlight can be incredibly beneficial for people who suffer from high blood pressure. When sunlight hits your skin, it causes a compound called nitric oxide to be released into our bloodstream. This compound is instrumental in lowering the pressure of blood flow around the body. If you or a family member has issues with their blood pressure, the best thing you can do is take them outside for a walk in the sun.
Pretty much everyone knows that exposure to the sun helps promote the creation of Vitamin D in the body. Vitamin D is an important vitamin for us to have because it helps our bodies to repair after injury, it can heal muscles and joints, and promotes strong bones. Vitamin D promotes the absorption of both calcium and phosphorus in the body, and both of these minerals are used to keep our bones strong and healthy throughout our lives. This means that the more time you spend in the sun, the less likely you are to break a bone.
This is a fact we bet you wish you had known during your school years! Staying in the sun for long periods of time can produce lots of Vitamin D in the body, and Vitamin D has been directly linked to our brain function. When you have a higher level of Vitamin D in the body, you are able to learn, process and retain information much easier. It is the perfect excuse to stay sunbathing outside during your exam study period!
Helps with depression
The sun is not only good for our physical health, it can be amazing for our mental health too. During the winter months, many people suffer from a genuine mental condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It makes us feel more stressed out and depressed during the time where we are stuck inside. If you want to reduce stress and help yourself with the symptoms of depression, take a plane to Marriott’s Marbella Beach Resort and give yourself a week of sun therapy. When you come home you will feel much better, we promise.
You’ll get more sleep
When we are exposed to sunlight, the light which hits our eyes sends a signal to our brain to halt the production of a hormone called melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone which makes us feel relaxed and also drowsy, so during the day the levels will stay low, and as soon as the sun goes down the levels will rise to ensure that we have enough in our bodies during the evening. This stops our levels from depleting at night and helps us fall asleep much more easily. When you have spent a day out in the sun you are much more likely to get a good night’s sleep.
Can you say for sure that you’re paying as much attention to your mental health as you really should? Lots of people think they do, but in reality, it’s nothing more than an afterthought for them. Contrary to what many think, you should be paying as much attention to your mental health as any other aspect of your health. So if you’re not sure how to get better at this, here’s how to look after your mental health better than you currently are.
Talk to People
If you isolate yourself too much and don’t allow yourself to reach out to other people, you will eventually realise that you don’t have the support system you need in order to keep your mental health balanced and positive. So don’t be afraid to talk to people when you need to. Those around you will be happy to listen. And if you don’t feel able to talk to friends or family, there are charities that have people who can listen to you when you feel vulnerable.
Avoid Unhelpful Triggers
Many people know that certain things make them feel down and damage their mental, and these are the things that should be avoided. They’re unhelpful triggers that should be cut out whenever possible. It could be drinking too much alcohol, for instance. Alcohol is a know depressant, so it’s something that definitely can trigger negative emotions and feelings if you consume too much of it.
Find Time and Places for Real Relaxation
Sometimes, you simply need to break out of your ordinary routines in order to find the time to relax. This could mean simply prioritising yourself and focusing on your own relaxation. Or it could mean heading out to a luxury hotel for the night, slipping on those hotel slippers and kicking back away from your normal surroundings. A change or scenery really can make a difference.
Learn How to Manage the Stress in Your Life
Learning to manage your stress levels is one thing that you can actively do to make your mental health more balance and secure. We all experience stress in one way or another, so it definitely makes sense to learn more about how you can actively combat it day to day.
Try Meditation and Mindfulness
Simple things like meditation and mindfulness can really help you to get back in control of your life if you feel like this is something you’ve lost over time. There’s nothing at all wrong with giving it a try, even you think it won’t do much for you. You won’t know for sure until you try, and you might just be surprised.
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health, and you should never allow yourself to forget that fact. Too many people ignore this aspect of their health, and you should try to avoid falling into that trap yourself. You will only make your life more difficult if you do, and that’s not necessary.
If you’re not acquainted with matcha tea yet, you need to be. Matcha tea powder is a fine-ground, luminous green ingredient made from pure tea leaves, originally grown in China. In recent years its popularity has spread throughout the western world for its energy-boosting properties and antioxidant content.
People all over the world are swapping their caffeine-rich coffee habits for the healthy energy enhancement it gives, while containing half the amount of caffeine of an average cup of black coffee. Mix into a tea or latte for an instant delicious drink. After reading all about this super-tea, you’ll be hooked!
Try today and have your All the Amazing Health Benefits of Matcha Tea own ‘Matcha Moment’ – trying the tea for the first time and being blown away, according to the creators of this excellent guide to the best matcha. Check out the guide for a rating of the greatest brands of powdered tea on the market to help you decide which to try. Read on for all the amazing health benefits contained in matcha tea, besides perking you up in the mornings.
Matcha contains epigallocatechin gallate (more commonly known as EGCG) – an amino acid that increases fat oxidation when present in the body during exercise. In simple terms, this means that the process of burning body fat through exercise is sped up when EGCG is ingested; and this is present in abundance in matcha tea. For anyone looking to kickstart their metabolism and get an energy boost before a workout, have a hot cup of matcha before setting off for the gym.
Strengthens the Immune System
Sustain your immune system by drinking regular cups of matcha. No one likes being ill and having to miss work commitments or social occasions because you’re too sick to leave the house. Help to prevent this by eating and drinking as many antioxidant-filled foods as possible.
Matcha contains the aforementioned EGCG amino acid, as well as polyphenols and catechins, which the body utilizes to help fight infection and ward off illness. If you work in a cramped office prone to colds and flu, or have a small child who picks up all the coughs and sniffles going around, keep some matcha tea powder to hand at all times!
Helps to Clear Skin
Bright-green matcha tea contains heaps of chlorophyll, which is the agent in the plant that allows it to absorb the sun’s rays and kickstart photosynthesis. This is obviously great for plants, but when used in humans, it helps to rid your skin of any dirt and toxins and protect it from chemicals. It is also said to prevent and treat sun damage when mixed into a paste and smoothed into skin – though make sure you always use a high SPF cream when you’re exposed to the sun.
It can also fight acne and signs of ageing when applied to the skin. For these reasons, matcha is commonly used in skincare products like face masks that you can pick up at beauty counters and in drugstores.
Detoxifies the Body
Matcha is rich in antioxidants, and due to its high concentration of nutrients, can actually contain the same amount of antioxidants in one cup as ten cups of regular green tea! It’s highly effective for flushing out toxins from your body after an indulgent weekend or just when you’re feeling run down. Put a spring back in your step with a shot of energy and nutrients with a matcha brew.
Caffeine has been found to improve a person’s memory and focus. To give yourself a boost in the morning or during the working day, particularly in the afternoon when people tend to feel the most sluggish, brew yourself a pot of matcha to see you through until home time.
Matcha tea contains the amino acid l-theanine, which is found to improve a person’s sense of calm while maintaining alertness and not causing drowsiness, as some calming medicines can do. This makes it a perfect soothing natural remedy for nervousness or mild anxiety.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Strength training can temporarily raise blood sugar levels. However, over time the muscle that you build during weight training will burn glucose more efficiently.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.