Eight Ways Kindness Boosts Health

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February 17 is Random Acts of Kindness Day, a holiday created to encourage all of us to show kindness to others. When we practice kindness, we display the qualities of friendliness, generosity, empathy and compassion.

There’s evidence that kindness not only benefits the receiver, it brings benefits to the giver as well.

Kindness and empathy help us relate to other people and develop positive connections with family, friends, pets and even strangers that we encounter. Besides improving personal relationships, kindness can actually make us healthier.

Check out these eight ways kindness boosts health.

Eight Ways Kindness Boosts Health title meme

Kindness Releases Serotonin

Acts of kindness release serotonin, the “feel good” hormone. Serotonin does amazing things for the body. It stabilizes mood and produces feelings of wellbeing and happiness. Serotonin helps brain cells and central nervous system cells communicate with each other. Additionally, it aids sleeping, eating and digestion.

Eight Ways Kindness Boosts Health releases serotonin
Eight ways kindness boosts health – releases serotonin

Kindness Eases Anxiety

Occasional anxiety isn’t harmful. It can help us meet a deadline or prepare the body for action with a flight or fight response. However, chronic anxiety causes feelings of doom, panic attacks, depression, headaches, breathing disorders, irritability and muscles aches and pains.

Kindness helps ease anxiety by focusing on others rather than ourselves. When we help others, even in small ways, the “thinking” side of the brain takes a break and the creative side engages, which contributes to less anxiety and a calming of the body.

Eight Ways Kindness Boosts Health eases anxiety
Eight ways kindness boosts health – eases anxiety

Kindness Lowers Stress

Similarly, kindness lowers stress and the effects it has on the body. When we get outside of our own lives, by showing kindness to others, the body releases endorphins. These polypeptides made by the pituitary gland and central nervous system help the body relax. They reduce pain as well.

Helping others causes feelings of satisfaction, known as “helper’s high”, because of the pleasure effect associated with endorphins.

Eight Ways Kindness Boosts Health reduces stress
Eight ways kindness boosts health – reduces stress

Kindness Releases Oxytocin

Practicing kindness releases another powerful hormone, often referred to as the “love hormone”. Oxytocin is a neurotransmitter as well, associated with empathy, trust, sensuality and relationship building.

Oxytocin benefits heart health by lowering blood pressure and expanding blood vessels. And, studies show that oxytocin is addictive. Once the body finds a source for it, it does not forget. When practicing kindness releases oxytocin and we feel good as a result, we are encouraged to do it again…and again. Kindness is a wonderfully addictive habit to acquire.

Eight Ways Kindness Boosts Health heart health
Eight ways kindness boosts health – heart health

Kindness Lowers Inflammation

Inflammation is the body’s natural response to an invader, such as bacteria or an infection. However, chronic inflammation is a major contributor to poor health. It leads to diabetes, cancer, pain, obesity, migraines, rheumatoid arthritis and a category of diseases known as autoimmune disorders.

The oxytocin produced as a result of kindness lowers inflammation throughout the body, which helps prevent diseases.

Eight Ways Kindness Boosts Health lowers inflammation
Eight ways kindness boosts health – lowers inflammation

Kindness Prolongs Life

Amazingly, kindness creates longevity by strengthening relationships. Those healthy relationships contribute to a positive mental outlook and improved heart health, which in turn lead to a longer, happier life.

Studies show that we have a 24% lower risk of early death when we practice kindness toward others and volunteer our time and skills to benefit others.

Eight Ways Kindness Boosts Health longevity
Eight ways kindness boosts health – longevity

Kindness Returns to Us

Although this benefit may seem way “out there” to some, I can personally attest to the truth of it. Kindness sent out, returns to the sender. Kindness is often likened to the waves that ripple outward, when a pebble is dropped into water. Those waves continue on, as energy. And eventually…or sometimes quickly…those waves come back to the sender.

Another way of thinking of it is this: we reap what we sow. When we plant seeds of kindness, kindness grows and we harvest the blessings of it. When we plant seeds of discord or unkindness, that’s what grows and we harvest that whether we want to or not.

I’ve experienced this phenomenon so many times, and I’ll bet you have too. I let a car cut in front of me, in a line of traffic. And a short time later, a car gives me the same grace. Or, I practice random kindness to a stranger and then a stranger shows kindness to me. These experiences build trust and deepen feelings of wellbeing, which brings to us all the other benefits listed here.

Eight Ways Kindness Boosts Health it comes back
Eight ways kindness boosts health – it comes back to the sender

Kindness Fosters Self Care

Practicing kindness can create a sense of purpose in life. And when we have a sense of purpose, when we enjoy what we do, we tend to take better care of ourselves. Kindness to others results in kindness to ourselves in the form of self care and preventative health care.

Eight Ways Kindness Boosts Health self kindness
Eight ways kindness boosts health – self care

Start a Kindness Habit

Rather than practice kindness for one day, consider these ways to start a kindness habit:

  • Keep a running list of people you know that might need assistance and ways you can help. Running errands for a shut-in, walking the neighbor’s dog, checking in on loved ones and sending encouraging texts to friends are all simple ways to help.
  • Raise your awareness throughout the day, watching for opportunities to offer kindness. Smile at people, even while wearing a mask during the pandemic. Your eyes convey the smile. Acknowledge people by thanking them for doing their jobs. Compliment others. When you look for ways to practice kindness, you’ll find them.
  • Keep a gratitude journal. Gratitude helps us think kind thoughts, about others, about ourselves, about circumstances.
  • Try a kindness challenge…for seven days, for 14 days, for 30 days. Every day do one random act of kindness. Go beyond your comfort zone. Have fun.

Practice kindness today. Practice kindness everyday. It’s good for others, good for the world and good for you.

Eight Ways Kindness Boosts Health be kind to all kinds
Be kind to all kinds.

Check out this inspiring book by David Hamilton, The Five Side Effects of Kindness.

 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

Heart Health Tips

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

February, the month of love, is also American Heart Month. For 57 years, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the American Heart Association have worked to raise awareness about heart health during this month. And for good reason. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the US.

The focus this month is on preventing heart disease by adopting a heart healthy lifestyle. Did you know that there are many steps we can take, to protect our hearts and prevent coronary disease? The ultimate form of self care involves creating better health and wellness in our lives and being an example to others so that they can do the same.

Check out these heart health tips and take charge of your wellbeing.

Heart Health Tips title meme

Lose the Belly Fat

Research links excess belly fat to higher risks for heart disease. That extra weight around the middle raises blood pressure and creates unhealthy blood lipids. Targeting belly fat loss is a two step process. Eat a better diet, with more fruits and vegetables, and exercise for at least 15 minutes daily.

Use a smaller plate for meals and fill most of that plate with wholesome, plant based foods. Focus on including leafy greens, berries, brown rice, oats, quinoa, avocados, beans, walnuts and tomatoes.

Heart Health Tips belly
Heart Health Tips – lose the belly fat

Add Fiber to Diet

In addition to more fresh produce and wholesome grains, include more fiber in meals. A diet rich in soluble fiber helps lower bad cholesterol and boosts heart heath. Add beans, apples, pears, nuts, oats and avocados to daily meals and snacks. Create a meatless red beans and rice dish. Add avocados to a leafy green salad full of chopped veggies. Top a bowl of oatmeal with diced apples or pears. And a small handful of nuts, such as almonds or walnuts, make a great mid-afternoon snack.

Heart Health Tips fiber
Heart Health Tips – add more fiber

Pet Therapy

Pets not only offer companionship and unconditional love, they provide many health benefits. One of those benefits is better heart and lung health. Walking or playing with pets improves cardio health. And just having a pet and loving it lowers stress and blood pressure and decreases cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Studies shows that pet owners even tend to live longer. If you are looking for a new pet, I suggest contacting your local pet shelter or rescue and adopting from there.

Heart Health Tips pets
Heart Health Tips – pet therapy

Don’t Smoke

One of the best ways to protect the heart and prevent disease is to stop smoking. Or, never start the habit! Cigarettes contain ingredients that, when they burn, generate poisonous chemicals. At least 60 of those are linked to cancer.

Smoking damages the lungs and the entire cardiovascular system. Blood vessels tighten and restrict blood flow. It also raises blood pressure, weakens vessel walls and increases the risk of blood clots, which contribute to strokes. And smoking endangers those around you. Second hand smoke carries the same risks for non-smokers as it does for smokers.

Heart Health Tips no smoking
Heart Health Tips – no smoking

Don’t Have Idle Hands

Engaging in activities that keep the hands busy helps the mind to relax and unwind. And lowering stress is good for the heart. Try knitting, coloring or making crafts. Work a jigsaw puzzle, cook or bake, or try woodworking. Gardening is one of my favorite ways to ease my mind while keeping my hands busy. Even sorting and folding clothes while watching television soothes the mind…as long as the television show itself doesn’t create stress!

Heart Health Tips knitting
Heart Health Tips – don’t have idle hands

Reduce Salt Intake

Reducing salt intake to half a teaspoon a day significantly lowers the risk of heart disease. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and less processed foods, which are high in sodium. The body requires a small amount of salt, however too much contributes to high blood pressure, which is linked to heart disease, heart attacks, strokes and kidney disease.

One way to control the amount of salt in meals is to cook at home. And try a salt substitute, such as Mrs. Dash, if you already have high blood pressure.

Heart Health Tips salt
Heart Health Tips – reduce salt intake

Enjoy a Glass of Red Wine

Enjoying an occasional glass of red wine helps raise good cholesterol. Wine also helps prevent blood clots and artery damage. And it contains antioxidants that fight inflammation, promote longevity and protect against heart disease. Just don’t overdo it. Drinking in moderation is key.

For those who don’t enjoy a glass of wine, try a cup of hot green tea instead. It is very beneficial to heart health as well. Green tea is linked to lower risks of angina and heart attacks.

Heart Health Tips wine
Heart Health Tips – enjoy a glass of red wine

Eat Dark Chocolate

With that glass of wine, or cup of green tea, savor a piece of rich, dark chocolate. Dark chocolate contains heart healthy flavonoids that help reduce inflammation and lower the risk of heart disease. Like wine, enjoy dark chocolate in moderation and avoid the sweeter milk chocolate all together.

Heart Healthy Tips chocolate
Heart Healthy Tips – Eat dark chocolate

Laugh Out Loud

Surprisingly, laughter has many benefits, including heart health. Robust laughter lowers stress hormones, decreases inflammation in blood vessels and arteries and raises good cholesterol. Laughter is good medicine, indeed! Bring more of it into your life by watching funny movies, reading joke books and spending time with the children in your family. Kids are naturally funny. Watch comedians online or attend a comedy show. Giggle over those cute animal videos on YouTube. And smile, signaling to your body that you are ready for a good laugh.

Heart Health Tips laugh
Heart Health Tips – laugh out loud

Don’t Sit Too Long

A sedentary lifestyle, where one sits for long periods of time, is detrimental to overall wellbeing and especially to heart health. In fact, researchers warn that sitting too much, for too long, shortens life.

Take frequent breaks, if you must sit for hours during the day. Every 60 minutes, get up, stretch and move around for a couple of minutes. Use lunch breaks to eat a healthy lunch and then walk for the time remaining.

So many are working at home currently. It’s just as important to take breaks there as well. Walk to the kitchen and drink a glass of water. Take the dog out for a stroll around the backyard. Play with the kids. Hop on a stationary bike and pedal for 10 minutes. Break up the day with short bursts of activity.

Heart Health Tips sitting
Heart Health Tips – don’t sit too long

Get Your Moves On

To counterbalance sitting for long periods of time and to boost heart health, move the body. After a day of sitting, even with those frequent short breaks, plan a longer time of activity in the evening. Or if you work at home, take longer breaks if possible and get at least 15 minutes of activity in before returning to the computer.

There are so many ways to incorporate more movement into the day, raising heart rate and increasing respiration. Take the stairs rather than an elevator. Park farther from the store and walk. Enjoy nature trails. Turn up the music while doing household chores and ramp up your movements. Play with the kids and really get into their games and activities. Take the dog for a walk through the neighborhood. And dance for your heart. Catch an online Zumba class or get your moves on in the privacy of your own home. Just move…every day.

Heart Health Tips dance
Heart Health Tips – get your moves on

Practice Yoga

Yoga, or stretching, improves flexibility, balance and core strength. It also boosts heart health by reducing stress and anxiety and relaxing the body. If yoga is new to you, find a YouTube channel with an instructor or buy a yoga DVD and mat from Amazon. Yoga is a beautiful way to begin the day and set the intention for greater health and wellness.

Heart Health Tips yoga
Heart Health Tips – practice yoga

Healthy Heart Healthy Life

These tips don’t require a lot of effort or time yet they help to ensure a longer, healthier life. For the month of February, create a plan that incorporates practices that improve heart health and prevent coronary disease. Meal planning makes it easy to include heart healthy foods. And block out time during the day for moving the body.

A positive outlook on health and life is important too. Stress and anxiety are major contributors to heart disease. One of the best ways to be healthier is to make choices that contribute to wellbeing. When we feel better, and see positive results from our choices, we continue to do better. As a result, we more readily take the steps necessary to stay healthy. I hope these tips help you on your journey toward better health…and a better life.

Heart Health Tips fruit

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Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

Winter Health Tips

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Winter brings with it cold frosty days, snowfall in some areas and long nights perfect for snuggling under warm blankets. It can also bring its own unique set of health challenges. Enjoy the winter months and feel your best with these winter health tips.

Winter Health Tips title meme

Winter Health Tips

Following these simple winter health tips helps to ensure wellbeing during the year’s coldest months. Being indoors more, colds and viruses, drier air due to heating and cloudy, overcast days all contribute to health challenges. We aren’t at the mercy of the weather or the shorter, colder days however. Taking proactive, preventative steps goes a long way toward experiencing a healthier winter.

Get Enough Exercise

Like many animals, it feels like we want to go into hibernation mode when temperatures drop. We tend to eat more and move less. Exercise is one of the best ways to combat that sluggish feeling and keep energy levels high. Even on colder, snowy days a brief walk outdoors does wonders. Some of my most beautiful walks ever took place as snow fell around me.

When the weather just doesn’t permit walking outside, move exercise indoors. Do aerobics, dance to music, ride a stationery bike, do yoga, stretch. Studies show that just 11 minutes of exercise a day improves health and extends life. Make a game out of getting those 11 minutes of exercise in each day. Use a tracking app or keep a simple notebook detailing your success.

Winter Health Tips exercise
Winter Health Tips – get enough exercise

Beware the Winter Blues

For many people shorter days with less sunshine causes a condition known as Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. It’s not uncommon during the winter to feel sluggish, however those winter blues can become a depression that lasts for months.

Up to 20% of the population experience varying degrees of SAD. Symptoms of seasonal affective disorder include weariness, anxiety, depression, craving carbohydrates, irritability, weight gain and avoidance of social situations.

However, help is available. Sunlight decreases the symptoms of SAD. On sunny days try to spend short periods of time outdoors. Vitamin D helps too. And check out this post for foods that ease seasonal affective disorder, naturally. Stay connected to friends and family through texts, phone calls and facetime. If depression worsens seek professional help.

Winter Health Tips sunlight
Winter Health Tips – sunlight to beat the blues

Supplement with Vitamin D

Speaking of vitamin D, try adding a daily supplement to help prevent SAD and to boost the immune system. Vitamin D also supports healthy bones and teeth, improves brain health, aids the nervous system, contributes to lung function and heart health, decreases risk of flu, and regulates insulin levels. Just don’t think more is better with this supplement. Stick to 5000 IU a day for the best results.

Winter Health Tips vitamin e
Winter Health Tips – take a vitamin E supplement daily

Include Colorful Foods

During the winter months, take advantage of colorful, seasonal fruits and vegetables. They are loaded with nutrients and essential vitamins and minerals. Citrus fruits such as oranges, clementines and grapefruits add vitamin C. Winter squashes and sweet potatoes are rich with vitamin A. Check out the produce section of the grocery store at the beginning of your shopping trip and load up on fresh fruits and veggies. See how many colorful foods you can eat in a day. Your body will thank you for it with improved health and increased immunity.

Winter Health Tips seasonal foods
Winter Health Tips – eat colorful foods

Drink Plenty of Water

During the warmer months, we naturally drink more water. It’s easy during the colder months to skimp on water because we don’t feel as thirsty. Try adding citrus fruits, such as lemons, limes or oranges to a pitcher of water and set the intention of emptying the pitcher by the end of the day.

According to Anthony William, author of Life Changing Foods, citrus fruits added to water are ultra-hydrating and electrolyte producing because they are a top source of mineral salts and trace mineral salts. Plus they contribute highly absorbable vitamin C. In addition, lemons provide bioactive calcium. The phytochemicals called limonoids actually bond the vitamin C and calcium together, so where one goes in the body, the other tags along.

Winter Health Tips water
Winter Health Tips – drink enough water

Add Herbal Teas

One of my favorite practices, winter or otherwise, is afternoon tea. Those hot cups of herbal tea are especially soothing on cold winter days. Including a cup…or two…of herbal tea a day helps with hydration and provides a wealth of health benefits.

I often say “there’s an herb for that”. And there truly is. Upset stomach? A cup of hot peppermint tea soothes it. Need to unwind? Try a cup of chamomile. Feel a cold coming on? Drink a cup of nettle tea.

Here is a list of the absolute best herbal teas for cold and flu season. If you don’t think you’ll like hot tea I suggest you try it anyway. If hot tea still isn’t your “cup of tea”, steep the herbs in hot water, chill in the fridge and pour tea over ice.

Winter Health Tip herbal teas
Winter Health Tips – add herbal teas

Pamper the Skin

This time of year, with cold temperatures outdoors and hot dry air circulating indoors, many experience dry winter skin. Limit showers and baths to no more than ten minutes, if skin feels tight, dry or itchy. And use warm water rather than hot. Blot skin dry with a towel then slather on a high quality skin moisturizer. Hydrate the skin by drinking enough water and herbal teas. A cold water humidifier in the home helps to soothe dry skin as well.

Winter Health Tips skin care
Winter Health Tips – pamper the skin

Fight Germs

We all learned the importance of this tip last year. Winter brings with it more cold and flu viruses. Wash hands frequently, using the 20 second rule. Sing “Happy Birthday” while you wash hands with warm water and soap. An alcohol based hand sanitizer works well if soap and water aren’t available. And boost the immune system with sunlight, vitamin D and fresh fruits and vegetables. Add a high quality vitamin C supplement daily and keep elderberry syrup on hand. Take as directed at the first hint of a cold. Herbal teas are wonderful as well for their immune building properties. And of course, while COVID is still a threat this winter, wear a mask and observe social distancing if you must go out, wash hands and use hand sanitizer after excursions. Stay home as much as possible.

Winter Health Tips wash hands
Winter Health Tips – fight germs

Practice Self Care

Winter is a time for intense self care. With colder weather keeping us indoors, we can learn to really focus in on our bodies, emotions and needs. Creating healthy habits is a form of self care. So is moving our bodies. Go to sleep earlier. Nap in the afternoon, preferably in a patch of sunlight streaming in through the window. Reflect. Journal. Write down your thoughts.

Winter is also a time to prepare for the warmer months. Write down goals. Dream big dreams. Make plans. Learn a new language. Read. Enjoy a hobby. Try new things. Cook healthy meals. Get rid of clutter. Whatever brings you joy, do those things.

Winter Health Tips self care
Winter Health Tips – practice intense self care

Have a Cozy and Healthy Winter

I hope these simple tips give you ideas for increasing your health and wellbeing this winter. It’s the coziest time of the year. May you stay warm and well and safe and use these months to create health habits that take you into spring and beyond.

Winter Health Tips

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Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

 

Seven Superfood Mushrooms

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Four and a half years ago, new to the plant based lifestyle, some of the first superfoods that I wholeheartedly embraced were mushrooms. Most mushrooms provide high levels of fiber, nutrients and antioxidants. Adding them to meals and drinks boosts health in many ways.

Among mushrooms one group in particular earns the title of “superfood”. These fungi, labeled medicinal mushrooms, take health benefits to a much higher level.

Check out these seven superfood mushrooms and learn why they are so important to health.

Seven Superfood Mushrooms title meme

The Power of Medicinal Mushrooms

In the east, people have used medicinal mushrooms for centuries. Dried and taken in powdered form, these superfoods provide a host of benefits. Those remarkable properties drew attention to medicinal mushrooms from other regions in the world.

Medicinal mushrooms are still relatively new to western medicine and they don’t cure everything. However their benefits, including boosts to the immune system and the prevention of diseases, helped these mushrooms gain popularity in recent years. And for clarity, these are not hallucination inducing or mind altering mushrooms, these provide powerful benefits for health and wellness.

Seven Superfood Mushrooms

Each mushroom is unique and provides its own health benefits.

Reishi

Reishi tops the list of popular medicinal mushrooms, and for good reason. This mushroom’s unique property is its calming effect on the body. Reishi contains the compound triterpene, which positively impacts the nervous system. This mood boosting compound relieves anxiety, alleviates depression and promotes better sleep.

Reishi also helps the body heal and sharpens focus as well.

Add a spoonful of reishi mushroom powder to smoothies and soups, create a soothing hot tea or stir into a cup of hot cocoa. Chocolate and reishi seem to pair well together. Four Sigmatic offers wonderful hot cocoa mixes that contain reishi. It makes an excellent nighttime drink for a wonderful night’s sleep.

Check out Four Sigmatic’s hot cocoa with reishi HERE. If you place an order, use my discount code CINDYLAUDERDALEMOORE to save 10%.

Seven Superfood Mushrooms reishi
Seven Superfood Mushrooms – reishi

Lion’s Mane

Lion’s mane brings mental clarity, naturally. Packed with antioxidants and nutrients, lion’s mane strengthens the immune system. However, its real superpower is fostering the production of bioprotein nerve growth factor (NGF) and myelin, the insulation around nerves.

Both NGF and myelin are vital to brain health. An imbalance of either can create neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis. Lion’s mane also improves cognition and memory and increases the ability to concentrate. Additionally, this superfood mushroom alleviates anxiety and soothes irritability.

To boost brain power, try these Four Sigmatic focus products with lion’s mane: ground coffee, instant coffee, coffee latte mix, elixir mix, matcha latte mix or their focus shots and mixes.

I also highly recommend Nature Byte’s Lion’s Mane capsules.

Seven Superfood Mushrooms lions mane
Seven Superfoods Mushrooms – lion’s mane

Chaga

Chaga is the first superfood mushroom powder that I tried. It makes a great coffee substitute or simply add a spoonful to smoothies. As with all the superfood mushroom products, the dried fungi doesn’t have a “mushroomy” taste, making it easy to add the powders to almost any food or drink.

Chaga contains extremely powerful antioxidants that fight the free radicals that age the body and cause disease. This black mushroom eases inflammation, combats oxidative stress that ages skin and prevents or slows the growth of cancer cells. It also lowers bad cholesterol.

Try adding Four Sigmatic’s defend products to your diet: mushroom blend mix, ground coffee, instant coffee with chaga, elixir mix with chaga, plant based protein powder and immune support shots with chaga.

I also highly recommend Maine Chaga Powder from Amazon.

Seven Superfood Mushrooms chaga
Seven Superfood Mushrooms – chaga

Cordyceps

Need a pre-workout boost or feeling low energy? Cordyceps is the perfect superfood mushroom for you. This fungus helps the body use oxygen more efficiently while enhancing blood flow.

Cordyceps helps athletes perform better. And it helps the rest of us too, as we exercise, plus it speeds up muscle recovery after working out. And when that midafternoon slump hits, drink a cordyceps tea for an instant pick me up.

Add a spoonful of cordyceps to a post workout drink or meal. Or try Four Sigmatic’s performance blends: cocoa mix with cordyceps, elixir blend with cordyceps and instant coffee with cordyceps.

Seven Superfood Mushrooms cordyceps
Seven Superfood Mushrooms – cordyceps

Turkey Tail

Most superfood mushrooms offer anti-cancer properties because of their high antioxidant content. However, turkey tail takes it up a notch.

This interesting fungus contains a compound called polysaccharide-K (PSK) that stimulates the immune system. Turkey tail improves the survival rate of those with cancer, fights leukemia cells and boosts the immune system for those receiving chemotherapy. This mushroom is so powerful that it’s an approved anti-cancer prescription drug in Japan.

Pick up golden latte with turkey tail or chai latte with turkey tail from Four Sigmatic.

I also recommend turkey tail powder from Amazon.

Seven Superfood Mushrooms turkey tail
Seven Superfood Mushrooms – turkey tail

Shiitake

These mushrooms provide benefits for the heart. They lower bad cholesterol while inhibiting the production and absorption of cholesterol in the liver. Shiitake mushrooms also prevent the build up of plaque and help maintain healthy blood pressure and circulation.

Use dried shiitake powder in any food or drink recipe. Or add the mushrooms to stir fries and other dishes.

Try this shiitake powder.

Seven Superfood Mushrooms shiitake
Seven Superfood Mushrooms – shiitake

Maitake

Maitake, the Japanese word for “dancing mushroom”, helps support healthy blood sugar levels in the body. It also boosts the immune system and provides essential vitamins and minerals including copper, potassium and vitamins B and C.

Add a spoonful of powdered maitake to soups, sauces and pasta dishes.

Click HERE to try maitake mushroom powder.

Seven Superfood Mushrooms maitake
Seven Superfood Mushrooms – maitake

Which of These Seven Superfood Mushrooms Will You Try?

Which of these superfood mushrooms will you try first? It truly is easy to add a spoonful to teas, coffees, drinks, smoothies or recipes, or to use one of the Four Sigmatics blends. And the health benefits are amazing.

A spoonful…or two…each day of any of these superfood mushrooms is all that you need to begin enjoying greater health and vitality and protection against aging and diseases.

I most often added a spoonful of powdered mushrooms to smoothies, that is until I discovered the cocoa mixes from Four Sigmatic. Now I love sipping on a cup of hot cocoa with reishi in the evenings or savoring a cup of chai latte with turkey tail in the afternoons. It’s such a yummy way to get my mushrooms!

Seven Superfood Mushrooms hot cocoa
Four Sigmatic hot cocoa with mushrooms

 

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Prevent Diabetes Naturally

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November is National Diabetes Month. The purpose is to bring awareness and attention to diabetes, including ways to prevent it. For the millions who are at risk, this month is a time to learn and find resources.

Currently, 30 million adults age 18 and older live with diabetes. And 84 million are at risk for developing the disease. Additionally, those who are prediabetic are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and strokes.

I’m happy to contribute by presenting ways to prevent diabetes naturally.

Prevent Diabetes Naturally title meme

Preventing Diabetes Naturally

Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed through lifestyle changes that promote weight loss and increase exercise and healthy eating. And this shift is extremely important. Uncontrolled diabetes may cause blindness, kidney failure and other serious complications that can require limb amputation.

These action steps help prevent diabetes.

Cut Sugar from the Diet

Let’s start with the one people consider the toughest. And I know it’s not easy, however there’s a reason for that. Sugar is addictive and it has a toxic effect on the body.

Eating sugary foods puts us at risk for developing diabetes. When we eat sugar the body breaks it down into smaller molecules that enter the blood stream, resulting in a rise in blood sugar. That rise stimulates the pancreas to produce insulin to help get the sugar out of the bloodstream and into cells.

For those with prediabetes, the cells resist insulin so the sugar remains at a high level in the bloodstream. As a result, the pancreas creates more insulin to attempt to bring sugar levels down. Eventually those high sugar and insulin levels cause type 2 diabetes.

What’s the solution? Avoid foods with refined sugar and carbs. Refined carbs include sugars and grains stripped of fiber and nutrients such as white bread, pizza dough, pasta, white flour, sweet desserts and many breakfast cereals.

Prevent Diabetes Naturally cut sugar
Prevent Diabetes Naturally – cut sugar

Drink More Water

Water is the best drink for the body. We need water, for the body to function properly. And drinking water as the primary beverage helps us avoid sugary soft drinks.

Soft drinks greatly increase the risk of both type 2 diabetes and a form of type 1 diabetes called latent autoimmune diabetes of adults (LADA). The startling facts are, those who consume more than two soft drinks a day have a 99% increased risk of developing LADA and a 20% increased risk for type 2 diabetes.

Studies show that artificially sweetened soft drinks do not prevent diabetes so those are not a good alternative.

Drinking more water leads to better blood sugar levels and insulin response. And those who replace sodas with water while eating healthier decrease insulin resistance.

Prevent Diabetes Naturally - water
Prevent Diabetes Naturally – drink more water

Manage Weight

Although not everyone who develops type 2 diabetes is overweight, most are. And those with prediabetes tend to carry excess weight in the belly area and around organs such as the liver.

This visceral fat causes inflammation and insulin resistance which greatly increases the risk of diabetes.

Losing weight and keeping it off decreases sugar and insulin levels.

Reducing sugar intake is a great start. While eating more fruits and vegetables helps the body shed excess weight. Strive for filling half your plate with fruits and veggies. And eating smaller portions is helpful too. Eating too much at meals causes blood sugar and insulin levels to spike.

Prevent Diabetes Naturally weight management
Prevent Diabetes Naturally – weight management

Eat a High Fiber Diet

Another way to manage weight and help prevent diabetes is to include more fiber in the diet. Fiber can be soluble or insoluble. Soluble fiber absorbs water in the digestive track, forming a gel. This gel slows down the absorption rate of food leading to a more gradual rise in blood sugar levels.

Including high fiber foods throughout the day helps to reduce the risk of diabetes. Good high fiber foods to add: pears, berries, avocados, apples, bananas, carrots, beets, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, dark leafy greens, lentils, tomatoes, legumes, quinoa, oats, nuts, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sweet potatoes and surprisingly, dark chocolate (choose chocolate with a 70% or higher level of cocoa).

Most plant based foods contain fiber, so increasing fruits and vegetables is a great choice.

Prevent Diabetes Naturally eat fiber
Prevent Diabetes Naturally – eat more fiber

Vitamin D

This important vitamin helps control blood sugar levels. Most people have a vitamin D deficiency. And not getting enough raises the risk for all types of diabetes.

Studies show that when we take vitamin D supplements, or get at least 10 minutes of sunlight a day, insulin production improves, blood sugar levels stabilize and the risk of developing diabetes reduces dramatically.

If you aren’t able to get sunlight every day, supplementing with 2,000 – 4,000 IU of vitamin D helps prevent a deficiency. Read about the other benefits of vitamin D HERE.

Bonus supplement: turmeric is helpful due to its main ingredient, curcumin. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce inflammation markers and decrease insulin resistance.

Prevent Diabetes Naturally vitamin D
Prevent Diabetes Naturally with vitamin D

Drink Tea and Coffee

While water is important as the primary beverage, drinking tea and coffee reduces the risk for diabetes as well. Just don’t add sugar to them! Tea and coffee are rich in antioxidants called polyphenols that help protect against diabetes.

Green tea is especially beneficial. It contains a unique antioxidant that reduces blood sugar release from the liver and lowers insulin sensitivity.

Try this Turmeric Green Tea recipe for a powerful way to get those antioxidants.

Prevent Diabetes Naturally drink tea
Drink green tea or coffee to help prevent diabetes naturally.

Exercise Regularly

There is a strong link between the sedentary lifestyle and an increased risk of diabetes. If you sit most of the day and get little or no physical exercise then you have a 91% increased risk of developing diabetes.

Begin the shift to a more active lifestyle by standing frequently if you sit most of the day. Take a break every hour and walk around for five minutes. Stretch. Then move into more physical activities.

Try aerobic exercise, walking, strength training, swimming, dancing, high intensity interval training or biking. Find something you enjoy to increase the likelihood that you’ll stick with it.

Physical activity reduces insulin resistance and lowers blood sugar levels. It helps with weigh loss and management. Strive for 30 minutes of exercise a day.

Prevent Diabetes Naturally exercise
Prevent Diabetes Naturally – exercise

The Choice is Ours

Rather than waiting for illness to strike, we can make choices now that help prevent diseases such as diabetes and enjoy greater health and vitality.

These steps not only help to prevent diabetes naturally, they ensure better health and wellness overall.

Which steps will you adopt today for a healthier tomorrow?

Prevent Diabetes Naturally healthy meal
Healthy meal of mashed avocado on gluten free ancient grains bread, blueberries and mandarin oranges.

 


 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

 

Seven Ways to Protect Hearing

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

October is National Protect Your Hearing Month. The purpose is to raise awareness about noise induced hearing loss.

Hearing loss caused by high noise levels is permanent. And yet, four out of five Americans don’t protect their ears at sporting or entertainment venues. And half of us listen to music turned up too loud.

Check out these seven ways to protect hearing and lessen the risk of damage.

Seven Ways to Protect Hearing title meme

How Loud is Too Loud?

Over time, exposure to loud noises, whether at work or listening to music or attending concerts, causes hearing loss.

How loud is too loud?

If you can’t talk to someone six feet away, without shouting, it’s too noisy. Sound is measured in decibels. Normal conversation registers at 60 decibels, a whisper at 30. Noise over 80 decibels (dB), over prolonged time, causes damage. When noise goes over 120 dB it can cause immediate harm.

The inner ear contains 16,000 hair cells that allow the brain to detect sound. When they become damaged, they can’t grow back, and hearing diminishes.

More than 40 million adults, aged 20 to 69, suffer from noise induced hearing loss. That makes loss of hearing the third most common health condition.

Seven Ways to Protect Hearing ear
Seven Ways to Protect Hearing – learn how to prevent hearing loss.

Seven Ways to Protect Hearing

Learn how to prevent hearing loss, due to noise and other causes. It’s especially important that we teach our youth and young adults how to protect their ears and hearing.

Use Hearing Protection

Approximately 15% of adults experience noise induced hearing loss due to excessively loud work or entertainment environments.

In the workplace, machinery, airplanes, lawnmowers, chainsaws or any other loud noise that causes you to shout over it to be heard, is causing damage.

Clubs and concerts play music at dangerously loud levels, around the 120 dB level .

Earplugs provide an easy way to protect ears and hearing in these situations. You can even have them custom fitted by a hearing specialist. Musicians’ earplugs filter out excessive noise while still allowing conversation and music to enter.

According to the World Health Organization, 1.1 billion teens and young adults are at risk for noise induced hearing loss due to unsafe use of audio equipment.

When listening to music use headphones rather than earbuds. While convenient to use and easy to tote, earbuds rest too close to the eardrums and can cause damage. They increase a sound’s volume by six to nine decibels.

Use the 60/60 rule when listening to music via headphones. Listen to music through headphones at 60% of the volume, for no more than 60 minutes a day.

And when riding in an enclosed vehicle, or listening to music anywhere without headphones, simply turn the volume down.

Seven Ways to Protect Hearing headphones
Seven Ways to Protect Hearing – use headphones rather than earbuds

Allow Ears to Recover

After prolonged exposure to loud sounds, give the ears a break. During a concert or at work where loud noises occur, step away into a quieter place for five to ten minutes as often as possible. The ears need the rest.

Remove headphones after an hour of listening to music, to give the ears a break as well.

Researchers discovered it takes 16 hours of quiet for the ears to recover after a loud concert or a night out in a noisy location.

Seven Ways to Protect Hearing take a break
Seven Ways to Protect Hearing – give ears a break

Keep Ears Dry

Excess moisture in the ear canals creates bacterial growth. This causes swimmer’s ear or ear infections, which can impact hearing.

Gently towel dry around ears after showering, bathing or swimming, blotting away moisture. If water enters the ear canal, tip head to the side and tug on earlobe to help remove fluid.

Swimmer’s earplugs prevent water from entering the ears and keep ear canals dry.

Seven Ways to Protect Hearing dry
Seven Ways to Protect Hearing – keep ear canals dry

Don’t Use Cotton Tipped Swabs

There’s an old saying that goes, “Don’t put anything bigger than your elbow in your ear”. It’s very common to use cotton tipped swabs to clean the ears and remove wax. However, experts advise against the practice.

It’s normal and even desirable to have a bit of wax in the ears. The ears are naturally self cleaning and the wax prevents dust and particles from entering the ear canal. The wax eventually moves out of the ear on its own.

Plus inserting anything into the ear may damage the ear drum and harm hearing.

For excess wax, gently clean around the ear canal with a damp washcloth. Or try over the counter ear wax removal solutions that softens the wax so that it flows out. Doctors can remove excessive wax during an office appointment as well.

Seven Ways to Protect Hearing swabs
Don’t use cotton tipped swabs in the ears.

Be Careful with Certain Medications

Some over the counter medications can contribute to hearing loss. Non steroidal anti-inflammatories, such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen can impact hearing in a negative way. Don’t over medicate with these drugs. And discuss all medications, including over the counter ones, with your doctor. He or she can advise about possible side effects.

 

Seven Ways to Protect Hearing limit meds
Seven Ways to Protect Hearing – limit certain meds

Exercise

Moving the body is good for the ears. Cardio exercise, such as running, jogging, walking or cycling, pumps blood to all parts of the body, including the ears. That oxygen rich blood helps the ear’s internal parts to work well and stay healthy.

If cycling, protect the head with a helmet. A head injury can affect hearing. And if you listen to music while walking, running or jogging, keep volume low so it doesn’t distract you or cover the sounds of approaching traffic.

Seven Ways to Protect Hearing exercise
Exercise such as walking is one of seven ways to protect hearing.

Manage Stress

Both stress and anxiety can cause temporary and permanent tinnitus or ringing in the ears. Chronic stress puts the body in fight or flight mode, which causes adrenaline levels to elevate and stay that way.

Stress strains the nerves, restricts blood flow and affects many systems in the body. And that stress is thought to affect the inner ear, contributing to tinnitus.

Try relaxation techniques to lower and manage stress. Spend time in nature, practice yoga or meditation, do deep breathing exercises. And eat a healthy diet, rich in fruits and vegetables.

Seven Ways to Protect Hearing destress
Seven Ways to Protect Hearing – manage stress

How Are You Protecting Your Hearing?

I’ve protected my hearing throughout my life. However, I’ve also had tinnitus since childhood. I often wonder if my fears as a child created stress that contributed to the ringing in my ears. It’s also possible I willed my ears to ring, to cover any bump in the night sounds.

Changing my diet to a plant based one lessened the ringing tremendously although I still hear it when all other noise dies away.

I hope these seven practices help prevent loss or further hearing loss for others. Diminished hearing can contribute to depression, anxiety, isolation and even dementia. It’s worth turning the music volume down a bit or standing at the back of a venue away from the speakers, to protect hearing.

How is your hearing?

Wearing headphones
Wearing headphones during my first pod cast.

Hearing Helps from Amazon:

 


If you want the BEST headphones, try these!

 


 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

 

 

 

 

Seven Ways to Practice Active Aging

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October 5 – 11, 2020 is designated as Active Aging Week this year. Celebrating the benefits of active living at any age, Active Aging Week showcases the capabilities of older adults as fully participating members of society.

Initiated in 2003 by the International Council on Active Aging, this week long celebration shows that adults age 50 and over can live fully in all areas of life. Active Aging Week promotes wellness activities and exercise plus healthier, more robust lifestyles.

This initiative is dear to me as the purpose of Journey With Healthy Me is to encourage others to experience health at every age. We do not need to consider ourselves shelved when we pass that 50 year mark. As we enter this golden season, our quality of life is greatly dependent on our daily health practices and our attitudes about aging.

At age 62, I’ve discovered that health and well being are very possible during my “senior” years. In fact, I feel more healthy than I have in many years.

Take a look at these seven ways to practice active aging, in recognition of this week AND to increase quality of life and overall wellness.

Seven Ways to Practice Active Aging title meme

It’s Never Too Late to Improve Health

Four plus years ago, I embraced a plant based lifestyle, primary for health reasons. The results were so astounding that my mother and Greg decided to join me in eating a different way.

At the time, in my late 50s, I’d experienced decades of chronic, constant inflammation and pain along with a host of other disorders. My mother also dealt with a variety of moderate to severe health issues while Greg suffered from minor to moderate ailments. We all discovered that it is never too late to improve health and wellness.

I went from using a cane and facing the prospect of requiring a wheelchair to becoming pain and inflammation free and walking unassisted. Mom and Greg experienced improvements in all of their health conditions. The lesson we learned is that changes in diet and activities bring about huge changes in the body.

Practicing active aging goes beyond exercise. It is a proactive way of living and in reality, a way of life.

Seven Ways to Practice Active Aging have fun
Who says adults over age 50 can’t have fun? Last year’s Halloween party.

Seven Ways to Practice Active Aging

Incorporate these practices into your life to create a healthier quality of life.

Engage With Others

It is important to connect frequently with others, especially as we age. Older adults who socialize enjoy better health and quality of life. Lack of connection with others can cause sleep disorders, raised blood pressure and increase the chance of premature death. Loneliness and isolation may bring on depression and anxiety. During this year of social distancing it is even more vital that older adults connect with loved ones and friends via phone calls, zoom meetings and messaging.

Seven Ways to Practice Active Aging engage
Seven ways to practice active aging – engage. When you can’t be close, stay connected in other ways. My sister and I with Mom.

Eat a Nutrient Rich Diet & Maintain a Healthy Weight

People require fewer calories as they age, however, they need more nutrients. Increase those nutrients by adding more fruits and veggies to the diet. Doing so helps prevent diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.

A highly nutritious diet also maintains a healthy weight which lessens the risk for disability later in life. Obesity worsens arthritis and raises the risks of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and sleep related breathing disorders.

As part of a healthy lifestyle, limit alcohol, processed foods and sugar (which increases inflammation). And don’t smoke. Smoking damages the lungs and increases the risks for heart disease, strokes and various forms of cancer.

Seven Ways to Practice Active Aging eat healthy
Eating healthy to maintain weight is one of seven ways to practice active aging.

Have a Positive Attitude About Aging

A Yale University study found that older adults who had positive attitudes about aging lived seven and a half years longer than those with negative attitudes. That’s a significant number of additional years to enjoy life! Rejecting negative stereotypes and beliefs, such as “As I get older, I am less useful” has a great impact on quality of life and longevity.

“Our study carries two messages,” the authors of the study said. “The discouraging one is that negative self perceptions can diminish life expectancy; the encouraging one is that positive self perceptions can prolong life expectancy.”

Older adults with positive attitudes are also 50% less likely to develop dementia.

Practice shifting negative beliefs about aging. Create positive affirmations to repeat daily such as, “I am enjoying life.” Or say “I am healthy and active.” and “I am grateful for my good health.”

If we say often enough, “I’m getting old and useless” then we believe it as truth. And the body listens to what the minds repetitively says.

Seven Ways to Practice Active Aging positive attitude
Seven ways to practice active aging – positive attitude. My sister and I enjoying life in London, England.

Active Lifestyle

According to a study shared in 2017, exercise and moving the body, for 30 minutes five days a week, reduces premature death by 25%. Choose from walking, yoga, stretching, gentle aerobics, dancing, household chores or gardening. Sports such as golf, swimming and tennis are excellent as well as long as joints are healthy and moving freely. And actively playing with grandchildren counts!

Exercise helps older adults maintain strength and mobility and lessens the risk of injuries. It also improves mood.

Seven Ways to Practice Active Aging exercise
Seven ways to practice active aging – exercise for 30 minutes a day

Get Enough Sleep

Older adults may not require as much sleep as they did when younger. However, the quality of sleep becomes important. Many seniors experience restless sleep or may wake up and find it difficult to go back to sleep. Sleep deprivation is linked to cardiovascular disease, inflammation and decreased immunity. Plus it causes fatigue.

Most experts agree that seven to nine hours of sleep is optimal. More importantly, regularly established sleep patterns are associated with longer life and greater well being.

Try creating bedtime routines that prepare the body for sleep such as limiting electronics, taking a warm bath, listening to soothing music, sleeping in a dark room and lowering the thermostat.

And napping for an hour in the afternoon improves memory and the ability to think clearly, while boosting energy. Don’t feel guilty for taking a nap! Shift that attitude and think of it as a reboot for the brain and body.

Seven Ways to Practice Active Aging sleep
Seven ways to practice active aging – sleep. Sometimes a nap sneaks up on you! Catching a nap on the train to London.

Manage Stress

Chronic stress results in higher risks for cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and decreased immune function. And stress accelerates cellular aging, creating inflammation throughout the body. Additionally, it decreases the ability to think clearly and lessens enjoyment of life.

Common causes of stress for older adults include financial strain, relationship difficulties, work related issues and care giving pressures. To reduce chronic stress improve sleep habits, exercise, eat a nutrient rich diet, meditate and try relaxation techniques. Keep a journal and use writing as a way to explore causes of stress and identify patterns. And finally, avoid people who stress you out and situations that increase anxiety. If the news creates stress, stop listening to the news.

Seven Ways to Practice Active Aging relax
Manage stress with relaxation and other techniques. My favorite way to relax…afternoon tea time.

Keep Learning

This is my favorite active aging practice. Experiencing and learning new things stimulates the brain. And that mental exercise is just as important as physical exercise. Daily learning and trying new things sharpens the mind, boosts memory and concentration and lowers the risk of dementia. Plus, in my experience, it’s a fun way to engage with life and find tremendous enjoyment.

Learn a new language, hobby or skill. Travel to places you’ve never visited before, even if it’s in your own city. Create a new recipe. Listen to a new genre of music. Truly, the possibilities for new experiences are endless.

Last year, at ages 61 and 79 respectively, my mother and I did our first ever photo shoot for a national magazine! What a fun first experience for both of us.

Seven Ways to Practice Active Aging - try new things
Seven ways to practice active aging – try new things.

What Practices Will You Include?

Getting older doesn’t have to be a negative experience. These seven ways to practice active aging offer steps toward being healthy at EVERY age.

I am enjoying these beautiful years with health, energy and a passion for living life to the fullest as my most authentic self. One of my greatest joys, beyond spending time with my family, is continuing to learn and grow as I explore the world and try new experiences.

I’m not slowing down anytime soon.

Seven Ways to Practice Active Aging travel

Practice Active Aging with These Amazon Finds:

 


Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

 

Tips for a Healthy Fall

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

As summer transitions into fall, many celebrate the change. Cooler temperatures, cozy hoodies, sturdy boots, colorful leaves, pumpkin spice and crackling fires herald the arrival of the holiday season.

I love fall. However, in the past, fall didn’t always love me. Along with all the joys of the season came seasonal allergies, fatigue, colds, viruses and flu bugs.

Most of us feel powerless against seasonal changes and the ailments that often accompany them. However, I’ve discovered my health is not captive to the whims of nature. Your health isn’t either.

Check out these tips for a healthy fall…and a more enjoyable season.

Tips for a Healthy Fall title meme

Tips for a Healthy Fall

These ten tips make life a bit easier during fall. They don’t rely on equipment or unusual foods. Nor do they require a lot of time.

Vitamin D Every Day

I can’t stress enough the importance of this vitamin. Ten minutes of sunlight or two 1000 mg capsules a day protects the body against a wide range of diseases and conditions.

Vitamin D promotes healthy bones and teeth, regulates insulin levels, protects against cancer, supports lung, heart, brain and nervous system health, improves mood AND boosts the immune system.

Boost Your Immune System

If there’s one health tip I’ve repeated over and over this year, during the pandemic, it’s this one: build up your immune system. It is the first line of defense against invading viruses, bacteria and allergens. A weak immune system in a body already struggling against ailments can’t handle one more invader.

Strengthen your immune system by drinking lots of water, getting enough vitamin D, washing hands frequently and avoiding touching the face and eyes. Eat highly nutritious foods.

And along with vitamin D, add vitamin C, zinc, L-lysine, olive leaf and echinacea to your diet. Probiotics promote healthy gut bacteria, which is vital to a strong immune system.

Tips for a Healthy Fall boost immunity
Tips for a healthy fall – drink plenty of water.

Moisturize Skin

Cooler temperatures take a toll on the skin, drying it out and causing flakiness, cracking or itchiness.

Drink water and herbal teas, add high water content foods such as cucumber and celery to your diet along with healing herbs like calendula, lavender and rose. Check out a full list of helpful foods and herbs for the skin HERE.

Go to Bed Earlier

During the fall months, Daylight Savings Time ends, meaning we turn our clocks back one hour. It gets dark earlier in the day and the nights seem long. The change can disrupt our sleep schedules creating fatigue and moodiness.

Take advantage of the longer nights. Get to bed earlier. Establish a night time routine that prepares the body for sleep.

Turn off electronics at least an hour before bed. Take a warm shower or bath. Listen to calming music. Sleep in a dark, cool room. Fall asleep counting the blessings from the day.

Tips for a Healthy Fall turn back the clock
Tips for a healthy fall – go to bed earlier.

Prepare for Seasonal Allergies

As one who suffered for many years with fall allergies, I can attest to the power of increasing health to ward them off. One in five people suffer from seasonal allergies. In the fall, ragweed is the primary culprit.

Allergy symptoms occur when the body responds to allergens by producing a chemical called histamine, which works to counteract the allergen. The immune system causes the allergic reactions by producing immunoglobulin antibodies that result in widespread symptoms.

Lessening and ultimately avoiding fall allergies is a two step process: eliminate foods that weaken the immune system and then support the immune system so it can work properly, handling allergens without creating symptoms in the body.

Avoid eggs, gluten, canola oil, GMO soy and corn, dairy products and MSG. These foods create inflammation in the body and weaken the immune system.

Include wild blueberries, lemons, limes, celery, garlic, sweet potatoes, leafy greens, cruciferous veggies such as cauliflower and broccoli, onions, oranges, cranberries and raw, local honey (from conscientious bee keepers).

And add these supplemental foods: turmeric, vitamin C, nettle and elderberry syrup.

Enjoy Seasonal Foods

Take advantage of the foods of the season. Enjoy more apples, pears, beets, broccoli, cabbage, squash, root veggies, dark leafy greens, cranberries, persimmons and that seasonal favorite, pumpkin.

These plentiful foods perfectly protect the body against diabetes, improve heart health and lower blood pressure levels. Pumpkins offer vitamins C and A and their seeds help lower cholesterol.

Tips for a Healthy Fall pumpkins
Tips for a healthy fall – seasonal foods offer benefits.

Talk to Your Doctor about a Flu Shot

A flu vaccination can keep you healthier by preventing illness due to flu. The shot reduces the risk of flu-related hospitalization for children, working adults and older adults. It’s especially important for those with chronic health conditions.

And while a flu shot will not prevent COVID19, getting one may prevent overwhelming healthcare systems that are already dealing with the virus. Additionally, a flu vaccine saves healthcare resources for the care of people with COVID.

Beat Stress During the Holiday Season

For many people, the holidays bring additional stress. And I think we can agree that 2020 brought enough of that already.

Establish stress reducing practices NOW, before the holiday season starts.

Begin the day with a morning meditation and a short time of journaling or free writing. During the day practice deep breathing exercises, yoga, stretches or gentle aerobics. End the day with thankfulness, writing, meditation or deep breathing, letting go of the stresses of the day and finding things to express gratitude for.

Tips for a Healthy Fall stress
Tips for a healthy fall – begin practicing stress relief now.

Get Outdoors

Cooler temperatures after a hot summer invite outdoor activities. And fall offers many possibilities.

Rake leaves, tidy up the garden or go for long walks in nature. Jog, ride a bicycle or engage in sports. Getting outside for fresh air and exercise boosts mood and creativity. Plus it reduces inflammation, relieves stress and anxiety and strengthens immunity.

Be Kind to Yourself

During this transition into fall, practice self kindness and self love.

Fall may bring colds, viruses and allergies. Shorter days can usher in depression. During the holidays, it’s easy to gain weight and feel increased stress and loneliness.

Be exceedingly kind to yourself during these months. Set aside at least one afternoon or evening a week to practice self care such as reading, a long soak in the tub, walks in nature, cups of hot herbal tea or writing. Watch a movie. Call a friend. Create. Play.

Taking care of the body and improving health is incomplete without caring for all aspects of ourselves, including mental and emotional health. As the saying goes, the body eavesdrops on the mind. A mind churning with negative thoughts, regrets, anxiety or despair greatly impacts the body’s well being.

Talk to yourself, care for yourself, the way you would someone you deeply love.

How Will You Care for Yourself this Fall?

Which tips can you implement, to improve your health and wellness this fall? Start with one or two suggestions, feel the difference they make, then adopt another…and another.

This is the season of thankfulness. And in spite of the many challenges this year offered, we can find much to express gratitude for. May your improving health be something to rejoice over.

Tips for a Healthy Fall self care
Tips for a Healthy Fall – be kind to yourself.

Supplements from Amazon:



 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

 

 

 

Improve Eye Health Naturally

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

August is National Eye Exam Month. It serves as an excellent reminder to get our eyes checked and also to care for them throughout the year.

I have a long history of eye issues, from nearsightedness and astigmatism to ocular migraines and retinal bleeds. Gratefully, my eye health continues to improve with a plant based lifestyle.

You can improve eye health naturally too, with these easy to implement tips.

Improve Eye Health Naturally title meme

Ways to Improve Eye Health Naturally

Regular eye exams are an important way to monitor eye health and note any changes. And approximately 75% of adults need vision correction in the form of contact lenses or glasses.

Your ophthalmologist needs to know your family’s eye health history as well. Certain eye conditions, such as glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and optic atrophy, are hereditary.

Check out these other ways of improving eye health.

Eat a Nutrient Rich Diet

Add plenty of nutrient rich, colorful fruits and vegetables to your diet. These foods provide vitamins A, C and E and contain antioxidants that help prevent macular degeneration, a condition in which central vision deteriorates. The mineral zinc is important too.

Add these foods to meals throughout the week:

  • carrots
  • red bell peppers
  • broccoli
  • spinach
  • strawberries and other berries
  • sweet potatoes
  • citrus fruits

Flax seeds are an important addition, especially to a plant based diet. They provide omega-3 fatty acids, which help improve eye health.

Leafy green vegetables, broccoli and zucchini supply lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids important to retinal health. These are available as supplements as well.

Improve Eye Health Naturally carrots
Improve eye health naturally with nutrient rich foods such as carrots.

Protect Eyes with Protective Wear

Whether you are working with tools, performing science experiments, mowing the yard or playing sports, protect eyes with appropriate eyewear.

Choose protective, shatterproof goggles to keep foreign objects, chemicals or sharp objects from entering the eyes.

Wear Sunglasses

Shades do more than make us look cool, they block up to 99% of UVA and UVB radiation from sunlight. Sunglasses protect the eyes from damage that can lead to cataracts, macular degeneration and pterygium, a condition in which tissue grows over the whites of the eyes.

Wearing a wide brimmed hat also shields the eyes from too much sun.

Improve Eye Health Naturally sunglasses
Improve eye health naturally with sunglasses.

Keep Hands Clean

This year our awareness increased greatly concerning the importance of clean hands. Because we frequently touch our faces and rub our eyes, clean hands prevent introducing germs, viruses and infections into the eyes.

Always wash hands before touching the eyes or handling contact lenses. Germs on contact lenses can lead to bacterial infections in the eyes. Change lens solution daily. And never share lenses.

Toss out old bottles of eye drops as well.

Don’t Smoke

We know smoking harms our health, and that includes eye health as well. Smokers greatly increase their risks for developing cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Smoking also creates inflammation throughout the blood vessels within the eyes.

However, just like the lungs, the eyes begin to heal almost immediately, once smoking ceases. For better eye health and health in general, stop smoking.

Improve Eye Health Naturally no smoking
Stop smoking to improve eye health naturally.

Stay Fit

Maintaining a healthy weight not only improves overall health, it helps the eyes. Type 2 diabetes, which is more common in overweight people, can damage the small blood vessels in the eyes.

Consuming too much sugar can create diabetic retinopathy, which causes the small arteries in the retina to leak blood into the eye, impairing vision.

Take Frequent Screen Time Breaks

Staring at a phone or computer screen for long periods of time creates eye strain and blurred vision. To ease the strain, follow the 20-20-20 rule.

For every 20 minutes of screen time, stop and look at an object 20 feet away, for 20 seconds. (I’ve practiced this multiple times while typing this post!)

Improve Eye Health Naturally screen time
Take frequent breaks from screen time, to improve eye health naturally.

Manage Inflammation

Diseases other than diabetes affect eye health as well. High blood pressure and autoimmune disorders, which are linked to chronic inflammation, create problems throughout the body, including the eyes.

Eat an anti-inflammatory diet and limit gluten and dairy products. They aggravate and increase inflammation.

And manage stress, as it triggers an inflammatory response in the body. Try exercise, yoga, meditation, gardening, walking or deep breathing to lower stress. Drink herbal tea as part of your stress busting practice as well.

Pay Attention to Changes

And finally, pay attention to any changes in eye health and vision.

Experiencing frequent headaches or blurry vision? Feeling pain behind one eye or noticing an increase in floaters? These are signals that you need to see an eye doctor.

Years ago, I began experiencing flashing lights followed by a loss of vision for about 30 minutes. The first time it happened, I ended up in the ER with a suspected stroke. Many tests and MRIs ruled out blood clots and tumors. Finally an eye specialist determined the cause….ocular migraines.

I saw the same specialist when blood vessels in my retinas ruptured, in each eye on two different occasions.

Know what is normal for your eyes and vision and see a doctor immediately if something changes.

Improve Eye Health Naturally pain
Pay attention to any changes in eye health, such as blurred vision or pain.

Improved Eye Health

Switching to a plant based lifestyle improved my eye health and vision drastically.

I still wear contact lenses, however I no longer have astigmatism. And at age 62, I do not require bifocals, much to my eye doctor’s surprise. I wore reading glasses for a very short time, thinking I “needed” them, until I realized they gave me headaches. A year ago I stopped wearing them and haven’t put them on since.

The blood vessels in my retinas have not ruptured again and in the last four years I’ve only experienced two ocular migraines. Before going plant based, I had them multiple times a year.

Iridology Reading

And amazingly, a couple of years ago I received an iridology reading at a local health fair. In case you are unfamiliar with that, an iridologist utilizes lights, magnifying glasses, mirrors and cameras to examine the iris. He or she looks for irregularities, changes and pigment patterns to determine the health of the individual.

The iridologist studied my right eye and then laughed in amazement. He said my iris showed him that I recently changed my diet and that my body benefited greatly. I verified that information. He showed me, in a magnifying mirror, evidence that sciatic nerves healed and inflammation cleared up and healing occurred in multiple ways. With a grin, he said I possessed the clearest, healthiest eyes he’d seen all day and commended me for my health changes. His encouragement made me smile.

You can improve eye health naturally, too. Include the above practices in your life and see, literally, the difference they make.

Improve Eye Health Naturally my eyes
I improved my eye health. You can too.

Improve Eye Health with these Finds from Amazon:

 


 

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I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

 

My Daily Routine for Healthy Skin

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Did you know that the body’s largest organ is the skin? And what an important organ it is. Skin does more than keep our insides from falling out.

Our skin is a waterproof, insulating defense against temperature extremes, harmful chemicals, dangerous sunlight and infection. Exposure to all of those things ages the skin as we get older, resulting in fine lines, wrinkles, discoloration and rough patches.

I’m not trying to hide my age. Rather, I rejoice in my journey of 62 years. However, I’ve learned to care for my skin as part of my overall health practice. Embracing a plant based lifestyle four years ago made me realize that true skin care begins within with adequate hydration and skin nourishing foods.

People ask me what products I use, to care for my skin. I’m happy to share.

Here is my daily routine for healthy skin, with the actual products that I use and links to those products.

My Daily Routine for Healthy Skin title meme

Healthy Skin Begins Within

I’d be remiss if I didn’t begin with the most important practice for healthy skin. What we put into our bodies shows up on our skin. I experienced a lifetime of rashes and skin irritations because of a gluten intolerance. A poor diet contributes to a host of skin disorders and conditions. For a glowing complexion, start with these tips.

Adequate Hydration

Our bodies need water to survive. And it is critical for healthy skin. Eight glasses of water is a good guide, just don’t guzzle it down. The body quickly eliminates excess water. Instead, sip on water throughout the day, allowing it to be absorbed more slowly. Fill a large water bottle, keep it nearby, and have a goal of emptying it a couple of times during the day. Hydrating the body goes a long way toward keeping the skin healthy and supple, which helps to combat dryness and aging.

Herbal teas count as water intake and the herbs deliver their own benefits to the body. To nourish the skin, try drinking these herbal teas: dandelion, burdock, calendula, comfrey, lavender and rose.

Limit coffee and alcohol. Both dehydrate the body, and the skin, contributing to aging the skin’s appearance.

Hydrating Foods

Fruits such as watermelon and vegetables such as cucumber have a hydrating effect on the body and therefore the skin. Add these healing foods to your diet and experience a difference in your skin’s appearance: celery, root vegetables, avocado, almonds, red and yellow bell peppers, berries, walnuts, hemp seeds and flax seeds.

Skin Repairing Supplements

In addition to the foods and herbs listed above, I’ve seen tremendous benefits from taking these two supplements daily.

Horsetail Grass – the silica in this herb is key to the formation of collagen, a vital skin building block that is essential for strength and elasticity. As we age, the body naturally produces less collagen, resulting in common signs of aging such as sagging skin and wrinkles. Stiff joints are a sign that the body is producing less collagen. Horsetail grass soothes those aching, inflamed joints as well.

Organic Plant Collagen Builder – this vegan collagen supplement supports healthy hair, skin and nails. Most collagen supplements contain beef. I’m thrilled with this plant based brand from MyKind Organics.

An additional benefits from taking these two supplements…my eyelashes are so healthy and full.

Pick up these supplements HERE and HERE.

My Daily Routine for Healthy Skin supplements
My daily routine for healthy skin – supplements

My Morning Routine

Because of my evening routine the night before, my morning one is simple.

Filorga Micellar Solution

First, I cleanse and tone my face with Filorga Micellar Solution.

This gentle, fragrance free solution removes makeup and soil without over drying the skin. It’s enriched with moisturizers and 50 anti-aging ingredients that actually help to build up collagen. Apply the solution to a cotton ball and smooth over face, eyelids and throat. No need to rinse. Just let it dry.

Smartr Skin Eye Treatment

Then I apply Eye Treatment from Smartr Skin over my entire face. I LOVE the products from Smartr Skin. See why in my review. This lightweight, de-ionized water based lotion absorbs easily and quickly into the skin.  I use it exclusively in the morning, over my entire face. Eye Treatment Lotion is unscented and rich with superior anti-aging ingredients such as aloe vera gel, hydrolyzed rice bran protein, and extracts of grape, cucumber, pineapple, passion flower and lemon.

Visit the Smartr Skin website and use my code, CINDYM20OFF to save 20% off of your order!

Coppertone Sunscreen

And finally, before applying makeup, I use a SPF 50 sunscreen on my face if I’m going to be outside at all. This Coppertone for Sensitive Skin is currently perfect for me. When I run out of this tube, I’ll explore other sunscreen options.

My Daily Routine for Healthy Skin morning
My daily routine for healthy skin – morning products

My Makeup

I discovered BOOM Makeup by Cindy Jacob, for pro-age women over 50, four years ago. I love their natural, simplified products. Rather than covering the face, BOOM products add a healthy glow to the skin with lightweight cream moisturizer, color and highlighter.

The BOOM Trio includes Glo, a colorless, protective, nourishing moisturizer in stick form. I primarily use this product when I travel. The trio of sticks make packing my makeup so easy.

BOOMSTICK Color, in sheer berry, that is perfect for all skin tones. This is a multipurpose product that goes on the cheeks, forehead, lips, brows, sides of neck…anywhere you want a touch of color. Cindy’s intention is to mimic the beautiful flush a woman gets when she’s joyful…or aroused…or joyfully aroused!

BOOMSTICK Glimmer goes on last. This pearlescent glimmer is applied on brows, upper cheekbones, bottom lip, shoulders, collarbones…anywhere you want a bit of shine and highlight.

It takes me about five minutes to apply this ultra-nourishing makeup. BOOM is only available on their website. They frequently run specials and carry additional high quality products. Plus they are SO encouraging to women.

My Daily Routine for Healthy Skin BOOM
My daily routine for healthy skin – BOOM Trio

My Evening Routine

No matter how late it is, or how tired I am, I faithfully follow this night time routine before bed.

Bioderma Foaming Gel Cleanser

I wash my face with a gentle foaming micellar gel cleanser, this one from Bioderma. This highly moisturizing, fragrance free cleanser is designed for sensitive skin. It leaves mine looking and feeling fresh and so soft.

Dickinson’s Witch Hazel

Next I apply a traditional favorite, Witch Hazel from Dickinson’s. Read about why witch hazel is a great choice for the skin. I love the way it tightens my pores.

Smartr Skin Vitamin C Serum

After the witch hazel dries, I apply this amazing Vitamin C Serum, from Smartr Skin.

This luxurious enriched serum smooths easily onto the skin of the face, neck and chest. Just a few drops is all that it takes. It contains skin supporting ingredients such as aloe, vitamins C and E, MSM, botanical hyaluronic acid, witch hazel, jojoba oil and horsetail, dandelion and geranium extracts.

The hyaluronic acid helps create new collagen, restoring the elasticity and structure of skin damaged over the years by the sun and harsh elements in the environment. I’ve seen noticeable improvements in my skin’s texture since using Smartr Skin’s Vitamin C Serum.

Smartr Skin Jade Roller & Gua Sha Facial Tool

This is my newest addition to my evening routine. The jade roller helps to reduce under eye puffiness and promotes lymphatic fluid drainage. The cool stone rollers refresh and restore the skin without the use of chemicals.

And the gua sha tool gently stretches and tones the skin, increases blood flow and relaxes tense muscles in the face, neck and shoulders. Watch a tutorial video at the end of the post, for instructions on using both of these amazing tools.

I use the tools after I apply the vitamin C serum. The jade roller and gua sha help the serum to move deeply into my skin. This additional practice only takes a few minutes to complete.

Sometimes, as I’m watching Netflix, I use my DIY coconut oil serum with the jade roller and gua sha tool for an extended time. My face literally glows and feels so tingly!

My Daily Routine for Healthy Skin jade
My daily routine for healthy skin – jade roller and gua sha facial tool

 

Smartr Skin Moisturizer

This rich formula hydrates the skin, locking in moisture for a healthy, glowing complexion without clogging pores. Great for all skin types, the moisturizer repairs sunspots, eases dry patches and minimizes the appearance of wrinkles, crow’s feet and fine lines.

The superior ingredients in Smartr Skin Moisturizer include sweet almond oil, hydrolyzed wheat protein, aloe vera gel, and extracts of avocado, carrot root, cucumber, ginseng root and linden tree leaf.

This lotion feels so luxurious and my skin drinks it up.

When you visit Smartr Skin, be sure to use my discount code CINDYM20OFF. Use this link to get the trio of the Eye Treatment, Vitamin C Serum and Moisturizer at a special price. And you can still use the discount code to save even more!

DIY Coconut Oil Serum

Finally, I apply my own concoction, this DIY serum, to my lips. I rub this soothing serum onto my upper chest and arms as well. Although I now use the products above on my face, this simple to make serum is amazing and very nourishing to the skin.

My Daily Routine for Healthy Skin evening
My daily routine for healthy skin – evening products

My Daily Routine for Healthy Skin

There it is, my daily routine for vibrant, healthy skin. This is exactly what I do, step by step, and the precise products that I currently use. These products last for two months to nine months and of course the jade roller and gua sha tool should last indefinitely.

Am I worth this time and effort?

Yes. My morning and evening routines make me feel good and I love seeing the way my skin responds to this higher level of pampering. Plus these little routines send messages to my body that it’s either time to wake up and enter joyously into the day. Or, it’s time to enter into a calm, relaxed state and prepare for sleep.

Do you have a daily routine for healthy skin? If not, I hope this information is helpful. And please, if you have any questions about these routines or any of the products, ask in the comments below!

My Daily Routine for Healthy Skin glow
Glowing, healthy skin. I am worth it.

 

 

Journey With Healthy Me participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and the Smartr Skin Affiliate Program. These affiliate programs provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to the companies’ websites, all at no extra cost to you.