Archive for the 'Healthy Living' Category

Drink Your Way to a Healthier You!

If you’re serious about dropping a few pounds and getting in shape, make sure water is part of your overall plan.  Drinking enough water to stay hydrated can have a huge impact on your body’s ability to burn fat and calories.  It is estimated 75% of all Americans are chronically dehydrated and 37%  have such a weak thirst mechanism, thirst is often mistaken for hunger.  Drinking enough water will fuel your body’s fat-burning process and help you stay energized to burn calories.

Everyone needs a different amount of water depending on weight, activity, environmental temperature, and type of diet. In a study by the Institute of Medical Technology, it is recommended that we consume as much as one gallon of water a day to stay adequately hydrated.

Drinking water when aiming to lose weight will enable you to control your calorie intake, decrease fatigue, prevent cramping, regulate your body temperature, and carry oxygen to your cells. Water will not only aid in weight loss but also has a wide range of benefits for your body. Drinking it at the correct time maximizes its effectiveness on the body by lowering blood pressure, strengthening the immune system, increasing brainpower, and protecting your heart.

Here are a few more reasons to make water intake a priority for a healthier you:

 Water Weight

The weight you first lose while on a diet is mostly due to the loss of water. The belief that water weight causes bloating is a myth. Drinking water on a regular basis will keep your body from retaining it.  Bloating occurs when your body feels it needs to compensate dehydration. The more water you drink, the less bloating will occur.

A Healthy Diet

Drinking water will help reduce cravings for high calorie foods. A healthy diet of non-caloric beverages and water-based foods high in nutrients will make you feel full sooner and leave you feeling satisfied eating less. Water based foods also have a higher volume that requires us to chew more and our body to absorb slowly. This leaves us feeling full both physically and mentally satisfied. However, a healthy diet must include a proper amount fiber and nutrients. Without them, our body will begin to store fat in an effort to conserve energy. Water is essential to keep our body from storing all of this and causing constipation. Foods that are rich in water include fruits, veggies and beans.

Fatigue & Metabolism

Without water, your blood volume levels will be reduced, causing a reduction in the amount of oxygen that reaches your cells and muscles. This causes fatigue. Your bodily functions and metabolism will slow down to conserve energy in order to keep your organs working properly. In order to keep your organs working efficiently, an adequate amount of water is needed during exercise.

Toxins in the Body

When you burn calories, your body releases toxins and the water you drink aids flushing them out of your system. While doing so, water will aid in keeping your joints lubricated and your eyes hydrated. This in turn will help prevent injury both during exercise and during daily activities.

Muscle Tone

Muscle tone needs water because it helps lubricate joints and allows your muscles to contract. Without water, exercising can cause muscle soreness and stiff joints. It is recommended that people drink at least 17 ounces of water 2 hours before exercising or taking on a high-energy task. You should also drink water at regular intervals to make up for water used by your body during hard work and exercise.

 

Now is a good time to have a glass of water.

10 Things to Avoid for a Toxin-Free Home

By: Amy Myers, MD, founder and medical director of Austin UltraHealth

Toxins are all around us. For optimal health, it’s important to reduce our exposure to chemicals and toxins. Here are 10 tips to help you keep your home clean and green.

1. Conventional flooring

Conventional carpet is made from synthetic, petroleum-based fibers that can emit up to 120 hazardous chemicals linked to asthma, allergies, neurological problems and cancer. Many of the chemicals that are mainly found in the rubber padding and adhesive glues can take years to off-gas. Instead, use cotton or wool rugs or recycled carpet tiles, which do not require adhesive glues. Also consider stained concrete and renewable wood such as bamboo or cork.

2. VOC paints

Be sure to use no-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints – many companies advertise that they are no-VOC, but that’s the base white paint only. Once color is added, it’s no longer no-VOC.

3. Filter your water

Our bodies are more than 70% water and designed to run primarily on water and minerals. The water we consume can have a significant impact on our short-and long-term health. A three-year investigation of the country’s drinking water by the Environmental Working Group found that water flowing to about 85% of the population contains 316 contaminants — over 60% of these have no safety standards and are not regulated by the EPA. For the healthiest and best-tasting water possible a filtration system is the best solution. I recommend Aquasana water filters and their new countertop Aquasana Powered Water Filtration System removes ten times the contaminants as the leading filter pitcher and each filter lasts eight times longer.

4. Upholstered Furniture

Upholstered furniture can be filled with polyurethane foams that are petroleum-based and full of chemicals and fire retardants. Look for a piece made with natural latex foam, wool cushions and organic fabrics. Choose solid wood over pressed particle board, which emits formaldehyde.

5. Commercial bedding

Choose organic, untreated sheets, blankets and pillows. Otherwise most commercial materials use fire retardants, pesticides, bleach and dyes.

6. Vinyl shower curtains

Vinyl shower curtains release more than 100 VOCs that can hang around in the air for more than a month. They also contain phthalates, which are hormone and endocrine disruptors. Opt for organic cotton and linen shower curtains instead.

7. Curtains and window treatments

Most curtains contain fire retardants, pesticides, bleach and dyes. Make sure to use organic, untreated cotton or linen, or opt for bamboo.

8. Conventional mattresses

Where you sleep and what you sleep on is one of the most important decisions you can make – I can’t stress this enough. We spend nearly half of our lives asleep, and most of our detox and body repair occurs while we sleep. Conventional mattresses contain harsh chemical and fire retardants, which can out-gas for years! Choose 100% natural latex mattresses and organic wool mattress toppers.

9. Cleaning solutions

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) listed household cleaners as one of the top ten pet poisons in 2009. Levels of brominated flame retardants in cats are up to 23 times higher than those found in human beings, and dogs have an average 2.4 times more perfluorinated chemicals in their bodies than people. These are chemicals that are already found in products you buy, such as fire-proof fabrics and stain-proof rugs – just imagine how susceptible your dog or cat is to the chemicals you readily spray and pour in your home. Look for non-toxic cleaning solutions.

10. Nasty air

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns, “Most people are aware that outdoor air pollution can damage their health but may not know that indoor air pollution can also have significant effects. EPA studies of human exposure to air pollutants indicate that indoor air levels of many pollutants may be two to five times, and on occasion more than 100 times, higher than outdoor levels. These levels of indoor air pollutants are of particular concern because it is estimated that most people spend as much as 90 percent of their time indoors. In recent years, comparative risk studies performed by the EPA and its Science Advisory Board (SAB) have consistently ranked indoor air pollution among the top five environmental risks to public health.” Get an HEPA air filter!

For more tips from Dr. Myers, visit www.AmyMyersMD.com.

About Dr. Amy Myers

Dr. Amy Myers is a medical doctor with extensive training in Functional Medicine, Integrative Medicine and Nutrition. Functional Medicine is a science-based approach to healing that focuses on a patient-centered, not disease-centered, model of care. Dr. Myers is also a contributing writer for Mind Body Green. Austin UltraHealth is located at 5656 Bee Caves Road, Suite D 203, Austin, Texas 78746.

 

Aquasana Launches a Ground-breaking Drinking Water System

As a leader in water filtration products, Aquasana recently launched the world’s first ever powered countertop pitcher to reduce 10 times the contaminants than the leading drip pitcher filter – fast. The Aquasana Powered Water Filtration System selectively retains beneficial minerals for health and taste through Claryum™ technology that uses pressure to quickly force unfiltered water through an ultra-dense, smart filter block.

The power pitcher is tested by NSF International to reduce 61 common water contaminants including lead, mercury, asbestos, herbicides and pesticides, as well as over 96% of chlorine and chloramines. While leading brands’ filters last about 40 gallons, our long-lasting cartridges are certified to last 320 gallons (about six months). Additionally, the eco-friendly system design reduces plastic waste by minimizing disposable plastic parts so you throw away the used carbon filter and nothing more.

The unique Aquasana Powered Water Filtration System allows you to use the filtration dock in two easy ways: with the eight-cup pitcher which fits in the refrigerator door or the 16-cup dispenser for on demand filtered water by the glass.  Filtering your water at home also greatly reduces the amount of plastic bottle waste going into our environment – filter at home and bottle your own.

Tips For Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle During the Holidays

Tis the season for family gatherings, late nights and plenty of calories ready to be consumed. While enjoying the festivities, keep these three simple tips in mind to keep your waist trim without feeling grim this season.

Late Hours Call for an Early Morning Calorie-Filled Mocha – Resist

There are various reasons why we stay up later during the holidays – parties, cramming two weeks of work into one, adjusting to the time change – which cause us to be groggy the following morning. The quick fix is to head to your nearest coffee shop and get the most caffeinated and sugar-filled drink for a pick-me-up, and not only does that affect your caloric intake, but if not timed right, it could affect your sleep. Instead, opt for a 12-ounce skim latte (100 calories compared to 400 calorie mocha latte) and try to eat lots of produce throughout the day for longer-lasting energy that simple sugars don’t provide.

To ensure you get the right amount of sleep, experts recommends turning off your computer and TV half an hour before you turn in will help to avoid from disrupting your body clock. Another tip is to try a small carb-based snack such as a banana before bed. Being more alert and energized will help you to stick with your fitness routines throughout the season.

When You Think You’re Hungry, Reach for a Glass of Water

With lack of quality sleep, your body may be suffering from dehydration which in turn often turns to calories for fuel. When you think you’re hungry, you may just be thirsty. Throughout the day, constant hydration will keep your stomach calm for longer periods. Proper hydration through water consumption is easy, and the benefits are large and wide.

Great-tasting, healthy water has never been easier. The Aquasana Powered Water Filtration System utilizes Claryum™ technology to selectively retain beneficial minerals and filter out contaminants such as lead, mercury, asbestos, giardia and over 96% of chlorine and chloramines, in just seconds. So when you hear your stomach grumble, reach for clean, filtered water for optimum hydration before the refrigerator handle and prepare to be amazed by the results.

As the Temperature Drops, Opt for Indoor Activities

The temperatures may be dropping, but that doesn’t mean your heart rate has to. With the sun down early and holiday stress weighing heavy, it is said that an average of one pound is gained during the holiday season.

Opt for indoor sports such as indoor soccer, basketball or racquetball to keep your heart pumping and your body temperature stable. Your local gym or YMCA is likely to have pick-up games for you to join in and make some new friends while you’re at it! Don’t forget to filter your water at home and bottle your own to keep yourself hydrated with the purest water available.

A Healthier Holiday Season!

Dr. Amy Myers, Founder and Medical Director of Austin UltraHealth, gives us nine tips for a healthier holiday season! Enjoy.

1. Avoid gluten.

  •  You can use arrowroot scratch or sweet rice flour to thicken your gravy instead of wheat flour. You can also make your own gluten-free stuffing or dinner rolls with almond meal or coconut flour.

2. Ditch the dairy.

  • Use full-fat coconut milk instead of cow’s milk for your cream gravies or green bean casserole. You can also baste your turkey in coconut oil instead of butter.

3. Avoid alcohol.

  •  Ditch the wine and beers. Filtered Aquasana water with a splash of lime juice makes for a perfect holiday drink without the pain of a hangover.

4. Support local farmers.

  • Plan ahead this holiday season and purchase your produce and meat from local farmer’s markets to practice farm-to-table habits and sustain local businesses.

5. Make your own holiday party classics.

  • If you’re hosting parties this year, consider making your own gluten-free and dairy-free treats, like gluten-free cookies or offer an array of exotic nuts and dried fruits.

6. Share your eating habits with friends.

  • If you aren’t hosting the party, then prepare a dish or two that you know will be safe for you to eat. This is a great opportunity to share your health journey with your friends!

7. Eat with purpose.

  • Don’t eat yourself into a coma this year! Arrive to holiday parties with a plan. Eat your veggies first, then meat, then starches, and finally if you have room, a bit of dessert.

8. Go Green.

  • If you’re roasting a turkey, save the bones and make your own turkey broth. If you have leftover vegetable pieces to discard, save them for a vegetable broth instead. You can freeze your broth and use it as a base for future soups.

9. Relax.

  • Focus your attention on relationships and connections with loved ones rather than food.

For more tips on functional medicine, visit http://www.dramymyers.com.

Do I Drink Too Much Water?

If you notice that you are going through three liters of water at work alone, you may think that you are drinking too much water, but you are nowhere near a level that is dangerous to your health. It’s great that you are drinking a generous amount of water throughout the work day. Staying hydrated at work is one of the best things you can do for your health.

There is no recommended daily allowance (RDA) for water, but there is an adequate intake level (AI). For example, the AI for women is approximately 2.2 liters, which is more than the eight 8-ounce glasses that many health experts recommend. Whether you decide to drink the 2.2 liters or eight glasses, you will be making an excellent decision regarding your health.

The amount of water you need to drink every day is very individualized due to how much physical activity you do on a daily basis, or how hot it is where you live, but there are five easy tips to follow in order to make sure you’re getting the right amount of water for you.

1. Avoid being thirsty!

You feel thirsty for a reason. It’s your body’s way of telling you that you need more water to function properly and avoid being dehydrated. Don’t ignore it. Research from as early as the 1960’s tells us that people underestimate the amount of fluid they need to re-hydrate, so it’s always safe to drink a little more than you think you need.

2.  Don’t drink it all at once!

The old trick that says if you drink a glass of water before you eat so you get full faster… doesn’t work. You should also not drink so much water that you feel full. That much water at once is overkill, and the full feeling is telling you so. If you drink too much water in a short period of time, that’s when water toxicity occurs. Spreading out your water over the course of the day is the only good way to keep yourself constantly hydrated.

3.  Aim to wake up feeling hydrated!

Waking up thirsty is a good sign that you aren’t getting enough water during the day, and that you should consume more fluids. Also, pay attention when you step on the scale in the morning. Your weight can fluctuate due to the fact that you aren’t getting enough fluids during the day.

4. Bottle your own!

You are much more likely to drink water if you carry it with you. If you don’t have to go to the vending machine to buy a bottle or wait to get one on your lunch break, you’re more likely to keep yourself hydrated. Also, if you want to avoid all of the waste that comes with drinking bottled water, grab your own reusable bottle and fill it at home.

5. Filter it!

What is one of the best ways to get yourself to drink enough water? Make sure to drink water that is refreshing and tastes good. Installing a drinking water filter in your home is a great way to make sure your water is healthy and delicious! Aquasana drinking water systems are a great way to take out more than 60 contaminants and leave in the good stuff such as magnesium and calcium. Find them at aquasana.com.

Live healthy!

Juicing 101

Juicing is a health choice that has become increasingly popular over the last few years. It is a great option for those interested in heading towards an energetic life and truly optimal health. Almost every health specialist recommends getting a minimum of 6-8 servings of vegetables per day, and honestly, that is hard to reach. So what can you do to ensure that you are taking in as many vegetables as you should? Juice!

Juicing helps you absorb more of the nutrients from vegetables. Many people have impaired digestive systems due to the fact that they have not made optimal food choices over the years. This limits your body’s ability to take in all the necessary nutrients from vegetables. What juicing does is break down the vegetables for you in order for you to receive the majority of the nutrients rather than having them pass right through you.

With juicing, you are able to consume more vegetables in an efficient manner. Most find reaching the 6-8 servings of vegetables recommended every day difficult, but with juicing, this can be accomplished with a few glasses of vegetable juice. It also allows you to add a wider variety of vegetables to your diet!

Here are some tips on adding juicing to your diet:

-Remember that a glass of vegetable juice is not a complete meal. Unless you are going through a detox or a fast, use juicing as an addition to your meal, or as a snack between meals.

-Start by juicing vegetables that you enjoy eating already. Then add other vegetables and start experimenting with new flavors as you go. You should like the taste of your juice!

-Use pesticide-free vegetables! It is always a good choice to choose organic veggies, but some are better than others. Celery, spinach, kale, cucumbers, lettuce, and carrots are a few of the best options.

-If you want your juice to taste delicious without adding too much sugar try adding lemons/limes, ginger, coconut, or cranberries!

-Clean your juicer immediately after you juice! It can be done easily with something as simple as a toothbrush, and it will keep your juicer from growing mold!

-Drink your juice right away or store it very carefully! Make sure your stored juice is in an airtight container with a minimum amount of air so as the juice doesn’t oxidize.

If  you want an excellent way to store your juice, Aquasana’s glass bottles are a great airtight solution, can be found on our website, and are already popular with many juicers!

Enjoy a new healthy lifestyle with juicing!

Dehydration By the Numbers

The reason we get that tired feeling in the mid to late afternoon at work is mostly due to the fact that your body is dehydrating. By staying hydrated throughout the morning and afternoon, you will be more awake and focused. Try drinking 96 ounces of water a day, with half of that before 2pm.

Water is the second most important nutrient to the body next to oxygen, which shouldn’t be surprising due to the fact that 70% of our bodies are made up of water. Still, most people aren’t getting the 10-12 glasses of water per day that is recommended by health experts. As a result, an estimated 75% of North Americans suffer from chronic dehydration.

Not sure how to tell if you’re dehydrated? Well, if you are thirsty, it means your cells are already dehydrated. A dry mouth is the last outward sign of dehydration. Thirst does not develop until body fluids are depleted well below levels required for optimal functioning.

Effects of Mild Dehydration:
- Decreased coordination
- Fatigue
- Dry skin
- Decreased urine output
- Dry mucous membranes in the mouth and nose
- Blood pressure changes and impairment of judgment

Unintentional Chronic Dehydration (UCD):
- Stress
- Headache
- Back pain
- Allergies
- Asthma
- High blood pressure
- Many degenerative health problems

When thirsty, most feel that it’s okay to just grab a sports drink or coffee. It’s not! These kinds of beverages themselves can cause dehydration due to the high content of caffeine and sugar. Coffee, juice, and milk all require water to be digested properly, and caffeine causes one to urinate more often, which are all counter-productive to proper hydration. All in all, there is nothing that can replace water when it comes to providing what the body needs to function properly.

When traveling, our chances of dehydrating are even greater. Although as exciting as it is, traveling is one of the most taxing activities on our bodies due to the stress from altitude, tension, jet lag, and swollen muscles and joints and dehydration. Factors like temperature, sweating, altitude, and exercise can significantly increase the amount of water we lose each day, so it is especially important to hydrate before, during, and after travel.

Clean, filtered water is the best choice for healthy hydration.  Aquasana drinking water filters remove the contaminants from tap water and leave the healthy minerals in the water for optimum hydration.  So, whether you’re traveling around town or across the country, make hydration a priority.  Take your own water bottle with you or a collapsible refillable if traveling so you always have water on hand.

Cheers!

Healthy Summer Hair

Summer can be tough on hair.  The elements we expose our hair to in the summer can cause it to become dry, brittle, damaged, and overall, unhealthy. Here are a few tips to help prevent hair damage and keep our hair looking healthy and beautiful all summer long!

Wash your hair daily with filtered water:

At the end of the day after exposing yourself to all kinds of elements, you know your skin is extremely dirty. On top of being exposed to the same elements, your hair follicles produce sebum, or oil, as your scalp perspires. Washing your hair every day is the single most effective way you make your hair and scalp healthier. The best thing you can do for your hair (and skin!)  is to use filtered water. Using an Aquasana shower filter, designed to remove over 90% of the harmful chlorine in tap water, is one of the best choices when it comes to making your hair healthy and beautiful!

Treat your hair to tea:

Try an herbal tea rinse for your hair—it’s a great way to boost your hair’s natural highlights! Use lemon or chamomile for blond hair, black tea for brown or black hair, or red zinger for copper or red hair. To do it, boil a gallon of Aquasana filtered water, add four tea bags, and let them steep for three to five minutes in a large bowl. Then let the water cool to room temperature. Lean over the sink, flipping your hair over your head. Pour the tea over your hair and let it drip into the sink. Then put a shower cap over your hair and let the tea sit for 10 minutes before rinsing, shampooing, and conditioning as usual. It’s so easy to do, but gives you big results!

Heat it up:

Use the sun’s heat to your advantage! While you’re poolside or at the beach, treat your hair to a deep conditioning mask, comb your hair into a bun, and let the product go to work while you lounge. This protects hair from salt or chlorinated water and gives you extra softness and shine.

Eat healthy:

Eating a healthy diet, full of omega-3 fatty acids (found in foods such as salmon, spinach, and omega-3 rich eggs) can keep your hair strong and looking healthy and shiny. The nutrients in these foods help nourish your hair and keep it healthier for longer.  Supplements such as flax seed oil can also be added to your diet to boost your intake of essential fatty acids (EFA’s).

Don’t soak up the bad stuff:

Limit the amount of saturation from pool or ocean water by brushing a few drops of natural neem hair oil through your dry locks with a boar-bristle brush, then dousing your hair with fresh water. Hair can absorb only so much liquid, so if you enter chlorinated or salt water with wet hair, you’ll prevent some of the water from penetrating if your hair is already wet. The oil acts as an additional barrier due to the fact that oil and water don’t mix.

Not too cold, not too hot:

Wash your hair with lukewarm water. Some people put ice in the water in which they wash their hair to make it cold, when in reality, the water temperature should neither be too hot nor too cold; it should be balanced. Water that is either very hot or very cold can dry out and damage hair.

Keeping your hair protected during the summer is one of the most important things you can do in order to keep your hair looking great all year long!

Naturally whiten your clothes without chemicals.

For those of us looking to reduce the amount of harsh chemicals we keep in our homes, finding an effective natural solution for whitening our white clothes and linens can be difficult. Concentrated chlorine bleach is toxic and can be harmful to our health; it can also destroy clothing over time. Here is an excellent way to gently and naturally whiten and brighten your white clothes without using chlorine bleach or other harsh chemicals.

What you’ll need: lemon slices, water (chemical-free, filtered water for best results) and a clothing line or spot to hang your clothes to dry in direct sunlight.

1.  Start by filling a large pot with filtered water. Bring water to a boil.
2.  Add lemon slices. I usually use one normal sized lemon all sliced up.
3.  Turn off the heat and add your white clothes to the pot. Let soak for at least two hours.
4.  After soaking, gently ring out clothes and hang out to dry in direct sunlight. Note: If you do not have a place to hang clothes in the sun, you can always use your regular dryer on a low heat setting.

Why this works:
Lemon juice has been used as a whitening agent for years. The citric acid in lemons gently and effectively fights stains and unlike chlorine bleach, is even safe to use on colors. Sunlight is also a powerful and completely natural bleaching alternative. Drying your clothes outside on a clothing line with not only brighten and refresh your clothes, but it will help cut down your energy bill and save you some money. As always, we recommend using Aquasana filtered water to clean and wash your clothes. Unlike tap water that is ridden with chemicals including high amounts of chlorine, Aquasana filtered water is virtually chlorine and chemical-free. Clothes washed in filtered water last longer and stay brighter than those washed in unfiltered, chlorinated water.

Click here to check out our home filtration solutions so you can start filtering your water.

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