Monthly Archives: July 2012

Quick Facts about Controlling Seasonal Allergies

An allergy is a reaction of your immune system. The immune system is the body’s defense system. Your immune system may react to one or more allergens.

Seasonal allergic reactions can be caused by  a wide array of triggers such as mold spores and pollen. Allergies may cause runny nose, sneezing, rash, hives, swelling, itching, headache, abdominal pain, or asthmatic reaction.

Allergies know no boundaries and can initiate an immune reaction spur of the moment. During the spring and summer seasons, seasonal allergies are at an all time high. Millions of people suffer with seasonal allergies that typically make a person feel bad. At times, a severe reaction can occur called anaphylaxis which is life threatening and a medical emergency where 911 must be dispatched immediately. 

There are some products that provide relief as the immune system fights off allergens such as filters, humidifier, air conditioners, and air purifiers. There are also various prescribed and over the counter medications * that offer relief listed below:

*(You must seek the medical advice of a licensed  medical physician/nurse practitioner prior to taking any kind of medication/treatment)
 

Antihistamines – counters the effect of histamine which makes eyes watery, nose itch and sneezing.

Cromolyn sodium – is a nasal spray that can help stop hay fever and possibly stops histamine release or other chemical that may produce allergy symptoms.

Decongestants – thin nasal secretions, reduce swelling, and sinus discomfort.

Immunotherapy – is allergy shots. They alter the body’s immune response to allergens, helping to prevent allergic reactions. This is a consideration for those who do not find relief with an antihistamine or nasal steroid.

Nasal steroid – is an anti-inflammatory spray. The spray decreases mucus production and inflammation.

Reference: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/allergy.html

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Light and Healthy Apple & Pear Crisp

Looking for a light summer treat, made with less sugar and calories that still satisfies the sweet tooth?  Then indulge in this warm apple and pear crisp, made with no calorie sugar and ample fresh fruits.  The recipe for this delicious treat can be found here.

Photo by:jeffreyw on Flickr          License: Creative Commons

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Common Causes of Back Aches and Pains

Doctors are reporting that patients are coming in with increased complaints related to back pain.  Simple movements such as lifting objects off the floor, carrying a bag on one shoulder and sitting for long hours at a desk, can trigger back aches.  In addition, certain exercises, if not done correctly, can irritate the back muscles.

In order to prevent back injury it is important to take certain measures to ensure that future aches and pains are avoided.  Click on this link for information on what steps to take to build a healthier back.

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Healthier Ways to Satisfy Chocolate Cravings

Gave up chocolate because you are watching your waistline?  Research has shown that chocolate, especially dark, in moderation, can provide essential vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, sodium, iron, and vitamin A, B1, C, D, and E.  However, it is important to pay attention to the amount of calories, sugar and fat when choosing which chocolates to eat.  Many stores now carry plenty of portion controlled options to help satisfy those chocolate cravings without going over your calorie budget.  Now you can enjoy these delectable delights without feeling deprived!

For a list of healthier alternatives, click here.

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The Healing Power of Green (Plants & Gardening)

The healing power of a green garden is appealing to the eyes, the senses, and overall individual well-being. Gardens are serene and known to reduce stress levels. Nature houses incredible restorative abilities for the mind, body, and soul. Consider bringing the outdoors in today with three ideas on how to get started with you very own personal garden. The space utilized will vary according to availability. A garden can be set up in your very own front yard, backyard, patio, apartment, house, or office. The choice is up to you. 

Choose your plant: There are many plants that you can choose from. A visit to your local flower shop or nursery is key when starting your garden.  The staff can help you with making informed choices in accordance with the living space you will utilize for your garden. There are hard-to-kill plants out there for the challenged green thumb.

Think petite: A nursery or flower shop have many potted plants. The sizes vary from very small to extra-large. Potted plants are beautiful in and around a home or work space/office. 

Get Fresh Flowering: Fresh flowers or a fresh flowering plant is just as exquisite and assists in healing and bringing positivity into our being and home or work space.   

Photo by:dizfunkshinal on Flickr          License: Creative Commons

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Sweet and Sour Mango and Pineapple Salsa

Looking for a light, refreshing salsa that’s low fat and full of flavor?  Then try the recipe below that mixes the flavor of mango and pineapple with a lemony zest!  You can top it on chicken, fish or use it as a dip.

Ingredients
1 cup diced mango
1 cup diced pineapple
.5 cup diced red pepper
.25 cup diced tomatillo
.25 cup diced cilantro
.25 cup diced red onion
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp lime juice

Mix everything together and enjoy!

© 2012 Daily Burn, Inc. All rights reserved. An IAC Company

Image courtesy of  www.gothamhometable.com

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3 Ways to Cut Sugar from Your Diet

Research shows that children and adults are consuming a lot more sugar in their diets, resulting in obesity, diabetes and other health related issues.  The list below offers suggestions on how to reduce the about of daily sugar intake.

  1. Avoid stocking up on sugary foods
  2. Switch to whole grain cereals with less than 5 grams of sugar per serving
  3. Choose skim milk over sugary juices and soda

For more information, click here

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License: Creative Commons

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Green Tea Ice Cream

 

Make your own Green Tea!

Originally from China, green tea is noted for its antioxidant properties and is regarded as a “super food.” Some evidence suggests that regular green tea drinkers enjoy a reduced risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer. Whatever the health benefits, green tea tastes delicious and offers an original flavor for your next batch of homemade ice cream.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons green tea powder (matcha)
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Method

  • Combine the matcha with 4 tablespoons sugar in a small bowl and mix well.
  • In a different bowl, whip together the egg yolks and remaining sugar.
  • Heat milk in a small saucepan almost to the point of boiling, but do not let it boil. Remove from heat and slowly add several spoonfuls of milk to the matcha mixture. Mix well until it forms a smooth green paste, then slowly add the paste back into your saucepan with the rest of the milk, stirring well until combined.
  • Slowly add the egg mixture to the saucepan. Heat until the mixture coats the back of a spoon, but do not let it boil. Remove from heat and strain the mixture through a fine sieve if desired. Let cool completely.
  • Whip your cream lightly and slowly add to the green tea mixture.
  • Put everything in your ice cream maker and go to town, OR use your freezer. First chill the mixture in your refrigerator for 2 hours, then move it to the freezer. As the mixture begins to freeze, ice crystals will form. Break them up to make a smoother ice cream by stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon every 30 minutes until the mixture is completely frozen.

Enjoy this refreshing green treat after a meal or any time of day.

Photo by:moriza on Flickr          License: Creative Commons

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Yoga

TOP 10 REASONS TO TRY YOGA!

 

  • Stress Relief: The practice of Yoga is well-demonstrated to reduce the physical effects of stress on the body. The body responds to stress through a fight-or-flight response, which is a combination of the sympathetic nervous system and hormonal pathways activating, releasing cortisol – the stress hormone – from the adrenal glands. Cortisol is often used to measure the stress response. Yoga practice has been demonstrated to reduce the levels of cortisol. Most Yoga classes end with savasana, a relaxation pose, which further reduces the experience of stress.
  • Pain Relief: Yoga can ease pain. Studies have shown that practicing Yoga asanas (postures), meditation or a combination of the two, reduced pain for people with conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, auto-immune diseases and hypertension as well as arthritis, back and neck pain and other chronic conditions.
  • Better Breathing: Yoga includes breathing practices known as pranayama, which can be effective for reducing our stress response, improving lung function and encouraging relaxation. Many pranayamas emphasize slowing down and deepening the breath, which activates the body’s parasympathetic system, or relaxation response. By changing our pattern of breathing, we can significantly affect our body’s experience of and response to stress. This may be one of the most profound lessons we can learn from our Yoga practice.
  • Flexibility: Yoga can improve flexibility and mobility and increase range of motion. Over time, the ligaments, tendons and muscles lengthen, increasing elasticity.
  • Increased Strength: Yoga asanas use every muscle in the body, increasing strength literally from head to toe. A regular Yoga practice can also relieve muscular tension throughout the whole body.
  • Weight management: While most of the evidence for the effects of Yoga on weight loss is anecdotal or experiential, Yoga teachers, students and practitioners across the country find that Yoga helps to support weight loss. Many teachers specialize in Yoga programs to promote weight management and find that even gentle Yoga practices help support weight loss. People do not have to practice the most vigorous forms of Yoga to lose weight. Yoga encourages development of a positive self-image, as more attention is paid to nutrition and the body as a whole. A study from the Journal of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine found that regular Yoga practice was associated with less age-related weight gain. The lifestyle study of 15,500 adults in their 50’s covered 10 years of participants’ weight history, physical activity, medical history and diet.
  • Improved circulation: Yoga helps to improve circulation by efficiently moving oxygenated blood to the body’s cells.
  • Cardiovascular Conditioning: Even a gentle Yoga practice can provide cardiovascular benefits by lowering resting heart rate, increasing endurance and improving oxygen uptake during exercise.
  • Presence: Yoga connects us with the present moment. The more we practice, the more aware we become of our surroundings and the world around us. It opens the way to improved concentration, coordination, reaction time and memory.
  • Inner peace: The meditative effects of a consistent Yoga practice help many cultivate inner peace and calm.

For more information, visit http://www.yogaalliance.org.

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Meditation

Meditation 101

To give meditation a try, sit comfortably and watch oneself…

Just sit. Commit to doing nothing more than sitting quietly and watching what happens. Turn off everything and do not let anyone interrupt you.

Listen to the sounds of life. Close your eyes and tune in to the sounds around you. Notice how the world feels more alive as your awareness of the present deepens.

Follow the breath. Simply watch the breath and feel the breath. When you find that your mind has strayed, as it inevitably will, gently refocus it on the breath and begin again.

Use a mantra. Choose a favorite word or phrase and repeat it slowly and softly. Mantras have the power of impacting your mind greatly. When you notice that your mind has wandered off to other thoughts, simply redirect it back toward the words you’ve chosen as your anchor to the present moment.

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