Archive for the 'Tips for Health' Category
Washing your hair with unfiltered tap water can not only make your hair hard to manage, but it can cause big damage to it as well. Additives in the water can adversely affect the health of your hair even by preventing further growth while leaving you with dull, flat hair.
Long, beautiful locks were much more common before cities began to put chemicals in the water. Beginning in the early 1900s, cities started permanently adding chlorine and various other chemicals to the public water supply to disinfect and “purify” the water in use. Regular exposure to chlorinated water can cause significant damage to hair by stripping hair of oil. The oil in hair is what protects it from over drying and in turn prevents cracking and splitting easily. With the right approach, healthy hair can once again be possible.
Identifying what kind of hair is most at risk for chlorine related hair damage can help you figure out what home remedy is best to add the healthy glow back into your hair.
· Color and chemically treated hair, dry hair, fine hair, and previously damaged hair face the largest risks for chlorine damage. People with this type of hair definitely use a filter to remove chlorine, should not be wash their hair often, and should eat plenty of protein rich foods and vitamins.
· For those with oily hair, unfiltered water strips your scalp on a daily basis of natural oils. This leaves your body thinking it needs to make up for the oils lost and it does so by producing more oils to protect the scalp and hair, leaving you with over oily hair.
· Long hair is particularly at risk for hair damage, as the effects of unfiltered water will leave hair vulnerable to split ends. Instead, using natural oils in your hair will help keep hair healthy and long.
· Curly hair is difficult to manage and keep healthy even without the chemicals in water. It should not be shampooed on a daily basis to prevent too many minerals from situating themselves into the dense hair fibers.
Below is a list of healthy habits to get glowing, perfect hair:
1. Massage your scalp: Massaging your scalp will increase your blood circulation levels going to your hair follicles and will help your hair grow faster and smoother. Try the Aquasana Shower Filter with Massaging Wand to get the best results.
2. Filter your water: Filtering water with the Aquasana Shower Filter will take the chlorine, chloramines, and hardness that contributes to the stripping of oils out of your water while leaving in the healthy minerals that help your hair grow strong. The water will also help your shampoos and conditioners work better on your hair, as the products will also be stripped of their abilities when paired with the harsh chemicals in tap water.
3. Eat healthy: Eating the right amount of proteins, minerals, vitamins, and nutrients to keep your hair strong are vital to begin taking care of your hair. For example, hair is mostly composed of protein, making it an important factor in how fast and long your hair grows.
4. Use natural remedies: Using natural remedies over store bought products to treat your hair will leave your scalp and hair thanking you. Just as eating healthy can provide the right nutrients for your hair, homemade cleansers can help boost hair growth. Try the remedies below for a refreshing new cleanser that won’t dry out your scalp and will jumpstart your road to beautiful hair.
· For dry scalp: Eggs are high in protein and they provide vibrancy to dried out hair. In a large bowl, mix two egg yolks with 1/8-cup water and two teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil. Beat until it is well mixed. Apply the mixture to damp hair after a shampoo and let sit for 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water and let dry naturally.
· For oily scalp: Lemons are high in vitamins and minerals that keep excessive oils away. Squeeze one lemon for it’s juice and dilute it with one cup of warm water. After mixing it, apply to your scalp and let it sit for 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water and an all-natural shampoo. Let dry naturally.
Here’s to a beautiful 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:
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 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.
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.
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.
- Focus your attention on relationships and connections with loved ones rather than food.
For more tips on functional medicine, visit http://www.dramymyers.com.
It’s the middle of August and the sun is at it’s hottest, and if you’re feeling it, your pets are feeling it, too. Here are a few tips to keeping your pets safe, healthy, and comfortable in the heat.
Stock up on Preventatives: Fleas and mosquitoes love to come out when the weather starts heating up, and thanks to the unusually warm winter months, they are extremely pervasive this season. Avoid slacking on giving your pets the medicine to prevent these pests from biting and transferring diseases or worms to your pet. Generic formulas make it easier and cheaper to keep your pet treated.
Keep an Eye Out: When you take your dog to a dog park, make sure you read park rules before heading out. Good dog park etiquette includes cleaning up after your dog and minding their social skills. No matter how much you prepare, however, accidents can happen. Keeping a pet first aid kit in your car is a good way to be able to respond to injury quickly. Since dogs benefit from interacting with one another, try going to the dog park on off hours or scheduling play time with neighbor dogs in a backyard.
Watch for Allergic Reactions: Cats and dogs can both develop allergic reactions to pollen. Watch for signs of excess chewing, biting, scratching, sneezing, or redness. Monitor the pollen count and keep pets inside on days that are going to be particularly heavy. Benadryl can relieve pet allergy symptoms, but make sure to talk to your vet about dosage amounts before giving it to your pet. Oatmeal shampoos do a great job at relieving itching in dogs and cats alike.
Keep Pets Cool: Make sure your pets have access to cool areas at all times. For outdoor dogs, try filling 2-liter bottles with water, freezing them, and putting them in the doghouse. It will allow your pets to keep from overheating when they’re in their house. We also recommend keeping your doghouse in the shade. Heatstroke can affect dogs quickly, especially if they have thick, dark coats. For indoor pets, keep your A/C on if you’re planning on spending the day out. If it would be too hot for you, it’s too hot for your pets. Another way to keep them cool is to give them ice cubes or frozen veggies as treats!
Protect Delicate Skin: Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in dogs and the second most common in cats. Even though fur provides good sun protection, it would be a good idea to get a pet sun block to apply to sensitive areas like the bellies of dogs and the ears and around the eyes of cats. Use products made specifically for pets because zinc-oxide – a main ingredient in sunscreen – can be toxic to pets. Also, you may be tempted to shave your pet or trim their fur short in the summer months, but don’t! A pet’s fur provides circulation and keeps them cool in the heat and helps to regulate their body temperature.
Hydration, hydration, hydration: Always have clean, cold water available for your pets; they can easily get dehydrated in the summer heat. It’s also a great idea to give your pets filtered water. If you feel that the contaminants in your tap water are bad for your health, skin, and hair, they’re also bad for your pets’. Using a water filtration system and giving your dog healthy water to drink is one of the best things you can do to keep them healthy and hydrated in the summer heat!
Enjoy the rest of the summer heat!
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.
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!
What is MTBE?
MTBE(methyl tertiary-butyl ether) is a chemical compound that is produced in large quantities as a fuel additive to help gasoline burn more effectively to reduce air pollution. So what’s it doing in our drinking water?
MTBE has been used in U.S. gasoline at low levels since 1979 to replace lead as an octane enhancer. Since 1992, MTBE has been used at higher concentrations in some gasoline to fulfill the oxygenate requirements set by Congress in the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. MTBE was used across the US up until the last decade as a gasoline additive to make the fuel burn more thoroughly and reduce air pollution. Anytime this toxic chemical leaks or spills on to the ground, the toxins seep into the ground and contaminate natural ground water sources.
MTBE is now a commonly found contaminant in drinking water across the United States. The EPA reports a growing number of studies have detected MTBE in ground water throughout the country; in some instances these contaminated waters are sources of drinking water.The MTBE gasoline additive is now banned in many states due to the elevated risk of brain tumors, liver cancer, blood cancer, and kidney cancer when inhaled or ingested from tap water.
Who is affected?
Almost everyone in the United States breathes in or drinks some MTBE. However, some states have seen dangerously elevated levels of MTBE contamination and have banned its use. New York and California banned MTBE use in 2004, and twenty-three other states followed suit by signing legislation banning MTBE by 2005. The current court battle in New Hampshire alleges pollution of 40,000 wells with 5,590 of them reaching levels that make the water unfit for human consumption.
What you can do to protect yourself from MTBE:
If you are concerned about MTBE in your water make sure you are using a water filter that removes this harmful toxin. Aquasana water filters are certified to reduce MTBE in tap and well water. For more information on the specific impact of MTBE on your local water source contact your local EPA drinking water office for more information.
Today marks day 12 of drinking nothing but Aquasana filtered water, and I have to say, it has been quite a challenge indeed. Last week was rough. Starting the day without my morning cup of jo – rough. No relief for my mid-afternoon crash at work – rough. And forget about that evening or weekend libation – tough.
Now we are on week two of the Water Challenge here at the Aquasana office and everyone is already adjusting and feeling much better. The biggest change I’ve noticed so far is how well I sleep at night – like a baby! My body’s natural clock has kicked in and now I hit the sack by 10pm and wake up refreshed at 6am. I honestly can’t remember the last time I slept so well. It’s pretty interesting how much I used to rely on caffeine to get me going, but once cut out completely from my diet, I realize it’s really not a necessity at all.
In summary, I’m feeling great after just 12 days, so I know once I hit 21 days I’ll noticing other great benefits of healthy hydration. I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely looking forward to week three of the water challenge. How is everyone else feeling out there?
All you have to do to follow along is:
- Pick a team to follow (Todd, Mel, or Derek)
- Calculate how much you should drink daily
- Choose your favorite way to hit your daily target
- Share your results with us on Facebook or on this blog
The focus of the challenge is on what we drink, not what we eat. We aren’t going for the full cleanse, although drinking the right amount of fluid everyday will help cleanse your system. You should maintain your own healthy diet, but this challenge will help you avoid common dietary mistakes like drinking calories and dehydration.
Pick a team
Picking a team is simple. We’ll all be drinking mostly water, but two of the three teams have added a healthy option that will count towards your daily fluid intake. Derek’s team is for the purists out there that only want to drink water for 21 days. Mel’s team adds in decaffeinated green tea to promote weight loss and cardiac health. Todd’s team adds in green juices to bolster overall nutritional intake and to take advantage of the cleansing properties of certain vegetables. So, choose the team that most closely aligns to what you want to do. I’m with Team Todd.
Determine how much you should drink
Now that we’ve all picked a team, we need to set a daily target for fluid intake. We recently published updated information on how much water to drink on a daily basis. It’s not the old 8 8-ounce glasses a day, but there is an easy guideline to start with for your age and gender. Keep in mind that you may need to drink more if you exercise, work outdoors, or spend time in the heat. I’m a 36-year-old male, so I need 125 ounces of water per day from food, green juices, or just plain water.
Decide how to drink the right amount
Now we know what we are going to drink based on our team and we know how much we need to drink based on our age and gender. The final decision is to come up with a plan to drink the right amount every day. If you are on Team Derek, you would give your food a small allowance of water and drink the rest of your daily target in water. For Team Mel and Team Todd, you would do the same except you can count each cup of tea or green juice against your water intake. I’m going to say that my food has about 16 ounces of water per day and I will drink a 24 ounce green juice each day. That leaves 85 ounces of water that I need to drink based on my target of 125 ounces. Now, this doesn’t mean to go chug-a-lug that much water all at once.
Use a clever way to remind yourself to drink continuously throughout the day and steadily reach your target. Find a bottle that you can use to keep yourself on track with water. Figure out how much water the bottle holds in ounces and divide your target by that number. For example, I am using a 27 ounce glass bottle and I need to drink 85 ounces per day. That’s a little over three big bottles of water per day, a 24 ounce green juice and my normal food intake.
Ready, Set, Share
We’ll share if you do. Start your own challenge whenever you are ready. Share your photos and comments with us on our Facebook page or on the comments thread here. We can’t wait to hear from some of our fans!
Why 21 days?
Research shows that it takes just 21 days to form a habit. Training yourself to drink more water every day is one of the most important actions you can make to take charge of your health. So mark your calendar and get excited – you’re about to do your whole body a huge favor!